Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Political Passing, Antarctic Mapping, Grounded Russians, JWST Increases and exactEarth Launches

John Gilbert "Jack" Layton. 1950 - 2011.
Yesterday, Canadians were saddened to learn of the death of Federal New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton from cancer at the age of 61. His energy, upbeat demeanor, cooperative (and competitive) spirit, plus the all around positive attitude Layton projected helped grow the NDP under his leadership from a burnt out 2004 fringe collaboration of 19 parliamentary seats focused on past glories to 101 seats and official opposition status only eight years later.

Hopefully, his talents will not be lost with his passing. They are useful tools (whatever the political affiliation) able to make a positive contribution to any debate on Canadian domestic, foreign, economic or military concerns.

Participants in the upcoming political debates on arctic sovereignty, Canadian innovation and those who (once again) will shortly seek to define the future role of the space systems industry and/or the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) might want to keep this in mind.

Meanwhile, in other news:

    James E. Webb.
    • Cost overruns on the troubled James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) just keep rising and rising with no apparent end in site. For example, the August 23rd, 2011 Aviation Week and Space Technology article "NASA Estimates $8.7 Billion To Fly Webb" states that "managers at NASA replanning (?) the troubled James Webb Space Telescope have concluded it will cost $8.7 billion to finish the observatory in time for a launch in 2018 and operate it at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point for five years." As outlined in my July 12th, 2011 post "Tracking Costs for the James Webb Telescope" the last cost estimate for the JWST, considered current as recently as July 2011 was for a total cost of $6.5 billion USD. Canada is only making a small financial contribution (around $148 million over the life of the project) and wants to remain friends with the US prime contractors so is likely hoping to avoid  any direct involvement in the debate over the JWST's future.
    The AprizeSat-3 Microsat.
    It's also worth noting that, after a minor update and some basic tweaking, this blog is now able to again accept comments without my manual intervention. I look forward to new comments on this and other postings in the Commercial Space blog over the upcoming weeks.


      1. Love your blog. However, entries show up under Google Reader with "(title unknown)" followed by as much text from the entry as it can fit in the column. Not sure why this happens, but maybe you need to adjust the settings?

        Michael Turner
        Project Persephone

      2. Hi Michael,

        The three year old template I'm using never had a specific space for titles, so I never entered them.

        At this point, I'd need to reload a new template and manually re-enter the titles in the appropriate field to make everything work properly and I just haven't found the time to do so.

        The titles do work correctly in the new Space Conference News sites (http://spaceconferencenews.blogspot.com/).

        Thanks for your comments.


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