CSExtra – Tuesday, September 4, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, including a roundup of activities from the weekend. International Space Station managers prep for a spacewalk on Wednesday to bolt down an external solar power system switching component. Overcoming the obstacles to a human mission to Mars. Presidential contenders offer little on their space exploration aspirations. Russian president Vladimir Putin shakes up the nation’s space leadership. The sun unleashes a massive solar flare that reaches the Earth on Monday. Houston’s post shuttle space workforce stabilizes. NASA’s Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle parachute recovery system passes a crucial test. Airships find a new market. Space inspired video games stir youthful interest in science and math. A look ahead at space events scheduled through mid-September.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com and CBS News, Sept. 2: Mission managers look to Wednesday for an unscheduled spacewalk by U.S. and Japanese astronauts outside the International Space Station. NASA’s Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide, of Japan, will attempt to bolt down an external switching unit left partially secured to the station during their spacewalk last week. A jammed attachment bolt is to blame. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1209/02eva/
2. From Florida Today, Sept. 2: The newspaper examines five major issues, technical and human, confronting the human exploration of Mars.
A. From CNN, Light Years, Aug. 31: In an interview, Charles Elachi, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, finds the human exploration of Mars possible in 20 to 30 years — if the U. S. has the will. NASA’s current Curiosity mission, says Elachi, is an important step on the path. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/31/jpl-director-visiting-mars-a-question-of-national-will/?hpt=hp_c3
3. From the Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 31: Republicans with ties to U. S. space exploration express anxiety over presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s sketchy space agenda. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-08-31/news/os-romney-nasa-policy-20120831_1_romney-administration-romney-first-mitt-romney
A. From Spacepolitics.com, Sept. 2: The Democratic National Convention opened this week. Spacepolitics.com finds neither presidential candidate eager to offer significant new information on their party’s space exploration ambitions. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/09/02/the-insignificance-of-space-policy-in-the-2012-campaign/
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com and Itar-Tass or Russia, Aug. 31: Russian president Vladimir Putin forecasts changes in the country’s space industry, including personnel moves. Recent launch vehicle failures threaten Russia’s position in the competitive global commercial launch market. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/putin-calls-for-russian-space-industry-upgrade.
A. From Ria Novosti of Russia, Sept. 3: Russian President Vladimir Putin dismisses the chief of the Krunichev Space Center over a rash of failed launches. http://en.rian.ru/science/20120903/175739928.html
B. From Ria Novosti of Russia, Sept. 4: Russian military spacecraft launches face delays, as authorities probe the reasons for Proton rocket failures. http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20120904/175761327.html
5. From Wired News, Sept. 2: A massive solar flare on Aug. 31 is captured on video by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/sdo-solar-video-filament-eruption/
A. From Spaceweather.com: A Coronal Mass Ejection, unleashed by an Aug. 31 solar storm, crashes into the Earth’s magnetic field early Sept 3, triggering a minor geomagnetic storm. www.spaceweather.com
6. From the Galveston Daily News, of Texas, Sept. 3: Job losses linked to the shuttle’s retirement and Constellation’s cancellation begin to level off in the Houston region, the newspaper reports. Many of the NASA engineers with safety skills have found their way into the energy industry, say economic development experts. http://galvestondailynews.com/story/345326
7. From Flight International, Aug. 30: The parachute recovery system for NASA’s Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle undergoes successful high velocity testing in Arizona. http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nasa-tests-orion-parachutes-375961/
8. From The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 4: The airship is finding new life in southern California. NASA and the Pentagon are funding the production of one sleek looking version at a small production company in Tustin. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-0902-cover-nextgen-airship-20120902,0,3647034.story?page=1
9. From The Washington Post, Sept. 2: NASA joins other federal agencies in a turn to video games to stir interest in science, technology, engineering and math education. Next up from NASA, a video game that simulates life on Mars. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/from-angry-birds-to-multi-player-video-games-nasa-ramps-up-investment-in-educational-technology/2012/08/31/c3d9d35c-c46c-11e1-916d-a4bc61efcad8_story.html
10. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Sept. 3: A look a significant space related activities scheduled through mid-month. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-weeks-of-september-3-16-2012
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