CSExtra – Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers a collection of the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. SpaceX briefly ignites the Falcon 9 first stage on Monday, another step in the company’s bid to launch the first U.S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The SETI Institute teams with the U. S. Air Force to characterize orbital debris. More from Planetary Resources on the company’s plans to survey near Earth asteroids for water and precious metals. Two essays assess the global interest in Planetary Resources and outline another proposal to stir commercial interest in space. May brings a Super Moon. 1. From Spaceflightnow.com: SpaceX achieves a significant milestone in the company’s bid to carry out the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station on Monday with a countdown rehearsal that includes a first stage hot fire. The actual mission launch of the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon supply craft is currently set for May 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/003/120430hotfire/
2. From Space.com: The SETI Institute’s California antenna array will assist the U. S. Air Force with the characterization of Earth orbiting space debris. http://www.space.com/15479-seti-telescope-space-junk-search.html
3. From The Washington Post: In an interview, former NASA astronaut and planetary scientist Tom Jones discusses his role as an advisor to Planetary Resources, the Seattle based company that announced plans last week to prospect near Earth asteroids for water, precious metals and other resources. The initial surveys using a new line of compact space telescopes produced by Planetary Resources will also help NASA catalogue many thousands of asteroids that sweep close to the Earth. A commercial “partner” will accelerate the cataloguing and lower the expense, Jones explains. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/astronaut-joins-effort-to-profit-from-harvesting-raw-materials-in-space/2012/04/30/gIQARv7BsT_story.html
4.Two essays from this week’s The Space Review examine the emergence of Planetary Resources and an unrelated government-led proposal to foster space commerce.
A. In “Planetary Resources believes asteroid mining comes of age,” TSR editor Jeff Foust examines the bottom line question, Is ice in the inner solar system the new oil? In his essay, Foust looks at Planetary Resources’ business model. Last week, the Seattle-based collection of Internet and software moguls announced plans to commercially prospect near Earth asteroids for water and precious metals. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2074/1
B. In “A Space Joint Stock Company,” essayist Trevor Brown proposes a new government investor approach to stimulate space commerce. The incentives include the mitigation of space debris, space-based solar power generation, prospecting for space resources and even consumer finance. The author is an Auburn University graduate student in public policy. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2073/1
5. From Space.com: This month’s full moon, on Saturday, coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth during 2012. That qualifies as a “Super Moon” for those who enjoy observing the Earth’s companion. http://www.space.com/15474-supermoon-full-moon-2012.html
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