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October 31, 2006

NSS Hails Decision to Commit to New Hubble Mission

As one of the organizations which pushed hard to ‘save Hubble’, the National Space Society fully supports NASA’s decision to commit to a final servicing mission.

George Whitesides, Executive Director of the National Space Society, stated:

“Hubble is NASA’s astronomical crown jewel, and the decision to extend its life is the right choice. Fixing Hubble is a risk worth taking, just like NASA’s new program to send astronauts to explore the Moon and Mars.”

NSS members had signed thousands of petitions urging NASA to recommit to a final mission which will significantly extend the life of the orbital observatory.

“NSS members knew in their gut what the American people knew in their heart: Hubble was worth saving, and courageous astronauts stood ready to do the job.”

“In fact, missions like Hubble which demand creative thinking, speed and dexterity are much better suited to astronauts.”

NASA is helping to lead a golden age of astronomy, with other telescopes like the Webb telescope and the Space Interferometry Mission on the way. With the promise of discoveries equal to those of Hubble, these programs deserve strong government support.

Posted by george_whitesides at 01:11 PM

October 29, 2006

Hubble repair decision imminent

Tuesday is the day NASA will announce its decision on the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. Friday saw the convening of a special high-level meeting to discuss the feasibility of the mission, designed to keep the Hubble working for several more years. Administrator Mike Griffin said that he wanted to think about the choice over the weekend. Right now, all signs point to a decision to move forward. Space pundits note that the agency is readying its formidable publicity apparatus to make a big splash with this much-anticipated news. An astronaut crew for the mission has been selected, in case Griffin does decide to go forward with the flight, and that crew will be announced on Tuesday, following Griffin's announcement. NSS fought hard to support the decision to go forward with the mission, and NSS members will deserve credit for their advocacy if Griffin announces that the Hubble will be repaired.

Posted by george_whitesides at 10:17 PM

October 17, 2006

New Lockheed Bigelow Launch Video Shown

The Lockheed representative debuted a new video (to me, at least) depicting a human-rated Atlas launch vehicle bringing people to Bigelow Aerospace's orbital space habitat. While the video itself was not incredibly mind-blowing, the fact that Lockheed Martin continues to publicize this new partnership is an important development. It is a hopeful sign for cooperation between established aerospace giants and the new breed of entrepreneurial space companies.

Posted by george_whitesides at 02:06 PM

International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight

NSS is an official supporting organization of the International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight, an exceptional gathering in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which opened today. Just days before the second annual X Prize Cup opens, the ISPS is bringing together many of the leaders in the new world of space.

This morning's session was chaired by broadcaster Sam Donaldson, and featured remarks from New Mexico Secretary of Economic Development Rick Homans and Peter Diamandis, Chairman of the X Prize Foundation.

We'll try to post some observations and notes as the symposium goes on.

Posted by george_whitesides at 01:50 PM

October 02, 2006

Anousheh Back on Earth

The capsule carrying the first female space tourist safely touched down on Friday, Sepetember 28. Anousheh Ansari, Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and U.S. astronaut Jeffery Williams left the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz capsule after a month of busy activity in space. Anousheh spend 10 days 21 hours and 4 minutes in space. She was not only the first female space tourist but also was the first space blogger.

Excerpts from Anousheh’s Space Blog:

"I have been overwhelmed by the response I'm getting from the world… I am at loss for words… I am deeply touched and will make sure I continue on playing my role in this Quest."

"But this is no longer only my Quest. It is the duty of every one of you to go beyond just reading and writing on the Space Blog. It is your duty to make sure this excitement, this wave, this wonderful force that has awakened the best in us continues on."

"I'm sure you enjoyed reading each others' comments and postings as much as you enjoyed reading mine, and as much as I enjoyed reading them. I bet it felt like you are not the only one anymore and there are literally millions who think like you… It made you feel that you are not alone, that there is hope."

"I don't like to be idealized or become an icon. I'm not special, I just found that light inside me that you all have and got my strength from it. It seems like I found the key to open up your hearts and souls so now you can reach inside and gain strength from there."

"Now that we are here, let's all be equal in this Quest and share the responsibility of saving our world. It is too much for one person but when it is up to all of us, I know we can do it."

Posted by bsilcox at 10:39 AM


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