Cape Canaveral was in the spotlight this week both domestically and internationally. At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex a grant was unveiled designed to help space workers find work after the end of the shuttle program. An international team visited Kennedy Space Center and expressed their interest in joining the U.S. in future efforts to explore the solar system. To wrap up the week several veteran space flyers were inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Oh, and how about SpaceX, Falcon 9 lifts off on maiden voyage.
Secretary of Labor announces grant to aid transition of KSC workers
The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis announced a grant to assist space workers transition into new jobs after the space shuttle is retired at the end of this year. She made the announcement at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Thursday, June 3. The $15 million grant is being awarded to Brevard Workforce Development to provide services needed to help workers that have been laid off find new jobs.
There are expected to be some 3,200 workers that will lose their jobs at the end of this year when the space shuttle program is scheduled to end. There are currently only two more shuttle flights remaining on the flight manifest with a third potential flight being discussed. When the shuttles finally stop flying it is predicted that approximately some 8,000 workers will lose their jobs.
Approximately two-thirds of the grant's funds will go toward placing some 1,300 workers into new positions. Employers would hire laid-off workers; money from the grant would pay half an employee's salary for three months with the hope that the employee would be picked up after this time period.
Workers with a wide range of experience levels are expected to find themselves in need of assistance. A variety of NASA contractors such as United Space Alliance (USA) and Boeing are expecting high numbers of layoffs.
The grant will help those affected get access to much needed services that will allow them to find new jobs, be retrained toward new career fields and review the skills they currently have for job placement. The grant is also designed to help workers gain new training and education. These programs are not limited to just aerospace workers, other employees impacted by the shuttle's retirement are also being considered for a secondary group that might become eligible under the grant.
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis talks to the media and community leaders about the $15 million Florida will receive from the Labor Department's National Emergency Grant Program to assist workers. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Japanese delegation sees potential for cooperation during KSC visit
A delegation from Japan expressed great interest in further cooperation between the U.S. and Japanese manned space programs during their visit to Kennedy Space Center. In fact they see far more potential under this new initiative than under the Constellation Program. The delegation visited Kennedy Space Center Tuesday, June 1.
The delegation saw great potential for Japanese involvement under the new direction to develop more commercial launch services for astronauts. Managers with the Mitsubishi Corporation were among the delegation and expressed the hope that their company could provide taxi services for astronauts. Mitsubishi currently manufactures the H-IIA and H-IIB rockets.
Japan has not yet launched astronauts into orbit but has made great strides in recent years and the representatives present Tuesday expressed an eagerness to take the next step. Recently Japan launched its first H-II Transfer Vehicle to the International Space Station. The H-II's first flight delivered supplies to the space station. Although the H-II is unmanned and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has only been able to send astronauts into orbit aboard American and Russian vehicles, the agency is working on developing manned spaceflight capabilities.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Soars to Orbit on First Flight
This past Friday SpaceX launched Falcon 9 on its maiden voyage. Hype surrounding the launch meant that many eyes were watching this launch. SpaceX had gone to great lengths to minimize expectations. However despite the difficulty in successfully launching new rockets on their first flight, the Falcon 9 performed near flawlessly. The data is being reviewed and some of it will no doubt make to the public and whatever issues that came up will no doubt be addressed before Falcon 9's next launch. Below are two separate views of the launch. One taken by NASA and the other from the SpaceX webcast feed.
Astronaut Hall of Fame inducts four new members
The Astronaut Hall of Fame inducted four new members into its ranks on Saturday, June 5, 2010. The new hall of fame members included the first African American astronaut Guy Bluford Jr., Ken Bowersox, and Kathy Thornton who flew on the rescue mission to the Hubble Space Telescope as well as Frank Culbertson Jr., a three-time shuttle veteran and former commander of the International Space Station.
Guests were treated to an autograph session with astronauts Loren Shriver, Bill Shepherd and Jeff Hoffman before the ceremony began. For this year's induction the co-star of the hit TV series Two and a Half Men, Jon Cryer, was master of ceremonies. He introduced each of the astronauts and provided guests with the astronaut's various backgrounds. This year's induction was also notable for the high-ranking astronauts in attendance.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana and Johnson Space Center Director Michael Coats, who are all former astronauts, were present and both Bolden and Coats spoke during the ceremony.
The induction ceremony is held every year to include new astronauts into the hall's ranks. The Astronaut Hall of Fame is managed by Delaware North Companies who also operate the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The Cape Week in Review is compiled by Jason Rhian, the Cape Insider, and is a weekly
round-up of what's happening at Cape Canaveral. If you have information or suggestions for the Cape Week in Review please email us at email@example.com.