CSExtra – Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way around the world. The International Space Station resumes six-person crew operations early Tuesday, with the arrival of new astronauts. NASA sorts out communications options as the Mars Science Laboratory races toward an Aug. 6 landing on the Red Planet. A problem with the Mars Odyssey orbiter may prevent the probe from functioning as an early communications relay. Two essays examine the new popularity of Texas as a commercial space mecca and the challenges in shaping a new global space Code of Conduct. Could this be the moment for a U. S. Department of Space? One op-ed writer believes so.
1. From CBS News: The International Space Station resumed six-person operations early Tuesday as a Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked with three new crew members. The station’s Expedition 32 crew, Gennady Padalka, fellow cosmonaut Sergei Revin, and American Joe Acaba welcomed newcomers Sunita Williams of the United States, Yuri Malenchenko of Russia, and Akihiko Hoshide of Japan. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/tma05m_docking.html
2. From Discovery.com: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), nearing an Aug. 6 landing on the Red Planet, will attempt to touchdown with little or no insight from NASA. Plans to relay signals from MSL back to Earth during the dramatic entry, descent and landing phase through NASA’s Mars Observer spacecraft have encountered a yet-to-be resolved problem. Odyssey recently experienced an attitude control failure that may have the orbiter out of position for a timely relay. http://news.discovery.com/space/nasa-may-need-hours-to-learn-mars-probes-fate-120716.html
A. From Spaceflightnow.com and CBS News: NASA’s Mars program examines its Odyssey options. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av028/120716relay/
B. From Space.com: NASA and Microsoft collaborate on Mars Rover Landing, a new and free Xbox 360 system game inspired by the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover mission. The game, available on Xbox Live Marketplace and Kinect Central, illustrates the difficulties of landing on a distant planet. http://www.space.com/16604-mars-rover-landing-xbox-game.html
3. Two articles from The Space Review (TSR) examine shifts in U. S. commercial space activity and the making of a global space Code of Conduct:
A. In “Texas warms to NewSpace,” TSR editor Jeff Foust looks at the incentives that local and state officials in Texas are making to draw new commercial space enterprise to the Lone Star State. In recent weeks, California-based XCOR chose Midland in West Texas as its new research and development center location. Earlier in the year, SpaceX, also based in California, announced interest in Brownsville in South Texas as a possible launch site for its Falcon 9. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2120/1
B. In “Space code of conduct: the challenges ahead,” Ajey Lele, of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, revisits the unfolding international debate over an effective space Code of Conduct that looks beyond the Cold War to one that recognizes the interests of nations like China, India and Brazil, as well as the emerging commercial space industry. Transparency is a factor as well, he writes. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2119/1
4. From CNN: In an op-ed, AIAA advisory board member Madhu Thangavelu makes the case for a cabinet-level U. S. Department of Space, an organizational structure that can balance the interests of the federal government and the commercial sector’s profit motive. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/16/opinion-lets-create-a-department-of-space/?hpt=us_bn5