August 28, 2012

Help Fund the Neil Armstrong Memorial (Source: PRWeb)
Occasionally, one finds a man who is a true hero to his entire nation. Rarely does one find a man who has inspired the entire planet. That man was Neil Armstrong. His life and deeds are forever intertwined with history itself, as a memorial to the greatness of the man and to the name that shall endure beyond that of most kings and presidents. A man who served his nation and mankind with enthusiasm and selflessness.

That is why we are raising funding for the Neil Armstrong Memorial. We are teaming up with one of America's premier artists working in the medium of bronze statuary to create a nine foot tall, larger than life (because Neil *was* larger than life) bronze monument to this great American icon.

The statue itself will be hand-detailed & cast. The monument base will be engraved granite. The base will include a "hidden safe" that will have a time capsule enclosed that will be opened on that day when man sets foot on Mars. Armstrong's deepest desire was to be *that* man, volunteering at the age of 80! to undertake such a mission. This time capsule will connect Armstrong to that dream! We only need $120,000.00 to make this project a reality! Click here. (8/28)

XCOR Selects AdamsWorks to Build Lynx Cockpit (Source: Parabolic Arc)
XCOR Aerospace's Lynx Mark I suborbital reusable launch vehicle (RLV) carbon fiber cockpit will be manufactured by AdamWorks of Centennial, Colorado. The Lynx Mark I is the prototype of the Lynx family of suborbital RLVs from XCOR Aerospace. The Lynx suborbital vehicles will seat an astronaut pilot and a spaceflight participant, or an astronaut pilot and large scientific payload.

A production model of the Lynx, designated “Lynx Mark II” is designed to fly to space up to four times per day with similar payload and significantly improved performance. The Lynx Mark II is available for wet lease domestically and abroad in the free world by emerging spacelines, private operators and sovereign countries wishing to have their own manned spaceflight program for less cost than a traditional high end business jet.

The Lynx cockpit has been designed as a pressurized vessel capable of tens of thousands of flights to and from suborbital altitudes exceeding 100 kilometers. The cockpit has undergone an iterative design process by XCOR engineers and outside independent third party structural and thermal analysis experts from Quartus. AdamWorks was selected after a competitive selection process that emphasized past experience, ability to manufacture complex carbon fiber structures used in safety critical pressurized applications, schedule and value. (8/28)

Two Alien Planets Found with Twin Suns Like 'Star Wars'' Tatooine (Source:
Astronomers have for the first time discovered two alien planets whirling around a pair of stars: a complete solar system with twin suns just like Luke Skywalker's fictional home world Tatooine. Most stars like our sun are not singletons, but rather come in pairs that orbit each other. Scientists had found planets in these binary systems, so-called circumbinary planets with two suns like Tatooine in the "Star Wars" universe.

To find more circumbinary planets, astronomers analyzed data from NASA's prolific Kepler space telescope, which has detected more than 2,300 potential alien worlds since its March 2009 launch. Kepler had to date detected four systems with circumbinary planets — Kepler-16, 34, 35 and 38. (8/28)

Spaceport America Officials Push Legal Immunity Bill (Source: Alamogordo Daily News)
Spaceport America officials made a renewed pitch for a bill to grant legal immunity to manufacturers of spaceflight parts, in the case of a crash or other problem. But it was met with skepticism from some lawmakers who were in Truth or Consequences for a joint meeting of two interim legislative panels.

Spaceport America Executive Director Christine Anderson told lawmakers that the bill's failure in the 2012 Legislature was a key reason behind one company's decision to locate its headquarters in Florida — a state that already has OK'd the legal immunity being proposed. New Mexico is at risk for losing more potential spaceport clients, she said.

"It's important we remain competitive," she told lawmakers, who hashed out the topic late in the afternoon. "We can't have a spaceport with only one tenant." Anderson referred to the Britain-based Virgin Galactic, which has an agreement in place with New Mexico to launch tourists to suborbital space from the state-owned Spaceport America. Editor's Note: That company that chose Florida over New Mexico was probably Rocket Crafters, Inc. (8/28)

Armstrong Wasn't Fan of Exploration Cutbacks (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
When the first man on the moon died on Saturday, President Barack Obama tweeted: “Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time.” Armstrong’s final comment on Obama, on the other hand, was that the president’s policy on manned space flight was “devastating,” and condemned the United States to “a long downhill slide to mediocrity.”

That was two years ago, when three Americans who had flown to the moon — Neil Armstrong; James Lovell, commander of Apollo 13; and Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17 — published an open letter to Obama pointing out that his new space policy effectively ended American participation in the human exploration of deep space. Armstrong was famously reluctant to give media interviews. It took something as hugely shortsighted as Obama’s cancellation of the Constellation program in 2010 to make him speak out in public. But when he did, he certainly did not mince his words.

Editor's Note: Armstrong aimed some of his ire at President Obama's policy to develop commercial capabilities for human spaceflight in Earth orbit. The Houston Chronicle and CBS News, after publishing articles conveying Armstrong's lack of confidence that companies like SpaceX can safely provide such services, clarified his position that he supports "the encouragement of the newcomers toward their goal of lower-cost access to space." (8/28)

Lockheed Martin Donates $500,000 for UCF STEM Teacher Education (Source: SpaceRef)
Lockheed Martin marked the 20th anniversary of the Lockheed Martin/University of Central Florida Academy for Mathematics and Science at the University of Central Florida (UCF) with a $500,000 donation toward the program. Aimed specifically at preparing teachers to teach mathematics and science in Central Florida, Lockheed Martin has contributed more than $2 million to support the Academy and its participants since 1992.

"By helping the College of Education create a strong cast of accomplished teachers in mathematics and science, Lockheed Martin has helped make Central Florida a center of excellence for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines," said UCF President John C. Hitt. "Together, UCF and Lockheed Martin are developing the highly-skilled workers that our community and state need to thrive in today's competitive global marketplace." (8/28)

"Space Jam" Promotes Space Issues During Party Conventions (Source: SPACErePORT)
During the Republican and Democratic conventions in Tampa and Charlotte, organizations like ATK, Honeywell, USA, the Challenger Learning Center, and others are sponsoring "Space Jam" receptions reception for legislators, delegates, party officials, and other guests. The RNC Space Jam will be held at the Tampa aquarium. The Challenger Center for Space Science Education will be demonstrating K-12 S.T.E.M. outreach programs. (8/28)

Army Eyes Ambitious, Cheap Satellites And Launchers (Source: Aviation Week)
The U.S. Army is making headway with plans to demonstrate the utility of nanosatellites and small, low-cost, mobile launchers to provide direct support to deployed forces. Such assets would bypass the traditional data processing and dissemination system located in the U.S. Though the Army's budget for space systems pales in comparison to the Air Force's multibillion-dollar annual satellite and launcher procurement request, the former's small demonstration project could spark a much-needed roles-and-missions discussion about which service is best suited to provide tactical spaceborne capabilities for soldiers abroad.

This focus by the Army on the utility of small satellites comes as the Air Force is pushing to close its Operationally Responsive Space office, which was designed to find ways to reduce cycle time for spacecraft, including an emphasis on smaller buses. While the Army is aggressively pursuing a plan to showcase these tactical capabilities starting next year, the Air Force is taking a longer view of infusing small satellites into its architecture by studying ways to augment the traditional satellites now 23,000 mi. up in geosynchronous orbit with smaller, more agile systems in lower orbits.

But, the Army's quest for low-cost, responsive space support cannot be realized without inexpensive launch. Swords is designed to address that. In this program, the Army hopes to reduce the price to $1.8 million per launch, including range cost, by making use of commercial grade materials, not aerospace-grade components. And, the design will employ a Tridyne pressure-fed engine, bypassing the need for a turbopump. The concept calls for a “ship-and-shoot” capability that could operate from nearly anywhere with a concrete slab, and the mobile launcher is designed to be transportable by a C-130 cargo hauler. (8/28)

Space Exploration - A Presidential Priority (Source: Huffington Post)
Never let what is urgent crowd out what is most important. That's good advice for families, businesses and candidates for President of the United States. America's space exploration program is one of those truly important issues for our future, if not necessarily viewed as urgent in the current political election season. America cannot afford to squander the opportunity to take full advantage of exploring the next great frontier: space.

So it is time for the presidential candidates -- Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney -- to let America know where they really stand on an important issue that will transform -- or stagnate -- America in this century and the next. NASA needs presidential investment and advocacy -- and the budget to back it up. Nothing less than the future of our children and grandchildren is at stake here.

Tell us about your vision which will nourish America's frontier spirit, her ambition and thirst for innovation which were the catalysts that opened the West, brought victory in World War II and reversed economic adversity in the last century. Thoughtful voters recognize that the current urgent issues facing NASA need to be resolved and they want to know how we will ensure America's future leadership, prosperity and security. Click here. (8/28)

Editorial: Man in the Moon (Source: New York Times)
Nothing tangible changed when Neil Armstrong’s foot dug into the lunar dust and his eyes turned back at us. We didn’t get faster wheels or smaller machines or more effective medicine. But we changed, fundamentally. What had been unknown, was known. What had been unseen was seen. And our human horizon popped out 200,000 miles. Forever, we would see the Earth differently, because we had seen it from someplace truly foreign.

This is why Mars is important. When we get a human to Mars — in the next few decades, NASA has predicted — our horizon will expand 1,000 times farther, and it will never go back. Just 60 years ago, authors could seriously write about aliens on Mars. Can you imagine what it was like then? Mars was an impossible frontier. Now those stories read like fairy tales in which the moon is made of cheese, or the sun is a horse-drawn chariot bearing a god, or the stars move in crystal spheres around the sky. (8/27)

Spaceflight’s Most Badass Maneuvers (Source: WIRED)
We in the modern world have grown used to the wonders of the Space Age. Rockets routinely launch people, probes, and satellites into space, making this once gutsy business seem almost humdrum. But it’s always a good thing to be reminded of the pluck and determination it takes to strap something to a giant firecracker, light the fuse, and hope that everything goes according to plan. With the recent passing of Neil Armstrong, we thought we’d pay tribute to a few of the most amazing and badass maneuvers in spaceflight history. Click here. (8/28)

Russian Women Could Return to Space (Source RIA Novosti)
Russian women can be included into the country’s cosmonauts team if they successfully complete all selection stages, Sergei Krikalev, head of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, said on Tuesday. “A couple of women are close to being selected,” Krikalev said. “There are chances that they will be.” So far, only three Russian female cosmonauts - Valentina Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya and Yelena Kondakova – traveled into space.

No Russian women flew into space since Kondakova’s second space mission in May 1997. The first open cosmonaut selection drive in the history of the Russian space industry was held between January 27 and March 15. About 300 people applied for the selection drive, about 30-40 of them were women. So far, Yelena Serova is the only woman in the Russian cosmonaut team. (8/27)

Proton Failure Narrows Launch Window for Satmex 8 (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator Satmex said it remains confident that its Satmex 8 satellite will be launched by a Russian Proton rocket by December, giving the company sufficient time to transfer customers to it before Satmex 5, which the new spacecraft is replacing, runs out of fuel as early as late February. Satmex said the Aug. 7 failure of the Proton Breeze M rocket, the same vehicle slated to carry Satmex 8, will delay the Satmex 8 launch beyond its scheduled October date, But the company also noted that Russian managers in the past have proved able to return the launcher to flight in short order after failures. (8/28)

Latin America's Space Programs in 2012 (Source: Space Review)
An increasing number of countries in Latin America are getting involved in space through the development or ownership of their own satellites and by other means. W. Alex Sanchez examines the changing capabilities of and interests among Latin American countries in space today. Visit to view the article. (8/27)

Alien Encounter May Not be Happy One, Says Nobel Prize Winner (Source: Xinhua)
Nobel Prize laureate Brian P. Schmidt has said it is probably unwise for human beings to be telling aliens where we are. "I think it is probably not the smartest thing to tell the aliens where we are, as any encounter with aliens may not be a happy one," said Schmidt during the 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. "Aliens may not be something that we need to worry about. It will be so far away and it takes so long to travel from point A to point B in the universe that it won't be a problem. But it will happen when it happens."

"The future of the universe seems to be dark. Things are getting faster and faster. In terms of looking for aliens, it's gonna be quite a challenge. It may never happen. Things like us are probably very rare in the universe," he said. In 2010, Stephen Hawking, one of world's most famous theoretical physicists, said humans should be extremely cautious of extraterrestrial life and attempts to make contact with alien races is "a little too risky." (8/28)

Chinese Astronomers in Antarctica Search for Earth-Like Planets (Source: Xinhua)
Chinese astronomers are actively searching for Earth-like planets using survey instruments in Antarctica, as they believe efforts to seek an extra-solar planet that may sustain life will soon be paid back. "It's highly possible that human beings might find such a planet in the coming few years," said Wang Lifan, a researcher at the Purple Mountain Observatory and director of the Chinese Center for Antarctic Astronomy.

"Such planets likely exist in the Milky Way, with a possible distance of thousands of light years from us," Wang said. Chinese astronomers installed the first of three Antarctic Survey Telescopes (AST3-1) at Dome Argus, located at the highest elevation on the Antarctic continent, at the beginning of the year. One of its primary missions is to search for extra-solar planets suitable for life. (8/28)

Armstrong's Death May Spur Apollo 11 Landing Site Preservation (Source:
The passing of famed astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon and commander of Apollo 11, may strengthen the movement to designate the Tranquility Base lunar landing site as a National Historic Landmark. The field of space heritage preservation is gaining momentum, and a recently authored bill aims protect the Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar lander touchdown site and all the artifacts that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind on the lunar surface. (8/28)

Boeing, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Work to Complete CCDev Milestones (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Sixteen months ago, NASA signed the second round of Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2) Space Act Agreements with industry partners to advance multiple commercial crew space transportation system concepts and elements. The vast majority of the 62 performance milestones now have been completed, with only four more remaining. All CCDev2 milestones for the SAAs with SpaceX, ULA, ATK and Excalibur Almaz, Inc. have been successfully concluded. Click here. (8/28)

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