CSExtra – Top Space News for Thursday, April 3, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. National Academy of Sciences issues recommendations, requested by NASA, for dealing with the increased health risks faced by astronauts eligible for future deep space mission. Morpheus logs another successful test flight. Age of Earth’s moon updated based on new simulations of the solar system’s formation. Hubble Space Telescope spots Siding Spring comet nearing Mars. NASA announces cut in ties with Russia on space matters, with a single exception, the International Space Station. Europe prepares for launching of first Copernicus Earth observing spacecraft. NASA looks to July for launching of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, a spacecraft that can monitor emissions linked to climate change. Minnesota company revamps aging former NASA shuttle hangar for specialized testing.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Los Angeles Times (4/2): The National Academies of Science offers guidelines to NASA on dealing with the medical risks faced by future U.S. astronauts eligible for missions to deep space destinations. The report from the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of NAS, suggests each mission imposing additional health risks be evaluated on a case by case basis.
National Public Radio (4/2): Ethics guidelines for space missions with additional health risks aims for gender equality in astronaut mission assignments and assured health care for former astronauts.
Florida Today (4/2): NASA’s Morpheus prototype planetary lander, under development for future human as well as unmanned missions, carries out its latest free flight at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It was the first flight with a new guidance system developed to guide the four legged lander away from hazardous boulders and slopes. The ALHAT system was not in guidance mode for the flight but will be as testing continues.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space.com (4/2): New simulations suggest the Earth’s moon formed a bit more recently than previously theorized. A collision between the Earth and another solar system body cleaved off the material that condensed into the moon.
Science News (4/2): Earth’s moon may have formed in a violent collision about 70 million years later than some scientists believed previously, based on new simulations.
Los Angeles Times (4/2): Siding Spring comet captured in Hubble Space Telescope image as it speeds toward close encounter with Mars in October.
Low Earth Orbit
New York Times (4/2): NASA cuts ties with Russia over space activities with the exception of the International Space Station, signaling rapidly deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine and Crimea. The restrictions include phone calls, emails as well as personal meetings.
Washington Post (4/20): Previously a crucible in establishing relations between nations, including post-Cold War ties between the U.S. and Russia, NASA is directed to stop all communications with Russia with one exception, the International Space Station. Fifteen nations and five major global agencies are involved in space station operations.
Orlando Sentinel (4/2): NASA directive on limited communications with Russia “marks a sharp turnaround,” according to the Sentinel. “Top officials have said for weeks that relations with Roscosmos have been unaffected by the crisis that began with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a former Ukrainian territory.”
Associated Press via Florida Today (4/2): After insisting that space relations wouldn’t be altered by Earthly politics, NASA on Wednesday said it was severing ties with Russia except for the International Space Station. NASA and Russia’s space agency will “continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation” of the space station, NASA said in a statement released late Wednesday
Space News (4/2): NASA restricts interactions between NASA and Russia over joint space interests with a single exception, the International Space Station. Tensions over Russian actions in the Ukraine/Crimea are cited. U.S. has little choice because Russia offers the only means of transportation to and from the six person orbiting space laboratory.
Spacepolicyonline.com (4/2): Suspension of NASA’s ties with Russian space activities suspended until further notice, according to U.S. space agency directive. The only exception: the 15 nation International Space Station.
Spaceflightnow.com (4/2): The flagship mission for Europe’s Copernicus new fleet of Earth observing spacecraft is ready for launching on Thursday from French Guiana atop a modified Russian Soyuz rocket. Lift off is set for 5:02 p.m., EDT. “It is the most ambitious Earth observation program ever conceived worldwide,” said Josef Aschbacher, director of ESA’s Copernicus space office.
NASA (4/2): NASA looks to July for the launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, a spacecraft instrumented to monitor carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere and the link to changing climate.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Florida Today (4/2): NASA’s aging Hangar N at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., gains new life as the private sector move in. Minnesota-based PaR Systems intends to market its workers and specialized testing equipment to government and commercial customers in the space industry and beyond.
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