CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Colorado lawmakers demand action from Washington to re-establish a U.S. human launch capability. NASA narrows lift of candidate asteroids for U.S. astronaut visit. On Mars, NASA Curiosity rover stops for science. Spanish science lab creates a Mars simulation chamber. Three U.S., Russian astronauts stopped short of International Space Station docking late Tuesday. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden calls on Congress to restore U.S. human launch capabilities through fully funded Commercial Crew Program. U.S. and Russia maintain cooperation in Earth orbit, while tensions over Ukraine mount on the ground. NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility welcomes commercial spacecraft work, while advancing NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew exploration vehicle.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Spacepolitics.com (3/25): Colorado legislators criticize Washington lawmakers over failure to re-instate a U.S. human space launch capability following the retirement of NASA’s shuttle in 2011. “At the dawn of the space age, there were two nations that could put people into space, the United States and the Soviet Union,” the resolution states. “Today there are still two nations that can put people into space, but the United States is no longer one of them.”
Space.com (3/25): NASA narrows the number of candidates for an asteroid capture as part of the agency’s planned Asteroid Redirect Mission to a dozen. The plan calls for NASA to identify, capture and steer a small asteroid or a piece of an asteroid into a stable orbit around the moon. U.S. astronauts launched aboard the Space Launch System and Orion crew capsule would rendezvous by 2025.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Space.com (3/25): NASA’s Curiosity rover slows down on Mars for new soil and rock investigations. Curiosity, which landed in August 2012, is headed to the base of Mount Sharp for a climb.
Wired News (3/25): In Spain, researchers refine a vacuum chamber that can simulate the Martian atmosphere to help in the development of U.S. and European spacecraft dispatched to the Red Planet to determine if the neighboring world was or is habitable.
Low Earth Orbit
Spaceflightnow.com and CBS.com (3/25): Three man U.S. and Russian Soyuz crew stopped short of a docking with the International Space Station late Tuesday after difficulties with a third rendezvous maneuver following a seemingly flawless lift off on Tuesday at 5:17 p.m., EDT. With a successful round of troubleshooting, a second docking attempt could be made late Thursday. NASA’s Steve Swanson and Russia’s Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are in good shape, according to NASA’s Mission Control.
Spacepolicyonline.com (3/25): Plans by a U.S. and Russian crew to dock with the International Space Station hours after launching Tuesday are postponed until late Thursday by a missed Soyuz spacecraft rendezvous maneuver. NASA’s Steve Swanson is aboard with Russia’s Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev. They lifted off from Kazakhstan on Tuesday at 5:17 p.m., EDT, and were to dock with the station at 11:05 p.m., EDT.
Itar Tass, of Russia (3/25): Oleg Ostapenko, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, blames a Soyuz attitude control system problem for the delayed docking of a Soyuz capsule with three U.S. and Russian astronauts at the International Space Station.
National Journal (3/25): In Earth orbit, U.S. and Russia manage to skirt the terrestrial tensions over the Ukraine.
Time (3/25): In space, you don’t have to like each other, the magazine notes of astronauts launched by the U.S. and Russia to the International Space Station. “They just have to need each other,” Time explains.
Washington Post (3/26): French satellite spots 122 pieces of possible debris from missing Malaysian jetliner in Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia. Could be most credible report yet on the airliner that was lost earlier this month with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
NASA (3/25): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden underscores urgency of re-establishing a U.S. human launch capability on the eve of a Russian Soyuz launch late Tuesday with U.S. and Russian astronauts headed to the International Space Station. The U.S. Congress has failed to adequately fund the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which currently partners NASA with Boeing, Sierra Nevada and SpaceX in a bid to foster competing orbital transportation services by 2017, Bolden writes in his official blog.
Associated Press via Washington Post (3/25): At NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility east of New Orleans, the Lockheed Martin workforce is fabricating components for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, a small winged shuttle for astronauts headed to the International Space Station, while their colleagues work on Lockheed Martin’s Orion crew exploration capsule and Boeing components for NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket.
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