April 30, 2012

Space Florida Project Wins National Award for Boeing Deal at KSC (Source: Space Florida)
Space Florida was awarded the Economic Development Leadership Award from CoreNet Global, the world’s leading association for corporate real estate and workplace professionals, service providers and economic developers. The award submission by Space Florida detailed the utilization of Kennedy Space Center (KSC) facilities by The Boeing Company for manufacture and test of its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft.

The Economic Development Leadership Award recognizes leadership, best practices and innovations in economic development representing national, state, regional and local interests. Space Florida entered the subcategory of “Major Deals and Projects,” which includes recruitment of major companies like The Boeing Company, resulting in new capital investments and/or jobs, expansion of existing companies and demonstrated creativity in structuring win-win transactions/deals. (4/30)

A Space Joint Stock Company (Source: Space Review)
Some space-based applications can be very expensive, but also hold the prospect of being very lucrative. Trevor Brown describes how a joint stock company involving various companies and even the government can develop a profitable infrastructure of solar power satellites and other products potentially worth trillions. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2073/1 to view the article. (4/30)

Sierra Nevada and Orbitec Test Life Support for Dream Chaser (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) is the prime contractor for Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and Thermal Control System (TCS) for the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser Space System. ORBITEC has, along with its partner Hamilton Sundstrand, successfully completed two major tests for SNC under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program. The tests include the first integrated system testing and first integrated human testing of ECLSS and TCS components developed for the Dream Chaser, SNC’s reusable orbital crew vehicle, intended to carry astronauts to and from low Earth orbit. (4/30)

More Women are Joining Executive Ranks at Defense Firms (Source: Washington Post)
A growing number of large defense companies are employing women in top leadership roles, and some experts say the trend may encourage other women to enter the field. "Is it a tidal wave? No, but it is a surge," Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. "I really do feel these [promotions] are an important bellwether for tapping the best talent in our industry." (4/30)

Defense Firms' Lobbying Spending was Flat in Q1 (Source: The Hill)
Defense firms' spending on lobbying was flat in the first quarter of the year, as companies apparently are waiting until after the November election to advance their anti-sequestration message, this feature says. Among the top defense and aerospace firms, lobbying expenditures slipped 2.4% in the first quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. (4/30)

Air Force, Lockheed Launch Negotiations Over Satellite Deal (Source: Defense News)
The Air Force has begun discussions with Lockheed Martin over the purchase of Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites and hopes to buy two for less than the $3.1 billion that Congress has authorized. The Air Force expects to sign a contract by Sept. 30. (4/30)

Auditors: FAA Needs Master Plan to Get Projects On Schedule (Source: Executive Gov)
The Federal Aviation Administration’s efforts to upgrade its air traffic control system to feature satellite-based communication capabilities is over schedule, according to a Transportation Department Inspector General audit. FAA’s NextGen program, which will include GPS tracking in air traffic control, is dependent on other programs and has caused ripple effects of lateness as a result. Auditors called on the FAA to use better coordination in order to prevent schedule slip in program components such as with the National Airspace System’s voice system, a replacement telecommunications network for air traffic control sites. (4/30)

Asteroid-Mining Ventures Could Open a New Frontier (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Mining asteroids in space is hardly a new idea. Many Space Coast residents know that NASA and others have floated the idea before. NASA hopes to make asteroid-mining a part of its 21st century mission -- as it should. Because the private sector isn't waiting around -- entrepreneurs are looking at the skies with eager eyes.

What is spurring this race to rocks in space? The reasons are simple: resources and money. First, the world needs more gold, platinum and other precious metals and rare minerals. It's getting increasingly difficult to find platinum and other precious metals. On Thursday, gold was trading at about $1,650 an ounce. Asteroids have gold and platinum and even water. Second, the missions are feasible and possibly profitable. (4/30)

Senate Candidate LeMieux Offers Space Comments (Source: Florida Today)
George LeMieux was appointed to the U.S. Senate by former Governor Charlie Crist to complete the term of Sen. Mel Martinez in 2009-2010. The Senate seat was later taken by Sen. Marco Rubio. Now LeMieux is a candidate to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson. In an interview with Florida Today, LeMieux remarked on his ideas about the U.S. space program:

"We should let the private sector do what it is doing...in pursuing low-Earth orbit. I think you're going to see these people reach the International Space Station on a regular basis. We should be proud of it. But going to the moon or Mars or an asteroid, that has to be NASA. I want to see some leadership to say wer'e going to a certain place by a certain time. And then we need to go and fund it."

"We have a debt and deficit problem in this country that we’ve got to fix. But there are a few things that only the federal government can do. I think we can find the billions we need for a space program that helps us with scientific innovation." (4/30)

China Boosts Twin Satellites Into Orbit (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
Two satellites for China's Beidou navigation system launched aboard a Long March 3B rocket Sunday, further expanding the space-based positioning network as China eyes global service by 2020. The Beidou constellation, also known as Compass, is China's counterpart to the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System, which provides navigation services to military vehicles, precision munitions, civil aviation, personal cars, boats, and search-and-rescue forces.

Sunday's launch marked the first time China orbited two Beidou satellites on the same rocket. Chinese industry developed a dual-payload adapter to launch the satellites one on top of the other inside the Long March nose fairing. Now in operational testing for users across China, the Beidou system will provide global coverage with a constellation of 35 satellites by 2020, according to Chinese officials. (4/30)

Aldrin Presents NSS Award to Stephen Colbert (Source: NSS)
On Thursday, May 3, Buzz Aldrin, Apollo XI Astronaut and Member of the NSS Board of Governors, will present a 2012 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media to Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report on the Comedy Central cable network. Colbert is receiving the award in recognition for his unceasing promotion of “space tourism, space development, NASA programs, and the use of private enterprise for better access to space”, all of which are supported by NSS. He frequently interviews astronauts, space entrepreneurs and scientists, demonstrating that it is possible to inform the public on serious space topics in a comedic setting.

Colbert is probably best known in the space community for his campaign to name a new space station node that actually resulted in the naming of a space station treadmill after him. The Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or C.O.L.B.E.R.T. for short, is located in the Tranquility node of the ISS, the node that was the subject of the naming competition. Colbert received the most votes; however NASA decided to name the node after the Sea of Tranquility, site of the Apollo XI moon landing. (4/30)

Space Tourism to be Boosted by Red Bull Stratos Tech (Source: T3)
As we sit on the cusp of the space tourism era, experts have suggested tech developed for Red Bull Stratos will benefit future mass space travel. The masterminds behind the Red Bull Stratos space jump mission have suggested that a number of the technologies created for the project will be utilised by manned space tourism efforts in the near future.

With the likes of Virgin Galactic set to make space tourism a realistic prospect to many in the coming years, personnel behind the tech used on the Red Bull Stratos mission have suggested that a number of the pioneering pieces of equipment developed to help Austrian Felix Baumgartner safely complete a 120,000 parachute jump from space will find new homes on the first tourism jaunts away from the planet.

Whilst much of the equipment set to be used on the Red Bull Stratos mission has been built specifically for use in the harsh environments of space. Kittinger revealed that the team had also developed a number of existing devices for use in the hostile, out-of-this-world locations. Click here. (4/30)

Cash in Space – Five Billionaires Shooting for the Stars (Source: Smart Company)
The idea of tipping money into something so risky would make most earthly entrepreneurs scoff, but in fact we shouldn't be surprised by the involvement of these billionaires in Planetary Resources. Just as space has fascinated humans for centuries, so too has it attracted the interest and dollars of several prominent billionaires. Right now, it's very much a speculative investment – and an expensive one. But these billionaires are betting the stars will eventually align. Click here. (4/30)

The Future of US Space Flight (Source: MPR)
NASA has just retired its space shuttle program. What does it mean for the future of American space travel and innovation? Journalist Michael Belfiore argues that privately funded rockets are the future of space. With Elon Musk's private SpaceX capsule set to dock with the international space shuttle next month, he may be right. "We're seeing the biggest change in the way we get to space since the Apollo days, and it's even more exciting then that because it will be sustainable," Belfiore said. "Commercial has business plans and customers and that's more significant."

Investors and undergraduate inventors are now scrambling to make their mark in space, with even Google offering a $20 million for the first non-government team to get a rover on the moon. "NASA is really good at developing good technologies and research but not so good at running them. The role of government with space innovation should be to hand off technology to companies who are good at efficiency." (4/30)

Delayed Missions, Too Few Orders Bog ISRO Down (Source: DNA)
Successive failures in meeting deadlines and too few orders from international customers have made the future of Indian Space Research Organisation look bleak, say top space scientists. “ISRO has not won a single international order in the last 30 months. The orders for SARAL and SPOT- 6 satellites were won in 2008,” says G Madhavan Nair, former chairman, ISRO. A polar satellite launch vehicle was scheduled to launch SARAL, an Indo-French venture, in early 2011.

Nair says the orders for launching SARAL, a French satellite, and SPOT-6, a satellite built by Astrium, the global majors, were won amid cut-throat competition during his tenure as the chairman of ANTRIX, ISRO’s international marketing arm. ISRO itself has declared that the MoUs for launching the two were signed in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Since Nair’s retirement, the agency has not managed to win any new contract for launching or building satellites. (4/30)

Russia: Space Race Reloaded (Source: The Conversation)
For decades, the Soviet Union was a major player in the exploration of space, famously locking horns with the US in the “Space Race” – a competition for orbital supremacy and solar system exploration throughout the mid to late 20th century. Now, Russia appears to have plans to recover its past glory. According to a leaked document from the national space agency Roscosmos to the country’s government, Russia is planning to develop a network of research facilities on Mars, a manned mission to the moon and probes to Venus and Jupiter, all by the year 2030. The plan is to increase the country’s share of the global space market, from 0.5% last year to 10% by 2030.

Achieving all of these aims in less than two decades would seem to be an ambitious undertaking, but it’s worth remembering Russia is no stranger to ambitious space projects. Sure, your first thoughts of space exploration are probably of NASA missions but let’s not forget the USSR had several significant victories throughout the Space Race. Click here. (4/30)

Meteor Hunters Strike Pay Dirt (Source: LA Times)
In the week since a fireball shot across the sky and exploded, scattering a rare type of meteorite over California's Gold Country, these hills have drawn a new rush of treasure seekers. Once again there are lively saloons, fortune hunters jockeying for prime spots and astounding tales of luck — including that of Brenda Salveson, a local who found a valuable space rock while walking her dog Sheldon, named after the theoretical physicist on the TV show "The Big Bang Theory."

It started April 22, Earth Day, with a blazing streak across a morning sky and a sonic boom that the next day had the older women in the "Gentle Stretching to Beautiful Music" class at Sierra Ballet comparing notes on how hard their windows shook.

Eight hundred miles away, while windows were still rattling, Robert Ward in Prescott, Ariz., was getting alerts. A 35-year-old professional meteorite hunter and dealer, he pays for tips and keeps a bag packed, ready to go anywhere in the world to chase a meteorite. Click here. (4/30)

JPL Man Contends His views Cost Him His Job (Source: LA Times)
David Coppedge's co-workers at one of the nation's most prominent scientific institutions didn't have to guess his theory as to how the universe was created. He offered to lend them DVDs advocating intelligent design. An evangelical Christian, he also asked that the holiday potluck at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory be renamed the Christmas potluck and sparred with at least one colleague over their divergent views on Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

Coppedge's zest for hot-button topics rankled some co-workers at the facility in La CaƱada Flintridge, who complained about him to management. But did it eventually cost him his job? That's the question a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge presiding over Coppedge's wrongful termination lawsuit is expected to decide in the coming months. JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA, contends Coppedge was laid off in 2011 as part of massive cutbacks because his skill set was outdated and his attitude obstinate.

"What happened to David Coppedge — really what David Coppedge did to himself — had nothing to do with intelligent design or religion but with his own stubbornness," defense attorney Cameron Fox said during closing arguments this month. To anti-evolution forces, however, Coppedge is a warrior on the front lines of the national evolution debate. They've seized on his otherwise humdrum lawsuit, showering it with resources and publicity. (4/30)

What is Canada's Role in Space? (Source: The Gazette)
There is no up, down, left or right in space - an absence of clear direction that also applies these days to any Canadians whose business lies in space. Where is Canada headed in space? During the 1980s and 1990s the Canadian Space Agency wrote three successive Long Term Space Plans to chart our course. These directives steered us through the glory years of building Canadarms and other robotics, launching two Radarsat satellites and helping build the International Space Station.

Because Canada is a smaller player than NASA or other giants, these plans concentrated on doing a few things really, really well. But there's been no new plan since before the millennium. University researchers are uncertain where to focus; companies that build satellites and robots wonder what to design. Mars rovers? Telecom satellites? Now the space agency is quietly beginning to plan, just as the federal industry minister promised four years ago. (4/30)

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