Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Virginia General Assembly today adopted a multi-million dollar public bond package known as the 21st Century Capital Improvement Program which includes new funding for the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to make significant infrastructure upgrades to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. The spaceport bond package enjoyed strong bi-partisan support from Governor Tim Kaine and the Legislature. The funding measure comes on the heels of the Virginia ZeroGravity-ZeroTax in 2008 and the Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act in 2007.
The raw votes totals were 2,046 voting in favor of the spaceport and 1,066 voting against in a huge victory for New Mexico spaceport advocates leading New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) Executive Director Steve Landeene to say, “The people of Sierra County have made a commitment to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children."
The certified vote total will enable formation of a new spaceport tax district providing part of a small revenue stream to assist construction of Spaceport America. In November, voters in adjacent Otero County will go to the polls to decide on a similar tax in that county. The state of New Mexico will provide the bulk of the $200-million for the new facility.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Whitson took the American spaceflight record from fellow NASA astronaut Mike Foale, who spent 373 days, 18 hours and 18 minutes in orbit during six career spaceflights that included a tour as ISS commander during the Expedition 8 mission between 2003 and 2004.
Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev holds the record for the most days in orbit with stints aboard two U.S. shuttle flights and four long-duration missions to the Space Station Mir and ISS for a total of 803 days in space.
According to a Request for Proposal [RFP] issued last week, NASA will seek to purchase transportation to the ISS for at least 20 metric tons of cargo between 2010 and 2015, when NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle is scheduled to begin flying astronauts and cargo.
Europe has lofted its forst new Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to the station this year and Japan's planned H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) is slated to fly next year.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
The larger problem is energy - how to power the robots to do the work over time? The 'bots need to run for long stretches, be able to recharge their power stores and can't use heavy components that would drastically increase the mission payload. Such is one of the challenges to advance energy technology as a part of the Decadal Survey Committee.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Richardson believes Spaceport America in particular, and space commercialization in general, can be an important piece of New Mexico's future economy. And most of the economic benefit will land in our backyard, it was reported in the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Despite the influence of Florida, Texas and California, Richardson avers his western state of New Mexico makes more sense than any of them for commercial space travel. The governor frequently notes that there is history, expertise, great flying weather, lots of open space and sparsely populated land and, because of the altitude, the first mile's free in New Mexico.
With but a few days until the April 22 vote in Sierra County, New Mexico on a gross recepits tax to support the construction of the spaceport, Richardson may be telling the story more over the next few days.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
A senior U.S. Air Force official confides that the capability is inherently that of a cheap, rapidly-deployed, air-launched weapon for shooting down satellites in low-Earth orbit if the service or Missile Defense Agency were to order its further refinement and development.
“If you put the missile in an F-22 [Raptor] and launch it at Mach 2 and 60,000 ft. while in a zoom and at a 45-degree angle, you’ve got an ASAT capability against spacecraft in low-earth orbit,” says one USAF General.
Air Force planners are said to be adamant that the missile be on forward deployed, manned fighters like the F-22 Raptor. Tactical air planners bring up the frustration in the 1991 Gulf War when pilots could see Scuds ascending but had no way to attack them.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The deal struck nearly two years ago was that at least two of the three counties surrounding the New Mexico spaceport would create a taxing district by voting to levy a quarter percent on gross receipts to support the spaceport construction with the state.
Dona Ana County approved the tax last year, with Las Cruces going for it in a big way and voters in the southern part of the county making it a close election. Otero County has not set a date for a vote. Sierra County is the site of the would-be spaceport.
The April 22 vote in Sierra County is expected to be close just as it was in Dona Ana County last April even with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's active support [video].