December 11, 2011

Gingrich Responds to Romney Attacks on Space Ideas (Source: Salon)
Mitt Romney, egged on by moderator George Stephanopoulos during Friday's debate, reeled off a list of criticisms about Newt Gingrich. “We can start with his idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon,” he said. “ I’m not in favor of spending money to do that.” Gingrich’s response demonstrated why he may have a lot more staying power than Perry, Cain or any of the other Romney rivals who surged and faded this past year. Gingrich took the lunar colony shot and turned it into a spirited call for young people to pursue careers in science and a frustrated lament over the direction of NASA’s space exploration program. (12/11)

Denial and Continued Overruns Could Threaten NASA Credibility, Funding (Source: Florida Today)
Perhaps the single biggest threat to the nation’s space program in the next decade is the repeated, rampant multi-billion dollar cost overruns that plague big NASA projects. The senior leaders of NASA and its big contractors repeatedly deliver projects billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. And to add insult to taxpayers’ injury, they revise history to obscure the truth. Click here. (12/11)

Northern Colorado Perfect Launching Pad for Space Race (Source:
Colorado could be, should be part of the space race of the future. Last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the state is seeking to become the home of a dedicated commercial spaceport. The request was filed with the Federal Aviation Administration to give Colorado the opportunity to build facilities that support space flight, including commercial launches of space flights.

Although the designation in Colorado might seem a bit dreamy, Hickenlooper's dream is well grounded. With NASA assuming a backseat in space flights, the commercial spaceflight industry offers an opportunity for our state to become a leader. New Mexico is home to the first official spaceport, Spaceport America, a $212 million facility funded by state taxpayers.

The only sticking point is Hickenlooper has identified Aurora's Front Range Airport as a likely candidate for the spaceport. With the Aerospace Clean Energy project being developed in Loveland, we'd like the governor to spread his wings to consider all that Northern Colorado could offer such a project, including an educated workforce, high quality of life and proximity to Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado. Space might be the final destination, but Northern Colorado could be a great launching site. (12/11)

A Lifetime of Scientific Discovery Reinforces Faith in God (Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
While the NASA telescope he helped create scans the galaxy for stirrings of life on distant planets, David Koch fights for his own. Born in Milwaukee 66 years ago, Koch returned to Wisconsin last year to be close to family during his struggle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord controlling muscle movement. Click here. (12/11)

Iran Will Not Return US Drone, Warns of Response to ‘Hostile’ Act (Source: Washington Post)
Iran will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard said. Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guard, said in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of Iran’s airspace by the U.S. drone was a “hostile act” and warned of a “bigger” response. He did not elaborate on what Tehran might do. “No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country,” Salami said. (12/11)

Virginia Students Win Space Race (Source: Fairfax Times)
Students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology are about to go where none of their peers have gone before. After six years of work by about 50 students, T.J. soon will become the first high school to develop and launch a satellite. “The goal of this project is basically to bring an aerospace program down to the high school level,” said senior Brett Offutt, 18, one of two students working on the satellite as part of a research project this year. (12/11)

Russian Proton Launches Two Satellites (Source: RIA Novosti)
A Proton-M carrier rocket with two telecommunications satellites onboard blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Sunday. The Luch-5A satellite will provide communications with the Russian segment of the International Space Station. Israel's AMOS-5 will join the satellite grouping of AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 to provide various satellite services to customers in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. (12/11)

Shuttle/Centaur Boosted NASA-Glenn Into Manned Space Program and Controversy (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
You'd never know by looking at it, but the big silver-skinned rocket on display at Huntsville's U.S. Space & Rocket Center owes its existence to Cleveland, 640 miles due north. There's no mention of Ohio's NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center on the plaque that traces the shiny rocket's history. No mention, even though Lewis engineers designed the trail-blazing Centaur, tamed its volatile hydrogen fuel, and readied it under brutal deadlines for a controversial role aboard the space shuttle in the 1980s, only to see the billion-dollar project scuttled after NASA's darkest day.

Few people outside the space community recall the short-lived Shuttle/Centaur program or know its surprising twists. Yet it had a profound, lasting impact on the Cleveland center and on NASA itself, with parallels today, a quarter-century later, as Glenn vies for a piece of another major space mission. The Shuttle/Centaur project helped snatch Lewis from the brink of extinction and propelled it, temporarily, into the heady, perilous world of manned space exploration. (12/11)

Anderson: Spaceport America Beginning to Pay Off (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
The people of New Mexico made an investment for the commercial space industry, which is now paying off. After receiving a substantial amount of national and international media coverage of Virgin Galactic's dedication and naming of Spaceport America's Terminal Hangar Facility as the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space, it's important for taxpayers to know that the spaceport will be bringing millions of dollars into our economy, and it's not just Virgin Galactic that's spending money.

As Spaceport America's anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic is important to the operation. New Mexico's lease and user fees with Sir Richard Branson's space company are worth $150 to $250 million over the next 20 years. However, there is much more on the horizon for Spaceport America, and we expect to be operationally self-sufficient within one year of Virgin Galactic's start of operations.

One of the biggest payoffs to the residents of New Mexico is jobs. To date, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority has employed 973 New Mexicans. Furthermore, based on our business plan, we project approximately 500 jobs in the next 3 years and approximately 2,000 jobs by 2016. These jobs will be in every sector, from technical to service-related employment. Click here. (12/11)

Norm Thagard Has a Knack for Crafting Amplifiers (Source: Tallahassee Democrat)
The Tallahassee Democrat has published a series of questions and answers with retired astronaut and Tallahassee resident Norm Thagard. Click here. (12/11)

NASA JPL Budget Cut by $50 Million (Source: La Canada Valley Sun)
A $50-million budget cut for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La CaƱada Flintridge likely won't be enough to spur another round of mass layoffs, a legislative affairs official for the agency said. Despite massive federal deficits that have put support for space exploration and other science programs in jeopardy, JPL's budget will remain relatively stable at $1.5 billion for the coming year.

Even with the $50-million hit, the venerable laboratory will likely be able to avoid “another large change in workforce,” said Richard O'Toole, manager of legislative affairs. Drops in funding prompted layoffs of 247 JPL employees in February and March, many of them in administrative support positions. Nearly 60 other workers retired earlier this year and have not been replaced, reducing the total number of lab employees to 5,153, according to spokeswoman Veronica McGregor. (12/11)

No comments: