CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, August 26
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, plus a roundup of offerings from the weekend. Neil Armstrong remembered on the first anniversary of his death; plus a JFK tribute. Russia dismisses three Khrunichev rocket officials over July 2 Proton rocket loss. NASA’s Space Launch System confronts technical, cost obstacles. Destructive meteor blasts sometimes leave a subtle trace. Annual Arctic ice loss of growing concern but unlikely to set record. U. S. Air Force appears to alter space tracking upgrades in response to budget restrictions. NASA’s next Mars mission, MAVEN, to unravel red planet’s atmospheric decline. NASA’s Spitzer space telescope mission going strong at 10. Major new telescope mirror fabrication begins. Laser pulses offer promising technology for detecting alien communications. Spaceport America becoming mecca for space enthusiasts. A look at a space related events scheduled through early September.
1. From Space.com, Aug. 23: Sunday marked the first anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s death. James Hansen, Armstrong’s authorized biographer, remembers the military aviator, test pilot and astronaut. Armstrong took on each responsibility with integrity. “He was a man who could not be bought, at any price,” notes Hansen.
A. From Collectspace, Aug. 23: International Space Station astronaut Chris Cassidy shepherds a commemorative medallion of John F. Kennedy into orbit. The medallion will return to Earth with Cassidy in September for eventual display at the Kennedy Library. In 1961. JFK committed the U. S. to placing the first humans on the moon and returning them safely to Earth.
2. From Ria Novosti, of Russia, Aug. 24: Three officials dismissed as part of Russia’s rebound from the spectacular crash of a Proton rocket moments after lift off on July 2. The departures include Khrunichev’s deputy general director of quality control and management, the head of final assembly and the chief of the technical control department. The mishap with three Russian navigation satellites was blamed on a faulty sensor installation.
3. From Florida Today, Aug. 25: NASA confronts cost and technical hurdles with the Space Launch System, the large rocket that is to start U. S. astronauts on missions of deep space exploration as soon as 2021. Recently, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden informed the NASA Advisory Council, the SLS faces more than the usual risk for a program of its complexity and budget.
A. From The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 24: NASA unveils YouTube video illustrating how astronauts launching aboard an Orion capsule atop an SLS rocket could rendezvous with an asteroid as part of the space agency’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission.
4. From The Daily Beast, Aug. 23: New studies suggest that destructive meteor blasts like the one over Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb. 15 don’t always leave a distinctive crater. A Greenland ice study, for instance, suggests a blast nearly 13,000 years ago coincided with a global cooling event.
5. From The Associated Press via The Washington Post, Aug. 24: In California, state lawmakers converge on liability waiver legislation to make the Golden State more competitive in efforts to attract new commercial space business. California is pitted against Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia among others in the competition.
6. From The Hill, Aug. 23: Arctic ice loss continues to decline but not at the record levels recorded in 2012, NASA reported Friday. “Even if this year ends up being the sixth- or seventh-lowest extent, what matters is that the 10 lowest extents recorded have happened during the last 10 years,” said NASA glaciologist Walt Meier in a statement. “The long-term trend is strongly downward.”
7. From Space News, Aug. 23: Budget restrictions prompt changes to U. S. Air Force space tracking operations. Current system may close soon. Air Force defers by a year plans to award contract for next generation tracking system.
8. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Aug. 26: A 20-day launch window opens Nov. 18 for the next NASA Mars mission. The MAVEN orbiter will attempt to learn how the red planet transitioned from a warmer wet realm where environmental conditions were suitable for life to the cold dry planet of contemporary times.
9. From Space.com, Aug. 24: NASA’s Spitzer space telescope, a Hubble Space Telescope sibling and one of NASA’s Great Observatories, marked its 10th year in space on Sunday. Spitzer’s accomplishments include the direct detection of light from an alien planet.
10. From The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23: Casting began over the weekend for the primary mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope, which is being assembled in Chile. The new observatory is designed to have 10 times the resolving powers of the Hubble Space Telescope. Opening is anticipated in 2022.
11. From MSNBC.com and Space.com, Aug. 24: Laser pulses offer a promising way of detecting communications from an alien civilization. Scans of more than 10,000 stars, however, have failed to detect such an effort.
12. From The Rio Rancho Observer, of New Mexico, Aug. 25: Spaceport America becomes a modern mecca for those eager to witness and experience the excitement of commercial space travel.
13. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Aug. 25: A look at major space policy activities scheduled through Sept. 6.
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