CSExtra – Monday, June 17, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, plus a summary of activities from the weekend. In Washington, a Congressional oversight panel balks at a White House plan for a NASA asteroid mission, according to an industry report. Space community marks the 50th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova’s spaceflight, the first by a woman. Chinese astronauts settle in aboard the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. The European Space Agency’s ATV-4 cargo ship docks with the International Space Station early Saturday. Arianespace plans upgrades of the Ariane 5 rocket to accommodate heavier communications satellites. Astronomers announce surprise findings from Asteroid 1998 QE2, which passed close to the Earth on May 31. NASA’s New Horizons probe will stay the course toward a July 2015 close encounter with Pluto. NOAA distances itself from an innovative weather satellite fleet. In Texas, policy makers rally around commercial spaceport development. LEGO chooses Curiosity for a new toy. New offerings have Sci Fi film fans holding their breath. A look at major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Space News, June 14: In its draft of a new NASA authorization bill, the House Science Space and Technology committee rejects a White House initiative to corral an asteroid and maneuver the space rock into a stable orbit near the moon, where U. S. astronauts would explore it as soon as 2021, Space News reports.
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com, June 14: The House Space Subcommittee sets June 19 for a Washington hearing on a proposed NASA authorization bill, the agency’s first since 2010. NASA Advisory Council Chairman Steve Squyres and Tom Young, a former Lockheed Martin executive, are expected to testify.
B. From Space News, June 14: U. S. military space spending appears to be on a stable track despite on-going concerns over the 2013 budget sequester.
2. From The Los Angeles Times, June 15: Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the first spaceflight by a woman. Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova piloted the Vostok 6 through 48 orbits of the Earth over a three-day solo mission. She was 26.
A. From Ria Novosti, of Russia, June 14: Russia’s space program continues to shun women, claims one former cosmonaut, Yelena Dobrokvashina. She spoke on the issue with the approach of the 50th anniversary of the world’s first spaceflight by a woman, Valentina Tereshkova. Tereshkova is but one of three women from her homeland to launch.
B. From the Christian Science Monitor, June 14: A look back at the problems and the controversy that surrounds Valentina Tereshkova’s flight.
3. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, June 17: China’s three-person Shenzhou space capsule steps toward an operational status with the launching of Shenzhou 10 on June 11. The spacecraft’s two-man, one woman crew docked with China’s Tiangong-1 orbital outpost last week for a series of docking and life support technology exercises.
A. From Florida Today, June 16: China remains decades behind the U. S., Russia and the other nations involved in the International Space Station, writes columnist John Kelly.
B. From Xinhuanet, of China, June 15: Barbara Morgan, former NASA astronaut and classroom teacher, offers her support to China’s first space teacher Wang Yaping, a member of Shenzhou-10 mission crew.
4. From CBS News, June 15: The European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-4, the Albert Einstein, docks with the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering research gear, food, fuel, water and other supplies. The ATV-4 was launched June 5 amid concerns its space station docking port may have been damaged during the docking of a previous supply ship. Those concerns proved unfounded.
5. From Spaceflightnow.com, June 16: Arianespace will upgrade the Ariane 5 launch vehicle to accommodate larger communications satellites equipped with electric propulsion systems.
6. From the Toronto Globe and Mail, of Canada, June 14: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoints Walter Natynczyk, a retired general and chief of the nation’s defense staff, to head the Canadian Space Agency. Natynczky should bring a stronger voice and higher profile to the CSA, the Globe and Mail reports.
7. From Space.com: New studies with the radar observatory at Aricebo in Puerto Rico unveil surprises regarding Asteroid 1998 QE2, which passed close to the Earth on May 31. It appears remarkably primitive and not a source of meteorites recovered so far from the Earth. Two miles wide, 1998 QE2 also trailed a small moon..
8. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, June 15: The New Horizons spacecraft will hold course for now on the spacecraft’s long journey to Pluto. Launched in 2006, the spacecraft will pass within 8,000 miles of Pluto in July 2015 – the first spacecraft to visit the distant solar system body. After an 18 month assessment of the debris field around Pluto, mission managers decide there is no need to alter course.
9. From The Orlando Sentinel, June 14: In the U. S., NOAA balks at funding a new small class of capable weather satellites called COSMIC-2. Taiwan offers to cost share. Meanwhile, the nation’s weather and Earth observing satellite population is declining.
10. From The Austin Business Journal, of Texas, June 14: State lawmakers join to make Texas spaceport friendly.
11. From Collectspace.com, June 15: LEGO chooses the Curiosity rover as its next space brick assembly toy.
12. From Space.com, June 14: Summer and Fall bring a bounty of science fiction feature films.
13. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look ahead at major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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