CSExtra – Top Space News for Thursday, May 1, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. House appropriations panel backs $17.9 billion NASA budget for 2015, about $400 million more than requested by the White House. Despite an overall proposed increase, House spending measure would fall below White House request for commercial crew. Congress approves minor changes to NASA’s 2014 spending plan. House Science, Space and Technology Committee approves new NASA authorization bill that lifts restrictions on Space Launch System, Orion and James Webb Space Telescope development. NASA asteroid mission advances as next step to Mars, though some lawmakers remain skeptical. Mars mission will require challenging landing technologies. Exo-planet spins like a top. NASA’s LADEE lunar mission captures strange glow. U.S., Russian space relations challenged by tensions over Ukraine. NASA to air U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame ceremonies. SpaceX details Falcon 9 first stage recovery efforts.
NASA 2015 Budget
Spacepolitics.com (4/30): House appropriations subcommittee approves $17.9 billion NASA funding bill for 2015, $400 million more than President Obama requested.
Spacepolicyonline.com (4/30): House appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA backs $17.9 billion for NASA in 2015 budget, but panel chair expresses concerns that security issues have escaped public scrutiny.
USA Today (4/30): House appropriators approve $785 million for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a record amount, as part of an overall $17.9 billion appropriation for 2015. However, the possible commercial crew appropriation falls below the White House request and may prevent the first flight of a shuttle replacement from lifting off as soon as 2017.
Spacepolitics.com (4/30): NASA updates the agency’s 2014 spending plan, while lawmakers deliberate on 2015 spending. Changes approved by Congress are minor, the website reports.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Space News (4/30): The space agency’s first authorization measure since 2010 cleared the House Science, Space and Technology Committee this week and headed for the House floor. The policy measure would lift a requirement that NASA set aside program termination funding for major programs that include the, Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, and Orion crew capsule and James Webb Space Telescope. Other provisions call for cooperation between NASA and the Pentagon in developing an American replacement for the Russian RD-180 rocket engine now imported for the Atlas 5.
Space.com (4/30): A near Earth asteroid is the stepping stone to Mars, NASA officials conclude in presentations this week before a Washington forum. The strategy would corral a small asteroid or a boulder from a larger asteroid into a stable orbit around the moon.
Roll Call (4/30): Influential members of the U.S. Congress express doubts about NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission as an essential point on the road to Mars.
Roll Call (4/30): If humans are to explore Mars, NASA will need technologies that will permit the agency to land the equivalent of a house on the planet’ surface.
Florida Today (4/30): NASA prototype automated planetary lander completes another test flight at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The methane fueled Morpheus lander would deliver humans as well as supplies, science experiments or equipment to the surface of a planetary body.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Discovery.com (4/30): On Pictoris b, a very large planet three light years from Earth, the days last just eight hours, according to Dutch scientists who have developed techniques to make such measurements.
AmericaSpace.com (4/30): NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer captures much sought look at the strange illumination above the lunar horizon prior to mission ending impact. LADEE’s successful lunar flight came to a planned end on April 17.
Low Earth Orbit
Denver Post (4/30): Russia’s actions in the Ukraine proving a difficult test for cooperation with the United States in space, writes former network correspondent Greg Dobbs in an op-ed. “What people at NASA always said under their breath about the Russian partnership was, ‘Their spacecraft is reliable, but are they?’ Now we have our answer. If they choose to hold us hostage, it is no,” he writes.
NASA (4/30): Retired NASA astronauts Jerry Ross and Shannon Lucid are scheduled for induction into the Central Florida hall on Saturday. NASA TV plans to air the ceremonies live.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Spaceflightnow.com (4/30): SpaceX intends to pursue a land-based powered recovery of its Falcon 9 rocket by year’s end.
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