CSExtra – Thursday, November 1, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. For the second time this year, Russia succeeds in delivering a Progress supply capsule to the International Space Station on an accelerated schedule. Late Wednesday, the six person space station is maneuvered to avoid a close pass from orbital debris. In Paris, experts suggest the world’s government agencies unite to reduce the orbital debris threat. In Florida, newspaper op-eds recommend Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as well as President Obama, a Democrat, as the best candidate to steer U. S. space policy. Retired shuttle orbiter Atlantis is on the eve of its transfer from the Kennedy Space Center to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA’s retired shuttle orbiter Endeavour finds a wide audience as it makes a debut at the California Science Center earlier this week. NASA’s Dawn mission science team explains Vesta’s light and dark deposits. Delayed components slow testing of James Webb Space Telescope components. Astronomers move closer to the identification of the first generation of stars.
1. From Ria Novosti of Russia: For the second time this year, a Russian Progress cargo capsule speed docks with the International Space Station.
A. From Spaceflightnow.com: Wednesday’s Progress operations fall a day ahead of a spacewalk by two of the space station’s crew to circumvent a small external coolant leak. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide, of Japan, expect to spend six to seven hours outside the station. The spacewalk is set to begin at 8:15 a.m., EDT. The website will offer updates.
2. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Thrusters on the International Space Station fire late Wednesday to avoid a close pass from a fragment of the U. S. Iridium 33 commercial communications satellite. The satellite was involved in a 2007 collision with a Russian spacecraft that produced a large cloud of orbital debris.
A. From Space News: An international effort is necessary to stem the growing accumulation of orbital debris, whose proliferation could put the brakes on commercial as well as government activity in Earth orbit. Experts believe a government-sponsored initiative is required to deal with the issue.
3. From The Orlando Sentinel: Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan urges election support for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor can end America’s space policy disarray, writes Cernan.
A. From Florida Today: Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, who led shuttle Endeavour’s final flight, offers support for President Obama’s re-election and his post-shuttle era plans for NASA.
4. From Florida Today: Orbiter Atlantis will be transported from the Kennedy Space Center to its new display venue, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, on Friday. The orbiter will be surrounded by an entourage, including astronauts, as it moves over road.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: In Los Angeles, orbiter Endeavour went on public display at the California Science Center Tuesday. California Gov. Jerry Brown was among the visitors that included an abundance of school children.
5. From The Los Angeles Times: The main belt asteroid Vesta is overturning previous beliefs about the weathering of airless planetary bodies. The proto planet is white and black, rather than grey like the Earth’s moon. Scientists believe the darker terrain is a sign of weathering from the impact of smaller carbon rich asteroids. The newer explanation is based on findings from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft mission.
6. From Spaceflightnow.com: The James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s designated successor, will begin low temperature testing in 2013 without some of its key instruments. The delays are blamed on budget issues. The James Webb is slated for a 2018 lift off.
7. From Space.com: Astronomers study the explosions produced by the demise of the earliest stars.
8. From Parabolic Arc: The Mojave Air and Space Port is not planning to hire former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to lobby for fewer liability restrictions for California’s commercial space activities, the website reports. Reports of the hiring earlier this week were in error, according to the air and spaceport’s CEO and general manager.
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