CSExtra – Friday, April 27, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Three U. S. and Russian crew members depart the International Space Station for Earth early Friday. NASA’s flight test orbiter Enterprise is prepared for a ferry flight Friday morning from suburban Washington D. C. to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The race for space and new innovation has moved to the commercial sector, writes NASA’s former chief technologist. Volcanism, not ice, was responsible for some strange features near the Martian equator, say scientists. NASA’s Dawn mission finds the asteroid Vesta surprisingly planet-like. Mercury astronaut John Glenn to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor. Lockheed Martin’s chairman says he’ll retire late this year.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin departed the International Space Station aboard their 28 mission Soyuz spacecraft early Friday. The three men are expected to descend into remote Kazakhstan, touching down at 7:45 a.m., EDT, to end a 166-day flight and the 30th expedition to the space station. The website offers regular updates
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The weather outlook improves and NASA firms plans to ferry shuttle test orbiter Enterprise from Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington to New York City atop a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft. Enterprise, departing the Smithsonian Institution, is headed for public display at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York City. If the timetable holds, Enterprise could circle the Big Apple Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. EST. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/heads-up-new-york-your-chance-to-see-the-shuttle-flying-through-the-skies
A. From Collectspace.com: NASA’s Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft with Enterprise atop is expected to fly along the Hudson River and close to the Statute of Liberty on its way to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
3. From The Hill: In an op-ed, Robert Braun, NASA’s former chief technologist, notes the emergence of a new space race — this one among U. S. industry to access and work in space. The competition promises to contribute to U. S. innovation, job growth and future trade surpluses in aerospace, writes Braun, now a professor of space technology at the George Institute of Technology.
A. From USAToday: SpaceX, one of two companies nurtured by NASA to develop a cargo delivery service to the International Space Station, stands ready to make history. The three week test mission is now targeted for a May 7 lift off. Much of the company’s drive belongs to founder Elon Musk. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/story/2012-04-26/spacex-rocket-space-pioneer-musk-nasa/54568442/1
B. From Space.com: Blue Origin, one of four companies participating in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development 2 initiative, offers new details on strategy for transporting astronauts to and from Earth orbit — reusable spacecraft developed incrementally with little fanfare. http://www.space.com/15438-blue-origin-secretive-private-space-taxi.html
4. From Space.com: Imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest volcanic activity rather than ice was responsible for a network of valleys near the red planet’s equator.
A From Discovery.com: Scientists suggest a “low cost” mission to address questions about life on Mars raised long ago by NASA’s foundational Viking missions. http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-mission-life-12042.html
5. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA’s Dawn mission is closing in on the end of an extended mission to the asteroid Vesta. As Vesta’s first close up visitor, Dawn has revealed an asteroid much more like a small planet than previously believed. In August, Dawn will depart for a second close up encounter with asteroid Ceres. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1204/26vesta/
6. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: John Glenn, the former U. S. Senator from Ohio and the first American to orbit the Earth, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
7. From Space News: Lockheed Martin chairman Richard Stevens announced he will retire at the end of this year.
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