CSExtra – Thursday, July 26, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Much is at stake as NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover nears an Aug. 6 landing. NASA successfully repositions the aging Mars Odyssey spacecraft to relay MSL’s landing events to Earth. In Senate testimony on Wednesday, a recent resident of the International Space Station says the research potential of the orbiting science lab depends on the number of astronauts aboard. At CERN in Switzerland, the crew of shuttle Endeavour marks the first anniversary of Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer operations aboard the space station. Leaping to Earth from the fringes of space. China’s equivalent to the U. S. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System comes together in orbit.
1. From Space News: An op-ed, The Power of Curiosity, assesses the stakes for future exploration as NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission nears an Aug. 6 landing on the red planet. “The stakes have never been higher,” writes Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars Inc. Noting that the Republican and Democratic national conventions will follow within a month of the landing, he adds, “…it is certain that MSL will make a political impact.” The MSL/Curiosity rover will assess the habitability of the Martian environment over a two-year mission. http://www.spacenews.com/commentaries/120723-power-curiosity.html
A. From Wired.com: A new web site, established by Explore Mars, United Launch Alliance and Aerojet, is focused on the MSL/Curiosity mission. http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/07/mars-landing-curiosity-site/
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA successfully maneuvers the 11-year old Mars Odyssey spacecraft into an orbit around Mars that will permit the agency to monitor the descent and landing of the $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover early on Aug. 6. Mars Odyssey, which has overcome mechanical setbacks this year, will relay telemetry from MSL back to Earth as the approaching spacecraft descends toward a landing at Gale Crater. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/mars/msl/120724odyssey/
3. From Space News: The International Space Station’s research potential is limited by the numbers of personnel on board, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, a former resident, informs a Senate panel hearing on station science utilization. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/072512_lack-crew-time-biggest-roadblock-research-iss-astronaut-says.html
4. From Space.com: The crew of NASA’s next to last shuttle mission gathered at CERN in Switzerland to mark the first anniversary of Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer research. The AMS, launched to the International Space Station aboard the shuttle Endeavour in May 2011, was developed by the U. S. Department of Energy with wide international participation to look for cosmic anti matter and study other forms of cosmic rays. http://www.space.com/16760-space-physics-ams-shuttle-astronauts-cern.html
5. From Discovery.com: American Felix Baumgartner parachutes to Earth from a balloon suspended nearly 97,000 feet above Roswell, N.M. http://news.discovery.com/adventure/jump-from-space-120725.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
A. From the Associated Press via the Houston Chronicle and others: Baumgartner is approximately a month away from a record breaking 125,000 foot parachute jump that will accelerate him faster than the speed of sound. http://www.chron.com/default/article/Skydiver-Fearless-Felix-jumps-from-18-miles-up-3734050.php
6. From NASAspaceflight.com: China launches a communications satellite with similarities to a NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/07/long-march-3c-tracking-data-relay-satellite/
A. From Xinhuanet of China: The latest satellite completes a three spacecraft data relay network for China. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sci/2012-07/26/c_131738886.htm
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