CSExtra – Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. A House approved extension of the federal government’s Continuing Resolution looks favorable for NASA’s Space Launch System development and the Commercial Crew initiative. New Virgin Galactic test flights could pre-stage 2014 suborbital passenger missions. The billion dollar question: Can the U. S. private sector reach the moon and Mars? Canada’s robot arm finishes un-stowing the latest SpaceX Dragon mission to the International Space Station. A powerful member of the U. S. House moves to protect U. S. weather satellites from the sequestration fall out. Atlantis in shrink wrap. Experts continue to size up the Feb. 15 asteroid blast over Russia. Shielding Mars from Earthly bacteria.
1. From Spacepolicyonline.com: In Washington, the U. S. House passed legislation Wednesday extending the current budget Continuing Resolution until Sept. 30, or the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year. The C.R. is based on the 2012 budget, since lawmakers could not reach an accord with the White House on a 2013 budget. The House C.R. measure now goes to the U. S. Senate.
A. From Space News: The extended Continuing Resolution, passed by the House on Wednesday, increases expenditures for NASA’s Space Launch System development and Commercial Crew initiative. The first would develop a heavy lift rocket to start U. S. astronauts on future missions of deep space exploration. The Commercial Crew Initiative would nurture competing transportation services to low Earth orbit, starting with the International Space Station.
2. From The Albuquerque Journal: Virgin Galactic announces it will soon conduct a series of test flights intended to set the stage for commercial suborbital passenger flights early next year.
3. From NBC News and CosmicLog: The big question: Can visionary billion dollar human endeavors like privately underwritten missions to the moon and Mars get off the ground? Officials from Golden Spike and the Inspiration Mars Foundation explain what they are doing to turn vision into reality. “It’s like we touched on a sore spot, and the reaction has been … almost too positive,” notes one official.
4 From Space.com: NASA’s Mission Control operates Canada’s robot arm on Wednesday to finish un-stowing the SpaceX Dragon resupply capsule that berthed early Sunday. Ground commands remove two grapple bars from the Dragon trunk. The grapple fixtures will be attached to external space station radiators this summer.
5. From AmericaSpace.com: Robert Crippen, the former NASA astronaut and Kennedy Space Center director, was among those participating in Florida Space Day in Tallahassee, the state’s capital, on Wednesday. The annual event is an opportunity for the state’s aerospace industry to meet with Florida lawmakers and the public.
6. From Space News: Frank Wolf, chair of the House appropriations panel with jurisdiction over U. S civilian space agencies, offers to immunize U.S. civilian weather satellites from budget shortfalls. The shortfalls are a consequence of the March 1 budget sequester as well as an extended budget Continuing Resolution for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
7. From Collectspace.com: Orbiter Atlantis awaits a summer display debut at the Kennedy Visitor Center complex near Cape Canaveral and Titusville, Fla.
8. From Sky and Telescope Magazine: The latest on the Feb. 15 explosion of a small asteroid over Russia. The region below was spared the force of the blast because of the high altitude of the powerful detonation.
9. From Discovery.com: Efforts by NASA to prevent the Mars Curiosity rover from contaminating its new home with life from Earth.
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