Sunday, April 4, 2010

Articles of Interest

I'm back from a week-long trip to North Carolina on personal business. Here's what happened while I was away.

The political pandering beat goes on as local officials continue to insist the Obama administration perpetuate an unsustainable status quo.

Rep. Bill Posey
Obama's April 15 space summit draws closer. Republican congressman Bill Posey, whose district includes Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (but not Kennedy Space Center or the Shuttle launch pads), sent a letter to President Obama asking that he be invited to the summit.

Outside of his district, Posey is perhaps best known as the Congressman who helped fuel the "birther" movement by introducing legislation requiring more proof of American citizenship by presidential candidates.

Rep. Suzanne Kosmas

Posey and Democratic Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (her district includes KSC) have joined forces in an effort to keep Shuttle flying, even though Shuttle was cancelled more than six years ago by President Bush and experts say it's too late to turn back the clock.

NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Laurie Leshin gave a reasoned speech on March 30 in which she offered insight into the Obama administration's FY 2011 NASA budget proposal.

Click here to view Ms. Leshin's presentation in an Adobe Acrobat Reader file. .PDFs of all panelists that day are also available on the web site.

The mysterious USAF Orbital Test Vehicle draws closer to its scheduled April 19 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It will land someday — just when is classified — at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The article notes:

One of the mission's more significant technological leaps will be the first attempted autonomous atmospheric entry and runway landing in the history of the U.S. space program.

The former Soviet Union accomplished the feat with the single automated test flight of its Buran space shuttle in 1988.

I wrote about Buran in this March 20 blog that includes a link to film of its unmanned landing.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch has been moved back to no earlier than May 8, primarily to accommodate Air Force scheduling.

A space industry executive cautions that how risk is managed will determine the viability of the future commercial crew launch program, according to this article on

According to Andrew Aldrin, director of business development for United Launch Alliance:

"I think we can make commercial crew work, I think we can do it in such a way that we build a robust industrial base, and I think we can do it saving the taxpayers a lot of money. But it’s a program that’s got a lot of risk, and a lot of that risk is really embodied in how you define commercial and what the actual details are of an acquisition strategy," Aldrin said. "Let me be clear, this is a great program, but we are certainly capable, as we’ve demonstrated in the past, of screwing this up."

Yes, Andrew is the son of Buzz.

In closing ... Let's not forget that STS-131 is scheduled to launch tomorrow at 6:21 AM EDT. I hope to have video online later in the day of the launch.

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