April 17, 2012

Senate Panel Would Shake Up Satellite Program (Source: Science)
A U.S. Senate spending panel has endorsed a "really bold and somewhat controversial" shift in how the U.S. government builds weather and climate science satellites. The Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill that would shift responsibility for building four major satellite systems from NOAA to NASA. The move—-which would need approval from the full Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House to become reality—-marks the latest twist in a long and contentious debate over how to sustain an expensive and delay-prone satellite fleet. (4/17)

Some Stars Capture Rogue Planets (Source: Harvard-Smithsonian)
New research suggests that billions of stars in our galaxy have captured rogue planets that once roamed interstellar space. The nomad worlds, which were kicked out of the star systems in which they formed, occasionally find a new home with a different sun. This finding could explain the existence of some planets that orbit surprisingly far from their stars, and even the existence of a double-planet system. (4/17)

How Many People for a Proper Mars Mission? (Source: Space Daily)
Manned flight to Mars is possible not earlier than in 20 years, Rocket and Space Complex president Vitaly Lopota said. Lopota said that first it has to be decided on a number of crew members. One person by himself will be bored. Two people are going to be tired of each other in a month. Three people is not a good number either because psychologists say after a while it will be two against one, so four is the right number. (4/17)

Manned Space Missions: From the ISS to Outer Space (Source: Space Daily)
21st century runs into its second decade, but man's space endeavors are still largely limited to the near-Earth orbit. Space agencies in USA, Russia, Europe and China debate the future of manned space flights, while skeptics question their benefits. Will the adepts of space with men overcome their opponents in the quest for the outer space?

Since mid-1980s, when the Soviet Mir station had been delivered to the orbit people have been permanently living outside the Earth, i.e. in the near-Earth space. Earlier versions of space stations, of the Soviet Salyut series, and the US Skylab, provided mankind with orbital research and observation facilities from the early 1970s.

However, hardly anyone can say that circling around the planet is worth being called space voyages. The problem is that 51 years after Yuri Gagarin's flight manned space seems to get into the prolonged doldrums with the International Space Station (ISS) on the orbit as the symbol of this persistence. (4/17)

Muncy: Support for Commercial Crew Growing in Congress (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Support in Congress for NASA’s commercial crew effort is becoming stronger despite continuing opposition from some quarters, according to Jim Muncy of PoliSpace. Speaking on Saturday at the Space Access 12 conference in Phoenix, Muncy said that more Congressional leaders have realized that the commercial crew program is the best and fastest way to restoring the nation’s ability to launch astronauts into space.

Muncy said that although most everyone would like to see a thriving commercial space industry, there are differences in Congress over just how much the federal government should be involved in helping to make it happen. He also said that the composition of Congress could change in the future as elected officials retire or are defeated. These changes could increase support for commercial programs.

Some in Congress want a single industrial team to develop a commercial crew vehicle. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has been urging NASA to downselect to two providers. Their concerns include the cost of the program and whether a market exists for more than one system. Muncy said that inconsistent messaging from top NASA officials has caused concern in Congress. At times, they have talked about having two systems, at other times four or five. (4/17)

Major Upgrades Planned for Aging Centaur Upper Stage (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Centaur upper stage, which has been propelling American satellites through space since 1965, is getting a major upgrade that would allow the venerable one-shot booster to perform in a series of new roles. In the coming decades, upgraded Centaurs will make launching of spacecraft on Atlas V and Delta IV rockets much less expensive. They could also function as reusable space tugs, orbital fuel depots, and landing vehicles that would transport tons of cargo to and from the Moon, Mars and asteroids.

The full extent of the upgrades was laid out by officials from United Launch Alliance, Masten Space Systems, and XCOR Aerospace at the Space Access 12 conference. A key element of the Centaur IVF is a new engine to replace the aging and expensive RL-10. ULA is working with XCOR to develop a new propulsion system based on the technologies that the small Mojave company has developed for its Lynx space plane. Editor's Note: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is working with ULA on technology for in-space propellant transfer. (4/17)

Shuttle Fly-By Brings Washington to a Halt (Source: National Journal)
Think Washington doesn't care about space? Think again. A farewell fly-by of the space shuttle Discovery brought the capital to a halt on Tuesday. Traffic backed up on bridges across the Potomac, staffers flocked onto the lawns outside the Capitol and Pentagon staffers piled out onto parade grounds to gawk as a NASA 747 with the now-retired shuttle circled around Washington landmarks for a good half-hour.

It was the kind of public relations display that NASA excels at. Perfect timing -- later this month the senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up NASA's spending bill for 2013. The space agency is likely to get cut, but it won't go down without a fight. (4/17)

NASA Requests Inspiration for New Mars Ouests (Source: New Scientist)
"Have a good idea about Mars exploration? We'd like to hear about it." So tweeted NASA's John Grunsfeld. Following budget cuts, the US space agency is rewriting its Mars exploration program and clearly needs all the inspiration it can get. NASA is looking to the public and the wider science community to help decide what happens next. On 13 April, the new Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) announced that it wants ideas from researchers, government and industry for how to reach Mars cheaply. The ideas will be presented at a workshop in June in Houston, Texas. (4/17)

Making Space Cool Again (Source: WIRED)
Yuri’s Night 2012 in Los Angeles – held at the W Hotel at Hollywood and Vine – assembled an unlikely set of club-goers. NASA engineers rubbed elbows with entrepreneurs, science fiction fans, and scientists as a space-themed video mash-up played overhead. Bill Nye played the part of the A-list celebrity, swarmed by fans requesting photos. About an hour in, the Science Guy seemed ready to move on, shell-shocked by the incessant flashes.

By its very nature, space-based endeavors operate on the outer limits, often far from the mainstream both physically and culturally. But in order to really become a sustainable enterprise – and achieve more mundane things like economic viability – the public must be on board, preferably with enthusiasm. Yuri’s Night is the most visible part of founders Loretta and George Whitesides’ ultimate goal: to bring space back into the mainstream, to merge pop culture with space culture. (4/17)

Discovery's 'Bittersweet' Retirement Isn't the End for U.S. in Space (Source: WTOP)
The day the shuttle Discovery is formally retired by landing at Dulles ushers in both a conclusion to a significant era of U.S. manned space flight, as well as a hard look at the future of Americans in space. Discovery's Smithsonian internment is bittersweet for space fans and advocates nationwide who see it as one of America's greatest innovations, which won't be succeeded in the immediate future by an active replacement.

Bill Readdy points to the political climate in Spain at the time Queen Isabella commissioned Christopher Columbus to sail for the New World. A war with the Moors made purse strings tight, yet the country still found the means to pursue innovation and exploration. "I know we're going to go beyond the international space station and continue to explore, back to the moon and beyond," he says. (4/17)

Tyson Calls for Invigoration of National Spirit Through Space Exploration (Source: Huntsville Times)
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to see Americans get as excited about space exploration as they were in the 50s and 60s, and called for a doubling of NASA's budget as the first step in that direction. He gave an impassioned call for a return to the "space culture" that inspired the nation during the time of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs to open the 28th annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

"Think about it. We were in an innovative culture where every Gemini mission was more aggressive than the previous one. Every day, it seemed, you would read about another breakthrough, another accomplishment." Tyson said the 50s and 60s "culture of space" inspired TV programs like Star Trek and Twilight Zone, and the 1964 World's Fair with its emphasis on science, technology, and space travel. (4/17)

Space Industry Execs Focus on Collaboration (Source: Denver Post)
After a five-year detour at NASA, Rob Strain has returned to the commercial space world as chief operating officer of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder. "I have a sense that there is more appreciation and collaboration between government and customers," said the 25-year aerospace veteran at the National Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel.

Like speaker after speaker at the 28th annual global space event, Strain said these are hard financial times for aerospace. Lean budgets mean "we've got to find clever ways to get the job done," he said. "We just can't do stuff the same way." Increasingly, government and industry find more efficient ways through partnerships, Strain said. Click here. (4/17)

Senate Subcommittee Approves NASA Budget for 2013 (Source: US Senate)
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, science, and related agencies (CJS) today approved fiscal year (fiscal year) 2013 funding legislation that totals $51.862 billion in proposed discretionary budget authority, a reduction of $1 billion below the fiscal year 2012 enacted level. NASA is funded at $19.4 billion, an increase of $1.6 billion over FY-2012. The large increase results from a reorganization of operational weather satellite procurement from NOAA into NASA.

Without the funds for weather satellite procurement, this level represents a $41.5 million cut from the fiscal year 2012 enacted level. The bill preserves a NASA portfolio balanced among science, aeronautics, technology and human space flight investments. Orion funding is $1.2 billion, the same as FY-2012. Heavy lift Space Launch System (SLS) development is funded at $1.5 billion, $21 million less than FY-2012. The bill also provides $244 million for construction needed to build, test, and operate Orion and SLS. Commercial crew development is provided $525 million, an increase of $119 million from FY-2012.

The bill provides $5 billion for Science which is $69 million less than fiscal year 2012. Within Science, the bill restores $100 million of a proposed cut to robotic Mars programs. The bill transfers funding needed for weather satellite acquisition from NOAA to NASA, resulting in a savings of $117 million in fiscal year 2013. (4/17)

Rep. Adams Takes Shot at Rep. Mica in Showdown for New District (Source: SPACErePORT)
Freshman Congresswoman Sandy Adams and longtime Congressman John Mica will face off in a Republican primary to represent a new district that abuts the northern boundary of Kennedy Space Center. Adams is commonly referred to as a "Tea Party" Republican, while Mica is an old-guard conservative who has risen to a position of seniority in the House, as chairman of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In an April 17 campaign email, Rep. Adams calls Mica "an opponent who is the personification of all that went wrong with the Republican Majority." Whoever wins will represent many of the people who work at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. (4/17)

CASIS Plans June Solicitation for Life Sciences Research (Source: CASIS)
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization managing research on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, announced today that it is stepping up efforts to maximize use of the ISS, and will be issuing formal solicitations beginning in June for space research projects for osteoporosis, muscle wasting, immune system compromise, antigenicity and protein crystallization. This follows last week’s announcement regarding a June solicitation for external ISS research opportunities in materials, observation and biological sciences on NanoRacks’ NanoLabs hardware outside the Station. (4/17)

Nova Southeastern's Student Research Reaches New Heights (Source: NSU)
It is 'Mission Accomplished' for NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour, which returned to Earth safely on June 1, 2011. But, the work continues for two undergraduate students at the Nova Southeastern's Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. They are part of an ongoing lab experiment for which samples traveled on board the shuttle. Heidi Mederos and Richard Sung, sophomore biology majors at the college, are participating in an experiment investigating the role of microgravity on the growth and formation of tin crystals in space. Mederos and Sung are members of the college’s Undergraduate Honors Program and the Dual Admission Program for dental medicine. They are working under the supervision of Dimitri Giarikos, Ph.D., associate professor at the college and research coordinator for the Endeavour experiment.

Barry Perlman’s tin crystal experiment has flown aboard four space shuttles, including the Columbia mission that launched in 2003 with numerous microgravity experiments aboard. Upon reentering the Earth’s atmosphere, the Columbia suffered a catastrophic failure and the loss of all seven crew members. The Endeavour experiment is the culmination of the work aboard the Columbia and previous flights, said Perlman, who believes that college students should continue space research and exploration. (4/17)

Pentagon Will Report to Congress on Satellite Exports (Source: Reuters)
The Pentagon will send a report to Congress on reducing export restrictions on satellite exports, possibly as soon as this week. The satellite industry has long pushed for looser rules on exports, saying the rules would help business as U.S. spending slows. (4/17)

Astronauts, Bill Posey Want NASA to Cool Its Jets on 'Global Warming' (Source: Sunshine State News)
A group of former astronauts and the leader of Mission Control are pleading with NASA to cool it on "global warming." In a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham and fellow space farers maintain that, “The global-warming hypothesis has never been proved … look at the data."

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, spoke out on the issue last year. In testimony before the House Budget Committee, Posey, R-Rockledge, noted that NASA is the only federal agency tasked with space exploration. "So its efforts should be focused there," Posey spokesman George Cecala told Sunshine State News Monday.

"There are 16 federal agencies with $8 billion in funding to address with global warming. Meantime, NASA got no budget increase last year and a $1 billion cut this year," Cecala related. Posey has urged that Congress "re-prioritize" human space flight and lower the priority of the climate-change issue, Cecala said. "Let other agencies do their job. Let NASA do its job." (4/17)

Loral Ready for Long, Expensive Battle with ViaSat (Source: Space News)
Loral Space and Communications Chief Executive Michael Targoff said his company is prepared to wage legal warfare with ViaSat Inc. that will cost both companies “three to five years and tens of millions of dollars” if necessary, but that there still should be a way to avoid the battle. Targoff’s New York-based company is named as a defendant along with its Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) satellite manufacturing subsidiary in a lawsuit filed in a California district court by one-time customer ViaSat Inc. (4/17)

Tax Day for Astronauts in Space Too (Source: Space.com)
You can't hide from the tax man, not even in space. Tax day comes for all Americans on April 17, including the two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station, which is zipping around our planet at an altitude of 240 miles. But Dan Burbank and Don Pettit — who have been living on the station since November and December, respectively — are probably not racing to beat the tax filing deadline like a lot of us poor Earthbound folks. Procrastination and the astronaut vocation tend not to mix well, since spaceflyers have little free time on orbit, NASA officials said. (4/17)

Russia to Test Second Glonass-K Satellite in 2013 (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia plans to begin testing its second Glonass-K navigation satellite in 2013, Grigory Stupak, the deputy head of the Russian Space Systems company producing navigation and other equipment for the satellite, said on Tuesday.
It was earlier reported that the satellite would be first tested by the end of 2012. (4/17)

Russia Ready to Give Phobos-Grunt Second Try (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia’s space agency Roscosmos on Tuesday backed an initiative to give the Phobos-Grunt project a second chance. Phobos-Grunt probe, launched on November 9, was designed to bring back rock and soil samples from the Martian moon Phobos. However, it was stuck in a so-called support orbit after its engines failed to put it on course for the Red Planet. The doomed probe crashed down in the Pacific Ocean on January 15 after two months in orbit. (4/17)

Lampson Courts Space Industry at Symposium (Source: SPACErePORT)
Former Texas Congressman Nick Lampson (D-TX) attended the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, meeting with industry officials who he hopes to work with in Congress if he is re-elected this year. Lampson was being escorted by his former space staffer, Carrie Chess, who also worked for Florida Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) before she was defeated by Congresswoman Sandy Adams (R-FL). Lampson is hoping to represent the re-drawn district that will include Johnson Space Center. His former staffer, Chess, is at the Colorado Springs event as a student volunteer, but she was recently hired by CASIS to support their interests in Washington DC. (4/17)

Exotic Explanation for Pioneer Anomaly Ruled Out (Source: Physics World)
The unusual trajectories of the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft as they leave the solar system are not caused by any exotic new physics but by mundane thermal emissions powered by radioactive decay. That is the verdict of researchers in the US and Canada, who have compared the results of an extremely detailed computer simulation of the thermal forces on one of the craft with the same forces calculated from the trajectory of the mission. The study also suggests that the observed reduction of the extra acceleration over time is the result of how electricity is generated on board the spacecraft and distributed to its scientific instruments. (4/17)

Next Steps in a New Space Race (Source: MSNBC)
If you think America's space effort is in a state of flux now, you ain't seen nothing yet: Just wait until billionaires Richard Branson and Robert Bigelow are vying to offer orbital hotels, or until there are as many brands of spaceships built in the United States as commercial jets. Or not. That's the curious thing about Space Race 2.0: It's definitely a marathon, not a sprint, and the field of contestants have had dropouts (like the bankrupt Rocketplane Kistler) as well as drop-ins (like Boeing). Click here.

Editor's Note: Rocketplane Kistler's principals, George French and Chuck Lauer, are at the National Space Symposium and say they have exited bankruptcy. They are actively pursuing business opportunities for both their spaceplane and their Kistler vertical-launch system. (4/17)

Closing Arguments in NASA JPL/Intelligent Design Termination Case (Source: KPCC)
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory denies allegations that David Coppedge's employment as a lab specialist was terminated because of his belief in intelligent design. Closing arguments in the wrongful termination case are set to begin in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. The computer specialist — who worked for 15 years on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its moons — was let go last year.

He says he was discriminated against for engaging co-workers in conversations about intelligent design, and for handing out related DVDs at work. Intelligent design is a type of creationism that rejects evolution as the sole basis for life's origins believing instead that nature is too complex to have evolved without a higher-power based plan. (4/17)

Boeing's Seven-Seater Spacecraft on Display (Source: Aviation Week)
Making an impact with the largest exhibit at this year’s National Space Symposium here in Colorado Springs, is a mock-up of Boeing’s CST-100 spaceship. The 14.8 ft-wide vehicle splits open on a hinge to reveal the seating for up to seven astronauts. In some configurations the capsule will carry a combination of crew and cargo, and is designed to remain in low-Earth orbit for up to six months. Developed to carry crew to the International Space Station, each capsule will be able to fly 10 times. (4/17)

It's Tax Day: Send In Your $.005 For NASA (Source: Discovery)
With Tuesday's deadline for filing your 2011 income taxes, Discovery News got to thinking about how much of our money is going to NASA. Bottom line: not much. As a percentage of the total Federal Budget, NASA's share is about half a percent. The Obama Administration has requested $17.7 billion for NASA for the year beginning Oct. 1. There's this impression that NASA has this huge amount of money and it just drives me crazy," NASA astronaut Nicole Stott tells Discovery News.

"I've always wondered why are we cutting it? Why aren't we doubling it? Even then, it wouldn't be a full percent of what our federal budget is. Double it and actually fund it so that you can work successfully toward starting and finishing something. All this starting and stopping stuff -- that's not an efficient way to go forward," she said. Editor's Note: Stott is an alumnus and current trustee of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (4/17)

Chumps in Space (Source: Politico)
The Washington Post did a really nice article Sunday on the planned transfer of the Discovery to the Smithsonian. Four paragraphs from the end, I found this: “NASA calculated a delivery fee of $11 million, but the intragovernment transfer of funds ‘just got too complicated,’ said [Valerie] Neal [curator of human spaceflight at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum]. So NASA waived the charges.” This is what I am complaining about. The bookkeeping of one government agency paying another government agency was so hugely complicated that nobody in the entire federal government could figure out how to do it and so an $11 million fee was simply “waived.” (4/17)

Satellite Captures Giant Eruption From Sun (Source: USA Today)
NASA's solar orbiter captured an enormous eruption from the sun today, Space.com reports. The "beautiful prominence eruption" occurred at 1:45 p.m. ET and was captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Although visually spectacular, the resulting solar flare registered only in the middle of the intensity scale (M1.7 class). No danger to Earth, however. The burst of super-hot plasma, called a coronal mass ejection, went in another direction. But the sun is in an active stage of its 11-year cycle, which is expected to peak next year. (4/17)

Delay Likely for Next-Generation GPS Launch (Source: Flight Global)
Lockheed Martin, contracted to build the third-generation global positioning system (GPS) satellites, expects the launch date of the first GPS III satellite to be delayed from mid-2014 to an undetermined date. The company confirmed it has "been asked to look at scenarios with launch slips due to launch vehicle availability." Large satellites like those of the GPS constellation are only launched aboard evolved expendable launch vehicles (EELV), large rockets that are the subjects of great demand by various entities of the US government, including NASA and the Department of Defense. (4/17)

Down to Earth Island Nation Plans a Rocketing Spaceflight Venture (Source: The National)
Curacao, the Caribbean island nation, best known for the citrus-based beverage of the same name, is expecting to launch its first commercial space flight in 2014. The country's government hopes that the launch - touted as the first commercial space flight outside the United States - will turbocharge its tourism industry. About 60 tickets, costing $99,000 per head, have already been sold for the inaugural flight. XCOR, a space-flight company based in California, has developed the space plane that will be used for the suborbital launch. (4/17)

Virgin Galactic to Build Spaceport Abu Dhabi (Source: Arabian Business)
Richard Branson’s Abu Dhabi-backed Virgin Galactic has appointed a senior executive to manage the establishment of a spaceport in the UAE capital, with the long-term aim of reducing the flight journey to the US to one hour.
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides announced today Steve Landeene, a senior executive responsible for setting up Spaceport America in New Mexico, has been appointed to establish the company’s second base in Abu Dhabi. Editor's Note: Landeene is the former executive director of New Mexico's Spaceport America. (4/17)

New Vostochny Spaceport to Launch Manned Flights by 2018 (Source: Voice of Russia)
Last week, Dmitry Rogozin vowed a new spaceport, Vostochny, will be built in the Russian Far East by 2015, with first manned flights to kick off just three years later. However the project is already raising eyebrows with many space pundits. The Vostochny base is set to swing into action in 2015 with the launch of the Russian and Soviet renowned workhorse, Soyuz-2, another version of Sergei Korolyov’s legendary R-7 Semyorka missile.

As of now, a bare building site of Vostochy is soring the eyes just as the construction ground of Baikonur did back in 1954, three years before the first satellite launch. The only difference is that, unlike the steppe-based Baikonur, Vostochny will be towering amid the Russian taiga. And indeed, up until the recent time, this important space facility was referred to as “Taiga” to lead potential spies off the scent.

The spaceport has capitalized on the infrastructure of the Red Banner Rocket Division, which was disbanded in 1990s, handing its facilities down to the failed Svobodny spacebase. The Svobodny port was far from a success story, having seen only five launches of light Start rockets (revamped Topols) over the entire seven years of its existence (1997-2006). The Svobodny port was closed for its inefficiency in the mid 2000s. (4/17)

Branson Wants To Give Stephen Colbert A One-Way Ticket To Space (Source: Business Insider)
Commercial space travel is within reach but only for some lucky and wealthy 500 celebrities so far, says Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. The price tag of $200,000 is not going to enable for the average Joe to participate in the Virgin Galactic space program. "They [celebrities] would be the pioneers, and in time the price will come down and down, and down so that I think in your lifetime space travel could be nearly as common place as traveling to another continent," says Branson.

While he has been known to give out airplane tickets for his Virgin airlines, Branson says that celebrities will not be getting free rides to space. But he says that he wouldn't mind giving one celebrity a one-way ticket to space. Stephen Colbert, you've been warned. (4/17)

Moscow Sees Space Carnival (Source: RBTH)
For the second year running, Muscovites are marking Cosmonauts’ Day with a colorful art procession under the slogan: “For Aviation and Space Exploration! For the Dream!” Last year, such improvised art processions to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight were held in Moscow, St Petersburg and Saratov, drawing about a thousand participants. They included performing groups, non-governmental organizations and associations and just people who care about the future of Russia’s science and culture.

Such events usually carry the spirit of the 1960s. Imitation space suits, jubilant faces, flowers, portraits of Gagarin, Korolyov and Tsiolkovsky… All the participants feel as if they belong to that great era or as if they were visitors from the distant cosmic future, heralds of other worlds and civilizations. (4/17)

DiBello: '60 Minutes' Missed Mark on Space (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
On April 1, CBS aired a "60 Minutes" segment focusing on Central Florida and the impact the retirement of the space-shuttle program had on the community. Concentrating purely on the negative, the piece made our area look like the shuttle program was all we had, and that the post-Apollo era had repeated itself. "60 Minutes" got it wrong. It is truly unfortunate that the focus of the segment was to paint such a discouraging outlook for our community, which is certainly far more diversified than it was 40 years ago.

While the shuttle program was, and always will remain, an essential piece of the space industry heritage here, there are many new, innovative and growing aerospace companies that are not getting the attention they deserve. Today, the state of Florida is working to create significant job growth within the industry. We have already attracted many next-generation programs with companies like SpaceX, Boeing, AAR, Lockheed, Embraer and Harris.

Space Florida's top business-development projects alone hold potential for several thousand new jobs in the near term, jobs in some innovative industries, including robotics, clean energy, Earth observation and small satellites. Florida's aerospace industry reflects about 4,000 aerospace/aviation companies employing 75,000 people with total wages of $9.1 billion and an economic impact of $17.8 billion. The message: Our aerospace industry is so much bigger — and far more diversified — than just the shuttle. (4/17)

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