ISS News: July 2011 Archives

Russia Plans to Sink the International Space Station in 2020, Fox

"Russia's space agency announced Wednesday that the International Space Station -- a space base the world's scientists and billions of U.S. tax dollars helped build and maintain some 200 miles above the surface of the Earth -- will be de-orbited and allowed to sink into the Pacific Ocean in 2020, just like its Russian predecessor, Mir. "We will be forced to sink the ISS. We cannot leave it in orbit as it is a very complicated and a heavy object," Roscosmos' deputy head Vitaly Davydov said in an interview posted on the agency's website."

NASA and International Partners Discuss New Uses for Space Station

"The Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) for the International Space Station partner agencies met Tuesday, July 26, to discuss how to use the space station as a test bed for technologies that will enable missions beyond low Earth orbit."

Keith's note: So, I guess that's it then. Russia gets to make the decision to scrap something we paid the lion's share to build and operate - after paying to keep Russia's space program aloft for a decade prior to that. Who makes all of these "deals" for the U.S. anyway? We seem to be getting the short end of the stick each and every time. Why have these MCB meetings about other uses for the ISS when Russia simply plans to scrap it anyway?

NASA Needs To Go To Priceline.com, earlier post

Space station sinking? Not so fast, MSNBC

"The interview from "Good Morning Russia" ("Utro Rossii") caused a stir when a Russian-language transcript turned up on the space agency's website, but don't panic: If anything, the International Space Station will be in operation well after 2020. Russia, NASA and the other partners in the 16-nation venture are looking into extending the station's lifetime to 2028 -- that is, if they can verify that its components will still be in working order until then."

Why Is NASA Caving to the Russians On ISS?, OpEd, Jim Oberg, Txchnologist

"With the retirement of the Space Shuttle Atlantis last week, American astronauts are now totally dependent on Russian vehicles for access to space. The question in front of us is how best to negotiate for fair compromises in the US-Russian space alliance. Some of NASA's recent agreements are not encouraging. The US needs to realize that it holds some high cards. True, the Russians have, in the Soyuz, the only vehicle that can carry passengers. But the destination - the International Space Station, which is more than 80 percent funded by the U.S. - provides many critical space services without which getting into orbit is pretty pointless for the Russians. Chief among them is electrical power and space-to-Earth communications, most of which comes via American equipment."

China's First Space Station Module Readies For Liftoff, space.com

"The unification of standards is the first problem to solve in the effort to carry out future space station cooperation, Yang said, according to China's Xinhua news agency. "This is the first time I am aware of that any high-profile official associated with the Chinese space program has made such a strong statement to the Chinese public on ISS participation," Gregory Kulacki, a senior analyst and China Project Manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program in Cambridge, Mass., told SPACE.com. "And, as far as I know, it is the first time I have heard a Chinese official confirm that the docking hardware they will be using in the upcoming mission is not compatible with the ISS."

NASA at a turning point, opinion, Walt Cunninghman and Pete Olson, Politico

"However, last year President Barack Obama shifted NASA policy away from human spaceflight. His budget cancelled the next-generation Constellation human flight system rather than modifying any deficiencies -- wasting a $9 billion taxpayer investment. Instead, NASA was directed to pursue a riskier course, diverting billions of dollars to a group of companies - most devoid of experience in manned space vehicles - to take over operations to low-earth orbit and the transport of astronauts to the International Space Station. The goal was to generate a private marketplace to support the cost of these manned missions."

Rep. Olson Statement on Final Shuttle Landing

"This chapter is by no means the end of human space flight; it is the beginning of the next generation of scientists, engineers and unforeseen discoveries. I am dedicated to ensuring that Congress gives NASA the goal and resources to usher in the next generation of human space flight."

Keith's note: Hmm, let's see, extended life for the human-occupied ISS, spurring development of multiple spacecraft (government and commercial) to carry humans into orbit, and plans for human missions to an asteroid and to Mars. If anything, the policy in place looks to expand the reach of humans beyond low Earth orbit. But the authors are not interested in facts - rather, they are interested only in partisan rhetoric. Indeed, Olson is not even consistent. In his official post-shuttle landing statement he says that this is "by no means the end of human space flight" and that exciting things lie ahead. A day later, in Politico, he (and Cunningham) put forth a contradictory claim that the Obama Adminstration has "shifted NASA policy away from human spaceflight."

Transcript of President Obama's Call to the International Space Station (with video)

"President Obama: Well, this mission marks the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program and also ushers in an exciting new era, to push the frontiers of space exploration and human spaceflight. You guys will continue to operate, or crew members like you will continue to operate the ISS in coming years, and seek to use it to advance scientific research and technology development. I've tasked NASA with an ambitious new mission to develop the systems and space technologies that are going to be necessary to conduct exploration beyond Earth, and ultimately sending humans to Mars, which is obviously no small feat, but I know we're going to be up to the task."

Keith's note: On Friday President Obama will call the crews of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station from the Oval Office starting at 12:29 pm EDT.

Keith's update: During his call to the orbiting Space Shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station crews today, President Obama mentioned that a special American Flag had been carried to orbit on board Atlantis - a flag that had been carried aboard Columbia during STS-1. According to STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson, this flag will be left on board the ISS until the next crew of Americans is launched from American soil aboard a commercial spacecraft. The President joked that this is going to become sort of a "capture the flag" game for the commercial spaceflight industry. Shortly thereafter SpaceX tweeted "SpaceX commencing flag capturing sequence..."

And thus the game begins.

NASA Selects Nonprofit to Manage Space Station National Lab Research

"NASA has selected the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space Inc. (CASIS) to develop and manage the U.S. portion of the International Space Station that will be operated as a national laboratory. At the conclusion of successful negotiations, the independent, nonprofit research management organization will help ensure the station's unique capabilities are available to the broadest possible cross-section of the U.S. scientific, technological and industrial communities."

Keith's note: NASA Assistant Associate Administrator for International Space Station Mark Uhran has been telling friends and co-workers that he will be leaving NASA on/by 1 October 2011. It will be interesting to see who replaces him. Betting odds are that it will be someone from JSC since they are not at all thrilled with this NGO concept to begin with - and carved significant portions of U.S. ISS research out from the purview of this new NGO. Moreover they need to make sure that KSC (or any other NASA center) does not exert undue influence.

Letter from Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in support for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, FL Lt . Governor Jennifer Carroll

"A team that includes such premier aerospace and scientific talents as: Boeing Company, Bionetics, Dynamac Corporation, and the other members of the CASIS proposal, represent the necessary skills and expertise to assure success. When backed by the unique approach and capabilities of Space Florida, and the unmatched history of commitment by the State of Florida to NASA achievement, I can confidently stand behind this proposal."


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This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from July 2011.

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