Monthly Archive for September, 2009

Mercury: Bleak as it Ever Was…




During MESSENGER’s approach to Mercury yesterday, the NAC acquired a high-resolution, 62-image mosaic of the sunlit crescent planet. Many of these images show portions of Mercury’s surface not previously seen by spacecraft, including the NAC image shown here. In this image, Mercury’s northern horizon cuts a crisp line against the blackness of space. The surface in the lower right corner of the image is near Mercury’s terminator, the line between the light dayside and dark night side of the planet. Looking toward the horizon, smooth plains extend for large distances, similar to volcanic plains seen nearby during MESSENGER’s second flyby of Mercury.  (Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

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Video: Guy Laliberte’s Soyuz Launch


CSF to Congress: Fund Program for Spaceport Improvements


The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is calling upon Congress and the Obama Administration to provide federal funding to the nation’s spaceports under an unfunded 1993 law:

Unlike airports, commercial spaceports currently have no opportunity to apply for federal matching dollars for infrastructure to support operations and protect public safety. In the 1993 NASA Authorization Act (Public Law No. 102-588), Congress authorized a new program to support commercial space transportation facilities, but no funding has been appropriated to date.

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NASA Scientist Pleads Guilty to Conflict of Interest



Mark Schoeberl, age 60, of Silver Spring, Maryland, a senior manager and scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), pleaded guilty today to a felony conflict of interest charge in connection with his participation in NASA contracts given to his wife’s company, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

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Possible Partnership Between Bigelow and Virgin Galactic

Exterior view of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II

Exterior view of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II

A brief report from a site called City A.M. about a possible partnership between Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Bigelow Aerospace:

“It is early days and no formal talks have happened yet, but we have an ambition of later taking people to space hotels in the second phase of Galactic’s growth,” says Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn. “Bigelow have a fantastic inflatable technology which may be the answer, not just in orbit, but also in future on the moon…”

All this is some ways off. Virgin has to even flight test its suborbital SpaceShipTwo vehicle, much less produce a successor capable of reaching orbit. Bigelow has launched two sub-scale prototype space stations, but it is still awaiting an affordable transport to shuttle passengers to its planned full-scale Sundancer facility.

Billionaut Laliberte, Crewmates Now In Orbit



A Soyuz rocket carrying Canadian space tourist Guy Laliberte, Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev and American astronaut Jeffrey Williams lifted off at 1:14 p.m. local time on Wednesday. The crew is now in orbit aboard a Soyuz spacecraft headed for a Friday rendezvous with the International Space Station.

California Space Authority to Honor SpaceX, Buzz Aldrin and Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols


25 September 2009

The California Space Authority (CSA) announced the 2009 California SpotBeam Award Winners today. The awards will be formally presented at the California SpotBeam Awards Dinner on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at The Proud Bird Restaurant in Los Angeles, California.

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Russian Instrument on LRO Finds High Hydrogen Concentrations in Unexpected Areas


Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

(Via Roskosmos based on RAS Institute of Space Reseach press statement)

Russian LEND — Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector – installed on NASA`s LRO -Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – was switched into active mode on Sept. 15, after LRO reached Lunar 50-km polar orbit, which is to be the operational orbit for the initial stage of the mission.

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JAXA Aims to Lead World in Lunar Frontier Medicine


mukaiThe JAXA website has a lengthy interview with astronaut Chiaki Mukai, who is manager of the agency’s Space Biomedical Research Office.  She talks in depth about the current state of Japanese space medical research, how it will use the newly installed Kibo module aboard the International Space Station, and her nation’s aim to be the leader in the area of lunar frontier medicine. Continue reading ‘JAXA Aims to Lead World in Lunar Frontier Medicine’

U2, Gore, Hayek and McConaughey to Headline Laliberte’s Global Water Event

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek


Guy Laliberte announces confirmed participation of additional world-renowned celebrities and musicians in his Poetic Social Mission, as he prepares for the Expedition 21 launch. A 120-minute global event featuring musical performances by major international artists and the reading of a poetic tale by well-known celebrities, the Poetic Social Mission seeks to raise awareness through artistic illustration of the humanitarian struggles and solutions associated with water.

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