CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, October 21
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Larger telescopes key to future search for extraterrestrial life. NASA resumes normal operations as U.S. government shutdown and worker furlough draw to a close late last week. Former astronauts, women and men, inspire younger generations to pursue their dreams of space exploration. Commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station by Orbital Sciences Corp. draws to a scheduled close early Tuesday. International Space Station National Laboratory looks to proposals for Earth imagery. More discussion over commercial supervision of Launch Complex 39-A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Experts say asteroid that moved close to Earth without detection earlier this month will not pose a future threat. Comet ISON glows bright in imagery from Arizona observatory. Astronomers detect off kilter solar system. Virgin Galactic outlines plans for suborbital science missions. A look at space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From the Houston Chronicle: The next chapter in the search for signs of alien life will require more capable telescopes than currently on the drawing boards, both ground and space based observatories. One proposal, ATLAST would share NASA’s Space Launch System to place the elements of a large space telescope in orbit around the Earth for assembly by astronauts before it departs for deep space. ATLAST would feature a 50 foot mirror, dwarfing the Hubble Space Telescope, according to Matt Mountain, head of the Space Telescope Science Institute.
2. From Space.com: NASA anticipates it will take several days to resume normal operations following the U.S. government shutdown and worker furloughs, according to an agency spokesman. In addition to re-planning meetings, conducting safety checks of facilities and catching up on emails, agency officials are looking at impacts on future mission timelines.
A. From the Washington Post: The U.S. government’s top executive appointees welcome employees back to work late last week, following 16 day shutdown. “We’ve been away for some time now, so please don’t expect that we can return to normalcy in a day or two or even a week,” writes NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a memo to agency workers. “I really encourage each of you to take a little time each hour to check on your co-workers and offer encouragement and comfort where necessary.”
B. From Universe Today: NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Explorer mission spacecraft successfully maneuvers into orbit around the moon during the U.S. government shutdown and initiates first laser communications experiment. “It says a lot about our people’s dedication and capability when a skeleton crew can get a new spacecraft into lunar orbit and fully commissioned in the face of a shutdown!” NASA Ames Center Director Pete Worden tells Universe Today.
C. From Spacepolitics.com: NASA strives for normalcy as the U.S. government shutdown and worker furlough are lifted last week with a new budget continuing resolution that extends until mid-January. In concert, new op-eds emerge over NASA’s future deep space exploration plans.
D. From Space News: Agreement to keep U.S. government open grants NOAA flexibility to continue with weather satellite development. Signed into law by President Barack Obama last week, the new CR funds most government programs at the 2013 level. However, a provision in the bill signed by President Obama says NOAA spending may be changed “up to the rate for operations necessary” to keep NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R programs on schedule until the weather agency receives its 2014 appropriation.
E. From the Wall Street Journal: Images gathered by NASA during the U.S. government shutdown emerge as operations resume. Comet ISON, Saturn and the International Space Station are featured.
3. From the Spaceflightinsider.com: Six women of space who achieved and inspired. All came from humble backgrounds and dreamed big.
A. From the Boulder Colorado Daily Camera: Former NASA astronaut Joe Tanner offers encouragement to University of Colorado student’s quest to join the nation’s astronaut corps after corrective eye surgery. Tanner, an instructor, logged four shuttle flights that included repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.
B. From Aviation International News Online: Gene Cernan, the last human to walk on the moon, receives the National Business Aircraft Association Meritorious Service Award, which was established to recognize extraordinary lifelong professional contributions to aviation.
C. From the National Enquirer: Actress June Lockhart receives NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal for inspiring the public about space exploration. Lockhart starred in television’s Lost in Space and Lassie and counts a number of personal appearances at space events. The award was presented Oct. 10.
4. From the Asian Scientist Magazine: India forced to postpone plans for the Oct. 28 launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft by a week while it awaits the positioning of ocean going tracking vessels. The launch window closes on Nov. 19 for India’s first Mars probe.
5. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus resupply demonstration mission to the International Space Station sponsored by NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program is scheduled to end Tuesday with an unberthing. Cygnus berthed with the station Sept. 29. With Tuesday’s departure, Orbital Sciences is positioned to begin regular resupply missions under the terms of a $1.9 billion commercial agreement signed with NASA in late 2008.
A. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: New experiments headed for the International Space Station will pioneer power sharing among multiple spacecraft flying in formation with an electro-magnetic link.
B. From ISS-CASIS.org: The Florida nonprofit that manages research aboard the International Space Station’s U.S. National Laboratory segments issues a request for proposals regarding use of the orbiting science laboratory to gather imagery of the Earth.
6. From Florida Today: Proponents and skeptics discuss the merits and drawbacks of plans to lease Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to a commercial user. Rivals Space X and Blue Origin proposes two strategies, exclusive and multi-use. The multiple user approach has been studied but never implemented on a scale anticipated for the launch complex long used by NASA’s space shuttle fleet.
7. From the Associated Press via the Huffington Post: NASA expert says 1,300 foot long near Earth asteroid 2013 TV 135 that neared the Earth earlier this month has little chance of impacting the planet when it returns to the vicinity in 2032. The object, discovered Oct. 8, passed within 4.2 million miles of the Earth unnoticed a month earlier.
A. From the Coalition for Space Exploration: More surveillance needed of small asteroids that could cause regional damage and injuries when if they intersect the Earth, according to Purdue University expert.
B. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: The new lead for Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, says Russia will take on responsibilities for detecting and fending off space rocks that provide a collision threat to the Earth. The task may require teamwork with Russia’s Aerospace Defense Force, according to Oleg Ostapenko.
8. From Interfax, of Russia: Cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov possibly in line for a top post at Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency.
9. From Space.com: Comet ISON glows green in photo taken earlier this month from an Arizona observatory.
10. From Nature News and Science: It takes all kinds when it comes to planetary systems, astronomers are finding. The recently discovered Kepler-56 system includes a red giant star tilted 45 degrees with respect to the trajectories of two planets that circle.
11. From Space.com: Virgin Galactic outlines plans to fly science payloads, scientists on SpaceShipTwo. Operations are expected to begin in 2014. Virgin Galactic plans to offer options to fly payloads only, or researchers with payloads.
12. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look at space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources. The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories. The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content. The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra. For information on the Coalition, visit www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].