May 8, 2009 | 1
The White House yesterday announced that it will convene a 10-member independent panel to thoroughly review NASA's plans for human spaceflight. The announcement calls into doubt the agency's current cornerstones for manned missions, including the planned replacement for the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle and the stated goal of returning humans to the moon by 2020.
In a teleconference with reporters today, the panel's chair, former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, gave few hints as to the future of manned spaceflight in the U.S., saying that his group's mission was simply to "take a fresh look and go where the facts are and basically call it the way we see it."
Jul 29, 2008 | 4
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established 50 years ago today by the aptly named National Aeronautics and Space Act.
NASA began operations on October 1, 1958, with a staff of 80 spread among four laboratories. The agency now consists of 15 facilities that employed more than 17,000 people in 2006, according to Best Places to Work.
The agency's mission statement since 2006 has been "to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research."
After the early tragedy of Apollo 1, in which three astronauts died in a fire on the launch pad when the hatch door wouldn't open, the Apollo program made six successful moon landings in 1969 and the 1970s.
Jul 18, 2008 | 7
Problems are mounting for the Orion spacecraft that is supposed to replace the retiring space shuttle fleet and carry U.S. astronauts to the moon by 2020. Among the most severe, according to a 117-page internal NASA report posted on Nasawatch.com this week: an $80-million overrun on development of a single motor; a hard-to-open hatch door; and the potential that the stack (craft and Ares 1 rocket) will vibrate itself to pieces during takeoff. Constellation's official launch date for practice flights remains March 2015, but NASA had envisioned a best-case scenario of summer 2013. An agency spokesperson told the Associated Press that in principle a launch could now occur no earlier than August 2014. Some NASA watchers say the setbacks are signs of agency mismanagement, but others say they are par for the course for an attempt to return to the moon in an era of uncertain funding.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin Corp
Jul 11, 2008
NASA has set target launch dates for the final eight space shuttle flights before the program is mothballed in 2010. That makes a total of 10 flights between now and retirement: one mission in October to upgrade and repair the Hubble Space Telescope, followed by nine more to finish assembly of the International Space Station (ISS), starting in November with a mission to repair faulty rotary joints in the station's movable solar panels. Five missions are scheduled for next year, including deliveries of the station's final solar panels and the final components of the Japanese "Kibo" laboratory module. Three flights are set for 2010, with the final one slated to go up on May 31. The shuttle program will be officially retired on September 30, 2010, to make way for the Constellation program, designed to take U.S. astronauts back to the moon by 2020.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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