CSExtra – Top Space News for Thursday, November 21
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest news and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Boeing offers new upper stage concept for NASA’s Space Launch System. Engineers simulate flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket with innovative software and a F/A 18 test aircraft. International cooperation offers many benefits in space exploration, but not necessarily cost savings. Hazards of lunar dust quantified. Planetary geologists urge more NASA spending on planetary science. Inspiration Mar’s Dennis Tito proposes a partnership with NASA and U.S. commercial space companies for a mission that would launch a man and woman around Mars as soon as late 2017. NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion crew exploration vehicle would play key roles. Meteorite lends scientists a peak at ancient Martian crust. Science operations with Curiosity rover halted as precaution to check possible electrical short. NASA scientists forge public private partnership to attempt plant growth on the moon. Chelyabinsk meteor explosion raises new questions about frequency of small asteroid encounters. Comet ISON grows brighter as fragments fly off. International Space Station marks 15th anniversary of first component in orbit as gateway to space, model for global partnerships. 15 Space Station facts. NASA asks U.S. space industry to submit proposals for new commercial spacecraft capable of carrying passengers to the space station and other orbital destinations. Congress looks at extension of liability provisions for U.S. commercial launch companies. Russia carries out multiple satellite launch.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASAspaceflight.com (11/20): The Boeing Co. proposes a new upper stage rocket for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. The proposal would use tooling at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana to make the rocket more cost productive for more demanding missions, including the addition of a translunar outpost for the Asteroid Retrieval Mission.
Red Orbit (11/20): Youthful engineers write software that allows a NASA F/A 18 fighter jet to fly like NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. The modeling contributes to the development of the new SLS heavy lift rocket intended to start astronauts on future missions of deep space exploration.
Aerospace and Defense News (11/21): First flight tests of a NASA F/A-18 simulating flight of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket accomplished. The flights Nov. 14-15 were carried out at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. The longest spanned 70 seconds.
Spacepolicyonline.com (11/20): Global partnerships do not always bring costs savings, according to a presentation organized by the American Astronomical Association. Participants included representatives from agencies involved in the U.S. led International Space Station.
American Geophysical Union (11/20): Australian scientist finds lost Apollo mission data to quantify buildup of troublesome lunar dust. NASA’s Apollo astronauts found the buildup irritating. Over the long term even small amounts could jeopardize the function of solar panels and radiators.
Washington Post: 11/20): In testimony before the U.S. House Space Subcommittee, Inspiration Mars leader Dennis Tito outlines a public private partnership plan to launch two humans around Mars as soon as soon as late 2017. The nonprofit organization’s strategy would use NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion crew exploration vehicle as well as components of U.S. commercial space companies to accomplish the fete. Take a pass and China could reach the red planet first, according to Tito.
Space.com (11/20): The nonprofit Inspiration Mars urges lawmakers to consider increasing NASA’s budget for a mission that would launch a two person crew, a man and a woman, on a mission around Mars. He envisions possible roles for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and the Orion crew exploration vehicle as well as commercial components from Orbital Sciences Corp.
Houston Chronicle (11/20): Inspiration Mars 500 day flyby mission relies on NASA funding. Dennis Tito urges action quickly from Congress and the White House to back use of NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolitics.com (11/20): The American Astronautical Association called on members this week to urge more funding from Congress for NASA’s planetary sciences program. Planetary sciences could be crippled by 2013-14 budgets, the organization’s division for planetary sciences asserts.
Space.com (11/20): A meteorite of Martian origins is offering scientists their first chance to examine the ancient Martian crust. The 4.4 billion year old space rock was recovered from the Sahara Desert last year. The meteorite may have originated in the Martian southern hemisphere at a time the when the atmosphere and possibly oceans were forming.
CBS News (11/20): Science operations aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover stopped on Sunday in response to what appears to be a short. Though Curiosity could operate, engineers plan to troubleshoot the momentary voltage spike.
NASA/JPL (11/20): Engineers explain efforts to investigate a voltage change, or soft short, detected aboard Curiosity on Sunday.
Forbes.com (11/20): NASA’s Ames Research Center pulls together experts from government and the private sector to organize a strategy for growing plants of the moon. Basil and turnips are among the test plants. Google’s LunarX Prize is helping the space agency with the project to lower costs.
The Coalition for Space Exploration (11/20): Scientists suggest the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb. 15 may have been a warning that similar asteroid encounters may happen more frequently that long thought. The incident caused an estimated 1,500 injuries and damaged 7,000 buildings. An international team of 33 researchers examined the incident in detail and their findings were aired on the U.S. Public Broadcasting System Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Astronomy Now (11/20): An increase in comet ISON’s brightness coincides with a break away fragments.
Low Earth Orbit
Space.com (11/20): The International Space Station marked the 15th anniversary of the launch of the cornerstone module on Wednesday, a Russian component. The station now represents a global gateway to space, a model for international cooperation and a place for significant research, explains Cabana, who commanded the NASA shuttle mission that delivered the first U.S. module. Cabana now serves as director of the Kennedy Space Center.
Collectspace.com (11/20): The website presents 15 impressive features of the International Space Station. The six person orbiting lab marked the 15th anniversary of the first component launch this week.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
NBC News (11/19): NASA asks U.S. commercial space companies to submit proposals for agency certified crew transportation systems that could be operating by 2017 — with adequate funding. The services would renew U.S. human space launch capabilities, the first since the space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011. The U.S. has been paying Russia to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station in the interim.
Federal Computer Week (11/20): NASA’s Commercial Crew Program plans will spur innovation in America, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden tells a National Contract Management Association symposium.
Space News (11/20): Congress looks at one year extension for launch liability protections for U.S. space launch companies. U.S. Bill Nelson, of Florida, will push for an extension of the 25 year old liability provision through 2016.
Ria Novosti, of Russia (11/21): Russia puts a large number of satellites into orbit with delivery system based on a former Soviet ballistic missile.
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