CSExtra – Thursday, June 14, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. NASA’s sends a powerful new X-ray space observatory into orbit for studies of black holes and other high energy celestial bodies. NASA’s Kepler space telescope finds a surprise in the planet forming process among the stars of the Milky Way. A large asteroid will cruise past the Earth on Thursday — perhaps available to view on live television. Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., prepares for the return of the reusable X-37 B space plane from its second long running orbital mission, possibly on Friday. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says he’s impressed with South Texas as a possible commercial launch site. China’s next space crew includes a female astronaut with impressive professional credential.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com and CBS News: NASA’s NuSTAR space observatory reaches orbit safely on Wednesday, following a launch from the Marshall Islands aboard an Orbital Sciences Corp., air launched Pegasus rocket. NuSTAR will study black holes, neutron stars and high energy supernova fragments. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/pegasus/nustar/
A. From Physics World: NuSTAR will map the sky in the high resolution X-ray spectrum. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2012/jun/13/nustar-is-in-the-sky
2. From Discovery.com: NASA’s Kepler exo-planet hunting space telescope finds that Earth-sized planets may be common in the Milky Way galaxy. Small planets — like the Earth — do not necessary need metal rich stars to form, say astronomers associated with the mission. The finding is important in determining how quickly Earth like planetary bodies formed following the birth of the universe. http://news.discovery.com/space/earth-worlds-are-easy-120613.html
3. From Space.com: An asteroid as long as a city block will cruise past the Earth on Thursday. Live online views are possible. http://www.space.com/16131-huge-asteroid-flyby-2012-lz1-webcast.html
4. From Space.com: The U. S. Air Force X-37B could return to Earth on Friday, after more than 460 days in orbit. The re-usable un-piloted winged orbiter is expected to touchdown at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., weather permitting. The spacecraft’s current landing window extends through June 18. It’s the second long running orbital mission for the secretive space plane originally developed by NASA and Boeing. http://www.space.com/16136-air-force-x37b-space-plane-landing-imminent.html
5. From The Houston Chronicle: Brownsville, Tex., is the leading contender for a new SpaceX launch site, company founder Elon Musk says Wednesday, during a visit to a company test complex in McGregor, Tex. Other contenders are Florida and Puerto Rico. http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/06/musk-says-texas-is-leading-candidate-for-spaceport/
A. From KCEN-TV of Waco, Tex: This week, cargo flown aboard last month’s SpaceX Dragon mission to the International Space Station was turned over to NASA at the company’s McGregor, Tex., test facility near Waco. On May 31, the capsule became the first privately operated spacecraft to return to Earth with hardware from the space station. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk marked the occasion on Wednesday. http://www.kcentv.com/story/18782377/spacex-delivers-space-station-cargo-to-nasa-in-mcgreggor
6. From the Wall Street Journal: China’s first human orbital docking mission is likely to also include the nation’s first female astronaut. Like Americans in the risky profession, fighter pilot Liu Yang is heralded as brave, smart and dedicated. China is looking at a possible June 16 launch of the Shenzhou 9 with three Chinese astronauts. http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2012/06/13/meet-chinas-first-female-astronaut%E2%80%94maybe/
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