CSExtra – Friday, April 13, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. North Korea’s closely watched and globally discouraged satellite launch late Thursday fails. Thursday also marked the 51st anniversary of the first human spaceflight. We’ve come a long way in a brief period of time, notes one historian. Next week, NASA begins the challenging task of transporting its retired shuttle orbiters to their permanent homes. New research identifies black holes with gamma ray energy sources. The European Space Agency loses contact with Envisat, a long serving Earth observing spacecraft. Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin pledges investments in Russian launch complexes. A. U. S. company prepares an external experiment platform for the International Space Station. More on the climate change issues raised recently by a group of retired NASA professionals.
1. From The Washington Post: North Korea’s globally condemned effort to launch a satellite into orbit fails. The United States as well as North Korea’s neighbors and others believed the launch was a veiled attempt at a ballistic missile test. The rocket broke apart just off the launch pad, according to U.S. and South Korean experts. Urged not to proceed with the launch, North Korea may face additional sanctions from the United States and other nations who believe the nuclear armed nation and its shorter range missiles pose a regional threat.
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command confirms the failure of North Korea’s satellite launch attempt. It was North Korea’s third failure in as many attempts. The rocket fell into the sea just west of Seoul, South Korea, with no reports of damage.
B. From MSNBC.com: North Korea’s leadership must embrace the difficulty of space flight, though poor communications in the communist nation may insulate them from explaining the loss to their citizenry.
2. From Wired.com: In his blog, “Beyond Apollo” space historian David Portree expresses optimism about the future of human space exploration on Thursday, which marked the 51st anniversary of the first human spaceflight, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s single orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961. Voyages to the moon and the assembly of space stations followed with participation from many of the world’s best equipped nations. We are spoiled by the number of exploration choices we can pursue in the future, Portree writes.
3. From the Los Angeles Times: NASA faced and is facing a number of challenges as it embarks next week on the distribution of the retired shuttle orbiters Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour and Enterprise to museums on the East and West coasts. Some equipment, not used since 1985, had to undergo safety testing. Other materials are being trucked to the orbiters’ destinations to assist with the deliveries.
4. From Space.com: Gamma rays are among the most power sources of energy known in the cosmos. NASA’s retired WISE infrared space telescope mission found spectacular sources of these energy jets coming from super massive black holes lurking at the center of distant galaxies.
5. From Spaceflightnow.com: The European Space Agency has lost contact with Envisat, a prolific orbital observer of the Earth and its climate. The presumed loss followed a decade of service.
6. From Rianovosti of Russia: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russian will invest in multiple space launch complexes, assuring Russian independence in the launch of a range of payloads.
A. From the Houston Chronicle: In an editorial, the Texas newspaper endorses the idea of commercial spaceport in Brownsville, on the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The FAA began preparations for an Environmental Impact Statement earlier this week based on a South Texas commercial spaceport proposal from SpaceX.
7. From Space News: The U. S. company Nanoracks partners with NASA to prepare a commercial external experiment platform for the International Space Station.
8. From the New York Times: In a blog, Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin examines a recent letter from a group of NASA astronauts and other professionals who question the agency’s stance on climate change. The blog ponders who is qualified to speak on the issue, the political quotient and a public that is largely divided in their concern.
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