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Space Programs

Adolf Thiel, an Austrian-born scientist who helped the United States guide some of its earliest rockets into space, died June 2 in Los Angeles. He was 86. During his three decades with TRW Inc.'s space division in Redondo Beach, Thiel directed the development of the Thor ballistic missile, still the basis for the rockets used today to launch NASA and commercial satellites into space.
April 13, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
A high-stakes battle is underway in Washington over launching the U.S. government's most sophisticated national security satellites. Space entrepreneur Elon Musk is pitted against the nation's two largest weapons makers, Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., in a fight for military contracts worth as much as $70 billion through 2030. For eight years, the Pentagon has paid Boeing and Lockheed - operating jointly as United Launch Alliance - to launch the government's pricey spy satellites without seeking competitive bids.
March 17, 1995
Allen F. Donovan, 80, nationally lauded engineering consultant on the U.S. space program. A native of Onondaga, N.Y., he earned his degrees in aeronautical engineering at the University of Michigan. Donovan worked for the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo from its inception in 1960 until his retirement as senior vice president in 1978. The organization provides engineering support for the Air Force and U.S. space programs.
March 5, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
Los Angeles billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive of Hawthorne rocket maker SpaceX, testified before Congress that the U.S. Air Force and other agencies are paying too high a price to launch its most valuable satellites into orbit. The government pays billions to a sole provider to launch nearly all of its spy satellites and other high-profile spacecraft, without seeking competitive bids. That provider is United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace behemoths Lockheed Martin Corp.
September 16, 2000
Cal State Northridge has been awarded a $2-million NASA grant that will give minority students an opportunity to study how to prevent failures in electronic equipment used in space programs, officials said Friday. The four-year research grant is one of the most important awarded to the school in recent years, said Bezad Bavarian, a professor in the university's department of manufacturing systems, engineering and management and the project's principal investigator.
The character of space exploration is changing dramatically as nations with major programs grapple with rising costs and shrinking budgets. And it seems likely that some past alliances will fall apart and the military will play an expanding role in the use of space, experts from around the world said here this week. For example, the Soviet Union has severely curtailed its space program, and Europeans are growing increasingly uneasy with their cooperative ventures with the United States.
March 25, 2003 | Nick Anderson, Times Staff Writer
Despite the Columbia disaster, NASA officials are forging ahead with plans to upgrade the shuttle fleet to keep it flying until at least 2015 and possibly several years longer, a senior space agency official said Monday. Michael C.
June 6, 1986 | United Press International
China said today that it is ready to expand its fledgling commercial satellite launch service to meet the "urgent need" created by failures in the U.S. and European space programs. Vice Minister of Astronautics Sun Jiadong said delays in the U.S. and European space programs, combined with China's launch and insurance prices--10% to 15% less than international rates, have brought at least 12 nations as potential customers to Peking.
July 9, 1992 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Tokyo Postpones Space Rocket Program: In a major blow to its budding space program, Japan has postponed by a year its ambitious program to build a rocket capable of carrying commercial satellites because of serious defects in the rocket engine design. The National Space Development Agency announced that it would delay the launch of its H-II rocket by a year to February, 1994, after an engine explosion during a test June 18.
September 11, 1986
NASA met another recommendation of the Challenger accident investigation commission by naming a safety panel to monitor all manned space program activities. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the panel will promote flight safety for all space programs and assist program managers.
March 1, 2014 | By Joe Mozingo
Wearing a nitrogen-powered jet pack, Dale Gardner stepped from the space shuttle, alone and untethered, 224 miles above Earth. Armed with a 5-foot probe called a stinger, Gardner drifted toward a wayward satellite, the Westar 6, which was spinning slowly, 35 feet away. When he got close enough Gardner inserted the stinger into the orbiter's spent rocket nozzle and brought it to a halt. "I got it," he exclaimed. The mission to salvage the Westar and another communications satellite, the Palapa B-2, in November 1984 marked a high point of the space shuttle program, feeding a growing sense of NASA's infallibility that would end just a year later, when the Challenger exploded just after launch over Florida.
January 5, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
The gig: Wanda M. Austin, 59, is the president and chief executive of Aerospace Corp., an El Segundo brain trust for the Pentagon's space program. Although not well known outside defense circles, it is regarded as one of the nation's most important assets. Classified space: For decades, Aerospace, which receives federal funds, has provided oversight for development of highly secretive spy satellites, ballistic missiles and launch vehicles. Aerospace scientists and engineers oversee the technical side of contracts awarded to defense firms to ensure the work is being done properly.
December 26, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
China watched this month as the nation's first lunar rover rolled across the moon's surface. It was a moment of national pride when images of the six-wheel rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were transmitted live back to Earth, showing the red and gold Chinese flag on the moon for the first time. "Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface," the state-run Xinhua news agency said, "the whole world again marvels at China's remarkable space capabilities. " The lunar triumph offered many Americans their first glimpse at an unfolding new space race involving countries with emerging economies.
December 9, 2013 | By Louis Friedman
Some 10 years ago, during testimony before Congress, I was asked by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), "Do you think we are in a space race with China?" I quickly answered "no" and proceeded to explain that, in my view, the concept of a space race represented old thinking. The modern way forward in space would be through international cooperation and coordination. Today, I think my insistence that the space race was over was naive. There are now many space races. One is taking place between China and India, dramatized by India's launch of a Mars orbiter last month and China's launch this month of a lunar lander and rover.
July 2, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
The Russian Proton-M rocket that blew up seconds after blastoff Tuesday destroyed three satellites worth $200 million, spurred authorities to indefinitely delay two other launches this month and damaged the image of Russia's lucrative commercial space industry. The rocket, which appeared to stall and roll about 10 seconds after it was launched, also spewed 600 tons of toxic fuel across the launch pad and surrounding steppe of the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, raising fears of contamination and further strain in Moscow's relationship with its former Soviet sister republic.
February 1, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
South Korea's successful satellite launch this week served as the latest act of one-upmanship in an accelerating space race gripping Northeast Asia. Membership in the elite global space club is being pursued by wealthy countries that can afford it as well as economic basket cases that cannot, a quest for political stature driven more by emotion and nationalism than economic promise. What nations get out of creating their own space programs is a heady cocktail of national pride, technological muscle-flexing and the power to project military menace as a reminder to neighbors that they won't back down from the region's mounting territorial disputes.
In the most significant linkup so far between U.S. and Russian defense firms, Lockheed and Khrunichev Enterprise of Moscow announced Monday that they have formed a joint venture to sell commercial launch services with the Russian Proton rocket. The alliance combines two Cold War industrial adversaries: Lockheed, the largest U.S. manufacturer of military space hardware, and Khrunichev, one of Russia's leading state-owned aerospace operations. Lockheed Vice President Mel R.
December 2, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW - More than 200 years ago, the renowned Russian historian Nikolai Karamzin summed up the situation in his country in two words: "They steal. " They still do, and the news in Russia lately has been dominated by one high-profile corruption scandal after another. Allegations of wrongdoing have reached high into the defense and agriculture ministries and the Russian space program, among other institutions. Nearly nine in 10 Russians say corruption is the nation's biggest problem.
August 13, 2012 | By Seema Mehta
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - As soon as Paul Ryan was picked as Mitt Romney's running mate, speculation spiked about whether the Wisconsin congressman's controversial proposal to reform Medicare would harm the GOP ticket's prospects among seniors, notably in this battleground state. On Monday, as Romney stumped on Florida's Gold Coast, he addressed the matter head-on, arguing that Ryan and Republicans seek to protect the healthcare program for the elderly, whereas President Obama has gutted it. Paul has “come up with ideas that are very different from the president's.
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