CSExtra – Monday, February 25, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, plus a roundup of weekend activities. In the U. S., the prospect for a March 1 budget sequestration looms. NASA believes a loss in funding could jeopardize the agency’s commercial crew space transportation initiative. India readies a Canadian satellite capable of monitoring near-Earth objects for liftoff early Monday. In Virginia, Orbital Sciences Corp., the second partner in NASA’s initiative to foster commercial cargo services for the International Space Station, carries out a successful launch pad hot fire test. Meanwhile, SpaceX readies its third ISS cargo mission for launch late this week. Russia charts a more competitive course in commercial space. In Washington, members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee plan to question NASA on efforts to identify asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth. In orbit, the U.S. Air Force reusable X-37B carries out a third classified mission. NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury logs success in color. A look at major space policy events scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From The Huntsville Times, Feb. 22: During a visit to Alabama, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden offers a blunt assessment of the impact of a March 1 sequestration. It will stall the agency’s efforts to develop commercial space transportation services capable of flying U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station, said Bolden. NASA’s goal for the inauguration of those flights is 2017. Currently, the space agency is working with three companies to achieve the goal. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/02/nasa_boss_wonders_how_marshall.html
A. From Florida Today, Feb. 23: Faced with a March 1 sequestration, NASA’s choice for slimming the budget may fall to an initiative to foster commercial space transportation services for astronauts and others headed into Earth orbit. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130224/COLUMNISTS0405/302240020/John-Kelly-Commercial-crew-program-worst-possible-choice-NASA-cuts?nclick_check=1
B. From the Houston Chronicle, Feb. 23: The House Space, Science and Technology Committee reaches out to a mediator to encourage a bi-partisanship working relationship. http://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/article/Smith-taking-bipartisan-approach-to-spare-NASA-4302996.php
2. From Spaceflightnow.com, Feb. 23: A Canadian satellite developed to detect near-Earth objects (NEOs) is slated for launch early Monday aboard an Indian rocket. The Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, NEOSSat, is one of nine satellites on the rocket. NEOSSat will divide its time between searching for asteroids and tracking man-made satellites in orbit around the Earth. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1302/23neossat/#.USs4raLQq6o
3. From Spaceflightnow.com, Feb. 22: Orbital Sciences Corp. carried out a successful launch pad hot fire test of its Antares first stage rocket at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia late Friday. Orbital Sciences expects to join SpaceX this year as the second commercial re-supply provider for the International Space Station. The next milestone is a demonstration flight of the Antares rocket. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/antares/demo/130222hotfire/#.USmCS6LQq6p
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, Feb. 21: SpaceX plans to launch its third cargo re-supply mission to the International Space Station on March 1. The company plans a countdown rehearsal and engine hot fire test at its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., launch site on Monday. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/005/130221preview/#.USmGG6LQq6o
4. From Ria Novosti, of Russia, Feb. 23: Russia will compete for an increased share of the world’s commercial launch market, according to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. en.rian.ru/science/20130223/179638875/Russia-to-Aim-for-15-of-Global-Space-Market–Medvedev.html
5. From Spacepolitics.com, Feb. 22: Two more members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee say they will press NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s efforts to determine threats to the Earth from near-Earth objects like the asteroid that exploded over Russia on Feb. 15. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/02/22/more-congressional-interest-in-near-earth-objects/
A. From Space.com, Feb. 23: The joint European/U.S. Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission identifies a target, Didymos, a dual asteroid that will be nearly seven million miles from Earth when the experimental probe arrives. Cameras will record the action as a spacecraft impactor attempts to destroy the smallest of the two asteroids. http://www.space.com/19933-asteroid-deflection-mission-aida-didymos.html
6. From The Huffington Post via Space.com, Feb. 22: A U.S. Air Force X-37B un-piloted reusable spacecraft reached orbit for the third time in December. Its mission and the length of the flight remain veiled in official secrecy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/secret-space-plane-air-force-robotic-x-37b-mission_n_2741771.html?utm_hp_ref=nasa
7. From Discovery.com, Feb. 22: Mercury in color. NASA’s Messenger spacecraft, which recently completed its prime mission of mapping the planet closest to the Sun, reveals its findings in color schemes. http://news.discovery.com/space/marvelous-mercury-nasa-messenger-probe-130222.htm
8. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Feb. 24: A look ahead at the major space policy related events scheduled for the week. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/space-policy-events-of-interest-for-the-week-of-february-25-march-1-2013