CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, November 25
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Heartened by the direction of the president’s National Space Transportation policy, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden urges policy makers to reverse the budget sequester, avoid government shutdown; new policy endorses U.S. commercial, deep space exploration initiatives. Congressional Budget Office off base with option to end human spaceflight to deal with budget deficits, according to op-ed. Space exploration offers brighter future in challenging economic times. U.S. commercial space takes off, but not without NASA. JFK and Apollo remembered. Europe slows pace of Orion service module. NASA heavy lift rocket key to Mars flyby mission. India eyes Mars, breaking with some traditions. Comet ISON approaching solar threshold. The world’s great cities from space. European Swarm mission launches to study Earth’s magnetic field. China launches satellite for environmental surveys. NASA looks to home stretch in commercial crew efforts. SpaceX poised for first U.S. launch of a telecommunications satellite in four years. NASA, Maryland to sign tech transfer deal. A look at major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolitics.com (11/24): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden praises the president’s new National Space Transportation Policy after checking on preparations for a 2014 test flight of the Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center. The policy enforces a bi-partisan effort to open low Earth orbit to U. S. commercial space companies so NASA can focus on future human deep space exploration, he notes in a blog. Bolden urged policymakers to lift the budget sequester and avoid another U. S. government shutdown.
Space.com (11/22) President Obama unveiled his National Space Transportation Policy last Thursday. The policy endorses NASA’s current direction by fostering new commercial space transportation services for Earth orbital missions, while the agency develops new capabilities for human deep space exploration.
Space News (11/22) New U.S. space transportation policy stresses competition for the launch of government payloads as well as wider use of ride sharing strategies.
Spaceflightinsider.com (11/24): In a massively ill-informed move, the CBO has offered up the concept of scrapping NASA’s manned space flight efforts and operations to help solve the budget deficit issue, according to an op-ed from Jason Rhian. The option would be a giant leap backwards, he writes.
AmericaSpace.com (11/25): In difficult economic times, especially, it’s crucial that nations with the capacity to dream of a better future provide it to their citizenry, writes Leonidas Papadopoulos, of Greece, in an op-ed. “From a very young age, I was constantly awed and inspired by NASA’s great achievements in space. It became clear to me that the space program is the road towards the future and a road that needs to be constantly built, expanded, and taken care of, for on the other end lies the promise of prosperity, wealth, and expansion for the entire human species.”
Orlando Sentinel (11/23): Inspiration Mars, investor and early space tourist Dennis Tito’s bid to launch a man and woman on a 501 day mission around Mars by early 2018, is signaling the rise of commercial space, according to the Sentinel. Congress was eager for Tito’s testimony last week. Though NASA was cool to his request for use of the Space Launch System and other NASA resources. However, faced with budget constraints, the agency is looking to private sector partnerships to keep activities aboard the International Space Station and a push toward the human exploration of Mars moving ahead.
Washington Post (11/23): The Post assesses and illustrates the traditional and new approaches to space exploration — one grounded in Apollo, the other bootstrapping and perhaps sometimes delusional, according to the Post report.
Forbes (11/22): “We have big problems on Earth to be sure, like health care and energy, but the pursuit of space is both bigger than our Earthly tribulations and important for addressing them,” writes Mark P. Mills, CEO of Digital Power Group, in an op-ed.
Daily Caller (11/22): On the 50th anniversary of John Kennedy’s death, the publication examines the famous ties between the assassinated president and America’s exploration of the moon. ”It was the flood of space-program support both in money and morale that allowed the Unites States to take the technological lead around the world. NASA created entirely new areas of research and development, which in turn created new industries and jobs.” the Daily Caller reports.
Space News (11/22): The European Space Agency looks to May for the preliminary design review milestone in its development of a service module for the Orion crew exploration vehicle — a six month slip. The Orion/SM combo is to fly atop NASA’s Space Launch System during a 2017 test flight. The additional time is needed to evaluate design tradeoffs and enhance documentations.
ESA (11/22): The Orion service module provided by the European Space Agency borrows from the successful Automated Transfer Vehicle development and missions. “The overall effect on the project’s schedule is still under investigation. It is the aim not to affect the critical path of the project and to minimize the effect on the overall schedule,” reports ESA in a statement.
Houston Chronicle (11/25): In early assessment, some in Congress divided on NASA involvement in Inspiration Mars mission spearheaded by early U.S. space tourist Dennis Tito. The organization proposes a 500 day mission that would take two humans around Mars following a 2018 lift off. In Congressional testimony last week, Tito urged lawmakers to provide a Space Launch System heavy lift rocket launch and millions more in NASA assistance. Timing for the mission is government by a favorable alignment between the Earth and Mars.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
New York Time (11/22): India’s Mars Orbital Mission, even at its relatively low cost of $75 million, has sparked a debate about the role of science and discovery over superstition within India, writes Manoj Kumar Patairiya, editor of the Indian Journal of Science Communication and co-editor of the book “Sharing Science,” in en op-ed. India can embrace both, he writes.
Space.com (11/24): Since its discovery last year, Comet ISON has raised speculation of a spectacular vision in the night skies, if it can successfully whip around the sun on Nov. 28. ISON could break apart during the Thanksgiving Day encounter, or emerge shining brightly.
Low Earth Orbit
Business Insider via Houston Chronicle (11/24): Landmark images of the Earth gathered by the European Space Agency.
Spaceflightnow.com (11/22): Russia launches SWARM, three Earth-orbiting satellites for studies of the magnetic field. The Rockot launcher lifted off Friday.
Xinuanet, of China (11/24): China launches an orbital satellite for technological experiments and environmental surveys.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Florida Today (11/22): NASA closes in on selection of companies that will initiate commercial human transportation services to the International Space Station and other orbital destinations. Contract awards expected by September, first missions by 2017.
From The Associated Press via Washington Post (11/25): NASA and state of Maryland will sign a tech transfer agreement on Monday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski announces. The agreement will help turn research discoveries into marketable products.
Spaceflightnow.com (11/24): The first telecommunications launch from the U.S. in four years is set for Monday from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Europe and Russia are offering more affordable launches, according to SFN. SpaceX is the launch company, SES the spacecraft provider.
Spacepolicyonline.com (11/24): Space related activities scheduled through Dec. 6
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