CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, October 29
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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 contractor ATK makes strides with composites in improving the performance, lowering the risk of a heavy lift rocket designed to start U.S. explorers on missions of deep space exploration. The Orion crew exploration vehicle, in development to launch atop the SLS on human deep space missions, awakens electronically in Florida, where it is undergoing preparations for a 2014 test flight. National Academies of Science accepting Tweets today on future of U.S. human spaceflight. New U.S., Indian Mars missions nearing lift off. Former astronauts urge role for United Nations in dealing with asteroid impact threat. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, of recent Space Oddity fame, starts book tour. The sun acts up. Comet ISON pictured. Europa: Go/No Go for a landing? China launches a spy sat. Sierra Nevada Corp explains successful glide test of Dream Chaser that ended with landing gear collapse. Company Worldview and FAA re-examine space definition. British authorities charge hacker whose targets included NASA. Communicators honored.
1. From the Sacramento Bee, of California: Research at contractor ATK develops a composite booster case option for NASA’s Space Launch System, the heavy lift rocket under development to start U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration. Composite cases for SLS solid rocket boosters could be stronger and lighter than traditional steel making the SLS capable of launching more payload, the newspaper reports.
A. From Spaceflightinsider.com: ATK’s booster advances with composite cases trace their roots to NASA’s space shuttle program.
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: Orion, the crew capsule under development by NASA and Lockheed Martin, is activated electronically at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where it is undergoing preparations for a crucial unpiloted flight test in the fall of 2014. Orion’s first crewed mission it planned for 2021
3. From Spacepolitics.com: Today, the National Academies of Sciences Committee on Human Spaceflight is accepting Tweets from the public with suggestions for the future of human spaceflight. The panel is nearing the end of a study on the topic ordered by the U.S. Congress. The brief Twitter period represents the last opportunity to provide the committee with public input. The 27 hour Twitter comment period began this morning at 12:01 a.m., EDT.
4. From Reuters/Thompson: A contingent of U.S. and European spacecraft roving and circling Mars await the arrival of new NASA and Indian spacecraft. These probes, if they reach their destinations successfully, will investigate characteristics of the Martian atmosphere that may help to explain why it is now so thin.
A. From Russia Today: The large Martian impact crater, Utopia Planitia, was the site of an ocean three billion years ago, according to Russian scientists, who find evidence from “huge muddy whirls” in the depression and distinctive terrain and readings obtained from robotic spacecraft.
B. From the Coalition for Space: Video from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter offers a quick orbital tour of the red planet’s rugged terrain.
5. From the Los Angeles Times: The United Nations moves to coordinate a global asteroid detection and response plan. The steps are intended to respond to concerns raised by the Association of Space Explorers and others.
A. From Discovery.com: The devastation from a small asteroid explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb. 15 becomes a catalyst for asteroid impact concerns worldwide.
6. From Collectspace.com: An astronauts guide to life on Earth, a new book from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, publishes today. Hadfield was the first from Canada to walk in space as well as the first to command the International Space Station.
A. From Popular Mechanics: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains his unexpected popularity while serving aboard the International Space Station in 2012-13. It was mostly technology and timing, according to Hadfield.
7. From space.com: Third major solar flare erupts from sun on Monday, the third in three days and marking an active period.
A. From Spaceweather.com: The sun is poised for more solar flare activities, imagery from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Laboratory Spacecraft suggest.
8. From NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center: Comet ISON as imaged Oct. 26 with a 14 inch telescope in the constellation Leo. ISON is moving closer to the sun and potentially within view from Earth.
9. From Discovery.com: Europa, the Jovian moon, beckons those curious about extra-terrestrial life. But what of the terrain? Is it too “prickly” for a spacecraft landing?
10. From Spaceflightnow.com: China launches a spy satellite with radar sensor to observe through clouds and darkness.
11. From Space News: Sierra Nevada Corp. counts success in a weekend glide test of a Dream Chaser prototype. The glide and touchdown at the Dryden Flight Research Center went well. The landing gear collapsed on the runway. “The pressure vessel was completely pristine, the computers are still working, there was no damage to the crew cabin or flight systems,” Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada’s executive vice president, told Space News. “I went inside it myself and it was perfectly fine. There was some damage from skidding.”
12. From the Space Review: In “The new launch vehicle that lifts rather than lifts off,” TSR editor Jeff Foust checks in on World View Enterprises and the Tucson company’s announcement of last week that it will provide commercial passengers with a spaceflight experience by lifting them by helium balloon to 30 kilometers. The venture has started a discussion on the demarcation between the Earth’s stratosphere and space, writes Foust. World View envisions at least some of its passengers moving on to a rocket ride after gazing at the Earth for several hours.
13. From the Associated Press via the Washington Post: Prolific British computer hacker charged. Targets included NASA.
14. From Florida Today: The National Space Club Florida Committee will honor two for professionalism in space communications.
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