CSExtra – Top Space News for Thursday, September 12
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Talk at the opening session of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in San Diego this week raises the spectre of U. S. budget turmoil on future NASA spending. House pauses on consideration of a 2014 Continuing Resolution in lieu of a federal budget. Launched late last Friday, NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer is performing well on a 30 day journey to the moon. NASA plans to set up operations of pad launch complex 39B as a multi-use pad by financing pad reconfigurations to handle the Space Launch System (SLS). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center eyes Venus as possible destination for next Discovery mission. NASA astronaut and Missouri native Mike Hopkins plans to stress physical exercise as he takes up residence aboard the space station in late September. Mechanical legs coming in 2014 for Robonaut 2, the NASA humanoid in its third year of testing aboard the International Space Station. India ready to test Mars ambitions.
1. From Spacepolitics.com and Space News: Oct.1, the start of the 2014 fiscal year, is near. At the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in San Diego, a recently assigned executive at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory raises a key question in the aerospace community: Who knows what their budget will be? NASA’s, while uncertain, could fall to $16.1 billion in the coming budget period in response to the budget sequester. The impact could be wide ranging. The White House sought a non sequester influenced $17.1 billion for the next budget period. Most at the AIAA gathering anticipate that as in recent fiscal years, Congress will not agree on a U. S. federal budget for 2014. NASA and other federal agencies will operate under a continuing resolution.
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The House postpones until next week a vote on a budget Continuing Resolution for 2014. Plans for a vote this week await further deliberations among the Republican majority. The measure would hold spending at current levels until Dec. 15.
A. From Space News: Though not passed, a U. S. House budget measure would lock NASA’s budget for 2014 at current levels. NOAA would be permitted to continue the development of two weather satellites.
3. From Space.com: Launched late Friday on a month long mission to the moon, NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer is doing well in the early part of its journey.
4. From Florida Today: NASA plans to set up operations of pad launch complex 39B as a multi-use pad by financing pad reconfigurations to handle the Space Launch System (SLS).
5. From Space News: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center positions itself for a possible Discovery class mission to Venus, an asteroid or comet in the 2021 to 2022 time frame. A new Discovery planetary science mission, if funding is available, would follow NASA’s 2017 INSIGHT Mars lander and the 2011 GRAIL lunar orbiter. Factors in the decision making include the cost of a planned 2020 mission to Mars with a second, less costly Curiosity rover.
6. From Mysinchew.com: The U. S. space agency has narrowed its hunt for an asteroid to capture to three, NASA said Wednesday.
7. From OzarksFirst.com, of Missouri: NASA astronaut and Missouri native Michael Hopkins is headed to the International Space Station on Sept. 25 with two Russian cosmonauts. An Air Force officer, Hopkins plans to emphasize the importance of physical exercise during his six month stay aboard the station.
A. From NASA: The space station’s three Expedition 37 crew members take a breather on Wednesday, after a trio of U. S. and Russian colleagues left the orbital outpost for Earth in a Soyuz crew transport capsule.
8. From ABCNews.com: Robonaut 2, the International Space Station’s resident NASA robot is line to receive legs in 2014. Developed in partnership with General Motors, a legless R2 was delivered to the station by shuttle astronauts in 2011. Since then, R2 has been tested with hand tools. With legs, the humanoid could take on some internal maintenance tasks and eventually join astronauts on a spacewalk.
9. From The New York Times: India will mark 50 years of rocketry in November, with the launching of a low cost Mars orbiter for studies of the red planet’s atmosphere and geology. If successful, India’s future Mars ambitions include human exploration. However, each of India’s space endeavors requires social justifications, especially for the nation’s poor.
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