CSExtra – Monday, February 20, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the globe, plus a roundup from the weekend. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Mercury astronaut John Glenn’s historic orbital flight — the first by the United States. NASA’s proposed 2013 budget, unveiled last week, remains a popular topic, with much of the discussion focused on establishing priorities in a difficult economy. Lockheed Martin will double employment at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to support the development of the Orion/Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle. Evidence for recent geological activity on the moon. In the U. S. and elsewhere, concern over the hazards of accumulating orbital debris raises a concern and plans to stem the threat. An Arizona physician turns to NASA for a surgical advance. The northern lights generate a weekend surprise. A look at major space related events planned for the week ahead.
1. From Florida Today, Feb. 18: Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter reminisce at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the 50th anniversary of America’s first human orbital mission. Glenn, now 90, made the historic flight five hour fight on Feb. 20, 1962. Carpenter’s flight followed on May 24. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120218/SPACE/302180008/Mercury-astronauts-Glenn-Carpenter-return-KSC?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space
A. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer of Ohio, Feb. 19: A look back at Mercury astronaut John Glenn’s historic American space flight. Glenn is a native Ohioan and served as a U. S. Senator from the state. http://www.cleveland.com/friendship-7/index.ssf/2012/02/50_years_ago_john_glenn_orbite.html
B. From Space.com, Feb. 17: Mars, as a destination for human explorers, might re-ignite a public passion for human space exploration, Mercury astronaut John Glenn tells a Kennedy Space Center forum. http://www.space.com/14615-john-glenn-mars-missions-americans-orbit.html
C. From the Houston Chronicle, Feb. 17: In an editorial, the Chronicle salutes Glenn’s bravery. Houston was home to the Mercury astronauts. http://www.chron.com/default/article/Editorial-John-Glenn-s-special-day-3340377.php
D. From the Austin American Statesmen of Texas, Feb. 18: In an editorial, the newspaper recalls the glory surrounding John Glenn’s flight. It notes, though, that the U. S. has not launched one of its own since the final space shuttle mission in July 2011. http://www.statesman.com/opinion/human-space-flights-prospects-dimming-2184839.html
E. From Discovery.com, Feb. 19: I come in peace! At a Florida reunion marking the 50th anniversary of his spaceflight, Glenn explains one his own concerns surrounding his historic five hour flight: an emergency landing in an undeveloped country. http://news.discovery.com/space/john-glenn-me-spaceman-you-native-120219.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
2. From Space News, Feb. 17: NASA’s proposed 2013 budget, unveiled on Feb. 13, reflects some tough choices for the space agency. The top line, $17.7 billion — the lowest for the agency since 2008 — cuts planetary science and refortifies the James Webb Space Telescope, while supporting the Congressionally mandated Space Launch System and the administration’s commercial crew initiative, according to the publication’s analysis of priorities. http://www.spacenews.com/policy/120217-shrinking-nasa-budget-tradeoffs.html
A. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Feb. 17: NASA is facing a loss of confidence after the agency pulls away from a partnership with the European Space Agency on a pair of Mars science missions, scheduled for launchings in 2016 and 2018. As part of a program restructuring, NASA has asked the science, human exploration directorates and office of chief technologist to develop a more modest mission and invited the Europeans to participate if they wish. Nonetheless, the NASA retreat has ESA examining its joint work with NASA in other areas as well. http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awst/2012/02/20/AW_02_20_2012_p33-426085.xml&headline=NASA%27s%20Leadership%20Role%20In%20Space%20Exploration%20Shaken&channel=awst
B. From the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 18: A look at the James Webb Space Telescope, a high tech observatory that promises to unveil key events in cosmic history following the big bang. Some have cast the James Webb, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, as a villain in NASA’s stressed budget outlook. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-webb-telescope-20120219,0,5790289.story
C. From Space Politics.com, Feb. 18: The House Science Committee leadership had issues with NASA’s proposed 2013 budget during a Feb. 17 hearing on White House support for overall federal research and development. There were questions about the reduction in the Mars program as well as the pace of development for the Space Launch System. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/02/18/house-science-committee-members-complain-about-nasa-budget/
D. From Florida Today, Feb. 19: In an op-ed, columnist John Kelly urges NASA to make the most it accomplishments while Washington law and policy makers debate the budget in difficult economic times. Without an emphasis on progress, the public may decide that even restrained spending on space is a “luxury,” not a priority,” Kelly cautions. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120219/COLUMNISTS0405/302190027/John-Kelly-NASA-needs-power-up-PR-machine
3. From Florida Today, Feb. 18: Lockheed Martin plans to double its Florida workforce as NASA’s prime contractor for the Orion/Multipurpose Crew Vehicle. The company is looking at the possibility of moving up a 2014 un-piloted test flight of the capsule to late 2013. The four person spacecraft will be assembled at the Kennedy Space Center. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120218/NEWS01/302180020/Orion-aims-early-test-flight?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space
4. From Space.com, Feb. 19: Scientists say data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests the moon has undergone tectonic activity more recently than previously believed. It’s possible the moon is still active. http://www.space.com/14627-moon-quakes-lunar-activity.html
5. From the New York Times, Feb. 18: The U. S. and other nations begin to take the growing hazard from orbital debris seriously. The biggest risk is from collisions between working satellites, including the six person International Space Station. Last week, Sweden announced an orbital clean up mission. NASA is looking at technologies that show promise for clearing out some of the debris and international guidelines for preventing more. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/science/space/for-space-mess-scientists-seek-celestial-broom.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=NASA&st=cse
6. From the Arizona Republic via USA Today, Feb. 18: A Phoenix surgeon adapts a NASA spacecraft coating into a new instrument that uses heat rather than a blade for delicate incisions. http://www.usatoday.com/USCP/PNI/Business/2012-02-19-PNI0219biz-knife–PNIBrd_ST_U.htm
7. From Spaceweather.com, Feb. 19: The northern lights make an unexpectedly bright appearance over the northern United States late Saturday. http://www.spaceweather.com/
8. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Feb. 19: A look at major space policy related events scheduled for the week ahead. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-february-20-24-2012
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