CSExtra – Friday, September 21, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. NASA’s retired shuttle orbiter Endeavour reached Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Thursday – close to its final destination, the Los Angeles International Airport. NASA will brief the National Research Council next week on changes to its Mars exploration program prompted by budget cuts. NASA joins other federal agencies as they brace for wider spending cuts under the threat of sequestration in January. Republican lawmakers introduce a bill that would change NASA’s management structure. NASA’s Dawn mission finds an abundance of hydrogen on the asteroid Vesta, perhaps a sign that water was once present. A Chilean observatory achieves “first light” with a new camera designed for the Dark Energy Survey. SpaceX looks to an Oct. 7 lift off for its first supply mission to the International Space Station under a long running NASA contract.
1. From The Los Angeles Times: After two days of travel from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the retired shuttle orbiter Endeavour reached the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Thursday. The NASA 747 ferrying Endeavour is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, after first passing over Sacramento and San Francisco Bay. From LAX, the Endeavour will be transported over land to the California Science Museum in October for public display. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-shuttle-20120921,0,5572701.story
A. From Spaceflightnow.com: The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, the modified Boeing 747 upon which Endeavour was mounted for a coast to coast flight this week, is a flying marvel all its own.
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA prepares to unveil its proposal for a revamped Mars exploration program. Budget cuts prompted the space agency to re-examine mission goals after it withdrew from joint Mars missions with the European Space Agency. Next Tuesday, NASA will brief the National Research Council on its future plans. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/nasa-to-brief-nrc-on-its-new-mars-plan-next-week
3. From Spacepolitics.com: NASA is among federal agencies facing an abrupt budget reduction on Jan. 2, if the White House and Congress cannot come to terms with the sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011. For NASA that means an 8 percent cut to most accounts. The website scores the threat. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/09/20/quantifying-sequestrations-effects-and-the-odds/
4. From The Houston Chronicle: In Washington, a half-dozen Republican lawmakers file legislation on Thursday that would overhaul the way NASA is managed. Among the provisions, a 10-year term for NASA’s administrator. A board of directors appointed by the White House, the House and Senate would provide broad space policy guidance and accountability. http://www.chron.com/default/article/Legislation-would-change-how-NASA-is-led-3882224.php
5. From Space.com: NASA’s Dawn mission finds surprising amounts of hydrogen on the large asteroid Vesta. Recently, Dawn departed Vesta for a second main belt asteroid, Ceres. A companion study in the journal Science also finds that a class of meteorites shares a close compositional relationship with Vesta. http://www.space.com/17680-giant-asteroid-vesta-hydrogen-dawn-spacecraft.html
A. From Nature.com: Vesta’s hydrogen is a sign the large asteroid once had water in some form. http://www.nature.com/news/dawn-spacecraft-finds-signs-of-water-on-vesta-1.11457
6. From Discovery.com: September produced “first light” for the Dark Energy Camera, part of a mountain top observatory in Chile. The camera is crucial to an upcoming galactic survey intended to unravel the mysteries of dark energy, the force behind the expansion of the universe. http://news.discovery.com/space/dark-energy-camera-sees-first-light-120920.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
7. From The Los Angeles Times: SpaceX looks to Oct. 7 to launch the first of its contracted re-supply missions to the International Space Station. SpaceX was awarded a $1.6 billion contract to launch multiple cargo flights in late 2008. The SpaceX Dragon capsule carried out the first commercial cargo deliveries to the station during a May demonstration mission.
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