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Author Topic:   ISS: Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-02-2007 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Washington Post: The Device NASA Is Leaving Behind
After years of delays, NASA hopes to launch this week a European-built laboratory that will greatly expand the research capability of the international space station. Although some call it a milestone, the launch has focused new attention on the space agency's earlier decision to back out of plans to send up a different, $1.5 billion device -- one that many scientists contend would produce far more significant knowledge.

The instrument, which would detect and measure cosmic rays in a new way, took 500 physicists from around the world 12 years to build. But with room on the 10 remaining shuttle missions to the space station in short supply, many fear that it will remain forever warehoused on Earth, becoming the most sophisticated and costly white elephant of the space era.

While the Columbus laboratory will allow scientists to conduct long-term biological, fluid and materials science research in weightless conditions, the cosmic ray detector -- called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) -- would look for evidence of how the universe formed. It would search in particular for evidence of the existence and workings of dark matter and antimatter, which theorists have concluded must exist but have never been identified or measured.

The space station was built with four attachment sites that can mount experiments that need direct exposure to space -- and one was designated for the AMS. The project was sponsored by the Department of Energy in 1995, and NASA made a signed commitment to deliver the instrument to the station. Ting said the nations that collaborated on the project did so only because NASA promised delivery.

But that was before technical and funding problems slowed assembly of the space station, and before the loss of the Columbia shuttle and its crew on Feb. 1, 2003, halted all shuttle missions for 2 1/2 years. President Bush's 2005 manned exploration initiative -- which aims to develop a new spacecraft to travel to the moon and later to Mars -- formally lowered the priority of doing basic science on the station. The AMS was bumped soon after.

The Orlando Sentinel:
One possibility is to add a shuttle flight -- an idea being discussed in Congress. But NASA has resisted that, because the money likely would come from its new lunar-spacecraft program.

Another idea is launching the spectrometer aboard an expendable rocket, at a cost estimated last year at $254 million to $564 million. That would also require a redesign of the spectrometer, which was custom-designed by NASA to fit the shuttle's payload bay at a cost so far of about $65 million.

Find more information about the AMS from CERN and NASA.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-16-2008 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News: House Bill Would Authorize Additional Shuttle Flights
House lawmakers introduced legislation May 15 authorizing three additional space shuttle flights before the fleet's scheduled 2010 retirement, including the launch of a science probe removed from the manifest after the 2003 Columbia accident.

The proposed NASA Authorization Act of 2008 designates $150 million for a space shuttle flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the international space station in 2010. Two other flights that NASA already has budgeted for and placed on its manifest as contingencies while awaiting White House approval would become part of the official manifest under the bill introduced by Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), chairman of the House Science and Technology space and aeronautics subcommittee, ranking minority member Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), and Reps. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.).

The Senate Commerce Committee has not yet introduced its version of the bill, and Congress still must appropriate the money needed to add the shuttle mission to deliver the AMS...

The bill also extends the possibility of U.S. participation in the international space station for four additional years by directing NASA to "take no steps" that would prevent the United States from utilizing the space station after 2016.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-21-2008 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SPACE.com:
Authorization Bill for Extra Shuttle Flight Clears House Subcommittee
Lawmakers wasted little time approving the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (H.R. 6063) and sending it to the full committee for consideration. With no amendments offered, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) gaveled the markup session to a close less than six minutes after it began.

Melancon was filling in for Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the subcommittee's chairman, who was forced, by airplane trouble, to miss the markup of the legislation he had introduced five days earlier.

H.R. 6063, in addition to requiring NASA to fly the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station as originally promised, sets generous spending levels for the U.S. space agency that congressional appropriators are free to ignore. The bill authorizes a $19.2 billion budget for NASA for 2009, or about $1.6 billion more than the White House is requesting.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-11-2008 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston Chronicle: White House rejects call to boost NASA shuttle funding
The White House on Tuesday forcefully rejected a popular, bipartisan effort in Congress to hand NASA $2.9 billion for three additional shuttle flights to the international space station before retirement of the shuttle fleet in 2010.

President Bush's Office of Management and Budget issued an unusually strongly worded statement of administration policy that dubbed Congress' effort "inconsistent with the administration's fiscal policies" and implied that the legislation would be vetoed unless changes were made.

The White House acted six days after the House Science and Technology Committee endorsed legislation that would provide NASA $17.6 billion for the coming fiscal year plus $2.9 billion for the additional flights.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-11-2008 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Executive Office of the President Office of Management and Budget
Statement of Administration Policy
H.R. 6063 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008

The Administration supports maintaining a strong national civil space science and aeronautics enterprise and is committed to advancing the quest for new knowledge, discovery, and exploration that is embodied in NASA programs and activities. However, the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 6063 because it mandates specific Space Shuttle flights that greatly threaten NASA's ability to retire the Shuttle in 2010, an action that is critical to implementing the President's Vision for Space Exploration. In addition, the Administration has other serious objections to several provisions of H.R. 6063 that must be satisfactorily addressed prior to final congressional action on reauthorization legislation.

The bill contains provisions that mandate two contingency logistics flights and an additional Shuttle flight for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and require that these flights take place before Shuttle retirement, thus effectively superseding the 2010 Shuttle retirement date that is a critical step to enabling successful development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle as called for by the President's Vision for Space Exploration. Consistent with the Vision, the current Space Shuttle flight manifest is a measured and carefully balanced plan to allow the completion of the International Space Station (ISS), a safe and orderly retirement of the Shuttle, and the smooth transition of facilities and personnel to Exploration Systems programs by September 2010. The direction in this section would almost certainly result in several serious impacts and risks to NASA's exploration programs and other activities, including: (1) significantly increasing costs of the Shuttle program, not including potential recertification activities; (2) delaying the operational capability of the Orion CEV well beyond its current projected dates; (3) exacerbating transition challenges, including facilities and workforce; and (4) exposing astronaut crews to increased risks. In addition, statutorily mandating additional flights regardless of safety assessments and costs sets a dangerous and unwise precedent.

The Space Shuttle must be retired by the end of 2010, and the NASA Administrator's authority to make the final determination on Shuttle flights based on safety considerations must be preserved. In addition, any increased cost of an additional Shuttle flight must be satisfactorily accommodated within the President's proposed discretionary spending total.

The FY 2009 budget request of $17.6 billion is sufficient to achieve NASA's goals, and the additional $2.6 billion authorized in the bill above the President's request is inconsistent with the Administration's fiscal policies. Accordingly, the Administration opposes this increased authorization level.

In addition, H.R. 6063 directs several specific activities under the assumption that additional funding will be appropriated, making it likely they will become unfunded mandates. Directing activities in this manner would severely disrupt the budgets for NASA's ongoing, carefully-balanced programs and Centers linked to other high-priority goals and activities. For this reason and in view of associated problematic policy implications, the following requirements should either be removed from the bill or appropriately modified: (1) carrying out an additional procurement for Commercial Orbital Transfer Services (COTS) crew capabilities, and mandating that NASA purchase commercial services regardless of cost; (2) establishing an Exploration-related technology research and development program that would draw funding away from the Orion CEV, delaying its availability; (3) establishing a cross-cutting technology development program within the Science Mission Directorate at a level of five percent of the Directorate's budget; (4) requiring the continued operation and utilization of the ISS by the United States after 2016, without first mitigating significant budget implications in the outyears; and (5) prescribing specific roles and responsibilities regarding NASA's work with various advisory and external review committees and other Federal agencies that the Administration believes would be problematic and duplicative of already well- established roles and responsibilities.

The Administration also is concerned with the proposed wording of certain provisions and strongly urges that these provisions be modified before passage of the bill. For example, the direction in the bill to limit NASA's ability to dispose of Space Shuttle-related hardware is likely to severely disrupt ongoing Shuttle retirement and transition activities. Similarly, the specific wording of other provisions in H.R. 6063, including requiring all space observatories to be serviceable regardless of practicality; overly-prescribed aeronautics research goals; and unproductive astronaut health surveys could lead to serious unintended consequences, including greatly increased costs to carry out these mandates. The Administration calls on Congress to modify these provisions to provide NASA sufficient flexibility to make programmatic and management decisions as necessary.

In addition, the bill directs NASA to initiate discussions with foreign nations on "space traffic management." This provision directly infringes upon the President's authority to conduct foreign affairs. The United States already actively promotes international cooperation to enhance spaceflight safety and supports consideration of voluntary transparency and confidence building measures in appropriate venues under the leadership of the Department of State, with appropriate assistance from the Department of Defense. These provisions accordingly should be removed. A similar objectionable provision is contained in the bill's section governing "exploration crew rescue."

Finally, in addition to the significant concerns highlighted above that must be satisfactorily addressed prior to final congressional action, the Administration has an overarching concern about the highly prescriptive nature of the bill and the significant number of reports and studies that this legislation would require. The Administration understands the need for timely information for Congress to conduct its oversight responsibilities; however, the burden that would be placed on various agencies of the Executive Branch, including NASA, is of concern.

The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to modify these aspects of the bill.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-18-2008 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology release
House Overwhelmingly Approves NASA Reauthorization Act

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6063, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 by a vote of 409 to15. This legislation is a one-year reauthorization for Fiscal Year 2009 and is intended to provide guidance to the next administration. The current NASA authorization expires September 30, 2008.

H.R. 6063 was introduced on May 15, 2008 by Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Mark Udall (D-CO) and passed the House Science and Technology Committee unanimously on June 4, 2008. This bipartisan legislation was originally cosponsored by the Science and Technology Committee's Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Feeney (R-FL).

"The bipartisan consensus we have reached on H.R. 6063 signals that Congress believes a balanced NASA program of science, aeronautics, and human spaceflight and exploration is important and worthy of the nation's support," said Gordon. "Yet, I want to emphasize that H.R. 6063 takes a fiscally-responsible approach to providing that support."

"This bill passed the Committee on Science and Technology and the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics with unanimous support. It represents a strong bipartisan effort to ensure our continued leadership in space and aeronautics and to ensure that NASA's programs contribute to our science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts, to the nation's innovation agenda, and to practical benefits for our citizens," said Udall.

"By increasing our investment in NASA, we are putting the United States on a course to remain a world leader in innovation and economic competitiveness," said Subcommittee Vice Chairman Melancon (D-LA). "The discoveries and advancements made by NASA research ripple through many sectors of our economy, moving our nation forward and benefiting all Americans."

H.R. 6063 emphasizes the importance of NASA leadership in Earth observations and research, as well as aeronautics R&D to address critical national needs. This bill reaffirms that NASA should remain a multi-mission agency with a balanced portfolio and encompasses recommendations from the 16 hearings the Committee held throughout this Congress to review the many components of NASA's program.

This legislation authorizes $20.21 billion for NASA's Fiscal Year 2009 budget. Of the total amount, the baseline authorization of $19.21 billion will go to support science, aeronautics, exploration, education, space operations, inspector general, and cross-agency support. The baseline authorization represents only an inflationary increase of 2.8 percent over the FY 2008 authorization enacted in the NASA Authorization Act of 2005. The additional $1 billon is to accelerate the development of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), which will replace the current Space Shuttle. The additional funding will help narrow the projected five-year gap in the ability of the U.S. to get its astronauts into space after the Shuttle is retired.

"NASA has accomplished a great deal in both space and aeronautical R&D over the past five decades, and we can all take pride in what has been accomplished. However, we cannot become complacent," added Udall. "The testimony and constructive input of countless hearing witnesses, outside experts, and organizations that led to H.R. 6063 conveyed a consistent message: that NASA has not been given the funding it needs to successfully carry out all of the important tasks that the nation has asked of it. If we fail to invest adequately in NASA now, it is unlikely that we will see a comparable record of accomplishment over the next five decades -- at a great opportunity cost to the nation."

Now H.R. 6063 will be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HR6063 as passed includes the following:
Additional Flight To Deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station- In addition to the flying of the baseline manifest as described in subsection (a), the Administrator shall take all necessary steps to fly one additional Space Shuttle flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station prior to the retirement of the Space Shuttle.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-25-2008 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Release: Commerce Committee Approves National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008:
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today unanimously approved a bill to reauthorize the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 is an original Commerce Committee bill.

In addition to authorizing funds, the bill specifies the following:

The bill requires the agency to develop a plan to support the operations of the International Space Station beyond 2015 and to ensure the Station's scientific capabilities are utilized to the maximum extent. The bill also requires the Administrator to establish an International Space Station Utilization Advisory Committee to assess and recommend scientific research to effectively utilize the Station. The bill establishes a research fund of $200 million to support scientific research, including the development of flight hardware for experiments on the Station. Finally, the bill requires the Administrator to plan an additional Shuttle mission to deliver scientific experiments to the Station.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-08-2008 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CBS reporter Bill Harwood interviewed space shuttle program manager John Shannon about the possibility of launching the AMS:
"Right now, we don't have any direction to go fly the AMS from Congress or the White House," he said. "We've protected the option. We've put together a cargo layout that would have the AMS flying, we have had people from the shuttle program involved in integration to determine the long-lead integration items that we need in order to put it in the shuttle payload bay and be able to go fly it. And I am going to have, at the end of the program, hardware available to not only fly an additional flight but I would also have launch-on-need capability for that flight."

He said external tank 122, which was damaged in Hurricane Katrina, could be upgraded and prepared for launch-on-need use if needed. A set of boosters would have to be procured, but "I don't have to make the decision for configuring ET-122 or the extra boosters until the middle of next year," Shannon said. "So we'll wait and see what everybody wants to do."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-27-2008 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From a House of Representatives release:
With unanimous support, the House of Representatives today passed H.R. 6063, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, authorizing programs at NASA for fiscal year 2009 (FY09). H.R. 6063 initially passed the House on June 18, 2008 by a vote of 409 to 15 and was brought back to the House today, after passing the Senate with minor modifications. The bill will now be sent to the White House for the President's approval.

...H.R. 6063 directs NASA to fly two contingency Shuttle missions to help ensure the safety and long-term viability of the International Space Station, and adds an additional flight to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the ISS. The AMS is an experiment managed by the Department of Energy to study charged particles in Cosmic rays before they are absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2008 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The bill will now be sent to the White House for the President's approval.
HR 6063 was signed into law today.
H.R. 6063, the "National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008," which authorizes appropriations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for Fiscal Year 2009; requires NASA to add to its baseline flight manifest two Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station and take all necessary steps to fly a third additional Shuttle mission; requires NASA to take steps to ensure that the International Space Station remains viable through at least 2020; and affirms congressional support for U.S. space exploration policy;
The two baseline flights (STS-132 and STS-133) are ISS supply missions. The third (STS-134) is the proposed flight of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

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