CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, September 3
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, plus offerings from the U. S. Labor Day weekend. NASA preps for its next moon flight. The unpiloted LADEE mission should be visible from the nation’s capital as it lifts off Friday amid debate over future U. S. human exploration plans. NASA’s 2013 fiscal year operating plan emerges — a month from the start of the 2014 fiscal year for which lawmakers have yet to approve a budget. The U. S. Labor Day weekend coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first spaceflight by an African American; plus reflections from other spaceflight vets. Russia mulls a U.S. export ban on a rocket engine critical to U. S. military, civil space activities. Russia launches an Israeli communications satellite. Martian crater mystery solved? Check in on Comet ISON (with a telescope). The six person International Space Station gets a propulsion boost from Europe’s ATV. Space tourism makes a dictionary cut. A look at space activities slated for the week ahead.
1. From The New York Times, Aug. 31: NASA’s soon to launch lunar probe, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, raises questions about destinations for NASA’s human space exploration program — if not the moon. LADEE is scheduled to launch Friday from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
A. From The Washington Post, Aug. 31, NASA’s LADEE moon probe promises to light up Washington skies late Friday as it soars toward the moon for a 100 day science mission.
B. From Space.com, Sept. 2: NASA reaches for the moon again with plans to launch the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission on Friday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. The mission will feature a new U.S. booster, Orbital Sciences’ Minotaur 5. LADEE will study the thin lunar atmosphere from orbit.
C. From The Houston Chronicle, Sept. 1: Chris Kraft, who played key roles in NASA’s earliest human space flight successes offers his reservations about current U. S. planning. The planned Space Launch System rocket will be too expensive to develop and launch, Kraft believes. The moon out ranks an asteroid as the most suitable destination for human explorers, he adds.
D. From Florida Today, Sept. 3: Employment at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center falls below 8,000 personnel for the first time since 1964 and stands at half of what it was four years ago, prior to shuttle program retirement, the newspaper reports. NASA fostered commercial crew operations as well as NASA Orion and Space Launch System missions are expected to reverse the decline some.
2. From Space News, Aug. 30: NASA’s budget operating plan for 2013 emerges, with just weeks left in the 2013 fiscal year. The total budget amounts to about $16.9 billion, or 5 percent less than the White House request. With limited resources, NASA is able to protect its Commercial Crew Program and the James Webb Space Telescope. Planetary sciences also fared better because of Congressional pressure, according to Space News.
3. From The Huffington Post and Space.com, Aug. 31: The start of the U. S. Labor Day Weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the first spaceflight by an African American, North Carolina native and physicist Guion Bluford. “Guy was the first person of color to fly and that was absolutely incredible, but it would have been empty had he been the first and only,” noted Charles Bolden, NASA’s first African American administrator and like Bluford, a shuttle astronaut.
A. From Esquire Magazine: From MIT graduate student to NASA astronaut: Mike Massimino’s rise to Earth orbit and a date with the Hubble Space Telescope.
B. From Florida Today, Sept. 2: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield reflects on his professional career as an astronaut. Recently retired after becoming the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, Hadfield counts his spacewalk as the most inspiring of his many professional and personal experiences. Hadfield is the author of the forthcoming book, An Astronauts Guide To Life On Earth.
4. From Space News, Aug. 30: Reports of Russia’s possible ban on U. S. export of the RD-180 kerosene LOX rocket engine lingers along with speculation on the impact. The Russian power plants are a main stay of the Atlas 5 rocket, which launches U.S. national security as well as civil space payloads.
A. From The Huffington Post, Aug. 29: Signs of a U. S./Russian Cold War in space return with Russia’s threat of an RD-180 rocket export ban.
5. From The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1: Israeli communications satellite launches atop Russian Zenit rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
A. From Ria Novosti, of Russia, Sept. 1: Rocket launch falsely alarms some over meteor fireball.
6. From Space.com, Sept. 1: Scientists, publishing in the journal Geophysical Research Letter, close in on explanation for 40-year-old Martian crater mystery.
7. From Universe Today, Sept. 2: Check in on comet ISON. Rise early and you’ll need a telescope with 10 inch optics. Expectations still moderately high that ISON will grow bright in the late November skies of the Earth.
8. From Ria Novosti, Aug. 31: Europe’s ATV-4, the Albert Einstein, provides the six person International Space Station with an orbital altitude boost. The raise in altitude aligns the station for the departure and arrival of Soyuz astronaut crews in September.
9. From Collectspace.com, Aug. 29: The term space tourism finds a home in the online version of the Oxford Dictionaries.
10. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Sept. 2: A look at space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead. Congress reconvenes Sept. 9
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