July 8, 2013

A Day Without Pay Ahead for DOD Workers (Source: Bloomberg)
A day without pay, the first of 11 through September, comes next week for more than 650,000 people who hold civilian jobs with the Defense Department. Officials worry that the Pentagon will be hit even harder by layoffs in 2014 if automatic budget cuts continue as planned.

Roughly 85 percent of the department's nearly 900,000 civilians around the world will be furloughed one day each week over the next three months, according to the latest statistics provided by the Pentagon. But while defense officials were able to shift money around to limit the furloughs this year, thousands of civilian, military and contract jobs could be on the chopping block next year. (7/6)

Things that Go Boom in the Night (Source: Space Review)
Last week a Proton rocket malfunctioned and crashed spectacularly, an incident immediately known to the general public.  Dwayne Day looks at a previous launch accident what was not immediately acknowledged by the Soviets but noticed by the American intelligence community. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2327/1 to view the article. (7/8)

Mist Around China's CZ-3B Launch Disaster, Part Two (Source: Space Review)
In the conclusion of his two-part article, Chen Lan examines exactly where the Long March 3B rocket crashed in February 1996 and whether the crash could have caused the large death toll that many in the West have speculated. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2326/1 to view the article. (7/8)

An Alternative View of the HGS-1 Salvage Mission (Source: Space Review)
Mark Skidmore, the Hughes program manager for the HGS-1 satellite recovery effort 15 years ago, offers a different recollection of some of the key events in that program than what was published in a recent essay here. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2325/1 to view the article. (7/8)

Fresh Ammunition for Commercial Crew Proponents in NASA OIG Report (Source: Space News)
With the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee poised to take up NASA’s 2014 budget request July 10, a new report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) highlights why the agency has been fighting year after year to win full funding for its Commercial Crew Program.

The July 8 report, “NASA’s Efforts To Maximize Research on the International Space Station,” notes that once any one of the three private space taxis now under development finally enters service, NASA and its partners stand to nearly double the amount of crew time devoted to research. Click here. (7/8)

House Democrats Preparing Their Own NASA Authorization Bill (Source: Space News)
Democrats in the House are set to unveil their own NASA authorization bill, which unlike a much leaner Republican proposal due to be marked up June 10 would authorize $18 billion in spending for 2014 — more than NASA has gotten since 2011. Compared with the draft proposal unveiled in late June by the Republican leadership of the House Science space subcommittee, the Democratic bill would authorize more than $1 billion in additional NASA spending for 2014.

But with Republicans controlling the agenda in the House of Representatives, it remains to be seen whether the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s GOP leadership will give formal consideration to Rep. Donna Edwards’ (D-MD) bill. Edwards’ proposal is similar to the Republican bill in several ways: First, authorized funding for NASA’s Planetary Science Division would rise to about $1.5 billion in 2014, restoring the program to its 2012 level. Likewise, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program would be authorized for $700 million in 2014, exactly what the Republican bill proposes.

The Republican bill would ban an asteroid retrieval mission the Obama administration proposed and instead direct NASA to send more astronauts and hardware to lunar space. The Republican bill, which assumes NASA will be subject to across-the-board sequestration cuts for the foreseeable future, also called for shrinking NASA’s Earth science program and restructuring NASA management. The official summary of the Democratic bill mentions none of these things, and directs NASA to only one destination: Mars. (7/8)

Interceptor Misses Target in U.S. Missile Defense Test (Source: Space News)
A U.S. missile defense interceptor missed its target during a July 5 test of the nation’s ground-based missile shield. The test followed a two-year hiatus and marked the third consecutive unsuccessful intercept of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. Two similar tests in 2010 also failed to lead to an intercept.

A long-range target missile was launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, and a ground-based interceptor that launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., failed to destroy it, according to the release. The exercise was designed to test the Raytheon-built first-generation Capability Enhancement 1 Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle , which is used in Alaska and California. (7/8)

Advice From Space (Source: Space Safety)
Astronaut Chris Hadfield touched many people’s lives during his time onboard the International Space Station. One of them was Gavin Aung Than. Than was impressed with Hadfield’s response during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) event, when asked what advice he would give to a young person who wished to become an astronaut, so he turned it into this cartoon. (7/8)

Hidden Maryland: NASA Goddard Clean Room (Source: Baltimore Sun)
Once you've passed through a vestibule, an air shower, a changing room and three more doors separating the grime of life from the "clean room" where NASA is building the James Webb Space Telescope, a gust of 72-degree filtered air greets your face. That's the only exposed skin allowed inside.

To prepare for the room, shoe-covering booties and a hair net go on first. Step out of the air shower onto a sticky pad (known to pull a shoe clean off) to remove any excess dirt underfoot. Don a four-piece head-to-toe jumpsuit, and don't forget the gloves — taped on around the wrists — and you're ready to go inside. Click here. (7/8)

NASA's GPM Mission Announces Anime Contest Winners (Source: NASA)
She can evaporate water with her hair. He measures all the rainfall and snowfall on Earth. Selected as the winners of the Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Anime Challenge, these two characters will star in their own comic series to help teach the public about precipitation science and the Global Precipitation Measurement mission.

The GPM mission, a collaboration between NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the space agencies of France and India, and other international partners, challenged people from around the world to design an anime character to help demonstrate GPM educational science themes of the water cycle, weather and climate, and technology. Anime, short for animation, is a Japanese style of art that has filled shows and comics that are popular around the world. Click here. (7/2)

Int'l Ministerial Confab on Space Exploration to Convene in January (Source: Kyodo News)
The United States will host an international conference on future space exploration with ministerial-level delegates from some 40 countries plus the European Union on Jan. 9 in Washington. The multilateral conference, the first of this kind hosted by the U.S. government, will be held at the State Department. A second session of the confab will likely be convened in Japan in 2016, the source said.

The confab, which will also be attended by the Paris-based European Space Agency, will discuss international cooperation in future space exploration, including possible voyages to Mars and other planets. The United States is keen on leading international efforts in the field, including participation by Japan, in light of the Chinese government's plans to build its own space station in the not-so-distant future, the source said.

The United States will invite China, Russia and the European Union to send ministerial-level representatives to the conference, the source also said. The conference will highlight the importance of expediting international cooperation in manned and unmanned space exploration. Delegates are expected to discuss how to push multilateral collaboration by building on the current cooperation over the International Space Station among Japan, Canada, Russia, the European Union and the United States. (7/8)

Indian Space Agency Wants Second Rocket Assembly Facility (Source: Space Daily)
"The Department of Space has approved the project which is awaiting the final nod from the government," a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The Indian space agency is awaiting the government's nod for one more vehicle/rocket assembly building at its second launch pad in Sriharikota at an outlay of around Rs350 crore.

The second vehicle assembly building for the second launch pad at its rocket port in Sriharikota will enable ISRO to put together the various stages/engines at a faster pace into a full rocket and increase the number of launches in a year. Presently, ISRO has two rocket assembly facilities and two launch pads. It needs over a month's time to ready a launch pad after each rocket blast-off. (7/8)

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