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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.
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
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 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)!!
To help you keep track of our Summer Reading List, we've added it to our left menu under "Other Links." Enjoy!
UPDATE 6: Second stage shutdown is nominal. Everything's looking good. Congratulations SpaceX!
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.
According to a notice on NASA TV, the briefing by Charlie Bolden and Secretary of Commerce Locke will now be at 10:30 instead of 10:00. Unless it's really short, it will end up conflicting with the Falcon 9 launch at 11:00.
In a media teleconference today, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that he feels there is about a 75 percent chance that the first launch of Falcon 9 will succeed tomorrow. He stressed that if it fails, that should not be interpreted as a failure of the commercial space launch industry. Indeed, he insists that the future of the space program depends on commercial companies like his because the government simply does not have the money to continue with the space program as it has in the past.
In response to a question about how much has been invested in Falcon 9, Musk said that it is impossible to separate Falcon 9 from Falcon 1 since so many aspects of it are the same, such as the Merlin engine, avionics, software, and ground support equipment. He said that SpaceX has invested a total of $350-400 million total to date for all versions of the Falcon and associated technology and launch site infrastructure.
In the introduction to his National Security Strategy released last week, President Obama once again invoked his childhood fascination with the space program, mentioning his "awe at watching a space capsule pulled out of the Pacific" while espousing that "America's greatest asset is its people." He added that "Our long-term security will come not from our ability to instill fear in other peoples, but through our capacity to speak to their hopes."
Though brief references to space capabilities are scattered throughout the report, the most extensive treatment is in the section on "Prosperity" where it is the fifth of five elements under "Enhance Science, Technology and Innovation." It asserts that the United States will "pursue activities consistent with the inherent right of self defense," but the focus is international cooperation and promoting "security and stability in space." It also emphasizes the need for investing in space technologies and "the people and industrial base that develops them." The full text of that paragraph (p. 31) is as follows:
Events of Interest