CSExtra – Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. In Florida, SpaceX succeeds in launching the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station early Tuesday. Is America’s commitment to physics research waning? Two essays examine a new basis for supporting future Mars exploration and check in on the commercial pull to reach the moon. The first U. S. spacewalk was a secretive Plan B. A look at space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From The New York Times: SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon lifts off early Tuesday on a mission of technical and symbolic significance. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/science/space/spacexs-private-cargo-rocket-heads-to-space-station.html?_r=2&ref=science
A. From Space News: The SpaceX Dragon safely reaches orbit. A quick look ahead at the major events leading to a rendezvous and berthing with the ISS. http://www.spacenews.com/launch/120522-spacex-falcon-delivers-dragon-orbit.html
B. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Dragon mission part of NASA strategy to replace the space shuttle. http://en.rian.ru/world/20120522/173594004.html
C. From CBS News: SpaceX rebounds from Saturday’s launch abort with successful lift off. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/spacex_cots2_launch.html
D. From Spaceflightnow.com: The widely watched first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station successfully lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on Tuesday at 3:44 a.m., EST. Safely in orbit, the un-piloted Dragon will attempt to rendezvous with the ISS on Thursday, depart and return early Friday to berth. For updates: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/003/status.html
E. From the Daily Beast: What’s behind Elon Musk’s motivation? Inspiration, he tells the website. In the long run, humanity may need a Plan B for its survival. That could be Mars. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/20/elon-musk-shoots-for-the-stars-with-spacex.html
F. From Discovery.com: The SpaceX cargo includes the remains of 300 space buffs, some quite famous. The cargo of dearly departed was prepared by Celestis Inc., of Houston, for launch on the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage. http://news.discovery.com/space/spacex-giving-dearly-departed-ride-to-final-frontier-120521.html
G. From Space.com: Getting to know SpaceX. The lighter side. http://www.space.com/15799-spacex-dragon-capsule-fun-facts.html
2. From the New York Times: Last year, three American scientists shared a prestigious Nobel prize for their work on the expansion of the universe. But the U. S. lead in the study of “dark energy” appears to be slipping away, a victim of budget concerns and some strategic planning on the part of the European Space Agency. ESA’s dedicated Dark Energy mission will launch in 2019, with the U. S. as a minor partner. NASA’s own more ambitious mission will not depart for another five years. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/science/american-scientists-fear-losing-edge-in-physics.html?_r=1
3. From The Space Review of Monday Two essays examine an alternative approach to Mars exploration and the commercial push to reach the moon:
A. In “Funding Humans to Mars,” MarsDrive CEO Frank Stratford proposes a new approach to overcoming the obstacles to reaching Mars with humans. They range from launch costs to life support and health issues. Mars Consortium, a think tank of academics, industry experts, even enthusiasts, would start a methodical effort to quantify and over come the obstacles for a private mission to the red planet. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2086/1
B. In “Tiptoeing back to the moon,” TSR editor Jeff Foust finds the near five-year old Google Lunar X-Prize almost overlooked in a recent storm of publicity in the space community over SpaceX and Planetary Resources. However, GLXP may represent the best hope of getting the private sector to the moon to seek water, platinum group metals and possibly other resources. Foust looks at the challenges, including NASA guidelines for protecting the Apollo mission landing sites and other regions of historic significance. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2085/1
4. From Discovery.com: NASA astronaut Ed White embarked on their first U. S. spacewalk in June 3, 1965. It was a bold step and one that was not all that destined to happen as the two man crew of Gemini IV, Jim McDivitt and Ed White, were assigned to their mission. http://news.discovery.com/space/nasas-bold-plan-x-120521.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
5. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look at major space and policy related events scheduled for this week. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-may-21-26-2012
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