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Up to 9000 Jobs to be lost at the Cape after the Shuttle goes Obsolete

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KSC workers refocus as cuts creep closer

Post  sc4ram on Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:45 am



http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20109050324
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$1 billion contract won't save 900 jobs

Post  sc4ram on Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:37 am




http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2010/september/145342/1-billion-contract-wont-save-900-jobs
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NASA incompetent — or just lying to us?

Post  sc4ram on Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:58 pm

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-09-15/news/os-mike-thomas-abolish-nasa-091610-20100915_1_nasa-s-ares-nasa-administrator-michael-griffin-steve-isakowitz
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For KSC workers, reality hits home

Post  sc4ram on Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:07 am



http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20100926/NEWS0204/9260338/For-KSC-workers-reality-hits-home
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USA lays off nearly 900 workers

Post  sc4ram on Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:52 pm




http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20101002/NEWS02/10020317/USA+lays+off+nearly+900+workers+%7C+VIDEO
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Cost mounts for space retraining, strategizing

Post  sc4ram on Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:48 am



http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20101005/COLUMNISTS0207/10050320/Cost-mounts-for-space-retraining-strategizing-
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John Glenn questions NASA budget cuts

Post  sc4ram on Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:03 am




http://www.wtam.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=122520&article=7672260
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Bolden heads to China this weekend for joint space talks

Post  sc4ram on Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:01 am



Bolden heads to China this weekend for joint space talks
Posted: October 12, 2010

Agency spokesman Michael Cabbage said Tuesday that Bolden's itinerary was not finalized. Seven NASA officials will accompany Bolden on the five-day trip.

Responding to a letter from Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., Bolden said the visit will follow up on agreements reached in November 2009 between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Both leaders issued a joint communique calling for talks on cooperation in human spaceflight.

"Regarding the request in your letter for the scope of the discussions, my visit is intended to be introductory in nature and will not include consideration of any specific proposals for human spaceflight cooperation or new cooperation in any other areas of NASA's activities," Bolden wrote in a letter dated Oct. 8.

Wolf is staunchly opposed to U.S. cooperation with China, highlighting that country's record of espionage and human rights abuses.

"I need not remind you that no such planning or coordination has been approved by the Congress," Wolf wrote Oct. 5. "In fact, several recent NASA authorization bills have explicitly sought to place strict limitations on coordination with China."

Space powers like Russia and Europe are gradually warming up to including China in more bilateral cooperation, but leaders have made little progress on the thorny issue of Chinese participation on the International Space Station.

Bolden did not specifically address the upcoming visit to China while attending the International Astronautical Congress in Prague last month. But when asked about the expansion of the space station partnership to more countries, the administrator said such a move would difficult both politically and technically.

"The determination (the partners) made is opening up the partnership is extremely difficult because we are involved in treaties," Bolden said Sept. 27 in Prague. "What is not difficult to do is increasing the participation on the International Space Station. As I recall, what we said was we encourage the member nations to offer the opportunity on a bilateral basis to partner with non-traditional partners."

"China is a spacefaring nation, one of three nations that has the capability of putting humans into orbit on their own," Bolden said. "I know that they talk to every one of my international partners, and that, I think, is good."

With the extension of the space station to at least 2020, and maybe beyond, leaders say now is a good time to consider the future of the partnership, even the roles of other nations like China or India.

"I am one who never says never," Bolden said.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's director-general, said a closed partnership could put the entire program at risk.

"I am convinced that the partnership needs to be an open partnership," Dordain said Sept. 27. "A closed partnership is something which will not be sustainable."

"But under which condition would you extend? Maybe not a partnership, as Charlie Bolden said, but this could be made into steps," Dordain said. "But at least not to marginalize big space powers like China and India."

News reports this summer quoted the head of Russia's civil space program, Anatoly Perminov, saying his country contacted China about joining the space station program. In a June speech in St. Petersburg, Perminov said China had not responded to the overture, according to the Interfax news agency.

NASA quickly issued a statement on the matter, saying U.S. officials checked with Russian leaders and confirmed there was never a formal invitation offered to China.

Bolden was invited to visit Chinese space facilities by Wang Wenbao, the director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, according to his letter.

The administrator plans discussions with officials from several Chinese agencies, including the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the China Manned Space Engineering Office, the China National Space Administration, the China Academy of Spaceflight Technology, and the China Academy of Sciences.

A delegation of Chinese representatives plans to travel to the United States as soon as November, according to a white paper released Oct. 1. But Cabbage said NASA has not formally set a schedule for the Chinese visit.

According to Bolden's letter, the specific agenda for a Chinese visit to the United States will depend on the access and transparency NASA officials are granted in China.

When former NASA chief Mike Griffin visited China in 2006, his delegation was not permitted to see Chinese human spaceflight facilities or hardware.

In his Oct. 5 letter, Wolf outlined his concerns about the release of "non-public" information to China. Bolden assured Wolf there would be so such release of sensitive data.

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US midterm elections: Policy row launches NASA into limbo

Post  sc4ram on Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:00 am



http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101013/full/467763a.html
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Trim NASA down to size

Post  sc4ram on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:16 am



http://www.minutemannewscenter.com/articles/2010/10/13/fairfield/opinion/op_ed/doc4cb61c12139cd109079527.txt
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Bolden Heads to China Amid Lawmaker Concern

Post  sc4ram on Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:07 am

Fri, 15 October, 2010


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden left for Beijing Oct. 15 amid mixed congressional reaction to Bolden’s plans to meet with Chinese officials to discuss the potential for cooperation in human spaceflight.

Two House Republicans and a Democrat representing the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group wrote Bolden Oct. 12 to express their support for the five-day trip and request the NASA chief raise the possibility of a “joint-rescue capability in space that would enable the U.S., China and Russia to rescue each other’s space crews.”

The letter, signed by Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), said Bolden should consider developing a common docking interface for space capsules capable of reaching the international space station, including the Chinese Shenzhou, Russian Soyuz and NASA’s Orion crew capsule, which the agency is still planning to develop for use as a crew lifeboat on the orbiting outpost.

“As NASA develops the new Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) based on the work already done on the Orion crew capsule, the U.S. should begin discussion on a common docking ring between the CRV, Shenzhou and Soyuz,” the letter states.

Other lawmakers, however, are adamantly opposed to such cooperation and made sure Bolden was aware of their displeasure.

U.S. Reps. Frank Wolf of Virginia, John Culberson of Texas and Robert Aderholt of Alabama — all Republicans serving on the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee that approves NASA’s annual budgets — joined California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in objecting to Bolden’s trip in a letter sent to the NASA chief as he left town.

“As you know, we have serious concerns about the nature and goals of China’s space program and strongly oppose any cooperation between NASA and China,” the lawmakers wrote in the Oct. 15 letter to Bolden. “In light of the short notice and scant information provided before your departure to China, we respectfully request a full briefing with you upon your return.”

Specifically, the lawmakers expect Boldin to provide the names and titles of the China National Space Administration and China Manned Space Engineering Office representatives Bolden meets with, as well as topics discussed, facilities visited and accords or follow-up meetings agreed to, the letter states.

“Most importantly, we would like personal assurance that at no time during your trip there were any discussions of cooperation on human space flight activities,” the lawmakers wrote. “In addition we want a guarantee from you that Members of Congress will be fully briefed before Chinese representatives visit the U.S. in November and before you or any other NASA representative travels to China in the future.”

Wolf previously requested a congressional security briefing in advance of the China visit. With lawmakers away on the campaign trail and Bolden tied up in a two-day management retreat with NASA personnel, the briefing did not take place. A congressional aide said Wolf spoke with Bolden by telephone Oct. 13 and reiterated his opposition to the visit.

Bolden, in an Oct. 8 letter to Wolf, outlined his itinerary and characterized the trip as “introductory.” He also said NASA would not consider any specific proposals from the Chinese for human spaceflight cooperation and that a reciprocal visit by Chinese government officials to NASA facilities in November would be guided by “the degree of transparency and openness that is displayed during my visit.”

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Critics question Charlie Bolden's focus on NASA's new 'vision'

Post  sc4ram on Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:22 am



Critics question Charlie Bolden's focus on NASA's new 'vision'
October 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — A new NASA vision signed into law a week ago gives the agency four months or less to develop a dozen different plans for the future, including a detailed report on how it would replace the retiring space shuttle.

It's an ambitious schedule — one that NASA chief Charlie Bolden said requires the agency to "think and act boldly." But as has been the case for much of his tenure, Bolden won't be around as the plans get rolling. The jet-setting ex-astronaut left for China on Friday for a weeklong trip.

Since taking charge of NASA in July 2009, the 64-year-old Bolden has visited 14 countries and has been missing at critical moments. Last year, he skipped one of the first shuttle flights under his watch to visit Japan and most recently was on a trip to Europe and the Middle East when the U.S. House nearly defeated the NASA vision endorsed by the Obama administration.

"How about saving the manned space program — in America?" said U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Texas, one of several Republicans who have loudly opposed Bolden's most recent trip. "Charlie Bolden should stay focused on America's manned space program."

His absence, coupled with several gaffes, has fueled speculation that Bolden may not command the bridge for much longer.

Bolden was not available for comment but a NASA official downplayed the whispers.

"There's always speculation about people's tenure in Washington," said Lori Garver, deputy NASA chief. "We have gotten to used it, and we don't even consider it a distraction at NASA because we are so excited about our future."

Fueling the talk is the rocky relationship between Bolden and the White House, which has been strained since President Barack Obama introduced his new plan for space exploration in February

In the week leading up to the unveiling of that plan, Bolden was in Germany and Israel on a trip that included a commemoration for Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, killed in the 2003 Columbia accident.

Even after the Obama plan became public, Bolden never seemed to get on the same page as the administration, once telling staff to work on an alternative to Obama's plan of using commercial rockets to re-supply the International Space Station with crew and cargo.

And in April, Bolden appeared to contradict the White House when he supported further test flights of a rocket being developed by the agency's Constellation program -- despite Obama's aim to scuttle the project's Ares rockets.

Ultimately, Congress and the White House settled on a blueprint, which became law Oct. 11. It tasks NASA with building a new spacecraft for exploration beyond lower Earth orbit while giving commercial rockets a greater role in supply missions to the International Space Station.

During a media conference call on the day of the signing, Bolden read a statement, thanked reporters and turned the call over to Garver — a practice that has become routine. Two sources said Bolden continued to listen to the questions addressed to Garver but was barred from speaking.

In fact, an Administration source said the White House originally planned to hold a public signing ceremony but canceled it when Bolden expressed interest in changing his travel plans and attending.

Although the White House denies it, Administration sources said Bolden has been told to keep a low profile.

He has all but disappeared from public view since the White House publicly reprimanded him last month. That reprimand came after NASA's inspector general found he acted "inappropriately" when he consulted with Marathon Oil Corp. about a proposed NASA biofuels program.

Bolden is a former director of Marathon – which has its own biofuels program – and still holds shares worth up to $1 million.

Adding to the administration's issues is that Bolden stays in the news even when he travels overseas.

He riled conservatives this summer when he told the Middle East network al Jazeera that one of his top priorities was outreach to the Muslim world. And against the advice of top NASA officials, he returned to the region recently to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Arab astronaut's shuttle flight -- a trip that came as Congress was fiercely debating the bill providing a blueprint for future human space exploration.

The China trip has stirred controversy as well. A powerful Republican lawmaker told Bolden in a letter that he was "ardently opposed to any cooperation with the Chinese" on human spaceflight.

"It should go without saying that NASA has no business cooperating with the Chinese regime of human spaceflight," wrote U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican who sits on the subcommittee with oversight of NASA's budget. "China is taking an increasingly aggressive posture globally, and their interests rarely intersect with ours."

Bolden wrote back that the trip had been in the works since November 2009 when Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to a dialogue on space. "While in China, I have also been invited to conduct site visits to Chinese human space flight facilities that were not previously offered to my predecessors," Bolden wrote.

What happens when he returns is anyone's guess.

"Bolden has also become an easy excuse for administration critics who don't want to acknowledge any merit in the White House proposals [on space]." said Dale Ketcham, director of the University of Central Florida's Space Research and Technology Institute. "They can simply point at Charlie and his seemingly inexplicable behavior to justify their opposition to badly needed change at the agency."

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Brevard schools could face bleak future after shuttle

Post  sc4ram on Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:57 am



http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20101021/NEWS01/10210311/1006/rss01
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Final Shuttle Launch could be Delayed for 1 year

Post  sc4ram on Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:35 am



http://www.wesh.com/r/25467548/detail.html
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China is on path to 'militarization of space'

Post  sc4ram on Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:23 am


China is on path to 'militarization of space'
The Asian space race is moving along slowly, but steadily – and China is in the lead, with technology that could give it a military advantage over the US.

The Asian space race
Compared with the American and Soviet mad dashes into space in the late 1950s and '60s, Asia is taking its time – running a marathon, not a sprint. "All of these countries witnessed the cold war, and what led to the destruction of the USSR," says Ajey Lele, an expert on Asian space programs at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi, referring to the military and space spending that helped hasten the decline of the Soviet regime. "They understand the value of money and investment, and they are going as per the pace which they can go." But he acknowledged China's edge over India. "They started earlier, and they're ahead of us at this time," he says.

India put the Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft into lunar orbit in 2008, a mission with a NASA payload that helped confirm the presence of water on the moon. It plans a moon landing in a few years' time, and a manned mission as early as 2020 – roughly the same timetable as China.

Japan is also mulling a moonshot, and has branched out into other space exploration, such as the recent Hayabusa mission to an asteroid. Its last lunar orbiter shared the moon with China's first in 2007.

Both Japan's and India's recent missions have been plagued by glitches and technical problems, however, while China's have gone relatively smoothly.

Mr. Lele said the most significant aspect of the Chang'e 2 mission was the attempt at a 9.5-mile-high orbit, a difficult feat. India's own lunar orbiter descended to about 60 miles in 2008, he said, but was forced to return to a more stable, 125-mile-high orbit.

A low orbit will allow for better scouting of future landing sites, said Lele. "They [the Chinese] will require huge amounts of data on landing grounds," said Lele. "A moon landing hasn't been attempted since the cold war."

During the famed 1969 Apollo 11 manned mission to the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong had to take control of the lander in the last moments of descent to avoid large moon boulders strewn around the landing site. China hopes to avoid any such last-minute surprises with better reconnaissance photos, which would allow them to see moon features such as rocks as small as one-meter across, according to Chinese media.

Is China's space exploration a military strategy?
Meanwhile, some have pointed out that China's moonshot, like all space programs, has valuable potential military offshoots. China's space program is controlled by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which is steadily gaining experience in remote communication and measurement, missile technology, and antisatellite warfare through missions like Chang'e 2.

The security implications of China's space program are not lost on India, Japan, or the United States.

The Pentagon notes that China, through its space program, is exploring ways to exploit the US military's dependence on space in a conflict scenario – for example, knocking out US satellites in the opening hours of a crisis over Taiwan.

"China is developing the ability to attack an adversary's space assets, accelerating the militarization of space," the Pentagon said in its latest annual report to Congress on China's military power. "PLA writings emphasize the necessity of 'destroying, damaging, and interfering with the enemy's reconnaissance ... and communications satellites.' "

More broadly, some in the US see China's moon program as evidence that it has a long-range strategic view that's lacking in Washington. The US has a reconnaissance satellite in lunar orbit now, but President Obama appears to have put off the notion of a manned return to the moon.

With China slowly but surely laying the groundwork for a long-term lunar presence, some fear the US may one day find itself lapped –"like the tale of the tortoise and the hare," says Dean Cheng, an expert on China's space program at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. "I have to wonder whether the United States, concerned with far more terrestrial issues, and with its budget constraints, is going to decide to make similarly persistent investments to sustain its lead in space."

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High-paying jobs scant outside KSC

Post  sc4ram on Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:51 pm



http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20101128/NEWS01/11280317/1006/High-paying+jobs+scant+outside+KSC
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Nelson: Obama administration is not 'helping' NASA

Post  sc4ram on Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:23 am




http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/os-nasa-senate-hearing-20101201,0,1741963.story
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The Space Shuttle's Lessons For The Future

Post  sc4ram on Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:19 pm



The Space Shuttle's Lessons For The Future
Dec 7, 2010
Washington

The second flight of the space shuttle Atlantis was almost its last.

What was then NASA’s newest orbiter sustained severe damage to its fragile thermal protection system when it lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39B on Dec. 2, 1988. But through a combination of military secrecy and plain old human misunderstanding, the problem went unaddressed until Atlantis returned to Earth four days later.

The STS-27 mission was the second shuttle flight after the fatal Challenger mission, an urgent “black” mission to orbit the Lacrosse-1 radar-reconnaissance satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The military space program was backing away from the shuttle as fast as it could in the wake of the accident, but it had built payloads like the first of the billion-dollar Lacrosse satellites that could only be launched on the shuttle.

Liftoff seemed normal to the crew and the launch team, but engineers at Johnson Space Center reviewing imagery of the ascent later saw something break away from the nose of the right-hand solid rocket booster and hit the orbiter. As a precaution, the Atlantis crew unlimbered the robotic arm and used its video camera to inspect the fragile tiles in the apparent impact zone on the starboard side.

“[W]e could see that at least one tile had been completely blasted from the fuselage,” writes arm-operator Mike Mullane in his memoir, Riding Rockets. “The white streaking [indicating tile damage] grew thicker and faded aft beyond the view of the camera. It appeared that hundreds of tiles had been damaged and the scars extended outboard toward the carbon-composite panels on the leading edge of the wing.”

A crack in one of those same panels would destroy Columbia 14 years later, and the Atlantis crew understood the danger as they watched the video with growing apprehension. But heat-shield experts in Houston did not think it was that bad, and they quickly decided nothing needed to be done.

The crew argued that it looked pretty bad to them, but Houston held firm and the mission proceeded as planned. Mullane deployed the satellite—a task that won him and his crewmates medals they were not allowed to wear in public—and Atlantis returned to land at Edwards AFB in the California desert.

It turned out that the crew was right about the tile damage. “There was already a knot of engineers gathered at the right forward fuselage shaking their heads in disbelief,” Mullane writes of the scene that awaited the crew as they exited the orbiter. “The damage was much worse than any of us had expected.”

Some 700 tiles had been gouged by what turned out to have been the nose cap from the booster rocket. The aluminum beneath the missing tile had started to melt, and Mullane says probably the only thing that prevented a burn-through was an antenna mount that required a thicker structure than elsewhere on the fuselage.

Robert “Hoot” Gibson, the STS-27 commander who told controllers from space that they did not seem to understand how serious the damage appeared, later found out that was exactly the case. Because it was a classified mission, the video downlink was encrypted, and as a result engineers on the ground were seeing Mullane’s robotic arm videos at lower resolution than the crew.

Had the reinforced carbon-carbon nose cap or starboard wing leading edge been penetrated by the debris that fell 85 sec. into the flight, or had the damaged tiles “unzipped” during reentry, Atlantis would have been destroyed. And because the mission’s 57-deg. inclination brought it back into the atmosphere over the Northern Pacific, the root cause of the loss might never have been discovered because the wreckage would have been lost at sea.

Coming on the second flight after the Challenger disaster, “that probably would have been the end of the program,” Gibson says.

That near-miss underscores a lesson that the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) put very succinctly in its August 2003 report: “Building rockets is hard.” Today, as NASA scrambles to find a new way to get humans into space, there is a danger that lesson has again been forgotten.

At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the roots of both accidents—and the near-accident on STS-27—can be traced back to shuttle components managed there. Challenger fell victim to a poorly designed field joint between two segments of one of its solid-fueled booster rockets, and Columbia was fatally damaged by a piece of foam insulation that dropped from the external tank onto one of the wing leading edges that the solid-boost tip narrowly missed on Atlantis. As a result, veterans of the shuttle projects run at Marshall have some very hard-won lessons on how to “cheat gravity,” as they like to say.

“You don’t become a spaceship until you’re going 17,500 mph.,” says John Chapman, who took over as manager of the external tank project after the Columbia accident and retired this year. “In order to do that, the laws of physics say you’re going to be operating on the margins. You’ve got to get the weight way down. You’re going to be dealing with pressures and temperatures that somewhat boggle the mind, and so you’re going to be challenging the performance capability of materials throughout the whole thing. The more you can know about the environment which you’re flying in and what those materials do in those environments, . . . the more you are liable to be able to make design adjustments and fabrication adjustments to cope with the fact that you actually are operating on the ragged edge.”

In the wake of the Columbia accident, Sean O’Keefe, the NASA administrator in charge at the time, made fun of the amateur “foamologists” in the media trying to understand the dawning realization that a flimsy piece of insulation from the shuttle’s external tank could crack the heat shield on a wing’s leading edge. Myron Pessin is a professional “foamologist” whose white paper on the subject was used by the CAIB .

One lesson Pessin learned in working on the tank for 25 years is the difficulty of maintaining control of non-metallic materials like the foam and the adhesives that keep it attached to the tank. Sometimes nothing stands between specifications and an imperfect supply chain but the skill of a single worker, he says. On one occasion, the sampling program allowed an out-of-spec commercial primer to reach the factory floor at the Michoud Assembly Facility where the tanks are made.

“The technician who sprayed a 1,000-sq.-ft. dome said, ‘this isn’t the same material I’ve been spraying,’” Pessin says. “So we went back and discovered the vendor had put the wrong solvent reducer in the can. It was labeled properly. Everything was right, except the wrong material was in the can . . . . We had to hand-sand a 1,000-sq.-ft. dome to get the primer off.”

The expensive rework led to a new inspection program to ensure the chemicals used in preparing tanks meet specifications. A similar issue arose with the solid rocket boosters in 1996, when managers decided to destack STS-79 and replace its boosters because post-recovery inspection of the boosters from the previous flight showed hot gas had penetrated the field joints in an ominous echo of the failure that had destroyed Challenger a decade earlier.

The problem, says Deputy Shuttle Program Manager Steve Cash, was traced to a new water-based adhesive used to meet environmental regulations. The new adhesive had worked well in a hot-fire motor test in Utah, but the higher humidity in Florida changed its chemical characteristics. A divided management team decided to opt for caution and replace the boosters, says Cash, who was working the solid-fuel booster project at the time. The project switched back to the old adhesive under an Environmental Protection Agency waiver.
The approach—maintaining sharp vigilance over the systems and proceeding with caution when they do not act as expected—goes back to the earliest days of spaceflight. “We had von Braun,” says Alex McCool, an engineer and manager who started working for Wernher von Braun on the Redstone rocket in 1954 and who joined the shuttle program in 1972. “What he did, with his ‘board of directors,’ he instilled in us this idea of working together, checking, double-checking, testing components, subsystems, systems. Some things you can’t do, and you do the best you can.”

Perhaps nowhere has that lesson been applied with more rigor than in the space shuttle main engine (SSME) project. Despite its almost unbelievable operating parameters of -423-6,000F, 7,250 psi., 23,700 rpm., the reusable cryogenic engine has never caused an accident. Otto Goetz, the retired SSME chief engineer, attributes that to a continuous process of testing, research and upgrades.

“In the SSME program, we had principle that you never fly what you haven’t tested on the ground,” he says. “You never fly a configuration unless you have tested it on the ground, and on the ground we had the principle of fleet leader.”

That means the engines hot-fired in the test stands at Stennis Space Center are pushed harder than the engines that fly, leaving a performance margin that enhances robustness. “We didn’t compromise,” Goetz says.

There is a legacy in the work done on the shuttle program over the past 40 years that can be applied to whatever comes next in U.S. human spaceflight. Goetz says the computer models of engine conditions developed from the early days of trial and error on the SSME helped with more recent block upgrades in the engine, and will reduce the amount of trial and error needed on future engine developments. Materials work done across the shuttle stack will shape future developments, and the painful lessons learned from the accidents and other serious anomalies over the years do not need to be repeated.

But as NASA, the White House and Congress wrestle over the direction of the U.S. program, the edge in shuttle operations that has been honed over the past 40 years already is being lost.

Arnold Aldrich, an engineer whose career in human spaceflight ranges from Project Mercury through most of the shuttle program, including heading up its recovery after the Challenger accident, sees the shuttle as safer today than ever. Like many of his peers, including many of those still working in the engineering trenches at NASA, he has trouble understanding the current course change in U.S. space policy.

“With the termination of the space shuttle and the Constellation programs, the marvelously talented and experienced government/industry engineering and operations team for exploring space, which has been created and nurtured over the last half-century, should have a new national space exploration vision and program to apply its talent to,” Aldrich writes in an e-mail following up on a lengthy interview on lessons learned from the shuttle program. “It’s hard to understand the current administration laying off a large percentage of this workforce when the administration’s loudly proclaimed mantra is jobs, jobs, jobs. These are particularly good jobs, and the workforce comprises an indispensable national asset.”

Instead of its practice of developing space vehicles in fits and starts, he says, the U.S. would be better off if it followed the Russian model of building systems that are “very rugged and capable and proven over time” and then continuing to build on them. That approach, using shuttle components already proven in space, would serve well as NASA and Congress work out a way to move beyond low Earth orbit, he says.

The issue, Aldrich says, is not whether commercially operated rockets can be a viable alternative to government-owned routes to space, but where to go after that. “This commercial space thing does not deal with space exploration. It just deals with transporting things to low Earth orbit. That is not an exploration program, so I’d take that off the table. That’s a good thing. It’s going to take longer to come on line and evolve than people say it will take. And I think the business case to make it purely commercial is unlikely for the foreseeable future. But whether it happens or not, I think is a misunderstanding of the fact that that is not exploration of the Solar System.”
The shift to commercial crew transport and some other elements of NASA’s new approach have been sold as “affordability” issues, but Aldrich says that reflects a misalignment of national priorities. “What you have to do is envision what is our vision as a nation in space, and then proceed to put together a plan which includes people and technology and budgets to do that. If you look at some of the things that the nation has put money into in the last two years, in massive sums of billions of dollars, a few billion up or down on the NASA budget to me does not seem to be the critical point in making long-range, vital decisions for the nation.”

There is also a risk of paying a dollar later for a penny saved today, say those who have seen it over and over again in the shuttle program. Had NASA’s budget not been cut at the beginning of the shuttle program, its engineers might have been able to produce a fully reusable two-stage vehicle that bypassed the problems of unstoppable solid propellant and a configuration that stacked sources of debris above a fragile thermal protection system.

“You start out with a new program that requires you to establish this amount of margin, but those margins are never enough,” says John Thomas, who managed the redesign of the solid-fuel boosters for NASA after Challenger. “As the program progresses, you run into difficulties in design, manufacturing or unknown environments, or coupling of loads, and you start reducing those margins. Pretty soon we’re flying without a robust system, and that has been the case with every system that I know of that has been designed in the past. If we were to design on the front end, as aggressive as it might be at the time, to build in some unusual margins, and then make performance commensurate with that robustness, then you don’t run into these problems.”

Ultimately, however, Thomas and many of his colleagues agree that there must be a “compromise” between performance and cost. In today’s political environment, that compromise has not been reached at the political level, even if its limits are understood in NASA’s engineering organizations. That is a lesson from the shuttle program that has been handed down to those who will develop whatever comes next.

Mike Kynard is managing development of the J-2X cryogenic engine, an upgrade of the engine that powered the Saturn V upper stages. Selected for the same job in the Ares launch vehicles that have been scuttled along with the Constellation program, the first J-2X is in final assembly just as the funding dries up. Kynard learned the ropes on the SSME project, where his mentor was Otto Goetz.

“Mr. Goetz told me to know the product very well, know what you’re doing, know what you’re building, be intimately familiar with what you’re doing, because in the liquid rocket business it can go bad in a hurry,” Kynard says. “He said the hardware knows the truth; you need to get to know the hardware. He also said once you feel comfortable that you have the information, don’t be afraid to make a decision. You’ve got to get on with it. You still have a job to do.”
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As China eyes the stars, U.S. watches warily

Post  sc4ram on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:21 pm



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/22/AR2011012203747.html
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An exercise in the Art of War: China’s National Defense white paper, outer space, and the PPWT

Post  sc4ram on Sun May 15, 2011 1:41 pm



An exercise in the Art of War: China’s National Defense white paper, outer space, and the PPWT
Monday, April 25, 2011

On March 31, 2011, the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China issued a white paper on national defense titled China’s National Defense in 2010.1 The white paper is a comprehensive public statement of the PRC’s stance on matters relating to its national defense. Chapter X of the report, Arms Control and Disarmament, states the PRC’s position on the prevention of an arms race in space. Specifically, the section states that:

[t]he Chinese government has advocated from the outset the peaceful use of outer space, and opposes any weaponization of outer space and any arms race in outer space. China believes that the best way for the international community to prevent any weaponization of or arms race in outer space is to negotiate and conclude a relevant international legally-binding instrument.

In February 2008, China and Russia jointly submitted to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) a draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT). In August 2009, China and Russia jointly submitted their working paper responding to the questions and comments raised by the CD members on the draft treaty. China is looking forward to starting negotiations on the draft treaty at the earliest possible date, in order to conclude a new outer space treaty.

The United States rejected the PPWT in 2008, and the provisions of the proposal have raised questions among other members of the Conference on Disarmament, yet the Russian Federation and the PRC continue to press for its adoption. However, in spite of the PRC’s stance in its white paper, is the true policy of the PRC to prevent an arms race in outer space or does it have a different objective in mind? The teachings of a legendary Chinese general may offer some insight.

PRC’s perception of the United States’ space power
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.”2

The United States is in a unique position among the nations of the world regarding the development of and the reliance upon its outer space systems. These systems not only provide national security functions, but also support the economy and civilian sector as well. It is this reliance that makes those outer space systems particularly vulnerable. The PRC recognizes both this reliance and vulnerability.

The PRC also understands that the best way to counter this advantage is to deny the United States the use of its space systems.
A 2007 report to Congress from the State Department’s Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division3 addressing the PRC’s January 11, 2007, ASAT test quoted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, General Peter Pace. At a March 7, 2007, news conference regarding the ASAT test, General Pace notes several comments made by PRC military and foreign policy personnel concerning the threat of the United States’ outer-space systems to the PRC’s national security:

“Various comments by PLA officers and PRC civilian analysts have justified the ASAT test as needed to counter perceived U.S. ‘hegemony’ in space and target the vulnerability of U.S. dependence on satellites.”
“A PLA Air Force colonel wrote in late 2006 that U.S. military power, including long-range strikes, have relied on superiority in space and that leveraging space technology can allow a rising power to close the gap with advanced countries more rapidly than trying to catch up.”
“A PRC specialist at Fudan University indicated that China’s ASAT program is developed partly to maintain China’s nuclear deterrence, perceived as undermined by U.S. space assets.”
The PRC understands the advantage the United States has with it space systems, and that they are critical to its military operations. The PRC also understands that the best way to counter this advantage is to deny the United States the use of its space systems.

These open-source statements are not all-inclusive and raise the question of whether they actually reflect the true policy of the PRC. While it is difficult to rely solely on open source literature and commentary from the PRC as a persuasive warning that United States’ outer space systems are vulnerable, neither should they be idly be dismissed.4

PRC and the PPWT
“With regard to precipitous heights, if you proceed your adversary, occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.”

“…if the enemy has occupied precipitous heights before you, do not follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away.”

The PRC white paper extols the PPWT jointly submitted with the Russian Federation as the means to achieve the PRC’s purported policy goal of preventing the weaponization of outer space. In an indirect reference to the PPWT, Cheng Jingye, director-general of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made a comment early in 2011 that references the policy enunciated in the PRC white paper. Cheng, doubtless referring to the PPWT, said that the negotiation and conclusion of a new international legal instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space is the best way to ensure outer space’s peace and security.5

The proffered purpose in the preamble of the PPWT6 by the Russian Federation and China is to address the deficiency of Article IV of the Outer Space Treaty.7 Article IV bans the placement of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of the earth, but it is silent concerning weapons that are non-nuclear or otherwise do not reach the destructive potential of a weapon of mass destruction.

The PPWT offers the following definition of a space weapon:

The term “weapon in outer space” means any device placed in outer space, based on any physical principle, which has been specially produced or converted to destroy, damage or disrupt the normal functioning of objects in outer space, on the Earth or in the Earth’s atmosphere, or to eliminate a population or components of the biosphere which are important to human existence or inflict damage on them;

The PPWT goes on to say that:

A weapon shall be considered to have been “placed” in outer space if it orbits the Earth at least once, or follows a section of such an orbit before leaving this orbit, or is permanently located somewhere in outer space;

The PPWT then defines the “use of force” or the threat of “use of force” as:

The “use of force” or the “threat of force” mean any hostile actions against outer space objects including, inter alia, actions aimed at destroying them, damaging them, temporarily or permanently disrupting their normal functioning or deliberately changing their orbit parameters, or the threat of such actions.

The PPWT prohibits space weapons as defined by stating that:

[t]he States Parties undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies and not to place such weapons in outer space in any other manner; not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects; and not to assist or induce other States, groups of States or international organizations to participate in activities prohibited by this Treaty.

More important than what the PPWT prohibits is what it does not prohibit or address. An August 18, 2009, letter from the Russian Federation and PRC delegation to the Disarmament Conference addressed concerns with the PPWT raised by other members. In particular, the letter asserts that:

The PPWT prohibits the use or threat of force against “outer space objects”, but it does not prohibit the use or threat of force in outer space.
The PPWT does not alter the right to self-defense allowed under Article 51 of the UN Charter; so long as that weapon is not prohibited by international law and is not used against a signatory of the PPWT.
The PPWT does not prohibit, the development, testing, and deployment of anti-satellite weapons (ASATs) so long as they do not meet the definition of “weapon in outer space” as defined by the PPWT.
The PPWT does not prohibit the development, testing and deployment of ground-based lasers and electronic suppression systems.
The PPWT does not address the issue of “dual-purpose” space technologies that could be employed both for peaceful or aggressive purposes.
The PPWT does not include any mechanism for verification.
The wording and interpretation of the PPWT works to the PRC’s advantage by allowing it to continue to develop and deploy direct-ascent ASAT technology and other ground-based ASAT techniques. On the other hand, countries such as the United States would be limited in the means it could use to develop and deploy defenses specifically if the means of defense might be defined as a space weapon under the PPWT.

The PPWT and the United States’ space policy
“Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of success. Rouse him, learn the principle of his activity and inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spot.”

Diplomatic channels seem to verify that while publically touting its intention to prevent a arms race in space, the PRC is willing to do so only on its terms and through mechanisms like the PPWT to the exclusion of other methods.
United States space policy has evolved to recognize the dependence on its outer space systems and their inherent vulnerability. On October 6, 2006, the Bush Administration released the unclassified, public version of the National Space Policy.8 Among the principles enunciated, the National Space Policy states that:

The United States considers space capabilities — including the ground and space segments and supporting links — vital to its national interests. Consistent with this policy, the United States will: preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take those actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests;

This stance was considered provocative by many and drew the ire of political commentators and scholars alike. In particular, a scholar in US-China relations suggested that the National Space Policy articulated the goal of the United States to gain a monopoly in outer space to the exclusion of others, and that China might develop anti-satellite and space weapons to defend against that goal.9

Congress inquired whether the National Space Policy could have been the impetus to the PRC’s ASAT test, to which the State Department’s April 23, 2007, report concluded that:

Even before issuance of the U.S. space policy, China conducted three previous tests of this direct-ascent ASAT weapon and, by September 2006, China had used a ground-based laser to illuminate a U.S. satellite in several tests of a system to “blind” satellites.

Before and after this latest ASAT test, PRC military and civilian analysts have voiced concerns about China’s perceived vulnerability against U.S. dominance in military and space power. After the test, a Senior Colonel of the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences said that “outer space is going to be weaponized in our lifetime” and that “if there is a space superpower, it’s not going to be alone, and China is not going to be the only one.”

This counters that the proposition that the PRC’s motivation to perform the test was in response to the National Space Policy, and that the PRC had other rationales for performing it.

The 2006 National Space Policy further addressed the importance of the continued integrity of the United States’ outer space systems by stating that:

The United States will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space. Proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the rights of the United States to conduct research, development, testing, and operations or other activities in space for U.S. national interests;

This principle of the National Space Policy elicited in part the response of the United States to the PPWT on October 20, 2008. In a letter to the Chairman of the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly during a debate on the disarmament aspects of the outer space, the United State’s public delegate, Karen E. House, stated that:

[i]t has been the consistent policy of the United States to oppose arms control concepts, proposals, and legally-binding regimes that seek or impose prohibitions on the use of space for military or intelligence purposes. The United States also opposes any arms control proposals which fail to preserve the right of the United States to conduct research, development, testing and operations in space for military, intelligence, civil or commercial purposes.

Ms. House, referring to the core space law treaties—the Outer Space Treaty, the Rescue Agreement, the Liability Convention, and the Registration Convention10 —also stated in her letter that: “it is also out long-standing position that the existing in-force regime is sufficient to guarantee the right of all nations for access to, and operations in, space.”11

The National Space Policy released by the Obama Administration on June 28, 2010,12 takes a similar but a subjectively less provocative tack concerning the integrity of United States space systems:

The United States will employ a variety of measures to help assure the use of space for all responsible parties, and, consistent with the inherent right of self-defense, deter others from interference and attack, defend our space systems and contribute to the defense of allied space systems, and, if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack them.

Consistent with this principle, the current National Space Policy takes a different approach with regard to new treaties concerning outer space:

The United States will pursue bilateral and multilateral transparency and confidence-building measures to encourage responsible actions in, and the peaceful use of, space. The United States will consider proposals and concepts for arms control measures if they are equitable, effectively verifiable, and enhance the national security of the United States and its allies.

Given the lack of a verification mechanism in the PPWT and the inherent difficulty of verifying such a treaty, it is doubtful that the current National Space Policy will direct the United States to pursue it.

Two faces of the PRC’s defense policy?
“Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance.”

As noted earlier, much of the insight into the PRC’s intentions are the result of open-source information; however, there is evidence from official channels that may indicate the intentions and policy of the PRC.

An article from the Washington Times reported on an missile-defense test performed by the PRC in 2010 using components of the ASAT system used in the January 2007 test.13 The information concerning the test was gleaned by from a diplomatic cable belonging to the United States and disclosed by Wikileaks.14 In addition to the information relating to the missile-defense test, the disclosed cable purportedly notes concerns from United States’ diplomats that Beijing has duplicitous motives in regards to the issue of weapons in spaces.

The international community should continue to be wary of the public perception that the PRC works so hard to manufacture and promote.
According to the article, the cable purportedly contains concerns from United States’ diplomats that, while Beijing is promoting international treaties to limit or ban weapons in outer space, it is secretly developing its own missile defense and space weapons programs. The article continues that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, during a recent visit to Beijing, offered to hold talks with China on missile defense, space weapons, nuclear weapons, and cyber weapons, but was apparently rebuffed, with the PRC relegating the offer to be studied.

If accurate, diplomatic channels seem to verify that while publically touting its intention to prevent a arms race in space, the PRC is willing to do so only on its terms and through mechanisms like the PPWT to the exclusion of other methods, all the while increasing its ability to neutralize United States space systems and gain an upper hand in outer space.

The two faces of the PRC on outer space
“When there is much running about and the soldiers fall into rank, it means the critical moment has come. When some are seen advancing and some retreating, it is a lure.”

The combined open source material and information gleaned from official diplomatic communications suggest the PRC is following a two-pronged approach to address outer space security. The first prong of the PRC’s strategy is to publically denounce the weaponization of outer space and advocate the international community to enter into formal treaties banning space weapons as defined by the PRC thereby leaving the outer space systems belonging to its potential adversaries open to exploitation. The second prong of the PRC’s strategy is to continue to pursue the development and deployment of infrastructure both to deny an adversary the use of outer space while establishing an advantage in outer space.15

Given this, the PRC’s white paper concerning outer space could be a pretense to a more aggressive policy that could be phrased—hypothetically—as follows:

To promote and actively engage foreign space powers in negotiations leading to legally binding international agreement(s) through the PPWT and its successors that would limit the defense and use of their space assets in the case of conflict. The People’s Republic of China will pursue these agreements while maintaining and improving its technical ability to defend its outer space assets and deny foreign space powers the access and use of outer space.16

If this reflects the true face of the PRC’s policy, then its white paper position towards outer space has more in common with the PRC’s perceptions of the greatly criticized National Space Policy authorized by the Bush Administration, making the PRC’s true stance anything other than the peaceful intentions as its white paper extols.

Conclusion
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is superior in strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

The precise goals of the PRC in the arena of outer space policy cannot be completely understood through the information garnered from open-source and comprised official documents. However insufficient that information may be to make a thorough analysis of what the PRC’s intentions are, the international community should continue to be wary of the public perception that the PRC works so hard to manufacture and promote.

For all its overtures of promoting the peaceful use of outer space, the PRC also cannot ignore the realities that outer space plays and will continue to play in the future. Surely, as the PRC strives to increase it geopolitical influence and exclude others those realities will become even more important in times of conflict. To that end, the lessons of Sun Tzu provide an excellent basis to understand the PRC’s approach to this important issue.

Footnotes
Xinhuanet, “Full text: China’s National Defense in 2010”, March 31, 2011.
Quotes heading each section are taken from The Art of War, Sun Tzu, edited by James Clavell.
Shirley Kan, CSR Report for Congress, “China’s Anti-Satellite Weapons Test”, Order Code RS22652, p. CRS-4, April 23, 2007.
Michael P. Pillsbury, Ph.D, “An Assessment of China’s Anti-satellite and Space Warfare Programs, Policies and Doctrines”, January 19, 2007, p. 6. See also Christopher Stone, “Chinese intentions and American preparedness”, The Space Review, August 13, 2007.
Deng Shasha, “Double standards must be discarded to prevent arms proliferation: Chinese official”, Xinhua, January 21, 2011.
Conference on Disarmament, Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects” (CD/1839), 29 February 2008.
Specifically, a section of the PPWT’s preamble states “Noting that the existing agreements on arms control and disarmament relevant to outer space, including bilateral agreements, and the existing legal regimes concerning the use of outer space play a positive role in exploration of outer space and in regulating outer space activities, and should be strictly complied with, although they are unable to effectively prevent the placement of weapons in outer space and an arms race in outer space…”
The National Space Policy is marked as National Security Presidential Directive 49, but since that document has not been made public, excerpts are taken from “Unclassified” version released on October 6, 2006.
See generally, Bao Shixiu, “Deterrence Revisited: Outer Space”, China Security, World Security Institute, Winter, 2007 (for a discussion on the United States National Space Policy and its threat to the PRC’s national security.)
The United States has not ratified the Moon Treaty of 1979 and therefore does not recognize it as part of the legal regime of international outer space law.
Statement as delivered by Karen E. House, United States Public Delegate to the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly, Delivered in the Debate on Outer Space (Disarmament Aspects) of the General Assemblies First Committee, October 20, 2008.
The National Space Policy enunciated by the Obama Administration is designated Presidential Policy Directive 4. The actual directive has not been released; excerpts are taken from the document released to the public on June 28, 2010.
See Bill Gertz, “ASAT Missile Defense”, Inside the Ring, Washington Times, March 9, 2011.
The author has not personally reviewed the diplomatic cable in question. The author believes that the documents disclosed by Wikileaks, including the cable in question are still classified despite their disclosure, and will remains so until they are officially declassified by their original classifying authority. Thus, the author will rely on the second-hand account of the content of the diplomatic cable provided by the Washington Times for this discussion.
This approach is similar to the one proposed by Colonel Li Daguang in his book Space Warfare. See Christopher Stone, “Chinese intentions and American preparedness”, The Space Review, August 13, 2007.
This language does not appear anywhere in any of the writings the author has presented. It is strictly the author’s conclusion of the PRC’s policy.
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NASA Banned From Working With China Analysis

Post  sc4ram on Sun May 15, 2011 2:19 pm




NASA Banned From Working With China Analysis
Tue May 10, 2011 06:45 PM ET

To push mankind deeper and deeper into space, more expensive and ambitious missions are needed. Therefore, international collaboration is sought after to share the load. For NASA, however, China won't be a part of any joint scientific endeavor for the next fiscal year, at least.

As noted and reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Science in April, a clause included in the U.S. spending bill approved by Congress to avert a government shutdown a few weeks ago has prohibited NASA from coordinating any joint scientific activity with China. The clause also extends to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The short two sentence clause was included by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) to prevent NASA and OSTP from using federal funds "to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company." This clause would also prevent NASA facilities from hosting "official Chinese visitors."

Wolf, a long-time critic of the Chinese government, chairs a House spending committee that oversees several science agencies.

This clause comes at a time of heightened tensions surrounding accusations of cyber-attacks and espionage from the People's Republic of China on U.S. Government agencies and U.S. companies. Wolf's office computers were hacked in 2006 and the FBI confirmed the hacking source was located in China, so he has personal experience of this vulnerability.

In an interview with Science Insider, Wolf robustly stated his position on the matter:

"We don't want to give them the opportunity to take advantage of our technology, and we have nothing to gain from dealing with them. And frankly, it boils down to a moral issue. ... Would you have a bilateral program with Stalin? [...] China is spying against us, and every U.S. government agency has been hit by cyber-attacks. They are stealing technology from every major U.S. company. They have taken technology from NASA, and they have hit the NSF computers ... You name the company, and the Chinese are trying to get its secrets."
These are obviously strong words, and the clause is bound to put a dent in Sino-American relations.

China has already shown the world its space aspirations, although its direction hasn't always been clear. In 2008, the communist nation carried out its first ever spacewalk -- despite a botched script and allegations of conspiracy -- joining the U.S. and Russia as the only 3 nations having performed the feat.

Most recently, the Chinese space agency announced plans for a Chinese space station, and later this year the nation will attempt an in-orbit unmanned rendezvous, a first step toward the space station goal.

Although there's unlikely to be a "Space Race" (reminiscent of the 1960's) between the U.S. and China in the immediate future, and both nations don't cooperate closely on space missions, could blocking the exchange of science increase distrust and tensions in space? That remains to be seen.

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USA sends out notices for final shuttle layoffs

Post  sc4ram on Sun May 15, 2011 2:33 pm



Friday, May 13, 2011USA sends out notices for final shuttle layoffs
As Endeavour counts down to its final launch on Monday morning, shuttle contractors are marching forward with plans for layoffs that will accompany the program's end this summer after two more flights.

Lead shuttle contractor United Space Alliance this week sent out notices to roughly 1,900 local employees likely to be laid off in July and August, the company confirmed.

The 60-day notices are required by law under the federal WARN Act. The final tally could be slightly lower.

Houston-based USA announced its plans for end-of-the-shuttle-program cuts a month ago. They're expected to total about 2,800 jobs -- half the company -- including about 850 positions in Texas and 50 in Alabama.

Most of the Florida cuts are currently expected to take effect July 22. Additional cuts will follow Aug. 12 and Aug. 26.

The layoffs were to start July 15 when the final shuttle launch was targeted for June 28. NASA now expects Atlantis to launch no earlier than the second week of July, and USA has pushed the layoffs back a week.

That date could be adjusted with the flight, but it's possible the layoffs could begin before Atlantis returns home.

USA now employs about 3,300 at Kennedy Space Center.

Among other large contractors involved in processing the shuttle or its payloads, The Boeing Co. expects to let go about 310 of its 750 KSC employees after the last mission this summer.
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Obama Grounding Space Program, Astronauts Say

Post  sc4ram on Sat May 28, 2011 12:49 pm



http://www.nationaljournal.com/obama-grounding-space-program-astronauts-say-20110525
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Employees brace for post-shuttle layoffs

Post  sc4ram on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:01 pm



http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/east-volusia/2011/06/20/employees-brace-for-post-shuttle-layoffs.html
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Bracing for impact of shuttle program's end

Post  sc4ram on Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:58 pm




http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011110624024
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Re: Up to 9000 Jobs to be lost at the Cape after the Shuttle goes Obsolete

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