November 11, 2012

Successful Ariane 5 Launch for EUTELSAT 21B (Source: RapidTV News)
Satellite operator Eutelsat has confirmed the successful lift-off of its EUTELSAT 21B craft on the way to the 21.5 degrees East neighborhood. Carried by an Ariane 5 rocket (Flight VA210) from Kourou, French Guiana, EUTELSAT 21B separated from the launch vehicle 28 minutes after take-off and manoeuvres to circularise the new satellite's orbit and place it into its operational configuration are now under way. (11/11)

China's Chang'e-3 to Land on Moon Next Year (Source: China Daily)
China will launch its latest lunar satellite in the second half of next year, the Chang'e-3, paving the way for a future manned moon landing, a senior space industry official said on Saturday. Ma Xingrui, general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said the mission will see the lunar exploration orbiter's first ever soft-landing on the moon. Ma said the Chang'e-3 would probe and explore the lunar surface, and carry out various environmental and space technology related tests. (11/11)

Soyuz Rocket with Meridian Satellite Erected at Plesetsk Spaceport (Source: Itar-Tass)
Specialists at the Plesetsk space centre in the Arkhangelsk region completed erected at the launch complex Soyuz-2.1a launcher with the Fregat upper stage for the launch of the Meridian spacecraft. "Today, specialists of the cosmodrome transported and erected Soyuz-2.1a launcher into a starter of pad 43", an official said. After the installation, the staff will conduct a series of tests for components and systems of the carrier and the launching equipment, he added. (11/10)

New Australian Telescope Set to Find 700,000 Galaxies (Source: ICRAR)
Australia’s newest radio telescope is predicted to find an unprecedented 700,000 new galaxies, say scientists planning for CSIRO’s next-generation Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). In a paper to be published Sunday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Australian researchers have combined computer simulations with ASKAP’s specifications to predict the new telescope’s extraordinary capabilities.

“ASKAP is a highly capable telescope. Its surveys will find more galaxies, further away and be able to study them in more detail than any other radio telescope in the world until the SKA Is built,” said Dr Alan Duffy from The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. ASKAP will start scanning southern skies in 2013 as a forerunner to the massive Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will be shared between Australia-New Zealand and Southern Africa. (11/11)

USS Hornet Honors Neil Armstong (Source: Mercury News)
Retired United States Navy Chaplain John Baldwin, of Alameda, and USS Hornet Volunteer Lashon Lang, of Oakland, from left, cast a wreath overboard from the flight deck of the USS Hornet in honor of Neil Armstrong, who died Aug. 25 of this year, during a Veteran's Day tribute on board the US Navy aircraft carrier in Alameda, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. The Hornet plucked Armstrong and his two crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins from the Pacific Ocean after their historic Apollo 11 moon landing in July of 1969. (11/10)

NASA, JPL Budgets Have Plenty at Stake Under Second Obama Administration (Source: Pasadena Star-News)
Questions remain about the fiscal future of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory following the re-election of President Barack Obama, and the course of space exploration could depend on what happens in the next few months.
In the short term, NASA's 2013 and 2014 budgets are still undecided, with much depending on automatic sequestration cuts that could kick in next year, the "fiscal cliff" that Congress hopes to avoid.

NASA's planetary science division, buoyed this year by the popular Curiosity rover, lost about $300 million in Obama's proposed 2013 budget, though a competing House and Senate proposal would restore some money specifically for Mars exploration. The budget proposal is still awaiting action, with a few hundred jobs at JPL possibly depending on what happens. (11/10)

ULA Selects Orlando Firm to Support Commercial Crew at Launch Complex 41 (Source: America Space)
In preparation for the company’s efforts to have astronauts launch to orbit atop United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket, the Colorado-based company has tapped Hensel Phelps Construction Colo., based out of Orlando, Fla to assist ULA with program management contractor support at ULA’s facilities at Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

Editor's Note: Interestingly, ULA sought no state financial assistance for this latest modification at LC-41. Space Florida already financed most of the other infrastructure at LC-41 under a $300+ million lease-back deal originally crafted with Lockheed Martin. (11/11)

Space Exploration is a Measure of Our Society (Source: Times of India)
I've always believed that space exploration is one of those endeavours that define human achievement, and therefore are a good measure of the state of our society. The big payoff for me was seeing the incredible response from people to our achievement. It seemed to touch everyone in a positive way, to be amazed and inspired by what we can do as humans. Our world needs moments like this. (11/11)

Lynx to Launch “Revolution” in Science Education (Source: Space Safety)
NASA shuttle pilot Rick Searfoss will attend the Space Educators Conference by videoconference from the XCOR hanger in Mojave California. The Space Educators Conference is organized by Citizens in Space, a project of the US Rocket Academy, to be held on Feb. 7-9, 2013 in Houston. Colonel Searfoss, currently XCOR’s chief test pilot for the Lynx, will participate in the talk on “Citizen Science and Citizen Space Exploration”.

“Suborbital spacecraft like Lynx will revolutionize access to space, for scientists, engineers, teachers, and students,” Colonel Searfoss said. “We expect to begin test flights early next year, perhaps around the time of the conference. So, we will have a lot of exciting developments to share with the teachers.”

Space is fascinating for human beings and this very fascination can be used in schools for inspiring young people towards the possibility of pursuing a career in science and engineering. Teachers can make use of space principles to raise the interest of students in building their proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Teachers can engage the students via hands-on experiments or hearing first hand experiences from an astronaut  - much more interesting than  studying conventionally from a school book. (11/11)

ESA Boss Confident Agency Will Join US Orion Project (Source: BBC)
The head of the European Space Agency has said he is confident member states will elect to participate in the US manned Orion spacecraft. The ESA chief, Jean-Jacques Dordain, was speaking at a space conference recently held in Naples, Italy. The technology would only be used for one test flight in 2017 that has no crew. It will be part of Orion's service module, which provides propulsion, life support and other functions. The European technology would be developed from ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo spacecraft. (11/11)

NASA Needs to Live With the Money it Gets (Source: Florida Today)
Space exploration advocates are passionate. They believe strongly that journeys beyond Earth’s orbit, especially human missions, are an investment for our country and humankind. They’re right about the potential gains from sending humans deeper into space. But, I fear, they’re off base and hurting their cause when they lecture government leaders and taxpayers about inadequate funding and argue that space exploration should get the kind of money provided in the 1960s.

Every so often, advocacy groups offer up petitions or even advertisements talking about the relatively small cost of space exploration. They’ll present the case with examples such as “for the cost of a monthly cable TV bill,” you could get a more robust space exploration program. They’ll go to Congress with arguments about how they’ve gotten too many assignments and not enough money. It is not working.

Taxpayers’ minds are not being changed. Masses of people are not lighting up the switchboards at the offices of decision-makers at the White House, the Senate or the House. NASA and the advocacy groups supporting space exploration — some funded by big space contractors that would land lucrative contracts if more money were given to NASA — need to redouble their efforts on making good use of what is available. (11/11)

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