CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, March 31, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Proposed NASA budget for 2015 lacking on science, education fronts, says American Astronomical Society. Mission planners looks to possible roles for the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket for asteroid capture, Europa reconnaissance missions. Is America surrendering space? Congress questions NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission; NASA elaborates. Robots, humans’ allies for Mars exploration. NASA’s Apollo media strategy examined. Restoring Saturn V rocket engines for future public display. NASA holds to backup plan for James Webb Space Telescope cooling component. Comet’s October close call with Mars could spell danger for orbiting probes. Europe’s Rosetta probe spots distant comet target. Evidence that black holes start big and get larger. New techniques for alien planet search. Time for U.S. and China to cooperate in space? U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin at T-365 days and counting for year-long mission. The making of U.S./Russian space ties. Giant space shuttle carrier aircraft preps for display in Houston. China launches secretive satellite early Monday. Electrical short, fire damage tracking station, slowing U.S. coast rocket launches. Orbital to launch new NASA weather satellite. SpaceX executive Gwynne Shotwell earns National Space Society recognition. A look at major space activities scheduled for the week ahead.
NASA 2015 Budget
American Astronomical Society (3/28): White House proposed budget for 2015 is “lackluster” in its support for science and education, the AAS explains in a statement. “At a time when space science is one of nation’s brightest lights, delivering outstanding scientific discoveries and substantial public support, the President’s proposed 3.5-percent cut for NASA’s SMD is extremely worrying,” according to the AAS, which does offer praise for NASA support of the James Webb Space Telescope. JWST, the designated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is slated for a late 2018 lift off.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASASpaceflight.com (3/28): NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket becomes a candidate launcher for NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission and a planetary science mission to Europa. ARRM would rendezvous with and steer a small asteroid, or a piece of a larger asteroid, into lunar orbit, where U.S. astronauts could visit. NASA is studying a robotic mission to determine whether the Jovian moon Europa is habitable.
Space.com (3/27): During a special NASA forum, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden explains how plans for the Asteroid Redirect Mission will set the stage for eventual human missions to Mars. ”The ultimate thing is to put boots on the ground on Mars,” says Bolden. “And that’s not just to do a touch and go.”
Spudis Lunar Resources Blog (3/29): Lunar scientist Paul Spudis offers a critique of the Fox presentation, Surrendering America, which included a segment on U.S. civil space. “The overarching theme of the program was national decline. The inclusion of space as a concern drew my attention, as it is not usually viewed by the public as in decline (in large part because media coverage reflects their own lack of understanding and narrow knowledge of the subject),” writes Spudis. “A more enlightening discussion would have examined NASA’s long-term goals and strategic direction in space.”
Fox News via YouTube (3/29): Fox News reports surrendering America, cuts to space.
Spacepolitics.com (3/24): U.S. legislators distanced themselves from NASA’s planned Asteroid Redirect Mission during a House Space Subcommittee oversight hearing last week. NASA followed Thursday with a previously planned update on the ARM initiative, which would steer a small asteroid or piece of an asteroid into a stable lunar orbit, where it could be reached by U.S. astronauts. NASA Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew vehicle, both authorized by Congress, would play key roles.
Wired (3/5): Humans in Mars orbit and teamed with robots on the surface could pave the way for landed missions by future explorers, under one mission scenario.
SpaceflightInsider.com (3/29): Reaching the moon took some messaging and new age story telling by those who helped to shape America’s inaugural foray into deep space.
Florida Today (3/30): Rocket engines that launched NASA’s Apollo moon missions undergo careful restoration a year after their recovery from the Atlantic Ocean. Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos initiated the recovery. The Kansas Cosmosphere is carrying out the restoration. One belongs to the Apollo 11 launch.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space News (3/28): NASA considers a backup cooling component for the James Webb Space Telescope. The evaluation is focused on valves that move helium coolant through the spacecraft for MIRI, the Mid Infra-Red Instrument (MIRI).
Christian Science Monitor (3/28): Comet C/2013-A1 Siding Spring offers risk and opportunity on its course to race close to Mars in October. The pass will be close enough to pose a debris impact threat to five spacecraft circling Mars, including NASA’s newly arrived MAVEN satellite.
Sky and Telescope (3/28): European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe snaps image of its distant target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The two are scheduled to rendezvous later this year. Rosetta will drop off a small lander on the comet.
Coalition for Space Exploration (3/28): The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is ready for a surprise as it prepares to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August.
Space.com (3/28): Scientists spot massive black holes in small galaxies, challenging previous thinking that black holes start small then grow as star systems merge.
Slate.com (3/25): NASA teams with academic researchers to develop one potential answer. A star shade that looks like a sunflower.
Space News (3/24): The op-ed suggests the benefits of now prohibited U.S. and Chinese cooperation in space outweigh the costs. “It should be pointed out that the risks of bilateral cooperation with China (assuming they exist) would differ very little from those that must also be implicit in bilateral cooperation with Russia. U.S.-Russia collaboration in space exists and flourishes and is for the most part decoupled from the political divide that differentiates the two countries in general politics,” suggests author Andrew M. Johnson, who writes on cybersecurity and aerospace.
Low Earth Orbit
Collectspace.com (3/28): On Friday, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko moved within a year of their one year mission to the International Space Station. Kelly’s flight will be the longest ever for an American.
The Huffington Post (3/29): In an op-ed, astronomer Sten Odenwald offers a step by step look at how the U. S. and Russia have become so intertwined in the International Space Station.
National Geographic (3/28): Space Shuttle 747 to Land in Museum: In Houston, efforts are underway to move NASA 905, a modified Boeing 747 airliner that for years carried NASA space shuttle orbiters cross country. The jumbo jet is being disassembled at its Ellington Airport parking spot and re-assembled at Space Center Houston.
NASAspaceflight.com (3/30): China launches secretive satellite early Monday. Spacecraft believed to play an early warning role.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Florida Today (3/28): A fire linked to an electrical short at a U.S. Air Force tracking facility leads to East Coast launch delays. Repairs to the fire last Monday are expected to take three weeks.
SpaceFlightInsider.com (3/29): NASA CYGNSS mission will chronicle ocean surface winds during the life cycle of tropical storms.
National Space Society (3/25): The society’s 2014 Space Pioneer Award goes to a top SpaceX executive for her efforts to further U.S. commercial space
Major Space Related Activities for the Week
Spacepolicyonline.com (3/30): Congressional hearings, meetings slated for the week ahead.
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