CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Bipartisan members of U.S. House call on President Obama for bold human exploration goals using the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew vehicle. NASA supports Internet vote on future space suit design. Op-eds calls on NASA to invest more in space technology, consider bi-lateral cooperation with China. NASA looks to Congress for bonus funding package to extend lunar, Mars missions. The gravity wave conundrum. Amateurs rival astronomers as competent crater counters. Astronaut Steve Swanson and Russian cosmonauts Aleksandr Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev set for “fast track” launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday. U.S. twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly offer medical researchers opportunity to study long duration spaceflight. Houston’s NanoRacks gives International Space Station timely commercial boost. Atlas V missions counts on youthful vigilance. DARPA looks to Boeing to develop reusable airborne satellite launcher. Satellite operator INMARSAT points to final path of missing Malaysian jetliner with 239 aboard.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolicyonline.com (3/24): In a bi-partisan letter to President Obama, 32 U.S. House members call for a bold human exploration strategy using NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew exploration capsule. The country’s economic welfare and national security depend on a bold step, according to the correspondence authored by Stephen Palazzo and Donna Edwards, the Republican chair and Democratic ranking member of the House Space Subcommittee. A panel hearing on NASA’s 2015 budget is set for Thursday.
Space News (3/24): Thirty-two lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, call on the White House for a bold U.S. human space exploration agenda, making use of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and the Orion crew exploration vehicle.
Space News (3/24): Op-ed challenges NASA’s investments in new space technologies in light of plans to mount the Asteroid Redirect Mission. “If we are truly committed to exploring an asteroid, or returning to the Moon, or someday landing humans on the surface of Mars, we need sustained and substantial investments in advanced space technology and capabilities,” write William Ballhaus and Lester Lyles. Ballhaus chairs the NASA Advisory Council’s Technology and Innovation Committee. Lyles chairs the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
NBC News (3/24): NASA seeks crowd sourced opinions for the cover layer of the Z-2 prototype space suit for future human planetary explorers. ILC Dover is the contractor. “We haven’t had to design a spacesuit to operate in a surface environment since we went to the moon,” said NASA spokesman Daniel Huot. “As you can imagine, a lot of things have changed, and this is going to incorporate the features that astronauts are going to be wearing when we go to Mars.”
Space News (3/24): Op-ed from Clemson University physics major calls for U.S. and Chinese cooperation in the exploration of space to further the financial and technical well-being of both countries. Current U.S. legislation prevents bi-lateral cooperation.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space News (3/24): NASA would like its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009, to remain active well into next year — if Congress will furnish the funding. The extension of LRO depends on the long running mission passing a senior agency review in June and a willingness by Congress to pass President Obama’s Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, a $52 billion government wide spending measure.
New York Times (3/23): Confirmation of gravity waves in science report last week affirms rapid inflation after a cosmic big bang. Not everyone though welcomes the complex implications.
Space.com (3/24): Amateurs rival professional astronomers in their skill at counting craters on the surface of the moon and other planetary bodies, a study finds. The counting is used in scientific research.
Low Earth Orbit
America Space (3/24): U.S., Russian crew set for launching from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. Aboard are American Steve Swanson and Russians Aleksandr Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev. Lift off is set for 5:17 p.m., EDT. The Russian crew transport should dock with the station within six hours.
Spaceflightnow.com (3/24): The website offers updates on the countdown, launch and rendezvous of the Soyuz TMA-12M.
New York Times (3/24): When NASA astronaut Scott Kelly departs Earth for a U.S. record year long mission aboard the International Space Station, twin Mark, a former astronaut, will join in a first ever study of how they respond medically. Scott Kelly’s departure is planned for March 2015.
Space Review (3/24): NanoRacks, of Houston, is giving the six person International Space Station a commercial foothold with a growing demand for CubeSat launches. So far this year, 28 of the small satellites have been launched for PlanetLabs, an Earth imaging company. NanoRacks, though, estimates 60 to 80 could be deployed as the year unfolds. Resources, especially budgets, remain a factor in future use of the space station. The U.S. has endorsed an extension of activities from 2020 to 2024.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Florida Today (3/25): Youthful vigilance contributes to United Launch Alliance Atlas V military mission preparations. A.J. Holbeck grew up watching Space Coast launches like the rest of us, enjoying the rockets’ glare and rumble with little idea how many parts and personnel came together to make each mission possible. “I did not realize how much support it actually takes,” said Holbeck, a 26-year-old Rockledge native who joined United Launch Alliance last year as a subcontract administrator. Tuesday’s launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., has been postponed at least 24 hours to deal with a tracking issue.
Space News (3/24): DARPA selects Boeing for a $104 million contract to build and demonstrate a reusable air launch vehicle for small satellite payloads.
Aviation Week & Space Technology (3/24): INMARSAT refines satellite data to identify final flight path of missing Malaysian jetliner with 239 on board. The calculations place the Boeing 777 in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia. Flight MH 370 went missing March 8 en route to Beijing.
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