CSExtra – Thursday, May 17, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. New U.S. and Russian astronauts dock with the International Space Station. Sunday brings an annular/partial eclipse to much of the U. S. The European Space Agency manages a short reprieve for its financially challenged Exo-Mars program. NASA transfers future operations of its GALEX space telescope mission to Cal Tech. Brownsville, Texas area residents urge the FAA to support a possible SpaceX commercial launch site project. President Obama’s Florida re-election campaign staff calls out a Republican rival on space policy. SETI vet spells out his top candidates for extraterrestrial life. The California Space Museum raises a huge sum for an Endeavour display. Poster start up offers suborbital space ticket. NASA showcases amazing welding technology.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: Russia’s 30 Soyuz mission successfully docks with the International Space Station early Thursday. The linkup unites newcomers Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, of Russia, and Josesph Acaba of NASA with station commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA’s Don Pettit and the European Space Agency’s Andre Kuipers. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/station/exp31/120517dock/
A. From KJTV of Lubbock, Tex.: New space station astronaut Joseph Acaba has been accepted by Texas Tech University to pursue a doctorate in education. Acaba, a former Florida high and middle school science and math teacher, will pursue the advanced degree under a flexible online study program. Acaba was selected by NASA as an educator astronaut in 2004. http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/local/story/NASA-astronaut-Texas-Tech/z5dyXUQ6D0idpiNMVpLWHA.cspx
B. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin plan a 3-D photo survey of the space station to illustrate life in orbit. http://en.rian.ru/agency_news/20120516/173491164.html
2. From Astronomy Now: Sunday brings an annular eclipse, as the disc of the moon moves in front of the larger sun and leaves a glowing ring all around. The display will be visible from portions of seven western U. S. states, starting with northern California/southern Oregon and ending with Texas. A partial eclipse will be visible over much of the United States. Observers will need eye protection to avoid damage. http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1205/16annulareclipse/
3. From Space News: In Paris, a European Space Agency ruling council agrees to keep its struggling Exo-Mars mission afloat until mid June, when a “Go/No Go” decision looms. Faced with cost concerns of its own, NASA backed out of a partnership for Mars missions in 2016 and 2018. Russia stepped in. But the ambitious mission still faces a cost challenge. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120516-exomars-one-month-reprieve.html
4. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA has arranged for a first ever transfer of a space telescope, the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, to the California Institute of Technology, for continued operations. Launched in 2003 to survey galaxies and stars, GALEX ops were suspended by NASA in order to pursue other missions. Cal Tech plans to fund observations with private donations. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1205/16galex/
5. From the Brownsville, Herald of Texas: Hundreds of supporters attend an FAA-sponsored public hearing as part of plans by SpaceX to construct a commercial rocket complex near the South Texas border town. SpaceX is considering an expansion of its launch operations to sites in Florida and Puerto Rico as well as Texas. SpaceX is developing commercial cargo and crew space transportation systems under NASA initiatives. http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/hearing-140279-hundreds-public.html
6. From Spacepolitics.com: In Florida, President Obama’s re-election campaign calls on Republican Mitt Romney to spell out his space policy plans. Romney has said little on the topic recently. Obama’s commercial space initiatives are facing resistance in Congress. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/05/16/obamas-florida-campaign-wants-romney-to-take-a-stand-on-space/
7. From Space.com: A veteran SETI astronomer offers his top candidates for alien life. Much closer than the stars SETI famously eavesdrops on, but still a reach for us Earthlings, his choices hold some surprises. http://www.space.com/15702-alien-life-solar-system-places.html
8. From the Associated Press via the Houston Chronicle: The California Science Museum reaches the mid way in its pursuit of $200 million in donations for an exhibit to display the shuttle Endeavour. http://www.chron.com/default/article/CA-museum-gets-big-gift-to-build-shuttle-exhibit-3564296.php
9. From Wired.com: A startup company markets space posters and a chance to win a ticket for a suborbital spaceflight. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/suborbital-spaceflight-raffle/
10. From the Huntsville Times: The Alabama home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center hosts a conference on friction stir welding, a technique used to join components made of light weight aluminum alloys. The shuttle program made wide use of a technology that just 20 years ago was considered exotic. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/05/new_welding_technique_pioneere.html
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