CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, May 19, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. While U.S. policymakers deliberate on the nation’s next steps in space, Russia tightens its grip on access to the final frontier. Europe’s Mars exploration plans endangered by U.S. sanctions against Russia for annexation of Crimea. NASA’s Kepler planet hunter gets okay for life extension. Europe’s long running Venus Express mission preps for aerobraking experiment. Editorial calls for support of a healthy International Space Station. Russia, China to explore new space exploration agenda. Estimates to start U.S. production of alternative to Russian RD-180 rocket engine vary. Russian Proton failure likely to delay Global Express airline wifi constellation. Proton to live on despite recent failures. U.S., Russian tensions over Crimea likely to have impact on commercial as well as civil space transactions. U.S. Air Force Range Safety turns to GPS for launch vehicle tracking. New U.S. GPS satellite reaches orbit. Space insurers decry 2013. A look at space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Houston Chronicle (5/18): As U.S. policy makers ponder NASA’s next steps in human deep space exploration of space, Russia’s control over access to the U.S. assembled International Space Station grows. U.S. sanctions over Russia’s annexation over of Crimea and Russia’s retaliation; tight U.S. budgets and retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 have raised the stakes.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolitics.com (5/17): Europe’s Mars exploration plans endangered by U.S. sanctions against Russia for annexation of Crimea. The tension rests with U.S. components that are part of a 2016 European Russian orbiter mission to the red planet.
National Geographic (5/16): NASA approves extension for its five-year-old Kepler planet hunter mission. Managers okay workaround strategy to deal with degradation to pointing system.
Universe Today (5/16): Kepler, the well-known NASA planet hunter, receives a mission extension. However, the agency’s senior review process points to a less uncertain future for the 11-year-old Spitzer infrared space telescope, a Hubble sibling. “The Spitzer project is invited to respond with a request for a budget augmentation to conduct continued operations with reduced operations costs,” according to a NASA update.
Spacepolitics.com (5/16): Decision within NASA senior review could spell end of the line for NASA’s Spitzer space telescope mission, one of NASA’s four great observatories.
Universe Today (5/16): NASA senior review nixes idea of transforming NEOWise mission to MaxWise. The goals included stellar and Brown Dwarf studies.
Space.com (5/16): Europe is ready to attempt an aerobraking experiment with the Venus Express mission, a spacecraft that has been orbiting the planet’s poles for eight years.
Low Earth Orbit
Houston Chronicle (5/16): Editorial calls for support of a healthy International Space Station. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s threats of withdrawal from the 15 nation project, justify new concerns for NASA’s role in the endeavour, according to the Chronicle.
Itar-Tass (5/17): The issue on the agenda is creation of a joint high-level working group for strategic Russian-Chinese space cooperation projects, according to a spokesman for the Russian government. The agreement was finalized Friday.
USA Today (5/16): Congress unwisely miscalculating significance of U.S. space program, according to USA Today op ed. ”There is only one realistic way to end our dependence on the Russians for space transportation: accelerate the Commercial Crew Program established by the Obama administration as a follow-on to the successful Cargo Resupply Services contracts initiated in the Bush administration (a CRS flight launched a couple weeks ago and is at the ISS currently),” according to the editorial.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Space News (5/16): The Aerospace Corp. wades into an assessment of how long it would take for the U.S. to develop an alternative to Russia’s RD-180 rocket engine. Early estimates vary wildly, including several years. The Russian rocket engines power the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
Reuters (5/16): Proton rocket failure Friday means delays for Inmarsat’s plans to launch the satellites needed to complete its Global Express satellite network for high speed connectivity for airline passengers, operators.
Itar-Tass, of Russia (5/19): Russia extends horizon for venerable Proton rocket from 2020 to 2015 — despite spotty success record.
Los Angeles Times (5/16): Russia seeks a high profile in its standoff with the U.S. over Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. On the line: cooperation in space forged in the Cold War and the aftermath.
Space News (5/16): Frayed ties between the U.S. and Russia in space threaten to jeopardize key strategic civil, military space capabilities.
Spaceflightnow.com (5/18): U.S. Air Force range safety transitions from ground-based C-band radar to GPS tracking for U.S. East and West Coast launches.
Spaceflight Insider (5/17): United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket places U.S. Air Force GPS spacecraft into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on Friday.
Space News (5/16): Insurers look to loss in 2013, their first since 2007.
Major Space Related Activities for the Week
Spacepolicyonline.com: Activities this week include House deliberations on funds to start production of a U.S. alternative to Russia’s RD-180 rocket engine.
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