CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, October 22
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA Space Launch System, Orion crew launch vehicle critical to future U.S. space exploration plans, expert writes National Research Council. Washington manufacturer submits crucial Orion hardware for tests prior to initial unpiloted flight test set for September 2014. Louisiana senator says he will hold up NASA official’s move to Energy Department over stall of work on Orion and the Space Launch System in his state. U.S. poll shows NASA has popular support in midst of U.S. government shutdown. NASA rebounds from U.S. government shutdown and worker furlough with MAVEN Mars mission on track for a Nov.18 lift off. Japan test fires space cannon for late 2014 asteroid mission. European retires deep space observatory. Center for the Advancement of Science in Space pushes International Space Station surveillance of harmful ocean algae growth. Weather satellites play key role in meteor studies. Space drama Gravity tops movie box office earnings for third week in a row.
1. From the Space Review: In “The public’s view of human spaceflight,” TSR editor Jeff Foust looks at the public response to a National Research Council re-examination of the nation’s human spaceflight program. More than 200 public responses have been received, among them one from Doug Cooke, a former NASA associate administrator for exploration. Cooke urges support for the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and the Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a pair of elements that will enable the U.S. to begin future human missions of deep space exploration regardless of the next destination, writes Cooke. Congress ordered the study in 2010.
2. From the DigitalJournal.com: Janicki Industries hardware from Hamilton, Wash., will undergo pre-launch testing prior to NASA’s first space flight test of the Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle. The unpiloted test is planned for September of 2014. Orion’s stage adapter diaphragm serves as a barrier between the upper-stage of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft, preventing hydrogen gas build up from the rocket beneath the spacecraft before and during launch.
3. From the Hill: U.S. Sen. David Vitter, of Louisiana, plans to block the Obama Administration’s nomination of Beth Robinson, NASA’s chief financial officer, to become the Energy Department’s undersecretary. The nominee stalled work on NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle in Louisiana affecting the creation of up to 600 new jobs, according to Vitter.
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com: Pew Research Center poll finds that 73 percent of Americans look favorably on NASA. The poll was conducted in the midst of the U.S. government shutdown, Oct. 9 to 13. Only the Centers for Disease Control scored higher, at 75 percent.
5. From NASA.gov: NASA continues the agency’s comeback from the October U.S. government shutdown and worker furlough. MAVEN, the next U.S. mission to Mars, remains on schedule to lift off on Nov. 18. MAVEN will study interactions between the planet’s thin atmosphere and the solar wind.
6. From Russia Today: Japan tests a space cannon for its Hayabusa 2 mission. Planned for a 2014 lift off, Hayabusa 2 will rendezvous with an asteroid, where it will fire the cannon toward the surface to expose fresh material that will be collected and returned for studies by scientists. Findings could further link water and organics in space rocks to the Earth.
7. From the European Space Agency: ESA prepares to bring its successful Planck mission to an end. Launched in May 2009, the Planck observatory studied the remnants of the Big Bang and the Cosmic Microwave Background in unprecedented detail.
8. From Florida Today: The Florida nonprofit in charge of bringing research to the International Space Station from outside NASA partners with the Naval Research Laboratory to sponsor studies from space of harmful ocean algae blooms.
9. From Spaceflightnow.com: First there was NASA’s LADEE lunar mission launch, then the Cygnus resupply mission to the International Space Station. Orbital’s Antares launch vehicle succeeded on both of its inaugural flights from a new Virginia launch complex. Now, Orbital Sciences plans to introduce the medium lift rocket to new commercial and government markets.
10. From Space.com: U.S. weather satellites, and other spacecraft, furnish new insight into the meteor that exploded over Russia in mid-February. Satellites remain a valuable asset in evaluating encounters between the Earth and meteors.
11. From Collectspace.com: Space and the Winter Games. An unlit torch to be used in the Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia is prepared for a trip to the International Space Station in November. The symbolic torch will accompany cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky on a Nov. 9 spacewalk before heading back to Earth.
12. From the Huffington Post: The feature film Gravity, a space drama, leads box office revenues for a third week in a row. The film about astronauts stranded in space earns $31 million this past weekend, bringing total revenues to an estimated $170 million so far.
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