November 2011 Top Stories
»» NASA Studying Ways to Make 'Tractor Beams' a Reality
[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] A a team of NASA scientists has won funding to study the concept for remotely capturing planetary or atmospheric particles and delivering them to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft for analysis.
»» White House Honors NASA With GreenGov Presidential Award
[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] NASA has won a GreenGov Presidential Award from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The GreenGov awards celebrate exceptional efforts to promote sustainability in federal agency operations.
»» NASA And Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center Partner In Space Launch Challenge
[Tuesday, November 1, 2011] NASA has signed an agreement with the Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center of Cape Canaveral, Florida, to manage the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge, one of the agency's new Centennial Challenges prize competitions.
»» Commercial Spaceflight Federation Welcomes Recent Expressions of Growing Support for NASA's Commercial Crew Program
[Thursday, November 3, 2011] he Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to welcome recent expressions of growing support for NASA's Commercial Crew Program in hearings and other events held over the last week, including the following:...
»» NASA Solicitation: Development of an On-Orbit Robotic Servicing Capability for Spacecraft
[Thursday, November 3, 2011] NASA is soliciting information through this RFI to gather market research to assist NASA in developing strategies for supporting the development and dissemination of on-orbit robotic servicing capabilities for existing and future spacecraft.
»» Alexander Saltman Selected As Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
[Friday, November 4, 2011] Separately, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation is currently conducting an executive search for a new President to replace Rear Admiral Craig Steidle, who stepped down earlier this fall for medical reasons.
»» Galileo satellites handed over to control centre in Germany
[Saturday, November 5, 2011] Europe's first two Galileo satellites have reached their final operating orbits, opening the way for activating and testing their navigation payloads.
»» NASA Proposes Orion Spacecraft Test Flight In 2014
[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] NASA plans to add an unmanned flight test of the Orion spacecraft in early 2014 to its contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems for the multi-purpose crew vehicle's design, development, test and evaluation.
»» Group Letter To Congress and the Obama Administration Regarding NASA's Commercial Crew Program
[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] We, the undersigned space leaders, are strong supporters of human spaceflight. Among us are former NASA astronauts, executives, and advisors, CEOs and directors of firms large and small, space scientists, space journalists, and others.
[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] The Space and Missile Systems Center here announced Nov. 7 the publication of a guide that will allow commercial launch providers to compete for future launch service opportunities.
»» DARPA Solicitation: Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA)
[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] The goal of ALASA is to develop a significantly less expensive approach for launching small satellites routinely, with a goal of at least threefold reduction in costs compared to current military and US commercial launch costs.
»» Group Letter From Former Astronauts To Congress Regarding NASA's Commercial Crew Program
[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] Commercial Crew funding must be kept as one of the top priorities if America is to retain its position as the world's number one spacefaring nation, ahead of other spaceflight powers like Russia and China.
»» NASA Administrator Names Peck Agency's Chief Technologist
[Tuesday, November 8, 2011] NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Cornell University Professor Mason Peck to be the agency's chief technologist, effective in January. Peck will serve as the agency's principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning technology policy and pro
»» Video: Animation of Orion Exploration Flight Test -1
[Wednesday, November 9, 2011] This animation depicts the proposed test flight of the Orion spacecraft in 2014. During the test Orion will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., perform two orbit, and then will re-enter and land in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States.
»» Video: NASA's New Upper Stage J-2X Engine Passes Major Test
[Thursday, November 10, 2011] NASA conducted a successful 500-second test firing of the J-2X rocket engine on Wednesday, Nov. 9, marking another important step in development of an upper stage for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS).
»» Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference Abstract Deadline
[Monday, November 14, 2011] Abstract submissions for the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2012) are due Dec 2nd, 2011. That's only 3 weeks away.
»» Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Sunshield Flight Processes on Full-Size Model of James Webb Space Telescope
[Monday, November 14, 2011] Engineers at Northrop Grumman Corporation have confirmed how the James Webb Space Telescope's five ultra-thin sunshield layers are attached, folded and stowed for launch using the Sunshield Full-Scale Mockup test article.
»» First Vega launch campaign aims for January liftoff
[Monday, November 14, 2011] The first Vega launch campaign began on Monday at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana with the installation of the first stage on the pad. Europe's new small launcher is on track for its maiden flight at the end of January.
»» Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Simulator and Avionics Laboratory Milestones for NASA's Commercial Crew Program
[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems announces the completion of additional Dream Chaser Space System Milestones under NASA's Commercial Crew Development Phase 2 (CCDev2) Program.
»» What the Minibus Appropriations Bill Says About NASA's Budget
[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Conferees filed their conference report for the first minibus appropriations bill Monday night. This is what they propose for NASA:
»» Getting Our Priorities Straight: Setting the SLS Vs Propellant Depot Argument In a Greater Context
[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] If you examine the use of stimulus funds from the American Recovery Act you will find a similar pattern. This expenditure has totaled well over $100 billion dollars since 2009, more than twice the entire NASA budget over this same period.
»» Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Unveils New Exhibit Featuring Greg Olsen's Soyuz TMA-6 Descent Capsule
[Tuesday, November 15, 2011] Anew exhibit has opened at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City featuring the Soyuz TMA-6 descent capsule that returned to Earth on October 11, 2005 with spaceflight participant Greg Olsen, Ph.D. and the Expedition 11 crew onboard.
»» Suborbital Research Flight Giveaway Announced by XCOR Aerospace & Southwest Research Institute
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] In a first of its kind prize for the reusable suborbital research community, XCOR Aerospace and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announced today that a research flight will be awarded to one lucky paid registrant at the NSRC-2012 Conference.
»» NASA's Supercomputer Maintains Ranking, Supporting More Research
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA's largest supercomputer, Pleiades, maintained its status as seventh on the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful, high-performance computers.
»» Students to Experience Free-Fall for Physics Experiment
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] A team of current, past and future University of Central Florida students will float around in weightlessness like astronauts this month as part of a physics experiment that could provide valuable information for future trips to the Moon or asteroids.
»» Conference Report to Accompany HR 2112 -- NASA Excerpts
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA section begins on Page 78 (converted from PDF document - typos are likely. Refer to original document)
»» Space Quarterly Magazine Preview - Next Edition December 1
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] The following is an excerpt from an article that appears in the next issue of Space Quarterly Magazine to be released on December 1. Following the excerpt is the table of contents for both the U.S. and Canadian editions.
»» Center for the Advancement of Science in Space Welcomes New Staff
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has hired three senior executives to direct the Operations, Marketplace Development and Economic Valuation functions for the organization.
»» NASA Solicitation: Payloads Requiring a Near-zero or Reduced Gravity Environment
[Wednesday, November 16, 2011] NASA has released a solicitation, entitled "Announcement of Flight Opportunities (AFO) for Payloads Requiring a Near-Zero or Reduced Gravity Environment: Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Mission to Flight Readiness Sta
»» Photos: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Mated To Unpressurized Trunk for ISS Demo Flight
[Thursday, November 17, 2011] The SpaceX Dragon Capsule - slated to complete a demonstration flight to the ISS in early 2012 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket - completed a processing milestone this week when the capsule was mated with the trunk that will carry unpressurized cargo to the ISS.
»» Shackleton Energy Company: Humans to Return to the Moon by 2019
[Thursday, November 17, 2011] Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) Initiates Funding Process for Lunar Ice Mining to Establish the World's First Industrial Lunar Base and Propellant Depots in Space
»» GAO: Key Controls NASA Employs to Guide Use and Management of Funded Space Act Agreement
[Friday, November 18, 2011] According to NASA, once it becomes clear that the agency can appropriately use a funded Space Act agreement for a given initiative, it is not necessary to assess such additional risks because these are borne by the agreement partner.
»» State Department: Leading with Diplomacy to Strengthen Stability in Space
[Friday, November 18, 2011] Remarks by Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, USSTRATCOM Cyber and Space Symposium.
»» Northrop Grumman-led Team Completes Installation of Huge Assembly Stand for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Flight Optics
[Friday, November 18, 2011] Northrop Grumman Corporation and its teammate ITT Exelis have finished installation of the giant structural steel frame used to assemble the mirrors and instruments of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.
»» SpaceX Searches for New Commercial Launch Site
[Friday, November 18, 2011] Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is searching for a new launch site to meet increasing demand from commercial customers.
»» Final Environmental Assessment / Finding of No Significant Impact: Experimental Permit to SpaceX for Operation of Grasshopper Vehicle at McGregor Test Site
[Friday, November 18, 2011] The Grasshopper RLV is a vertical takeoff and vertical landing vehicle. The McGregor test site is located within the city limits of the City of McGregor, Texas in Coryell and McLennan Counties, approximately 20 miles southwest of Waco, Texas.
»» FY 2012 NASA Appropriations Bill Signed Into Law
[Friday, November 18, 2011] Yesterday the House and Senate passed H.R. 2112, providing funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The President signed this appropriations bill into law today.
»» NASA Announces Space Shuttle Closeout Contract Modification
[Saturday, November 19, 2011] NASA announced the Space Shuttle Program and subcontractor closeout modification to the Space Program Operations Contract (SPOC) with United Space Alliance (USA) of Houston, valued at $232.9 million.
»» All Systems Go for Next TDRS Communication Spacecraft
[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] The most recent evaluations of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) project confirmed all systems go for a third generation upgrade of the orbiting communications network
»» NASA Develops New Game-Changing Technology
[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] Two NASA California centers have been selected to develop new space-aged technologies that could be game-changers in the way we look at planets from above and how we safely transport robots or humans through space and bring them safely back to Earth.
»» Virginia Completes Study of Commercial Space Flight Facility
[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] "As home to one of only four facilities licensed by the FAA to send rockets into orbit, the Wallops Flight Facility at MARS has the potential to become the leading commercial space flight facility in the United State."
»» United Launch Alliance Completes Crucial Milestone Toward Certifying Atlas V for Human Spaceflight
[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced the completion of a key milestone that could lead toward the certification of the Atlas V launch vehicle for human spaceflight.
»» National Environmental Policy Act NASA Routine Payloads on Expendable Launch Vehicles
[Tuesday, November 22, 2011] This FONSI summarizes NASA's consideration of environmental impacts for routine payloads being launched at facilities addressed in the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for NASA Routine Payloads on Expendable Launch Vehicles dated August 2011.
»» UKube-1 final design approved
[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] The UK space Agency and Astrium have just approved the final design of UKube-1 - the UK's first CubeSat mission.
»» Historic First Image Downloaded from VIIRS
[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] Raytheon Company's Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite has produced its first image aboard the recently launched NASA NPP spacecraft. The visible spectrum image shows the East Coast of the United States in unprecedented sharpness and detail.
»» NASA Solicitation: No-Cost Intellectual Property Marketing and Brokerage Services
[Wednesday, November 23, 2011] NASA is requesting information from organizations interested in providing IP management services to NASA under a no-cost arrangement that could allow for revenue sharing upon license execution.
»» NASA Develops Super-Black Material That Absorbs Light Across Multiple Wavelength Bands
[Sunday, November 27, 2011] NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it -- a development that promises to open new frontiers in space technology.
»» NASA Launches apps@NASA
[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] NASA launched apps@NASA, a website where NASA employees and contractors can download mobile apps that securely access NASA systems. These apps enable users to perform critical job functions at anytime from anywhere via personal and NASA mobile devices.
»» Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference Abstract Deadline is Fast Approaching
[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] Session topics range from planetary science, atmospheric science, microgravity sciences (fundamental biology and physics), earth science, and astro/solar physics applications to talks on integration, launch and funding for scientific payloads.
»» ULA President & CEO Michael Gass at National Press Club, Dec. 6
[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] Celebrating ULA's fifth anniversary, United Launch Alliance's President & CEO Michael Gass will highlight the journey to combine the two most successful launch vehicles and launch teams in the world
»» Europe prepares new technologies for future launchers
[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] ESA and the DLR German Space Center fired a Texus rocket 263 km into space on 27 November to test a new way of handling propellants on Europe's future rockets.
»» Moon Express Designs and Engineers Lunar Mission with Autodesk Software
[Tuesday, November 29, 2011] Moon Express has selected Autodesk software to design its private missions to the Moon; unveils lunar micro-rovers and announces global design competition for lunar mining at Autodesk University
»» Keeping Watch on Our Seething Sun
[Wednesday, November 30, 2011] Our Sun is more active now than it has been for the past four years. Increasingly, energetic particles and radiation are being ejected toward the Earth, posing significant hazards for our spaceborne and ground-based infrastructure.
»» NASA Selects 300 Small Business Research and Technology Projects
[Wednesday, November 30, 2011] NASA has selected 300 small business proposals to enter into negotiations for possible contract awards through the agency's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.