Leading the News
Musk: Snapped Strut, Complacency Caused SpaceX Launch Failure.
The CBS Evening News (7/20, story 10, 0:25, Rose) broadcast that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that last month during an ISS cargo mission, “a steel strut snapped inside the Falcon 9 rocket,” creating “a catastrophic chain reaction.”
The AP (7/21, Dunn) reports that Musk “stressed” the results were preliminary, but the company could be launching again “by maybe just a few months.” Musk, who noted that it was “pretty crazy” that a strut designed to withstand 10,000 pounds of force failed at 2,000, said that SpaceX “became maybe a little bit complacent.” According to the article, the preliminary results do seem “to jive with the over-pressurization of the second stage detected in the immediate aftermath of the accident.”
The Wall Street Journal (7/21, Pasztor, Subscription Publication) reports that it was at least good news that there was no fundamental flaw in the rocket. However, the incident will delay the first launch of the Falcon Heavy to the spring of 2016. The article notes that NASA likely is relieved by SpaceX’s announcement because there will not be a large delay in launches, which will not resume before September.
According to the Los Angeles Times (7/21, Petersen), even though the fault may lie with “a shoddy part from a supplier,” SpaceX will no longer be “somewhat complacent” and “just depend on the subcontractor’s certification of their strength.” Meanwhile, Musk said that the Dragon cargo capsule will include “software to deploy its parachutes in an emergency,” which might have saved the spacecraft when the failure occurred.
The Washington Post (7/20, Davenport) “The Switch” blog reports that during Musk’s press conference, he “sounded as if he were giving a business-school lecture on how a successful startup can retain its innovative culture and edge as it grows into a corporate behemoth.” Musk, meanwhile, “reiterated” that NASA and the FAA’s investigation into the accident, which is being conducted with SpaceX, is still ongoing.
Urban Institute Finds Few Low-Income Students Enroll In College Despite Available Aid.
US News & World Report (7/20) reports on a study by the Urban Institute finding that while low-income Americans are generally eligible for sufficient college aid to make it “surprisingly affordable,” yet “fewer than half” seek to enroll and even 12 percent of those “fail to apply for financial aid.” The report suggests that low-income families be made aware of aid when children are young enough to better prepare for college by taking the necessary coursework in high school.
West Virginia Students That Receive Promise Scholarship More Likely To Complete College.
The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail (7/21) reports that over “3,200 recent high school graduates earned a PROMISE Scholarship,” and research has found that receiving the scholarship “increases a student’s likelihood of completing college.”
Illinois Community College Proposes Increasing Dual Enrollment.
The Chicago Tribune (7/20) reported administrators at Elgin Community College in Illinois want to increase dual enrollment by local high school students at the college. Administrators found that their students used dual enrollment less than those attending other community colleges in the state so last week they submitted a proposal to the college’s board of trustees to increase dual enrollment. The proposal would allow some college courses to be taught by local high school teachers at their high schools and also allow some high school students to take classes on the college’s campus. A committee will be established to look into the proposal more, but board members seem receptive to the idea.
Parents Spending More On, Worrying Less About College.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/20, Davis) reported a market research survey ordered by Sallie Mae found that “families are spending more on college, but are less worried about economic factors affecting their ability to pay for it” compared to a few years ago. Parents are contributing more to college funding than scholarships and grants for the first time since 2010. The number of parents who are “extremely worried that declining income due to a job loss would hurt their ability to afford college” declined from 33% in 2010 to 17% in 2015.
Miami Dade Faces Teacher Shortage In Building STEM Program.
The Miami Herald (7/21) reports on the difficulty of finding teachers in STEM fields for the Miami-Dade school system. To help make up for that shortage, Florida International University’s FIUTeach program trains and recruits teachers. Professors say they often have to deal with negative “perceptions about the teaching profession.”
Boeing Forecasts 1.2 Million Pilots, Technicians Needed By 2034.
USA Today (7/20, Jones) reports that according to a new forecast by Boeing, “there will be a need for 558,000 new commercial airline pilots and 609,000 new maintenance technicians” by 2034, more than was previously expected. Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services, said in a statement that “We will continue to increase the amount of training we provide, enabling our customers to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for air travel.” The forecast predicts that the Asia Pacific region will see the greatest demand – needing 226,000 pilots and 238,000 technicians – and Europe next – needing 95,000 pilots and 101,000 technicians – over the next 20 years.
Video Game Helps Stroke Victims To Recover.
The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier (7/20, Shirley) reports on “Duck Duck Punch,” a video game produced by Recovr Inc., “designed to help stroke survivors regain control over their limbs through a series of old school style, shooting gallery-type levels.” The game “helps increase motor function of limbs that have been rendered almost useless by a stroke.” It was developed by Michelle Woodbury, “an occupational therapist at the Medical University of South Carolina,” along with Larry Hodges, “a professor in the Human-Centered Computing Division at Clemson University.” Hodges worked with two students “who were in need of a project.” One of the students was Austen Hayes, who became “co-founder and CEO of Recovr Inc.”
The Greenville (SC) News (7/14, Osby) also reports on the game, saying that Nancy Bunch who had a stroke said that “It was just amazing the strength it gave my arm.”
The Orangeburg (SC) Times And Democrat (7/21) reports the company “has $750,000 in start-up capital from Concepts to Companies and is seeking FDA approval to market the game as a medical device.”GSA Business (7/21) reports that the game is “offering recovery assistance to stroke survivors.”
Lockheed Announces $9 Billion Deal For Sikorsky Helicopters.
In a front-page story, the Wall Street Journal (7/21, A1, Cameron, Subscription Publication) reports that Lockheed Martin on Monday agreed to buy helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky from United Technologies for or $9 billion. It is the defense industry’s largest deal in 20 years and would match the biggest maker of military helicopters with Lockheed’s existing businesses. In addition, Maryland-based Lockheed said it will sell off its passel of government information technology and services businesses.
The New York Times (7/20, B4, Drew, Bray, Subscription Publication) characterizes the deal as part of Lockheed’s plan to “focus more intently on military hardware than on less profitable government services.” Considering the tax benefit of the purchase, the cost to Lockheed is effectively $7.1 billion. The helicopter manufacturing business will be added to Lockheed’s Mission Systems and Training business segment.
Southern Leg Of Keystone XL Pipeline Reaches Milestone.
The Hill (7/21, Cama) cites TransCanada Corp. in reporting that “the existing, southern segment” of the Keystone XL pipeline “has pumped its billionth barrel.” According to its Monday announcement, the company “is using the milestone to promote the safety of its pipeline and push the Obama administration to approve the highly controversial northern segment.” TransCanada’s president, Russ Girling, said, “This is tangible evidence of how the safe delivery of Canadian and U.S. crude oil is helping to fuel the everyday lives of the American people in the safest, most efficient and least greenhouse gas intensive way possible.”
A news release carried by MarketWired (7/20) about the pipeline’s one billionth barrel of oil quotes NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons as saying, “These 1 billion barrels of oil have helped to fuel North American energy independence and power a resurgence in manufacturing in the United States, helping to drive job creation, investment and a better future for the families of the more than 12 million Americans who work in our industry.”
Engineering and Public Policy
New Plan Outlines Way NASA Could Afford To Go To The Moon And Mars.
The Wall Street Journal (7/21, Pasztor, Subscription Publication) reports that on Monday, a new NASA-sponsored report led by Charles Miller said that NASA could return to the moon with its current budget by using existing technology and public-private partnerships. According to the report, this could significantly lower the cost of a mission, which could take place sometime next decade for only $10 billion. The article notes that the policy could also let Congress fund both a moon and Mars mission simultaneously.
According to the Houston Chronicle (7/21, Berger), if enacted, the plan would allow a moon and Mars mission “for substantially less money than NASA’s existing Mars-only plans.” However, the proposal “relies” on the successful development of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and United Launch Alliance Vulcan rockets, which would be “vastly cheaper to fly than the government’s powerful Space Launch System rocket.” It also relies on utilizing the moon’s resources. NASA spokesperson Joshua Buck said that NASA has yet to review the report, which the article thinks will not be embraced immediately because it goes against what President Obama and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden have outlined. However, with NASA investigating an “Evolvable Mars Campaign” and a new Administration in 2017, the report “could command some attention,” according to the article.
Astronaut Promotes Engineering To High School Students.
KSBY-TV San Luis Obispo, CA (7/17) reports that on Thursday, “NASA astronaut and Cal Poly alumni Victor Glover spoke on campus,” addressing “9th through 12th graders who are interested in getting a degree in engineering.” He described his “personal experiences and explained to the students how important it is to be lifelong learners.”
Mississippi District To Use Grant To Launch Engineering Academy.
WLOX-TV Biloxi, MS (7/21) reports that Mississippi’s Moss Point School District will begin to “offer more opportunities for students who are interested in courses and careers in engineering.” It has received “a $200,000 grant from the state Department of Education” that will be used “to create an Engineering Academy.” Dr. Durand Payton, Career and Technical Education Director, said that “most of the grant money will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.”
Canaveral Council Of Technical Societies To Hold Robotics Event In November.
Florida Today (7/20, Price) reports in its “Brevard Business Briefs” that the Canaveral Council of Technical Societies will hold its 4th Annual Robotics Showcase at the Florida Solar Energy Center in November, when student teams “will demonstrate their robots and members of the local robotics technical community will make several presentations.” The piece also notes that on Monday Space Florida and the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist, through Israel’s Industrial Center for Research and Development, “announced second-round winners of industrial research and development funding tied to the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program.”
California District Chooses Dome For Gym Due To Lower Costs.
The Fresno (CA) Bee (7/21, Mays) reports on the dome-shaped building that houses the gymnasium for Wasuma Elementary school in Ahwahnee, California. Bass Lake School District Superintendent Glenn Reid said, “It does look pretty cool when you step inside,” though the reason for choosing the dome was that facing limited funds, the district “got creative.” The domed building cost “around $2 million — about half” of the originally planned gym. Construction was overseen by California Dome Builders, following “techniques of the Monolithic Dome Institute in Texas.” In addition to costing less, it is also supposed to use “up to 75% less in energy costs.” It also took less time to build, “because it required less materials and less laborers.” The buildings are most popular in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona, and “FEMA often provides funding” for buildings that can serve as “a disaster shelter.” They “have been recognized” for safety during tornadoes, and may be safer during earthquakes.
New Jersey Teachers Will Attend Google Teacher Academy.
The North Jersey (NJ) Media Group (7/20) reported a group of teachers from Verona, New Jersey will participate in the Google Teacher Academy, a “professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the world get the most from innovative technologies.” The program is an “intensive, two-day event during which participants get hands-on experience with Google tools, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in a supportive community of educators making an impact.”
WSJournal Supports Parents’ Rights To Force Improvements At Failing Schools.
The Wall Street Journal (7/21, Subscription Publication) editorializes in support of a decision by a California judge that overruled efforts by school district officials to prevent parents from using the state’s parent-trigger law, which allows a majority of parents with students at a failing school to force changes. The Journal criticizes unions and school administrators for attempting to circumvent the law to preserve their power.
Monday’s Lead Stories
• Michigan State University Student Aims To Set Guinness World Record.