CSExtra – Thursday, July 12, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way around the world. At the Farnborough Air Show in England, Virgin Galactic unveils plans for a new small satellite launch service. And passengers could be launching on the company’s StarShipTwo by late 2013. Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope identify a fifth moon around Pluto. Italy pledges new funding for the European Space Agency’s struggling Exo-Mars mission plans. Is the Earth prepared for hyper solar activity? Probably not. In Virginia, Orbital Sciences — one of NASA’s International Space Station commercial re-supply providers, may have a launch pad soon. Shuttle Endeavour’s transition to Los Angeles for public display will include some time in a hangar at Los Angeles International Airport. A new wrinkle in New York sunsets.
1. From The Los Angeles Times: Virgin Galactic, the pioneering suborbital space passenger transportation company, announces plans for a commercial small satellite launch service. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-virgin-galactic-richard-branson-20120711,0,2905373.story
A. From the New York Times: Virgin Galactic unveils plans for a low cost, air launched small satellite operation during the Farnborough Air Show in England. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/business/global/branson-company-to-enter-satellite-launching-business.html?_r=1
B. From Forbes.com : Virgin Galactic teams with Planetary Resources for the launching of space telescopes that will advance Planetary’s asteroid mining venture. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/07/11/asteroid-mining-startup-planetary-resources-teams-with-virgin-galactic/
C. From CNN: Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson predicts he and family members will fly inaugural suborbital SpaceShipTwo passenger flights by late 2013. Branson speaks at the Farnborough Air Show in England. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/11/tech/branson-farnborough-virgin-galactic/index.html
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: Pluto, demoted to dwarf planet status a few years ago, gains a fifth moon. Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope lead to the discovery. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1207/11pluto/
A. From Space.com: Naming Pluto’s newly recognized moon may take awhile. It’s siblings include Charon, Nix and Hydra. http://www.space.com/16540-pluto-moon.html
3. From Space News: Italy brings an additional $63 million to the European Space Agency’s struggling Exo-Mars mission, a two launch initiative leading to a future robotic mission to gather and return Martian soil and rock samples to Earth for analysis. Germany and Switzerland are considering additional funds as well. The 19-member European Space Agency is to decide in November on whether to proceed. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/exomarss-prospects-improve-with-italian-pledge.html
4. From The Washington Post: Is the Earth prepared for the hazards of extreme solar activity? Likely not, the Post reports. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/are-we-ready-yet-for-potentially-disastrous-impacts-of-space-weather/2012/07/11/gJQAdbvJdW_blog.html
5. From Space News: In Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Islands prepares to turn over a launch pad to Orbital Sciences Corp. this month. Orbital, is one of two companies under contract to NASA to provide re-supply services to the International Space Station. http://www.spacenews.com/launch/120711-va-spaceport-turn-pad-over.html
6. From Collectspace.com: NASA’s shuttle orbiter Endeavour is on track to reach California in September. Endeavour will take refuge in an airline hangar at Los Angeles International Airport until it can take up permanent residence at the California Science Center for public display. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-071112a.html
7. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log: Manhattenhedge, something new for sky watchers to check out in New York City. http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/11/12690728-manhattanhenges-sunset-show-wows-new-yorkers?chromedomain=cosmiclog&lite
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