CSExtra – Thursday, May 16, 2013
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest news and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA’s Kepler space telescope, the centerpiece of an extended search for Earth-like planets around other stars, encounters a major technical problem. United Launch Alliance places another U. S. global positioning satellite in orbit. Apollo 13 commander James Lovell signs with Golden Spike, the U. S. commercial human lunar exploration company. U. S. astronaut Gordon Cooper flew NASA’s final Mercury mission a half century ago. Star Trek Into Darkness premiers on the International Space Station.
1. From the New York Times: The second of four reaction control wheels aboard NASA’s planet hunting Kepler space telescope mission malfunctioned. Launched in March 2009, Kepler is credited at this point with spotting 2,700 planet candidates orbiting other stars. The count suggests most stars in the Milky Way host at least one alien world.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: While NASA plans to develop a recovery strategy, astronomers are jolted by news of Kepler’s breakdown. “I really think this telescope was a gift to our civilization,” noted one leading astrophysicist involved in the search for exo-planets.
B. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA’s Kepler team vows to develop and attempt a recovery strategy in the coming weeks. The observatory lost one of four reaction wheels used to aim and steady the telescope in July 2012. On Tuesday, mission controllers learned the telescope was in “safe mode” and had lost the use of a second reaction wheel. Three of the devices are needed to continue the distant planet search.
C. From Spaceflightnow.com: Forty millions miles from the Earth, Kepler is too far for repairs by astronauts.
D. From The Washington Post: Kepler’s planet hunting days may be over.
E. From USA Today: At least temporarily unable to point the Kepler space telescope, NASA begins a recovery strategy and looks to a possible secondary mission.
F. From Space.com: Kepler’ s alien planet count reaches 2,700 candidates.
G. From CBS News: NASA’s Kepler planet hunter sidelined – at least for now.
H. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log: NASA’s Kepler space telescope planet hunter encounters a serious difficulty.
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket places a U. S. Air Force Global Positioning satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
3. From Space.com: Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell, commander of the ill fated Apollo 13 mission, signs on with Golden Spike, the commercial space start up that plans to launch humans to the moon.
4. From Americaspace.com: Wednesday and Thursday mark the 50th anniversary of the Mercury program’s final mission. NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper circled the Earth 22 times in 34 hours aboard Faith 7, signaling the U. S. was on a course to catch the former Soviet Union in space.
5. From Space.com: NASA beams an advance showing of Star Trek Into Darkness to the crew of the International Space Station.
Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources. The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories. The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content. The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra. For information on the Coalition, visit www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].