The California rocketry firm SpaceX says this month's test of a parachute system to land a cargo or crew capsule safely in the ocean was fully successful.
The Hawthorne-based company said Friday that on Aug. 12 a capsule was lifted by a helicopter to an altitude of 14,000 feet and released over the Pacific off Morro Bay.
Two small parachutes deployed to stabilize and slow the capsule before three large main parachutes unfurled, bringing the test vehicle to a gentle splashdown.
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SpaceX hopes to become a commercial supplier to NASA, carrying supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station. Earlier this year, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
— Associated Press
Easing parental fears and possibly sparing small children from long walks to school, the Paso Robles school board unanimously voted Thursday to rehire five laid-off bus drivers.
Still, only five of six routes have been reinstated, meaning some routes will change dramatically.
Those routes will be posted on the district’s website Monday. Meanwhile, all students will need to be registered with the district’s transportation department. Call 769-1160 for more information.
Students not eligible for bus rides last year still won’t be eligible this year.
Money to rehire the laid-off drivers came from a federal funding measure aimed at rehiring teachers. But because it is a one-year funding mechanism, the district will need to address bus routes again before the 2011-12 school year. Fee-based busing, which is used in other school districts, is being considered.
The district plans to submit a recommendation to the board in November.
— Patrick S. Pemberton
The university’s floral design team took first place in the Overall School Award at the American Institute of Floral Designers’ 2010 Student Floral Design Competition, according to university officials.
The competition took place July 3-8 in Boston during the AIFD 2010 National Symposium. The overall win was a first for the floral-design team.
Horticulture and Crop Science student Elisabeth Hall won first place in the Wedding Bouquet category. She also took third place in the Overall Contest Winner category, and teammate Carrie Thengvall took fourth place in the Overall Contest Winner category.
Hall, Thengvall and Jaclyn Wiley comprised this year’s floral-design team; it was Thengvall and Wiley’s first national competition.
— Nick Wilson
The county’s planners have won two statewide awards for their efforts, one for housing, the other for the county’s approach to strategic growth.
The awards came from the California chapter of the national American Planning Association and went to the county Department of Planning and Building.
The “Housing Element Update 2009-2014” took one award. The “Strategic Growth Principles, Policies and Implementing Strategies” captured the other.
Strategic growth principles guide critical decisions about how the county will grow, prosper and sustain water and other essential resources.
Judges who granted the award called the county’s work “a great example of an innovative project that is highly transferrable to other communities, especially those that are grappling with issues on how to strategically accommodate growth in a sustainable manner.”
As to the housing award, one of the judges called it “the best housing element I have ever seen. It is a model for other communities to use.”
The housing element lays the groundwork for developing and preserving housing that is affordable to seniors, families and workers.
County Supervisor Bruce Gibson said the county is “extremely proud of these awards and appreciates the participation and thoughtful efforts of our planning staff and others involved with the process.”
— Bob Cuddy