CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, February 28, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. The U.S. is overdue a strategic human space exploration strategy, writes consultant and former NASA exploration chief Doug Cooke in an op-ed. Cooke and other supporters outline a human U.S. Mars flyby mission strategy before a House congressional panel on Thursday. NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, Orion crew vehicle and International Space Station will be major components of a global U.S. space leadership strategy. British youngster turns to NASA for answers. NASA’s Kepler alien planet hunter on the verge of a comeback, say astronomers. Strange asteroid has a moon. Joint U.S./Japanese rain and snow fall mission lifts off on Thursday. Intense solar storm calms. NASA’s Ames Research Center showed poor judgment in sharing sensitive technical information with foreigners, the agency’s inspector general reports. FAA looks to April for environmental impact statement regarding a possible SpaceX commercial launch site in South Texas.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Houston Chronicle (2/27): In an op-ed, Doug Cooke, consultant and retired top NASA exploration official, urges U.S. policymakers to embrace a leadership position in an international bid to reach Mars with human explorers. NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, the Orion crew capsule and the International Space Station can all play a role, writes Cooke.
Space News (2/27): An all-out effort led by NASA could prepare the agency’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew capsule for the 2021 launch of a human fly by mission of Venus and Mars, a former top NASA official and others tell the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Thursday.
House Science Space and Technology Committee (2/27): Chairs House authorization and appropriations panels ask NASA to consider the Mars flyby proposal in a letter.
Spacepolicyonline.com (2/28): Supporters outline a proposed mission using NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, Orion crew capsule and other agency assets to launch a human crew in November 2021 on a flyby of Venus then Mars before turning to Earth in June 2023. The details were presented to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. The mission concept was presented in part by two former NASA officials, including Doug Cooke, who was a former associate administrator for exploration. No cost figures were presented for a mission that was characterized as an intermediate step in the eventual human exploration of Mars.
Florida Today (2/27): U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, backs an accelerated cooperative effort involving NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift Rocket and Orion crew capsule and a human crew for a flyby of Venus and Mars. The mission would set the stage for a moon base, says Smith, who encountered opposition to the strategy within his own political party.
Huntsville Times (2/27): NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket has graduated from blue print to production, NASA’s Sharon Cobb, an assistant production manager, tells an Alabama aerospace audience on Thursday.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Huffington Post (2/27): Lucas Whiteley, of Great Britain, had some big picture questions about the universe. An engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center, offered some answers and more.
Los Angeles Times 2/27): NASA’s Kepler alien planet hunting observatory moves toward a revived mission. Launched in 2009, Kepler experienced a significant problem with its pointing system in May, However, astronomers have rallied around the productive mission with a Plan B strategy to continue a search for Earth-like planets.
Discovery.com (2/27): Strange double lobed asteroid 624 Hektor sports a moon.
Low Earth Orbit
Spaceflightnow.com (2/27): The joint $1.2 billion U.S. and Japanese Global Precipitation Measurement mission launched Thursday. GPM will lead efforts by a science satellite constellation to coordinate rain and snow fall impacts on weather and climate across the globe. GPM will provide forecasters with 3-D images of major storms.
Spaceweather.com (2/28): An intense geomagnetic storm triggers new aurora in the Earth’s northern hemisphere. A powerful solar flare, the storm’s source, side swiped the Earth’s magnetic field on Thursday.
Spacepolitics.com (2/27): NASA showed poor judgment in sharing technological information with foreign nationals at the Ames Research Center, the agency’s inspector general concludes in a report issued Thursday.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Brownsville Herald of Texas (2/27): An FAA environmental impact statement regarding a proposed SpaceX commercial launch site in South Texas is anticipated in April. The report was once initially expected in late 2013. SpaceX listed the Brownsville Texas area as one of four U.S. locations suitable for the venture.
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