CSExtra – Monday, April 29, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, including a summary of weekend activities. U. S. commercial space companies signal plans to step up test activities this week. NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission examines the question? Is anyone out there? NASA addresses Orion heat shield concerns. Sequestration impacts orbital debris surveillance. NASA adjusts to budget restrictions in future human space exploration plans. Former U. S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas, receives Rotary National Award for Space Achievement. A Russian Progress supply ship reaches the International Space Station, though hobbled by an antenna failure. Exploring space from Earth. Puerto Rico dominates this year’s Great Moon Buggy Race. Adjusting (slightly) the cosmic speed limit. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter to share night sky in late May. A look at major space policy events set for the week ahead.
1. From The Bakersfield Californian, April 25: Virgin Galactic, ready to break the sound barrier with SpaceShipTwo as flight tests progress.
A. From The Waco Tribune, April 26: SpaceX to step up propulsion system testing at the company’s McGregor, Texas proving grounds.
B. From Space.com, April 26: Hawaii prepares for small satellite launches from the U. S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. Lift off of the HiakaSat , fabricated by University of Hawaii faculty and students, is set for October.
2. From CBS News.com, April 28: Is Anybody Out There? CBS looks at the story behind NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission.
A. From The San Angelo Standard Times, of Texas, April 28: In an editorial, the West Texas newspaper finds inspiration in NASA’s Kepler mission to find Earth-like planets around other stars. “Kepler, like other NASA missions, has accelerated the speed of discovery,” writes the Standard-Times
3. From Florida Today, April 28: NASA works to address heat shield concerns raised in a recent U. S. General Accountability Office report that examined milestones leading to an un-piloted test flight of the Orion capsule in 2014. Efforts since the GAO report suggest the issue is being addressed.
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com, April 28: Gen. William Shelton, commander of the U. S. Air Force Space Command, warns of the impacts of sequestration on missile defense and orbital debris surveillance in testimony before House and Senate oversight panels last week. Cutbacks mean furloughs for civilian support and reduced surveillance.
5. From The Houston Chronicle, April 29: NASA’s asteroid exploration plans fail to ignite widespread enthusiasm. The newspaper examines the status of the human exploration goals established by President Obama three years ago.
A. From Florida Today, April 28: In an era of restricted federal budgets, NASA’s incremental approach to exploring Mars with humans make sense, writes columnist John Kelly. The first step is a mission to an asteroid using propulsion and crew systems that will eventually make the voyage to Mars, Kelly notes.
B. From The Huffington Post, April 25. Mars is the next logical destination for an international human exploration initiative, write Chris Carberry and Artemis Wastenberg, co-founders of Mars Inc.. Their organization is a sponsor of the Human2Mars summit planned for Washington D. C., May 6-8.
6. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, April 28: Former U. S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas, becomes the 27th recipient of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement. Hutchison, a Republican, shaped bi-partisan support and funding for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, over a near two decade legislative career in Washington.
7. From CBS News, April 26: An un-piloted Russian Progress cargo capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station early Friday in spite of a guidance antenna problem. The antenna failed to unlatch following an April 24 lift off. The 51 Progress mission delivered over 3 tons of propellant, water, research gear and other supplies.
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, April 26: Orbital Sciences Corp., looks to June or July for a cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket carried out a successful orbital test flight on April 21 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. Regular re-supply missions would follow a successful demonstration mission.
8. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 26: Japan sharpens its space focus, anticipating cuts to human, lunar and Earth observation initiatives in response to budget restrictions and a shift in control to Japan’s Office of National Space Policy.
9. From The Huffington Post, April 28: How can enthusiasts explore space from Earth? The HP offers a coast to coast line up of public venues, from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum of Washington, D. C. to Meteor Crater near Winslow, Ariz.
10. From The Huntsville Times, April 27: Teams from Puerto Rico prevail in the college and high school divisions of the annual Great Moon Buggy Race, sponsored by the U. S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Ala.
11. From Discovery.com, April 28: Scientists ponder the cosmic speed limit. Might the vacuum of space influence the speed of light?
12. From The Washington Post, April 27: Venus, Jupiter and tiny Mercury will gather in the night sky by late May.
13. From Spacepolicyonline.com, April 29: A look at major space policy events scheduled for the week ahead. The House and Senate are in recess.
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