October 13, 2013

Furloughed NASA Researcher Selling Prized Guitar on Craigslist (Source: NBC)
With no money coming in to pay bills, some federal workers are getting creative. One local father is willing to part with a prized possession to take care of his family. A research assistant at NASA since 2005, John Bolten is also a musician. He loves bluegrass, and he loves his acoustic guitar so much he named her “Blossom."

“I've had it since 2005,” he said. “It was my first nice guitar after graduate school. His graduate work in hydrology led to a great gig with the federal government, and everything was good for his growing family of four in College Park until the government shutdown. Now, in order to avoid racking up debt, he’s put Blossom on the block. (10/13)

NASA Drama Club Doubles as Support Group for Furloughed Workers (Source: Washington Post)
The furloughed NASA policy analyst peers out of her witch’s mask, brooding about the way her theater group’s production of “Into the Woods” has become a shutdown drama as well as a musical. “Theater people will generally do anything to make sure the show will go on,” explained Kathy Fontaine, who is among 100 cast and crew members in the production being staged by Goddard Space Flight Center’s Music and Drama Club. (10/13)

Colorado Makes Gains in Space Chase (Source: Pueblo Chieftain)
Colorado’s bid to remain one of the top states for the space industry took more steps forward this week. The proposed Colorado Spaceport east of Denver announced a client: a Switzerland commercial space flight developer wanting a U.S. base of operations. Meanwhile, a small private airport 16 miles east of Colorado Springs announced it is for sale with hopes a new owner can add businesses, including space flight testing.

James Roache, manager of the Springs East Airport near Ellicott, sees many potential space-related uses for the site that includes three runways. The airport recently signed with UAS Colorado, a consortium working to promote the state’s aerospace industry. (10/12)

Government Shutdown Deals Random Blows Locally (Source: Crain's Cleveland Business)
The government shutdown was hurting many Ohio workers and employers last week — and those who talked about it were more certain of Washington's incompetence than they were confident in its ability to resolve the problem quickly. Among those most affected are workers and contractors tied to NASA Glenn Research Center in Brook Park, said Michael Heil, president of the nearby Ohio Aerospace Institute, or OAI.

“NASA was hit harder than any other federal agency during the shutdown — a very high percentage of their employees nationwide have been furloughed,” Mr. Heil said. “The NASA Glenn Research Center, for all intents and purposes, is totally shut down.” That's about 3,000 workers, split roughly evenly between NASA employees and its contractors. (10/13)

Russia to Send Exploration Rover to Venus in Mid-2020s (Source: Itar-Tass)
Russia plans to send an exploration rover to Venus in the mid-2020s, according to Lev Zeleny, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Space Research. “The rover will reach Venus in a relatively short time and will work there for several hours, unlike previous rovers they were sent to Venus is 1975 and 1978 and transmitted data for minutes,” he said. He said that the dark spots observed on Venus’ surface, which changed their shapes, could be caused by chemical substances, such as sulfur. (10/13)

Endeavour Fest Sees Glitch with Government Shutdown (Source: KABC)
Endeavour Fest kicked off Friday at the California Science Center to commemorate nearly a year since the retired shuttle arrived at the museum. But thanks to the government shutdown, it's a grand celebration with a glitch. Crowds swarmed the 122-foot shuttle as the free weekend event got underway. Many special events are planned, but organizers say they learned Tuesday that there was no hope of NASA participating as scheduled because of the stalemate in Washington. (10/11)

The Future of Space Travel (Source: Times Union)
We’re dawning on a new age. The human race is taking its first step into the stars, but we are going to need a new form of transportation if we plan to get a working system. The use of fossil fuels to power rocket ships was practically obsolete before Yuri Gagarin made the first journey into outer space in 1961. The amount of fuel actually needed to propel the vessel out of the atmosphere exceeds the weight of the ship itself, and is, obviously, extremely inefficient. In fact, the entire weight of a modern spaceship is 95% fuel

The financial problems regarding actually getting a spaceship to move are a definite drawback, however space is the next frontier, and many of us have been willing to find the greatest ways for us to expand into the stars quickly and cheaply in the next century. But how are we going to revise our extraterrestrial travels? Surely the technology that would allow us to easily leave our planet or our own solar system are out of reach, right? Wrong. In fact, there are many scientific studies and new inventions regarding these problems.

The main problem, currently, is fuel. There simply isn’t enough of it for extraterrestrial missions to continue normally. It is extremely difficult to blast a rocket out of the atmosphere, and requires an unimaginable amount of fossil fuels. The need for fossil fuels can be eliminated through the use of Acoustic Levitation technology, or other forms of currently existing anti-gravity. With the use of magnetic forces that push against the Earth’s gravity, space crafts could easily be lifted, not blasted, into space. (10/13)

SpaceX Grasshopper Rocket Makes a Half-Mile Hop (Source: NBC)
SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket prototype made another record-setting vertical takeoff and landing this week from the California-based company's test pad near McGregor, Texas. But what's really cool about Oct. 7's half-mile (744-meter) ascent and controlled descent is the amazing view from a remote-controlled hexacopter that captured the video clip.

This is what a rocket launch and landing is supposed to look like. The 10-story craft is testing the technologies that would be required to have the first stage of a rocket fly itself back to base after launch. The Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 first-stage tank, Merlin 1D rocket engine, landing legs and a steel support structure.

Last month's launch of a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket provided a real-world test of rocket reusability, and although the test wasn't completely successful, it's only a matter of time before SpaceX gets it right. Then everything changes. Click here to see the video. (10/13)

Kentucky-Based Incubator Seeks Business Proposals (Source: Citizens in Space)
Space Tango, a Kentucky-based business accelerator, is accepting proposals for its startup funding and support program. In its initial round, Space Tango will accept up to six companies, which do not need to be based in Kentucky at the present time. Each selected company will receive up to $20,000 in funding.

Selected companies will also participate in a 12-week onsite program that will provide access to services, advisors, and networks to help start and grow an entrepreneurial space business. Space Tango is seeking companies with business ideas that involve small satellites and space platforms, the International Space Station, biotechnology, exomedicine, novel materials, energy, education, game design and development, and areas not yet contemplated. (10/12)

AIA President Pleads for End to Government Shutdown (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Aerospace Industries Association calls on Congress and President Obama to work together to pass a bipartisan solution that reopens the government as soon as possible. The negative impacts of the shutdown range from industry worker furloughs on programs that support the war fighter to delays in new aircraft certification and space systems launches. (10/12)

Workshops to Inspire Next Generation of Space Explorers (Source: Virtual-Strategy)
Working in partnership with the X Prize Foundation and Galactic Unite (the not-for-profit initiative of Virgin Galactic, its Future Astronaut customers and Virgin Unite), PlayLab today announced a series rocket-building workshops for children grade 4-7, designed to inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts and innovators. Click here. (10/13)

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