CSExtra – Monday, January 23, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary of space related activities from around globe, plus a roundup of weekend activities. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the ranking Democrat on the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, plans to resign this week to focus on her recovery from gunshot wounds. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich plans a space policy speech this week in Florida. SpaceX looks to late March, rather than early February, for the launching of the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station. Policy experts assess China’s recently unveiled space development strategy. Space science advocates urge the Obama administration to support their missions ahead of the upcoming 2012 budget release. A National Research Council study finds looming gaps in NASA and NOAA weather and climate satellite missions. An active solar cycle works helps to eliminate man made orbital debris. Hasn’t NASA’s mission been studied enough, a Florida newspaper columnist asks. The latest on the Pentagon’s marathon X-37B mission. A look at major space policy events scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From USA Today, Jan. 23: Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announces Sunday she will leave Congress this week to focus on her recovery from the wounds she received during a January 2011 shooting spree in Tucson. Giffords serves as the ranking member of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, a NASA oversight panel. Giffords is married to Mark Kelly, the former NASA shuttle astronaut. http://usat.ly/y0kqzJ
2. From Spacepolitics.com, Jan. 22: Fresh off his Republican primary victory in South Carolina, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich will soon speak in Florida on space policy. Florida’s party primary is set for Jan. 31. The remarks may come as soon as Wednesday. http://bit.ly/wpr6JE
3. From Spaceflightnow.com, Jan. 20: SpaceX says it is looking to late March, at the earliest, for the launching of the Falcon 9/Dragon on the first U. S. commercial cargo mission to the International Space Station. The mission, previously targeted for a Feb. 7 lift off, was deferred to allow SpaceX more time to deal with hardware and software issues. SpaceX is one of two companies involved in NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. http://bit.ly/yQeeYb
A. From Florida Today, Jan. 20: SpaceX looks to March 20 for a possible launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. http://bit.ly/wLNqaA
4. From Space.com, Jan. 20: A look at China’s future space development plans plan through the eyes of several U. S. policy experts. In a late December white paper, China said it was laying the ground work for human lunar missions. http://bit.ly/z9lRg4
5. From Spacepolitics.com, Jan. 20: President Obama will present his budget for 2013 to Congress in early February. Ahead of the annual presentation, some organizations concerned about funding for NASA space science projects are taking steps to protect future spending. http://bit.ly/xfxx1c
6. Spacepolicyonline.com, Jan. 20: A new National Research Council report finds potential gaps in satellite coverage for programs responsible for weather forecasting and the monitoring of climate change. NASA and NOAA are affected. Rising costs and the loss of two missions, Glory and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, are factors. http://bit.ly/xIZsqK
A. From Space News, Jan. 20: The NPOESS Preparatory Project spacecraft, a satellite with prototype weather and climate sensors, has experienced a contamination problem with a key instrument that will delay the start of operations until March. An investigation of the problem is under way, a NASA spokesman says. NPP was launched in late October. http://bit.ly/xfhv3i
7. From Discovery.com, Jan. 20: An active period of the solar cycle is having a beneficial effect: The heat is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to expand and drag some of the debris in Earth orbit back to the ground. http://bit.ly/ypGOUG
A. From the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 22: At the nonprofit Aerospace Corp., a team of experts study space debris that has plummeted back to Earth over the years. The amount of debris accumulating in Earth orbit has grown to levels that alarm some. http://lat