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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

The NASA budget: What’s next

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 marks major programmatic milestone for spaceport of the future

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.

Boeing turns over advanced rocket fuel tank to NASA for space testing

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

Small world discovered beyond Pluto

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.

Discovery of Planetoid hints at bigger cousin in shadows

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.

Planet like object nicknamed Biden could help explain solar system’s origins

Washington Post (3/26): Newly discovered distant planetary object, 2012 VP-113, gets temporary nickname, Biden.

Remaining SOFIA science budget earmarked for closeout costs

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

Soyuz conducts two engine burns, AOK for docking Thursday night

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.

Soyuz on trajectory to reach space station Thursday

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.

Shuttle aircraft to make one final voyage next month

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.

Thai satellite spots 300 objects in area where jetliner is believed to have crashed

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.

Opinion: Star of Peace Rising: The ISS as a nominee for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

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

NASA uses Russian crisis to push for U.S.-run ‘taxi’ to space station

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.

Damaged radar keeps secret NRO satellite on the ground

Florida Today (3/26): U.S. national security satellite launch delayed to allow for repairs to military ground tracking radar.

SpaceX’s Shotwell addresses contamination concerns previously reported by news outlets

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.

Suborbital

Giant balloon trips to near-space: Q&A with World View CEO Jane Poynter

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.

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].

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