To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Sep. 22: Brownsville, SpaceX Holding Special Events For New Launch Site
Date: Mon Sep 22 12:04:52 MDT 2014
Policy News - State
Brownsville, SpaceX Holding Special Events For New Launch Site.
The Brownsville (TX) Herald (9/20, Brito) reported that Brownsville Economic Development Council is planning a “community celebration” today to honor SpaceX and thank them for choosing to locate its commercial launch site in the region.
The AP (9/22) reports on today’s groundbreaking ceremony for SpaceX’s commercial launch site. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to be at the event.
Ramifications, Questions Of NASA’s Commercial Crew Award Examined. The Rio Grande Valley (TX) Morning Star (9/20, Perez-Treviño) continues coverage of NASA’s commercial crew contact award to Boeing and SpaceX, as well as Blue Origin’s announcement to work with ULA on a new engine for its rockets. The article noted that one of the “potential ramifications” of the award is that the Rio Grande Valley is now well-positioned with an almost “meteoric” rise in importance because of the commercial launch site SpaceX will build there. Meanwhile, the ULA said it has not yet considered where the engine work will take place, and ULA spokeswoman Jessica F. Rye said that the company is investigating “a variety of states” to site its production.
More Commentary. Jeffrey Kluger at TIME (9/19, Kluger) examined Blue Origin and founder Jeff Bezos’ deal with ULA. While it may be the start of a “cage match” between Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Kluger found that Bezos was “vague” on his company’s plans. He also noted that the Blue Origin news was overshadowed by the NASA contract award, not to mention that the company has yet to launch a rocket when SpaceX is already making cargo missions to the ISS. Because of these facts, Kluger commented that Musk, unlike Bezos, is not one of the “dreamers” who has yet to overcome the difficulty of spaceflight.
The U-T San Diego (9/19) editorialized that NASA’s public-private partnership with SpaceX and Boeing is a “good move” that will allow it to concentrate on sending people to Mars. The editors also believe the deals are good for California, which is the site of SpaceX and Boeing’s Network and Space Systems division headquarters.
Similarly, the Albuquerque (NM) Journal (9/22) editorialized that NASA’s commercial crew awards are “good economic news for New Mexico” because SpaceX has a contract to tests its reusable rocket at the state’s Spaceport America, which also gets a “big boost.”
Connecticut Congressman Organized Aerospace And Defense Summit.
The AP (9/20) reported that US Rep. Joe Courtney organized the Aerospace and Defense International Trade Summit in Groton, Connecticut, that runs from Sunday through Tuesday. The event is “expected to bring together Connecticut and New England manufacturers and officials, as well as company representatives and government officials from 10 countries.” Courtney said the event’s goal “is to facilitate trade partnerships, innovation and growth.”
Current UAV Agricultural Technology Seen As “Far Beyond The Law.”
The Dayton (OH) Daily News (9/19, Sanctis) reported on the legal issues faced by farmers seeking to use UAVs “to scan their fields for blight and pests,” a technology which is currently available, but which “remains illegal.” As the FAA reworks its regulations for the commercial use of UAVs, agricultural and resource law specialist at Ohio State University Extension Peggy Hall said that the laws are playing “catch-up” to the technology.
University Of Michigan Cancels UAV Stunt After FAA Contact.
CBS Sports (9/19, Fornelli) reported online that the University of Michigan “had hoped to begin the festivities” in their match against Utah today “by having the game ball delivered to Michigan Stadium via an unmanned aircraft,” but “those hopes were dashed by” the FAA. With “no choice,” the school canceled the event. The FAA commented in an emailed statement that the “FAA promotes voluntary compliance by educating UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws.”
The AP (9/19) reported that the FAA explained to the university “that there is a temporary flight restriction over NCAA Division I stadiums seating at least 30,000 fans on game days.”
CyPhy To Develop UAV For Search And Rescue Operations.
Flight Global (9/19) reported that the U.S. Air Force has contracted CyPhy Works to develop and test the Extreme Access Pocket Flyer, a “micro-unmanned air vehicle,” for “search and rescue operations.” The project comes under the US Department of Defense’s “rapid innovation fund.” Moreover, CyPhy “will target para-rescue operators, special forces and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as potential adopters of the system.”
Some Virgin Galactic Customers Reportedly Looking For Refunds.
Arabian Business (ARE) (9/21, Trenwith) reports that because Virgin Galactic has delayed the start of commercial trips into space again, some customers are reportedly seeking refunds. One customer reportedly said that he will “certainly” want a refund if the spacecraft does not go above 60 miles as promised.
Parabolic Arc (9/20, Messier) listed some of the negative British media being generated by the latest delay.
Policy News - Federal
Bill Would Reverse FAA’s ATC Hiring Protocol Change.
The Chicago Tribune (9/20, Hilkevitch) reported on the implications of the proposed Safe Towers Act, which “seeks to restore the Federal Aviation Administration’s traditional recruitment process for hiring air traffic controllers,” which have “favored graduates of FAA-accredited college aviation programs and military veterans with aviation experience, ahead of the general public” until this past winter when FAA “abruptly” changed its recruitment process “to prioritize off-the-street candidates.” The article reported on the circumstances surrounding both the bill’s and the new FAA policy’s geneses, noting that “an internal FAA analysis” demonstrated to the agency that “the long-standing recruitment and testing protocols were a ‘barrier’ for some minorities, particularly African-Americans.”
Defense Under Secretary Kendall: “Decades-Old” U-2 Needs To Be Retired.
“While the plan to keep new, unmanned Global Hawks over the aging manned U-2 has support among top Defense Department officials, the top combat general in the US Air Force says it is not the best military solution,” the Defense News (9/21, Everstine) reported. According to the Defense News, Defense Under Secretary Frank Kendall said on September 17, “We also need to retire the aging, decades-old U-2 in favor of the remotely piloted Global Hawk. ... The Global Hawk, incidentally, earned its way back into our budget by successfully reducing sustainment costs. For industry people here, please take that to note.”
Boeing Reiterates Goal Of Delivering 110 Dreamliners This Year.
The Everett (WA) Herald (9/21, Catchpole) reported that Boeing said it remains on track to deliver 110 787 Dreamliners this year. The company had delivered an average of 8.6 planes a month earlier this year, but it “picked up the pace this summer, delivering an average of 12 Dreamliners a month in June, July and August, according to data on the company’s website.” Scott Hamilton, an aerospace analyst with Issaquah-based Leeham Co., said that as long as Boeing delivers around 100 Dreamliners this year, “industry watchers and investment analysts will be satisfied.”
Airbus Offers New A320 Cabin Design.
The Los Angeles Times (9/21, Martin) reported that Airbus is offering an A320 cabin architecture that has more luggage space and six extra seats, but reduces the space in “the back-of-the-plane lavatory.” The lavatory had been moved to the back with the galley, but designers found that too much space was taken away from the galley, so developers made the bathroom narrower. According to the article, while Zuzana Hrnkova, head of aircraft interiors marketing for Airbus, would not exactly say how the bathroom would be changed, he did say it would be the “equivalent” size to what it had before.
US Air Carriers Will Have To Report More Animal Incidents.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (9/21) reported that Department of Transportation rules going into effect on January 1, 2015 will require that airlines report more on the loss or death of an animal in transport during a flight. Secretary Foxx is widening the regulations in place “to include all US carriers that operate scheduled service with at least one aircraft with a capacity of more than 60 seats, and redefines ‘animal’ as all cats and dogs transported by carrier, whether those animals are being transported as pets by owners or as part of a shipment by a commercial carrier.”
SpaceX Makes “Flawless” Launch On Sunday.
The AP (9/21, Dunn) reported that early Sunday morning, SpaceX conducted a “flawless” launch of its Dragon spacecraft, sending it on its way to the ISS with “more than 5,000 pounds of space station supplies” including the first-ever 3D printer for space. The launch started what the article called a “red-letter day” for NASA because it also included the imminent arrival of the Maven spacecraft at Mars. Meanwhile, the article listed some of the other important cargo on board the Dragon, including “20 mice and 30 fruit flies for biological research,” spacesuit batteries, and “a $30 million device for measuring ocean winds.”
ABC World News (9/21, story 12, 0:20, Vega) highlighted the launch on its “Instant Index.” The broadcast also featured the 3D printer that is part of the Dragon’s cargo.
Florida Today (9/21, Dean) notes that astronauts are scheduled to capture the Dragon on Tuesday. Because of the variety of experiments now on their way, Ellen Stofan, NASA’s chief scientist, said this mission “is really showing the depth and breadth of the ISS as a research platform.” Meanwhile, the article adds that while the launch was delayed a day because of the weather, SpaceX was able to achieve “its fastest turnaround time yet” between launches on the same pad.
MAVEN Successfully Reaches Mars.
The AP (9/21, Dunn) reports that NASA confirmed that the MAVEN spacecraft entered Mars’ orbit successfully. According to the article, it will be about six weeks for managers to get the spacecraft in the proper orbit and make sure its instruments are working before it can begin observing Mars’ atmosphere.
Another AP (9/22) article reports that John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for Science, said Sunday was “such an incredible night.” Colleen Hartman, NASA deputy director for science at the Goddard Space Flight Center, said, “I don’t have any fingernails anymore, but we made it.” The article highlights that spacecraft like MAVEN are “paving the way” for astronauts on future missions.
ORS-4 Mission Now Not Launching Until January 2015.
Space News (9/19, Gruss, Subscription Publication) reported that the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-4 mission has been delayed again from November 2014 to January 2015, according to Tyler Evans, vice president of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Rocket Shop Defense Advanced Programs unit. He blamed “priorities at the launch site” in Hawaii. The mission will be the first launch using the “rail-launched Super Strypi rocket,” developed under the Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System (LEONIDAS). If successful, the rocket may be “a low-cost launch option” for “increasingly popular” smallsats.
Griesmer To Be New Head Of Virginia Air And Space Center.
The Newport News (VA) Daily Press (9/20, Brauchle) reported that Robert Griesmer will be the new head of the Virginia Air and Space Center starting in November. He will replace Brian DeProfio, who has served as interim executive director since executive director Todd Bridgford retired. The article noted that the center is also the official welcome center of the Langley Research Center.
Pentagon’s Top Acquisition Official Formally Introduces BBP 3.0.
Friday morning at a think tank event, the Washington Post (9/19, Jayakumar) reported Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, outlined the major principles of the Pentagon’s latest “initiative to encourage industry innovation,” Better Buying Power 3.0. Kendall explained that what makes this program different from previous ones is its focus on “targeted research and development, greater use of commercial technology and more incentives for companies to innovate while keeping costs low.” Kendall noted that DOD will consider any contract that “best suits a project, regardless of cost or incentive.” According to the Post, industry groups are having “mixed reactions” to the plan. For example, the Professional Services Council’s chief executive warned that it lacks the ideas needed to drive innovation or improve workforce skills “that companies have shared with the Pentagon.” Meanwhile, the National Defense Industrial Association is reportedly taking a “more favorable” view.
Mississippi Polymer Institute Aids State Manufacturers.
The Hattiesburg (MS) American (9/21) reports that according to data compiled by InnovateMEP Mississippi, the Mississippi Polymer Institute has provided assistance to state manufacturers, resulting in a $4 million financial impact and the subsequent creation of 36 new jobs. The MPI is the industrial outreach service of the University of Southern Mississippi.
FMA Live! Starts Its Fall Tour.
The Redmond (WA) Reporter (9/19, Pak) reported that the FMA Live! Forces in Motion tour, a joint project between NASA and Honeywell, started its fall tour at Rose Hill Middle School. This is the 10th year the program has been visiting schools, combining “hip-hop music, dancers, demonstrations and audience participation to engage middle school students and teach them the basic principles of physics.” The article notes that FMA Live! will have reached “almost 400,000 students and 1,000 schools” over its existence.
Friday's Lead Stories
• US Navy’s Triton UAV Completes First Cross-Country Flight.
• House, Senate Pass CR To Fund The Government.
• Air Lease Corp President Warns Boeing And Airbus About Further Rate Increases.
• Commercial Crew Awards Not Expected To Add Jobs In Alabama.
• Facebook CEO Looks To Attract Students To STEM Fields.