CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, September 30
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities. Sunday proved a banner day for global space activities: the U. S. commercial space company Orbital Sciences conducted its first International Space Station rendezvous; Space X launched its first upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, a possible launch vehicle for commercial crew transportation to the International Space Station; and Russia’s Proton rocket returns to flight following a spectacular July 2 mishap. Astronauts carry out first Orion launch simulations. China firms plans for Space Launch System class rocket, invites astronauts from other nations to join Chinese space station plans. NASA will furlough most workers if there is a U. S. government shutdown. Many former Florida shuttle workers still struggling to find comparable jobs, salaries. Real threat from orbital debris underpins new feature film, Gravity. Small asteroid skims past Earth over the weekend, hours after it was detected. Pluto mission team ponders upload of messages from Earth. Did the Earth’s moon once belong to Venus? Amateur astronomers bring comet ISON into focus. U. S. astronaut Karen Nyberg displays creative side aboard space station. A look at major space activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From CBS News, Sept. 29: Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus resupply capsule carried out successful rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station early Sunday. Mission qualifies Orbital as second U. S. commercial re-supply service for the six person orbiting laboratory. Orbital earns praise from NASA for overcoming setback last week.
A. From Space News, Sept. 29: Orbital Sciences conducts first rendezvous with the International Space Station, completing a NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems demonstration mission that will pave the way to commercial cargo deliveries in December.
B. From the Washington Post, Sept. 29: Sunday commercial space activities include a successful International Space Station rendezvous for Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus re-supply vessel and the inaugural launching of SpaceX’s more powerful Falcon 9 rocket.
C. From Ria Novosti, of Russia, Sept. 30: Russia’s Proton successfully returns to flight Sunday placing a European communication satellite into orbit. It’s the first mission for the venerable rocket since a spectacular July 2 launch mishap in which multiple Russian global navigation satellites were lost.
2. From NASA: NASA astronauts for the first time rehearse launch and escape scenarios using an Orion capsule mock up at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The scenario envisions a lift off aboard NASA’s future Space Launch Vehicle.
3. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Sept. 27: China proposes new Long March 9 rocket that would match the most capable version of NASA’s proposed Space Launch System. By one measure, at least, China wants to build the largest space launcher in history, Aviation Week reports. New details on China’s rocket plans, outlined at the International Astronautical Congress held in Beijing Sept. 23-27, suggest it will follow an approach similar to NASA’s SLS.
A. From Space.com: China invites astronauts from other nations to participate in future space station plans. The invitation was extended during a United Nations/China Workshop on Human Space Technology, jointly hosted by the U. N. Office for Outer Space Affairs and the China Manned Space Agency in Beijing on Sept. 16-19.
4. From Spacepolitics.com, Sept. 27: With few exceptions, NASA’s 18,000 member workforce faces a furlough if there is a federal government shutdown on Oct. 1. NASA’s Johnson Space Center, home to the Mission Control Center for the International Space Station, will keep the most active, 144 out of 367 full time agency wide exempted workers.
A. From the New York Times, Sept. 27: NASA ranks among the top of federal agencies that anticipate worker furloughs, according to a newspaper survey.
B. From Space.com, Sept. 27: NASA will have workers exempt from furlough to sustain the International Space Station.
5. From the Orlando Sentinel, Sept. 28: Two years after NASA retired its shuttle fleet, many former workers are still searching for a career re-start and a matching salary.
6. From the Huffington Post, Sept. 24: Space junk is a real threat to astronauts in orbit, Don Kessler, NASA’s retired chief orbital debris scientist explains in an interview with the web site. Orbital debris plays a significant role in the new science fiction drama Gravity, which opens in theaters Oct. 4.
7. From Ria Novosti, Sept. 30: A 50 foot asteroid, similar in size to the object that exploded over Russia in February, skimmed past the Earth late Friday, Russian astronomers reported. The object was discovered nine hours before it sped by.
A. From Spaceweather.com, Sept. 28: Bright meteor explodes over Ohio late Friday; with video.
8. From the Coalition for Space Exploration, Sept. 27: If authorized, NASA’s Pluto bound New Horizons spacecraft would become the recipient of an assortment of Earthly greetings as part of a global crowd sourced initiative.
9. From Space.com, Sept. 27: Astronomers consider theory that Earth’s moon once belonged to Venus. Most, though, hold to theory the moon was cleaved from the Earth by a grazing encounter with another planetary body in the early solar system.
10. From Space.com, Sept. 27: Comet ISON becomes focus of attention by world’s amateur astronomers. After U. S. Thanksgiving, ISON could become a bright object in the night time skies of Earth.
11. From Collectspace.com, Sept. 27: International Space Station astronaut and crafter Karen Nyberg creates, sews a toy dinosaur when off duty.
12. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Sept. 29: A look at major space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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