Marc Boucher: September 2010 Archives

An Inside Look at SpaceX

Inside SpaceX: Dragon Debut with Falcon 9 Launch set for October 23Inside SpaceX: Dragon Debut with Falcon 9 Launch set for October 23, Ken Kremer for SpaceRef

"SpaceX granted me eyewitness access inside their launch facilities and rocket processing hanger at SLC-40 for a detailed up close tour where I observed the initial operational Dragon and Falcon 9 booster first hand after they had just been bolted together for the first time prior to the countdown test."

International Space Transport Association Trade Organization Launched, ISTA

"One of the main goals of the International Space Transport Association is to facilitate the development of new regulations for the commercial space industry, which will help establish a more precise responsibility and liability structure, in line with UN resolution 2222-XXI Art VI."

Marc's note: I read the press release, I visited the web site and I wonder how much success this European based organization will have. From what I can tell they have no industry members registered as yet.

NASA Awards Launch Services Contracts, NASA

"NASA has the ability to order a maximum of 70 launch services missions with a maximum cumulative potential contract value of $15 billion. The NLS II contracts are multiple award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, spanning a 10-year period.

NASA selected four companies for awards: Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company of Denver; Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va.; Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif.; and United Launch Services, LLC of Littleton, Colo."

Space Shuttle Discovery is Hoisted and Mated to the External Fuel Tank, Ken Kremer for SpaceRef

"Space Shuttle Discovery was hoisted and "hard mated" to her fuel tank and twin rocket boosters for the final time on Saturday (Sept. 11), before she is retired from active duty service following her last scheduled flight - the STS 133 mission to the International Space Station (ISS)."

Marc's note: Ken's report includes some great photographs of the event.

NASA's Constellation Hallucination and the Congressional Money Drug, Rick Tumlinson on The Huffington Post

"In the coming weeks some in Congress will try to kill America's future in space as they desperately work to prop up the tax sucking, pork eating dream murdering monster known as the Constellation rocket program. Right now a bought and paid for cabal of hypocritical puppets in the House and Senate are trying to prop up this corpse of a dead end plan to go to the Moon and Mars that not only failed to deliver on President Bush's promise of a permanent U.S. presence in space, but continues to eat the budgets of the very exploration it was meant to support."

Ex-NASA administrator: Congress will shape U.S. space strategy, not Obama, Paul Gattis, The Huntsville Times

"We are no longer facing a future in which the administration's proposal is one of the possible outcomes," Griffin said in his speech. UAH provided a copy to The Times."

Marc's note: How could I pass up Rick's rant? What prose. As for Griffin, well we know where he stands. The truth is, the coming weeks will see a rigorous debate continued in Washington with both sides fighting it out. Will it be a continuing resolution? Or will compromise legislation win this round of the ongoing battle? And Rick is right on two points, it's partly about jobs and votes, and yes, you the public (taxpayer) do have a say.

Space Shuttle Discovery Makes Journey from Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building, Ken Kremer

"Space Shuttle Discovery was moved a few hundred yards from her processing hanger at the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building where she will be joined to the giant orange external fuel tank (ET) and twin solid rocket boosters (SRB) which will power the orbiter for her final trip to space. The trip was delayed a day by the water main break which shut down KSC on Wednesday (Sep 8). "

More Recent Water on Mars

NASA Data Shed New Light About Water and Volcanoes on Mars, NASA

"Data from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest liquid water has interacted with the Martian surface throughout the planet's history and into modern times. The research also provides new evidence that volcanic activity has persisted on the Red Planet into geologically recent times, several million years ago.

Although the lander, which arrived on Mars on May 25, 2008, is no longer operating, NASA scientists continue to analyze data gathered from that mission. These recent findings are based on data about the planet's carbon dioxide, which makes up about 95 percent of the Martian atmosphere."

SpaceX and EADS Astrium Announce Agreement to Bring Falcon 1 Launch Capabilities to the European Institutional Market, SpaceX

"Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astrium announced a commercial agreement to provide dedicated launch services to the European institutional small satellite market.

Under the agreement, Astrium intends to work with SpaceX to market Falcon 1 launch capabilities to various space agencies and other institutional customers in Europe for launches to take place through 2015."

Kennedy Space Center Closed Today, Discovery's Rollover Delayed, NASA

"NASA's Kennedy Space Center is closed today due to a major water main leak. Only essential personnel (security, fire/rescue, operations) are at the center. Crews are working on a break in a 24-inch pipe located at the LC-39 Complex turn basin across from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). They're also assessing Kennedy's water system to identify any other potential problems. Currently, there is no potable water at the center. Shuttle Discovery's move, known as rollover, from its hangar, Orbiter Processing Facility-3 to the VAB, which had been scheduled for 6:30 a.m. EDT this morning, is postponed until at least tomorrow morning (Sept. 9). Today's delay is not expected to affect Discovery's targeted Nov. 1 launch on its STS-133 mission to the International Space Station."

Marc's note: Updated story from Ken Kremer for NASA Watch.

Space Shuttle Discovery Move Delayed When Water Main Break Closes KSC, Ken Kremer

"Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex were closed Wednesday morning when a 24 inch water main suddenly broke for unknown reasons.

KSC re-opened in the afternoon for the second shift after water was restored to the center except for one administrative building and the Press Site. Crews were able to isolate the break in the pipe which sent water gushing out very near to buildings which prepare the Space Shuttle for flight. Teams are assessing Kennedy's water system to confirm there aren't any other potential problems."

NASA Wants To Share Great Ideas, NASA

"NASA is seeking information from potential partners who could provide no-cost brokerage services for intellectual property transactions, such as patent brokering, to help transfer NASA-owned technologies into the U.S. marketplace."

"Technology transfer always has been an important objective of America's aeronautics and space program," said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We want to accelerate the agency's efforts to get groundbreaking technologies and innovations from development efforts out into commercial markets. We're asking for information from broker services on how they might help us do this, without any cost to the taxpayer."

Challenger Center Heads to Arizona for NASA Desert RATSChallenger Center Heads to Arizona for NASA Desert RATS, Challenger Center for Space Science Education

"For the next ten days Challenger Center will be reporting live from NASA's Desert RATS in Arizona as humans use robots and rovers to learn what it would be like to live and work on another world. This is the second year in a row for Challenger Center's participation in Desert RATS. Challenger Center's participation in this NASA activity is facilitated by a Space Act Agreement between the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, and NASA."

Keith's note: The first NASA Edge/Challenger Center live webcast from Desert RATS will be today at 10 am PDT at Guests: Keith Cowing and Jake Bleacher. We hope to be doing these live webcasts daily for the next week ago - plus some other things. You can follow us at

NASA: Scientists Talk about Asteroids Passing Near Earth WednesdayNASA: Scientists Talk about Asteroids Passing Near Earth Wednesday, NASA

"Two asteroids will pass within the Moon's distance from Earth on Wednesday, Sept. 8. NASA scientists will be available for satellite interviews Tuesday, Sept. 7, and Wednesday morning to discuss these near- Earth objects.

The Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz., discovered both objects on Sunday, Sept. 5. The Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., reviewed the observations and determined the preliminary orbits. The center's personnel concluded both objects would pass within the distance of the Moon to Earth, approximately 240,000 miles. The asteroids should be visible with moderate-sized amateur telescopes."

NASA Loves A Good Challenge - Not Business As UsualNASA Loves A Good Challenge - Not Business As Usual, NASA

"NASA's pioneering use of prize competitions and innovation challenges is a dramatic departure from government's traditional "business as usual."

The agency's innovation and technology challenges include prizes that encourage independent teams to race to achieve bold goals -- without any upfront government funding. NASA benefits from private sector investments many times greater than the cash value of prizes, and the agency only pays for results."

International Year of Astronomy Reached Over 815 Million PeopleInternational Year of Astronomy 2009 reached Hundreds of Millions of People: Final Report Released, International Year of Astronomy 2009

"A 1300-page final report for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 was released today at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Lisbon, Portugal. The report shows that at least 815 million people in 148 countries participated in the world's largest science event in decades."

Cosmic Diary Anthology Released as a Free Book: Postcards from the Edge of the Universe, International Year of Astronomy 2009

"The book, Postcards from the Edge of the Universe, was launched today at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Lisbon, Portugal. A legacy of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Cornerstone project Cosmic Diary, the book features articles from astronomers around the world about the hottest astronomical topics of the moment."

Marc's note: You can download the book as ebook (PDF). It's 126 pages and has some great imagery and stories.



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This page is an archive of recent entries written by Marc Boucher in September 2010.

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