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US ITER awards contract to General Atomics for superconducting magnets

July 20, 2011 5:15 am | News | Comments

The US ITER Project Office at Oak Ridge National Laboratory competitively awarded a multi-year contract to General Atomics to produce superconducting magnets for the central solenoid of ITER, an experimental fusion facility that aims to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy for the commercial power grid.

SpaceX breaks ground on California launch pad

July 14, 2011 8:40 am | News | Comments

Private rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, is spending up to $30 million to renovate an unused site that will be home to its Falcon Heavy, the largest rocket since the retired Saturn V that hurled astronauts to the moon.

Sandia's Battery Abuse Testing Lab undergoing renovation

July 13, 2011 9:04 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories' Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory is undergoing a major renovation so Sandia researchers can test larger batteries for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

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Moon, Mars, Venus: China aims high in space

July 11, 2011 9:13 am | by Louise Watt, Associated Press | News | Comments

While the United States is still working out its next move as the space shuttle program winds down, China is forging ahead. This year, a rocket will carry a boxcar-sized module into orbit, the first building block for a Chinese space station. Around 2013, China plans to launch a lunar probe and place a rover on the moon, followed by a manned mission sometimes after 2020.

Critics say NASA ignoring its 'backup plan' rule

July 8, 2011 7:40 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Even as the space shuttle Atlantis has lifted off without a back-up shuttle available for a rescue mission, NASA itself lacks an independent option for reaching space. Designs from private developers may take years to perfect, leaving Soyuz as the only way to reach the International Space Station. Some experts and even former astronauts say that’s a violation of NASA’s own design criteria.

Space shuttle's legacy: Soaring in orbit and costs

July 5, 2011 9:35 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

In the early days of the shuttle program, it was promoted as a cheap, safe and reliable alternative to conventional rockets. But the United States spent more on the space shuttle than the combined cost of soaring to the moon, creating the atom bomb, and digging the Panama Canal. The benefits of the program, however, and what it did to further science and diplomacy, may be incalculable.

Anwell to ramp up solar panel production capacity

June 23, 2011 10:11 am | News | Comments

Anwell Technologies Limited has secured a total of RMB700 million in long-term funding for its subsidiary, Henan Sungen Solar Fab Co., Ltd. from the Municipal Government of An Yang City in Henan Province of China. The RMB700 million funding comprised of financial support of RMB200 million cash funding and a Government-backed guarantee provided of up to RMB500 million for bank financing.

ONR showcases technology investments

June 17, 2011 12:25 pm | News | Comments

The Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) show held recently in Alexandria, Va., was the stage for the Office of Naval Research’s announcement of nine partnerships with organizations that focus on kindling student interest in STEM disciplines. They include such endeavors as Sally Ride Science and the Gulf Coast initiative.

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Pentagon dreams of Star Trek interstellar travel

June 17, 2011 10:47 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The Defense Department famously devised a space-based missile defense system in the 1980s known as "Star Wars." Now its sourcing inspiration from Gene Roddenberry’s classic storyline. The new trademarked 100-year Starship Study concept, conceived by DARPA, is offering half a million dollars to whoever has the best idea for sending people to another star.

Dept. of Energy commits $2B for two giant solar plants

June 16, 2011 8:41 am | News | Comments

This week, conditional loan guarantee commitments were issued for two of the biggest capacity solar power projects in North America: the Mojave Solar Project and the Genesis Solar Project. At 250 MW each, the projects would double the United States’ currently installed concentrated solar power capacity.

Looking to the stars to uncover neutrino's secrets

June 13, 2011 5:50 am | News | Comments

A North Carolina State Univ. astrophysicist hopes to gain better understanding of one of nature's most elusive particles—neutrinos—as well as the supernovae that spawn them.

Social scientists gauge comparative impact of stem cell research

June 10, 2011 6:25 am | News | Comments

New research by sociologists from two universities and a medical center reports that studies in adult and embryonic stem cells are complementary. According to the researchers, incentives to use both types of cell in comparative studies are high, and banning either type of stems cells and the research involving them could have negative impacts on the other.

DOE announces $70 million to advance geothermal energy technology

June 9, 2011 9:21 am | News | Comments

In support of President Obama's goal of generating 80% of the country's electricity from clean energy sources by 2035, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of up to $70 million in new funding over three years for technology advancements in geothermal energy to accelerate development of this promising clean energy resource.

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Hurdles remain for upcoming Mars mission

June 8, 2011 12:01 pm | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Intended to be the most sophisticated rover sent to the Martian surface, NASA's next-generation rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, is already over budget and behind schedule. The price tag has ballooned to $2.5 billion, auditors have found, from $1.6 million. And the project may need still more money to meet its November launch date.

Just one flight: Impending loss in shuttle family

June 3, 2011 12:29 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

With Wednesday's landing of Endeavour, just one more space shuttle flight remains, putting an end to 30 years of Florida shuttle launches and more than 535 million miles of orbits controlled at Houston's Johnson Space Center. Now a sense of melancholy has permeated the community that calls itself "the space shuttle family."

Detector array may at last complete Einstein’s jigsaw puzzle

May 27, 2011 7:05 am | News | Comments

All evidence for the existence of gravitational radiation has been indirect, but researchers now say that the addition of just one of the proposed detectors for the global network of gravitational radiation monitors would give them a much better chance at capturing these elusive, theoretical waves. Gravitational waves factor heavily in Einstein’s physics, and detecting these are the only way to directly observe a black hole.

New tape: JFK fretted moon program was tough sell

May 25, 2011 6:33 am | by Jay Lindsay, Associated Press | News | Comments

After setting a soaring vision to land a man on the moon, President John F. Kennedy struggled with how to sell the public on a costly space program. In a scenario that echoes today, he and NASA Administrator James Webb worried about preserving funding amid what Webb calls a "driving desire to cut the budget.”

Georgia Tech partners with Northrop Grumman to develop technology for DARPA

May 25, 2011 4:41 am | News | Comments

The Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corp., has been selected to develop a new type of MEMS gyroscope technology for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s Microscale Rate Integrating Gyroscope program.

How to square budget cuts, need for aging research

May 16, 2011 1:04 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

In one of the stark realities of the budget crisis, scientists' chances of winning research dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for any condition have dipped to a new low. According to the Institutes director, Francis Collins, for every six grant applications that NIH receives, five are rejected.

QuesTek wins SBIR Phase II award from U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command

May 12, 2011 7:12 am | News | Comments

QuesTek Innovations LLC has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to apply QuesTek's Materials by Design technology to design and develop a new low-voltage sacrificial anode alloy.

Project aims to fuse top-down and bottom-up approaches in systems biology

May 11, 2011 5:07 am | News | Comments

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Virginia Tech researchers a $2.13 million grant to develop new systems biology approaches to study cells, one of the most basic units of life.

Collaboration puts Sandia hydrogen program on global track

May 5, 2011 9:10 am | News | Comments

A new hydrogen research initiative based in Japan will leverage Department of Energy (DOE)-funded hydrogen research at Sandia National Laboratories' California site and will likely become the first research effort to be rolled into a broader laboratory research umbrella aimed at increasing the laboratories’ hydrogen partnerships domestically and abroad.

FuelCell Energy awarded contract to further develop clean-coal fuel cell power plant

May 5, 2011 5:04 am | News | Comments

FuelCell Energy, Inc., a manufacturer of ultra-clean power plants using renewable and other fuels for commercial, industrial, government, and utility customers, announced a $11.7 million cost share award from the U.S. Department of Energy for Phase III of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance coal-based systems program.

Shrinking funds pull plug on alien search devices

April 27, 2011 6:48 am | by Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press | News | Comments

A steep drop in both state and federal funds has forced the shutdown of the Allen Telescope Array in California. The $50 million array was built by SETI and UC Berkeley with the help of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, but it costs more than a million dollars a year to operate. SETI will continue its work at other telescopes.

Russia's space chief promises new spaceship

April 13, 2011 5:36 am | by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

Russia will test a next-generation spacecraft, build a new cosmodrome and even consider a manned mission to Mars after 2035, the nation's space chief said Wednesday. Plans include a new launch pad in far east Russia, nuclear rocket engines, and a new spacecraft named Rus.

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