CSExtra – Monday, May 7, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. SpaceX looks to a May 19 launching of the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station. Sierra Nevada Corp. announces plans to process Dream Chaser, the company’s entry in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development initiative, in Florida. Rustic Mojave, Calif., becomes a mecca for the nation’s New Space movement. The European Space Agency lays the groundwork for a lower cost successor to the Ariane 5 heavy lift rocket. Photos of the super moon. An editorial urges U. S. policy makers to bolster the nation’s Earth science program. A U. S. Air Force communications satellite reaches orbit. As equatorial waters in the Pacific drift toward normal temperatures, U.S. weather becomes more challenging to predict. Three of NASA’s shuttle era astronauts enter the U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. An aging Corvette, possibly owned by Neil Armstrong, attracts astronomical bids. A look at major space related events scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com, May 4: SpaceX looks to May 19 for the launching of the Falcon9/Dragon on the first U.S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The company missed launch opportunities on April 30 and May 7 as it worked its way through flight software verification testing.
2. From the Houston Chronicle, May 6: In April, the FAA disclosed SpaceX’s interest in Brownsville, Tex., as a possible commercial launch site. While officials in Brownsville have rushed to support the prospect, state officials in Texas have been slow to publicly display their position, which puzzles some in the space community. http://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/article/Is-Texas-forfeiting-the-private-space-race-3537616.php
A. From the Brownsville Herald of Texas, May 4 : Brownsville’s city commission supports the possible development of a commercial launch complex in the South Texas city by SpaceX. About 600 jobs are linked to the prospective commercial space effort. http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/articles/spacex-139857-support-city.html
3. From Florida Today, May 4: Sierra Nevada, one of four companies participating in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development initiative, announces plans to process and launch its Dream Chaser spacecraft in and from Florida. Hundreds of jobs could be in the offing for Central Florida. NASA expects to select companies for the next round of development this summer– though the budget could be an issue. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120504/SPACE/120504004/Mini-shuttle-maker-expresses-interest-Florida-expand-operations?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space%20News
4. From the New York Times, May 5: Rustic Mojave, Calif., becomes a mecca for the nation’s New Space movement. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/science/space/a-california-desert-town-on-the-way-up-to-space.html?_r=2&ref=science
5. From Space News, May 4: The European Space Agency looks at a strategy of lower production costs as it develops a successor to the Ariane 5 heavy lift rocket. The approach would allow ESA to free itself of a geographic return principle. http://www.spacenews.com/launch/120504-affordability-not-geographic-return.html
6. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log, May 6: The weekend featured a ”super moon.” The moon’s full phase coincided with its closest approach to the Earth. The website offers a collection of photos. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/06/11564767-your-views-of-the-supermoon?lite
7. From the Washington Post, May 4: In an editorial, The Post urges Congress to focus more attention on the status of the U. S. Earth observing program. The National Research Council, in a report issued last week, characterized the satellites that NASA and NOAA are responsible for operating as aging and their successors delayed and over budget. The network is at risk of collapse, the NRC said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/satellites-at-risk/2012/05/04/gIQAHFdK2T_story.html
8. From Space News, May 4: United Launch Alliance launches an Atlas V with a U.S. Air Force communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. http://www.spacenews.com/launch/120504-aehf-sat-launched.html
A. From Xinhuanet of China, May 6: China launches an Earth observing satellite atop a Long March 2 rocket.
9. From the Los Angeles Times, May 6: The Southwest U. S may be facing an uncertain weather outlook. The influences of La Nina and El Nino, distinct sea water temperature swings in the equatorial Pacific, have abated. That makes it difficult to predict drought or flooding rains. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-weather-20120506,0,5783086.story
10. From Collectspace.com, May 6: Three from NASA enter the U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame: Shuttle Astronauts Franklin Chang-Diaz, Kevin Chilton and Charles Precourt are inducted into the Hall in Titusville, Fla., on Saturday. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-050612a.html
11. From Collectspace.com. May 6: Bids soar to $250,000 for a 1967 Corvette that sellers claim was first owned by Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 commander. Ebay hosts the auction. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-050512a.html
12. From Spacepolicyonline.com, May 6: A look at space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-may-6-11-2012
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