CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Planetary Society joins with Cal Tech for Aug. 8 forum on U.S. space future; asteroid experts featured. University of Hawaii hosts rigorous Mars mission simulation. NASA rallies for December unpiloted flight test of Orion crew capsule. Robotic planetary missions, U.S. launches and space station research offer promising space future, according to op-ed. Visions of an asteroid mission enabling NASA to take a hard look at Mars. Photo set illustrates NASA development of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. NASA seeks partners for airborne observatory to stave off cancellation; Water on Earth and moon may link the two bodies. Concerns over possible U.S./Russian clash on space appears to ease. Long spaceflight alters shape of heart.
Human Deep Space Exploration
The Planetary Society (3/31): On April 8, the California Institute of Technology will host a public forum on the future of U.S. human spaceflight co-sponsored by the Planetary Society. The presentation will include a panel comprised of retired NASA astronauts: Tom Jones, planetary scientist, author and pilot Garrett Reisman, program manager for the SpaceX DragonRider; and Rusty Schweickart, chair emeritus of the B612 Foundation and Apollo crewman. Louis Friedman, who co-chaired an early study on what became NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, will moderate.
University of Hawaii (3/28): University of Hawaii hosting a 120 day mission simulation for six men and women. Leaving their mission geodesic dome means donning a simulated space suit. “Missions like this, reduce the risk of going to Mars,” said Kim Binsted, the principal investigator on the HI-SEAS project.
AmericaSpace.com (3/31): NASA looks to December for the launching of the first unpiloted test flight of the agency’s new Orion crew vehicle, the capsule it designed to start U.S. explorers on missions to deep space destinations. Exploration Flight Test-1 will loop around the Earth twice to set up a simulated atmospheric re-entry approximating the end of a deep space mission.
Space News (3/31): Bright spots in U.S. space policy are its planetary robots and space observatories, the International Space Station and the advent of the commercial space sector, writes O. Glenn Smith in an op-ed. The former NASA shuttle systems engineering manager finds merit in an agenda with broad public support that keeps the U.S. in a leadership position and the nation’s astronauts visible, focused on research and engineering and moving in and out of orbit on domestic rockets.
NASA (4/2): Photo set from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight center illustrates the Space Launch System development. The heavy lift rocket is intended to start future U.S. explorers on missions of deep space exploration.
Aviation Week & Space Technology (4/1): If Congress is less than thrilled with launching astronauts to an asteroid, the preparations are at least enabling NASA to look hard at the requirements and technologies required to reach Mars.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space News (4/1): NASA seeks partners for operations of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an airborne space observatory developed and operated with the German Space Agency. However, SOFIA is scheduled for closing at the end of the 2014 fiscal year, unless new sources of revenue can be found. NASA looks for partners able to afford $1 million a night for operations. Proposals are due May 1.
Space.com (4/1): A link would bolster theories that the moon came from the Earth following a collision with another planetary body.
Low Earth Orbit
Spacepolitics.com (4/1): Concerns over U.S. and Russian tensions over Crimea appear to be easing. The easing seems to be linked to a recent Russian launch of a new U.S./Russian crew to the International Space Station and an absence of further escalations in Ukraine. “I think U.S.-Russia space cooperation would be one of the last areas of cooperation to be interrupted,” Michael McFaul, the previous U.S. ambassador to Russia, told NBC News in a recent interview.
NBC News (3/31): NASA funded research reveals a rounding of the heart among astronauts assigned to long duration missions aboard the International Space Station, a change in shape that suggests a temporary loss of pumping efficiency.
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