October 5, 2013

US Scientists Boycott NASA Conference Over China Ban (Source: Guardian)
NASA is facing an extraordinary backlash from US researchers after it emerged that the space agency has banned Chinese scientists, including those working at US institutions, from a conference on grounds of national security. NASA officials rejected applications from Chinese nationals who hoped to attend the meeting at the agency's Ames research center in California next month citing a law, passed in March, which prohibits anyone from China setting foot in a NASA building.

The law is part of a broad and aggressive move initiated by congressman Frank Wolf, chair of the House appropriations committee, which has jurisdiction over NASA. It aims to restrict the foreign nationals' access to NASA facilities, ostensibly to counter espionage. But the ban has angered many US scientists who say Chinese students and researchers in their labs are being discriminated against.

Editor's Note: From a NASA Watch commenter... "Frank Wolf's hatred of China goes beyond reason into the realm of delusion. As a result of his bizarre statements...he was removed from the Foriegn Relations Committee and put in charge, by the GOP, of the NASA budget, and he has used NASA in a shameful way to implement his personal animosity." (10/5)

Astronomer: Shutdown Could Waste a Year’s Worth of Work (Source: Science)
More than a year’s worth of expensive data used to trace the shape of the Milky Way galaxy could become worthless as a result of today’s closure of U.S.-based radio telescopes because of the government shutdown. “Holy cow, this is really bad,” radio astronomer Mark Reid said when informed by ScienceInsider that the telescopes were going offline. “If they don’t operate the telescopes, it could mean a year’s worth of data becomes useless.” And it would be a costly loss, he adds, estimating that the data cost $500,000 to collect. (10/5)

Chile, China Sign Agreement on Astronomical Research (Source: Xinhua)
China and Chile agreed on an annual fund of $3 million for joint astronomical research on Friday. The agreement was signed between Chile's National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Conicyt) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). "This is one of the most important milestones of Sino-Chilean cooperation in science and technology ever obtained," said President of Conicyt Mateo Budinich. (10/4)

New Mexico Gathering Lures Space Developers (Source: Las Cruces Bulletin)
With Orbital Sciences joining SpaceX in providing unmanned space cargo service to the orbiting International Space Station (ISS), the upcoming International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) is bringing in top officials of both ISS and SpaceX. That’s because SpaceX will be testing its single- stage rocket Grasshopper from Spaceport America, which is providing a suborbital “platform for innovation” for the new commercial space entrepreneurs, said ISPCS organizer Pat Hynes. (10/4)

US Shutdown May Mar India's Mars Mission (Source: DNA)
The US government shutdown has cast a shadow on India’s upcoming Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). With just over 20 days left for the MOM to embark on its journey to the Red Planet, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is in a tizzy as the NASA is among the US government agencies that is affected by the shutdown, that may, according to some estimates, last for weeks. There is no guarantee if NASA would be supporting Isro’s mission to explore the Red Planet. (10/5)

Reality TV Coming to New Mexico's Spaceport (Source: Albuquerque Business First)
Virgin has been testing its space planes in the Mojave Desert, but will launch its commercial spaceline in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant at Spaceport America. On Thursday the company that plans on launching civilian astronauts to space announced a new realty TV show competition called “Space Race,” which will be filmed at the Spaceport America in Southern New Mexico and shown on NBC. (10/5)

Certification for Space Industry Technicians Gets Trademark Boost (Source: SpaceTEC)
SpaceTEC has received formal notice from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that their registration application for "Certified Aerospace Technician®" has been approved. This has been a long-pending issue. The NSF-supported academic/industry consortium originally applied for the trademark in 2006. SpaceTEC has established an industry-adopted certification modeled after the FAA's A&P certification for aviation mechanics. (10/3)

New Shape-Shifting Metals Could Support Space/Aerospace (Source: BBC)
A new shape-changing metal crystal is reported in the journal Nature. It is the prototype of a new family of smart materials that could be used in applications ranging from space vehicles to electronics to jet engines. Called a "martensite", the crystal has two different arrangements of atoms, switching seamlessly between them.

It can change shape tens of thousands of times when heated and cooled without degrading, unlike existing technology. Currently, martensite metals are made of an alloyed mixture of nickel and titanium. They have the remarkable ability to "remember" their shape and even after being bent will return to their original form. For this, they are called "shape memory" metals. (10/4)

Teledyne Signs German Aerospace Center as Space Imaging Platform Partner (Source: SpaceRef)
Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville signed a memorandum of agreement with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for DLR to develop an instrument for Teledyne's digital imaging platform, the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) which will be mounted on the International Space Station. (10/3)

Russia Begins Testing an Android for EVA (Source: Technology.org)
Specialists from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia began testing the first Russian android SAR-400, which will become an assistant to the astronauts at the International Space Station. Information about the testing was presented by the GCTC deputy director Oleg Gordienko, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency and lenta.ru website.

“The tests will be performed at our cosmonaut training center. The robot is designed to perform certain tasks at the ISS and outside of it” ─ said Mr. Gordienko, noting that the robot is now able to carry out simple functions that are dangerous to humans. In particular, the SAR-400 may be used during spacewalks for visual inspection of the spacecraft in order to locate damage and repair it. (10/4)

3,000 Lockheed Employees Impacted By Government Shutdown (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Approximately 3,000 Lockheed Martin employees have been identified for furlough on Oct. 7 as a result of the government shutdown. The number of employees affected is expected to increase weekly in the event of a prolonged shutdown. This includes employees who are unable to work because the government facility where they perform their work is closed, or their work requires a government inspection that cannot be completed, or we’ve received a stop work order. (10/4)

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