Monthly Archive for January, 2012

CASIS Issues RFI for Integration and Operations Support Services

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Astronaut Shannon Walker activates an experiment aboard the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

CASIS PR — KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (January 31, 2012) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)—the nonprofit entity selected in 2011 by NASA to maximize utilization of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory—released a Request for Information (RFI) today seeking information about potential implementation partners, service providers and organizations that can provide project integration and operations support for payloads.

As part of its mission, CASIS will facilitate the matching of laboratory users with commercial providers for the purpose of developing research payloads. The RFI, which closes on March 31, 2012, will allow CASIS to establish a database of providers that can support a wide variety of payload needs.

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MARS Executive Director to Step Down

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Billie Reed

A major leadership transition is occurring as Virginia begins to ramp up spending on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport:

The man leading Virginia’s charge into space is eyeing retirement, a management change that comes as the state prepares to invest millions of dollars to create the nation’s premiere spaceport.

Billie M. Reed has overseen nearly all aspects of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport since Virginia lawmakers decided to build the facility 17 years ago. Last month, he notified the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority board of directors that he plans to step down as its executive director.

“It’s hard to say when. But let’s face it, I’m well past retirement,” said Reed, who is in his late 60s…

J. Jack Kennedy, a former state lawmaker who serves on the board, said in an email that he anticipates Reed will retire in late 2012. He expects the board will retain Reed as a consultant….

Kennedy, who credits Reed for the spaceport’s development, called him the “father of modern commercial space in Virginia.” His pending departure comes as the authority readies for significant growth.

Read the full story.

Alabama Students to Name Rocket City Space Pioneers’ Lunar Lander

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Dynetics PR — Huntsville, Ala. (Jan. 31, 2012) – Today, on the 54th anniversary of the launching of the Explorer 1 satellite, the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) invited Alabama public school fourth graders to participate in their mission to the Moon.  RCSP, the Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Department of Education unveiled the details of a contest that will allow fourth graders to name RCSP’s Moon-bound lander.  The winning class will get a free trip to Space Camp®, and the teacher will receive a $500 gift card for classroom supplies.

The announcement was made at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center®’s Davidson Center, and the event featured a rocket engine firing and a display of hardware from Rocket City Space Pioneers team members.

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Russia Blames Radiation for Loss of Phobos-Grunt Spacecraft

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Phobos-Grunt in preparation. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Roscosmos says that radiation in low Earth orbit fried Phobos-Grunt’s computer, an explanation that not everyone is buying:

“The most likely reason, in the opinion of the commission, was the local impact of heavily charged space particles that led to a failure in the memory of the main onboard computer in the second stage of flight,” [Roscosmos Head Vladimir] Popovkin told Russian news agencies in Voronezh, a town 450 km (280 miles) south of Moscow.

A burst of space radiation caused the onboard computers to reboot and go into standby mode, he said.

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NASA Announces Awards for 2012 Space Frontier Business Plan Competition

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MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – NASA’s Ames Research Center, in conjunction with NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist’s Emerging Space Office, is continuing its support for the Space Frontier Foundation’s annual Business Plan Competition by funding this year’s awards totaling $110,000.

The Space Frontier Foundation Business Plan Competition will be held during a three-day event at NASA Ames in July 2012. The NASA supported Emerging Space Grand Prize will include an award of $100,000 for the best business plan with the potential to contribute to space development. NASA also is supporting a second prize of $10,000.
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Scaled Composites Installing Engine in SpaceShipTwo

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Michael Belfiore was in Mojave a couple of weeks ago for Popular Mechanics. His latest piece has updates on various projects that are not nicknamed Birdzilla:

The new ship has begun atmospheric test flights, launched into free fall from its WhiteKnightTwo mother ship at 50,000 feet. Both vehicles—SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo—were in various states of disassembly on my visit—the mother ship for its annual inspection and overhaul, the spaceship with its mid-section open to the ceiling, awaiting installation of its nitrous-oxide tank and solid-fuel rocket motor. Scaled is notoriously cagey about its test-flight schedule, but word is the spaceship could begin powered flights by the end of the year.

There are some updates on Masten and XCOR as well, nothing really new. But, check it out.

Alan Boyle, Dennis Wingo Drop by The Space Show

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This week on The Space Show with David Livingston….

Monday, Jan. 30, 2011 2-3:30 PM PST, 5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST: We welcome ALAN BOYLE back to the program. Alan is the author of Cosmic Log for msnbc.com.

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: We welcome William Melberg to the program. Bill Mellberg is a former press representative and commercial market analyst for Fokker Aircraft. He is also a prolific aviation and space writer and the author of Famous Airliners and Moon Missions. We will be comparing commercial aviation and commercial space.

Friday, Feb. 3 , 2012, 9:30-11 AM PST, 12:30-2 PM EST, 11:30AM-1PM CST: We welcome back DENNIS WINGO for his space policy perspectives.

SPECIAL WEBINAR TIME: Sunday Webinar, Feb. 5, 20112, 1–3 PM PST, 3-5 CST PM, 4-6 PM EST. You can listen to this program as a regular audio only Space Show or watch it on our UStream Space Channel, www.ustream.tv/channel/the-space-show. Note that the audio will archive at the same time we are able to upload to the video to our Vimeo Space Show channel. Our guests are DR. BOB KRONE, DR. SHERRY BELL, AND DR. ROBERT FRANTZ regarding Kepler Space Institute (www.keplerspaceuniversity.com) and their upcoming and important event to be held at Hilton Head Island, SC.

Tea Party in Space Endorses Gingrich for President

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Newt_Gingrich (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

TPIS PR — (Titusville FL) — Tea Party in Space (TPIS) is excited to endorse Newt Gingrich for President of the United States.  Mr. Gingrich is the only candidate who consistently articulates a bright vision for future American space exploration and settlement.  Mr. Gingrich’s unique approach of utilizing the government and private sector is exactly what NASA needs.

“Newt Gingrich is the only credible candidate in this primary race in Florida who has any credibility when it comes to America’s future in space,” said Andrew Gasser, President and National Coordinator for TPIS.  “Newt will not have to take a poll or rely on ‘advisors’ who have a history of poor history of delays and significant budget overruns.  Instead, he wants to return NASA to the beaming example of American exceptionalism that it once was.”

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NSRC Deadline Approaches to Win Free Lynx Flight

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XCOR PR — January 30, 2012 Mojave, CA: XCOR Aerospace and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announce the final week to register and become eligible to win a suborbital research flight on XCOR’s Lynx I vehicle at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2012) in Palo Alto, CA on February 27-29. The deadline for early conference registration and for entering the drawing is the 10th of February at nsrc.swri.org.

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Video: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Gingrich Moon Base Plan

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An interesting and coherent discussion on MSNBC about Newt Gingrich’s plan to establish a lunar colony by early 2021.