NASA to Announce “Bold New Developments” in Human Spaceflight

nasa_logoNASA UPDATE

NASA will hold news conferences on Monday, Feb. 1, and Tuesday, Feb. 2, to discuss the fiscal year 2011 budget request and announce bold new developments in the nation’s civil space effort.

On Monday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson will brief reporters about the agency’s fiscal year 2011 budget during a teleconference at 12:30 p.m. EST. This is a change from the previously announced 3 p.m. Monday news conference in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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Tesla Motors Files for IPO

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s other major venture, Tesla Motors, filed for an IPO last week in order to become a public company. The California-based electric car company has sold 937 of its Roadsters sports cars worldwide. The company, which has lost $128.2 million since its incorporation in 2003, plans to introduce a Model S sedan in 2012.

For those interested in an overview of Telsa’s plans, the relevant section from the registration statement is reproduced after the break.

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India Sets 2016 for First Human Spaceflight

Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)
Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)

India plans manned space mission in 2016
AFP

India will launch its first manned space mission in 2016 in a bid to match space pioneers such as Russia and the United States, a top official said Wednesday.

The government had already approved plans for a human space flight project by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and last year gave the go-ahead for funding of around 2.8 billion dollars.

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Anger in Utah as ATK Lays Off 420 Workers

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Obama budget hits ATK, Bishop rips president
Standard-Examiner

On the day 420 of its workers were laid off because the space shuttle and Minuteman missile programs are ending, ATK Launch Systems got word that funding for the shuttle’s replacement, the Ares missile, has been cut from President Obama’s 2011 budget proposal. Ares is part of the Constellation program, designed to take humans back to the moon. Ares is the missile that would carry manned vehicles into space. The motor sections that drive Ares would be built at ATK in Utah.

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NASA to Announce Budget, Program Changes on Monday

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NASA UPDATE

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will brief reporters about the agency’s fiscal year 2011 budget at 3 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 1. The news conference will take place in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, located at 300 E St. S.W., in Washington.

NASA Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson will join Bolden. The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s Web site. Questions will be taken from media representatives at headquarters and participating field centers.

To watch the budget news conference online, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

NASA budget and supporting information will be available at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 1, at:

http://www.nasa.gov/budget

Report: NASA Could Fly Heavy-Lift Vehicle By 2012

Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants
Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants

NASASpaceFlight.com is reporting that NASA could conduct a test flight of a heavy-lift rocket as early as late 2012:

The Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) have confirmed they have almost enough External Tank resources to allow for one ET-sized “In Line” Shuttle Derived Heavy Launch Vehicle (SD HLV) test flight and up to three Block I SD HLVs. The news comes as NASA managers insist the workforce should wait for official news, and not to be distracted by reports on Ares’ demise.

The SD HLV would be along the lines of the proposed Jupiter Direct, a rocket proposed by a group of dissident NASA engineers who were unhappy with the space agency’s Ares I and V programs.

…several NASA departments [are] already carrying out evaluations on one of the major elements of the likely future path for NASA – moving away from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) based around the development of a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle.

While Ares I’s role for International Space Station (ISS) missions heads to a commercial service provider, the HLV will be contracted out – not unlike NASA already does to some extent with the shuttle – moving to a multi-company effort led by Boeing, partnering with Alliant Techsystems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and United Space Alliance (USA), with heavy NASA involvement from Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)….

Even the long-time Constellation supporter, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is understood to be supportive of this alternate plan, along with many of his colleagues.

Read the full story.

California Seeks to Preserve Apollo 11 Relics on Moon

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To California, Moon Junk Is State Treasure
The New York Times

In one small step for preservation and one giant leap of logic, the official historical commission of California voted Friday to protect two small urine collection devices, four space-sickness bags and dozens of other pieces of detritus, all currently residing nearly a quarter of a million miles from the state.

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Will Jupiter Direct Rocket Replace Ares V?

Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants
Jupiter Direct Launcher Variants

Rebel Engineers Sit With NASA to Chart Future of Manned Space
Popular Mechanics

When the e-mail from Doug Cooke, head of NASA’s Constellation program, blinked onto Ross Tierney’s computer screen a few weeks ago, he bolted upright. The two men sit on opposite ends of the debate over the future of NASA’s human spaceflight program, and the outreach signaled that something peculiar was happening in Washington, D.C.

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Video: Michio Kaku Rips NASA Plan

Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku criticizes Obama’s NASA proposal to Bill Hemmer of Fox News. Hemmer seems rather ill-informed about the plan, which embraces the private sector in a way that Fox News usually celebrates. The network’s “Fair and Balanced” approach is noticeably absent in this discussion.

Obama Moves Ahead With Export Reform Effort

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Obama Repeats Call for Export Control Reform
Space News

The White House said in a news release following the speech that details of the new National Export Initiative will be announced in the coming weeks, but the release indicated that the effort includes the creation of the President’s Export Promotion Cabinet and an enhancement of funding for key export promotion programs…

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ESA Signs First Three Galileo Contracts

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ESA MISSION UPDATE
January 27, 2010

Yesterday, Mr René Oosterlinck, ESA’s Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities, signed the first three contracts for the Galileo full operational capability phase. This event marks the start of building the Galileo operational infrastructure.

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