CSExtra – Thursday, July 11, 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 faced rough sledding Wednesday in House appropriation and authorization proceedings: spending is cut and efforts to underscore Mars as a human destination are rejected. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden emphasizes the merits of an asteroid re-direct mission. More proceedings await. U. S. legislators warm to the idea of a lunar national park to protect the Apollo landing sites. An ion thruster sets a record at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. The solar system has a tail. Astronomers observe with space telescopes as a massive star is born. Russia’s latest Progress launch may have been doomed by a sensor failure. Venus shines brightly as the sun sets.
1. From Space News: House appropriators approve a $16.6 billion budget for NASA in fiscal year 2014, the lowest total since 2007. Full Science Committee and House votes loom. The U. S. Senate must act as well. The White House sought $17.7 billion for the 2014 fiscal year.
A. From Space News: In separate proceedings, a House authorization panel divides across party lines over NASA long term policy. White House plans for NASA to corral an asteroid into lunar orbit are dashed by a Republican majority along with a Democratic attempt to specify Mars as the nation’s long term destination for human explorers.
B. From Florida Today: In the House, an authorization panel would restrict NASA spending to $16.8 billion in fiscal years 2014-15. Earth science spending is reduced. NASA’s asteroid re-direct mission is rejected.
C. From The Hill: In an op-ed, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden explains that a White House initiative that directs NASA to find, secure and re-direct an asteroid into lunar orbit represents a difficult challenge, one that would prepare a global community to thwart a destructive strike from an asteroid or comet.
D. From Spacepolitics.com: The website offers a score card comparison between the prevailing Republican and Democratic authorization measures that the House Space Subcommittee considered on Wednesday.
E. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA’s appropriations and authorization processes are not yet complete. The full House and Senate must act as well. A conference committee of both the House and Senate would attempt to resolve differences.
2. From The Washington Post: In response to growing commercial space interest in the moon, Congress ponders legislation that would protect the Apollo mission landing sites. A national park designation may be in order.
3. From USAToday: At NASA’s Glenn Research Center, engineers set a propulsion test record. An ion thruster has been operating continuously for 5 1/2 years. The device is suited for deep space missions, where sustained performance is a must.
4. From Discovery.com: The solar system has a tail, according to findings from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer.
5. From The Los Angeles Times: U. S. and European space observatories provide astronomers with a front row seat to the unusual formation of a massive star.
6. From Spacepolicyonline.com: Improperly installed angular velocity sensors may be to blame for Russia’s spectacular July 2 Proton rocket loss.
7. From Space.com: Venus shines brightly, where skies are clear, in the western skies of the northern hemisphere just after sunset for much of this month.
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