CSExtra – Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from across the globe. In Washington, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden defends the agency’s asteroid exploration strategy during a House budget hearing. The Hubble Space Telescope marks its 23rd anniversary in orbit. Russia launches a Progress re-supply mission to the International Space Station, then troubleshoots a rendezvous antenna problem. NASA selects Orbital Sciences Corp. to develop a successor to the Kepler space telescope. Europe hosts an orbital debris conference. NASA’s dispatches an early space shuttle external fuel tank to a Florida museum. Space, the place to manufacture.
1. From SpaceNews: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden defends the Obama Administration’s choice of a corralled asteroid over the moon as a future destination for U. S. asteroids, in a hearing Wednesday before the House Space Subcommittee on the agency’s proposed 2014 budget.
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com: In a hearing on NASA’s proposed 2014 budget, some on the House Space Subcommittee question the merits and cost of NASA’s asteroid retrieval plans. There is also contention over funds sought for the agency’s commercial crew initiative vs. those directed toward development of the Space Launch System and Orion crew exploration vehicle.
B. From The Orlando Sentinel: A future human mission to a small asteroid is all NASA can afford, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden tells skeptics on the U. S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
C. From Popular Mechanics: The publication addresses questions surrounding NASA’s mission to corral a small asteroid near the moon so that it can be explored by U. S. astronauts as soon as 2021. Why? Why not the moon? How much will it cost? Is the moon passé? Tom Jones, former NASA astronaut and planetary scientist, explains.
D. From Spacepolitics.com: While the Congressional debate over NASA’s proposed 2014 budget ramps up, there are still issues dealing with the impact of the 2013 budget sequester. The planetary science community grows concerned that NASA’s operating plan for the current fiscal year, due Congress in early May, will not meet their expectations.
2. From Space.com: Wednesday marked the 23rd anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope launch. Astronomers believe the iconic space observatory that has unveiled some of the earliest star systems, black holes and aided experts in their calculations of the age of the universe can operate through 2020 — time enough for the launch of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. NASA shuttle crews upgraded Hubble five times after the 1990 launching.
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: Russia launches an un-piloted Progress re-supply mission to the International Space Station early Wednesday. Following a successful climb to orbit, one of five communications antenna on the freighter fails to deploy. In Russia, flight controllers carry on with plans for an automated docking on Friday, while they troubleshoot.
A. From CBS News: Impact of jammed antenna on Progress docking plans unclear.
4. From Virginia Business: NASA picks Orbital Sciences Corp to develop the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a successor to the Kepler space telescope, under a $75 million contract. TESS, slated for a 2017 lift off, will focus the search for Earth-like planets to nearby stars.
5. From Space.com: Europe hosts an international conference on the mitigation of space debris. The 6th European Conference on Space Debris convened at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany earlier this week.
6. From Collectspace.com: NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in mid-2011. An shuttle external fuel tank leaves NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for public display at the Wings of Dreams, located at Keystone Heights Airport in Starke, Fla. The well traveled fuel tank was manufactured in 1977 as a structural test article.
7. From the Washington Post: Michael Gazarik, NASA space technology director, envisions space as the next place for a revolution in manufacturing. Bring a 3-D printer, he suggests.
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