CSExtra – Thursday, June 21, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way around the world. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter detects evidence for at least small amounts of ice in the moon’s Shackleton Crater, a south pole depression. NASA’s commercial crew space transportation initiative would expand the crew of the International Space Station from six to seven, a high ranking agency official informs a Senate panel. United Launch Alliance successfully lofts a U. S. reconnaissance satellite. Europe approves Euclid, a dark energy mission. NASA’s NEEMO mission offers a realistic analog expedition to an asteroid, say the astronaut participants. U. S. taxpayer investments in science and technology provide impressive dividends. NASA’s WMAP mission earns researcher a top science prize. Space tourists looking at a moon option. A composite version of NASA’s Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle undergoes a key ground test.
1. From Discovery.com: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission reveals ice — but not much — in the surface layers of Shackleton Crater, a 12 mile wide south pole depression on the moon. The lead researcher for the finding says there may be more ice below the crater floor or on the walls. http://news.discovery.com/space/probe-finds-moons-shackleton-crater-pretty-dry-120620.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
2. From Space News: The U. S. commercial crew space transportation services NASA is fostering would increase from six to seven the number of astronauts living on the International Space Station, Bill Gerstenmaier, the agency’s Associate Administrator for Human Operations and Exploration, tells a Senate oversight panel hearing on Wednesday. His testimony explains the need for $800 million in commercial crew development funding for the years 2014 and beyond, significantly more than NASA is likely to receive in 2013. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120620-nasa-commercial-crew-grow-iss-pop.html
A. From spacepolicyonline.com: U. S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a key member of the Senate panel, urges NASA not to allow the agency’s focus on commercial crew space transportation systems to short change work on a future human deep space exploration initiative involving the Space Launch System and the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/commercial-crew-critical-for-iss-but-sls-orion-needed-for-future-senators-stress
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lofts a U. S. reconnaissance satellite on Wednesday, the 50th flight for the Pentagon’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av023/
4. From Spaceflightnow.com: Dark Energy, the force tugging at the expanding universe, received a dedicated European mission called Euclid on Wednesday. The $800 million space telescope mission is scheduled for a 2020 lift off. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1206/20euclid/
5. From Space.com: NASA’s NEEMO undersea analog mission impresses a team of U. S., European and Japanese astronaut participants with its realism. The quartet investigated techniques for moving around on low gravity planetary bodies and coping with long delays in their communications with Mission Control. The explorers are scheduled to surface Friday after a dozen days in the Aquarius undersea habitat off Key Largo, Fla. http://www.space.com/16232-mock-asteroid-mission-ocean-neemo16.html
A. From Popular Mechanics magazine: The Keck Institute for Space Studies proposes a robotic mission to nab a small asteroid and place the rocky body in orbit around the Earth for exploration by astronauts and scientists. Details of the proposed mission are explained by Tom Jones, a former NASA astronaut and member of the Keck Institute mission strategy development team. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/nasa/why-nasa-should-nab-an-asteroid-9890621?src=rss
6. From The Washington Post: Taxpayer investments in science and technology can bring big dividends, one reason Americans can be optimistic in the midst of economic doldrums, writes Fareed Zakaria in an op-ed. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-how-government-funding-of-science-rewards-us-taxpayers/2012/06/20/gJQApDmJrV_story.html
7. From the Baltimore Sun: Work with NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe wins Johns Hopkins University researcher Charles Bennett a top prize for revelations about conditions in the early universe. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-gruber-prize-20120620,0,1424632.story
8. From The Huffington Post: Excalibur Almaz, the space tourist company headquartered on the Isle of Man, may be ready to take tourists to the moon and back by 2015. Their flights will feature the use of former Soviet space hardware. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/20/excalibur-almaz-offers-moon-tickets_n_1611293.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
9. From The Huntsville Times: A composite version of the NASA/Lockheed Martin Orion MPCV capsule begins vacuum chamber testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The composite version was developed by Alliant Techsystems. http://blog.al.com/space-news/2012/06/nasa_puts_capsule_into_vacuum.html
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