CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, March 3, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Private Mars initiative adjusts mission plans, while seeking NASA support before skeptical Congressional panel. Alien life question becomes March media focus. NASA California installation makes name change to Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. PBS’s inspirational Cosmos science series returns to broadcast, this time with Fox. Space advocates gather in Washington to meet with Congress. Images from NASA’s Curiosity rover reveal path ahead. China explains lunar rover issue. Gravity wins 7 Oscars. Memorabilia fortifies Florida space museum. Commercial involvement reviving interest in human space flight. NASA Commercial Crew Program partners make strides that could be crucial in face of tensions over Russia and the Ukraine. High altitude balloon tourism drawn to Las Vegas. A look at major space related activities planned for the week ahead.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NBC News.com (2/28): Inspiration Mars shifts its Mars Flyby mission plans from 2018 to 2021 and adds a flyby of Venus. Planned for 582 days, the mission would launch a married couple with hardware provided by NASA, the Space Launch System and Orion crew capsule among the components.
Aviation Week & Space Technology (2/27): A U.S. House Science Space and Transportation Committee hearing last Thursday debuts changes in the Inspiration Mars mission strategy of launching a married couple on a Mars Flyby mission The project, proposed by pioneering U.S. space tourist Dennis Tito, relies heavily on NASA participation. Lawmakers, however, question the level of public interest. Cost estimates remain sketchy.
New York Times (3/1): March brings a television focus to the question of whether there is intelligent life beyond the Earth and whether it has visited. Science Channel programming began Sunday with a critical look at claims of visitation.
Collectspace.com (2/28): NASA formally transitions the agency’s Dryden Flight Research Center to the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center.
New York Times (2/28): Cosmos, the former Public Broadcasting System science show hosted by the late Carl Sagan, returns with a new host, astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson. “It’s time to make the case for science and for the wonder of the universe revealed by science,” said Ann Druyan, Sagan’s widow and a Cosmos collaborator. Cosmos returns on Fox.
The Planetary Society (3/1): The Space Exploration Alliance gathered in Washington last week for a campaign called the Blitz to back NASA and the value of space exploration before Congress. “Nearly all of the people participating in the Blitz came to Washington, D.C. on their own dime. Though many of us had different priorities, our fundamental goals were the same: we must explore space,” writes blogger and participant Casey Dreier.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space.com (2/28): NASA’s Curiosity rover transmits images of its future destination, Mount Sharp, and looks back at its trek since landing on the red planet in August 2012.
Xinhuanet, of China (3/1): The chief scientist for China’s Chang’e-3 lunar mission explains current difficulties with the Yutu rover. The rover, now inactive during its third lunar night, experienced a control circuit problem, says Ye Peijian.
Spacepolicyonline.com (3/1): Despite Chinese explanations, the future of the Yutu lunar rover remains unclear.
Low Earth Orbit
Space.com and Collectspace.com (3/3): Space drama Gravity wins 7 Oscars at the Academy Awards Sunday night, including Best Director. Gravity gathered in the most awards, though not Best Picture nor Best Actress. Earnings for the film so far top $700 million
The Atlantic (2/28): A Gravity sequel might reveal how much all of us rely on satellites and other uses of space to enhance life on Earth. The loss to orbital debris could be devastating and long term.
Florida Today (3/2): Memorabilia of all sorts from the men and women employed by or living near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center makes its way to the U.S. Space Walk of Fame Foundation for evaluation and a possible place in a new museum.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Financial Times (2/28): Nearing prospects for commercial human spaceflight reawaken youthful interest in space travel, say experts.
America Space (2/28): Sierra Nevada Corp’s Dream Chaser completes a sub sonic flight profile review as part of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability “CCiCap” agreement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Sierra Nevada hopes to be among U.S. companies soon capable of transporting passengers to Earth orbit, including astronauts bound for the International Space Station.
Spaceflight Insider (2/28): NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Partners make strides, possibly crucial progress in light of escalating tensions over Russia’s actions in the Ukraine. Boeing’s milestones include the spacecraft adaptor, escape system and manual controls. Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, the Space X Dragon and Blue Origin’s Orbital Launch Vehicle report progress as well.
Slate (3/2): Catch a glance of geosynchronous satellites moving against the darkened skies.
CBS of Las Vegas, (2/28): World View looks to Las Vegas for high altitude passenger balloon missions by 2016.
Major Space Related Activities for the Week
Spacepolicyonline.com (2/2): A look at space related activities planned for the week ahead. President Obama presents his proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 to Congress on Tuesday.
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