Here we are again with another series of links to what's going on in the spaceflight world, beginning with a disturbing lack of knowledge about NASA's Space Shuttles by its own employees. Some NASA personnel seem to have forgotten that the Space Shuttle that is about to be launched is named after the British ship of exploration captained by James Cook. They gave the OK for an incorrectly spelt banner to be put up near the launch pad, less Go Endeavour, more Go Spellcheck.
Perhaps this was the last straw that led former Shuttle astronaut and the agency's associate administrator for the exploration systems mission directorate, Scott "Doc" Horowitz, to decide to "spend more time with his family." In the UK this is code for politicians that have stepped down due to a scandal. Have the Ares I crew launch vehicle's rumoured issues of insufficient first stage thrust persuaded Doc he gave birth to a lame duck?
Meanwhile Boeing has announced its entering the fray for the contract for the Ares I's avionics instrument unit, which will go on Ares I's upper stage.
In Europe the European Space Agency has finally sent its Automated Transfer Vehicle on its way to South America, where it will sit for six months before an expected January 2008 launch.
On a slightly less positive note hobbyspace.com has said that US media sources are reporting that NASA funds appropriated for its Commerical Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)programme will be given to the remaining company if one of the two competitors, Rocketplane-Kistler (RpK) and Space Exploration Technologies (Spacex)failed to contribute the necessary matching private funds. The article names RpK as the likely loser in this and Flight has blogged in the past about how SpaceX is more likely to come up with the cash to see COTS through.