November 25, 2013

Bolden: Need to End Sequestration and Prevent Another Shutdown (Source: Space Politics)
“Sequestration is unreasonable,” he said. “My hope as the NASA administrator is that the Congress and the administration find a way to get us out of sequester because that is damaging to the program we have going.”

Bolden also warned against another shutdown like the one that halted most NASA activities for more than two weeks last month, saying it would be “tragic” if another shutdown occurred. “These guys are working at a really nice pace, and they were really moving out and they were doing all kinds of things on the vehicle when we told them they couldn’t come into this building for 16 days,” Bolden said, referring to work on Orion. “We can’t afford to do that again.” (11/24)

Burning Thunder (Source: Space Review)
As NASA works on the initial version of its Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, companies are working on concepts to increase the SLS's capabilities. Dwayne Day describes one effort that makes use of a version of the F-1 rocket developed for the Saturn V. Visit to view the article. (11/25)

Inspiration Mars: From Nonprofit Venture to Space Policy Adventure (Source: Space Review)
When Inspiration Mars first announced their plans for a human Mars flyby mission in February, their plan was to fund it philanthropically. Now, Jeff Foust reports, the foundation is seeking NASA support, and funding, to make the mission a reality, a challenge as daunting as any technical issue their mission faces. Visit to view the article. (11/25)

"The Obligation" and the Vision of Space Settlement (Source: Space Review)
Long-time space settlement advocate Vidvuds Beldavs discusses his history in space advocacy and how a new novel rekindled his vision of humans working and living in space. Visit to view the article. (11/25)

No Longer United by the Soyuz (Source: RBTH)
NASA has decided to stop using Russia’s Soyuz capsule as transport to and from the International Space Station. What does this mean for the station’s future? With Commercial Crew options already in progress, there is little doubt that the U.S. will be able to replace the Soyuz. NASA pays about $65 million for each flight on the Soyuz. Despite the initiative to develop commercial space carriers, the ISS project is no longer the most important thing for American astronautics.

In 2015, the ISS’s original operating agreement will expire. Although the decision has already made to keep the station operational until 2020, the reality of the station’s age must be taken into consideration. For the United States, the ISS is only one element in a space program that has already started preparing for mars and moon tours and exploring option for deep space. For Russia, on the other hand, the ISS is the only thing that remains of a once massive manned space exploration. Russia’s new technology for manned space flight remains mostly on the drawing board. (11/25)

Russia's Space Program Lacks Private Investment (Source: Space Daily)
Current state restrictions hinder the private sector from financing the development of Russia's space industry, a senior space official said. Russia is expected to spend 2 trillion rubles ($70 billion) on its space program up to the year 2020, but only 72 billion rubles will come from private investors ($2.2 billion), according to Denis Lyskov, deputy head of Russia's space agency, Roscosmos.

"The current system for managing the space industry through the use of non-market state regulation does not facilitate additional private financing for production in the civilian sector," Lyskov said. "Space companies' heavy dependence on full-scale financing from the state significantly hinders the development of the space industry in general," the official said. (11/25)

Sequester Highlights Fickle Public's Feelings on Budget Deficit (Source: Breaking Defense)
Despite repeated warnings from top defense officials about the detrimental effects the sequester will have on military readiness, Congress is dragging its feet on a response, according to House Armed Services Committee members. Some lawmakers are blaming the democratic process itself, which they say has led voters to expect to reduce the deficit without making difficult cuts to mandatory spending or raising revenues. "Until the country understands what legislating is, we're all in a tough spot," said Rep. Adam Smith, D-WA. (11/22)

Congress Seeks Ways to Blunt Sequestration Cuts in 2014 (Source: Bloomberg)
With a budget deal looking increasingly unlikely, some lawmakers aim to diminish the next round of sequestration cuts to the Pentagon. One idea being floated is "smoothing," which is redistributing the reductions for next year across a 10-year time frame. (11/25)

Mars Push Heralds New Era of International Cooperation in Space (Source: Aviation Week)
U.S., European and Russian space agencies are collaborating on NASA missions to Mars as governments face budget cuts. The Maven mission launched with a Russian-powered rocket, and the European Space Agency is working with Lockheed Martin on the Orion flight vehicle program. "Beyond Earth, in deep space, we will be on the same route, and we should jointly implement it," said Vitaly Lopota, president of human spaceflight hardware maker RSC Energia in Russia. (11/25)

Space Club Invites Nominations for Annual Debus Award (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club – Florida Committee presents its premier award, the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Award, for significant contributions to the advancement, awareness, and improvement of aerospace in Florida. This award will be presented at our annual Debus Dinner, scheduled for Saturday, 26 April 2014 at the Debus Conference Center in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Whether as a Space Club member or friend of the aerospace program, we encourage you to submit nominations for the 2014 Debus Award. Nominations must be made in writing and should be mailed to the address shown at the top of this letter to the attention of the Debus Award Selection Committee. The deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, 20 January 2014. Click here. (11/25)

How Habitable Is Mars? A New View of the Viking Experiments (Source: Space Daily)
Almost 40 years ago, two NASA probes on the surface of Mars scooped the soil in search of signs of microbes. The results that came back from the twin Viking missions were, to say the least, ambiguous. The scientific literature contains decades of debate over what they found.

A new study took a bit of a different track. Rather than focusing on the question of life, the SETI Institute-lead study, which was carried out at NASA Ames and recently published in the journal Astrobiology, was more interested in defining the martian environment that the Vikings sampled. Click here. (11/25)

Musk: Falcon-9 Will Capture Market Share (Source: Aviation Week)
With just over 24 hr. to go, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) founder Elon Musk says the company’s new Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket is ready to launch its first commercial payload to supersynchronous transfer orbit Nov. 25 from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. A successful launch of the SES-8 commercial communications satellite could help SpaceX unseat United Launch Alliance (ULA), whose Atlas V and Delta IV rockets hold a virtual monopoly on launching Pentagon, NASA and intelligence community payloads. (11/25)

Today's Falcon-9 Rocket Launch is a Florida First (Source: Florida Today)
A new SpaceX rocket will attempt its “toughest” mission today with a twilight launch of a type of satellite rarely seen around here anymore — one not owned by the U.S. government. The planned 5:37 p.m. liftoff would be the company’s first of an upgraded Falcon-9 rocket from Florida, after a test launch in California, and the first launch of a commercial communications satellite from Cape Canaveral in four years.

“Let me put this very clearly and maybe not too dramatically: The entry of SpaceX into the commercial market is a game-changer,” said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer for SES. “It’s going to really shake the industry to its roots.” SES would not disclose the cost of this launch, but said it is receiving a discount as the first to go with Falcon 9 for this type of mission, which SpaceX advertises online for $56.5 million. (11/25)

SpaceX Launch Won't Feature First-Stage Recovery Attempt (Source: Florida Today)
Unlike their recent flight in California, SpaceX will not attempt to recover the Falcon-9 booster. With the help of a ship in the Atlantic, data on the booster’s atmospheric re-entry will be collected to support future recovery attempts, possibly as soon as the next launch from Cape Canaveral, planned before Christmas. (11/25)

SpaceX Buys More Land Near Texas Spaceport Site (Source: Valley Morning Star)
SpaceX continues to solidify its presence in Cameron County. If property holdings measure the California-based space exploration firm’s interest in establishing a commercial rocket-launching facility at Boca Chica Beach, a recent purchase increased the likelihood six-fold.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX, through Director of Business Affairs Lauren Dreyer, Senior Manager Todd Ziegler and Dogleg Park LLC, recently increased its land holdings in the Boca Chica Beach area from 12 lots to 72 undeveloped lots at a tax sale on the front steps of the Cameron County Judicial Building in Brownsville, the Valley Morning Star found. (11/25)

Soyuz Launch From Kourou Rescheduled for Dec 18 (Source: Interfax)
The launch of a Soyuz ST-B rocket carrying a European Gaia satellite from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana originally planned for December 20 has been rescheduled for December 18, a source from the Russian space industry told Interfax-AVN on Monday. (11/25)

Pentagon Approves Latest Air Force Space Fence Plan (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Defense Department has signed off on Air Force plans to release a revamped request for proposals for its delayed next-generation space surveillance system. Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, said he expects a contract award for the Space Fence, a system of ground-based radars that would significantly expand the number of objects being tracked in Earth orbit, in April 2014. (11/25)

Why India Is Going to Mars (Source: New York Times)
If you want to marry in India and are looking for a bride or groom, normally you need to consult an astrologer, to learn whether the position of the planet Mars is favorable on your birth chart. If not, you may find it difficult to get the match of your choice. Lately, some employers have been trying this as well, matching their horoscopes with those of their prospective employees; companies are also comparing horoscopes with their clients for good fortune.

The influence of Mars and the other planets on the life of an average Indian cannot be forgotten, especially this month. On Nov. 5, a Tuesday — Mangalvaar in Hindi, named for the planet Mars — India launched its first mission to the red planet. Despite significant scientific achievements, many Indians are still guided by superstition, which sometimes is reflected in poor decision making. For example, mothers are often blamed if they do not give birth to a male child.

As recently as 2009, the government of Karnataka, a southern state, provided funds to temples for performing religious rituals to nullify the so-called evil effects of a solar eclipse. We still have a long way to go to counter backward superstitions, but we are making progress. During the eclipse of 1980, most people were too afraid to even come out of their houses. Leading up to the eclipse of 1995, however, an awareness campaign was carried out, and as a result, many villagers put on solar-filter glasses and joined the scientists to watch the phenomenon. (11/25)

Mars Mission Can Alter Space Economics (Source: Arab News)
Over the past several millennia, Indian civilization has consistently nurtured scientific values. In fact, India has for ages been the fountainhead of scientific advancement and foundational research work, including some pioneering discoveries in the field of mathematics and astronomy. The country’s space research has been inspired by Aryabhatta, the great mathematician who influenced the course of space science through his numerical discoveries as early as in the 5th century.

Even foreign agencies specialized in space science might be tempted to outsource certain aspects of their space mission to India in order to rationalize burgeoning budgets. However, to harness the full potential of ISRO, the Indian government needs to overhaul the country’s space policy. It is a must to enable private players and foreign governments exploit ISRO’s impressive portfolio of space products and services. (11/25)

Maryland and NASA Deal Will Foster High Tech Industry in State (Source: Daily Journal)
NASA and the state of Maryland are striking a technology transfer deal aimed at boosting the state's appeal to the high-tech industry. U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski's office says Monday's signing of a memorandum of understanding at the Goddard Space Flight Center will enable future NASA missions and help ensure Maryland's economic future.

Technology transfer agreements help turn research discoveries into marketable products. The Goddard center houses the nation's largest organization of scientists, engineers and technologists developing spacecraft, instruments and technology for space exploration. (11/25)

China Successfully Launches Experimental Satellite (Source: Xinhua)
China successfully launched the Experiment-5 satellite into a preset orbit with the Long March-2D carrier rocket at 10:12 a.m. Monday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The satellite will conduct technological experiments and environmental surveys. It is the 185th launch of the Long March series of carrier rocket. (11/25)

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