Exploration: June 2010 Archives

NASA and International Space Agencies Meet to Discuss Human and Robotic Space Exploration

"NASA senior managers met with their counterparts representing other space agencies at the National Harbor, Md., on June 23, to discuss globally-coordinated human and robotic space exploration. The meeting participants agreed that significant progress has been made since the joint release of The Global Exploration Strategy (GES) in May 2007. They agreed steps should be taken to coordinate a long-term space exploration vision that is sustainable and affordable."

New National Space Policy Conciliatory, not Confrontational, Spacepolicyonline.com

"Whenever it is formally released, President Obama's new national space policy will have a very different tone than his predecessor's. Rumors remain rampant that the new policy will be released on Monday, but some of those in the know say that it more likely will be later in the week. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley intimated on Wednesday that it might even be longer than that. Nevertheless, a one page summary of the policy's "Top Level Messages," dated June 25, is making the rounds. It says that the two major principles of the policy are "responsible use of space" and "nurturing the U.S. space industry."

New Space Policy Calls for Global Cooperation, Wall Street Journal

"The Obama administration as early as Monday is expected to call for significantly greater international cooperation than ever before in outer space, covering a wide range of civilian and national-security programs. The new policy, according to industry and government officials familiar with the details, also endorses the pursuit of verifiable arms-control proposals for space. And it envisions stepped-up U.S. government efforts to bolster domestic rocket and satellite manufacturers, making them more economically viable and competitive overseas."

Keith's note: OK, so the White House makes all sorts of budgetary and contractual changes to NASA programs with little or no advanced warning, questionable pre-coordination, bad rollout - all with no cogent space policy in evidence. Chaos ensues. And then they fiddle with it. Now they are going to actually release a space policy - but only after all of their earlier efforts at NASA have run into brick walls (Congress). Is this going to clarify things - or just make things even more confusing? Stay tuned.

Malice, Mischief and Misconceptions, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"The space community has fractured since the disastrous roll out of NASA's "new direction." Preceding the administration's budget announcement, endless delays and rampant speculation about administrators, rockets, and program design and direction kept people guessing. The current trench warfare is not a pretty sight, but it is not unexpected given the lack of a clear direction. Word has it that more detail will come out early next week, adding yet another layer to this growing space onion. The undirected, unfocused, unproductive spin cycle NASA (and the entire space community) has twirled around in for the last 18 months is instructive. It is real time, 20/20 insight on how the new direction will play out during the proposed five-year study hall being scheduled for NASA to find their "right stuff."

Live Webcams On Devon Island, 1 June 2010

"There are several webcams currently in operation on Devon Island in Support of the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse located at the HMP Research Station. The greenhouse was installed on Devon Island in the summer of 2002. These webcams update once a day, conditions permitting, through the greenhouse's autonomous systems using an MSAT satellite connection. One webcam is pointed north at the greenhouse itself. The other webcam is located inside the greenhouse and is pointing south, showing the automated plant growing system."

Timelapse Video: Growing Season Begins on Devon Island, 18 June 2010

"If you watch closely you will see that the plants inside the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse located at the HMP Research Station on Devon Island have started growing."

Destinations in Rhetoric, Eric Sterner, Space News

"The Administrator attempted to put a finer point on the administration's purposes during his Congressional testimony in March, asserting that Mars was the ultimate goal. But, his comments came largely in response to continued Congressional prodding and still were not reflected in the prepared budget material. As such, they had the feel of someone throwing out destinations in order to fend off pointed political attacks. It was not clear that they reflected anything more than the Administrator's personal preference."

Next Steps for the 2011 NASA Budget Proposal, Planetary Society

"The administration continues to do a poor job of making a case for the new program. President Obama's proclamation that more American astronauts will fly to the space station and Earth orbit in the next decade under this new plan does not seem to be understood by many in Congress and in the media. The goal of sending humans into the solar system, and landing on an asteroid by 2025, has aroused some interest and even excitement, but the steps to reach this goal also have not been communicated effectively. The administration sorely needs a spokesperson for the new plan who can clarify the message and inspire public and Congressional support."

The importance of risk for Nasa, Esther Dyson, LiveMint

"Obama did not, however, define the goals tightly, leaving that to Nasa--a sensible and modest approach, but a political mistake. It is never a good idea to replace something with vagueness. Politicians and lobbyists who care only about this year's jobs and next year's votes jumped all over this lack of a plan."

For Mission to Mars, a New Road Map, NY Times

"At a workshop last month in Galveston, members of NASA study teams looking at how to put in effect the Obama policy presented their current thinking to 450 attendees from industry and academia. The NASA presenters, in describing how the space agency could make it to Mars on a limited budget, said their ideas represented "a point of departure" that would be revised with feedback. The new plans place a heavy emphasis on in-orbit refueling stations, which would reduce the size of rockets needed. For propulsion to Mars, the road map envisions a nuclear-powered ion engine."

In New Space Race, Enter the Entrepreneurs, NY Times

"If this business plan unfolds as it is written -- the company has two fully inflated test modules in orbit already -- Bigelow will be buying 15 to 20 rocket launchings in 2017 and in each year after, providing ample business for the private companies that the Obama administration would like to finance for the transportation of astronauts into orbit -- the so-called commercial crew initiative."

Human Missions Throughout the Outer Solar System: Requirements and Implementations, APL

"Distance scales and mission times set the top-level engineering requirements for in situ space exploration. To date, the implementation of various planetary gravity assists and long-term mission operations has made for a better cost-trade than technology development to decrease flight times. Similarly, crewed missions to date have not had mission time limits per se as drivers to implementation. However, unconstrained cruise times to the outer solar system are not acceptable for either robotic sample returns or human crews. Galactic cosmic ray fluxes likely provide a human limit for total mission times of ~5 years, and more restrictive limits may be driven by lack of gravity. We consider the implications for taking humans to the Neptune system and back, and, using this example, we deduce the minimum-cost path to realizing human exploration of the entire solar system by 2100."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from June 2010.

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