May 25, 2014

Budget Cuts Drive New Concepts for Military Satcom (Source: Defense News0
With sequestration likely to remain, the US Air Force is looking for ways to drive down cost on protected military satellite communications. "Our budgets are shrinking, the threats are getting harder and the requirement and need is getting greater,” warned David Madden, executive director of the service’s Space and Missile Systems Center (AFSMC). Madden said AFSMC’s budget has been cut from $10 billion to $5.6 billion without a drop in the services it must provide.

That’s forced some creative thinking, and will likely lead to a greater reliance on the commercial industry. “It’s actually allowing us to do some things that we always kind of wanted to do but no one would do because the risk associated, and [back then] we had the money,” Madden said. “Now they’re actually listening to some ideas.” That includes joint ventures with allies. (5/24)

Boeing and ULS Lawsuit Against Air Force Grinds On (Source: Valley Morning Star)
A lawsuit involving the U.S. Air Force and aerospace companies United Launch Services (a ULA subsidiary) and Boeing continues to play out in court. The government maintains that United Launch Services’ and Boeing’s claim for roughly $400 million from the Air Force in deferred costs for launch services is barred by “illegality,” and that a government purchasing contracting officer had no authority to agree to reimburse deferred costs.

ULS and Boeing filed the lawsuit in July 2012, contending that the Air Force breached its commitment to allow recovery of deferred production costs (DPC) and deferred support costs (DSC) for launch services under the EELV program. The U.S. Attorney General’s Office responded by counter-suing ULS and Boeing. The court has directed the parties to complete the discovery process by Oct. 24. (5/24)

SpaceX Buys More Texas Land Near Spaceport Site (Source: Valley Morning Star)
Four more lots in the Boca Beach area are no longer on the market. SpaceX just purchased them. Dogleg Park LLC, on behalf of Elon Musk’s California-based SpaceX, purchased the properties from private property owners a few days ago. The firm had purchased an additional two lots earlier this month. (5/24)

Mars' Minerals Could Be Microbe Made (Source: ABC Science)
New Australian research suggests Martian minerals may have formed from biological rather than geological origins. The findings indicate the mineral stevensite, which is found on both Earth and Mars, can be created either in hot, highly alkaline volcanic lakes, or by mineralization in living microbes. (5/23)

Space Coast Native Promotes KSC Visitor Complex (Source: Florida Today)
It's a hot, humid day in May at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, but senior public relations manager Andrea Farmer is determined to show off one last experience. She heads to the Space Shuttle Atlantis venue and, after a short film detailing the creation of the space shuttle, she walks with the scores of visitors into a large hallway. She waits in the back. The view is better, she says.

The lights go down and another film begins, showing close-up scenes of traveling in space on board Atlantis. Then, as the music swells, guests get the big reveal, an up-close view of the real deal. Andrea watches reverently, then slyly wipes her eyes. "I don't know how many times I've seen this," she says. "It's so moving." Click here. (5/24)  

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