CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, September 17
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission could return U. S. astronauts to deep space soon. China making strides in global aerospace despite restrictions intended to keep U. S. technologies out of Beijing’s reach. Laboratory research suggests comet and meteor strikes provided the Earth with life’s precursors. Launch readiness review confirms a Wednesday launch date for the Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo re-supply mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems program. What if: NASA had launched a second Skylab space station? Solar sail technologies, like those NASA is pioneering, could make interstellar travel possible. Recently discovered small asteroid to whiz past the Earth on Wednesday night.
1. From The New Yorker: NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission may not be as odd as it seems, according to the magazine’s assessment. A feature of NASA’s proposed 2014 budget, ARM would robotically capture a small asteroid and steer it into orbit around the Earth’s moon. U. S. explorers launching on the Space Launch System and an Orion capsule would then rendezvous with the capture spacecraft and asteroid, perhaps as early as 2021. “It’s not as crazy as it seemed at the beginning,” notes Charles Elachi, the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
2. From NASAspaceflight.com: At NASA’s Stennis Space Center, plans are ramping up for ground test firings of Space Launch System propulsion components. NASA’s SLS is intended to be capable of launching U. S. explorers on future missions to asteroids and Mars as well as the moon.
3. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: China advances its space enterprise, including propulsion, in spite of U. S. efforts to block access to U. S. technology through export controls. The restrictions have not slowed China’s plans to explore the moon and develop other capabilities, say experts. Russia, Brazil and India are among those also making strides in the field.
A. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: China readies its Chang’e-3 lunar mission for a late 2013 lift off. China’s third robotic lunar mission features an instrumented surface rover.
4. From Time Magazine: Scientists model chemical and thermal characteristics in lab settings that support the possibility that comet and meteorite impacts delivered life’s precursors to an early Earth and possibly other solar system bodies.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: Amino acids, chemical building blocks for life, may be created in high speed collisions between comets and planetary bodies like the ice rich moons of Jupiter and Saturn or rocky bodies like the Earth, scientists from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and elsewhere report early this week.
5. From Space.com: Orbital Sciences Corp’s Antares/Cygnus rocket and re-supply capsule was cleared Monday for a Wednesday lift off from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va. Minor repairs over the weekend bumped the launch from Tuesday to Wednesday at 10:50 a.m., EDT. Cygnus is the centerpiece for Orbital Sciences’ first attempt at rendezvousing and berthing with the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems program.
A. From The Associated Press via USA Today: Aboard the International Space Station NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg looks forward to the weekend arrival of the first Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus commercial re-supply spacecraft. The first Cygnus is expected to include a chocolate stash for Nyberg and her European and Russian colleagues.
6. From The Space Review: In “Futures Lost,” regular contributor Dwayne Day looks back at NASA’s Skylab orbital workshop and long ago discussions over launching a backup and how it might have altered the agency’s human exploration course. The original Skylab housed three NASA astronaut crews between 1973-74. It made a destructive plunge into the Earth’s atmosphere in 1979. A second Skylab as well as Skylab training hardware are now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum in Washington and the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
7. From Space.com: Solar sails may offer the best near term technology for attempting interstellar space travel. Sunjammer, a NASA funded solar sail powered spacecraft for studies of space weather, is headed for a late 2014 launching.
8. From Space.com: Recently discovered small asteroid will zip close but safely by the earth on Wednesday night. 2013 RZ53, less than 10 feet long, was detected last Friday. The miss distance should be about 148,000 miles.
Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources. The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories. The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content. The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra. For information on the Coalition, visit www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].