CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA provides more documentation on its 2015 budget request, explaining reductions for the Space Launch System, Orion and the airborne SOFIA observatory. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to check on Space Launch System avionics and software first hand this week. Space professionals urge lawmakers in Washington, Florida to back space, science and technology initiatives. All New Cosmos television series nourishes science starved Fox, National Geographic audience numbered in the millions. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter emerging from computer safe mode. Editorial urges U.S. spending on U.S. commercial human launch capability. U.S. and Russia fine in space. International Space Station to be focus of Friday documentary, Live from Space. U.S. researchers learn to overcome bone, muscle challenge for long duration human space flight. Drug and cheerleader backed bacteria research on their way soon to the International Space Station. China re-tasks satellites to find missing Malaysian jetliner. Richard Branson envisions orbiting hotels. Commercial forces opening space by lowering the cost of access. Sierra Nevada expands in Alabama. Tensions over Ukraine not slowing production of Russian rocket engines for the U.S.
NASA 2015 Budget
Space News (3/11): NASA issues more 2015 budget documents on Tuesday, including those that signal the end for the agency’s 10-year-old Odyssey rover mission at Mars.
Spacepolitics.com (3/11): Budget documents released this week detail planned 2015 reductions in NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle development as well as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne telescope, a joint effort with the German Space Agency. Delayed, much of the SOFIA research can be handled by the future James Webb Space Telescope.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASA (3/11): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will visit the Marshall Space Flight Center on Friday for a firsthand look at work on the avionics and software for the Space Launch System, the heavy lift rocket in development to start future U.S. explorers on missions of deep space exploration.
Spacepolitics.com (3/12): In Washington, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and in Florida’s capitol of Tallahassee, the state’s s space industry, will be meeting with national and state lawmakers today to emphasize the value of science, engineering and technology. The AIAA’s objectives include “a robust U.S. human spaceflight program that includes ‘stable long-term funding’ for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, Orion crew capsule; and other systems needed for human missions, with the long-term goal of a human mission to Mars in the early 2030s.”
Los Angeles Times via Space News (3/11): 8.5 million of the science starved tune in to the first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Sunday night. Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson has reprised the host role of the original Cosmos hosted by Carl Sagan. Fox, National Geographic and others are involved in the production and broadcast.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
NASA (3/11): NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter succumbs to computer failure. Ground control teams are restoring the eagle-eyed spacecraft to normal operations. MRO has been circling the red planet since 2006.
Low Earth Orbit
Orlando Sentinel (3/12): Congress must work urgently to restore the U.S. human space launch capability lost as NASA’s space shuttle program retired in 2011, according to an editorial. Lawmakers should back NASA Commercial Crew Program efforts, according to the Sentinel.
Time (3/11): In space, the stakes are too high to quarrel. Why the U.S. and Russia are likely to leave their differences over Ukraine on the ground: it’s a long standing tradition.
Space.com (3/11): Coming Friday, a two hour documentary featuring life aboard the International Space Station. Live from Space will air on the National Geographic Channel. Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Japan’s Koichi Wakata, the station’s current commander, are among those featured.
CBS News (3/11): Aspirations to explore Mars have NASA and its medical experts focused on what months to years in space could do to the human body. Vigorous forms of exercise are overcoming a long simmering concern, bone and muscle loss. The effects of radiation, however, remain a challenge.
Coalition for Space Exploration (3/10): An upcoming SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station will deliver nearly 100 proteins for crystallization in weightlessness. Scientists involved in the long running research believe it could lead to new medications. Dragon flight set for lift off March 16.
Collectspace.com (3/11): SpaceX Dragon mission to the International Space Station will include 48 different bacteria gathered from famous places, like Mercury astronaut John Glenn’s capsule, sports stadiums and the National Air and Space Museum. The experiment, MERCCURI, was organized by a team of NFL and NBA cheerleaders also pursuing careers in science and technology.
New York Times (3/11): China shifts satellite priorities to search for downed Malaysian jetliner. Lost early Saturday, the aircraft was carrying 239 personnel.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Arabian Business (3/11): Richard Branson says an orbital hotel could follow if his Virgin Galactic suborbital passenger service is successful. “If we can get enough people wanting to fly [to space] we can start building Virgin hotels in space, we can start doing trips to Mars, we can colonize Mars, we can start pulling asteroids back to Earth to see what minerals they have got in them,” he says in a United Kingdom interview.
Huffington Post (3/11): Early commercial space traveler Richard Garriott looks at the options for more to pay their way to space at more affordable prices.
Huntsville Times (3/11): Sierra Nevada Corp., one of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners, looks to Alabama to spread commercial space opportunities. “What we’re building is the iPad,” Sirangelo said of Dream Chaser. Dream Chaser is Sierra Nevada’s commercial spacecraft.
Reuters (3/11): Tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine have so far not interrupted the production of a key Russian rocket engine for the Atlas 5 rocket, key to the launch of U.S. government satellites, including those of the military.
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