Voice, Visibility, Edge
An e-publication of the California Space Authority (CSA). SpotBeam items do not necessarily reflect the policy or opinions of CSA or its members and stakeholders.
March 17, 2008
California's Lieutenant Governor Issues Statement on Export Control Policy(Source: CSA)
California Lt. Governor John Garamendi issued a statement for the record that was read during the Aerospace States Association (ASA) Capitol Hill hearing on export controls in Washington, DC last week. ASA called the hearing to bring attention to the unintended consequences of current U.S.export control policies and practices. Panelists representing industry, academia, government, and the media testified to ASA delegates. ASA is a scientific and educational organization comprised of Lt. Governors and Governor-appointed delegates that promotes a state-based perspective in federal aerospace policy development. Visit http://www.californiaspaceauthority.org/images/press-releases/pr080311-1.pdffor information.
CaliforniaSpace Week in DC (Source: CSA)
Fifty-two members of the Californiaspace enterprise community traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with key executive branch officials as well as the CaliforniaCongressional delegation during the 10th Annual California Space Week. During the meetings, they focused upon five issues of vital importance to Californiaspace enterprise: (1) full funding for NASA, (2) adequate resources for DoD space programs, (3) a technical workforce of the future, (4) export licensing, and (5) space venturing.
AIAA Applauds Initiative to Modify Nation's Export Controls (Source: AIAA)
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) welcomes the proposal by the National Security Space Office (NSSO) to prudently but meaningfully modify the federal government's export control regime, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Controls on critical technology are essential to safeguard national security, but any policy must be measured by its actual effect on economic security as well as national security. As currently implemented, ITAR has adversely affected the strength and vibrancy of the domestic space industrial base.
Many other nations are now pursuing their own space programs, from operational control of communications satellites to manned space exploration, challenging U.S.preeminence in commercial and defense space capabilities. AIAA supports the NSSO's view that a targeted, strategic revision of export control policy is needed to ensure continued U.S.leadership in space technology. To that end, a public hearing organized by the Aerospace States Association was held on prospective strategic changes to the national export control regime. Over a dozen entities from industry, academia, government and the media sent representatives.
Space Weapons Agreements, Treaties, and Politics (Source: Space Review)
Recent events have renewed the debate on the effectiveness of a treaty banning space weapons. Taylor Dinerman discusses the arguments made in opposition to such a treaty made by a senior State Department official last week. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1078/1 to view the article.
China(and India) Outpacing NASA on Human Capital for Space(Source: Houston Chronicle)
"When I [NASA’s Mike Griffin] talk to senior Chinese officials, I don't ask them how much they are spending. I ask how many people are involved in their program. And they have told me on three occasions that their total effort is about 200,000 people. NASA's budget buys 80,000 people. Now they've got some catch-up ball to play, but they've got more people, and it's a significant effort. By the way, everything that we've just said about China, you could say about India. Indiais making enormous strides in upgrading its space program.”
China to Use Jumbo Rocket for Delivery of Lunar Rover, Space Station (Source: Xinhua)
A Chinese space expert said the Long March 5 large-thrust carrier rocket, currently under development and scheduled to be put into service in 2014, will be mainly used for the delivery of lunar rovers, large satellites and space stations. "With a maximum payload capacity up to 25 tons, the jumbo rocket is expected to be able to send lunar rovers, large satellites and space stations into space after 2014," said Liang Xiaohong, vice president of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The rocket's development was approved by the central authorities in 2007 following two decades of feasibility study.
China's Recoverable Moon Rover Expected In 2017 (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
Beijing (XNA) Mar 12, 2008 - China will have a recoverable moon rover, which will carry back lunar soil samples, by 2017 if technical research "progresses smoothly," said the chief designer of Chang'e-1, the country's first moon probe, here Tuesday. Chinaplans to land a probe on the moon in 2013.
South KoreaChanges Astronaut for April Mission(Source: SpaceToday.net)
South Korean officials have replaced the man who was scheduled to be the first Korean in space with his alternate after he broke rules during training. Ko San, a 31-year-old technology researcher, was selected in September to fly to the ISS on a Soyuz taxi flight to the ISS next month. However, South Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology replaced him Monday after Russian officials cited two rules violations by Ko: he shipped a training manual back home and also reviewed a manual containing information that he was not authorized to see. Ko will be replaced by his alternate, Yi So-yeon, a 29-year-old biotechnology researcher. The two were named finalists in late 2006 out of 36,000 who participated in a national competition; Yi trained in parallel with Ko after Ko was named to the flight in September. Yi will become only the second Asian woman to fly in space.
Indiato Launch Dedicated Meteorological Satellite(Source: India PR Wire)
Indiais set to launch an advanced meteorological satellite by the end of this year to boost its weather forecasting capabilities. The satellite INSAT-3D will give 'quantum jump in satellite meteorology', P.S. Goel, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said. This satellite is almost similar to GOES Satellites of the USand will have six channel imagers. The INSAT-3D data will provide quantitative outputs like vertical profiles of temperature and humidity, atmospheric motion vectors, sea surface temperature, snow cover and other related forecasts.
Earth Observation Satellites On the Rise (Source: Space News)
Earth observation satellite operators are expected to launch 29 satellites over the next 10 years, compared to just five in the previous decade. The private-sector involvement in Earth observation is part of a broader boom in the construction of Earth observing satellites expected between now and 2016 as more governments launch their own systems, according to a Euroconsult survey. The next 10 years are expected to see 199 Earth observation satellites placed into orbit, including 48 spacecraft dedicated to meteorology and located in both geostationary and polar low Earth orbit, according to the survey -- nearly double the number of Earth observation satellites launched in the decade ending in 2006.
Fifty-four of the non-meteorological satellites will be launched by governments that are well-established in the sector, including the United States, Russia, France, India, Israeland China. Joining these veteran government Earth observation agencies will be 52 satellites to be financed by governments that, until recently, had no independent Earth observation capacity. Among these nations are Algeria, Chile, Iran, Nigeria, Turkeyand South Africa.
United Launch Alliance Inaugural Atlas V California Launch A Success (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
Adding to the Atlas rocket's legacy of launches from the west coast that began in 1959, United Launch Alliance's Atlas V made its debut flight from Space Launch Complex-3 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base. It carried a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload. The launch ushers in a new era of space launch capability for the Air Force and ULA as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. For Atlas V, today's success builds on 12 previous Atlas V launches from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, starting in 2002.
Modifications to SLC-3E to support an Atlas V vehicle began more than four years ago when a 22-month development program was initiated. Construction began Jan. 5, 2004and was completed March 31, 2005. Major elements of the modification included raising the height of the mobile service tower by 30 feet; building a new 250-ton fixed launch platform; installing a new 60-ton bridge crane; replacing the ground command, control, and communication system; and finishing work on new and refurbished launch control and mission support centers.
ULA Launches Delta 2 with GPS Satellite from Cape CanaveralSpaceport(Source: SpaceToday.net)
A Delta 2 rocket successfully launched a new GPS satellite early Saturday. The Delta 2 7925-9.5 lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport and placed the GPS 2R-19 satellite into a transfer orbit as planned 68 minutes later. The satellite is the sixth in a series of modernized Block 2R GPS satellites, built by Lockheed Martin. The launch was the second in under 24 hours for United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin that builds the Atlas and Delta family of vehicles.
ULA Plans to Save Delta 2 (Source: Florida Today)
United Launch Alliance has a strategy to prevent the demise of the Delta 2 rocket program. The company's plan keeps the world's most reliable rocket in production beyond 2010, but the number of launches is expected to fall from six or eight per year to one or two. The ULA strategy will keep the Delta 2 program alive while the company waits and hopes for a resurgence in demand. By 2010, the plan will phase out 200 jobs and will vacate one of the Delta 2 pads and as many as 10 buildings at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. After Saturday morning's launch of a GPS spacecraft, the company has a total of 16 remaining Delta 2 launches planned from the Capeand from Vandenberg in California. Delta 2 rocket bodies and critical parts have been stockpiled to keep the program flying at the less-frequent rate after 2010.
California-Based Sea Launch Prepares for the Launch of DIRECTV 11 (Source: CSA)
The Sea Launch Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander have departed Sea Launch Home Port in California for the equatorial Pacific, in preparation for the launch of the DIRECTV 11 broadcast satellite, planned for Monday, March 17. Liftoff is expected at the opening of a 58-minute launch window, at 3:49 pmPacific Daylight Time. Upon arrival at the launch site at 154 degrees West Longitude, the team will ballast the platform to launch depth and initiate a 72-hour countdown for the Ukrainian/Russian-made Zenit rocket.
California-Based SpaceX Contracted to Launch ORS Payload (Source: UPI)
California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. says it has been contracted to carry the Operationally Responsive Space Office's first jumpstart mission onboard a June Falcon-One launch. Defense officials say the payload, expected to be decided before the scheduled SpaceX Flight readiness review, could include an Air Force Research Laboratory plug and play satellite bus, SpaceDev Inc. Trailblazer spacecraft bus or an Air Force Office of Scientific Research NanoSat-4, CUSat for the space testing.
Russian ILS Proton Launch Fails (Source: SpaceToday.net)
A Proton launch of commercial communications satellite failed early Saturday when the rocket's upper stage shut down prematurely, stranding the satellite in a transfer orbit. The Proton M lifted off from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, carrying the AMC-14 satellite for SES Americom. International Launch Services (ILS) announced an "anomaly" with the Breeze M upper stage, which apparently failed during its second burn. The spacecraft is stranded in an elliptical transfer orbit with an apogee of about 28,000 km, short of geosynchronous orbit.
The failure appears similar to one that took place two years ago, when Arabsat 4A was stuck in a transfer orbit after its Breeze M upper stage failed; that satellite was later deorbited. The failure comes only six months after another Proton launch failed when its second stage failed to ignite, a problem that was quickly determined and corrected. The failure is likely to put more stress on the commercial launch market, which has encountered higher prices caused by increased demand and constrained supply in the last couple years.
Shuttle Lifts Off on Mission to ISS (Source: SpaceToday.net)
The space shuttle Endeavour lifted off early Tuesday on a mission to deliver a Japanese laboratory module and robotic arm system to the International Space Station. The rare night launch took place with no significant problems reported during the countdown. Endeavour will spend the next 16 days in orbit, 12 of them docked to the ISS. Five spacewalks are planned for the mission, the most for any shuttle mission to the ISS. One member of the STS-123 crew, Garrett Reisman, will remain on the station after the shuttle departs, with ISS crew member Leopold Eyharts returning on the shuttle.
Debris Strikes Shuttle, NASA Expects No Serious Damage(Source: AIA)
NASA officials said a piece of debris may have struck Endeavour's nose after the launch on Tuesday. They said the debris probably did not do much damage to the shuttle if it did strike the nose because the shuttle's velocity was relatively slow. Experts are examining a video of the launch to learn where the debris came from.
Space Station Will Get Major Robot Arm Upgrade (Source: EE Times)
Space Shuttle Endeavour is carrying a Canadian-built humanoid robotic arm with unprecedented dexterity for a space robot. The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, was launched as part of a shuttle mission to the International Space Station. The orbiter is also carrying the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. Dextre has has an upper body that pivots at the waist and shoulders that support two identical arms, each with a hand with seven joints. The crew will install and begin testing Dextre, which will become the primary tool for maintaining and servicing the space station.
Space Station’s Dextre Robot Arm Needs Fix (Source: Reuters)
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency were working on a software patch to bypass a problem that is preventing the $209 million "Dextre" robot from tapping into the station's electrical system. "There's not a sense of great urgency," said a NASA official. "We don't have our hair on fire." Dextre can go at least five days before the cold of space becomes a problem. About half of the five spacewalks planned during Endeavour's 12-day stay at the station are dedicated to building Dextre, which has never been assembled on the ground. With 11-foot-long arms and a mass of more than 1.5 tons, the robot would topple in Earth's gravity.
Station’s Robotic Arm Successfully Installed (Source: CanWest)
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully powered up Friday night the lab's newest addition - a Canadian-made robotic arm called Dextre. The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator follows in the tradition of Canadarms 1 and 2 by replacing costly and dangerous spacewalks. Dextre was installed by astronauts after a wiring problem was bypassed by connecting the robot into Canadarm 2. Dextre won't be fully assembled until Tuesday.
Engineers Assess Problem Aboard Jules Verne Craft (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
An electronics box on Europe's first cargo ship shut down a propulsion system command chain responsible for a quarter of the space-age delivery truck's maneuvering thrusters. Officials stationed in a control center in Toulouse, France, are working to analyze the problem. During the propulsion system's activation sequence moments after reaching orbit, Jules Verne's computers noticed a slight pressure difference between the ship's hydrazine fuel and nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer being fed through valves. The suspect chain is redundant and controls seven of 28 attitude control jets and one the ship's four main engines.
ATV Propulsion Glitch Resolved (Source: SpaceToday.net)
European engineers have resolved a problem with the propulsion system on the first ATV cargo spacecraft, keeping the mission on track for a docking with the International Space Station next month. Shortly after its launch early Sunday, spacecraft controllers noticed a problem with the primary propulsion system on the ATV, where a "significant difference" in pressure between the fuel and oxidizer in the primary propulsion system caused computers on the spacecraft to shut it down. Engineers uplinked new commands to the spacecraft's electronics and, after shutting down the spacecraft's entire propulsion system, turned it back on successfully. The ATV performed a series of maneuvers on Tuesday that confirmed the propulsion system was working well. The spacecraft, the first in a series of European robotic cargo spacecraft, is still scheduled to dock with the ISS in early April after performing a number of approach and rendezvous tests after the current shuttle mission.
Station a Sharing Endeavor (Source: Florida Today)
Recent flights of so many international components of the International Space Station gives the appearance the United States is outnumbered in orbit. However, agreements negotiated in the 1990s before construction began give NASA a hold on a big share of the real estate aboard the growing space laboratory. The agreements give the U.S.control of 49 percent of the Europeans' Columbuslab, which was installed last month, as well as 49 percent of Japan's sprawling Kibo complex, the first piece of which will reach the station tonight. International officials and scientists expect constructive collaboration on experiments in areas such as drug testing, growing crystals and counter-acting bone and muscle loss caused by living for long periods of time in microgravity. "We pretty much have a sharing agreement," NASA space operations chief Bill Gerstenmaier said after launch.
Starship Troopers: Fleet of the Spacecraft (Source: The Independent)
A fleet of spacecraft is devoted to maintaining and supplying the ISS, delivering new crew-members, bringing astronauts home and ferrying cargo back and forth. These are the private jets, trash cans, trucks and escape modules of space, yet rarely do they attract the attention of the public on the planet below. Rockets may look explosive, but they are just the engines that deliver these craft to the edge of the atmosphere, where the real mission begins. Visit http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/starship-troopers-fleet-of-the-spacecraft-794369.html to view the article.
Does Space Need Air Traffic Control? (Source: Christian Science Monitor)
The way Kirk Shireman describes it, the International Space Station is fast becoming the O'Hare International Airport of low Earth orbit. Joking about the increasing flow of missions to and from the Space Station, NASA's Shireman said: "We're thinking about launching an air-traffic controller soon to keep it all straight." His jest, during a recent prelaunch briefing, highlights what several specialists see as an emerging issue for spaceflight in the 21st century: a need to overhaul the way people manage traffic in space – from human-tended craft and satellites to the long-standing problem of space debris.
Some say it may be time to set up an international body similar to the International Civil Aviation Organization to establish common standards and practices. Others suggest that individual nation-to-nation agreements could be enough. Whatever the approach, aerospace traffic management "is getting to be a hot topic," says Ben Baseley-Walker, a consultant for the Secure World Foundation, a space-policy think tank based in Superior, Colo.Meetings on the subject that drew a few dozen academics two or three years ago are now drawing crowds of nearly 200 from around the world, he says. And several of the newer attendees are wearing military uniforms. Visit http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0314/p01s02-usgn.html to view the article.
Satellite-Based Air Traffic Control Needed to Meet Demand (Source: AIA)
FAA officials last week forecast slow passenger growth for air carriers in the near term. Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell also noted that long-term demand will only be met if the nation shifts to a satellite-based air traffic control system.
A Solar System That Looks Like Home(Source: Science Now)
A disk of gas and dust 450 light-years away bears a close resemblance to our early solar system, astronomers report. The region contains relatively large quantities of some of the most important basic building blocks of life, and these are concentrated at a potentially habitable distance away from the parent star. The finding should provide new insights into how life managed to arise in our own neighborhood.
Hubble Detects Organic Molecule on Extrasolar Planet (Source: NASA)
NASA will hold a media teleconference on March 19 to report on the first-ever detection of the organic molecule methane in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star. Though the planet is too hot to support life as we know it, the finding demonstrates the ability to detect organic molecules spectroscopically around Earth-like planets in habitable zones around stars.
How to Get to Alpha Centauri (Source: Space.com)
Sending a person to Alpha Centauri within a human lifetime wouldn't be easy. Alpha Centauri is 4.37 light-years away — more than 25.6 trillion miles, or more than 276,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. But the lure has never been stronger. Scientists last week said the Alpha Centauri system has the ingredients for an Earth-like planet, and they think they can spot it. Conventional rockets are nowhere near efficient enough. At a maximum speed of about 17,600 mph (about 28,300 kph), it would take the space shuttle, for example, about 165,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. Visit http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/080313-tw-centauri-travel.html to learn about the various potential technologies to speed the trip.
How We Present Ourselves to Aliens (Source: Space.com)
Humans live and die by approximations. We are seldom as perfect or as accurate as we would like to be. And as we contemplate what we might say to an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, maybe that's a point we should emphasize. The only way we are likely to detect ET is if alien civilizations are much older than we are. If the typical civilization has the capacity to communicate by radio for only a few decades before it self-destructs, then it's very unlikely that we and they will happen to co-exist in the long lifetime of our galaxy. That disparity of age explains why current SETI programs merely listen for signals from other civilizations, rather than transmit. Transmitting requires greater patience and more resources than listening, so shouldn't we expect our cosmic elders to shoulder the burden?
Space Rocks Brought Life's Raw Material (Source: Space.com)
Nobody knows how life on Earth began, but the primordial soup likely got a lot of its ingredients from space. Scientists have discovered concentrations of amino acids in two meteorites that are more than ten times higher than levels previously measured in other similar meteorites. Amino acids are organic molecules that form the backbone of proteins, which in turn build many of the structures and drive many of the chemical reactions inside living cells. The production of proteins is believed to constitute one of the first steps in the emergence of life. So the finding suggests that the early solar system was far richer in the organic building blocks of life than scientists had thought. The researchers speculate that rocks from space may have spiked Earth's primordial broth.
Brown Scientist Answers How Peruvian Meteorite Made It to Earth (Source: BrownUniversity)
It made news around the world: On Sept. 15, 2007, an object hurtled through the sky and crashed into the Peruvian countryside. Scientists dispatched to the site near the villageof Carancasfound a gaping hole in the ground. Peter Schultz, professor of geological sciences at BrownUniversityand an expert in extraterrestrial impacts, went to Peruto learn more. What Schultz and his team found is surprising. The object that slammed into a dry riverbed in Peruwas a meteorite, and it left a 49-foot-wide crater. Soil ejected from the point of impact was found nearly four football fields away. When Schultz’s team analyzed the soil where the fireball hit, he found “planar deformation features,” or fractured lines in sand grains found in the ground. Scientists think it was traveling at roughly 15,000 miles per hour at the moment of impact.
Scientists have determined the Carancas fireball was a stony meteorite – a fragile type long thought to be ripped into pieces as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and then leaves little more than a whisper of its journey. Yet the stony meteorite that struck Perusurvived its passage mostly intact before impact. “This just isn’t what we expected,” Schultz said. “It was to the point that many thought this was fake. It was completely inconsistent with our understanding how stony meteorites act.” Visit http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2007-08/07-113.html to view the article.
Spacecraft Flies Through Saturn Moon's Plumes (Source: AP)
The international Cassini spacecraft collected science data on mysterious geysers spewing from Saturn's moon Enceladus and recorded new images of its surface during a close flyby. The pass Wednesday brought Cassini as close as 30 miles to the surface of the moon. It went through the icy geysers at 32,000 mph and an altitude of 120 miles. It's hoped that instrument data on density, size, composition and speed of plume particles will provide clues to whether there's a water ocean or organics inside the frozen moon. The geysers spew water vapor from fractures in the moon's south pole.
Software "Hiccup" Undermines Trip Past Saturn Moon (Source: Reuters)
A software malfunction prevented a key piece of equipment on the Cassini spacecraft from recording data as it flew through the plume from a geyser shooting off a moon of Saturn. NASA called the problem "an unexplained software hiccup" that came at a very bad time, preventing Cassini's Cosmic Dust Analyzer instrument from collecting data for about two hours as it flew over the surface of the moon Enceladus on Wednesday.
Priest-Cosmologist Wins $1.6 Million Templeton Prize (Source: New York Times)
The $1.6 million Templeton Prize, the richest award made to an individual by a philanthropic organization, was given to Michael Heller, 72, a Roman Catholic priest, cosmologist and philosopher who has spent his life asking, and perhaps more impressively answering, questions like “Does the universe need to have a cause?” He says science and religion “are prerequisites of the decent existence.” Much of Professor Heller’s career has been dedicated to reconciling the known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God. Professor Heller said he believed, for example, that the religious objection to teaching evolution “is one of the greatest misunderstandings” because it “introduces a contradiction or opposition between God and chance.”
Templeton Buys Another Scientist (Source: What's New)
The 2008 Templeton Prize was awarded to cosmologist Michael Heller, a Roman Catholic priest. The monetary value of the award is adjusted to be larger than the Nobel Prize. Initially, the prize was given to more saintly types, beginning with Mother Teresa in 1973, but of the last ten winners, seven have been physicists or cosmologists. After all, what’s the point in becoming rich and powerful if you can’t buy that which is important to you? For Sir John Templeton the important thing is scientists declairing that they see the hand of God in the laws of nature. Heller believes God’s existence can be found in the mathematical nature of the world. At the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Krakow, Poland, where he is a faculty member, Heller says he will use his prize to create a center for the study of science and theology, and will introduce his concept of "the theology of science."
Europeto Build Lab to Study Stars and Elements Form in Cosmos(Source: European Science Foundation)
One of the great ongoing challenges of astrophysics, to find out how stars evolve and die, is to be tackled in an ambitious European research program. This will involve studying in the laboratory over 25 critical nuclear reactions using low-energy stable beams of ions, in order to understand stellar evolution. Although astrophysicists have been studying these questions for half a century, progress has been held back by the experimental difficulties involved. But now there is the opportunity to exploit new technology to build a major laboratory that would propel Europeto the head of the field of stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis. “We now want to build a state of the art facility to disentangle all these problems,” said an official.
Huge Ice Deposits 'Seen' on Mars (Source: BBC)
Large volumes of water ice have probably been detected below Mars' surface, far from the planet's polar ice caps, scientists have said. The Sharad radar experiment, on Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft made the discovery in Mars' mid-northern latitudes. The ice is found in distinctive geological structures on Mars' surface that are hundreds of metres thick. The radar data suggest that some of these features consist mostly of ice.
20 Teams Competing in California-Sponsored Lunar Regolith Challenge(Source: CSA)
The California Space Education and Workforce Institute and California Space Authority have registered 20 teams to compete in the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge. The teams competing for the $750,000 prize purse hail from 12 states and represent a variety of backgrounds; including universities, seasoned private sector robotics teams, and industry based competitors. The Challenge event will take place during August 2nd and 3rd on the campus of challenge co-host CaliforniaPolytechnicStateUniversity, San Luis Obispo College of Engineering. Visit http://regolith.csewi.org/ for information.
Hardy Earth Bacteria Can Grow in Lunar Soil (Source: New Scientist)
A hardy life form called cyanobacteria can grow in otherwise inhospitable lunar soil, new experiments suggest. Future colonists on the Moon might be able to use the cyanobacteria to extract resources from the soil that could be used to make rocket fuel and fertilizer for crops. Cyanobacteria grow in water-rich environments. They are technically a type of bacteria, but like plants, they produce their own food via photosynthesis. (Sometimes called 'blue-green algae', cyanobacteria are actually not related to the algae they resemble.) Lunar soil is inhospitable to plants because many of the nutrients it contains are locked up in tough minerals that the plants cannot break down. But experiments show that some cyanobacteria are perfectly happy growing on lunar soil, if supplied with water, air and light.
Scientist: Space Vision Lacks Funds (Source: Florida Today)
President Bush has failed to back up his broad vision to revive the nation's interest in space exploration with adequate funding or even public support, a leading scientist told lawmakers Thursday. "The money that was promised to execute the mission has not been provided, and it's hard to say that the vision has generated much excitement, particularly among the young, who are expected to benefit the most," said Lennard Fisk, chairman of the National Research Council Space Studies Board.
Rep. Tom Feeney, the panel's top Republican, said both the president and Congress often are eager to assign NASA new missions -- without providing the necessary money. "The result of our actions is that NASA's resources are shrinking in real terms while the agency is charged with maintaining America's preeminence as a space faring nation," said Feeney, whose district includes part of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.
Bush Would Veto NASA Budget Increase (Source: Houston Chronicle)
If Congress approves an additional $2 billion over the next two years, NASA has a chance of making the Orion moonship ready to carry astronauts to the international space station by September 2013. Though there is some bipartisan support in Congress for the additional funds, the Bush White House has threatened to veto such a spending increase as the economy teeters on the verge of a recession. Mike Griffin said that by the time Bush leaves office in January, it will be too late to accelerate work on the moonship, even if Congress and the next president approve the additional billions of dollars.
Editorial: Without Bush's Support, Congress Has to Look After NASA (Source: DailyPress.com)
It's a shame that Virginiadoesn't have anyone on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees funding for NASA. A member of Congress with Hampton's NASALangleyResearchCenterin his or her backyard might be better able (as well as better positioned) to make the case for the important work done here. But while Hampton Roads might reap the direct benefit of NASA Langley's 4,000 jobs, and the well-educated, well-paid workers who contribute to the local economy and community life, the nation benefits from the work they do. We all benefit when our aerospace industry can stand up to foreign competitors — especially the European juggernaut, which is subsidized by governments and by publicly funded research.
We are all the beneficiaries of the discoveries made by NASA scientists studying Earth and space, and the applications to which their research is put. So it shouldn't take a Hamptonian, or a Virginian of any kind, to see what's wrong with President Bush's plan to slash funding for NASA Langley 13 percent. Make that another 13 percent. The center has endured cut after cut, largely targeting aeronautics research, and lost hundreds of jobs. It has lost so much ground that the $608 million the Bush budget allots Langleyfor next year is actually less than it received in 1996.
Lawmakers Use Launch to Pitch NASA (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space shuttle Endeavour lit up the night sky at Kennedy Space Center early Tuesday as it roared into orbit, thrilling onlookers, including a group of 19 influential members of Congress. The group was led by Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, and Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, a powerful NASA booster in Washington whose district includes Johnson Space Center in Houston. Gordon and Lampson said they hoped to impress the delegation with the spectacle of a night shuttle launch. "We want members to take back the message of the importance of NASA and make them understand the agency has ripple effect throughout the economy," Gordon said.
Infinite Quandaries Ahead (Source: Houston Chronicle)
NASA is hobbled by a serious lack of federal funds, upcoming layoffs and a debate on whether to shoot for the moon or Mars. As President Bush's term draws to an end, NASA faces one of the greatest challenges in its 50-year history. As it prepares to retire the space shuttle in two years and launch a new moonship by 2015, the space agency finds itself hobbled by chronic underfunding, presidential politics and a new debate in the scientific community over whether explorers should aim for Mars instead of the moon. "There is value in going back to the moon as an outpost, as a research area," said a former astronaut. But "we ought to move on (to Mars) and not get bogged down (on the moon) for all eternity."
The cost of the Bush venture is steep: an estimated $230 billion over the next two decades. And the space agency faces a personnel shake-up as well when the last of a dozen remaining shuttle missions concludes and the program's $3.2 billion annual budget is shifted to the development of the Orion crew capsule and its Ares 1 and Ares V rockets. About 17,200 workers employed in the shuttle program in Houston, Huntsville, Ala., and Cape Canaveral, Fla., or about 20 percent of NASA's entire federal and contractor work force, will see their jobs come to an end, forcing layoffs or retirements for those unable to move on to the moonship project, now in its infancy. Just over 25 percent of the shuttle's force, or about 4,700 people, are employed at NASA's JohnsonSpaceCenter. Visit http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/space/5621679.html to view the article.
NASA Extends Contract for Astronaut Training Facilities in Texas (Source: NASA)
NASA has issued a contract extension with a potential value of $78.25 million to Raytheon Technical Services to support facilities and operations for astronaut training at NASA's Johnson Space Center and the Sonny Carter Training Facility in Houston. The contract for operations at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory/Space Vehicle Mockup Facility will continue support to the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs. Work includes supporting astronauts and other subjects in an underwater, neutrally buoyant environment; maintenance and upgrade of mechanical, hydraulic, fluid and electrical systems; design and manufacture of space vehicle mockups; and operation of the two facilities. The contract's current value is $111.51 million.
A Look at NASA's Future Beyond the Shuttle(Source: Houston Chronicle)
Last week, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin sat down with the Houston Chronicle's editorial board and science writer Eric Berger. The NASA chief discussed the space agency's plans for the future as well as his views on competition with other spacefaring nations. Q: The shuttle will stop flying in 2010 so NASA can spend more money on the Constellation program, the next generation of spacecraft. If money were not a concern, would it be safe to continue flying the shuttle until 2015, when the first new vehicles should be ready? Visit http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/space/5621617.html to view the Q&A article.
Countdown to Hardship as Shuttle Nears Retirement(Source: Orlando Sentinel)
BrevardCountyofficials are counting down to what looks like a dark and troubled future. The county is facing thousands of imminent job losses and unexpected hitches in attracting new space business. According to Washingtoninsiders, NASA -- which until now has refrained from putting numbers on work-force losses -- will announce in two weeks that 4,000 jobs will disappear with the shuttle in 2010. Experts anticipate another few thousand associated jobs will follow suit.
Space advocates say it is unlikely that the new opportunities in commercial space that Floridahas been chasing will come close to making up those numbers. Even more worrying: the state is facing increasingly tough competition from other launch sites in the U.S.and around the globe. The news that Orbital might launch its new rocket from Virginiawas a huge blow to Florida's assumptions that all NASA-related launch activity would gravitate to the cape.
Editorial: FloridaLegislators Should Do More to Lure Space Investments(Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Florida's long-standing and lucrative title as the nation's space capital could be stolen. As the space-shuttle program winds down and the commercial space industry begins to take off, the SunshineStatewill get left on the launch pad unless legislators do more to keep up with the competition. In Florida, space is a $2 billion-a-year industry supporting jobs in 47 of 67 counties -- some of the best jobs in a state still too dependent on low-wage work. NASA is expected to announce soon that 4,000 shuttle jobs will disappear when the program ends.
Legislators representing the SpaceCoast-- Republicans Bill Posey in the Senate and Thad Altman in the House -- have sponsored a series of proposals that deserve support from other legislators, even in a tight budget year. More high-wage jobs will help Floridarecover from this slump and better withstand the next one. One of the legislators' proposals would create an incentive fund to attract space investments -- the same approach Floridahas used to land biomedical investments. The money would go further in this case, because unions representing space workers have offered to match state dollars.
Another solid proposal would create a joint effort among universities, businesses, NASA and the military to spur space-related research and development to diversify Florida's space activities beyond launch-related programs. And another proposal would make space investments eligible for the same kind of state tax incentives for which defense-industry investments already qualify. This one's really a no-brainer. These kinds of strategies are critical to keeping the space industry aloft in Florida.
Space Bills Advance Through FloridaLegislature(Source: ERAU)
Two space-related bills advanced through committees during the first full week of Florida's legislative session. HB-1055, which would establish a Space Technology & Research Diversification Initiative (STRDI), was passed unanimously by the House Economic Development Committee. HB-0737, which addresses "informed consent" for human spaceflight liability, was passed unanimously, with amendments, by the Constitution & Civil Law Committee.
AlabamaOfficials Successfully Court Aerospace Industry(Source: AIA)
Officials in Mobile, Ala., have made a concerted effort to attract aerospace companies to their city over the past few years. They visited Seattleto get a sense of how the city accommodates large aerospace firms. Their diligence has paid off: European aerospace company EADS has pledged to build refueling tankers and commercial jetliners in Mobile.
Former NASA Administrator Gets Job with GE (Source: The Advocate)
Former LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe is taking over General Electric Co.’s aviation operations in Washington, D.C. A former NASA administrator, O’Keefe stepped down amid controversy as LSU chancellor in January and has since continued to teach at LSU while looking into other job opportunities. O’Keefe said Thursday that he was attracted to a private sector job that matches his experience, where he can focus on strategic planning and government relations for GE.
Investment in Entrepreneurial Innovation: Why Cooperate? (Source: Space Review)
In the highly competitive world of business, why should companies work together to help develop a new industry? Paul Eckert explains why various companies and organizations are doing just that to help promote the entrepreneurial space sector. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1080/1 to view the article.
Trump Space Hotels? (Source: Space Cruise News)
Are Trump and Bigelow (sic) making a deal?...It may be TRUMP Space Hotels opening in early 2012. It is rumored that two more billionaires, Robert Bigelow, head of Bigelow Aerospace, developers of the world's first space habitat and Donald J Trump, Real Estate impresario, are close to a deal that will put the TRUMP name on Bigelow's Genesis I and II and perhaps III and more that will host the weary space traveler for the night. The deal, as we understand, would have Trump license Bigelow for an undisclosed amount of cash plus a percentage based on annual revenue. All travelers would indemnify Trump accepting all risks. Lots of details to be worked out but it sound pretty spacey to us! Visit http://www.spacecruisenews.com/ to view the article.
Lottery Winner: I'm Heading to Space (Source: Waikato Times)
An Auckland beneficiary who bought a lottery ticket on a whim is more than $5 million better off and hopes to travel into space. The man, who wants to remain anonymous, was on a bike ride when he had a spur of the moment drink stop in a New Zealandstore. "People have always told me that you can't win these big prizes - but now I'm the lucky bugger this week", he said. "I also want to look at travelling in real style - by booking a trip into space. It would be great to one of the first kiwis to make that trip."
GAO IDs Space Acquisitions Woes (Source: Aviation Week)
In testimony before the Senate on March 4, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that although DOD has made strides in addressing cost overruns and delays in space acquisitions, it continues to face persistent problems. "The majority of major acquisition programs in DOD's space portfolio have experienced problems, resulting in cost growth close to or exceeding 100 percent on some programs," said a GAO official.
GAO cited five notable programs that have incurred "substantial cost growth and schedule delays": the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF program. GAO acknowledged that DOD is operating in a challenging environment, pressured "to deliver new, transformational capabilities" while managing "problematic, older satellite programs" that continue to cost money, constrain investment dollars and pose a risk to capabilities.
Lockheed Martin Submits GOES-R Spacecraft Bid, Wins DARPA Satellite Contract (Source: CSA)
Lockheed Martin has submitted its proposal to NASA to design and build the spacecraft for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - Series R (GOES-R), the next generation geostationary environmental satellites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The proposal builds upon Lockheed Martin's 48 years of successful partnership with NASA and NOAA providing reliable weather and environmental satellite systems on schedule including TIROS, NIMBUS, UARS, Terra and Landsat.
Meanwhile, a Lockheed Martin team has received a $5.7 million contract from DARPA to compete in Phase 1 development of their System F6 space technology and demonstration program. F6 is shorthand for "Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange." The DARPA System F6 program intends to demonstrate that a traditional, large, monolithic satellite can be replaced by a group of smaller, individually launched, wirelessly networked and cluster-flown spacecraft modules. Each "fractionated" module can contribute a unique capability to the rest of the network, such as computing, ground communications, or payload functionality. The ultimate goal of the program is to launch a fractionated spacecraft system and demonstrate it in orbit in approximately four years.
EADS Goes Into Red With Loss of 446 Million Euros (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
The European aerospace group EADS, which owns planemaker Airbus, went into the red in 2007 with a net loss of 446 million euros ($684.6 million), caused by delays with its A400M military plane. In 2008 EADS expects to considerably improve its earnings to 1.8 billion euros against 52 million in 2007. Late last month the USawarded an aerial refuelling tanker contract worth $35 billion to EADS and the USgroup Northrop Grumman, instead of to USgroup Boeing, which has said it may protest the decision. It was a stunning upset for Boeing, until now the sole supplier of air refueling planes to the USmilitary.
Astrium Reports Higher Revenue, Profit for 2007 (Source: Space News)
The Astrium space division of European aerospace giant EADS increased revenue by 10.5 percent in 2007 and pretax profit by 34 percent following continued growth of the Astrium Services business for military users and increased production of the Ariane 5 rocket, EADS announced March 11.
Small Business Fair and Conference Vandenberg AFB, March 19-20
Contact Dee Perry at 805-605-7265.
Basics of System Engineering (BASE), Apr 1-3
SMC Industry Days, Apr 15-17
NASA Future Forum, April 18
RS6 Responsive Space Conference, Apr 28 - May 1
AIAA Sponsors Aerospace Workforce Conference on May 13-14(Source: SpaceTEC)
Inside Aerospace—An International Forum for Aviation and Space Leaders, a conference focusing on aerospace workforce issues, will be held on May 13-14 in WashingtonDC. Visit http://www.aiaa.org/agenda.cfm?lumeetingid=1949&viewcon=agenda&pageview=2&programSeeview=1&formatview=2 for information.
Responsive Access to Space Conference, May 19-23
International Space Development Conference, May 29 - June 1
http://isdc.nss.org/2008/ -. Discount Registration to CSA Members!
CSA Co-Hosts Satellite Conference in San Diegoon June 10-12(Source: CSA)
The California Space Authority is co-hosting a joint conference on satellite communications on June 10-12 in San Diego. For more information on the 26th International Communications Satellite Systems Conference (ICSSC), and the ISCe 2008 satellite & communications conference, visit http://www.isce.com/.
Joint Propulsion Conference Planned in Connecticuton July 20-23(Source: CSA)
This is the AIAA's premier event for engineering and management professionals focused on space technologies, systems, programs, and policy. Visit http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=230&lumeetingid=1874 for information.
2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge Planned Aug. 2-3
August 2-3, 2008on the campus of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. http://regolith.csewi.org/
Last Week’s DOD Contract Awards in California
Ocean Systems Engineering Corp., Oceanside, Calif., is being awarded $6,023,146 for task order #0040 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9020) to provide on-going engineering, technical, acquisition, administrative and management support to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Command and Control (C2) Systems (MC2S) Program Management Office (PMO). Specific programs covered under this Statement of Work (SOW) include MAGTF C2 Systems and Application, Joint Tactical Common Operational Picture Workstation (JTCW), Target Location Designation Handoff System (TLDHS), Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), Blue Force Situational Awareness (BFSA), Theatre Battle Management Core Systems (TBMCS) and Joint Interface Control Officer Support System (JSS). All programs are currently between Milestone B and Post Production Support and require support through all phases of the acquisition cycle. The focus of effort is support for engineering and management activities related to (MAGTF) Command and Control (C2) Systems (MC2S) programs to develop the capability sets and related projects into an integrated solution of hardware and software interoperability, system testing, engineering assessments, technical documentation, systems training, and on-site material fielding. Work will be performed in Stafford, Va., and work is expected to be completed in March 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $4,723,405 will expire at then end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.
Coastal Pacific Food Distributers, Stockton, Calif. , is being awarded a maximum $36,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for full line food distribution. Other locations of performance are the same. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. This is a bridge contract for Japan , Singapore and Diego Garcia. There was 1 proposal originally solicited with 1 response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is December 17, 2008 . The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa.
Applied Engineering Management Corp. is being awarded a not to exceed $36,235,103 firm-fixed-price task order #JN01 under previously awarded contract (N00178-05-D-4183) to provide maintenance for Electronic Navy Housing (eNH), an integrated enterprise system that supports housing business processes and program management throughout the Department of the Navy housing enterprise and that is compliant with Navy information technology specifications including the Navy-Marine Corp Intranet environment. Secondly, this task order is to provide on-site systems analyst and program management support for CNIC (Commander, Navy Installations Command) Housing. Lastly, this task is to provide continuing technical and project management support for the mission critical human resource management, baseloading and Inventory and Utilization (I&U) modules of eNH by providing contractor technical support representatives and systems integrators. Work will be performed in Virginia (90 percent); California (8 percent); and Colorado (2 percent), and work is expected to be complete March 2009 (March 2013 including options). This task order was initially sent out only to small businesses with only one proposal received at almost three times the government estimate. It was then solicited to both small and large businesses with two offers received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic , Norfolk, Virginia , is the contracting activity.
ITT Industries Avionics Div., Clifton , N. J., is being awarded a $111,540,000 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-05-C-0054) to exercise an option for the Fiscal Year 2008 full rate production Lot V of 66 AN/ALQ-214(V)2 On-Board Jammer Systems for the F/A-18 E/F Aircraft. This option combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($103,090,000; 92 percent), and the Government of Australia ($8,450,000; 8 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed at various locations for all other vendors throughout the U.S. (43.5 percent); Clifton, N.J. , (34.4 percent); East Syracuse, N.Y. , (8.8 percent); San Diego, Calif. , (8.3 percent); and Rancho Cordova, Calif. , (5 percent), and work is expected to be completed in Dec. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. , is the contracting activity.
Solpac, Inc., DBA Soltek Pacific, San Diego, Calif., was awarded $18,998,000 for firm-fixed-price task order #0007 under a previously awarded contract (N68711-03-D-7509) on Mar. 12, 2008, to design and construct a combined arms and military operations urban terrain training facility at the MAGTGTC Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms. Work will be performed in San Bernardino, Calif. , and work is expected to be completed by Sep. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif. , is the contracting activity.
Jacobs Engineering, Dumfries, Va., is being awarded $9,436,475 for task order #0016 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9017) to provide technical support to the Marine Corps Systems Command, Information Systems and Infrastructure Product Group (PG/ISI), Marine Corps Network and Infrastructure services program office for sustainment support and additional transition support to include assisting in monitoring the cutover progress and attending daily meetings. Throughout the contract period the Contractor will be required to coordinate schedules, assist with data collection for assets, user requirements management; application inventory; and related actions necessary to effect transition activities and seat cutover, technical refresh schedules and activities and life-cycle sustainment in the NMCI environment (e. g. SRM data collection, asset reconciliation and tracking). The scope of this task will be structured to reflect support for Major Commands across the Marine Corps sites. Work will be performed in Camp Lejeune, N.C.,(22 percent); New Orleans, La., (15 percent); Okinawa, Japan, (12 percent); Camp Pendleton, Calif., (11 percent); Quantico, Va., (11 percent); Miramar, Calif., (8 percent); Beaufort, S.C., (3 percent); Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, (3 percent); Albany, Ga., (3 percent); Arlington, Va., (2 percent); Bastow, Calif., (2 percent); Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., (2 percent); Yuma, Ariz., (2 percent); San Diego, Calif., (2 percent); and Paris Island, S.C., (2 percent), and work is expected to be completed in Mar. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va. , is the contracting activity.
I.E. Pacific, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $5,812,000 for firm-fixed-price task order #0006 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract (N62473-07-D-2015) for design and construction of additional parking level on the existing parking structures, Building 608 and Building 636, at the Naval Subase, San Diego. Additional parking expansion will provide approximately 172 additional parking spaces and will include additional electrical and mechanical (stand pipe system) utilities, paving and site improvement. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. , and work is expected to be completed by Mar. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif. , is the contracting activity.
McDonnell Douglas Corp., A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of the Boeing Company, Long Beach, Calif. , is being awarded a contract modification for $10,290,683. This contract is for FY07 Award Fee payment for the period 1 April 2007 thru 30 September 2007 . The award fee is based on performance on the Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership (GSP) Program. At this time $10,290,683 has been obligated. MSW/C17SG/PKS, Wright-Patterson AFB is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for $350,000,000. This action is for the Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Geostationary Earth Orbit satellite 3 (GEO 3) and Highly Elliptical Earth Orbit payload 3 (HEO 3) long-lead effort. The intent of the letter contract is to maintain the best possible GEO 3 and HEO 3 delivery dates for replenishment of strategic missile warning satellites and payloads. In addition, the letter contract facilitates the retention of critical payload engineering skills required to start the long lend redesign activities. At this time $175,000,000 has been obligated. Space Based Infrared Systems, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems in San Diego, CA, is a fixed price incentive firm target contract for $73,590,137. This action will provide long lead parts/advance procurement for the following low rate initial production Lot 7 items: three multi platform-radar technology insertion program sensors. At this time $33,890,137 has been obligated. 303 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio , is the contracting activity.