CSExtra – Monday, July 1, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offer the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, plus a summary of weekend happenings. Europe’s space powers assess a role in NASA’s plans to capture an asteroid and steer it into a stable lunar orbit. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center partners with Space Florida to make the Shuttle Landing Facility available to commercial space users. NASA’s retired shuttle orbiter Atlantis makes an impressive debut as it goes on public display in Central Florida. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center adjusts to a changing mission, slimmer budgets. An International Space Station astronaut demonstrates the first control of a robot rover positioned on the Earth’s surface. The U. S. House and Senate clash over the future of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. NASA’s GALEX ultraviolet observatory mission draws to a close. Comet ISON plays it close to the vest. United Launch Alliance nurtures the Atlas 5 toward a human rating. A look at major space activities scheduled through early July.
1. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, June 28: Europe’s space powers will assess prospective roles in NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission, following a round of recent discussions between European space officials and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
2. From Space.com, June 28: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center prepares to turn operation of the 15,000 foot long Shuttle Landing Facility runway over to Space Florida, a state chartered economic development group. The coastal runway appears destined for new uses, including space tourism as well as an airport.
A. From NASAspaceflight.com: Potential users of Kennedy’s SLF include suborbital as well as orbiter spaceflight companies. Candidates include XCOR’s Lynx, Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser and the Stratolaunch System.
B. From Florida Today: Columnist John Kelly finds U. S. commercial space in a delicate spot as it looks toward global flight operations. State Department restrictions could make it difficult for U. S. companies to take their equipment abroad.
3. From Spaceflightnow.com, June 29: The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex debuts Space Shuttle Atlantis, the center piece of a new $100 million public display that features NASA’s shuttle program history. ”I think we display Atlantis like no other orbiter, and folks are going to get to see it as only a very few have on orbit,” said Kennedy Space Center director Robert Cabana. “It truly looks as if it’s flying in space.” Atlantis joins Discovery, Endeavour and Enterprise all in post retirement venues in suburban Washington, Los Angeles and New York City.
A. From USA Today, June 30: The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit carries special meaning to those who prepared the retired orbiter for lift off or flew aboard the spacecraft.
4. From The Huntsville Times, of Alabama, June 28: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center undergoes changes in response to new missions and a changing budget environment. New buildings are rising and older installations are coming down, MSFC executives explain in an interview. Marshall’s infrastructure is larger than its mission, some of the installations are aging, budgets are flat for the foreseeable future, and NASA as a whole is striving to become more energy efficient, they explain.
5. From Space.com, June 30: During a June test session, a U. S. astronaut aboard the International Space Station took control of a robot at NASA’s Ames Research Center in a first of its kind session. The demo, which will continue this summer, could be useful in developing missions for astronauts posted in a stable lunar orbit to control a robot on the moon’s surface.
6. From Spacepolicyonline.com, June 28: Senate and House appropriations panels take opposing positions on funding for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The Senate favors more than the White House requested, the House much less. The disparity comes as the U. S. commercial space sector is preparing to shoulder a significant new role in transporting humans to space.
7. From Sky and Telescope, June 29: NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer is decommissioned. Launched in April 2003, GALEX observed the universe in ultraviolet wavelengths. The initial GALEX mission was slated for 29 months.
8. From Space.com, June 28: Comet ISON, amid predictions it could become the comet of the century, is so far not growing brighter in its journey around the sun. Earlier this year, astronomers suggested that ISON could grow bright in the skies over the Earth in late November, and perhaps bright enough to be visible in daylight.
9. From Space News, June 28: United Launch Alliance upgrades the Atlas 5 to become a propulsion source for future U. S. commercial space passenger missions. It’s a responsibility the powerful rocket family embraced during the earliest days of the U. S. human space program.
10. From Spacepolicyonline.com, June 30: A look ahead at major space policy activities scheduled through mid-July.
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