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Cosmic Downers

February 8, 2006 News reports portrayed it as a letdown of cosmic proportions for two NASA astronauts: On top of the world and readier than ever to take a walk outside their space shuttle, they were stuck inside when the orbiter's hatch wouldn't open. It happened to Tom Jones and a colleague aboard...

Cosmic Downers

February 1, 2006 Astronaut's memoir reminds technology program managers that they can't ignore the human element. News reports portrayed it as a letdown of cosmic proportions for two NASA astronauts: On top of the world and readier than ever to take a walk outside their space shuttle, they were stuck inside when the...

Stake Your Claim

January 1, 2006 Real estate speculators set their sights on lunar homesteads. Ten percent of the land area of the United States was claimed and settled under the 1862 Homestead Act. Before the law expired in 1986, it gave hopeful settlers title to 270 million acres of America's once-public domain. The price for...

Workin' on the Railroad

December 1, 2005 Huge operating losses, poor on-time performance and a maintenance backlog sets Amtrak on an alternate route. It's been an awful autumn for Amtrak. Since September, America's only intercity passenger rail system has been scolded for mismanaging its money, ordered to give up its most profitable route, and relieved of its...

FAA brings in mediator to assist contract negotiations

November 28, 2005 Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey on Monday said she is asking a federal mediator to assist in contract negotiations with a union representing 20,000 air traffic controllers, engineers and safety officers. In a news briefing, Blakey said talks with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association have stalled. "NATCA isn't moving...

NASA receives full funding for moon-Mars effort

November 17, 2005 Congress on Wednesday approved a $16.5 billion budget for NASA, fully funding the administration's moon-Mars exploration initiative for a second consecutive year. The Senate passed the 2006 spending bill by vote of 94-5 and sent it to President Bush for his signature. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin thanked lawmakers for their...

Board official defends dismissal of Amtrak president

November 16, 2005 Amtrak's board of directors "had no choice" but to fire the president of the government-subsidized passenger railroad, Chairman David Laney told lawmakers Tuesday. Laney defended David Gunn's Nov. 9 dismissal in a hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Railroads Subcommittee. He said Gunn was accountable to no one and...

Congress allows NASA to continue paying Russia for space services

November 11, 2005 Congress earlier this week sent to President Bush's desk a bill that would permit NASA to pay Russia for space transportation services until 2012. The bill amends the 2000 Iran Nonproliferation Act, easing restrictions on NASA's partnership with Russia and altering a provision that would have kept Americans from using...

Turnaround Artist

November 9, 2005 For at least a decade, Ramesh Punwani's trusty sidekick has been a Hewlett Packard 12C business calculator, a vintage model which - it's rumored on the Internet - is sturdy enough to go in one end of a hippopotamus and come out the other still working. Punwani's wife and two...

Airport 2025

November 1, 2005 Agencies and industry are taking on one of government's biggest projects: a 21st century solution to aviation gridlock. This is the state of air transportation in America: Demand is outpacing airport capacity. Flight delays of an hour or more are mounting as air traffic and security requirements are increasing. The...

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