From:                              Edward L Ellegood [ellegooe@erau.edu]

Sent:                               Sunday, August 02, 2009 9:46 PM

To:                                   ERAU@space.com

Subject:                          FLORIDA SPACErePORT

 

1

FLORIDA SPACErePORT

A Weekly Chronicle of Developments in the Space Industry

News and editorial summaries don’t reflect the policy or opinions of Embry-Riddle or its partners. Click HERE for a searchable archive with daily updates. Click HERE to be removed from distribution, or HERE to be added.

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August 3, 2009

 

With Time Running Out, Panel has Plenty of Info to Absorb (Source: Huntsville Times)
A ticking clock might set up the next decade for NASA, said Norman Augustine, head of a White House panel given three months to make recommendations to President Barack Obama for the future of space travel. "We are here to gather information and make recommendations," Augustine said. "We have 34 days from today before our report has to be at the printers." Augustine added that panel members have not "made up our minds about any one area. We will offer recommendations only." (7/30)

NASA's Limited Budget Boxes-In Augustine Panel (Source: Space News)
A blue-ribbon panel under the gun to present options to the White House by mid-August for a safe, affordable and innovative human spaceflight program spent three days of public hearings grappling with budget realities that hem in NASA's choices. "Unless additional money is added to the program, there's a very tough tradeoff to be made," said Norman Augustine.

Sally Ride, the former astronaut who leads one of five panel subgroups, caused a stir July 28 when she insisted that any options the panel presents the White House in August for a sustainable human spaceflight program incorporate two key assumptions: that NASA will need to keep flying the space shuttle through at least March 2011 in order to complete its seven remaining missions, and that the Space Station should remain in service –- and supported by NASA –- through at least 2020.

Ride's recommendations, presented during the July 28 public meeting in Houston, encountered opposition from fellow panelists concerned that the $10 billion to $15 billion cost of her proposal would lengthen NASA's confinement to low Earth orbit. (8/1)

Augustine Update: Return to Moon Unlikely Before 2028 (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
NASA's goal of putting astronauts back on the moon by 2020 is all but impossible to achieve, a presidential panel was told Wednesday. An independent study concluded there is little hope NASA could replicate anytime soon what Apollo accomplished 40 years ago. And sources said an undisclosed part of the study showed another moon shot won't happen before 2028 -- nearly 60 years after America's first moon landing.

"We can't see [the gap] closing," Gary Pulliam, an analyst with Aerospace Corp., told a near-silent audience in Huntsville, Ala. A NASA budget analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of NASA or the committee, said American astronauts have a remote chance of returning to the moon by 2028, although another source close to the panel said 2035 was more likely. (7/30)

Sally Ride: Ares/Orion Launch Likely Delayed to 2017 (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Former astronaut Sally Ride told fellow members of Augustine Panel that she did not expect that Constellation's Ares I rocket and Orion capsule could complete a first mission into low-Earth orbit before 2017 -- two years after its target date. A second estimate, calculated by Pulliam on Wednesday, was even more pessimistic. Due to ongoing technical troubles and insufficient funding, he said, Constellation's first mission could be delayed as many as four years, to 2019. "It should not surprise anyone that problems exist," he said. (7/30)

Major Shuttle and ISS Extension Drive at the Augustine Commission (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
With NASA authorization language already being drawn up behind the scenes by Congress, Augustine Commission ISS/Shuttle subgroup lead Dr Sally Ride – along with several key NASA and United Space Alliance (USA) managers – have embarked on a major push to extend the shuttle program, linking the move with the allowance for the International Space Station (ISS) to operate until 2020.

Efforts to extend the shuttle program past 2010 have been ongoing for over a year, with the main concern relating to the ever-growing gap between the last flight of the shuttle and the first operation flight of Orion via Ares I. Problems with extending shuttle mainly relate to the need for additional funding, with the current shuttle budget forecast to be handed over to the Constellation Program (CxP) in 2010. Another problem relates to the skill set, with thousands of layoffs already announced within the shuttle program – most recently at JSC and KSC. Click
here to view the entire article. (7/28)


Longer Life for the Space Station Is Advised (Source: New York Times)
Members of the Augustine Panel said the life of the International Space Station should be extended past its planned demise in 2016. “We think all the options going forward should continue I.S.S. extension in some form,” said Sally Ride. The shuttles can carry a far greater load into orbit than any other rockets now in use, and can also bring heavy items back to the ground. “We’re putting I.S.S. in a very fragile situation the moment we retire shuttle,” Dr. Ride said.

Editor's Note: Here's another Florida hot-button. The state has urged a bigger role for KSC in supporting the ISS "National Laboratory" activities, including at the state-funded Space Life Sciences Lab at KSC, which was developed specifically for ISS research support. (7/31)

 

Presidential Panel Ponders Shuttle Extension (Source: Florida Today)
A presidential panel is reviewing an option to extend the shuttle program through 2014, significantly reducing an anticipated five-year gap in U.S. human spaceflight. The option is one of three that the panel -- dubbed presented during a public hearing in Texas. The other options: retire the shuttle fleet as planned near the end of 2010; and add one additional shuttle mission and keep flying the shuttle through 2012. Former NASA astronaut Sally Ride said the option to extend shuttle flights through 2014 is "the most realistic way to significantly reduce the gap" while taking advantage of the full capabilities of the International Space Station. (7/28)

Ride: With Ares I Delayed Until 2017, Let's Fly Shuttle (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Noting that she brought nothing but "doom and gloom," Sally Ride told the Augustine Panel she did not expect NASA to launch its planned replacement to the space shuttle before 2017 -- two years after its target date. The delay would mean NASA would go at least six years without sending astronauts into orbit, so Ride also suggested extending shuttle flights beyond their retirement date of 2010 or 2011.

Ride, who was America's first female astronaut in space and one of 10 members of a presidential committee studying America's manned space program, laid out three options, one of which would add flights to the seven now scheduled and keep the shuttle flying past 2012. She justified extending the shuttle because "Constellation is likely to slip," citing ongoing financial and technical problems.

Of her three proposals, the most ambitious would extend the shuttle era through 2014, with one or two flights annually. But Ride said this idea only would make sense if NASA scrapped Constellation and went with a new rocket built largely from shuttle parts. (7/28)

Extending Shuttle Lifetime Raises Safety and Cost Issues (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Keeping the shuttle flying longer raises both safety and cost issues. Steve Lindsey, chief of the astronaut office, testified Tuesday that astronauts flying in the shuttle face a risk of dying comparable to troops landing at D-Day, though engineers in the space community say the orbiter is far safer than that. And the overhead for maintaining the shuttle fleet amounts to about $2 billion a year, with each launch costing up to $500 million more.

One big reason Griffin had sought to retire the shuttle was to free up that money for the Constellation program. Once the shuttle retires, KSC is expected to shed as many as 7,000 jobs, said Lisa Rice, president of Brevard Workforce Development Board. Worse, those job losses likely would ripple through the Space Coast, causing three times as many pink slips in the surrounding community, she said.

So when Ride mentioned the shuttle extension idea, it created a flicker of hope. "We would absolutely love that," said Rice, who plans to lobby the commission on Thursday when it visits KSC. "It helps us retain a highly-skilled workforce that can be ready for that next generation of space vehicle." (7/28)

Sen. Nelson Supports Shuttle Extension (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), in prepared comments for the Augustine Panel, said he supports the expansion of the Space Shuttle program, "to a point in time that would lessen the gap so that we can have Americans riding American vehicles to get to our station, and then on to the moon, and then on to Mars... If we cannot get this next set of space shuttle flights off in time by the end of fiscal year 2010 or by the end of calendar year 2010, [NASA should] commit to flying out all of these space shuttle flights to complete the station and to equip it." (7/30)

Sen. Martinez Does Not Support Shuttle Extension (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), in prepared comments for the Augustine Panel, said he does not support the extension of the Space Shuttle program... "I do not believe that the Shuttle program should be extended beyond the current manifest. While such an extension could help to limit job losses in the short term, I am concerned it could further delay progress on development of our next heavy lift launch vehicle." (7/30)

Congresswoman Kosmas' Urges Expanded "Supply Chain" Role for KSC (Source: Rep. Kosmas)
"One common responsibility for each of the Working Groups of this Committee is that each is focusing on 'industrial skill base'. Nowhere is that issue more critical than here in Florida. To that end, I urge you to consider offering an option that would establish a program office at KSC to manage the supply chain and logistics for the next generation spacecraft. As the final destination of the vast majority of the components and systems purchased by the Federal Government before departure into space, KSC could lead the way to a more sophisticated procurement mentality - which would reduce operating costs - and a healthier industrial base for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial launch activities."

Editor's Note: This proposed supply-chain and logistics role for KSC is not a far departure from current practice. The NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot at Cape Canaveral can evolve and grow to support next-generation launchers, as well as ISS and other off-Earth habitat systems. It would be a logical and value-added move if NASA really wants to mitigate the Shuttle job losses coming soon at KSC. (7/31)

Keeping The Space Program Thriving After Shuttles Retire (Source: CFL13)
Space Florida says more experimentation at Kennedy Space Center can be one of the many things to keep the space program thriving in the state. In three "white papers" addressed to special committees within the Augustine Panel, Space Florida recommends: Using Florida launch facilities already in place would save money; Developing new heavy lift capability to support the ISS and future missions; Utilizing the shuttle workforce already in place to make it happen. (7/28)


Space Coast Jobs Slipping Away (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The pace of job losses is picking up along Florida's Space Coast, as two more space-services contractors plan to dismiss scores of workers there by October, the state's labor agency said Wednesday. Securiguard Inc. and Jacobs Technology Inc. are the latest contractors shedding jobs at Cape Canaveral Spaceport as a result of NASA cutbacks or budget belt-tightening by the U.S. military.

Securiguard recently notified the state it plans to eliminate more than 150 jobs and close down its security-services operation at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company said more than 200 workers will be laid off by Oct. 1, the start of the federal government's 2010 fiscal year. Meanwhile, NASA contractor Jacobs Technology notified the state it plans to lay off about 50 workers — or more than one-third of its payload-processing staff at KSC, according to state labor agency. (7/30)


ULA to Cut 224 Jobs by Mid-October (Source: Denver Post)
United Launch Alliance will cut 224 employees by mid-October. Of the job cuts, 87 are in Colorado, where 1,800 of the joint rocket venture's 3,900 employees are based. Florida-based launch operations will trim 123 jobs, and 14 rocket-assembly workers will be cut in Alabama. (7/28)

Florida Launch Service Group to Lose up to 45 Positions (Source: Florida Today)
Up to 45 workers at Space Coast Launch Services involved with the Delta II program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station could lose their jobs after a Global Positioning Satellite launch next month. On Thursday, a warning letter was sent to all 300 Space Coast Launch Services workers about the upcoming situation. Up to 15 percent of them could be affected. "When the last Air Force (Delta II) launch flies next month, the Air Force no longer requires Launch Complex 17," company president Steve Griffin said.

Launch Complex 17 has two launch pads, 17A and 17B. After the Air Force launch in August, pad 17A will close. The two remaining launches, overseen by NASA, will fly from pad 17B in September 2009 and September 2011. Space Coast Launch Services might depend on NASA for money to operate and maintain launch pad 17B. While some layoffs are possible soon, Griffin did not know the number and was required by federal law to warn all workers who might be affected. (8/1)

 

Augustine Panel Weighs "Vision" -- But Doesn't Talk Jobs (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The Augustine Panel challenged NASA's vision of establishing a Moon outpost and instead weighed other ambitious options including a free-ranging program to visit destinations throughout the inner solar system. Noticeably absent, however, were discussions of NASA's workforce. Even testimony by Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp did little to steer the conversation in that direction, though he said the state faces an "economic shock wave" after Shuttle retirement.

The Panel spent much time challenging the rationale behind NASA's current Moon exploration vision. The debate swung between ambitious proposals to send astronauts to the moon, Mars and nearby asteroids to questioning why NASA should even spend billions of dollars to blast explorers into space.

There did seem to be one glimmer of hope for the Space Coast. Both panel members and Florida officials said NASA would do well to invest in commercial rocket companies to haul cargo and perhaps humans to the international space station. It's a silver lining for Florida because KSC hosts the aerospace company SpaceX, which has a contract with NASA to develop rockets capable of reaching the station. (7/30)

Panel Sees Deep Space, Not Landings as Potential U.S. Goal (Source: New York Times)
A panel examining the future of the United States’ human spaceflight program will suggest that the Obama administration may want to skip the part about landing on other worlds. That could enable NASA to send astronauts to more corners of the solar system more quickly while keeping within a limited budget. But it would also eliminate the possibility of astronauts leaving new iconic footprints on the Moon or Mars for a couple of decades.

A subcommittee of the panel studied several possibilities, including NASA’s current program to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2020, a more ambitious plan to skip the Moon and aim directly for Mars and what the members called the “flexible path,” which would avoid the “deep gravity wells” of the Moon and Mars, saving the time and cost of developing landers to carry astronauts to the surfaces of those bodies. (7/31)

John Kelly: Space Destination Changeable (Source: Florida Today)
The Augustine Panel is not limiting itself to the moon and Mars. Nor is the group boxing itself into a program that assumes that the ultimate goal is men and women standing on the desolate surface of Mars. Imagine astronauts blasting off from Kennedy Space Center on a mission to Venus, the Martian moon Phobos or a gigantic asteroid. Documents trickling out of President Barack Obama's human spaceflight committee identify five exploration scenarios being studied for the White House. Among the scenarios is one labeled "flexible path." The plan would focus NASA on developing and improving over time its ability to safely fly people deeper into space. (7/27)

Orbiting Gas Station Could Refuel Lunar Missions (Source: New Scientist)
Forget huge, expensive rockets. A plan being examined by a US government panel would allow smaller, cheaper rockets to fly to the moon and beyond by stopping off at an "orbiting gas station". With conventional rockets, many tons of fuel are needed on such missions for each ton of payload. Sending astronauts or the heftiest robotic probes to these distant destinations therefore requires huge launchers.

That may be about to change. The panel convened by order of the White House to assess NASA's plans for the future of human space flight - including the project to send people back to the moon by 2020 - is pondering a radical idea to set up orbiting depots at which relatively small, inexpensive rockets could stop off to pick up fuel. (7/31)


Fill 'Er Up ... In Space? (Source: MSNBC)
Basically, here's how a fuel-depot system would change the spaceflight situation: Spaceships currently have to carry all the fuel they'd need for an entire trip at once. If fuel depots were built in orbit, however, spaceships coming up from Earth's "gravity well" could fill 'er up and continue their journey with a full tank of gas (or, say, liquid oxygen and hydrogen). Alternatively, you could design a different sort of transfer vehicle, optimized for making the trip from one orbital spaceport to another rather than launching and landing.

That would lighten the load for launch vehicles leaving Earth, since they wouldn't have to carry all the fuel for a long trip at once. And it might reduce the need to develop a new heavy-lift vehicle like the Ares V. You could get by instead with a smaller booster, launched empty and fueled up in orbit. "It really is a game changer," Jeff Greason, chief executive officer of California-based XCOR Aerospace and a member of the review panel, was quoted as saying in a New York Times report on the hearing. (8/1)

Griffin Urges Moon Focus (Source: SPACErePORT)
In his letter to the Augustine Committee, former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin made the case for sticking with plans for continued lunar exploration... "Abandoning cislunar space to others while the U.S. embarks on a Mars project, even an international project, seems to me to be geopolitically unwise. When other nations are conducting high-profile missions in cislunar space and on the moon, and we are still talking about going to Mars, we will no longer be seen as a leader in space. I think this matters greatly." (7/28)

Spaceflight Panel: Consider Scrapping the Ares-1 (Source: Florida Today)
NASA's Ares-1 might be dead. The rocket promises to be 10 times safer than NASA's shuttle, but it might be killed because of concerns over cost and schedule. This despite the fact that Columbia accident investigators said crew safety should take top priority over cost and schedule in the design of a shuttle replacement. A presidential review panel said Thursday it is considering a plan to dump Ares I and go straight to the development of the heavy-lift Ares V -- a Saturn V-class moon rocket. (7/31)


NASA: Ares Rocket Safest, Fastest Way to Get U.S. Back in Space (Source: AIA)
NASA engineers have fired back at their critics, praising the new Ares rocket as "the safest, fastest way to get Americans back to space." The volley highlighted Wednesday's review of the "Constellation" human space flight program conducted in Huntsville, Ala., by a committee authorized by President Barack Obama to determine the state of the space program. (7/30)


Bejmuk: Turn LEO Over to Commercial Sector (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
One member of the Augustine Panel, Bohdan Bejmuk, said NASA should open low-Earth orbit to these companies, including SpaceX of California and Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia, which currently have contracts with NASA to develop rockets and unmanned capsules that can reach the space station. "Let's turn it over to the newcomers," he said. (7/30)

Griffin: Keep Government Human Spaceflight Capability (Source: SPACErePORT)
In a letter to the Augustine Panel, former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin dismissed the notion of relying on commercial providers for human spaceflight in Low Earth Orbit... "It is my considered judgment that the capability for independent and assured human access to space is strategic for the United States. It affects our standing in the world... it follows that it cannot be left solely to the discretion and ability of private entities, whose interests can never, and should never, be wholly aligned with those of government... It is one thing to say, as I have on many occasions, that we should purchase commercial service in lieu of utilizing government systems when the former becomes available. It is another thing entirely for the very existence of a strategic capability to be held hostage to the vagaries of the marketplace."

Editor's Note: The Air Force also considers access to space to be a strategic national capability, yet they no longer operate their own launch vehicles. They supported the development of commercial EELV rockets to meet this need. (7/29)

Lampson: Commercial Space Sector Can Help NASA Compete (Source: Houston Chronicle)
As a congressman I fought hard for more resources so NASA could continue to fulfill our nation's leadership role in space exploration, science and technology. Today, in addition to several government space programs, an emerging commercial space flight industry made up of proven and established entrepreneurs is now able to provide many of the launch and cargo services, equipment and infrastructure needed to expand our economy and improve our security here on Earth.

The commercial space flight industry is in a unique position to help NASA and our nation stay competitive. NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and the follow-on Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) programs enable us to use commercial space capability to deliver cargo to the International Space Station while reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

Through these programs, NASA's development of commercial space transportation will be augmented by both private investment and advanced revenues from sales in other markets, such as telecommunication satellite launches. Commercial providers will actively seek out new markets for their services, such as scientific research flights, national security missions and potentially flights by private citizens. Additionally, the performance-based payment contract for COTS and CRS will provide incentives for commercial providers to keep development costs as low as possible. (7/29)

Current Environment Ripe for NASA-Commercial Partnerships (Source: Space News)
Despite bleak budget forecasts and the uncertainty surrounding NASA's human exploration program, opportunities for commercial space firms are better than they have been in decades, according to officials attending the Space Frontier Foundation's NewSpace 2009 conference. Not only do NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver seem to be very supportive of commercial space ventures, but the challenging budgetary environment means space agency officials are searching for innovative ways to meet their goals, said Jim Muncy of PoliSpace.

During her July 8 confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Garver said her recent experience working as a consultant in the commercial sector of the aerospace industry "taught me that the incredible talent and dedication of the workforce not only resides at NASA, but also in private industry." (8/1)

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Hires PR Firm (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, an industry association representing 20 commercial spaceflight developers, operators and spaceports, has hired Makovsky + Company, one of the nation’s largest independent public relations firms, as its public relations advisor.

“Makovsky’s deep understanding of the commercial spaceflight industry and their expertise in traditional and social media make them a valuable partner,” said Brett Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. “We look forward to working with this talented organization to increase awareness of the industry’s importance among leaders in government and the public at-large.” (7/31)


The Next Step in Space (Source: Next Step Coalition)
The Next Step in Space is for NASA to invest in US commercial human spaceflight. When most people think of sending US astronauts to space, they think of NASA — and for good reason. For over forty years, the US has looked to NASA to not only send astronauts to space but also to lead US space exploration. What most people do not know, however, is that for over twenty years, commercial space companies have also been providing space transportation services for the government and other corporate customers. As NASA is challenged to go further into space than ever before with limited resources, commercial space companies are uniquely positioned to help further NASA's efforts. Click
here for more. (7/29)

Shuttle Endeavour, 7 Astronauts Return to Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: AP)
Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven astronauts returned to Earth on Friday, completing a long but successful construction job that boosted the size and power of the international space station. Endeavour glided through a slightly hazy sky and touched down on Kennedy Space Center's landing strip. Its smooth and punctual late morning arrival set off a stream of praise. (7/31)

Faulty Valve Triggers One-Day Shuttle Discovery Rollout Delay (Source: Florida Today)
Shuttle Discovery's rollout to the launch pad at KSC is being delayed for 24 hours as a result of a faulty valve in the steering system of one of its twin solid rocket boosters. Mounted atop a mobile launcher platform, the shuttle had been slated to be hauled out of the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building by a giant tracked transporter at 12:01 a.m. Monday. But the faulty valve was discovered during routine testing Saturday, and the time taken to assess the situation and map out a course of action resulted in a decision to slip the rollout to 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. (8/2)


Bolden to KSC: Stay the Course (Source: Florida Today)
Kennedy Space Center workers got a dose of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's personal warmth Thursday as he gave employees a pep talk and outlined his goals for the space agency. "Our task is to convince the nation that (space) exploration is worth it," Bolden said during an hourlong talk that was televised to KSC employees. Bolden said it was important to encourage more young people to pursue careers in math, science and engineering. "I want to take the amount of community outreach you do and bump it up a notch," he said. (7/31)


Editorial: Follow Recommendations to Boost KSC Role (Source: Florida Today)
At Thursday’s meeting of the Augustine Panel, Florida stakeholders offered several recommendations aimed at maximizing KSC’s role in NASA space exploration programs. Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp carried the message, pointing out that Florida has a proud history of not only hosting our nation’s space activities, but also investing in infrastructure to make space exploration possible. “Florida has done this more than any other state, investing in launch pads, processing facilities, assembly buildings, laboratories, control rooms, and hangars that have saved the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.

Though significant, Florida’s contribution represents a small fraction of the investment made by U.S. taxpayers. The billions of dollars worth of facilities at the Cape make it the world’s most capable spaceport. We should not let this investment go to waste by accepting a gap in human spaceflight that could exceed five years, and a decade-or-more gap in heavy-lift space launches. Click here to view the editorial by Lisa Rice, president of Brevard Workforce. (8/2)


Editorial: Cutting Space Coast Econ. Dev. Agency Would be Mistake (Source: Florida Today)
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know Brevard County should continue ramping up its economic development efforts. Especially with the local unemployment rate hitting 10.2 percent and Brevard staring down the barrel of a loaded shotgun in the form of a possible 6,000 to 7,000 lost jobs next year when NASA retires the shuttle fleet at Kennedy Space Center. That makes a proposal to slash county funding for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast a big mistake that our community cannot afford. County commissioners debated the issue during discussions last week about deep cuts to the county budget, including a possible 10 percent reduction in county EDC funding that would reduce the money it receives to $1.4 million. (7/28)

A Place for Langley in Space? (Source: Newport News Daily Press)
Where do we go from here? As America has been retelling the proud story of where it's been — to the moon — it's also reconsidering how the next chapter reads. Many of the sharpest minds in the field think that the way to go is unmanned exploration. Sending humans —– and getting them back — adds enormously to the cost and complexity of space missions, and constrains where we can go. Unmanned missions — probes, rovers, satellites — can take bigger risks, go to different places and discover as much, at less cost.

But let's drop the romance, pause and take a practical view. What's given up? The manned spaceflight push has been muscling aside other NASA priorities. Two of those — aeronautics research and atmospheric sciences — are near to our region's heart, for they are specialties of NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton. They're also tremendously valuable to the nation. This administration and this Congress should restore priority and funding to aeronautics and sciences. Obama's budget makes welcome but small steps in that direction.

This would be an excellent place for Reps. Rob Wittman and Glenn Nye to establish special expertise and eventually exercise the leverage that comes with it. Rep. Bobby Scott should bring his influence to bear, as well. And Sen. Mark Warner or Sen. Jim Webb likewise should develop credibility and clout on NASA issues. (7/30)

Virginia Symposium to Focus on Spaceport (Source: DelMarVaNow.com)
An academic symposium will be held this fall to explore the potential of what officials are calling "Virginia's Spaceplex" in the Wallops Island area. Accomack County and state officials met with representatives from several state universities Wednesday in Richmond to hear preliminary proposals for a concept study for the Wallops area, which would emphasize developing a vision for its potential and which eventually would lead to an economic impact analysis and concrete recommendations.

The county last week issued a request for proposals for the study, saying it will aid in marketing efforts for Wallops area enterprises. But the group decided to take a broader approach and to concentrate on three different aspects of planning for growth in the area: to plan for immediate needs related Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Taurus II project; to hold a symposium; and to do comprehensive long-range planning. Immediate needs include providing housing and workspace for a group of Ukranians due to arrive within the year to work on Taurus II, Accomack County Economic Development Director Larry Forbes said Thursday. (8/1)

Texas’ Hutchison Announces Plans to Step Down (Source: Space Politics)
It had been widely assumed for some time that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would resign from the Senate later this year to devote herself full-time to running against incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary next year. Yesterday Hutchison confirmed those plans, saying that she would step down in the “October, November” timeframe. Her resignation will mean the loss of one of the stauncher NASA advocates in the Senate, where, among other things, she worked with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in recent years to add an additional $1 billion to NASA’s budget. She also serves as the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has oversight of NASA. (7/30)

ATK Job Cuts Likely to Reverberate in Utah (Source: Salt Lake Tribune)
Over the years, residents of this small northern Utah community 20 miles northwest of Alliant Techsystems' Promontory plant have enjoyed the booms and endured the busts of the state's aerospace industry. The waves of hiring and firings that came amid the ebb and flow of federal space and defense contracts were as much a part of the economic landscape as the towers of smoke billowing above the nearby hills after ATK test-fired its rocket motors. Yet ATK's announcement last week that it would lay off 450 people, or 10 percent of its Utah work force, is viewed by many as a particularly hard blow for Tremonton, given last year's unexpected closure of the La-Z-Boy plant, once the town's largest employer. (7/30)

California Authority Responds to Governor's Request for NASA Program Support (Source: CSA)
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reached out to the California Space Authority recently to request input on NASA programs that industry leaders believe would benefit from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding. CSA stepped up and organized a roundtable discussion which provided the Governor with a list of NASA projects that would have the greatest impact possible to the California economy. Although the numbers are preliminary, their analysis of the programs suggests they would provide for an economic impact somewhere around $300-$500 million and translate into 715-1230 direct jobs. Applying the multiplier for indirect and induced jobs, the total direct, indirect and induced jobs would be in the neighborhood of 3500-6000 new positions. Click
here for a copy of the letter Gov. Schwarzenegger sent to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden expressing his support for California's space enterprise community and his desire that NASA's ARRA funds find their way to California. (8/1)

Officials Announce Space Exploration Program for Idaho Students (Source: KIVI)
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Idaho's Teacher-in-Space and Boise State University Distinguished Educator in Residence Barbara Morgan have announced a new program to bring space to Idaho students. Officials say the new Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholars Program, which will launch this fall, is a competitive program that allows Idaho high school juniors to take an engaging online course in space exploration developed by NASA and gives them the opportunity to spend a week at NASA's Ames Research Center in California gaining hands-on experience from the leaders in our nation's aerospace industry. (7/30)

Hawaii Students Helping Develop Lunar Micro Rover (Source: Hawaii 24/7)
While Americans across the country celebrated the 40th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon this week, two Hawaii students are participating in a NASA summer internship program, where they are developing technology that will be used on the Lunar Micro Rover. Kelson Lau, a recent Waiakea High School graduate and current University of Hawaii at Manoa student, and Jordan Olive from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, are participating in the NASA Robotics Academy, a NASA multi-center, 10-week residential summer internship for students specifically interested in robotics. (7/31)

Oklahoma Warns Hawaii of Space "Pipe Dreams" (Source: KGMB)
Space tourism was sold as the next giant leap in aerospace and some Hawaii lawmakers buy it. But now lawmakers in Oklahoma say take a better look after the company that was close to blasting off just took off out of town. That same company has plans in Hawaii. "Don't go on pipe dreams. That's what we did and we paid the price for it," said Oklahoma State Representative David Dank in an interview with KWTV.

Rep. Dank is talking about Rocketplane Global, a company he says took about $18 million in tax credits from the state only to close its offices and move out. So why should Hawaii care about Oklahoma? For starters the Aloha state is planning on investing in space tourism as well. Some Hawaii Lawmakers want to spend half a million tax payer dollars on an environmental impact statement on space tourism. Rep. Wakai says that’s a small price to pay especially considering what other states have invested.

Rocketplane Global had its expectations come back to Earth the past year because of the bad economy. "We're a capital intensive business and we got caught in a financial crunch. Everybody did," said Chuck Lauer, Rocketplane Global Co-Founder. So what happened to that tax payer money from Oklahoma? "The money was not wasted. It was invested in design and engineering. That is not gone. It’s sitting there waiting to get restarted and that's what we're doing now," said Lauer. The Hawaii Office of Aerospace Development is buying it and believes three to six companies could by flying into space in three years. (7/29)

Aerospace Company Deserts Oklahoma Leaving Questions (Source: KOTV)
The aerospace company that promised Oklahoma 'the moon' and so much more, has left the state, leaving lawmakers with more questions than answers. Rocketplane Global has vacated its company headquarters near the Will Rogers Airport. Oklahoma State Representative David Dank has been a longtime critic of Rocketplane. He said he was furious to learn that the company that promised so much to the state had packed up and left town.

"We were told they left in February," said State Representative David Dank. "Just packed up and left overnight. The last we heard, the guy in charge was working out of his garage in Wisconsin. They have no presence here in Oklahoma and I think that's an absolute sin against the taxpayers." In 2003 Rocketplane was granted an $18 million tax credit from the state. The first launch was scheduled for 2006. (7/30)

Rockeplane Says It's Far from Finished in Oklahoma (Source: KOTV)
Rocketplane Global vacated its Oklahoma City Will Rogers Airport headquarters in February, but company officials said it is far from finished with its work in Oklahoma. Rocketplane Co-founder Chuck Lauer said the economy forced the headquarters' closure but said he wanted to show Oklahoman's that their tax dollars have not gone to waste. He said the company may be grounded, but it's far from gone.

"I don't think they ever intended to launch a space craft from Oklahoma," said State Rep. David Dank. Just two week ago, the news was announced in Hawaii that state lawmakers there were in talks with Rocketplane over a proposed space tourism project. That's not what Oklahoma lawmakers wanted to hear, especially since the state has granted the company $18 million in tax credits, but Lauer said the plan has always been to have Rocketplane based in multiple locations. "We never abandoned the plan to fly in Oklahoma. We will build vehicles in Oklahoma. We'll have jobs in Oklahoma. We will fly from the Oklahoma spaceport." (7/31)

Despite Rocketplane Woes, Oklahoma Spaceport Remains Operational (Source: OK Gazette)
The original reason for its start may no longer be visible in the state, but that hasn't stopped the Oklahoma Spaceport from slowing down operations. Created to function as a launch pad for suborbital space tourism, the Spaceport near Burns Flat has found other ways to generate business and keep folks busy out there. "We've really been concentrating on the aerospace side," said Bil Khourie, executive director of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA), which operates the Spaceport. (7/31)

 

Oklahoma Lawmakers Study Tax Breaks to Risky Ventures (Source: CNBC)
They promised to bring new industry and high-paying jobs to Oklahoma. All they needed, they said, was the right environment to help their fledgling projects flourish, including generous tax incentives. Companies like Rocketplane, which planned to send tourists to space from a launch site in Burns Flat, and Quartz Mountain Aerospace, which promised to build 415 pilot training planes, received tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks. But their ventures fizzled, leaving taxpayers holding the bill.

Oklahoma doles out $3 billion yearly in tax breaks, including $1 billion in income tax preferences and $2 billion in sales tax exemptions to profit-making concerns, according to state tax commission estimates. But with Oklahoma facing a budget shortfall of more than $600 million, some lawmakers say its time to reassess how tax breaks are doled out in order to protect taxpayers from being taken for a ride on risky ventures. (7/27)

Virgin Galactic Aims for the Moon (Source: The Mirror)
Virgin Galactic says it will take 50,000 into space within ten years. But that’s just the start according to Richard Branson. “Looking further ahead, and we like to dream, we hope that one day Virgin Galactic will be able to ferry passengers between continents at a fraction of the time that they currently travel between continents. We also hope that one day to have a space hotel up there we can take people to that might be quite close to the Moon and people will be able to head off in small spacecraft to head off round the Moon before lunch or before breakfast.” (7/29)

Abu Dhabi Buys 32% of Virgin Galactic (Source: The Age)
The Mideast investment fund with the biggest stake in Mercedes-Benz's parent said on Tuesday it will pay about $280 million to buy nearly a third of commercial space travel startup Virgin Galactic. The buy-in by Aabar Investments of Abu Dhabi gives British billionaire Sir Richard Branson's space tourism venture a big financial kickstart at a time when many funding sources have dried up because of the global recession. It also provides the oil-rich Persian Gulf sheikdom a chance to acquire space flight capability of its own. (7/28)

Virgin Galactic Aiming For IPO (Source: Forbes)
Space travel won't just be for billionaires if Richard Branson gets his way. Fresh from selling a stake in his Virgin Galactic space-tourism subsidiary to Abu Dhabi's Aabar Group, Branson's Virgin Group has an even more ambitious aim in mind: to float the company on the stock market while still retaining a significant stake. Virgin Galactic is a while away from going public, but has already attracted attention from outside investors. (7/30)

 

Virgin’s Enterprises Can Soar – But Also Fail to Reach Orbit (Source: The National)
Ask anybody from Abu Dhabi to Zanzibar. The name Virgin is synonymous in the business world with Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur who has made an incredible career, and a $5 billion business, out of selling dreams. He might call it a “branded venture capital investor”, but that is what it really does – it sells a dream to consumers, and occasionally to international investors.

The dream has morphed over the years, from hyper-hip music in the 1970s, to super-cool air travel in the 1980s, to fast, efficient rail travel in the 1990s. There have been other dreams on offer too – shopping, drinks, bridal wear, mobile phones, holidays (including Zanzibar) and financial services – but they all have the same unique selling point: an image of youth and rebellious adventure, slightly wacky but ultimately reliable. Virgin shows that the next generation is as good as the old-timers at business. The kids are all right, it says. They can put the show on in the barn.

Branson has not had much luck when his companies bravely go onto the world’s stock markets. His formative experience with Virgin Group in the 1980s was a disaster, and since then there have been others whose return for investors has hardly been stellar – Virgin Victory, Virgin Express, Virgin Media and Virgin Blue come to mind. Just last week he sold his American company Virgin Mobile for less than half its flotation value. Abu Dhabi should reach for the stars, by all means, but the financial people should keep their feet on the ground. (8/1)

 

Insurance Coverage on the Final Frontier (Source: Business Insurance)
As last week's 40th anniversary of the moon landing focused attention on the future of manned space flight, observers said early providers of space tourism would face expensive pricing for property and liability cover and possibly scarce capacity. The advent of private companies routinely taking paying passengers into orbit to visit space stations, or even to experience weightlessness on a suborbital flight, likely is at least several years from reality.

Brokers and other observers said it is difficult to speculate on the insurance market for private space flight because the space tourism industry is not yet a reality, but some said they believe the initial ventures would have difficulty buying cover for the risk. Says one Aon Risk Services official: “You'll have a few (underwriters) in the beginning willing to take on more risk (on space tourism) than others, but they'll price accordingly.”

One aerospace underwriter agreed, saying the history of private companies attempting to launch satellites suggests insurers could expect space tourism to produce at least one loss in its early stages. “There are going to be very few markets willing to write that business,” the underwriter said. “You're talking about people being placed on top of vehicles that are going to fail...It's a very volatile area.” (7/27)

SpaceX Completes Qualification of Falcon 9 First Stage Tank and Interstage (Source: SpaceX)
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the successful completion of qualification testing for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle first stage tank and interstage. Testing took place at SpaceX’s Texas Test Site, a 300 acre structural and propulsion testing facility, located just outside of Waco, Texas. (7/28)


SpaceX Faces Crucial Falcon 9 Test (Source: Flight Global)
After two consecutive successes of SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket, the stage is set for the fourth quarter maiden flight of its much larger Falcon 9 booster, which is scheduled to fly 23 times before 2016. With launches priced at $30 million, the Falcon 9 will be a competitive threat to existing launch providers whose prices are closer to $100 million (SpaceX's competitors say that its prices are unsustainable).

The first two Falcon 9 launches are planned for the fourth quarter of 2009. This is after a delay of a year, partly due to what Musk has called "the enormous amount of work to get done" for development and testing. In 2008 SpaceX won a $1.6 billion NASA contract to supply International Space Station cargo, with 12 launches until 2015. SpaceX has seven other commercial Falcon 9 launch orders.

Flight two is the first demonstration launch of Falcon 9 with its Dragon spacecraft for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Progress with the first Dragon, designed for worst-case scenario launch abort loads, includes structural and acoustic qualification. This first COTS flight will see Dragon make several orbits before splashing down off California. SpaceX has 17 Dragon launches scheduled, 15 for NASA and two for its commercial Dragonlab service - an unmanned recoverable Dragon with science experiments. (7/28)


An Uncertain Future for Bankrupt Sea Launch (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
Already burdened by bankruptcy and a cutthroat rocket industry, Sea Launch could face more defecting customers if the company does not soon assure satellite operators of its future viability. In court documents last week, Intelsat filed a motion to force Sea Launch to assume or reject contracts for up to seven missions to deliver communications satellites into orbit. Intelsat owns seven of 10 contracts in Sea Launch's backlog.

Two Intelsat payloads will fly on Sea Launch's land-based subsidiary and one spacecraft is manifested on Sea Launch's ocean-based service. Intelsat holds up to four contract options for additional launches through 2012, but those agreements do not have assigned satellites, according to Paula Korn, Sea Launch spokesperson. (7/30)

Pact with US to Boost India’s Space Launch Industry (Source: Thaindian News)
A technology safeguards agreement (TSA) signed with the US last week will open up fresh opportunities for India in the field of space launches, say officials. The agreement, signed July 20 in New Delhi, will facilitate the launch of non-commercial US satellites and satellites with US components on Indian launch vehicles. “Earlier, satellites built with US-made components were not available for Indian launch vehicles,” said an Antrix official. At present, the total market for non-commercial launches is estimated to be around 40 satellites a year, of which India’s share is very small. However, with the TSA agreement, India is poised to make a larger penetration into the market, said ISRO officials. (7/28)

SES, Intelsat Ask Lawmakers to Rethink Launch Ban on China, India (Source: Space News)
The world's two largest commercial satellite fleet operators, Intelsat and SES, have joined forces to try to persuade Washington policymakers that China and India should be permitted to launch U.S. commercial satellites. The two companies have secured the full support, if not the active involvement, of the largest U.S. builder of commercial telecommunications spacecraft, Loral.

The three companies believe their businesses risk severe launch-supply bottlenecks in a market that, if the struggling Sea Launch Co. does not recover from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, would be reduced essentially to two main vehicles: Europe's Ariane 5 and Russia's Proton. Editor's Note: Atlas-5 and Delta-4 should be competing for more commercial missions, but they're too busy with government launches and are seeking to expand their government business with NASA exploration missions. (8/1)

 

Korean Rocket Launch Reset for August 11 (Source: Korea Times)
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Sunday that it has selected Aug. 11 as the new date for its first space launch. Although technical issues had forced a delay in the attempt originally scheduled for July 30, government officials had been hoping to pull off the launch as quickly as possible to avoid the typhoon-affected months of September and October. (8/2)

Dnepr Launches Small Satellites (Source: SpaceToday.net)
A Dnepr rocket successfully launched six small satellites from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. It placed six small satellites into low Earth orbit. Two of the satellites, UK-DMC2 and Deimos-1, were built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. to be part of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, a network of medium-resolution remote sensing satellites. Also on the Dnepr were the United Arab Emirates' first satellite, Dubaisat-1; two small communications sats for American company Aprize Satellite; and a Spanish technology demonstration nanosat. (7/30)

Russia Says U.S. Shuttle Delays Create a Burden (Source: Reuters)
A senior Russian space official said delays in U.S. shuttle launches to the International Space Station (ISS) meant extra work for Russian rocket crews without any financial compensation, RIA news agency reported. Russia and the United States are the main contributors to the 16-nation $100 billion ISS project, but Russia has borne the brunt of sending crews and cargo there since the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated in 2003, killing seven astronauts. "We are most concerned by the unpredictability of shuttle launches," RIA quoted Russian mission control flight coordinator Valdimir Solovyov as saying. (7/30)

Experts Urge Reformulation of US Space Policy (Source: Eurekalert)
The Obama Administration has an opportunity to fundamentally reformulate United States space policies that are anchored in Cold War-era mindsets, according to the director of an American Academy of Arts and Sciences study. At a Capitol Hill briefing today in conjunction with the release of three new policy monographs, experts outlined the current state of U.S. and foreign space policy and encouraged the Administration to set a clear direction that advances the country's national security, civilian, and commercial interests in space. (7/30)

OSTP Creating NPOESS Task Force (Source: Space Policy Online)
White House Science Adviser John Holdren told the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee that he had directed creation of a task force to monitor progress and results on issues surrounding the NPOESS program. "I have directed the formation of a Task Force within the Executive Office of the President (which will include representatives from the Office of Management and Budget as well as the National Security Council) that will meet regularly with NOAA, NASA, and the Department of Defense (DoD), the three agencies partnering on the program, to monitor progress and results in addressing key issues facing the success of this program." (7/31)

Astronauts Fix Station Air Purifier, Averting Early Shuttle Departure (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A space station air purifier was working again Sunday after it shut down at the worst possible time, when company was still visiting and had swollen the on-board crowd to a record 13. The repair by flight controllers, albeit temporary, came as a great relief to NASA. Even if the carbon dioxide-removal system had remained broken, shuttle Endeavour would not have had to undock early from the space station, said flight director Brian Smith. But the system needs to work to support six station residents over the long term, he said. The machine for cleansing the station atmosphere, on the U.S. side of the sprawling outpost, failed Saturday when it got too hot and tripped a circuit breaker. (7/27)

 

Space Elevator Contest Held Up (Source: Aviation Week)
A technical issue with a helicopter cable system is forcing the Spaceward Foundation to postpone the Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge Games originally scheduled for this summer at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The Spaceward Foundation, which conducts the competition as part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, together with NASA, which is providing the $2 million prize money for this segment, said the problems cropped up during tests last week. (7/28)

NASA To Provide Web Updates On Objects Approaching Earth (Source: Space Daily)
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is introducing a new Web site that will provide a centralized resource for information on near-Earth objects - those asteroids and comets that can approach Earth. The "Asteroid Watch" site also contains links for the interested public to sign up for NASA's new asteroid widget and Twitter account. (7/30)

Putting a Bounty on Orbital Debris (Source: Space Review)
Recent events have raised awareness about the problems orbit debris poses, but most of the attention has been focused on ways to reduce the rate of growth of debris. Jeff Foust reports on a conference session where speakers proposed innovative technologies and financial approaches to eliminating debris. Visit
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1427/1 to review the article. (7/27)

Earth Being Engulfed in Dense Cloud of Space Debris that Won't Stop Growing (Source: Newsweek)
The Iridium/Cosmos satellite collision served as a wake-up call to space planners. Insurance rates for the $18 billion worth of active commercial satellites now in orbit have ticked upwards by 10-20 percent since the accident. Governments, too, have grown to rely on networks of satellites to gather intelligence, direct weapons systems, forecast climate and weather changes, monitor agriculture, and operate communications and navigation systems. Experts calculate that debris will now strike one of the 900 active satellites in LEO every two or three years. For the first time, junk is the single biggest risk factor to equipment in some orbits. Among the orbital threats are two former Soviet nuclear reactors. Even the International Space Station may one day be at risk, as debris slowly descends to its 350-kilometer orbit. (8/2)

Jupiter: Our Cosmic Protector? (Source: New York Times)
Jupiter took a bullet for us last weekend. An object, probably a comet that nobody saw coming, plowed into the giant planet’s colorful cloud tops sometime Sunday, splashing up debris and leaving a black eye the size of the Pacific Ocean. This was the second time in 15 years that this had happened. The whole world was watching when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fell apart and its pieces crashed into Jupiter in 1994. That’s Jupiter doing its cosmic job, astronomers like to say. Better it than us. Part of what makes the Earth such a nice place to live, the story goes, is that Jupiter’s overbearing gravity acts as a gravitational shield deflecting incoming space junk. (7/27)

Experts Puzzled by Spot on Venus (Source: BBC)
Astronomers are puzzled by a strange bright spot which has appeared in the clouds of Venus. The spot was first identified by an amateur astronomer on 19 July and was later confirmed by the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft. Data from the European probe suggests the spot appeared at least four days before it was spotted from Earth. The bright spot has since started to expand, being spread by winds in Venus's thick atmosphere. Scientists are unsure as to what caused the bright spot tens of kilometers up. However, a volcanic eruption is a possibility. (8/2)

Melbourne Company Wins $11 Million for Navy Space Programs (Source: DOD)
Melbourne FL-based Space Ground Systems Solutions, Inc. has won a $10.9 million contract for Spacecraft Engineering, Software Research, Development and Support for design, development, test, launch and mission operations of Department of Defense assets. This is a new requirement for highly-skilled personnel to support the Navy space programs development, enhancement, testing and configuration management of a collection of software, which is constantly being enhanced to provide state of the art solutions to space applications. The contract contains options which could bring the total value to $57,9 million. (7/31)


El Segundo's Wyle Wins NASA Bid Through 2013 (Source: DailyBreeze.com)
Wyle, the El Segundo-based aerospace technology firm, said it was awarded a $201 million contract extension from NASA. The work, to be performed by Wyle's Integrated Science and Engineering Group in Houston, is scheduled to last until April 30, 2013. The contract extension calls for Wyle to continue to provide health testing and other services for astronauts. NASA awarded Wyle with the original contract in 2003. The agency exercised an option to extend the contract in 2007. This latest extension brings the combined value of the contract to $976 million. (7/28)

Protostar in Chapter 11, Looking to Unload Satellites (Source: Space News)
Start-up satellite operator ProtoStar Ltd., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 29, hopes to use the reprieve from its creditors to auction its two orbiting direct-to-home television satellites. ProtoStar is spending through cash at a rate of $550,000 per week, not including employee salaries, and is at risk of having to cease operations immediately if it is not allowed to take advantage of its creditors' offer of $16 million in emergency funds while the company operates under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, (7/30)

Eutelsat Revenue Growth Exceeds Forecast (Source: Space News)
Eutelsat, the world's third-largest satellite fleet operator, on July 31 reported a 7.2 percent increase in revenue for the year ending June 30 and said it now expects to maintain an average annual growth of 7 percent through 2012. (7/31)

SES Sticking With Growth Projections (Source: Space News)
SES on July 31 reported record gross-profit margins in its core satellite transponder-lease business and said it is sticking with its forecast of 5 percent average annual growth between 2008 and 2010 despite what it characterized as a temporary weakness in its ground-services business and continued softness in the North American market. (7/31)


Q2 Profits Soar 76% for EADS (Source: AIA)
European aerospace/defense contractor EADS announced that second-quarter profits rose by 76%, but it then warned it may suffer "substantial negative" hits to future profits because of renegotiations with several governments over its delayed A400M military transport program. Financial analysts noted the net profit of $297 million from April to June still lagged behind projected profits for the parent company of Airbus. (7/28)

Orbital Reports Second Quarter 2009 Losses (Source: Business Wire)
Orbital Sciences Corp. reported second quarter 2009 revenues of $270.1 million compared to $301.2 million in the second quarter of 2008. Second quarter 2009 operating income was $12.8 million, compared to $26.5 million in the second quarter of 2008. Income from continuing operations was $8.7 million, compared to $10.1 million in the second quarter of 2008. (7/28)

Honeywell Lowers Forecast After Q2 Profit Falls 38% (Source: AIA)
Weakness in its aerospace division led Honeywell International Inc. to a 38% decline in second-quarter profit, and the company lowered its full-year sales forecast by about $1 billion. "We aren't planning for any recovery in 2009," said CEO Dave Cote, noting that economic conditions are "challenging." (7/27)

Report: NASA Awards Conference in Florida Cost $1 Million (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A 2007 NASA awards conference in Orlando cost taxpayers as much as $1 million -- including $10,733 for shuttle model awards -- according to a report by the agency’s inspector general. But the conference, which since has been banned by Congress, generally followed government rules, according to the inspector general. If NASA reinstates the program, however, investigators said it should “address the question of what is a reasonably necessary expense.”

NASA spent more than $542,000 on 232 honorees who took a seven-day, six-night trip to Orlando that included lodging at the Grand Cypress Resort. The agency also spent about $43,000 to send 41 Kennedy Space Center honorees to Houston. It also includes $69,000 for a breakfast awards ceremony and nearly $3,000 for awards frames. “We estimate that salaries and benefits for the honorees represent an additional $424,265, bringing the total cost of the awards event to $1,010,003.” (7/27)

Enterprise Florida Supports Trade Show Participation (Source: EFI)
Enterprise Florida will provide event-specific grants on a reimbursable basis to small and medium-sized companies to enable them to participate in EFI trade shows and select U.S. certified trade exhibitions in target sectors. Eligible recipients include manufacturers, R&D companies, and technology services providers in targeted industries, including: aviation/aerospace; clean energy; financial & professional services; homeland security & defense; information technology; life sciences; and targeted manufacturing, including the boating/marine sector. Contact Michael Schiffhauer for information at 407-956-5634 or
mailto:mschiffhauer@eflorida.com for information. (7/27)

 

 

Florida Aerospace Calendar

Click HERE to send new items and corrections.

 

Aug. 5 – Augustine Panel public meeting, Washington DC - http://www.nasa.gov/offices/hsf/meetings/index.html

 

Aug. 11 - TRDA Technology Opportunity Forum on emerging energy, communications, materials, laser and information technologies, TRDA Business Innovation Center, Melbourne, 8:00 a.m. - http://www.trda.org

 

Aug. 11 - National Space Club luncheon, featuring: Lifetime Achievement Awards, open to public, Cocoa Beach DoubleTree, 11:30 a.m. - http://www.nscfl.org/Events.aspx

 

Aug. 17 – Delta-2 launch, GPS satellite, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, 6:35 a.m. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Aug. 19 – Space Florida Board of Directors public meeting/teleconference on presidential search, 3:00 p.m. - http://www.spaceflorida.gov/events.php?id=131

 

Aug. 25 (NET) - Space Shuttle Discovery launch, STS 128 mission to Space Station, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, 1:35 a.m. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Aug. TBD – Atlas-5 launch, PAN classified payload, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Time TBD. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Sep. 4 - BCC Space & Astronomy Lecture Series, NASA exploration program, free and open to public, BCC Planetarium in Cocoa, 7:00 p.m. - mailto:astrolectures@brevardcc.edu for information.

 

Sep. 15 - Delta-2 launch, STSS (Missile Defense Agency), Cape Canaveral Spaceport, 8:43 p.m. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Sep. 21 – Space Florida Legislative Advisory Committee public meeting, 10:00 a.m. - http://www.spaceflorida.gov/comingevents.php

 

Sep. 21 – Space Florida Education/Workforce/R&D Advisory Committee public meeting, 12:00 noon. - http://www.spaceflorida.gov/events.php?id=138

 

Sep. 22 – Space Florida Board of Directors public meeting, KSC Visitor Complex, Debus Center, 8:30 a.m. - http://www.spaceflorida.gov/comingevents.php

 

Sep. 28 – Florida Legislative Space Forum, Florida Solar Energy Center, 8:00 a.m.

 

Sep. 30 – Delta-4 launch, WGS military communications satellite, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Time TBD. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Oct. 9 - BCC Space & Astronomy Lecture Series, “What Lurks in the Hearts of Galaxies?”, free and open to public, BCC Planetarium in Cocoa, 7:00 p.m. - mailto:astrolectures@brevardcc.edu for information.

 

Oct. 14 – Atlas-5 launch, Intelsat commercial telecommunications satellite, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Time TBD. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Oct. 26-29 - Responsive Access to Space Technology Exchange, Dayton Ohio - http://www.usasymposium.com/raste/

 

Oct. 31 – Ares-1X launch, NASA rocket test, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, TBD. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Nov. 12 – Space Shuttle Atlantis launch, STS-129 mission to Space Station, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, 4:22 p.m. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

Nov. 13 - BCC Space & Astronomy Lecture Series, “Asteroids, Comets and the Origins of Earth’s Water”, free and open to public, BCC Planetarium in Cocoa, 7:00 p.m. - mailto:astrolectures@brevardcc.edu for information.

 

Dec. 4 – Atlas-5 launch, NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, Cape Canaveral Spaceport, 2:53 p.m. - http://www.spaceflightnow.com/tracking/index.html

 

 

Edward Ellegood

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

321-698-9101 (mobile)

edward.ellegood@erau.edu

http://spacereport.blogspot.com