CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, January 10, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA, Boeing unveil navigation software for NASA’s Space Launch System navigation unveiled in Huntsville, Ala., The SLS, world’s largest rocket, in development to start U.S. astronauts on missions of deep space exploration. In Washington, the U.S. State Department opens a two day forum on global cooperation in the exploration of space, calling the venture a priority. U.S. Congress looks for breathing room in appropriations debate to avoid Jan. 15 federal shutdown. U.S. Senate passes legislation re-naming NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center for the late Neil Armstrong, sending it to President Obama for signature. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spots the Curiosity rover on the Martian surface. Global support for extending International Space Station operations from 2020 until 2024 uncertain. Extending a good idea? A national newspaper addresses the question. High solar activity this week ignites the Northern Lights. Orbital Sciences successfully launches its first “for pay” cargo mission to the International Space Station. The near 3,000 pound cargo, includes a commercial fleet of small Earth observing satellites and ants for a student experiment. New survey poll data.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Huntsville Times (1/9): NASA and Boeing unveil avionics and software that will guide the Space Launch System, a new heavy lift rocket intended to start U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration. “The massive system is built around the most powerful computer processor ever used in flight. SLS will have three of them on board for safety’s sake, one and two spares, and all three were on display Thursday,” the Alabama newspaper reports.
Moonandback.com (1/10): The avionics system that will guide NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built, has “seen the light,” the website reports. “The milestone enables early integration and testing of avionics and software to help NASA perfect the system and ensure the units communicate together as designed. Avionics tell the rocket where it should fly and how it should pivot its engines to stay on course.”
Waff.com, of Huntsville (1/9): At the Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA and its contractor partner Boeing unveil the navigation software or the Space Launch System, a heavy lift rocket under development to start U.S. astronauts on future missions of deep space exploration.
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/9): In Washington, the U.S. State Department welcomes delegates from more than 30 global space agencies to the International Space Exploration Forum, a gathering to discuss cooperation in the future exploration of space. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns urged the delegates “to make space exploration a shared global priority, to unlock the mysteries of the universe, and to accelerate human progress here on Earth.” The U.S. commitment to space exploration is growing stronger “despite pressures and challenges at home and abroad,” said Burns, who also suggests more partners for the International Space Station.
Xinhuanet, of China (1/10): In Washington, ministerial level delegates from 35 nations gather for a U.S. State Department hosted forum to discuss cooperation in the future exploration of space. ”The question facing us today is whether we can muster the courage and political will to advance space exploration and ensure that cooperation continues to trump competition.” said Deputy U.S. Secretary of William Burns, a host.
Spacepolitics.com (1/10): Remember the U.S. government shutdown in October? With a new deadline for appropriations nearing on Jan. 15, Congress is working on new “CRs,” or appropriations continuing resolutions, to accompany the two year budget agreement reached between lawmakers and the White House in December. It may take a “mini” CR to give the House and Senate more time to work out spending measures without another shutdown, the website reports.
Spacepolitics.com (1/10): Following up on U.S. House action nearly a year ago, the U.S. Senate votes to rename NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California for the late Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11 and former test pilot. The bill goes to President Obama. The Western Aeronautical Test Range would be renamed for Hugh Dryden, a former director of NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and NASA’s forerunner.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Discovery.com (1/9): The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA spacecraft, has become the Curiosity rover’s best friend. Curiosity landed in August 2012. MRO has been circling Mars since 2006.
Low Earth Orbit
Spacepolitics.com (1/9): Some in Congress warm to a White House endorsed extension of International Space Station operations from 2020 to 2024. NASA’s key international partners in Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia, however, must weigh in. The extension was announced Wednesday.
Washington Post (1/9): The Post examines the issue raised in its questioning headline, starting with an explanation of how the ISS came to be.
Spaceweather.com (1/10): An abundance of solar activity this week ignites the Northern Lights on Earth.
Los Angeles Times (1/9): Intense solar activity this week may ignite Northern Lights on Earth as far south as the northern plains and the Great Lakes — a rarity, say experts.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Space News (1/9): Orbital Sciences Corp. successfully launches its first commercially contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station from Virginia’s Eastern Shore on Thursday. The lift off followed delays dating back to December and all outside of Orbital’s control. Orbital’s Cygnus freighter is on course to reach the six person space station early Sunday.
Wall Street Journal (1/9): Employees of Planet Labs of San Francisco watch as Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket lifts of with 28 of the company’s small Earth imaging satellites. After the delivery of the micro satellites to the International Space Station, they will be launched as a privately operated fleet. The imagery will be marketed to those with interests ranging from the status of crops to vacation homes.
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle (1/9): Nearly 3,000 pounds of equipment heads for the six person International Space Station with the Orbital Sciences Corp launch on Thursday. Originally, slated for early December, the mission will deliver Christmas gifts as well as ants for a student experiment among the many supplies.
Coalition for Space Exploration (1/10): Late 2013 poll probes support for space exploration in the U.S. and finds that 94% of adult Americans believe it’s important that NASA and the U.S. space program are sustained in spite of economic issues.
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