October 7, 2011

Brevard County Looks Ahead with “Faith in the Future” (Source: White House)
Recently, I was honored to join faith and community leaders in Brevard County, Florida for the launch of “Faith in the Future” – a new initiative to better serve job seekers. Due to the transitions in the NASA Space Shuttle program based in Brevard, thousands of aerospace engineers are unemployed and looking for new opportunities.

Brevard Workforce, the local administrator of government workforce development funds, is collaborating with congregations and community groups to support and expand “Job Clubs”. A job club is a support group of unemployed individuals who meet on a regular basis to learn job search skills and techniques, expand professional networks, and receive emotional support. Click here. (10/7)

Roscosmos: Soyuz Failure Was ‘Singular Occasion' (Source: Space News)
Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said Oct. 7 that inspections have found that the Soyuz rockets intended to carry crew and cargo to the international space station do not have the flaw that caused the crash of an unmanned cargo ship bound for the station in August. A check of 18 rocket engines from the same batch found no faults, Popovkin told Russian lawmakers. “That allows us to say that it was a singular occasion,” he said. (10/7)

Boeing Studies X-37B Evolved Crew Derivative (Source: Aviation Week)
Boeing is studying scaled-up variants of the reusable X-37B orbital test vehicle (OTV) for potential delivery of cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS) and other low-Earth-orbit destinations. The development plan is believed to be aimed at providing a larger cargo adjunct to the company’s CST-100 crew vehicle as well as a possible longer-term, crew-carrying successor. The plan builds on the ongoing OTV demonstration with the U.S. Air Force.

The X-37B evolution study, which harks back to the pre-military NASA origins of the OTV, envisages a three-phase buildup. The first would see the current 29-ft.-long vehicle used for demonstration flights to the ISS. In its current configuration, the X-37B launched inside the 5-meter (16.5-ft.) fairing of the Atlas V could already take bulky items such as the station’s control moment gyros, battery discharge and pump module, Boeing says.

The second phase would see the development of a 165% scaled-up version, roughly 47 ft. long and large enough to transport larger line replaceable units (LRUs) to the station. The larger version would demonstrate operations to and from the ISS, paving the way for a human-carrying derivative in the third phase. This would see a human-rated version transport “five to seven astronauts,” says Art Grantz, Boeing’s X-37B project chief. (10/7)

Roscosmos Moves to Tighten Control of Rocket Company (Source: Interfax)
The Russian Federal Space Agency will establish a rocket building holding on the premises of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and will replace the management of the Khrunichev center and its subsidiaries, Roscosmos director Vladimir Popovkin said. "We will create the Rocket Building Holding," he said in the State Duma on Friday. "All of the conditions needed to replace the management ought to be created," Popovkin said.

The Khrunichev center was earlier granted a loan to fund the acquisition of the ILS company, which offers Proton launch vehicle services on the foreign market, he said. The aim of this loan was to contain prices for space launches involving this rocket. (10/7)

Documentary Reveals Astronaut's Explosive Secret (Source: MyFOX Houston)
When NASA astronaut Rich Clifford pulled off a risky spacewalk, only a handful of people knew his secret. But 15 years later, Clifford is going public. Turns out, as he floated over the Russians’ Mir space station in 1996, Clifford knew he was experiencing early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, an incurable neurological condition marked by muscle tremors. Now, a young Houston filmmaker is producing a documentary about Clifford’s courage. (10/7)

India Prepares for October 12 Launch (Source: Gulf News)
India is priming to fire into orbit October 12 a satellite designed to help study climatic and atmospheric changes in the tropics, the country's space agency said yesterday. "The rocket and its payload have been assembled and the heat shield has been closed," an official of the Indian Space Research Organization said. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will ferry the 1,000-kilogram Megha Tropique and three smaller satellites together weighing 45 kilograms. (10/7)

Republican Congressman Seeks Investigation on the Politicization of NASA (Source: Rep. Lamar Smith)
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), the vice-chair of the Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, called for NASA’s inspector general to investigate the politicization of the agency. This stems from a NASA-internal report showing that Obama Administration political appointees “focus on Democratic political goals, not national goals,” creating a dysfunctional and hostile work environment for NASA’s career civil servants.

“I am disturbed by the findings in this report, as scientific and technical agencies like NASA need to work freely of political ideology to the greatest extent possible. We should not play partisan politics with our nation’s space program. I am calling for an investigation to see if any improper actions have been taken to steer agency funding and contracts, circumvent the civil service hiring process, or if other mismanagement of agency resources has occurred to benefit ‘Democratic political goals.’

Editor's Note: Same as it ever was, for political appointees of both parties within federal agencies. As NASA Watch says: "Yawn. And when Republican political appointees at NASA where doing the exact same thing that has Lamar Smith all hot and bothered, he never uttered a peep. Pot, Kettle, Black." (10/7)

Telesat Satellite Outage Disrupts Arctic Comm (Source: Global News)
Many Canadians, especially those in remote areas of the Far North, lost all communications Thursday after Telesat's powerful Anik F2 satellite suddenly ceased operating. The disruption or "loss of earth lock" affected services for customers including Shaw Direct TV, government agencies, and The Canadian Press news agency. (10/7)

China Launches First Western Satellite in 12 Years (Source: Space News)
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket on Oct. 7 successfully placed Eutelsat’s W3C commercial telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, an event marking China’s first launch for a Western satellite owner in the more than 12 years since the U.S. government instituted a de facto ban on satellite technology exports to China.

Astronomers Find Elusive Planets in Decade-Old Hubble Data (Source: NASA)
In a painstaking re-analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images from 1998, astronomers have found visual evidence for two extrasolar planets that went undetected back then. Finding these hidden gems in the Hubble archive gives astronomers an invaluable time machine for comparing much earlier planet orbital motion data to more recent observations. It also demonstrates a novel approach for planet hunting in archival Hubble data. (10/7)

Spaceport Business Expo Planned on Oct. 18 (Source: NASA KSC)
The annual EXPO trade show is sponsored by the NASA/KSC Prime Contractor Board, 45th Space Wing, and Canaveral Port Authority and features approximately 175 businesses and government exhibits. Exhibitors include vendors from a variety of products and services. Representatives of NASA, the 45th Space Wing, prime contractors, and other Government agencies, will be available to answer specific questions about doing business with their respective organizations. Counseling/Matchmaking sessions will be available for those interested. Click here. (10/7)

Illinois Aerospace Firms Look to Florida for Workforce (Source: Rockford Register Star)
Aerospace companies in the Rock River Valley are turning to Florida to locate the engineers they can’t find here. They’re exploring ways to vet the thousands of workers displaced when NASA’s space shuttle program ended. They’re also leveraging connections made during the yearlong courtship of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which is hosting a job fair Oct. 19 at its campus in Daytona.

Talent drives growth, and with the aerospace industry headed into a period of expansion, smaller companies need new ways to compete for the highly skilled, educated workers their larger counterparts also covet. “There’s a huge shortage,” said Jeff Kaney, CEO of the Kaney Group, a Rockford-based company that provides testing, engineering, installation and consulting services for aerospace clients. “We could use six engineers and probably eight A&P (airframe and power plant) mechanics. (10/6)

Space Florida Joins With Lt. Gov. Carroll to Lead European Trade Mission (Source: Space Florida)
Next week, Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, Chair of the Space Florida Board and Space Florida President Frank DiBello will travel to the UK and Spain to meet with leadership of both countries to discuss enhanced business opportunities. Significant activities include a meeting with members of the British Parliament regarding space policy, as well as formalizing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) to enhance partnerships in the areas of small satellite development, agricultural biotech and genetics, research on aging and intervention to promote the health of older adults. (10/7)

KSC Headquarters Project Means Jobs for Space Coast (Source: Orlando Business Journal)
NASA will spend $300 million to turn KSC into a modern spaceport for government and commercial rocket launches. That will involve building a new headquarters complex to replace 50-year-old buildings, roads, bridges and launch pads. The project will “provide job potential through the design, engineering and construction to transition KSC from shuttles to new government and commercial vehicles,” said Lynda Weatherman of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “This complex keeps talent local and enhances our overall competitiveness on the global economic development stage.” (10/6)

Chinese Rocket Sends French Telecom Satellite Into Space (Source: Xinhua)
China's Long March-III2 rocket carrier sent a French-made telecom satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center Friday afternoon, marking the first time for China to provide launch service for a European satellite operator. It was also the 148th launch for the Long March rocket family. The launch marked the first time for China to cooperate with a European satellite operator since the signing of a Sino-French satellite launch agreement in 2008. (10/7)

Turning Point for Jobs at NASA (Source: JHU News-Letter)
NASA has spent the last generation with its 1970's shuttle technology, to which its veteran scientists and engineers grew accustomed. With the end of the program, it was feared than many technical employees would either retire or leave to work in private industry for higher salaries.

In a recent hearing by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX) expressed serious concern about NASA's future. "If NASA doesn't move out quickly, more and more of our industrial base, skilled engineers and technicians and hard-won capabilities are at risk of withering away," he announced. In addition, Hall was concerned about the future of aerospace if support for new NASA programs is not strong. "Bright young engineers about to enter our workforce will likely look to disciplines other than aerospace."

Avanti Executives Buy Big Blocks of the Company’s Flagging Stock (Source: Space News)
Startup satellite broadband provider Avanti Communications Group on Oct. 5 announced that Chief Executive David Williams had purchased an additional 19,400 shares in the company, whose stock has been in a tailspin in recent months, two days after Williams and other Avanti executives purchased a total of 48,360 shares. Avanti announced lower revenue and higher losses for the year as it prepared for the entry into service of its first satellite, and said it has insured its second satellite at unexpectedly favorable rates. (10/6)

X PRIZE Deal with Shell Promotes Exploration of Space, Oceans and Land (Source: X PRIZE Foundation)
The X PRIZE Foundation announced Shell as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the X PRIZE Exploration Prize Group, which aims to foster innovation through exploration to improve life on Earth. During the three-year, nine million dollar sponsorship, the X PRIZE Foundation will address these objectives with prizes to stimulate innovation, competition and collaboration at the frontiers of space, our earth and its oceans. (10/6)

ROSAT Satellite Set to Crash Soon (Source: KTTV)
If the news of a free-falling space satellite sounds oddly familiar, it's not because of déjà vu. Scientists report that more space debris is set to fall to Earth in the coming weeks. Experts are warning that Germany's Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) will likely enter Earth's atmosphere sometime in late October or early November. (10/7)

Venus Has an Ozone Layer, Too (Source: New Scientist)
Long ago, Venus was thought to be Earth's twin – until measurements of its atmosphere revealed it to be a sweltering hellhole stifled by a runaway greenhouse effect. Now Europe's Venus Express spacecraft has found a new trait that both Earth and our sister planet share: an ozone layer. The finding could help astronomers home in on life on other planets. (10/6)

Double Impact: Did 2 Giant Collisions Turn Uranus on Its Side? (Source: Scientific American)
New research suggests that the giant planet may have suffered two massive impacts early in its history, which would account for its extreme, mysterious axial tilt. Uranus orbits nearly on its side; its axis of rotation is skewed by 98 degrees relative to an ordinary upright orientation, perpendicular to the orbital plane. Many planetary scientists have sought to explain the odd tilt by invoking a giant impact into Uranus billions of years ago. But the giant planet has a system of moons circling its equator that would have been disrupted by such an impact.

But what if the tilting was a more gradual process, caused not by one mammoth impact but by two somewhat smaller nudges? Simulations show that the two-strike mechanism appears to solve the problem, knocking Uranus sideways and allowing it to develop equatorially orbiting moons, Morbidelli said. (10/7)

Retired Ariane Launch Complex Being Demolished (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
A mothballed launch pad for the acclaimed Ariane rocket family is being dismantled in South America after supporting 119 space missions for scientific and commercial customers. Engineers are demolishing the Guiana Space Center's ELA-2 launch site as the spaceport undergoes a modernization to host three different types of launchers beginning this year. (10/6)

Florida Defense Grants Supports Launch Pad Environmental Work (Source: Enterprise Florida)
The Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast has won an $80,000 state grant for Programmatic Environmental Assessments at two launch pads licensed to Space Florida on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The environmental work will enable future commercial and government launch operations at Launch Complex 36 and Launch Complex 46.

Another $62,500 grant will be used for "Enhancing Space Coast Military Drivers" at CCAFS, Patrick Air Force Base, and the Coast Guard Station at Cape Canaveral. The grants are part of a statewide program that awarded about $2.4 million program in 20 grants for military installation infrastructure and protection. Click here. (10/6)

Giffords' Husband Slated to Headline Democratic Fundraiser (Source: Arizona Republic)
Mark Kelly, the NASA astronaut husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will headline an Oct. 9 Arizona Democratic Party fundraiser to salute the party's grass-roots volunteers. Tickets for the 6 p.m. volunteer awards event at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix are $50 for individuals or $100 for families.

It is the first jump into partisan politics for Kelly, whose retirement from the U.S. Navy and NASA becomes effective Sunday. Despite much speculation, Kelly repeatedly has said he is not interested in running for public office at this time. He is appearing at the fundraiser at the party's invitation, said Jennifer Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party. (10/6)

Space Industry Has High Hopes (Source: Daytona Beach News Journal)
The future of space exploration will be one of collaboration between private businesses and government, according to local business leaders and experts who met in Daytona to discuss the future of the space industry in Northeast and Central Florida. Representatives from NASA and Space Florida met with myregion.org's North East Regional Board of Advisors to raise awareness of the public-private initiatives that are pushing the space industry forward.

Mike Vinje, partnership development manager at Kennedy Space Center, said KSC is working with private companies and individuals who want to launch rockets or space vehicles from Cape Canaveral or do research on space exploration or technologies. Space is a $250 billion business, and private entities have a right to a piece of that pie, Vinje said, especially when the federal government can't devote many resources to development.

Keevin Williams of Space Florida said diversifying the aerospace industry would be in Florida's best interest. It's important for the state to work as a whole toward developing its space industry, he said. Rick Perrell of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University said he and his students are working on a device for rockets that would let other aircraft in the vicinity know the rocket's position. As the commercial space industry grows, Perrell said he hoped these types of projects and education would become a bigger part of Embry-Riddle's mission. (10/6)

Beloved Bettye Retires With 63 Years of Federal Service (Source: USAF)
Bettye Krieter began federal service in 1948 working for the Veterans Administration, became one of the first to serve in the Women in the Air Force, was activated during the Korean War and has since worked for the Air Force around the world. In 1969, she began working at Patrick AFB. From 1979 until today, she worked as the secretary for the commander of the Human Space Flight Support Office (HSFS, formerly DoD Manned Space Flight Support Office). She counts seeing a space shuttle launch from up close as one of the highlights. (10/6)

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships Available (Source: AAAS)
For more than 35 years, the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships have provided scientists and engineers with a unique opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to national and international issues in the federal policy realm, while learning first-hand about establishing and implementing policy.

Fellows select assignments in federal agencies or Congressional offices. This year-long opportunity begins September 1, 2012 and ends August 31, 2013. Most federal agencies offer Fellows the ability to renew their fellowship for a second year. AAAS seeks candidates from a broad array of backgrounds and a diversity of geographic, disciplinary, gender, and ethnic perspectives. Click here. (10/6)

NASA Seeks to Preserve Capabilities (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is looking to preserve an inventory of processing and manufacturing equipment for current and future mission support. This equipment is currently underutilized as a result of the transition from the Space Shuttle Program to the future mission activities authorized by Congress. NASA KSC is seeking to identify potential industry interest in the operation and/or maintenance of this NASA property. Click here. (10/6)

NASA Administrator Available to Media at KSC on Oct. 11 (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will be available to media during a visit to the agency's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Oct. 11, at 11 a.m. EDT. Media are invited to film Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana as they tour the new mobile launcher and talk about the Space Launch System, the rocket that will take astronauts farther into space than ever before, create high-quality jobs here at home, and provide the cornerstone for America's future human space exploration efforts. (10/6)

No comments: