August 11, 2012

Masten Xombie Flies 650 Meters Downrange in Mojave Test (Source: Masten Space)
Building on the success of the 500 meter downrange flight on July 25, Masten completed a flight that reached 476.5 meters in altitude and translated 650 meters downrange on Aug. 9. Like the July 25 test, this test was completed for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to test its powered descent and landing trajectory optimization algorithms for future Mars Entry Descent & Landing (EDL) applications. This flight reached a higher translation velocity than the previous flight and successfully expanded Xombie's flight envelope. Click here. (8/11)

CleanTech to SpaceTech Event Planned in Orlando on Sep. 20-21 (Source: SCEC)
Join us for a combined two-day showcase event featuring Megawatt Ventures, I2 Capital Acceleration Program and the Florida Cleantech Acceleration Network Showcase. These activities provide the forum to highlight Florida’s cleantech entrepreneurial endeavors by celebrating success. Competitive grants of $100K will be awarded to startup entrepreneurs that win in each event. Click here. (8/11)

India Plans 58 Missions in 5 Years (Source: Hindustan Times)
India's premier space agency ISRO plans to undertake 58 satellite and launch vehicle missions in the 12th five year period and sees larger role for industries in realizing these ventures. ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said India had done 10-13 missions in each of the 8th, 9th and 10th plan period, and completed 29 in the 11th five-year plan period 2007-12. "During 2012-17, we are planning about 60 missions," Radhakrishnan said. To be precise, ISRO proposes to undertake 33 satellites and 25 launch vehicles missions. (8/10)

Russia Ready to Evolve Their Veteran Launcher Via Soyuz 2.1v (Source:
The Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, are pushing forward with a “light” version of their veteran Soyuz launch vehicle – known as the Soyuz 2.1v. Manufactured by TsSKB-Progress, the new launcher – one that does not sport the famous four boosters around the core stage – will be capable of lofting 2.8 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). (8/10)

South African Ambition Goes Into Orbit (Source: Irish Times)
Although it will be some time before they compete with the likes of NASA, whose Curiosity rover landed on Mars this week, a growing number of African countries have joined the global space race. But rather than looking to the stars for signs of extraterrestrial life, or conditions that could support it, the African scientists at the helm of their countries’ fledgling space initiatives are more concerned with how their technology can be used to aid people on Earth. Dr Sandile Malinga, chief executive of the newly established South Africa National Space Agency (Sansa), says African space agencies are all about helping a country’s inhabitants overcome the problems they face on a day-to-day basis. (8/11)

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Completes Successful Glide Test (Source: Parabolic Arc)
SpaceShipTwo made another successful glide flight at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Saturday morning. The space plane took off under its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft at 6:57 a.m. PDT. It glided to a landing about an hour later after a brief glide flight. WhiteKnightTwo conducted touch-and-gos on the runway for about a half hour before touching down at around 8:27 a.m. PDT. Click here. (8/11)

Paul Ryan’s (Very Thin) Space Policy Dossier (Source: Space Politics)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his choice for running mate: Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI). While the decision may offer a “stark choice” on fiscal issues, it sheds little, if any light, on the niche issue of space policy. Ryan has said virtually nothing on space issues, and it’s not a local issue in his southeast Wisconsin district. His House web site is virtually devoid of references to NASA, beyond a link on his “Students and Kids” page to the “NASA Kids’ Club” site. In terms of recent roll-call votes, he did vote against the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 in September 2010, legislation that did pass the House and was signed into law.

Ryan is better known as chairman of the House Budget Committee, and in that role he has offered budget proposals that included sigificant cuts in non-defense discretionary spending. The Ryan budget does not go down into the details about specific agencies, like NASA, but instead is at the “account” level, which can cut across not only the usual divisions of the appropriations process but also across agencies.

What the Ryan budget does show is a modest decrease in science and space spending in his budget. His ten-year (fiscal years 2013-2022) budget would spend about 6.5 percent less on that account versus the administration’s own ten-year budget. This doesn’t necessarily mean he would cut NASA’s budget by this amount: he could choose to spare it and cut other programs by a correspondingly greater amount, or vice versa. And, of course, it doesn’t mean that a Romney Administration would necessarily adopt something like this in its budgets for FY2014 and beyond. (8/11)

Reprint From March 2012: 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)

National Space Council: Wouldn't It Be Interesting? (Source: SPACErePORT)
One of the thus-far unkept promises of President Obama's 2008 campaign is his commitment to re-establish a National Space Council to guide the development and implementation of U.S. space policies among the growing number of federal agencies that now manage or rely on space capabilities. Previous iterations of the National Space Council were chaired by the nation's Vice President.

A 2010 National Academies report focused on recent failures of interagency space collaborations: "There is a need for coordinated oversight of interagency collaboration; however, OMB and OSTP are not suited to day-to-day oversight. Some alternative governance mechanism may be required to facilitate accountable decision-making across multiple agencies." This is the kind of role envisioned for a National Space Council. With Vice President Joe Biden now facing off against Congressman Paul Ryan to be the nation's next Vice President, wouldn't it be interesting if plans for a VP-led National Space Council became part of the campaign discussion? (8/11)

Obama Campaign to Romney on Space Coast: Where Are You on Space? (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space Coast industry, university and government leaders got a chance to hear from President Barack Obama’s former top science guy and a Florida campaign official Friday on his space policies and are waiting for similar insight from Mitt Romney. To date, Romney’s space policy has essentially been: Obama’s is no good; we’ll get back to you on what ours will be. That’s what he offered in January when Newt Gingrich pushed for lunar missions. Now the Romney campaign appears to be continuing to defer future announcements until after he hears from a space advisory team.

A Florida Romney campaign official said: “Governor Romney recognizes the exciting opportunity that the commercial space industry offers for technological innovation and commerce. But while President Obama is allowing our national capabilities to erode, Governor Romney will provide the clear, decisive, and steadfast leadership the space program requires. As President, Romney will bring together leading officials, researchers, and entrepreneurs to establish clear goals and missions for NASA that fulfill its objectives of spurring innovation, pursuing exploration, and symbolizing American exceptionalism.”

At the Brevard event, Jim Kohlenberger, a former OSTP official for both President Obama and President Bill Clinton, said: "What’s really exciting is that the Space Coast isn’t just a launching pad for our new NASA space flights. It’s also a launching pad for new jobs, new industry and diversity of industry on the Space Coast to help build an economy that will last. As we go forward, space workers trying hard to put food on the table, they deserve an answer on what Mitt Romney will do to put forth a space program.” (8/11)

Florida's Space Coast Claims Commercial Space Missions (Source: Brevard Times)
The three American companies building next-generation spacecraft that NASA could call on to carry astronauts into orbit in the future will perform much of their work along Florida's Space Coast, home of the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Advances made by these companies under newly signed Space Act Agreements (SAAs) through the agency's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are intended to lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for government and commercial customers.‬ (8/11)

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