Monthly Archive for October, 2011

Shenzhou VIII Contains 17 Chinese and German Experiments


The unmanned Shenzhou VIII spacecraft launched on Tuesday morning includes 17 life science experiments supplied by Chinese and German researchers, the Xinhua news agency reports.  The spacecraft will dock with the Tiangong-1 space station to test technologies for later crew missions.

“Among the research programs, 10 will be dominated by China and six by Germany, and the two sides will jointly carry out one program,” [spokeswoman] Wu [Ping] said.

Zhao Liping, one lead designer for the Shenzhou-8 space application system, said the Sino-German joint program is research on an enclosed space ecosystem.

All the 17 experiments will be conducted in devices jointly provided by China and Germany, according to an agreement between the China Manned Space Program office and the German Aerospace Center in May 2008.

German scientists designed bio-incubators for the experiments while their Chinese counterparts are in charge of the development of control equipment and apparatus connecting with the spacecraft, Wu said.

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China Launches Shenzhou VIII to Dock with Space Station


China's Tiangong-1 space laboratory with a Shenzhou spacecraft approaching it. (Credit: CNSA)

The unmanned Shenzhou VIII spacecraft blasted off aboard a Long March 2F rocket early Tuesday on a mission to dock with China’s Tiangong-1 space station. The mission will test docking technology that will be used for two follow-up missions that will include crews beginning next year.

Measuring 10.4 meters in length and weighing in at 8.5 metric tons, Tiangong-1 is a mini-space station that is roughly half the size of the early Salyut space stations launched by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. It is designed to test technologies required for the establishment of a permanent space station by 2020.

The Xinhua news agency reports that two female are being considered for the Shenzhou IX and X flights set to visit the station beginning next year. said C

“We must assess both male and female astronauts to verify if human beings can live in space as there are huge differences between men and women in spite of their common generalities,” Chen Shanguang, director of the Astronaut Center of China (ACC), told the news agency. “Space exploration activities would be incomplete without the participation of female astronauts.”

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides to Drop By The Space Show


This week on The Space Show….

Monday, Oct . 31, 2-3:30 PM PDT: We welcome back Futron’s David Vaccaro & Ian Christensen to discuss the new Futron Space Competitive Report.

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, 7-8:30 PM PDT: We welcome Robeert Brand from Australia to discuss Do-It-Yourself Space as well as the Australian role in our space program.

Friday, Nov. 4,, 2011, 9:30-11 AM PDT: We welcome back George Whitesides of Virgin Galactic. George will be with us for only the first 45 minutes. I will take calls but they must be very short so that we can get as many callers in as possible. If you send an email question, no more than a few lines please. There will not be time for long email or phone questions. We will break after the Whitesides segment and come back for open discussion relating to the first segment.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, 12-1:30 PM PST: NOTE THE CHANGE IN TIME AS WE RETURN TO STANDARD TIME. We welcome back Jim Muncy for space policy and New Space updates.

Boeing to Build Commercial Spacecraft at KSC, Create 550 Jobs


NASA PR — CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In an innovative agreement that will create new jobs, NASA today announced a partnership with Space Florida to occupy, use and modify Kennedy Space Center’s Orbiter Processing Facility-3, the Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility and Processing Control Center.

Space Florida, the aerospace economic development agency of the state of Florida, has an agreement for use of the Orbiter Processing Facility-3 with the Boeing Company to manufacture and test the company’s Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft, creating up to 550 jobs along the Space Coast. The 15-year use permit with Space Florida is the latest step Kennedy is making as the center transitions from a historically government-only launch complex to a multi-user spaceport.

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Video: Mighty Eagle Lander Soars in Huntsville


NASA’s Robotic Lander Development Project in Huntsville, Ala., has successfully completed seven autonomous outdoor flight tests of a lander prototype, dubbed Mighty Eagle. On Oct. 14, Mighty Eagle ascended to three meters, translated 30 feet sideways and turned 90 degrees before setting down safely. On Oct. 17, Mighty Eagle successfully flew to a height of 30 feet, translated sideways 30 feet before landing. These tests are paving the way for a Nov. 4 100-foot flight test.

NASA, Brazil Sign Earth Science Agreements


WASHINGTON — During a visit to South America, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Thursday signed two cooperative Earth science agreements with Agencia Espacial Brasileira (AEB), NASA’s counterpart space agency in Brazil.

One agreement formalizes NASA-AEB scientific collaboration on the Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission, while the other extends an agreement for the Ozone Cooperation Mission.

“Earth observation from space is vital to understanding our planet,” Bolden said. “The technically skilled and dedicated researchers in Brazil are excellent partners for NASA, and we look forward to many more years of successful international cooperation in space-based Earth science.”

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Mojave, Swedish Spaceport Sign Cooperative Agreement


Mojave Air and Space Port CEO Stuart Witt and Spaceport Sweden CEO Karin Nilsdotter. (Credit: Spaceport Sweden)

Spaceport Sweden PR – An agreement with the aim to mobilize, stimulate and facilitate the growth of the commercial suborbital human spaceflight industry across boarders at Kiruna, Sweden and Mojave, California, US was signed on Friday 21 October 2011 in San Francisco by Mojave Air and Space Port CEO, Stuart Witt and Spaceport Sweden CEO, Karin Nilsdotter.

Mojave Air and Space Port, owned by the East Kern Airport District, is California’s premier location and R&D center for the new commercial man rated space activity being America’s first commercially licensed spaceport, where Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 and numerous firms are currently developing suborbital space vehicles, subsystems and engines.

Spaceport Sweden is a pioneering initiative to establish space tourism in Europe and Sweden with the vision to become a world leading spaceport and hub for commercial human spaceflights and cross-industry innovation.

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Red State Mayors to Obama: Send Federal Funds Fast!


October 24, 2011

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for supporting NASA Administrator Bolden’s recent announcement to move forward on the Space Launch System (SLS). As you know, our communities have been deeply affected by the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and the cancellation of the Constellation Program. Collectively, the Houston, Texas and Huntsville, Alabama communities have faced the loss of thousands of jobs in the aerospace industry, which has been devastating, particularly at a time when the economy struggles to recover.

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Video: Russians Successfully Launch Progress Vehicle to Station


NASA TV — Riding atop its Soyuz booster rocket, the Russian ISS Progress 45 cargo ship launched successfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:11 a.m. EDT (4:11 p.m. Baikonur time) on Oct. 30, 2011, bound for the International Space Station. It was the first launch of the Soyuz booster that is used for Progress and manned Soyuz launches since a third stage failure of another Soyuz rocket resulted in the loss of the ISS Progress 44 resupply craft on Aug. 24. Progress 45, carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the residents of the station, is scheduled to link up automatically to the Pirs Docking Compartment on the complex on Nov. 2.

First Vega Launcher Arrives in Kourou

One of Vega’s two payload fairing half-shells is unloaded in its shipping container from the MN Colibri docked at Kourou’s Pariacabo Port (photo at left), for transfer to the nearby Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)

ARIANESPACE PR – The first lightweight Vega was delivered to the Spaceport today, with this latest member of Arianespace’s expanded launcher family arriving only days after the service entry of its other new vehicle – the medium-lift Soyuz.

Vega came to French Guiana aboard the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off ship, which docked yesterday at Kourou’s Pariacabo Port after a two-week Atlantic crossing from Europe, and was unloaded this morning for the launcher’s transfer by road to the Spaceport.

The four-stage Vega’s first flight has been set for next January 26, carrying LARES (LAser RElativity Satellite) and nine cubesat educational payloads of varying sizes.

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