CSExtra – Monday, April 16, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers a collection of the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, including weekend events. NASA sets August as a deadline for the formulation of future Mars exploration options, starting with a mission that can be launched in the 2018-20 time frame. The planning responds to anticipated budget cuts in the planetary science line. The U. S. National Space Symposium meets this week Colorado Springs. Scientists use satellite imagery to count Antarctic penguins. NASA’s efforts to increase research interest in the International Space Station face obstacles. NASA readies shuttle orbiter Discovery for its ferry flight from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to the Washington D. C. area this week. Some job losses accompany Discovery’s send off. U. S. commercial space transportation services emerge, with prospects for innovation, new jobs in space and on the ground. Sizing up North Korea’s satellite launch failure last week. Celebrating International Dark Sky Week. 1. From Space.com, April 13: Top NASA officials outline their opening strategy for shaping a future Mars exploration program in response to proposed cuts in the agency’s planetary sciences program. After a period of outreach to other federal agencies, academia, industry and the international space community, NASA will shape options by the August time frame. The first priority is a mission to fill the 2018, or 2020 launch opportunity. One over arching goal is to further President Obama’s directive that NASA reach the Mars environs with human explorers in the 2030s. http://www.space.com/15271-nasa-mars-exploration-life-search.html
A. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer of Ohio, April 14, In a guest column, planetary scientist Ralph Harvey expresses support of a well funded U.S. space program. “Space exploration plays a key role in making the United States a superpower. It enriches us still further by instilling pride in the nation. Space exploration is one of those rare government-supported efforts with virtually no downside,” writes Harvey. http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/04/space_exploration_budget_cuts.html
2. From the Denver Post, April 15: Monday marks the opening of the 28th National Space Symposium, in Colorado Springs. The four-day conference will draw 9,000 key participants in the space business, including NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_20394173/annual-space-symposium-takes-off-this-week-colorado
3. From the Los Angeles Times, April 13: Scientist use commercial satellites to track penguins in the Antarctic, finding there are many more of the cold weather birds than previously estimated. U.S. and British researchers collaborate on the project. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-penguins-20120414,0,6965187.story
A. From Popular Science, April 13: Satellite imagery enables scientists to estimate the emperor Penguin population at 600,000. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=penguins-from-space-a-census
4. From the Orlando Sentinel, April 14: Can NASA achieve the research potential of the International Space Station? The Sentinel looks at the obstacles, from post-shuttle access to the orbital outpost to the difficulties encountered with the start up of a non-profit organization to support experiments coming from outside the space agency. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-04-14/news/os-space-station-science-20120414_1_station-research-dan-goldin-bill-gerstenmaier
5. From the Washington Post, April 13: A look at what’s next for NASA shuttle orbiter Discovery after it reaches the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport this week. The journey toward public display in the nation’s capitol begins with a ferry flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, scheduled for Tuesday.
A. From Florida Today: Orbiter Discovery is raised atop a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Sunday for its ferry flight to the Washington D. C. area. The hoist, planned for Saturday, was delayed a day by windy weather.
B. From Spaceflightnow.com, April 14: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center arranges for the public to witness Discovery’s departure early Tuesday. It’s not free and requires a bus ride. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts133/120414kscvc/
C. From Spaceflightnow.com, April 16: The website offers updates on plans for Discovery’s Florida departure. www.spaceflightnow.com
D. From USA Today, April 14: People in the Washington D. C. area can expect to spot orbiter Discovery as it approaches Dulles atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Tuesday. An aerial tour of the Washington area is expected to begin about 10 a.m., EST — weather permitting. http://www.usatoday.com/USCP/PNI/Nation/World/2012-04-15-bcshuttleinfo_ST_U.htm
E. From Wired Science.com, April 13: NASA shuttle prime contractor United Space Alliance issues lay offs 269 workers. The layoff follows completion of work on the orbiter Discovery, which is headed for the Washington D. C. area and public display by the Smithsonian Institution. USA’s workforce, once more than 9,000, falls to just under 2,600. More reductions are anticipated as orbiters Endeavour and Atlantis head for U.S. museums as well. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/04/space-shuttle-layoffs/ 6. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 13: Emerging U. S. commercial space transportation services, for both cargo and passenger delivery to the International Space Station, spur innovation and hope for new profits on the Earth and off. http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2012/04/16/AW_04_16_2012_p40-444890.xml&headline=How%20Commercial%20Space%20Is%20Paying%20Off%20Now&prev=10
A. From the Brownsville Herald of Texas, April 14: Last week, SpaceX announced it was looking to South Texas as the site for a possible commercial launch complex. The community looks at the prospects for new jobs and an economic boost as well as a change in the community’s way of life. The FAA has started an environmental impact statement for the proposed Brownsville site, while SpaceX also sizes up Florida and Puerto Rico. http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/project-139108-bellovary-spacex.html
B. From the Houston Chronicle: Houston’s aviation director envisions Ellington Field, a municipal airport whose tenants include the U. S. Coast Guard, NASA and air cargo carriers, as a possible spaceport. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/City-aviation-director-envisions-spaceport-at-3482764.php
7. From the Yonhap News Agency of South Korea, April 16: North Korea’s leaders remain ambitious in their desire to develop space capabilities despite a failed and closely watched rocket launch April 12-13. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2012/04/16/51/0401000000AEN20120416002700315F.HTML
A. From National Public Radio, April 13: Why did North Korea’s fourth attempt to launch a satellite fail? Launching anything into space is risky, many things can go wrong, say experts. http://www.npr.org/2012/04/13/150580809/its-called-as-hard-as-rocket-science-for-a-reason
B. From The International Herald Tribune, April 15: Nuclear armed North Korea’s satellite mission fails. The Doomsday Clock does not tick — at least for now. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/avoiding-another-tick-on-the-doomsday-clock/?scp=4&sq=NASA&st=cse
8. From Spacepolitics.com, April 15: Congress reconvenes this week after a spring break. Senate appropriators will markup NASA’s 2013 budget on Thursday. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/04/15/senate-appropriators-to-mark-up-nasa-spending-bill-tuesday/
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com, April 15: A look ahead at the major space related activities scheduled for the coming work week. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-april-16-20-2012
9. From Sky and Telescope Magazine, April 13: This week marks International Dark Sky Week, a growing effort to restrain light pollution for reasons that range from preserving a view of the night sky to keeping circadian rhythms in sync. The observation began with the help of a high school student, Jennifer Barlow. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/International-Dark-Sky-Week-147316125.html
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