May 19, 2012

Weldon Officially Enters U.S. Senate Race (Source: Florida Today)
Dr. Dave Weldon of Indialantic, a former Space Coast congressman, has entered the Republican primary for U.S. Senate for the seat now held by Democrat Bill Nelson. In announcing his relatively late entry into the race, Weldon said: “Someone has to do something to provide a conservative answer to the problems the (Obama) administration has created and the current Senate has endorsed. We can’t keep racking up debt and placing it on the backs of our children.”

Three other Republicans already are in the Aug. 14 primary: former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV and businessman Mike McCalister. Among the Republicans who had been planning to seek the nomination, but dropped out, was Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island. J.B. Kump, a personal assistant for the Weldon campaign, said Weldon was encouraged to enter the Senate race by people who were not excited by the other candidates. Kump said Weldon’s announcement was made online, and not through a traditional news conference. Weldon will begin touring the state this weekend. (5/19)

CASIS Official Featured at Space Society Gathering on Jun. 2 (Source: NSSFL)
Mr. Duane Ratliff will be speaking at the next National Space Society (Space Coast Chapter) "Space Locals" event about the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), a nonprofit organization which was selected to manage the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. This monthly series features space professionals who work locally for the benefit of space science or the space industry in our area. Unlike a traditional lecture series, these talks will be part lecture and part group discussion. All present are welcome and encouraged to participate regardless of one's training or background.

This will be an opportunity for anyone in our community to learn about and express opinions on the topic of the month. The event will be held at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach on June 2, at 2:00 p.m. there is no cost to attend and it is open to the public. (5/19)

SpaceX Dragon Carries Special Souvenirs (Source: CollectSpace)
As released by NASA and SpaceX, the cargo manifest for the COTS-2 mission includes a line item described only as the "Official Flight Kit" or OFK. Simply put, the OFK is a memento-packed pouch carrying the mission's "official" flown-in-space souvenirs. The COTS 2 Official Flight Kit manifest has just six entries, but comprises more than 12,000 mementos onboard. The OFK includes: 2,000 lapel pins that are in the shape of the space station; 2,900 patches, 4,000 decals and 750 lapel pins with the NASA COTS 2 emblem; 2,500 SpaceX mission patches; and one copper medallion.

The manifest provided no additional details about the odd memento out, the copper coin. The OFK items will make a round trip on board the Dragon capsule, which is the only station-visiting spacecraft other than Russia's manned Soyuz that returns to Earth intact. The SpaceX COTS 2 vehicle is expected to splashdown off the coast of San Francisco by the end of May. Once retrieved after the flight, the OFK souvenirs will be distributed to NASA and SpaceX team members to thank them for their work making the mission a success. (5/19)

Bids to be Accepted for Saturn V Repair at Huntsville Center (Source: Huntsville Times)
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center will be accepting bids from companies qualified to handle historic restoration for repairs to the Saturn V rocket struck by two bullets earlier this month. The rocket is housed in the center's Davidson Center for Space Exploration, and three gunshots were fired into the center on May 3. The three windows that were damaged were replaced Thursday.

The center reopened an hour and half after the incident, which potentially could have been "horrific," said the center's CEO Dr. Deborah Barnhart at a meeting today of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission, which oversees the center. There were no injuries to visitors or employees. (5/19)

Computer Shuts Down SpaceX Launch at Last Second (Source: Russia Today)
Privately-owned Falcon 9 rocket set to blast to ISS could not take off and remained on the launch pad. This is the first attempt of a private company to deliver cargo to the ISS. The launch was due to be executed from Cape Canaveral at 4:55 am EDT on Saturday. The countdown was practically through and the engine ignition sequence reportedly started when onboard computers automatically halted the process. NASA named the high pressure in Engine 5 chamber the reason to abort the launch. The rocket is now expected to launch towards the ISS on Tuesday, May 22, if the problem is fixed. (5/19)

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