CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, January 13, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will visit the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility outside New Orleans today, the production site for components of the Space Launch System, the heavy lift rocket in development to start U.S. explorers on new missions of deep space exploration. China signals interest in space cooperation with the U.S. Congress closes in on a budget deal to avert a Jan. 15 federal shutdown. Retired astronaut urges U.S. support for NASA exploration mission. James Webb Space Telescope on track for late 2018 launching. European Space Agency okays 4.2 percent cut in 2014 spending. The Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus re-supply mission berths with International Space Station early Sunday. New York Times endorses White House proposed four year extension for space station operations. White House lobbies international partners to support station extension. Japan seems amiable to space station extension. Emerging commercial space role prompting changes in NASA’s human exploration outlook. Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison looks into the term “Aviatrix.” Sleeping in space. Florida vs. Texas in the SpaceX bowl? Commercial spaceflight poised for 2014 climb. Wealthy Chinese looking to suborbital access late this year. SpaceShipTwo reaches new altitude milestone. A look at major space related activities in the week ahead.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASA (1/10): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, accompanied by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, of Louisiana, will visit the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility on Monday for a look at construction facilities for the Space Launch System, the super rocket in development to start U.S. astronauts on new missions of deep space exploration.
The Associated Press via Science Insider (1/12): China signals a desire to cooperate in space, especially with the U.S., say experts from the U.S. and Europe. The desire emerged last week as a multi-national Washington summit on the future of space exploration drew to a close.
Huffington Post (1/9): In an op-ed, retired NASA astronaut Clay Anderson urges steadfast public support for the nation’s efforts to explore space. After all, U.S. investments in NASA and the Apollo lunar explorations of the 1960s and early 1970s produced a $20/1 return. “Never give up, never surrender,” he advises. It’s a course Anderson followed in his own life, applying 15 times to NASA’s astronaut corps before his selection.
Politico.com (1/12): Lawmakers work over the weekend on appropriations measures to avert a second government shutdown on Jan. 15. “House-Senate negotiators have substantially narrowed their differences over a $1.1 trillion government wide spending bill and are closing in on a deal that the leadership hopes can be filed by Monday night and moved quickly through Congress this week,” Politico reports.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space News (1/10): NASA expects to finish the James Webb Space Telescope in time for a planned October 2018 lift off, despite some schedule concerns raised last week by the U.S. General Accountability Office. The congressional auditors raised concerns about a near-term cash crunch.
Space News (1/10): The European Space Agency approves a 4.2 percent decline in annual spending for 2014. Most of the reduction is coming from the European Commission. Member states hold steady in their contributions for 2013, the trade publication reports.
Low Earth Orbit
CBS News (1/12): The Orbital Sciences Corp., Cygnus re-supply mission called “Orb-1″ berths with the six person International Space Station early Sunday with help from robot arm operators Mike Hopkins and Koichi Wakata. The station’s astronauts begin to unload the capsule’s 2,780 pounds of provisions, science equipment and other supplies at mid-day, well ahead of schedule. Orb-1′s lift off last week was originally planned for December.
Space.com (1/12): Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo delivery includes nearly two dozen student science experiments, including an investigation of ants in weightlessness.
New York Times (1/11): In an editorial, the newspaper supports an extension of International Space Station operations from 2020 to 2024. The White House proposed as much last week. ”Allowing the space station to operate to 2024, and possibly beyond, would provide more time for scientific and commercial experiments,” writes the Times.
Space News (1/10): On Jan. 9, the White House endorsed an extension of International Space Station operations from 2020 to 2024. Some key partners are facing financial problems. The European Space Agency, for instance, is still in pursuit of finances from member agencies to support the 2016 to 2020 extension.
Japan Times (1/11): Support emerges in Japan for a four year extension of International Space Station operations authorized by the White House last week.
Houston Chronicle (1/11): Growing success on the commercial front in supporting U.S. human space flight operations will mean changes for NASA. A four year extension of International Space Station operations promises opportunities to help private sector activities mature, while NASA looks to new deep space missions.
Huffington Post (01/11): Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut and first woman of color to fly in space, explains her fascination with the term “aviatrix,” a historical term used to designate women who piloted. Jemison, who now leads the 100 Year Starship initiative, traces the accomplishments and obstacles faced by her gender and race in aviation and the STEM fields.
Wired.com (1/10): What’s it like to fly in space? Wired checks in on the sleeping part with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
The Orlando Sentinel (1/10): Signs point to a SpaceX decision of South Texas over Florida for a new commercial spaceport, the Sentinel reports. Environmentalists in the Sunshine State may prevail in their opposition to a proposed commercial launch complex in the Merritt Island National Refuge near Cape Canaveral. However, Florida may win out in the competition for other commercial space companies, the Sentinel reports.
Space.com (1/11): Around the industry there is a cautious optimism that 2014 is the year. “For Galactic, 2014 is the year that we plan to go to space, and start operating commercially,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, one of the industry leaders consulted for the report.
China Daily (1/13): Wealthy Chinese anticipate space tourism in 2014 aboard XCOR Aerospace Linx spacecraft.
Space News (1/10): Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo reaches new altitudes Friday in a powered test flight with two pilots. The supersonic flight tested the vehicle’s reaction control system and the thermal coating on the spacecraft’s tail boom.
Space.com (1/10): SpaceShipTwo reaches an altitude of 71,000 feet in flight test. Virgin Galactic remains on course to begin commercial passenger flights in 2014.
Major Space Related Activities for the Week
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/13): Congress is expected to act in a multi-step action this week to avoid a Jan. 15 government shutdown by passing a dozen appropriations measures effective for the remainder of the 2014 fiscal year.
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