CSExtra – Monday, October 22, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, plus a roundup from the weekend. In Russia, a NASA astronaut and a pair of cosmonauts prepare to lift off early Tuesday for the International Space Station. U. S. budget uncertainties are forcing changes in government space programs and the contractors that support them. In Texas and Florida, space policy surfaces as an issue in the waning days of the presidential and Congressional elections. NASA’s retires its last shuttle orbiter on Nov. 2, creating an opening in Florida for the presidential campaigns to address space policy. The European Space Agency plans a new mission to find alien planets. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s call to champion space literacy. Did Felix Baumgartner’s parachute leap from the edge of space signal the rise of commercial space? An Orion meteorite is recovered in California. The sun acts up. Propulsion issues prompt the U. S. Air Force to push back the next X-37B launching. A look at major space events scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Itar-Tass, of Russia, Oct. 21: A Soyuz booster and crew transport capsule reach the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan over the weekend. NASA astronaut Kevin Ford will join cosmonauts Oleg Novistski and Evgeny Tarelkin as they lift off for the International Space Station on Tues., at 6:51 a.m., EDT. Their Soyuz will dock two days later. http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/551167.html
A. From the Voice of Russia, Oct. 22: Russia’s State Commission formally confirms Soyuz crew members Kevin Ford, of NASA, and cosmonauts Oleg Novitski and Evgeny Tarelkin, as the next Soyuz and space station crew. http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_10_22/New-ISS-crew-approved/
2. From Space News, Oct. 19: A decline in federal budgets and a threat that spending could drop even more are forcing government space agencies and their contractors to carry out business in new ways. Even the National Reconnaissance Office, which is accustomed to receiving more money in response to changing threats to national security, can no longer count of more money, according to those attending the American Astronautical Society’s Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium at the University of Alabama Oct. 15-18 http://www.spacenews.com/civil/1121019-unprecedented-budget-environment.html
3. From The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 19: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney receives the newspaper’s endorsement, with energy and space figuring prominently in the decision. http://www.chron.com/default/article/Romney-for-president-3965675.php
A. From Florida Today, Oct. 19: Florida Republican U. S. Senate contender Connie Mack calls for a long term NASA spending plan as he challenges Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent and a strong supporter of human space exploration. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121020/SPACE/310200021/Mack-Set-long-term-budget-NASA?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space%20News
B. The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 19: Florida Congressman Connie Mack, a Republican candidate for the U. S. Senate, finds NASA lacking a clear long term strategy for the future exploration of space as he campaigned Friday on the state’s space coast. Mack did not speak of budgets nor specific goals, but noted he would not oppose a human lunar base. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-10-19/news/os-mack-space-coast-20121019_1_nasa-contracts-ferry-astronauts-manned-space
C. From Spacepolitics.com, Oct. 22: In Florida, U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent and a long time member of NASA’s congressional oversight process, receives an re-election endorsement from the Orlando Sentinel. Bill Nye, the executive director of the Planetary Society, joins the re-election effort for President Obama in closely contested Florida. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/10/22/briefly-sentinel-endorses-nelson-the-science-guy-stumps-for-obama-in-florida/
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Oct. 20: NASA’s long running shuttle program will mark the distribution of its final orbiter, Atlantis, on Nov. 2. As Atlantis moves to the Kennedy Visitor Center Complex near Titusville, Fla., it could give candidates for president an opening in closely contested Florida to discuss space policy, according to the Washington website. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/nasa-to-celebrate-shuttles-end-four-days-before-elections-republicans-step-up-criticism
A. From The Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20: Los Angeles faced a major challenge earlier this month as it cleared a path for Endeavour to reach the California Science Center, its display home. Moving Atlantis, the last of NASA’s retired shuttle orbiters, along a less congested path from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the nearby Visitor Center Complex, also presents a challenge. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-space-shuttle-atlantis-20121019,0,5677494.story
B. From Collectspace.com, Oct. 19: Endeavour’s recent trek through the streets of Los Angeles from the Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center inspires a street sign memento. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-101912a.html
5. From Space.com, Oct. 19: The European Space Agency outlines plans on Friday for the 2017 launching of Cheops, a space observatory for the discovery of “Super Earths” and other large planets circling nearby stars. http://www.space.com/18137-super-earth-exoplanets-satellite-launching-2017.html
6. From USAToday, Oct. 20: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium, campaigns for science literacy in America. High on deGrasse Tyson’s agenda, more expenditures on space exploration. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/vergano/2012/10/20/neil-degrasse-tyson-sagan/1644383/
A. From CNN, Oct. 20: Why explore space? The justifications range from the value of exploration itself to the advances that emerge in fields like medicine, IT, communications, transportation and public safety as well as new knowledge of the environment. Not everyone agrees. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/20/exploring-space-whys-it-so-important/?hpt=hp_t3
7. From The New York Times, Oct. 19: Felix Baumgartner’s record parachute leap from the edge of space last week symbolized a transition of daring activities from the government to the private sector, according to an op-ed from Anand Giridharandas that also appeared in the International Herald Tribune. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/us/20iht-currents20.html?_r=0
8. From CBS/San Francisco, Oct. 21: A homeowner in Novato finds a meteorite from the Orionid meteor shower. The shower produced a fireball on Oct. 17 that was the apparent source of the recovered space rock. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/10/21/nasa-meteorite-found-in-novato-from-wednesdays-fireball/
9. From Space.com, Oct. 19: The sun, in the midst of the active part of its cycle, discharged a large plasma cloud on Friday. http://www.space.com/18147-sun-unleashes-huge-plasma-wave.html
10. From Florida Today, Oct. 21: The U. S. Air Force pushes back the planned launching of its unpiloted X-37B space plane to Nov. 12, allowing time to investigate a propulsion issue with a recent Delta IV mission. A Florida landing is possible http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121021/SPACE/310210060/Engine-probe-delays-flight-secret-X-37B-mini-shuttle?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home
11. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Oct. 21: A look at the week ahead and major space related events. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-october-22-26-2012-update
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