CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, September 16
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Faced with pressing debt limit and budget matters as well as Syria, will the U. S. Congress find time to consider a NASA authorization bill that address the future of human space exploration? Life on Mars for the first human settlers. The International Space Station: emerging as more than an engineering marvel. With confirmation of Voyager 1′s entry into interstellar space, a look at what’s next for the 36-year-old probe. Orbital Sciences Corp. looks to Wednesday for the launching of Antares/Cygnus demonstration mission to the International Space Station. Lockheed Martin finds cost cuts to increase commercial use of Atlas 5. Japan launches a low cost rocket on an inaugural mission. SpaceX holds off on the first launch of the upgraded Falcon 9. A retrospective on NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which opened in Houston 50 years ago this month. A look at major space policy events scheduled for the year ahead.
1. From Spacepolitics.com, Sept. 13: Might a new NASA authorization measure escape the attention of Congress? Jeff Bingham, a former U. S. Senate staffer, fears as much and made the point at last week’s AIAA Space 2013 conference in San Diego. An authorization measure, establishing human mission priorities, would give the space agency needed direction. “You’re going to have to cut something,” said Bingham. “There’s something major that’s going to have to go.” Concerns include the Asteroid Redirect Mission proposal and extension of the International Space Station.
2. From Space.com, Sept. 13: Predictions from science fiction writer Douglas Turnbull suggest the Mars’ first settlers will be primarily engineers, scientists, technologists and pilots. They will live in shelters, perhaps underground, to deal with the radiation threat and temperature extremes. Water will come from fracking, food from hydroponics. Turnbull casts his scientifically tuned assessment to plans by Mars One and other private sector efforts to reach the red planet.
3. From The Washington Post, Sept. 14: The International Space Station, though an engineering marvel, is raising questions about its overall purpose and cost. Among the pressing issues: should the U. S. and its partners commit to operations beyond 2020. Can the U. S. afford to do so and tackle human missions to more distant destinations?
4. From Popular Science, Sept. 13: Launched in 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft soared into interstellar space, NASA scientists declared last week. So, how long can the probe fly on? Scientists took to social media to address that and other questions about the long running mission.
5. From The Coalition For Space Exploration, Sept. 14: Orbital Sciences Corp. prepares to become the second commercial re-supply service for the International Space Station with the launch of the Antares/Cygnus rocket and cargo carrier. The Dulles, Va., based company is looking to a Wednesday lift off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, a one day delay to due to a data cable repair.
A. From Florida Today: NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program demonstrates the U. S. private sector can deliver critical space services at a cost savings to taxpayers.
B. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Sept. 15: New tests Sunday enable Orbital to aim for an Antares/Cygnus launch on Wed., Sept. 18 at 10:50 a.m., EDT.
C. From AmericaSpace.com, Sept. 15: Orbital Sciences mission will honor G. David Lowe, the former NASA shuttle astronaut and company executive. Lowe, who died of cancer in 2008, was instrumental in positioning Orbital Sciences for the space station cargo role.
6. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Sept. 16: Lockheed Martin works to reduce costs of the Atlas 5 to attract wider use among commercial users.
7. From The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 14: Japan launches its new Epsilon solid fuel rocket with the Sprint-A telescope on Saturday. The launch was accomplished with a small launch team using lap top computers to lower launch costs.
8. From Florida Today, Sept. 15: SpaceX takes on risks with first flight of upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch plans include a soft water landing for the first stage. Success may bring future commercial, military satellite business.
A. From The Lompoc Record, of California, Sept. 15: SpaceX postpones plans for a Sunday launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket until late in the month to deal with spacecraft issues that surfaced in a test firing at Vandenberg Air Force Base last week.
9. From The Houston Chronicle, Sept. 15: NASA’s Johnson Space Center opened in Houston 50 years ago this month. Politics and financial interest were factors in the decision making that brought a new international focus to the booming Texas city. An estimated $250 billion has flowed to or through the state since. Subscription required
10. From Space.com, Sept. 13: Swedish scientists look for deeper ties between asteroid breakups and life altering events on the Earth. Spinels, minerals the size of sand grains, may offer clues.
11. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Sept. 15: A look at major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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