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_Jefferson Morris

_Jefferson Morris

When the V-22 Osprey takes to the air again next month, the event will be treated as if it were the first flight of a new aircraft, according to Chief Test Pilot Tom MacDonald. "That makes us go through a much more detailed planning process and approval process," MacDonald said. "By doing it that way ... we're being incredibly safe and conservative. It'll be a simple flight."

NASA to quadruple research on biological effects of radiation 

Beginning next year, NASA plans to quadruple the amount of research it performs on the effects of space radiation on biological systems, in an effort to better understand and prepare for future manned space missions.

Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston is leading the radiation initiative, which is receiving a funding boost of roughly $25 million on top of a $15 million baseline program, according to Frank Cucinotta, manager for radiation health at JSC.

CSIS: Satellite export controls are damaging national security 

The current satellite export control regime is stifling U.S. competitiveness in the global satellite marketplace and weakening national security as well, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

O'Keefe to Congress 

NASA audit woes will be over next year In his first appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee's VA-HUD-NASA panel, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe promised committee members that problems with the agency's audits will no longer be a "topic of discussion" next year.

NASA to announce awards for university-based nanotech research 

Within a week, NASA will announce five winners in its Research, Engineering and Technology Institute (RETI) program, three of which will support the agency's goals in nanotechnology research.

Each award will establish a university-based research institute that will partner with NASA on aerospace-related work. NASA plans to select one RETI in each of three nanotechnology-related areas: aerospace materials; electronics and computing; and bio-nanotechnology fusion.

Lau: Nanotech will have bigger impact on warfighting than gunpowder 

Nanotechnology will have a larger impact on warfighting than the invention of gunpowder, according to Dr. Cliff Lau of the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Laboratory and Research.

"Nanotechnology is one of the top [research] priorities within DOD, and it will impact practically all areas of warfighting," Lau said during a nanotechnology symposium in Arlington, Va., April 30.

DARPA developing partly reusable launch system for small payloads 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding six teams in a drive to develop a partially reusable launch system capable of placing small payloads into low-earth orbit within 24 hours of payload delivery.

Under the Responsive Access, Small Cargo and Affordable Launch (RASCAL) Demonstration Program, each of the six teams is receiving between $1 million and $2 million for a nine-month phase one study. Total funding for the project could reach as high as $88 million over five years, according to DARPA.

Pilot: Resumption of V-22 testing to be treated like first flight 

When the V-22 Osprey takes to the air again next month, the event will be treated as if it were the first flight of a new aircraft, according to Chief Test Pilot Tom MacDonald.

"That makes us go through a much more detailed planning process and approval process," MacDonald said. "By doing it that way ... we're being incredibly safe and conservative. It'll be a simple flight."

PAC-3 scores one hit, but another missile fails to launch 

A Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile successfully intercepted and destroyed an incoming tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target during an April 25 test, although a second PAC-3 failed to launch.

The test was intended to be a simultaneous engagement using the first PAC-3 missile against a Patriot-as-a-Target (PAAT) TBM, and the second PAC-3 against a Storm II ballistic missile target. An investigation is underway to determine why the second missile didn't launch.

Aldridge: Nunn-McCurdy-certified programs aren't safe if they don't perform 

Programs that have been certified under the Nunn-McCurdy Act won't be immune to termination if they subsequently fail to perform to expectations, according to Defense Department acquisition chief Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge.

"From now on, a program must perform to survive," Aldridge said APril 24 during a keynote speech at the Global Air&Space 2002 symposium in Virginia. "Even after the certification ... if I see that the programs are failing, we will not hesitate to withdraw the certification and proceed on with program termination."

Rohrabacher: EELV shows progress, but launch costs still must fall 

Despite recent incremental progress made in reducing the cost of launching to low-Earth orbit by programs such as the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), driving costs down further must remain a top priority for U.S. aerospace, according to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

Rohrabacher, who has served in Congress for 14 years, is in his last year as chairman of the House Science Committee's Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee.

NASA's water-focused Aqua satellite could help extend weather forecasts 

NASA's Aqua satellite, which is in final preparations for launch next week, eventually could help weather forecasters extend their forecasts out to seven to 10 days, according to NASA.

"We have five major weather forecasting operations around the world that now, on their own nickel, have set up shop to take the data from Aqua during its commissioning phase ... to help demonstrate the utility of the Aqua data," Ghassem R. Asrar, associate administrator for earth science at NASA Headquarters, said during an April 22 press briefing in Washington.

Muellner: UAV developers must be wary of 'requirements creep' 

Developers and buyers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) must avoid "requirements creep" if their systems are to maintain affordability, according to George Muellner, president of Boeing Phantom Works.

Bell Helicopter/Textron planning to offer FAA-certified Huey upgrade 

Bell Helicopter/Textron is working on plans to offer an FAA-certified upgrade for commercial users of aging UH-1 Huey helicopters, similar to the company's Huey II upgrade kit for government and military users.

Bell is in discussions with the FAA about the program, dubbed "Project 210," and hopes to make a formal announcement this summer, according to Scott Fitzgerald, director of the Huey II program.

DARPA-sponsored on-orbit satellite servicing demo set for FY 2006 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Orbital Express program is gearing up for a critical design review (CDR) this winter, in anticipation of a six- to 12-month on-orbit demonstration to begin in fiscal year 2006.

The $100 million program is an Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) aimed at developing architectures and technologies for refueling, upgrading, and reconfiguring spacecraft while they are in orbit.

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