CSExtra – Top Space News for Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. What’s next for NASA’s budget and planetary science? NASA reaches key milestone in transition of the Kennedy Space Center to a multi-user launch complex, with ground systems equipped to start humans on future missions of deep space exploration. Boeing ships Space Launch System upper stage fuel tank prototype to Marshall Space Flight Center for testing. Minor planet discovered beyond Pluto offers new perspective on solar system. Finding hints at a planet larger than Earth beyond. Budget constraints may require use of 2014 science funding to terminate airborne SOFIA astrophysics mission. Russia extends Soyuz crew transport mission after propulsion glitch interrupts flight of U.S. and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station. Arrival set for Thursday at 7:58 p.m., EDT. Shuttle aircraft to make one final voyage next month. Malaysian airliner wreckage located? The International Space Station and the Nobel Prize. SpaceX official discusses launch concerns for third cargo mission to the International Space Station. World View plans inaugural high altitude balloon mission with passengers by late 2016.
2015 NASA Budget
Planetary Society (3/26): The Pasadena, Calif., based pro space exploration organization outlines its strategy to support spending on NASA’s planetary science programs in 2015. The White House has proposed a $17.5 billion spending plan for the space agency during the next fiscal year.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASA (3/26): NASA’s Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program at the Kennedy Space Center cleared a key preliminary design review milestone this month. The effort, part of a strategy to transform Kennedy into a multi-user space port, includes systems to support the launch of NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew exploration vehicle. SLS and Orion are key components of plans to send U.S. explorers on future deep space missions.
Puget Sound Business Journal (3/26): Boeing fabricated lightweight composite fuel tank heads from Seattle area to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where it will be tested for future use as part of NASA’s Space Launch System upper stage. SLS heavy lift rocket is in development to start U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Discovery.com (3/26): Newly found 2012 VP 2113 measures about 280 miles across and looms far beyond the minor planet Pluto and many of its Kuiper belt companions.
New York Times (3/26): Discovery of new minor planet well beyond Pluto hints at much larger planetary body — several times larger than the Earth — even more distant.
Washington Post (3/26): Newly discovered distant planetary object, 2012 VP-113, gets temporary nickname, Biden.
Space News (3/26): A joint U.S. / German space agency mission, the airborne SOFIA observatory, faces a fall shutdown, according to NASA’s proposed $17.5 billion agency wide budget for 2015. However, funds from the mission’s 2014 science budget may be required to facilitate the shutdown.
Low Earth Orbit
Spacepolicyonline.com (3/26): Unable to dock with the International Space Station on Tuesday night as scheduled, a Russian Soyuz capsule with three U.S. and Russian astronauts is on course for a second docking attempt Thursday at 7:58 p.m., EDT. Officials believe the capsule’s orientation could not be confirmed in the run up to a third post launch rendezvous maneuver Tuesday night. Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and NASA’s Steve Swanson lifted off Tuesday at 5:17 p.m., EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Spaceflightnow.com (3/26): Two maneuvers by Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three astronauts headed to the International Space Station supports a docking on Thursday at 7:58 p.m., EDT. Plans to launch and dock on Tuesday slowed by missed Soyuz maneuver.
Houston Chronicle (3/27): Boeing disassembles NASA 905, a modified 747 airliner that did a lot of heavy lifting for NASA’s long running space shuttle program. The big plane that once carried shuttle orbiters on its back will be reassembled at Space Center Houston for public display.
Washington Post (3/27): Thai government satellite points to debris field in southern Indian Ocean, possibly linked to missing Malaysian jetliner. Poor weather slows search by aircraft.
AmericaSpace.com (3/26): The case for space: Why the International Space Station team deserves consideration for the Nobel Prize.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Orlando Sentinel (3/26): Tensions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea prompt NASA, U.S. aerospace industry, some in Congress to ally over support for new U.S. commercial space passenger services to the International Space Station. U.S. will pay Russia an estimated $1.7 billion for Soyuz transportation between 2012 and 2017. Congress, however, hesitant to fully fund NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Florida Today (3/26): U.S. national security satellite launch delayed to allow for repairs to military ground tracking radar.
AmericaSpace.com (3/26): SpaceX top executive explains reasons behind delay in scheduled Mar. 16 launch of next U.S. commercial cargo mission to the International Space Station. The launch is currently set for Mar. 30. COO Gwynne Shotwell outlines four issues of concern that contributed to the re-scheduling.
Space.com (3/26); World View plans to offer a commercial space experience using a high altitude balloon, explains company CEO. Missions starting by the end of 2016 should reach altitudes of 19 miles.
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