Monthly Archive for November, 2010

Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Returning Home By Monday

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30th Space Wing Public Affairs

Preparations for the first landing of the X-37B are underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Space professionals from the 30th Space Wing will monitor the de-orbit and landing of the Air Force’s first X-37B, called the Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (OTV-1). While the exact landing date and time will depend on technical and weather considerations, it is expected to occur between Friday, December 3, and Monday, December 6, 2010.

Bolden: NASA Moving Slowly on Cooperation With China, Russia

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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Aviation Week was able to talk to press-shy NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who says that NASA is taking a slow approach to cooperation with China and a list of proposed joint projects with the Russians:

Bolden suggested space cooperation has been subsumed in larger financial issues that will be addressed when Chinese President Hu Jintao visits the U.S. in January, with the Executive Office of the President, the White House science office and the National Security Council working to coordinate a bilateral space meeting through the State Department.

Similarly, [Roscosmos Head Anatoly] Permanov’s [sic] list of possible new space ventures with NASA, including development of a nuclear propulsion system, joint missions to low lunar orbit and asteroids, and a robotic landing on Mercury, is going nowhere fast. The Russian space leader presented the list at a Nov. 18 meeting of the bilateral Space Cooperation Working Group, but Bolden says the most substantive work involved protocols for future meetings. The U.S. hopes to use the list of possible bilateral projects as a way to encourage Russia to take a more active role in the multilateral working group coordinating long-term space exploration plans.

“If the international partners think it’s worthwhile, we the United States would be more than happy to do a bilateral effort with the Russians, but we wanted that to be international instead of just the United States and Russia deciding something off on the side.”

Read the full story.

Two Entrpreneurial Space Companies Interested in X-34 Hypersonic Vehicles

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Absent their vertical tails, the two X-34 aircraft were convoyed from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center to the north gate of Edwards Air Force Base via Rosamond Boulevard morning, and then overnight on Highway 58 to the Mojave Air and Spaceport. (Credit: NASA Dryden/Tony Landis)

Wired has more about the X-34s from Dave Huntsman, an engineer with NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, who spearheaded the effort to pull the hypersonic vehicles out of storage:

“The real idea didn’t come from me, or my Dryden buddies, or from Orbital Sciences who built them [the X-34s],” Huntsman wrote. “It came during a week in October 2009, simultaneously, at a workshop in Dayton, Ohio (where the Air Force Research Lab is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base), from two different entrepreneurial space companies.”

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NASA’s Video Coverage Schedule for Falcon 9 Launch Next Tuesday

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

NASA MISSION UPDATE

The first SpaceX Falcon 9 demonstration launch for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program is targeted for liftoff on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Liftoff will occur from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window extends from 9:03 a.m. to 12:22 p.m. EST. If necessary, launch opportunities also are available on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 with the same window.

PRELAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE

The prelaunch news conference for the COTS 1 Falcon 9 launch is planned for L-1, currently Monday, Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m., at the press site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Television will provide live coverage, and the briefing will be streamed at

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

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Space Ninja Heads to Orbit Next Month

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Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kodratiev practices karate. (Credit: Roscosmos)

ROSCOSMOS PRESS RELEASE

Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kodratiev, who is scheduled for the space mission to the International Space Station on Dec. 15, will maintain his physical state by karate exercises in 0-gravity.

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Musk’s Smoking Hot Starlet Wife: I’ll Retire on Mars With You, Elon!

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Elon Musk's wife, Talulah Riley, on the set of ''St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold'' in August 2009. (Source=http://www.flickr.co)

Talulah Riley: how to marry a billionaire
London Evening Standard

Talulah Riley has made her new husband a promise. ‘I’ve told him I’ll retire with him to Mars,’ she says matter-of-factly. ‘If he has colonised it by then.’ She smiles, but she is coolly earnest. She was once a starlet from Hertfordshire, but she now moves in interplanetary circles. Her husband is the internet billionaire turned space entrepreneur Elon Musk, and her future home is an environmentally controlled pod on Mars. Elon will zoom around outside on rockets, while she makes their biosphere cosy. ‘I’d love to get involved with designing habitat systems on Mars – like housekeeping on a grand scale,’ she says dreamily.

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Video: Craig Venter on the Use of Synthetic Biology in Space Exploration

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Famed biologist Craig Venter spoke to a joint session of the SSI Space Manufacturing 14 Conference and NASA’s Synthetic Biology Workshop last month at the NASA Ames Conference Center.

The full video archives for the Space Manufacturing Conference are here. You can view PowerPoint presentations here.

Space Review Looks at NASA in Limbo, Space Colonization and Solar System Exploration

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This Week in The Space Review

Black Apollo
As part of preparations for the Apollo landings, NASA needed to get detailed imagery of potential landing sites. Dwayne Day reveals a partnership between NASA and NRO that proposed using Apollo spacecraft equipped with reconnaissance satellite cameras to provide those images.

Year of the solar system
While most of the recent attention NASA has received has been on its human spaceflight programs, its robotic missions also are noteworthy. Lou Friedman contrasts the impending milestones for the agency’s missions with the fiscal issues some of those programs face.

Space colonization in three histories of the future
Space settlement has long been a core tenet of space advocates, who have offered a range of scenarios about how it would work. John Hickman examines these proposals and highlights the flaws in their historical analogies.

NASA’s extended limbo

Last month the president signed into law a NASA authorization bill that reoriented the agency’s human spaceflight efforts. However, as Jeff Foust reports, budget delays and implementation questions keep NASA’s future plans uncertain.

NASA to Announce Big Astrobiology Discovery

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NASA ANNOUNCEMENT

NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.

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Witt: Privatization “Absolutely Required” to Progress in Space

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Gear down. (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

Mojave Air and Space Port General Manager Stuart O. Witt is the general manger of the Mojave Air and Space Port is co-author of a nice op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle about NASA’s new direction:

The Obama administration, Congress, NASA and the private sector are finally voyaging toward a market-based space industry. Admittedly, the new policy’s vision is not bold enough nor its exploration schedule aggressive enough, but it does – as the Great One advised – “skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.”

It dismantles a cost-plus quagmire that has left Americans traveling in space far less often, far less safely, at far greater expense and, most ironically, not so very far at all. Much must be done to maintain U.S. space leadership, but privatization is absolutely required.

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