CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, March 21, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA’s $17.5 billion budget request for 2015 headed for first Congressional hearings of the year next week. NASA’s Space Launch System team confronts rumors while staying on schedule for a first unmanned test flight in 2017. America’s strength may lie in a return to the moon, with International Space Station as first step. Delta IV rocket comes together for first unpiloted test flight of NASA’s Orion capsule. Former U.S. spy satellite optics could enhance future space observatory, though add complexity and higher cost. Winds on Saturn’s moon Titan raise waves. U.S., Russian tensions over Ukraine provide opportunity to accelerate NASA, commercial human space transportation development. A peek at SpaceX delay of a commercial cargo mission launch to the International Space Station. Canadians rush to site of possible meteor impact. Synthetic Aperture Radar could forecast sinkhole damage, NASA researchers conclude. Colorado based Digital Globe provides imagery of Indian Ocean with debris possibly linked to loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Search for missing Malaysian jetliner reveals strengths, limits of satellite tracking.
NASA 2015 Budget
Spacepolicyonline.com (3/20): The U.S. House begins hearings next week on civil science programs and NASA’s $17.5 billion budget request for 2015. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will host.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Spaceflightinsider.com (3/20): NASA addresses Space Launch System misconceptions. The SLS is in development to start U.S. explorers on missions of deep space exploration. Current development pace leading to first unpiloted test flight of the SLS in late 2017, says a top NASA official.
Fox News (3/20): The International Space Station offers a stair step to the moon and a lunar base, Fox reports in the network’s second in a series of reports on a potential human lunar base.
Universe Today (3/20): At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., components of the Delta IV rocket that will launch the first unpiloted test flight of NASA’s Orion capsule are coming together. The launch is planned for December. Orion is designed to carry humans on future deep space missions. As the Exploration Flight Test-1 ends, it will experience re-entry heating rivaling that of a mission returning from Mars.
Boston Globe (3/20): New book, “Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program,” examines the strategies employed by NASA and its contractors to generate and sustain excitement among the public over the nation’s race to the moon in the 1960s.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space.com (3/20): National Research Council likes NASA’s use of donated National Reconnaissance Office optical components for future space observatory called the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST). However, the spy optics will add risk and possibly cost. WFIRST is to follow the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in late 2018.
Discovery.com (3/20): NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn spots wind driven waves in the lakes of the moon Titan. The lakes are comprised of liquid hydrocarbons.
Low Earth Orbit
National Review (3/21): Tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine afford opportunities for NASA and its commercial partners to ramp up human spacecraft development on the government and commercial fronts, according to an op-ed.
NASAspaceflight.com (3/20): Sewing machine oil may have raised the SpaceX Dragon contamination concerns that led to a postponement of a Mar. 18 commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The mission has been tentatively re-scheduled for March 30 lift off. The concern lies in the unpressurized trunk of the capsule.
Space.com (3/20): Scientists head for southwest Ontario, site of a meteor impact linked to a Mar. 18 fireball in the region.
Orlando Sentinel (3/20): Airborne research by NASA suggests that synthetic aperture radar could spot sink holes before they collapse leading to injury, expensive damage.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Aviation Week & Space Technology (3/20): Colorado-based satellite company Digital Globe provides imagery revealing Indian Ocean debris possibly connected to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Washington Post (3/20): Search for missing Malaysian jetliner reveals power, limits of satellite technology. “There’s also a trade-off when scrutinizing the surface from space: You can go wide or you can go deep, but you can’t do both,” the Post reports.
New York Times (3/20): Missing Malaysian jetliner and passengers raise questions about use of satellites to track air passenger travel. Costs and record for safety slow urgency to use new technologies, the Times reports.
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