CSExtra – Tuesday, June 25, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Spacewalking cosmonauts prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of a new Russian science module later this year. Is NASA stepping up the emphasis on planetary protection over exploration for the asteroid mission outlined in the agency’s 2014 budget proposal? Essays assess the status of NASA’s asteroid exploration ambitions and a Florida public display venue for NASA’s retired shuttle orbiter Atlantis. Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with the Shenzhou-10 astronauts, as their mission to the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost nears a conclusion. U.S. teen rocketeers prevail in international competition over rivals from Britain and France. Two U. S. companies head to court over access to Russian made rocket engines. New Horizons: a NASA mission that promises to unveil a new frontier. Chile’s Atacama desert stands in for Mars in NASA’s search for alien life.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: During a spacewalk on Monday, two cosmonauts prepare the International Space Station’s Russian segment for a new science module. Russia’s Multipurpose Laboratory Module, also known as Nauka, is scheduled for launching late this year.
2. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: After a chilly reception from Congress, the asteroid retrieval mission featured in NASA’s 2014 budget proposal appears to be undergoing a shift in focus. The White House is placing new emphasis on the identification of asteroids that pose a collision threat to the Earth. The original plan calls for identifying asteroids that pose a hazard and robotically retrieving one small enough to be nudged into lunar orbit, where it could be visited by U. S. astronauts.
3.Two essays from The Space Review evaluate the status of NASA’s proposed asteroid retrieval mission and preview the June 29 opening of the shuttle orbiter Atlantis display at the Kennedy Visitor Center Complex in Florida.
A. In “Redirecting an asteroid mission,” TSR editor Jeff Foust finds NASA adjusting its asteroid exploration plans in response to Congressional scrutiny. The name has changed from Asteroid Retrieval Mission to Asteroid Redirect Mission. The change signals a new emphasis on fending off asteroid impacts, while Congress seems more interested in the future exploration of the moon and Mars, writes Foust.
B. In “Bird on a wire,” TSR contributor Dwayne Day offers a favorable review of the Atlantis exhibit that opens June 29 at the Kennedy Visitor Center Complex near Titusville and Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour were retired in mid-July 2011 after three decades of space operations. Work with the Hubble Space Telescope by shuttle crews is a featured part of the Florida display.
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com: Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with the crew of China’s Shenzhou-10 mission aboard the nation’s Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. The mission by the two man, one woman crew is drawing to a close.
5. From Space.com: A U. S. student team prevails over their British and French counterparts in the International Rocketry Challenge at the Paris Air Show. The teens with the winning entry hail from the Georgetown 4-H rocketry club of Texas. U. S. participation is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association of America. The STEM initiative challenged participants to launch and recover a raw egg.
6. From Space News: Orbital Sciences Corp. brings suit against United Launch Alliance over access to Russian made rocket engines. Both U. S. companies compete for satellite launch business. In an antitrust complaint, Orbital Sciences claims it has been blocked by its competitor from purchasing the engines.
7. From AmericaSpace.com: A primer on NASA’s New Horizon’s mission. The spacecraft, now speeding toward a first ever close up encounter with Pluto in mid-2015, promises to reveal a new realm of the solar system, the Kuiper Belt.
8. From Space.com: In Chile’s Atacama Desert, a solar powered NASA prototype rover called Zoe could aid the search for life on Mars.
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