GE Aviation Hosts Small Business Supplier Symposium on Space Coast (Source: EDC)
GE Aviation, in conjunction with the EDC, is hosting an Aviation Small Business Supplier Symposium on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 7:30AM-4PM at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place. If you are a supplier to the aviation industry with AS9100 certification, this is your ideal opportunity to pursue business with GE Aviation.One-on-one meetings for each company with a GE team member will be available during the afternoon to help position your company as a potential supplier. To learn more information and to register, please click here. (12/9)
Orbiter Mockup to Depart KSC Visitor Complex (Source: Florida Today)
A full-scale shuttle orbiter mockup is in the final days of its 18-year perch at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Crews plan to move the high-fidelity model called "Explorer" early Sunday to clear room for a $100 million exhibit building that will house NASA's retired orbiter Atlantis, whose 33 missions included the 135th and last by a shuttle in July.
Explorer, a Visitor Complex installation since 1993, will be trucked about four miles to the Launch Complex 39 turn basin at Kennedy Space Center. Within a few months the model will be barged to Texas for display at Space Center Houston, Johnson Space Center's visitor center. KSC plans to break ground next month on the 65,000 square foot facility for Atlantis in what is now called Shuttle Plaza, next to the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction. (12/9)
Australian Startup Picks Arianespace to Launch Comsat (Source: Space News)
Startup satellite operator NewSat of Australia on Dec. 9 announced it has selected Europe’s Arianespace consortium to launch Newsat’s Jabiru-1 Ka-band broadband satellite, to be built by Lockheed Martin, in late 2014 for coverage over the Middle East and South Asia. Melbourne-based NewSat said the agreements — the word “contract” is not used in the statement — with Evry, France-based Arianespace and with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems assume the contractors will be successful in securing low-interest financing from their respective export-credit agencies. (12/9)
Astronauts4Hire Webinar - NASA Astronaut Selection with Duane Ross (Source: A4H)
Tampa-based Astronauts4Hire announces that the manager of NASA's Astronaut Selection office Duane Ross has agreed to be our expert guest for a Dec. 15 public Fuze Meeting webinar focused on the current NASA astronaut candidate application opportunity. A4H members are collecting and prioritizing the questions to ask Mr. Ross. If you have something you'd like to ask him, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for registration details. (12/9)
NASA Announces Launch Date and Milestones for Spacex Flight (Source: SpaceRef.com)
NASA has announced the launch target for SpaceX's second Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flight will be Feb. 7, 2012. Pending completion of final safety reviews, testing and verification, NASA also has agreed to allow SpaceX to send its Dragon spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in a single flight.
"SpaceX has made incredible progress over the last several months preparing Dragon for its mission to the space station," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. "We look forward to a successful mission, which will open up a new era in commercial cargo delivery for this international orbiting laboratory."
Gerstenmaier said, "There is still a significant amount of critical work to be completed before launch, but the teams have a sound plan to complete it and are prepared for unexpected challenges. As with all launches, we will adjust the launch date as needed to gain sufficient understanding of test and analysis results to ensure safety and mission success." (12/9)
Virginia Governor Outlines Transportation Funding Proposals (Source: Daily Press)
During a keynote address at a statewide transportation conference Thursday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell laid out an aggressive plan to increase funding of transportation programs in the coming years, including proposing legislation to restructure and fund the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority as an independent agency to develop the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport into a leading space flight facility. (12/9)
Beijing’s Space Post Office to Put Mail Into Orbit (Source: Smart Planet)
China’s space program is renowned for its secrecy, but a newly opened “space post office” provides an enticing glimpse into the future, and a lot of novelty stamps. “As far as I know, we’re the world’s only space post office,” Liu Dong (name changed on request), a clerk at the post office, said. Despite its name, the office is located in Beijing, part of a secretive area known as Aerospace City. When it opened last month, the office was partnered with a “virtual” branch aboard the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, meaning that in theory the office extended 343 kilometers above the earth.
“Any parcels which go on China’s spacecraft will be sent from here.” Liu said. Space-mail services aren’t available for public use yet, though. “We can send mail anywhere in the world but not into space,” Liu said. The office sells a bewildering range of stamps, postcards and envelopes commemorating past Chinese space missions. “Exploring the firmament, creating permanent glory,” one book of stamps proudly proclaims in English, stamps inside featuring Chinese astronauts heroically posed with space-helmets under their arms. (12/9)
Pentagon Tightens Policies for Defense Contractors (Source: Aviation Week)
The Pentagon is tightening policies in the wake of defense cuts, and defense contractors may feel the squeeze. "You need to be ahead of schedule and under cost in this environment," said Vice Adm. Mark Skinner, military deputy to the Navy acquisition chief. "If not, you are in trouble." (12/9)
Lockheed Reports Attempted Cyberattacks Via Adobe Reader (Source: Reuters)
Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors have reported hacking attempts on their computer systems through a vulnerability in Adobe Reader software. The attack failed to compromise information, and Adobe plans to release a fix next week. "We don't exactly know who launched this, but given the targets are the large defense companies, there's no doubt that these are foreign nations going after U.S. intellectual property," said Anup Ghosh, CEO of cybersecurity firm Invincea. (12/9)
Major Broadcasters Call for ITU Action on Iran Satellite Jamming (Source: Space News)
Five international television and radio broadcasters on Dec. 7 called on international regulators to address the issue of intentional satellite signal interference when they meet in January. The joint statement issued by the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Voice of America specifically mentioned Iran. The BBC, Voice of America and satellite operator Eutelsat of France have accused Iran of jamming satellite signals beaming news broadcasts. (12/9)
Former DOD Official: Iranian Drone 'Looks Like A Fake,' Not An RQ-170 (Source: AOL Defense)
A former senior Pentagon official with extensive knowledge of unmanned aerial vehicles expressed great skepticism of the aircraft supposed to be a stealthy RQ-170 shown on Iranian television today. The so-called Beast of Kandahar has been the subject of a few photos but none of them are terribly revealing of the kind of detail needed to make an expert analysis. Aviation Week's Bill Sweetman believes the aircraft an RQ-170, and CNN reported that a U.S. official said there is, "no reason to believe the drone in the Iranian video is fake".
However, our expert wrote "Looks like a fake...Does not look like the condition of an aircraft that lost control. Also wrong color, and they are not showing the landing gear or bottom of the aircraft... and the welds on the wing joints are hardly stealthy..." In order to avoid setting off radar, welds on stealthy aircraft must be very close to the surface of the structure and extremely smooth. Editor's Note: It seems unlikely that Iran would be able to quickly develop a mock RQ-170 (seen in this video) for a propaganda effort. (12/9)
White House Commissions Study on EnhancedView Program (Source: AOL Defense)
The White House has commissioned a study on the EnhancedView program, which provides imagery from commercial satellites. Federal officials have proposed cutting the budget for the program, which relies on contracts from GeoEye and DigitalGlobe. However, the Obama administration's official space policy states a goal of using commercial imagery "to the maximum practical extent." (12/9)
UN Plans Meeting on Global Satellite Navigation Systems (Source: SpaceRef.com)
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) will host the International Meeting on the Applications of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems from 12 to 16 December at the Vienna International Center. The meeting will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the current and future capabilities of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and their promising applications to support sustainable development, such as precision agriculture, the efficiency and safety of transport, search and rescue, geodesy and land management. (12/9)
Former Senators Sign on as Lobbyists for SpaceX (Source: Legal Times)
Former U.S. senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and John Breaux (D-LA) are part of a team of Patton Boggs lobbyists advocating for a commercial space transportation company, according to paperwork filed with Congress on Thursday. The former senators and three of their Patton colleagues represent Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX. They are lobbying for the company on "issues related to commercial space transportation," according to the paperwork. (12/9)
Anniversary: Apollo 17 and the Final Lunar Landing (Source: Examiner)
It will be 39 years this Dec 7th, since the final manned lunar landing took place. Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. And it was spectacular site as it was a night launch. Celebrities were there to watch this launch. And a first, an auto repair was performed on the Moon and a mystery was made that still has not been solved to this day.
Considered one of the most memorable Apollo launches, the Apollo 17 blasted off from Launch Pad 39 at Kennedy Space Center on December 7, 1972. The crew was made up by Command Module Pilot Ronald E. Evans, a civilian geologist Jack Schmitt and the Spacecraft Commander Eugene Cernan. They were launched into space from Cape Canaveral by a Saturn V Rocket.
As usual the CBS Newscaster Walter Cronkite was reporting live but he made one his most embarrassing gaffes of his career when he said that the night launch would "light up the sky like a firecracker. (There was a brief pause.) Uh, excuse me, Wally," Cronkite continued to guest commentatorr and former Astronaut Wally Schirra, "I should say, perhaps, like a roman candle." Click here. (12/6)
Solar Power From Space Explored as Energy Alternative (Source: The Guilfordian)
Most students were not alive during the 1970's oil crisis, when people waited for hours to fill up their tank, but dependence on fossil fuels is still a huge problem in the U.S. A study group of the Paris-based International Academy of Astronautics said that the technology for orbiting solar power plants could be available within the next ten to twenty years, according to Reuters.
The study was led by John Mankins, a 25-year NASA veteran, who believes that the sun's power could be beamed down to Earth from a satellite to potentially provide an alternative to oil. "It is clear that solar power delivered from space could play a tremendously important role in meeting the global need for energy during the 21st century," said Mankins to Reuters. (12/9)
Airlines Urge FAA to Keep NextGen On Track (Source: The Hill)
Airlines are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to keep plans for an updated air-traffic-control system on track after the resignation of FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. Michael Huerta, deputy administrator, will take the top post. The agency plans to install NextGen by 2014 at large airports and in place across the U.S. by 2020. (12/9)
House, Senate Confer on Defense Authorization Bill (Source: AOL Defense)
The House of Representatives named conferees for the defense authorization act. The lawmakers met Wednesday with their Senate counterparts to begin hammering out a compromise on the bill. Two controversial issues in the bill are detainee rights and whether military chaplains can perform same-sex marriages. (12/9)
U.S. Should Improve Export Process, Analyst Says (Source: AOL Defense)
Defense analyst Frank Cevasco says the U.S. needs to improve its export process for weapons. "The U.S. could be more forthcoming regarding what it is willing to export to its allies and friends," said Cevasco, a former Pentagon official. The Obama administration rolled out export reforms in August. (12/9)
OMB Offers New Guidance on War Spending to Pentagon (Source: Defense News)
The White House wants the Department of Defense to fund more programs from its base budget, not the war budget. The Office of Management and Budget has offered the Pentagon new guidance on the war budget, which is exempt from sequestration and could be used as a loophole for defense spending, analysts say. (12/9)
Troll in Space (Source: Moscow News)
Mumiy Troll front man Ilya Lagutenko and the band Aeronautica are on a new mission: in their project “Space Flight 2012” they blend music, film and outer space exploration. Recently, he published a book on the city of Vladivostok, where he spend his childhood and adolescence, and now he is involved in a project that crosses music with cinema, adding a soundtrack to an old space-themed silent movie.
While working on the soundtrack, the main idea was “to absorb not only innovative but also classic tools that would allow ‘Space Flight’ to continue for many years,” reads the statement on www.aeronauticamusic.com. The musicians hope that the project, whose genre is loosely described as “Russian space electro rock,” will bring about a new trend in domestic music, attracting more artists to work in that direction. (12/9)
Google Founders Offer '100 Percent' Funding to Save Hangar One, No Word From NASA (Source: Mercury News)
As Hangar One continues to be stripped of its PCB-laden paneling, a company controlled by Google's founders has stepped forward to announce it will fund 100 percent of the work to preserve the historic structure. Frustrated by NASA's "radio silence" response to its offer, the Hangar One Subcommittee of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board made the proposal public at its meeting Thursday night.
"We don't want to spend the next six months working hard to come up with a definitive plan if in fact that dog won't hunt," said Ken Ambrose, a vice president for H211 LLC. "Months have gone by and I feel a real sense of urgency with the (hangar's) bones being exposed." H211 operates eight private jets owned by Google's founders and uses Moffett Field as a base for them, one of which is being sold. However, Google does not own the planes and has no relationship with H211 beyond its common leaders. (12/9)
Facebook IPO Sparks Dreams of Riches, Adventure (Source: Reuters)
Traveling to space or embarking on an expedition to excavate lost Mayan ruins are normally the stuff of adventure novels. But for employees of Facebook, these and other lavish dreams are moving closer to reality as the world's No. 1 online social network prepares for a blockbuster initial public offering that could create at least a thousand millionaires. The most anticipated stock market debut of 2012 is expected to value Facebook at as much as $100 billion, which would top just about any of Silicon Valley's most celebrated coming-out parties, from Netscape to Google Inc
"There's been discussions of sort of bucket list ideas that people are putting together of things they always wanted to do and now we'll be able to do it," said one former employee who had joined Facebook in 2005, shortly after it was founded. He is looking into booking a trip to space that would cost $200,000 or more with Virgin Galactic or one of the other companies working on future space tourism. That's chump change when he expects his shares in Facebook to be worth some $50 million. (12/9)
France Delays EADS Succession Decision (Source: Reuters)
Europe's EADS held off naming a successor to chief executive Louis Gallois and preparing other key changes after France asked for more time to finalize the politically sensitive handover, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. A key board meeting ended with no announcement or comments from the Franco-German-led company or its leading shareholders. French media reports had said the board would move to enact a political agreement which provides for top posts to rotate between executives from France and Germany every five years. (12/9)
Next Space Station Trio Counting Down to Blastoff (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
Three new flight engineers to return the International Space Station's resident crew to the full 6-person size traveled from their Russian training base outside Moscow to the Kazakhstan launch site Thursday. NASA's Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers made their trip from Star City to the Baikonur Cosmodrome to begin final preparations for liftoff aboard the Soyuz TMA-03M capsule on Dec. 21. (12/9)
Russia Could Join ExoMars as Full Partner (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia could become a full partner in a planned U.S.-European Mars exploration project, a European Space Agency (ESA) spokesman has said. The project that ESA calls ExoMars is facing difficulties due to a lack of financing from NASA. ESA Science Director Alvaro Gimenez Canete hosted Charles J. Gay, NASA Associate Administrator, and deputy Roscosmos head Anatoly Shilov at ESA headquarters on Wednesday.
The meeting “ended with optimism” that Russia could provide a Proton rocket to launch a European-led Mars telecommunications orbiter and a set of European and Russian sensors in 2016 in exchange for full membership in the exploration project. The ESA spokesman also said the space officials agreed to create two working groups to look into the project feasibility and technical details. They are expected to report their conclusions to the heads of the three space agencies by the start of February. (12/9)
Go Planet-Hopping in 3-D (Source: MSNBC)
NASA's 3-D video of the asteroid Vesta is a stunner, but there are other places you can go in the solar system using red-blue glasses. Take Mars, for example: Last month the European Space Agency released pictures of the semi-gigantic Tharsis Tholus volcano, which rises 5 miles (8 kilometers) above the Martian surface and spans 75 miles. The stereo image from ESA's Mars Express orbiter looks right down the wide throat of Tharsis Tholus' caldera. ESA notes that at least two sections have collapsed around the volcano's eastern and western flanks during 4 billion years of geological history, leaving behind scarps that are several miles high. Click here. (12/9)
Astronomers Push for More Pu-238 Funding (Source: Space Politics)
Last month, NASA officials offered a bit of good news about plans to restart production of plutonium-238 (Pu-238), the isotope used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) that power some NASA deep space missions, including the recently-launched Mars Science Laboratory. In a hearing about the future of NASA’s planetary exploration program, NASA’s Jim Green said the agency was moving ahead with plans to restart production in cooperation with the Department of Energy (DOE), using $10 million allocated in the final FY12 appropriations bill for that purpose.
The original intent was to split the costs of Pu-238 production evenly between NASA and DOE, but Congress has failed to provide any money for that purpose in the separate DOE funding bill, saying that DOE funds should not be used for a program that primarily benefits NASA. This week, as House and Senate conferees work on an omnibus spending bill for various government agencies, including DOE, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is making one final push to win DOE funding for Pu-238 production. (12/9)
2012 Aerospace & Defense Industry Perspective (Source: SpaceRef.com)
Large segments of the defense industrial base may disappear as spending shifts from investment in R&D, and production of new capabilities toward services and support for older platforms and systems. Military investment spending on new acquisitions and R&D is expected to decline from a high of $253 billion in 2008 to a projected $125 billion in 2016. With backlogs continuing to erode, underinvestment in R&D threatens to create a hollow industrial base lacking the essential capabilities to develop innovative technologies and build new weapons systems. (12/9)