CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA appears to fare well in $1.1 billion Omnibus spending measure for 2014 approved by the U.S. House and Senate earlier this week. Yet to be passed by the full House and Senate and signed by the President, the measure includes $17.7 billion for NASA, up from $16.9 billion in 2013 as the restrictions of sequestration ease. The Space Launch System heavy lift rocket among programs appearing to fare well in 2014 budget measure. However, Congress remains largely undecided on NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission and changes to the agency’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education initiatives. Congress earns editorial praise for its efforts to avoid another U.S. government shutdown. Earth could be suitable for humans longer than previously expected. Proposed 2014 U.S. Omnibus appropriations bill friendly to NASA’s 2020 Mars rover and future Europa mission. China’s Chang’e-3 lunar lander ready for action. Experts shape efforts to identify alien civilizations with advanced technologies. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station focus on cargo operations, emergency drill and science. Pending 2014 budget legislation would keep NASA’s Commercial Crew Program advancing, while independent review unfolds. Orbital Sciences greets possible space station extension as opportunity to upgrade resupply hardware. Florida’s 2014 launch forecast doubles over 2013.
Human Deep Space Exploration
USA Today (1/14): “This is a big win,” said Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee that handles space policy, of the $1.1 trillion Omnibus appropriations measure agreed to by U.S. House and Senate appropriators on Monday. The space agency’s $16.9 billion 2013 budget appears headed toward $17.7 billion for 2014. The Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew vehicle fare well in the proposal. The rocketry and capsule would support future human deep space exploration.
The Huntsville Times (1/14): The measure, if passed by the full U.S. House and Senate and signed by President Obama, would mean $3.1 billion for development of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, ground systems for the new launcher and $1.2 billion to continue with development of the Orion crew capsule. The three projects are intended to start humans of future missions of deep space exploration.
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/14): The Omnibus budget measure for 2014, agreed to by U.S. House and Senate appropriators earlier his week, seeks more evaluation from NASA before lawmakers are prepared to extend backing to the proposed Asteroid Retrieval Mission and stops short of an overhaul of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs. One stumbling block on the STEM issue is an absence of a multi-agency reform plan.
New York Times (1/14): In an editorial, the Times applauds the U.S. Congress for reaching an agreement on a 2014 appropriations measure that avoids a another government shutdown and attempts to address sequestration. NASA gets a boost, the Times notes.
Houston Chronicle (1/14): New estimates suggest the sun will sustain human life on the Earth much longer than previously thought, possibly another 1.5 billion years. The Arctic Circle, however, becomes prime real estate, as terra heats up.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Pasadena Star-News, of California, (1/14): Omnibus 2014 appropriations measure is good for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover and plans for a future robotic mission to the Jovian moon Europa, according to a local congressman and legislative specialists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The rover would cache samples of Martian rock and soil for eventual return to Earth.
Xinhuanet (1/12): China’s solar powered Chang’e 3 lunar lander and rover are ready to resume surface operation as lunar night transitions to day at the landing site. Operations ceased temporarily on Dec. 26 when the landing site fell into darkness for two weeks and temperatures fell. The lander and rover descended to the lunar surface on Dec. 14.
Space.com (1/14): Experts hone in on techniques for detecting the most advanced of alien civilizations.
Low Earth Orbit
NASA (1/14): Aboard the International Space Station, astronauts unpack the latest cargo delivery capsule, Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus capsule, which berthed Sunday, participate in an emergency drill and carry out science experiments.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Space News (1/14): The proposed omnibus appropriations bill making its way through the U.S. House and Senate this week provides NASA’s Commercial Crew Program with the most funding yet — though with restrictions. Boeing, Sierra Nevada and SpaceX are working with NASA to establish a commercial low Earth orbit crew transportation service by 2017.
Spaceflightnow.com (1/14): The Dulles, Va. company welcomed plans by the White House to extend International Space Station operations by four years, or until 2024, with the Jan. 9 lift off of its first cargo mission to the six person orbiting lab under the terms of an eight flight, $1.9 billion contract. Orbital plans upgrades to its Antares/Cygnus rocket/cargo capsule combination in order to compete for supply missions beyond 2016.
Florida Today (1/14): The launch pace along Florida’s Space Coast is expected to double the number in 2013, according to a U.S. Air Force official. “The Eastern Range is in for a treat,” Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno told more than 350 guests at a National Space Club Florida Committee meeting. United Launch Alliance and SpaceX are expected to show increases.
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