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South Korea scrubbed the launch of its KSLV-1 (Naro-1) launch vehicle today after the launch pad's fire extinguisher system activated about three hours before the scheduled liftoff according to Yonhap News Service. All three fire extinguishers released liquid. None of it reportedly reached the launch vehicle although technicians are checking to see if any leaked under the pad. Until the investigation of what happened and why is completed, a new launch date cannot be set, said the news service.
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."
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.
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.
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!
Events of Interest