CSExtra – Monday, October 29, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities, including a look back at weekend happenings. SpaceX’s Dragon completes a successful three week commercial cargo delivery and retrieval from the International Space Station, with a Sunday splashdown. Smooth rocks mean water on Mars. Federal investments in science and technology, a key to future economic growth. In the U. S., government as well as commercial space interests face marketing challenges. Outside the International Space Station, U. S. and Japanese astronauts will attempt to circumvent a coolant leak during a spacewalk on Thursday. Virgin Galactic looks to commercial Zero Gravity flights with its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft. In Europe, France urges government investments in new launch technology. Harnessing solar energy to divert threatening asteroids. Atlantis departs NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for its public display home late this week. A look at major space policy related events scheduled over the coming days.
1. From The Los Angeles Times, Oct. 28: SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft splashes down in the Pacific off the southern California coast Sunday afternoon, carrying out a U. S. commercial cargo delivery and return capability to the International Space Station that was lost as NASA’s space shuttle retired.
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, Oct. 28: Dragon’s return signals a successful achievement on the U. S. commercial space front, notes NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
B. From Space.com, Oct. 28: Dragon’s return cargo includes valuable frozen biomedical samples accumulating aboard the space station for a ride back to Earth since the departure of NASA’s final shuttle crew in June 2011.
2. From The New York Times, Oct. 26: NASA’s Curiosity rover finds smooth stones on Mars, a compelling sign that water once flowed across the now cold and dry planet, writes John Grotzinger, the mission’s chief scientist, in an op-ed.
3. From The New York Time, Oct. 28: Federal investments in science and technology are a key components of future economic growth, writes Neil Lane, the White House science adviser to former president Bill Clinton.
4. From The Huntsville Times, Oct. 26: In the U. S., federal as well as commercial space initiatives face challenges in winning public support to forge new commercial markets, according to participants in the recent Van Braun Space Symposium in Huntsville, Ala. Domestic commercial satellite launches have slumped. In the U.S., the Pentagon and NASA remain the primary markets for space services.
A. From The Economist, Oct. 26: New space ventures need more than cautious investors.
5. From CBSNews.com, Oct. 26: NASA outlines plans for a Nov. 1 spacewalk to isolate a cooling system leak on the International Space Station. NASA’s Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide will tackle the six to seven hour spacewalk. A continued leak could prompt a partial power loss by January.
6. From Space News, Oct. 26. Virgin Galactic may assign the WhiteKnightTwo to new duties. The aircraft’s prime mission is to launch SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic’s forthcoming suborbital passenger space plane. However, WhiteKnightTwo may also offer Zero G flights for up to 14 passengers.
7. From Space News, Oct. 26: Genevieve Fioraso, France’s new research minister, urges new European investments in launch vehicles to meet changing markets demands. French and German interests are currently debating different approaches.
8. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, Oct. 26: A researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposes a strategy to harness solar protons to deflect an asteroid taking aim at the Earth.
9. From Collectspace.com, Oct. 26: This Friday, NASA’s retired shuttle orbiter Atlantis will make its way from the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the Kennedy Visitor Center Complex. The road trip will take most of a day and some complicated maneuvers.
10. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Oct. 28: A look at major space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead. Hurricane Sandy, aka, Frankenstorm is among them.
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