May 5, 2012

Bids for Neil Armstrong's Corvette Soar to $250K (Source: Collect Space)
A beat-up 1967 Chevrolet Corvette, which astronaut Neil Armstrong purportedly was first to own, has attracted astronomical bids on eBay. But did the first man to walk on the moon ever drive it? The sports car, which the seller described as the "ultimate Corvette 'barn find,'" had as of Saturday morning (May 5) — the day before the auction closes — more than 70 bids, raising the initial asking price of $100,000 to just under a quarter of a million.

The high bid however, had not yet met the seller's hidden reserve, the price which he is obligated to sell and which he has revised twice. To prove its pedigree, the seller presents the car's original General Motors "Protect-O-Plate," a factory issued metal tag that displays the name of the car's original owner. A carbon rubbing of the raised plate shown with the auction description reveals the name "N. A. Armstrong." (5/5)

Bridge to Wallops Spaceport is Safe, Engineers Decided (Source: DelMarVaNow)
Federal Highway Administration engineers who were called in Thursday to inspect the half-century-old bridge leading to Wallops Island said the bridge is safe. The humpbacked bridge dates to 1960 and crosses Cat’s Creek, connecting the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport launch pads and other facilities on Wallops Island to the Virginia Eastern Shore mainland. “Federal Highway Administration engineers thoroughly inspected the bridge today and reported the bridge is in good shape and completely safe to resume to normal bridge traffic operations,” NASA Wallops Flight Facility spokesman Keith Kohler said. (5/5)

Editorial: Satellites at Risk (Source: Washington Post)
Next Week, the Senate is set to spend considerable time figuring out how to pay for renewing an old campaign gimmick — keeping interest rates for certain federally backed student loans extra low at 3.4 percent. Doing so would be expensive; it would cost the government $6 billion to extend those low rates for just one year. That might not seem like much compared with the entire federal budget, but at a time when Congress has put tight limits on discretionary spending, many other, more worthy programs are fighting for every dollar. (5/5)

Space Industry Has More 'Right Stuff' Than Ever (Source: Space Foundation)
If there's one thing this spring season has demonstrated, it is the fact that our space industry, around the world, has more of the "Right Stuff" than ever before. Consider, for a moment, our recently completed 28th National Space Symposium.

Despite the fact that U.S. government spending on space is flat or declining and that core Space Foundation member companies focused on government contracting are undergoing extreme stress, our 2012 Symposium was the biggest and best ever - growing by 10 percent in key areas and with attendance as strong as ever. That is a real testament to the resilience of the global space community and a real-as-it-gets demonstration of the growth that is taking place in the commercial space sector and among non-U.S. space agencies. (5/5)

Kennedy Director Looks Forward to Expanded Industry Partnership (Source: KSC)
On Friday, NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana participated in an event with federal and state officials to discuss the future plans of Sierra Nevada Corp., one of NASA's industry partners, in Florida. His remarks from that event are below: "Partnerships are key to our future success," said Cabana. "We look forward to expanding our partnership with Sierra Nevada here at Kennedy Space Center.

"KSC has an extremely talented and dedicated work force, and unique processing capabilities and facilities that can help our commercial partners be successful. "Sierra Nevada is already part of the KSC team through the space act agreement we signed last year, and we look forward to their more visible presence, as we continue to enable the commercial space industry and truly make KSC a multi-user spaceport of the future." (5/5)

USAF Space Test Program Contracts with Spaceflight for Commercial Launches (Source: Spaceflight Services)
Spaceflight Inc. has signed a contract with the USAF Space Development and Test Directorate to fly up to two government spacecraft on commercial launch vehicles. The Space Development and Test Directorate has contracted with Spaceflight to evaluate commercial launch options for, and potentially conduct commercial launch and orbit insertion operations of, the STP Satellite-3 (STPSat-3) and Kestrel Eye Tactical Imaging Spacecraft (Kestrel Eye) spacecraft. (5/5)

Record Nine-Planet Star System Discovered? (Source: National Geographic)
A star about 127 light-years from Earth may have even more planets than the sun, which would make the planetary system the most populated yet found. According to a new study, HD 10180—a sunlike star in the southern constellation Hydrus—may have as many as nine orbiting planets, besting the eight official planets in our solar system. The star first made headlines in 2010 with the announcement of five confirmed planets and two more planetary candidates. (5/5)

United Launch Alliance Workers Union Urges Employees to Reject Offer (Source: Florida Today)
United Launch Alliance is urging its employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to approve a new three-year contract in a vote scheduled for Sunday. The union’s negotiating committee, however, has recommended its members vote it down. The contract would affect 277 union workers involved in launch operations at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. It also would cover workers at ULA’s production operations in Decatur, Ala., and at launch operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (5/5)

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