April 8, 2012

Khrunichev Center is Facing High-Density Space Missions Program (Source: SpaceRef)
The state-owned Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center is one of the leading companies in the Russian space industry. Khrunichev manufacture Proton and Rockot launch vehicles. For the last several years the company's engineers have been developing a new launcher named Angara.

Upper stages, modules for the International Space Station, small satellites and liquid-propellant jet engines are also developed, designed and manufactured in Fili, a district in Moscow housing the Khrunichev Center (KhSC). The KhSC participate in several international projects. Click here. (4/6)

Express MD2 Satellite to Be Built by Khrunichev (Source: SpaceRef)
At the moment, Express MD2 is at the Radiofizika OAO (Joint Stock Company) Test Facility. The spacecraft is being tested for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and the performance of the onboard RF system (ORFS) is being measured in a non-reverberant chamber. These tests are to be completed by mid-April.This is the third phase of ground system-level tests scheduled for this year. The goal of the ground tests is to verify the operational availability of all spacecraft systems in an environment simulating the operational conditions in orbit. (4/6)

Skolkovo Fund, Roscosmos to Cooperate on Space Tech (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Roscosmos and the Skolkovo Fund will work together on developing advanced space and telecommunications technologies as part of the space agency’s long-range development plan that extends out to 2030 and beyond, Russian media report. Under the partnership, the two organizations will define priorities for the development of innovative space technologies. Skolkovo will also work to bring together Roscosmos with other organizations and companies on programs of mutual interest. (4/8)

Astronaut Tom Jones to Talk About Future of Space Program in Fremont (Source: Muskegon News)
In the future, we could get renewable energy and rare metals from space, astronaut Tom Jones said. But first we have to get kids interested in the science needed to do it. Jones, who flew four space shuttle missions, will speak at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in Fremont at 7 p.m. April 20. Sunlight is more intense in space because of the lack of atmosphere, Jones said, so solar panels on asteroids or the moon could make electricity that would be beamed back to Earth as microwaves. Metals like platinum that are rare on our planet could be mined on relatively close asteroids, he said. (4/8)

Reporters Shown North Korean Rocket (Source: News.com.au)
North Korea has shown foreign reporters its long-range rocket on its launch platform, as the regime again insisted it will be used to deploy a peaceful satellite and not a missile. The usually secretive North organized the unprecedented visit to Tongchang-ri space center in an effort to show its Unha-3 rocket is not a disguised ballistic missile, as claimed by the US and its allies.

Communist North Korea says it will launch the satellite for peaceful scientific research between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung. His birthday was on April 15. It is the first time North Korea has allowed foreign journalists to go to the new space center built on the Cholsan peninsula, in the northwest of North Korea, 50 kilometers from the Chinese border. (4/8)

Japan and South Korea Warn North Korea Rocket Launch Will Violate UN Resolution (Source: ITV)
North Korea have said that the Unha-3 rocket due to be launched between April 12 and 16, will carry a weather satellite into space to coincide with the centenary of the country's founding father Kim Il-Sung. A scientist told reporters: "This satellite will have a very significant meaning in terms of our economic development and improving the people's standard of living". However, Japan and South Korea have said the rocket's launch would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution, and have warned of international consequences if it goes ahead. (4/8)

North Korea Moves Rocket Into Place for Launch (Source: BBC)
North Korea has moved into place a long-range rocket for a controversial launch later this month - amid reports it is also planning a nuclear test. Pyongyang says the Unha-3 rocket, which it plans to launch between 12 and 16 April, will put a satellite into orbit. But opponents of the move fear it is a disguised long-range missile test. Meanwhile, South Korean officials say new satellite images suggest the North is preparing to carry out a third nuclear test. (4/8)

Ryan Budget Would Cut More From NASA, NOAA Budget Functions (Source: Space Policy Online)
A Washington Post analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) FY-2013 budget plan [which Gov. Mitt Romney called "marvelous"] shows that the part of the budget that includes NASA would be cut six percent more than the budget proposed by President Obama over the next 10 years. Significant cuts to the part of the budget that includes NOAA also are proposed. Overall, the Ryan plan protects defense spending, but makes deeper cuts overall to the federal budget than what was agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act.

The Washington Post analysis compared the numbers in the Ryan plan with those published in OMB's comparable table from the President's FY2013 budget request. Because the budget functions are broad, it is not possible to determine how much would eventually be allocated to any specific agency or activity -- that would be determined through appropriations action each year -- but the numbers do provide a cap for those budget functions and indicate relative priorities.

All of NASA's activities except aeronautics are in function 250 -- General Science, Space and Technology. That category also includes NSF and Department of Energy science programs. For FY2013, the Ryan plan calls for allocating $28 billion, down from $29.1 billion in FY2012. The Obama budget calls for $29.5 billion in FY2013. Over the 10-year period, the Washington Post says the total for function 250 is six percent less in the Ryan budget. Senate Democrats are insisting that Republicans stick to the plan that was enacted into law last year in the Budget Control Act. That set $1.047 trillion as the total federal budget for FY2013. The Ryan budget lowers that to $1.028 trillion. (3/21)

Public Panel Discussion on Apr. 13: What's Next in Space? (Source: BCC)
Senior officials from NASA KSC, Space Florida, United Launch Alliance, and Florida today will be featured on an Apr. 13 panel discussion focused on what's next for the U.S. space program. The 7:00 p.m. event is part of Brevard Community College's space lecture series. It is free and open to the public, and will be located at the BCC Planetarium on the college's Cocoa Campus. Click here for details. (4/7)

Paul Damphousse, Executive Director, National Space Society (Source: Space News)
Paul Damphousse had been a U.S. Marine for 22 years when he retired as a lieutenant colonel in December to become a full-time space civilian. When he took the reins of the National Space Society Jan. 1, Damphousse had been a member of the Washington-based advocacy group for 13 years and sat on its board for two. He has known for a long time that he wanted to be involved with space.

“I’ve always had this burning passion for space,” the former combat pilot said. “I’ve known from a very, very young age what I’ve wanted to do.” Damphousse started his transition from air to space midway through his military career, when he left the cockpit of the Marines’ CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter to get his master’s degree in astronautical engineering. A tour of duty with U.S. Space Command followed, after which Damphousse took a break from space and rejoined a Marine Corps helicopter squadron in late 2003 for the first of two combat tours in Iraq.

In September 2009, while still on active duty, Damphousse was detailed to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s Washington office as a NASA fellow, advising the Florida Democrat on civil and national security space issues. His yearlong fellowship began with the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee giving President Barack Obama the green light to pull the plug on Constellation. Click here. (4/8)

Inside North Korea: Closely Watched Launch Poses Risks (Source: MSNBC)
When my family first learned of my invitation to travel to North Korea to observe a controversial satellite launch, now set for no earlier than Thursday, their first worry was for my own safety. And as I shared the plans with a small circle of close friends and colleagues, they too expressed concern over the potential risk, especially if I stuck my nose too far into forbidden zones. I have to admit some level of apprehension. But it’s mixed with the anticipation of getting unprecedented access to the most secret corners of the world’s most secretive nation, to pursue my lifelong passion to “find out and tell about” space mysteries.

The risk for the North Koreans is much, much higher, and we are not the source of it. In a welcome — if long overdue — response to the anxieties of their neighbors, Pyongyang announced from the start that "foreign experts and journalists" would be allowed into the country. We are visiting the launch site and other mission preparation facilities, we're taking photographs and videos, and our hosts will try to convince the world through us of the reality of the "peaceful satellite" that is mounted atop the Unha-3 booster at the Koreans' new launch site in the far northwestern corner of the country. Click here. (4/8)

KSC Lays Out Hopes for 2012-2031 Amid Work on a New Master Plan (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) laid out its aspirations for the next two decades via a Future Development Concept (FDC) presentation that covers the spaceport’s transition into a multi-user facility. While KSC is hopeful of attracting additional launch providers, the center acknowledges times have dramatically changed since the production of the previous Master Plan created in 2002. Click here. (4/8)

Squyres Offers NASA Advice to Avoid Fate of China's 15th Century Treasure Ships (Source: Space Policy Online)
Steve Squyres, father of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and newly appointed chairman of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), is offering NASA three keys to success for improving the way NASA's space science projects are managed. Squyres commented that although budget constraints are certainly a problem at NASA, some of the agency's woes are self-inflicted because large cost overruns on some space science projects means less money is available for others.

He thinks NASA should follow these three tenets in managing its space science missions: 1) get independent cost estimates from experts who are not "optimists"; 2) invest in needed technology up front instead of waiting until later in the project; and 3) do not allow requirements creep.

That advice followed a history lesson about a path he hopes the United States avoids -- the fate of China's "treasure ships" that plied the world's oceans in the 15th Century. Calling the treasure ships the "Saturn V's of their day," Squyres recounted how for several decades under the leadership of Admiral Zheng He, the ships explored the world known to China at that time. Political forces convinced a new emperor that the ships were not worth the cost and "argued to stop exploration." They won, he said, and the ships were burned. (4/8)

India's Space Program, Once a Pragmatic Goal, Now a Strategic Necessity (Source: WPR)
The Indian Space Research Organization's latest budget allocated $25 million to a plan to send an orbiter to Mars to study its atmosphere. In an email interview, Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College who writes in a personal capacity, discussed India’s space program. She says India’s space strategy -- Space Vision India 2025 -- includes a full range of space ambitions, including human spaceflight, reusable launch vehicles, navigation systems and imagery. In fact, India seems to be challenging the regional space leader, China, in an unacknowledged Asian space race. Click here. (4/8)

NASA Budget Petition Still Needs 9,000 Signatures by Apr. 20 (Source: SPACErePORT)
"Currently, NASA’s budget barely surpasses 0.5 percent of the Federal budget, and has seen a steady decline in the proportions of its funding, now reaching all-time lows. The cultural mindset brought on by NASA has allowed us to reap the benefits of economic growth, creating an influx of people wanting to become scientists and engineers. There is no question that the government has money to fund NASA: $850 billion was spent on the bank bailout, several hundred billion dollars more than the 53 year running budget of NASA. If we want to invest in our future, we must fund NASA at higher levels." Click here. (4/8)

Musk: Reusable Rockets are Key to Developing a Space-Based Civilization (Source: Nature)
The Californian space-technology company SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, celebrates its tenth birthday this year. The company's re-usable, unmanned Dragon spacecraft is due to make its second demonstration flight at the end of April, when it will visit the International Space Station. A version of Dragon that could carry seven astronauts is under development. Elon Musk, SpaceX's chief executive and chief technology officer, talked to Nature about his plans for the company and his personal ambitions for space flight. Click here. (4/8)

Q&A With Edward Ellegood (That's Me!) ERAU Space Policy Analyst (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Edward Ellegood, a space policy analyst for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has been following the space industry since the late 1980s. A speechwriting internship with the Florida Department of Commerce led to his first space-related job during the late 1980s. Before then, Ellegood didn't consider himself a space junky.

"It wasn't really a passion or pursuit when going through college," he said. "It was an interesting opportunity I stumbled into." After the internship, he accepted a position as a space industry economist with the state Department ofCommerce. From there, he helped to establish the Spaceport Florida Authority, which was created to develop, finance and operate space infrastructure. Click here. (4/8)

Space Safety Magazine Promotes... Space Safety! (Source: ISSF)
Check out the latest issue of the ISSF Space Safety Magazine. Space Safety is about manned as well as unmanned missions. It is not only about space vehicle design and astronaut safety, but includes spaceport operations; space traffic management; ground, atmospheric, and on-orbit pollution prevention; and safety of uninvolved public during launch and reentry operations. Click here. (4/8)

Florida Offers Procurement Technical Assistance for Companies Seeking Federal Contracts (Source: FLDC)
Counseling is provided free of charge to business entities with primary or branch offices in Florida that are small businesses, or other than small businesses, profit or non-profit, that have the market or potential or are seeking the goods/services to federal, state or local governments, that will sign a hold-harmless agreement, may become a client of the FPTAC program. Click here. (4/8)

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