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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

White House has Continued Problems Finding a NASA Chief

The White House apparently doesn't even have a front runner to replace NASA administrator Dr. Michael Griffin. Most either don't want it or can get past the politics.

BTW: President Obama, I would be happy to take on the job...

Congress Extends Shuttle Service to 2011

Congress has approved $2.5 billion to support Shuttle missions into 2011 if NASA needs the extra time to complete necessary missions. One possible such mission is the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer attachment to the ISS.

I don't know if more space shuttle missions are required, but I would like to see some of this money got towards the COTS program if the shuttle is not needed. I won't be holding my breath, though.

Twitter Interview with Sir Richard Branson

The LA times travel section are conducting an interview with Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, at 8:20 PST (10:20 CST). You can view it at live on @latimestravel and @virginamerica.

COTS-D Gets Started with Stimulus Money

The COTS-D program, the human flight phase of the COTS program, has been given $150 million of the $400 million allocated to NASA for human spaceflight in the stimulus package.
SpaceX and Orbital Science are currently competing on the COTS-A and COTS-B phases, but only SpaceX has negotiated rights to try for all COTS phases.

The $150 million is divided into $80 million for a "crewed launch demo," $42 million for a docking system to the international space station, $20 million for a cargo transportation demo and $8 million for miscellaneous costs, such as human rating.

The remaining $250 million will go to NASA's constellation program.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Press Conference on Mecury

NASA is planning a press conference on April 30th to reveal discoveries made by the MESSENGER probe. Flybys occurred on January 14, 2008 and October 6, 2008.

White Knight 2 Set to Debut at EAA AirVenture 2009

White Knight 2, the carrier plane for the much anticipated Space Ship Two, will make its public debut at the EAA AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh Wisconsin. The event is set for July 27-Aug. 2 at Wittman Regional Airport.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Australians Ready for Space

Apparently Australians are ready to leave the Earth. Reports say residents of the "land down under" purchased 10% of Virgin Galactic's tickets to space.

Obama Loves Science, NASA Not So Much

According to Discover magazine, in three recent speeches President Obama is pushing "massive reinvestment" in science. He fails to ever mention the venerable space agency at all.

So far our beloved leader has a big fat zero in showing leadership in space.

Astronauts are still Popular

Apparently, regardless of what cynics may say, astronauts are still popular with youngsters. Mike Massimino who is scheduled on the next Hubble Space Telescope mission in May, has started a twitter account. In a single month he has caught up with NASA critic (and nut-job comic) Stephen Colbert who has spend two years building his following.

May the young people still like space? Who knew...

NASA Plans Antimatter Detector

NASA has plans to send the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on a currently unplanned shuttle mission in 2010. The AMS probe will become part of the International Space Station. Its mission is to search for antimatter particles in space.

A particle of antimatter is the opposite of regular matter (positron to electron, proton to anti-proton). It is theorized that there should be just as much antimatter as matter in the universe, but we have only found a very small amount of it to date.

This mission would require congress to approve one extra shuttle mission.

Orion Mock-Up Dropped in the Water

A life size mock-up of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle slated to go the Moon in the next decade is being dropped in the Atlantic Ocean this month. The test simulate a water landing similar to what most pre-shuttle capsules and astronauts experienced.

Dr. Giffin at my School

On April 14, 2009, Dr. Michael Griffin, former head of NASA was named eminent scholar and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where I am currently ABD on my PhD.

Just saying...

Genesis II Completes 10,000 Orbits

Bigelow Aerospace's test hab completed 10,000 orbits last Thursday. Congratulations guys, can't wait until the full size guys are up there.

WK2 Testing Status

If you have been living under a rock and haven't seen it, here is a link to the press release Scaled Composites released on the WK2 testing status and the greatly exaggerated rumors floating around on the web.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

ESA and NASA Planning Two Solar Missons

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are looking to return to the Sun in the next decade. The ESA is looking at a 2017 launch of the Solar Orbiter probe which will orbit our closest star at around 20 million miles. NASA will launch the Solar Probe Plus later but it will orbit 4.3 million miles from the Sun, inside its corona.

The last probe to the sun was the Helios probe sent in the late 70s.

Obama too Busy to Name Head of NASA

I know NASA is under cloud of confusion with no leader at the helm. They are unsure of the future with a new administration and they are trying to create a 2010 budget with very little guidance. But come on guys, President Obama is a busy man. You can ask him to take time from his busy schedule to fool with something as unimportant as our national space program. He has communist dictators to schmooze.

(That was sarcasm if you missed it. I know it is subtle...)

NASA Budget Gets Little Help from the White House

Apparently Obama's administration is not interested in helping NASA craft the 2010 budget. According to reports the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is proposing a $3.5 billion cut in the shuttle replacement.

Some good news is this may force NASA to move toward a evolved expendable launch vehicle (EELV), such as the Atlas V or Delta IV, rather than spend years building new rockets in order to provide aging space shuttle workers with jobs.

I'm Back after a Sabbatical

After a not so brief sabbatical to finish all my classwork and get ready for the qualifying exam, space pragmatism is back to provide you with up to date news on government and private space programs.