CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. U.S. House and Senate appropriators reach agreements late Monday on a 2014 Omnibus spending bill that includes $17.65 billion for NASA. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden likes what he sees at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, production site for the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket for future missions of deep space exploration. Astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson to reprise Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV series this spring. International Lunar Decade could focus global space agencies on moon’s resources. Walking on Mars. Hubble Space Telescope spots nearby star poised to explode. Sand dunes as wind socks. NASA observes as 2014′s first asteroid collides with the Earth’s atmosphere. Solar activity takes a breather. Global partnership ponders White House initiative to extend International Space Station operations from 2020 to 2014; budgets a factor. Earth observing Cubesat fleet reaches International Space Station. Japan develops magnetic net to reign in space debris.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolitics.com (1/14): The U.S. House and Senate adopt a joint omnibus appropriations measure for 2014 that includes $17.65 billion for NASA. The legislation includes $1 billion more than the U.S. House approved in previous deliberations and is $70 million less than the White House request. The NASA measure includes $4.1 billion for exploration systems. The White House request was $3.9 billion.
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/14): “Assuming approval by the House, Senate and President Obama, NASA will get $17.6 billion for FY2014, not that much less than its $17.7 billion request. Under some scenarios, NASA could have gotten as little as $16.1 billion, so this is a tremendous improvement,” the website reports. A ban on bilateral work with China in space remains in force.
NASA Spaceflight.com (1/13): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden received a firsthand look at the latest transition underway at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility outside of New Orleans, where a contractor team plans to produce the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. The SLS will send U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration. “We’re making tremendous progress on SLS, and I salute the team at Michoud for making sure the United States continues to lead the world in exploration,” said Bolden.
NASA (1/13): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visits the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility, home to production of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, which is just outside New Orleans, on Monday. The rocket is in development to start U.S. astronauts on missions of deep space exploration. With Bolden, is U.S. Sen. David Vittner, of Louisiana. The friction stir welding demonstration is a major draw.
Space.com (1/13): The late astronomer Carl Sagan started a popular public space education movement long ago with the PBS Cosmos mini-series. Now, Neil deGrasse Tyson is prepared to take up the cause in March with the debut of Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey.
The Space Review (1/13): A growing number of global space agencies, at least six now, have expressed interest in the moon and its resources for future development. Essayist Vid Beldavs proposes an International Lunar Decade as a strategy for coordinating an assessment of the moon’s resources and the technologies to acquire them without conflict and using commercial approaches. The Latvian futurist points to the 1984 Moon Treaty as a plausible legal mechanism for pursuing the goals. “The necessity of an international regime for the exploitation of the natural resources of the Moon is likely to become an urgent matter for all space faring powers,” writes Beldavs.
Space.com (1/13): There’s no preparation for exploring a distant planet scape like trekking the rugged terrain of Utah at the Mars Desert Research Station, a project of the Mars Society.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space.com (1/13): Just over 20,000 light years from Earth, a star is poised to explode.
Discovery.com. (1/13): Sand dunes reveal which way the wind is blowing. Tracking the Martian topography may reveal techniques for long, long range weather forecasting on distant planets.
Washington Post (1/13): Dubbed 2014AA, an asteroid about the size of an automobile was aimed directly for the Earth as 2013 turned to 2014. This one, because of its small size, apparently burned up in the atmosphere without a destructive explosion or impact. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tracked the approach.
Spaceweather.com (1/14): The upswing in solar activity from last week settles as giant sunspot turns away from the Earth.
Low Earth Orbit
The Space Review (1/13): Last week’s call from the White House to extend International Space Station operations from 2020 to 2024 has national as well as international implications, writes TSR editor Jeff Foust. The call produced limited but generally cautious support among U.S. Democrats and Republicans as well as NASA’s major space station partners. However, the issue of funding looms as does the question of inviting new countries into the partnership, such as India or China, which now has plans for a space station of its own. In the U.S., a change of administrations in two years could mean a change of heart as well.
South China Morning Post (1/14): The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will team with a fishing equipment company for a prototype 300 meter long magnetic net that could be deployed in orbit to sweep up manmade junk circling the planet. 2019 could mark first use.
New York Times (1/13): Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s An astronauts guide to life on Earth sits at number 5 in the top 10 sellers. Hadfield was the first from his country to command the International Space Station and to carry out a spacewalk.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Aviation Week & Space Technology (1/13): Orbital Sciences’ mission to the International Space Station critical to future commercial activities aboard the International Space Station. Planet Labs’ Earth observing satellite fleet will be deployed from the space station.
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