CSExtra – Friday, June 22, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related events from around the world. China’s Shenzhou 9 mission to the Tiangong-1 space lab represents a steady advance in exploration, but not an assault on U.S. leadership, say analysts. NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission is recovered. A fresh look at a close asteroid crossing last week. A compact telescope finds a pair of giant exo-planets. Europe looks to new missions for the its Automated Transfer Vehicle. Russia’s space agency finds a partner in Ireland. Once, NASA looked to nuclear fission as a space propulsion source.
1. From CNN: China’s space objectives are ambitious, but paced. China is not on the verge of overtaking the U. S., concludes Joan Johnson- Freese, a Naval War College national security specialist, in an op-ed. But the U. S. must keep advancing, she writes. China’s intentions are unclear and the advances it is making could be used for military as well as civilian purposes, according to Johnson-Freese. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/20/opinion/freese-china-space/index.html
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The U. S. holds a leadership position in the exploration of space, John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, tells the House Science and Technology Committee earlier this week. “We continue … to lead the world in space, although sometimes the contrary is asserted,” said Holdren. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/holdren-u-s-is-number-one-in-space-and-intends-to-stay-that-way
B. From The Huntsville Times: A core element of NASA’s Space Launch System reaches a development milestone. The SLS, coupled with the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, is intended to start U. S. astronauts on future missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars. Boeing is the contractor for the design working making the advance. http://www.al.com/42/index.ssf/2012/06/sls_core_stage_moves_from_conc.html
2. From Space.com: NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft recovers from safe mode. The Mars mapping spacecraft tripped into protective safe mode on June 8 in response to a reaction wheel problem. The 11-year-old spacecraft is expected to function as a communications relay for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, which is closing in on an Aug. 6 landing at Gale Crater on Mars. http://www.space.com/16239-mars-odyssey-spacecraft-repaired.html
3. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log: The asteroid 2012 LZ1 that zipped past the Earth last week was much larger and potentially more destructive than initially believed. The pass was tracked by radar from Puerto Rico. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/21/12344614-that-big-asteroid-was-even-bigger
A. From Nature.com: Watch as the small asteroid KT42 passes within three Earth radii on May 29. The passage was observed and recorded using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii. It was 6th closest encounter of a recorded asteroid, according to Nature. http://www.nature.com/news/astronomers-catch-video-of-near-miss-asteroid-1.10873
4. From the New York Times: A small land-based telescope discovers a pair of Jupiter-like exo-planets. KELT-2Ab and KELT-1b, 360 and 825 light years from Earth. Located near Sonoita, Ariz., the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope is about the size of a digital camera and part of the Winer Observatory. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/science/small-telescope-helps-make-big-discovery.html?_r=2&ref=science
5. From Spaceflightnow.com: Astrium of Europe looks at two evolutionary options for the Automated Transfer Vehicle, an un-piloted International Space Station re-supply craft. One option is a service module for NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the four person deep spacecraft under development. Option two is a maneuverable spacecraft that could keep inactive satellites from becoming space debris. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1206/21atvfuture/
6. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Russian and Ireland, a member of the European Space Agency, sign an agreement to cooperate in several areas of space research. http://en.rian.ru/science/20120622/174176313.html
7. From Wired.com: A look back at NASA’s only nuclear fission propulsion research lab, the Plum Brook Research Facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Opened in 1961 to research reactor propulsion prospects for aircraft, then spacecraft, Plum Brook was moth-balled a dozen years later. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/plum-brook-nuclear-facility/?pid=4020&pageid=116425&viewall=true
8. From Collectspace.com: A new NASA application allows the public greater access to International Space Station activities. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-062112b.html
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