News: February 2008 Archives

Green Spinoffs

Space is the place, Sustainable Industries Magazine

"Beyond giving boosts to innovative technologies, NASA is driven by a need to stay grounded and relevant to people's everyday lives by doing things other than just making rockets," says Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who's now one of its most prominent watchdogs. And, like many agencies, Cowing says NASA is often hindered by lack of staff and budget, pulled in different directions by changing administration priorities."

NASA: Cross-Waiver of Liability: Final rule

"SUMMARY: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is amending its regulations which provide the regulatory basis for cross- waiver provisions used in the following two categories of NASA agreements: agreements for International Space Station (ISS) activities pursuant to the ``Agreement Among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Government of the United States of America concerning Cooperation on the Civil International Space Station'' (commonly referred to as the ISS Intergovernmental Agreement, or IGA); and launch agreements for science or space exploration activities unrelated to the ISS."

Not In My Back Yard

Hundreds tell NASA: Wildlife refuge is for birds, not rockets, Orlando Sentinel

"With the shuttle program winding down, NASA is considering offering some of its 140,000 acres at KSC for commercial ventures. Rockets launched from the private pad could be used to transport cargo, astronauts, satellites and even tourists into space. But dozens urged NASA to consider using abandoned launch pads at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station."

OASD Satellite Engagement Communications Plan 14 Feb 2008, Govermentattic

"Public Affairs Posture - Following the public announcement by DoD, OSD public affairs will encourage an active posture in discussing this specific engagement and the situation. Questions beyond the scope of this guidance will be referred to OASD/PA. DoD has the PA lead through engagement, reentry and tracking phases. The debris field from this reentry could extend over multiple areas, over multiple days. If debris from this satellite lands in the United States, lead for public affairs shifts to DHS. If debris from this satellite lands outside the United States, lead for public affairs remains with DoD, with DOS supporting through public diplomacy activities in any affected foreign countries."

ASAT Test Update

Navy Missile Hits Spy Satellite, AP

"A missile launched from a Navy cruiser soared 130 miles above the Pacific and smashed a dying and potentially deadly U.S. spy satellite Wednesday, the Pentagon said. Several defense officials said it apparently achieved the main aim of destroying an onboard tank of toxic fuel."

Department of Defense Background Briefing on the Satellite Intercept Attempt

"So we're now into the window, okay, the length of the window. There's some significant ambiguity at the back end of the window, based, as I said at the time, on how high the atmosphere is on any given day, because that then tells you when the satellite naturally would start to hit the atmosphere. So we want to catch it before it naturally hits the atmosphere, because when it hits the atmosphere, it tumbles and it's next to impossible to track. So we're pretty comfortable right now that we'll have windows available to us through about the 29th or 30th. And then after that it will really start to become, let's say, more ambiguous, because we're trying to predict the weather out that far. So that's kind of the period, starting today and running basically out to about the 29th."

Editor's note: "30th" - of February? I would think these military types would have a slightly better command of the calendar than this. Isn't that sort of thing sort of useful when calculating orbits? (good catch Kevin S.)

Satellite attack planned for Feb. 21 - right during the lunar eclipse?, The Cosmic Mirror

"A Notice to Airmen has been issued closing a zone near Maui for air traffic on the morning of Feb. 21 from 2:30 to 5:00 UTC - and the to-be-hit satellite USA 193 is crossing that very zone around 3:30 UTC. Furthermore it has been noted that this is during totality of the total lunar eclipse that night which may aid the optical tracking of faint fragments."

Sources: Navy to shoot down failed satellite Thursday, CNN

"NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said there's nothing the military can do to make the outcome worse. "If we miss, nothing changes. If we shoot and barely touch it, the satellite is just barely in orbit" and would still burn up somewhat in the atmosphere, Griffin said. "If we shoot and get a direct hit, that's a clean kill and we're in good shape," he added."

ASAT Test or Public Safety?

Shooting Down a Satellite: All in the Timing, Discovery

"This week, as the military unveiled its unprecedented plan to shoot down an ailing spy satellite, an ammonia tank once used aboard the International Space Station plummeted to Earth. So did the second stage of a Delta rocket that put an Italian radar imager into orbit in December. By week's end, part of a Russian Molniya rocket that left Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 1996 should dive into the atmosphere as well."

Satellite shoot-down shows missile muscle

"Asked if the modified SM-3 will be viewed by some foreign states as an ASAT weapon, Mr. Jeffries said that whatever other nations might think, "the truth" is that the missile strike is meant to prevent the hyrdazine tank from landing in a populated area."

Experts Scoff at Satellite Shoot-Down Rationale, Wired

"The Pentagon says it has to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite because of the threat of a toxic gas cloud. Space security experts are calling the rationale "comedic gold."

U.S. vows to pay for damage caused by satellite, Reuters

"U.S. officials said on Thursday that President George W. Bush had decided to have the Navy shoot the 5,000-pound (2,270 kg) satellite with a modified tactical missile after security advisers suggested its re-entry could lead to a loss of life."

Shooting Down NROL-21

Pentagon to shoot down broken spy satellite, AP

"The Pentagon is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March, The Associated Press has learned. U.S. officials said Thursday that the option preferred by the Bush administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth's atmosphere."

Heading off a toxic iceberg from space, MSNBC

"Griffin explained that the contents of the tank could turn to slush during the fall, but would very likely survive and leak toxic gas over the crash site. Another expert told msnbc.com privately that the solid ice would provide structural support against the 20 to 25 G's of deceleration experienced by the satellite during re-entry."

Lead Planetary Scientist Carolyn Porco to Advise on New Star Trek Movie

"Carolyn Porco, the leader of the Imaging Science team on NASA'S Cassini mission at Saturn, has accepted an invitation from Star Trek director/producer, J.J. Abrams, to join the Star Trek production crew as a consultant on planetary science and imagery."


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