Monthly Archive for March, 2009

Spacetainment: Stephen Colbert and Tracy Jordan Soar into Orbit


There has been funny material on television during the last week concerning space.

On Monday, Stephen Colbert ratcheted up the pressure on NASA to follow the will of the people who voted to name the space station’s Node 3 after the late-night comedian. Colbert doesn’t quite know what a node is, but he definitely wants his name on it. Watch the excerpt from the March 30th episode here.

Meanwhile, over on 30 Rock, the always spaced out Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) makes a public appeal to anyone with a space vehicle who would be willing to fly someone with an irregular heartbeat and $40 million dollars into orbit. Network suit Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), in a panic over his impending 50th birthday, has other ideas. As usual, Liz Lemon (Tiny Fey) is left to save the day. The episode, titled Apollo Apollo, is quite clever in how it ties both plots together as part of a common theme. Watch it here.

Boeing to Complete First X-51A Test Vehicle in 2 Weeks


Tests Are Crunch Time for Scramjet Concept
Aviation Week

Boeing will complete assembly of the first X-51A WaveRider static test vehicle over the next two weeks, paving the way for hypersonic flight tests designed to show that the supersonic combustion ramjet is ready for practical application in missiles and space launch vehicles.

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Smallsats Could Change Face of U.S. Satellite Industry


Smallsats Could Get Boost in Global Financial Crisis
Aviation Week

Small satellites have been widely regarded as second-rate by Pentagon and intelligence community officials, who opt for massive, high-technology spacecraft lasting a decade or more in orbit. But the time may finally be at hand for skeptics to begin accepting smaller.

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Boeing Exec: 10K Layoffs Possible


Boeing’s Shaw Warns Of Space Job Cuts
Aviation Week

The ‘big five’ US space companies could lose up to 10,000 jobs over the next few years unless the government accelerates procurement of first elements of the Constellation family’s Ares V and Altair programs, warns Boeing’s Space Exploration division head Brewster Shaw.

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Air Force to Issue RFI for Hypersonic X Plane Work


Plans for Future Re-usable Space Launch X-plane Hatched
Aviation Week

The Air Force Research Laboratory expects to issue a request for information (rfi) “any day now” to industry for a wide spread of structures, systems and control technology that could be used as a the basis for a hypersonic, responsive space launch vehicle X-plane demonstrator.

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JAXA Reschedules H-IIB Test Firing for April 1 (No Fooling)



The First Captive Firing Test for the First Stage Flight Model Tank for the H-IIB Launch Vehicle

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. postponed the first captive firing test (CFT) on March 27, 2009 (all times and dates are Japan Standard Time) at the Tanegashima Space Center due to an abnormal phenomenon in the coolant supply. Abnormal phenomenon: Coolant, which is supposed to pour and sprinkle for protecting the facilities and surrounding area when the launch vehicle engine is fired, did not pour and sprinkle.

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North Korea Rocket Rises – As Does the Rhetoric


Tensions are ratcheting up around the Sea of Japan as North Korea prepares for a rocket launch that could come as early as Saturday. A brief summary from an Associated Press story:

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Coalition for Space Exploration Adds Lampson, O’Brien and Gregory to Advisory Board


On the opening day of the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, the Coalition for Space Exploration added some well-known names to its Advisory Board. The list includes four former astronauts, two Congressmen and a prominent space journalist.

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Mars500 Experiment Begins in Moscow



Earlier today, a crew of six, including two ESA-selected participants and four Russians, embarked on a simulated mission to Mars. Although they will not leave the confines of a dedicated isolation facility in Moscow for 105 days, their mission will help prepare for a real human mission to Mars in the future.

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HEC Looks to Expand Role in India’s Space Program


Isro eyes HEC expertise for space projects
The Telegraph

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman G. Madhavan Nair today assured the management of Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) Limited, Ranchi, that the latter’s “unique facilities and expertise” would be utilised for forthcoming space research projects.

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