October 16, 2011

Huntsville Gives $250,000 to Help With U.S. Space & Rocket Center Debt (Source: Huntsville Times)
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center's efforts to dig out of debt just got a boost from the city of Huntsville. At the urging of Mayor Tommy Battle, the City Council voted Thursday night to give the Space Center a one-time emergency appropriation of $250,000. The money, which is on top of $75,000 earmarked for Space Center in the city's 2012 budget, will come from cash left over when the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. (10/16)

NASA Official Plans Lecture at New Mexico State on Oct. 20 (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Robert Kelso, NASA's director of lunar commercial services, will give a talk at New Mexico State University titled "Return to the Apollo sites ... Protecting USG Artifacts on the Moon" on Oct. 20. Kelso developed a set of guidelines intended to safeguard the historic and scientific value of more than three-dozen "heritage sites" on the moon. A greater urgency for guidelines was spurred by the Google Lunar X Prize's offer of $20 million to any private team that lands a robotic rover on the moon's surface and an additional $4 million for landing near one of the manned landing sites and snapping pictures of artifacts there. (10/16)

Israel Falling Behind in Space Research, Warns Outgoing Agency Chief (Source: Haaretz)
Zvi Kaplan, the director general of the ISA, is about to end his term in office after seven years as head of the agency. The ISA has no need for a larger office. It has no more than four full-time employees: Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, a secretary and two consultants. The rest of the ISA's needs are supplied by the Science and Technology Ministry, which funds the ISA. According to Kaplan, Israel is the only country in the world with a space agency that hardly has a budget of its own, a fact that obviously affects the agency's achievements. (10/16)

United Launch Alliance Shoots for Higher Profile (Source: Denver Post)
For a company that roars into space in a hard-to-miss cloud of smoke and flames, United Launch Alliance​ has flown under the radar. For Michael Gass, ULA's chief executive, being the quiet partner in space missions is OK — "as long as it says somewhere that United Launch Alliance provided the rocket." December will mark ULA's fifth anniversary, when former rivals Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Co. formed the 50/50 venture.

The market for the companies' rockets was shrinking, and they said the alliance was a way to save the federal government money on launches while providing both Lockheed's Atlas rockets and Boeing's Delta rockets. About 370 people relocated from Boeing's Huntington Beach Delta facility, and about 1,000 people from Lockheed's Atlas program in Colorado. ULA also hired about 400 new employees, most from the Denver area.

ULA leaders acknowledge that the company has recently been raising its profile. "This past year has been fairly remarkable. We've averaged one (launch) a month," said Dan Collins, ULA's chief operations officer. (10/16)

NASA Commercial Suborbital Flights Will Ultimately Benefit Florida (Source: Florida Today)
Many of NASA's breakthroughs for private space operators may initially mean flights based elsewhere — in places such as the remote Spaceport America in New Mexico — but as the business grows, Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral will be more and more sought after. Any growth and positive development in the private spaceflight sector is good for the Florida launch sites. More flights, more launches, more ideas and more money to be made all will grow a market destined to create opportunities for Brevard County. (10/16)

Kenya: MPs Want Country's Satellite in Space (Source: All Africa)
MPs yesterday agreed that it was time for the government to also establish a Kenyan version of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is an executive branch agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation's civilian space program and aeronautics and aerospace research. Its main mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. (10/16)

Russian Scientists Want to Join Europe's ExoMars Mission (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russian scientists want to join European Space Agency's ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) mission to study the Red Planet, a leading Russian space researcher said. "From the scientific point of view such mission would be of great interest to us, it would boost our own Mars research," said Oleg Korablyov, deputy chief of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. (10/16)

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