CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, May 16, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA looks to mining resources from the moon, Mars as part of its deep space exploration strategy. NASA lauded for its use of social media. Jupiter’s red spot shrinks. European comet probe finds its target. Possible spectacular meteor shower approaches. Earth has near miss with small asteroid. U.S. House asks NASA to size up Russia’s threat to withdraw from International Space Station partnership. Remembering the final Mercury mission. Russia Proton rocket fails with communications satellite. Debris poses threat to exploration.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Aviation Week & Space Technology (5/15): NASA evaluates capabilities to produce resources on the moon and Mars, such as oxygen and water, as part of its human deep space exploration strategy.
NASA (5/15): Space agency recognized for its effective uses of social media in explaining space exploration. “Increasingly, more and more people are getting their news from online sources, and we strive to share our story of exploration and discovery with the public through these digital channels, including social media,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Discovery.com (5/15): Jupiter’s famous red spot, the sign of a tremendous storm, is shrinking, images from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal.
USA Today and Associated Press (5/15): Scientists unable to explain accelerating shrinkage of Jupiter’s red spot.
Universe Today (5/15): The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft locks onto its comet target. By August, Rosetta is expected to pull alongside Comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko
Florida Today and News Press of Fort Myers (5/15): Earth’s first ever encounter with debris from the Comet 209P/LINEAR could produce a spectacular meteor shower May 23-24.
Space.com (5/15): Asteroid JG 55, three to eight meters wide, came within 60,000 miles on May 10.
Low Earth Orbit
Spacepolitics.com (5/15): U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith and two other members of the panel seek answers from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the financial and operational impacts of a Russian retreat from the International Space Station. Dmitry Rogozin, the country’s deputy prime minister, threatened as much earlier this week in retaliation against sanctions imposed by the U.S over Russian activities in Ukraine. The U.S. has proposed an extension of the 15 nation project from 2020 to 2024.
Space.com (5/15): Members of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee say Russian threats to withdraw from the International Space Station partnership after 2020 will prompt another look at the cost to the U.S. and benefits of continuing without Russia. Currently, Russia offers the only means of transporting astronauts to and from the six person orbiting science laboratory.
Popular Mechanics (5/14): Former NASA astronaut and current MIT professor Jeff Hoffman sizes up U.S. vulnerability to Russia’s threat to withdraw from International Space Station partnership in 2020. “The Russians, frankly, they’re not getting as much scientific return out of the station,” says Hoffman. ”Whether this is something that they might have done anyway, or they’re using this as a way of putting pressure on NASA, I don’t really know.”
Moscow Times (5/15): Russia’s government approves a $52 billion effort to modernize and expand its space infrastructure and capabilities by 2020. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announces Russia will seek more independence in its space operations rather than extend cooperation on the International Space Station from 2020 to 2024. Russia will discuss potential cooperation with China as well.
Bloomberg.com (5/15): Congress asks NASA how it might support the 15 nation International Space Station without Russia. Russia’s deputy prime minister suggested Tuesday his country was ready to withdraw from the partnership in 2010.
Spaceflight Insider (5/15): NASA Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper flew final mission in the Mercury series, May 15-16, 1963. Cooper released a satellite, conducted experiments, slept and manually commanded his re-entry.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Spaceflightnow.com (5/15): Express AM4R telecommunications satellite for Russian government and commercial customers lost as third stage of Russian Proton rocket fails after lifting off Thursday at 5:42 p.m., EDT, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Thursday’s mishap marks the fifth launch failure of the Proton rocket or its Breeze M upper stage in 36 flights since December 2010, according to Spaceflightnow.com
Russia Today (5/15): Russian Proton rocket crashes on lift off in Kazakhstan with telecommunications satellite.
Houston Chronicle (5/15): Growing accumulation of space debris in Earth orbit poses threat to satellites dedicated to communication, commerce, weather and navigation. “As citizens of the world continue to become more reliant on the services that space systems provide, it is time for space-faring nations and firms to pay collective attention to the risks and policies associated with preserving the space environment,” write William Welsey and Dave Baiocchi of the Rand Corp in an op ed.
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