CSExtra – Monday, June 18, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from across the globe, plus a wrap up from the weekend. China’s three member Shenzhou 9 crew, including the nation’s first female astronaut, docks with the Tiangong 1 space lab early Monday, following a Saturday lift off. A second unpiloted U. S. Air Force X-37B space plane lands Saturday after a marathon orbital mission. Solar eruptions strike the Earth’s magnetosphere over the weekend. Long gone Voyager 2 exits the solar system. NASA makes science investments in a future European mission to the moons of Jupiter. A space shuttle mock up is a surprise find in Downey, Calif. U. S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas, touts the value of space investments. A look at major space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, June 16: China successfully launches the three member crew of the Shenzhou 9 on a two week mission to China’s Tiangong 1 space lab. The crew, which includes China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, are to make an automated docking with the space lab. As the mission unfolds, the Shenzhou 9 crew will un-dock and attempt a manual docking with the orbital lab. http://spacecoalition.com/blog/china-space-travelers-head-for-heavenly-palace-1
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, June 18: China’s Shenzhou 9 crew carries out an automated docking with the Tiangong-1 space lab early Monday. Two of the three astronauts start to board the lab. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/china/shenzhou9/status.html
B. From Space.com, June 15: An illustration of China’s Tiangong1 orbital space lab. http://www.space.com/16161-china-female-astronaut-shenzhou-9-infographic.html
C. From Xinhuanet, of China: June 17: China makes provisions for its female astronauts in terms of clothing, diet and some privacy. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-06/17/c_131658675.htm
D. From Xinuanet of China, June 17: More international cooperation in space is inevitable,” according to a chief rocket control system designer for the Shenzhouz 9 mission, Lu Xinguang. “In many fields, Western countries are better than us. But we are already able to send human beings to space independently, which shows that our technologies have reached a higher level. We do have our strong points,” he explained http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-06/17/c_131658453.htm
E. From Xinhuanet of China, June 16: NASA welcomes China’s astronauts to orbit. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sci/2012-06/16/c_131656440.htm
2. From Space.com, June 15: The reusable U. S. Air Force X-37B unmanned space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Saturday to end a classified 269 day mission. The winged Orbital Test Vehicle-2 craft is the second of the space planes to carry out a successful mission. OTV-2 was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., atop an Atlas 5 rocket. The flight of the first X-37B in 2010 lasted just half as long. http://www.space.com/16110-secret-x37b-space-plane-landing.html
A. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, June 16: The second X-37B mission includes upgrades to wings and other systems that permit orbital flight beyond 270 days. http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3A4f372217-d0b7-4eff-84a7-d2732b4d7393
B. From Discovery.com, June 16: A third X-37B mission is scheduled for a fall launch. http://news.discovery.com/space/secret-military-mini-shuttle-lands-in-california.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
3. From Spaceweather.com, June 18: Two coronal mass ejections, unleashed by the sun toward the Earth last week, crashed into the Earth’s magnetic field on Saturday, triggering bright auroral displays around the North and South poles. Geomagnetic storms can disrupt telecommunications activities. The storms were subsiding on Monday. http://www.spaceweather.com/
4. From Reuters via The Huffington Post, June 15: NASA’s Voyager 2 probe is exiting the solar system based on readings from instrumentation. Launched in 1977 with its sister Voyager 1 spacecraft, Voyager 2 has become the most distant man-made object. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/voyager-exits-solar-syste_n_1600028.html?utm_hp_ref=nasa
5. From Space News, June 15: NASA agrees to fortify the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer program (JUICE) with a $100 million investment in science activities. The three-year mission is scheduled for a 2022 launch. ESA selected JUICE as its next large scale science mission in early May. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120615-nasa-contribution-juice.html
6. From the Associated Press via The Washington Post: Another space shuttle mock up emerges in California from what was a warehouse associated with Rockwell International, the company that manufactured the winged space ships. The mock up will be stored on a movie studio parking lot until money can be raised for a permanent display. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/original-1972-space-shuttle-mock-up-to-emerge-from-storage-be-displayed-in-california/2012/06/15/gJQAZEqifV_story.html
7. From The Houston Chronicle and Texas on the Potomac, June 17 : In an op-ed, U. S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison calls for investments in NASA’s space exploration program. Past investments have assured the nation’s leadership in the field, advanced knowledge and brought advances in other fields, including health care and every day consumer products. The Texas lawmaker is a member of two NASA legislative committees. http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012/06/kay-bailey-hutchison-american-taxpayers-must-invest-in-nasa/
8. From Spacepolicyonline.com, June 17: A look at space policy events scheduled for the week ahead: In Washington several events focused on the future of commercial space are scheduled. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-june-18-22-2012
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