CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, November 8
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA’s Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle passes crucial ground tests; space test flight set for Sept. 2014. Legislation naming NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center for Neil Armstrong introduced. Humans destined for missions to the planets, astronaut tells Maine students. NASA’s planetary missions, underway and in development, face budget scrutiny. Kepler planet candidates top 3,500. Asteroid with six tails surprises. NASA Gravity maps offer clues on lunar cratering. India raises orbit of Mars bound spacecraft. Comet ISON closing in on sun. Taurid meteor dazzles southern California. Olympic torch staged on the International Space Station for Saturday spacewalk. Spaceflight offers lessons on spirituality. Canada’s new $5 bill commemorates space station robotics. DARPA looks to robotic satellite repair demo. Celebrities ready to lift off.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASA (11/7): As intended, three massive panels protecting a test version of NASA’s Orion multipurpose crew vehicle fell away from the spacecraft Wednesday in a ground test. The panels are designed to protect the capsule’s service module during its first trip to space next fall. Threats come from heat, wind and acoustics. The unpiloted flight test, Exploration Flight Test-1, is set for a September 2014 lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
NASAspaceflight.com (11/8): Crucial ground test by Lockheed Martin certifies that panels protecting Orion’s service module radiators and solar panels will fall away correctly during Exploration Flight Test -1 launch planned for next September.
Lockheed Martin (11/7): NASA’s Orion crew space exploration vehicle, under development by Lockheed Martin to start U.S. explorers on missions of deep space exploration, passes a key ground test. The test simulates a successful flight separation of panels that protect the service module radiators and solar panels. The capsule was under spaceflight thermal and stress conditions during the test. The first unpiloted spaceflight test of Orion is planned for the fall of 2014.
Spacepolicyonline.com (11/7): U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, of California, introduces legislation to honor Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, who began his NASA tenure at Dryden. Armstrong died in 2012. The House passed a similar measure earlier this year.
Bangor Daily News, of Maine (11/7): U.S. Naval officer Chris Cassidy returns to his native Maine to discuss his service as a NASA astronaut with middle school students. “My message is to study hard and work hard, but most importantly do in life what you are passionate about, what you enjoy, because when you do that and do it well, doors open up for you” Cassidy told the students. “That’s when opportunity presents itself, and you need to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolitics.com (11/7): NASA’s unmanned planetary missions, planned or underway and eligible for extension, face strict scrutiny in an era a budget constraints, according to the agency’s director of planetary sciences.
Sky & Telescope (11/7): Astronomers, convened in California, digest the first three years of NASA’s Kepler planet hunting mission. The haul includes 10 Earth-size (and probably rocky) exo-planets in their stars’ habitable zones, and the stats show such planets are common. According to this new analysis, researchers estimate about 70% of stars are host to at least one planet, making planets a common cosmic occurrence. There are now 1,750 candidates that are super-Earth-size or smaller, and 1,788 are Neptune-size or larger
The Associated Press via Yahoo.com (11/7): Astronomers spot an object in the asteroid main belt streaming comet like tails. Asteroid or comet?
Nature News (11/7): Results from NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission probes find differences in crater characteristics on the moon’s near and far sides. Differences in temperature, radioactivity of lunar soil, impactor size and volcanism were examined.
Hindustan Times (11/7): Launched Tuesday, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission carries out the first of five orbit raising maneuvers designed to propel the spacecraft to the red planet.
Spaceweather.com (11/7): Comet ISON moves within the orbit of the Earth as it races towards the sun, possibly around the sun and within view from Earth. New pictures.
Space.com (11/7): Residents of the Golden State spot a meteor from the annual Taurid meteor shower as it streaks across the skies late Wednesday. Residents of Utah, Arizona and Nevada report similar objects, creating a social media stir.
Low Earth Orbit
Associated Press via Washington Post (11/7): Russian spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Saturday to include display of ceremonial Olympic torch. The unlit torch arrived with U.S., Russian and Japanese astronauts who docked early Thursday. The torch will return to Earth late Sunday/early Monday with three more astronauts who are finishing more than five months in orbit.
Huffington Post (11/7): In an interview, Canada’s Hadfield responds to a big picture question about his experience in space. “The world, when you look at it, it just can’t be random,” he said. “I mean, it’s so different than the vast emptiness that is everything else and even all the other planets we’ve seen, at least in our solar system, none of them even remotely resemble the precious life-giving nature of our own planet.”
Collectspace.com (11/7): Canada introduces new currency, a $5 bill that commemorates the nation’s contributions to space robotics.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Space News (11/6): The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency outlines plans for an orbital satellite salvage and repair demonstration campaign. DARPA’s Phoenix initiative would involve as many as 10 satellites.
Vanity Fair (11/7): Celebrities rally around opportunities to launch and perform during early commercial spaceflights. Space.com‘s managing editor spills the latest.
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