July 1, 2012

NASA Decision Shortsighted (Source: Bangkok Post)
The Thailand government was criticized again yesterday for its decision to refer to parliament NASA's climate study proposal, leading the US space agency to cancel the plan. Panelists at a discussion organized by the Thai Journalists Association to discuss the pros and cons of the study said the cabinet's decision deprived the country of the chance to gain important knowledge in weather science.

Somjet Tinapong, chairman of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), said SEAC4RS would have provided Thai authorities with more information and better cloud photography that would have benefited weather forecasts. Mr Somjet signed an agreement on the project with NASA two years ago. He said when that agreement was signed on Sept 28, 2010, the project required the use of aircraft and an airport but an airport had yet to be designated.

Instead of waiting for parliamentary debate, the government should have proceeded with the project and clearly informed the public and other countries that it is only a scientific project, Mr Somjet said. "If the government does not proceed with the matter, I will be caught in a dilemma because we have worked with NASA for a long time," he said. (7/2)

Former Astronaut Mae Jemison Visits Space Coast to Promote Obama Space Policies (Source: OFA)
Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel into space, will tour the Space Coast's Advanced Magnet Lab, a Florida small business that embodies the importance of President Obama’s space exploration policies for Florida. President Obama has laid out a bold new vision for NASA, laying the groundwork for a sustainable program of human space flight, which is bringing jobs to the Space Coast and driving innovation. This new direction extends the life of the International Space Station, supports the growing commercial space industry, and addresses important scientific challenges while continuing NASA’s commitment to robust human space exploration, science, and aeronautics programs.

After touring Advanced Magnet Lab, Dr. Jemison and Mr. Senti will hold a press availability to discuss how President Obama’s policies ensure that Kennedy Space Center will continue to make history as America's spaceport during the new chapter in space exploration that our nation is embarking upon. Click here. (7/1)

Space Coast Losing New Launch Site to Texas? (Source: CFLnews13)
SpaceX is looking beyond Florida to locate a new rocket launch site. The Space Coast is competing with Texas and Puerto Rico for the new launch pad, and it appears Texas has the edge. SpaceX founder Elon Musk traveled to Texas last month to show off the cargo his Dragon capsule, which was brought back from the International Space Station.

He also met with Gov. Rick Perry to discuss a new launch pad. SpaceX confirmed a site in Brownsville, at the southern tip of the Lone Star State, is the front-runner for a new SpaceX pad, specifically for commercial launches. “If Elon is in Texas, he’s not only the big fish in the pond,” said Dale Ketcham. “He’s the only fish in that pond, whereas here he’s going to have to deal with a lot of bigger entities that are going to be able to dictate how and when he does his business.” (7/1)

Airbus’ Alabama Plant Would Create 2,500 Construction Jobs (Source: Live Trading News)
Airbus should create about 2,500 construction jobs to build a new $600-M airliner assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama, and 400 to 500 full-time jobs once production starts in Y 2017, a source familiar with the plans said Saturday. The European planemaker, owned by EADS, is poised to announce plans to build the plant for its single-aisle A320 passenger jet that will begin producing four planes a month in Y 2017, according to multiple people familiar with the plans. (7/1)

Khrunichev Progresses on New ISS Multipurpose Lab Module (Source: Parabolic Arc)
While the American part of the International Space Station is largely complete, Russia is continuing work on expanding its capabilities. In the Khrunichev Space Center, work is continuing for the flight of the multifunction products laboratory module (MLM). To date, the docking port has been installed on the transition chamber... Equipment layouts for the board layout and the cable network have been installed inside the module. Tests on the temperature control system and the pneumatic hydraulic systems have been undertaken. Launch on a Russian “Proton” rocket is scheduled for 2013. (7/1)

Cabana: A Vibrant Future for KSC (Source: Florida Today)
Fifty years after NASA established a spaceport to launch men to the moon and probes to explore the far reaches of our solar system, Kennedy Space Center’s mission has not wavered. This week, our team is celebrating five decades of extraordinary accomplishments and unprecedented abilities. We’re also gearing up for a vibrant future full of processing, testing and launching the most complex machines ever built.

When the spaceport commenced on July 1, 1962, as the Launch Operations Center, its founders knew the complex would be a national resource capable of supporting a wide array of vehicles. During this decade, we’re going back to those roots with the help of the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program by revamping existing infrastructure and facilities to give us the flexibility to host a variety of vehicles as we transition to the launch complex of the future. Click here. (6/29)

Tarter: Why I’m Not Giving Up on Search for Extraterrestrial Life (Source: Washington Post)
When you’ve spent your career chasing the ultimate, change-everything cosmic brass ring, how do you retire without feeling disappointed? I’ve been asked that question, or some variation, dozens of times in the past month, and I’ve answered it the same way I have over my many decades as a research scientist searching for extraterrestrial intelligence.

I’m not disappointed. I understand how little searching we’ve done so far, and I’m excited about how much we will do in the future. Now it is time for me to shift from looking for extraterrestrial intelligence to looking for intelligent benefactors to help support that quest. I’ve done this before, but now I have to do it with gusto. Now I’m retired. (7/1)

First Flight of Rocketdyne Engine (Source: San Fernando Business Journal)
A new engine developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park powered a Delta IV heavy rocket taking a U.S. government satellite into orbit on June 29. The RS-68A engine was developed for commercial use with company funds. The engine is a modified version of the RS-68 and has 39,000 more pounds of thrust than the original. During hot-fire tests, the RS-68A engine demonstrated the ability to operate for 4,800 seconds of cumulative run time - more than 10 times what's needed to boost the Delta IV heavy rocket into space. (7/1)

China Set to Launch Bigger Space Program (Source: AFP)
China will deploy bigger spacecraft for longer missions following the success of its Shenzhou-9 voyage, allowing it to build a manned space station and potentially put a man on the moon, experts said. In the next mission that will occur at the end of this year or in 2013, Shenzhou-10's astronauts will link up with Tiangong-1 in a similar flight.

Morris Jones said no more astronauts would go on Tiangong-1 after the next mission. Then, in a few years, China will launch a more sophisticated version, the Tiangong-2. When that comes into play, the dimensions of China's space programme will grow significantly. Future vehicles would allow for larger space modules and longer missions. China is also developing the Long March 5, a next-generation booster rocket that will be needed if the nation hopes to place a bigger space station in orbit. (7/1)

Soyuz Space Capsule Lands on Earth (Source: Russia Today)
The Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying three members of the 31st expedition to the ISS has safely landed as planned on Sunday in Kazakhstan, bringing an end to their 193-day mission to the International Space Station. The Soyuz TMA-03M undocked from the ISS at 4:48 GMT and began its descent towards the Earth’s atmosphere. At about 08:00 GMT, when the reentry vehicle passed the plasma stage, its parachutes deployed, slowing down the fall. The descent successfully ended when the capsule landed in Kazakhstan’s steppe at 08:15 GMT right on the designated spot. (7/2)

NASA Celebrates Orion Milestone Monday at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Huntsville Times)
NASA celebrates the arrival of its first space-bound Orion spacecraft at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Monday, and Huntsville will bring a key piece of the plan to make Orion fly. Orion will be launched 3,000 miles into space in 2014 on an unmanned test flight. That's farther than any human spacecraft has gone in 40 years, and the test will tell NASA a lot about whether its new crew capsule is ready for missions to deep space destinations such as Mars.

But Orion can't launch in 2014 on NASA's new Space Launch system, which won't be ready yet, and it can't launch without hardware being built at Marshall Space Flight Center. Orion will launch atop a Delta IV rocket built in Decatur by United Launch Alliance. And the same kind of hardware that will mate Orion to the Delta IV - an aluminum adapter ring built at Marshall - will also mate Orion to NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket for its first test flight in 2017. (7/2)

A Brief History of KSC's 50 Years (Source: Florida Today)
Fifty years ago today, NASA activated a lunar launch center on North Merritt Island, setting the stage for some of the greatest adventures in history. Created to meet an extraordinary Cold War challenge, what we now call Kennedy Space Center began rising from mosquito-infested marshland in east-central Florida. The Space Coast was born. What follows is a tale-filled timeline of a half-century of triumph and tragedy at America’s storied gateway to space, as well as a glimpse into what the future holds. Click here. (7/1)

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