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Bigelow Only Non-NASA Customer for Passengers to Low Earth Orbit Says New York Times

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 09-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

Hotel magnate and space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow is the only non-NASA customer for commercial human spaceflight to low Earth orbit according to the New York Times. The newspaper quotes Bigelow as saying that "nobody" is his competition.

Bigelow Aerospace has launched two experimental inflatable space modules already and plans to launch its first "real" modules in four years, creating the first private space station. In a rare interview about his spaceflight plans, Bigelow told the newspaper that his company plans to assemble a second space station in 2016. The two together could house 36 people "providing ample business for the private companies" championed by the Obama Administration is its plan for the future of U.S. human spaceflight. The newspaper adds that the "soundness of the business case is unknown to outsiders."

Appropriations Process Still Waiting for Budget Resolution

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

The FY2011 appropriaions process is still on hold waiting for the House and Senate to pass an actual budget resolution or a "deeming resolution" instead. The budget resolution sets the amount of funding that each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees is allowed to spend.

As the Memorial Day recess neared, rumors were that the Senate would pass something before the July 4th recess. However, Congress Daily (subscription required) is reporting that Senate Budget Committee chaiman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) no longer is optimistic that it can be accomplished by then. The Senate Budget Committee agreed to a 5-year budget resolution in April, but ran into difficulty getting the bill to the floor because of higher prioirty legislation. The committee-passed resolution would reduce the deficit by 70% by FY2015 according to Congress Daily.

Action in the House has been even slower than in the Senate. Members of the leadership in both chambers now say that they are likely to pass only those appropriations bills associated with national security before the November elections. Those would be the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Military Construction-VA bills. The other nine bills, including the one that funds NASA (Commerce-Justice-Science), would not be passed until sometime thereafter.

Absent action on a CJS bill, Congress could include language in any of the three bills that are expected to pass by November, or in a supplemental appropriations bill, resolving whether NASA must continue to spend funds on the Constellation program as directed in the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Or they may not. The expectation is that Congress and the White House will reach a compromise, but the features of that comproise are anyone's guess at this point.

South Korea Delays KSLV-1 Launch Preparation

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

South Korea plans a second attempt to launch a payload into space this week on its KSLV-1 rocket, but "an unexpected problem in the electrical system" postponed today's step of erecting the launch vehicle on the pad according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) is also known as Naro-1, after the name of its launch site 485 kilometers south of Seoul.

Yonhap reported that "unstable" signals from the ground measurement system led to the postponement. Earlier in the day, the plan was to erect the launch vehicle on the pad and hold a "dress rehearsal" in advance of the planned Wednesday launch. A decision on whether to proceed with the launch will be made after the situation is analyzed.

South Korea's first attempt to put a satellite into orbit last year failed when a fairing did not separate properly. Russia builds the first stage of the rocket; South Korea builds the second stage and the fairing.

Send Your Face Into Space!

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

NASA has a nifty way for people to feel they are part of the last two scheduled space shuttle flights -- fly your Face into Space. You can upload your name and a photo of yourself that you can resize to fit in the shuttle's window. Choose whether you want it to go on STS-133 or STS-134 and check back after the flight to print out a Flight Certificate.

Events of Interest: June 7-11, 2010

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

The following events may be of interest in the coming week. For more details, see our calendar on the right menu or click the links below. Times, dates and topics for congressional busness meetings are subject to change; check the committee's website for up to date information. All times are EDT.

Tuesday, June 8

Wednesday, June 9

Wednesday June 9 - Friday, June 18

New NRC Decadal Survey About to Start -- This One is for Solar and Space Physics

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 06-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

The Space Studies Board (SSB) at the National Research Council is about to begin a new Decadal Survey for solar and space physics. This will be the second in this discipline. The first was published in 2003. SSB Senior Program Officer Art Charo will be the study director for this one as he was for the first.

A website has been established for the study where you can learn about its parameters and nominate someone (including yourself) to serve on the steering committee or one the panels. Decadal Surveys typically take two years to complete. The steering committee is expected to hold five meetings in 2010-2011 and each of the three panels (Solar & Heliosphere Physics, Solar Wind-Magnetosphere Interactions, and Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere Interactions) will meet three times in 2010-2011.

The Decadal Survey is intended to prioritize research for the 2013-2022 time frame, so presumably will have to be completed in time to influence FY2013 budget decisions, which would be sometime before August 2011.

The NRC is at the end stages of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey for ground- and space-based astronomy and astrophysics. Decadal Surveys for Planetary Science, and for Biological and Physical Sciences in Space, also are underway.

Need a Great Washington Policy-Related Job? ASEB is Looking for a Program Officer

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 06-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Research Council has an opening for a Program Officer. Here's a link to the NRC posting. Program officers are mid-career professionals who serve as study directors, facilitating the work of NRC committees that write reports such as those listed on the left menu of our website. Some say the job is akin to herding cats, but it actually can be a lot of fun and you get to work with some of the country's leading experts in aeronautics and space -- and your NRC colleagues are terrific to work with (though I admit I have a very biased viewpoint on that)!!

Summer Reading List Added to Our Menu

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 05-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

To help you keep track of our Summer Reading List, we've added it to our left menu under "Other Links." Enjoy!

UPDATE: Falcon 9 is off!

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 04-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:18 PM)

UPDATE 6: Second stage shutdown is nominal. Everything's looking good. Congratulations SpaceX!

UPDATE 5: Stage separation is successful.

UPDATE 4: Falcon 9 is off!

UPDATE 3: SpaceX has resolved the problem and launch is now scheduled for 2:45 pm.

UPDATE2: The Falcon 9 had a launch abort seconds before launch.

UPDATE: Launch is expected at 1:30. Watch live at SpaceX or Spaceflightnow.com.



ORIGINAL STORY: We are still awaiting the first launch of Falcon 9. Earlier problems have been resolved, but now a sailboat is "in the box" -- the prohibited area off of Cape Canaveral (for launch safety reasons). Launch now will happen no earlier than 1:30 pm.

SpaceX Releases Press Kit for Falcon 9 Launch Today

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 04-Jun-2010 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

SpaceX has just released the press kit for the Falcon 9 launch this morning. Spaceflightnow.com has good coverage of the launch preparations and is currently noting that the 11:00 launch is in a race against bad weather that's coming in. SpaceX is supposed to show the launch on its website, too, but I can't get into the site.

Events of Interest     

Full calendar of future events (with filters)-click here »


 

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