CSExtra – Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. China confirms a June 16 launch date for its first human spacecraft docking mission. NASA’s commercial space transportation and deep space exploration initiatives are beginning to make head way, according to a key Washington lawmaker. Europe commits to the construction of a mega astronomical observatory in Chile. NASA responds to questions associated with the recent gift of two space telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Agency. Scientists find record energy from a March solar flare. Astronomers characterize the smallest of Jupiter’s many moons. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center adds the Launch Control Center to its list of sites open to guests.
1. From China Daily: China’s Shenzou9 spacecraft passes a pre-launch test. The spacecraft is nearing a mid-June lift off with a crew of three on China’s first human docking mission. Their destination is the Tiangong 1 orbital space lab.
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com: China officially confirms a June 16 launch date and that the crew will include China’s first female astronaut.
B. From New Scientist: China’s mission will give it experience in long duration human space flight, rendezvous and docking, skills it will need to catch up with its international competitors. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21912-first-crew-to-head-for-chinas-heavenly-space-palace.html
2. From Space Politics.com: NASA is finding solid ground for its commercial space transportation and deep space exploration initiatives, U. S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison tells a Women in Aerospace meeting on Tuesday. The Texas lawmaker is a member of two key legislative panels with NASA oversight responsibilities. However, Hutchison. urged policymakers to stake out a stronger leadership position in space for the U. S. She retires as the end of this year. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/06/12/retiring-senator-says-nasa-in-a-good-position-for-the-future/
A. From Florida Today: Florida is starting to rebound from the job losses experienced from the space shuttle’s 2011 retirement, Space Florida President Frank DiBello tells an aerospace audience. That means the aerospace industry is now replacing jobs faster than its losing them in the state, DiBello says. An estimated 8,500 positions were lost. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120613/NEWS01/306130034/Aerospace-leader-says-things-looking-up-industry?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space%20News
3. From the Daily Mail of London: A European coalition agrees to build the largest terrestrial telescope. It’s mirror will span 39 meters. Targeted for operations in 2022, the European Extremely Large Telescope will be constructed in the Chilean desert to avoid light pollution. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2158045/Europe-votes-build-worlds-biggest-telescope-explore-distant-rocky-planets-build-Chile-darker.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
4. From USA Today: NASA responds to a long list of questions from the newspaper regarding an announcement last week that hardware for two space telescopes has been transferred to the agency from the National Reconnaissance Office. NASA places the value of the optical and support hardware at $275 million and said the equipment could be used for missions to study dark energy, exo-planets or traditional studies in astrophysics. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2012/06/nasa-releases-more-spy-telescope-details-/1#.T9hcMLWqbBY
5. From Space.com: A flare unleashed during a Mar. 7 solar storm set a record for high energy, say experts. http://www.space.com/16116-solar-flare-gamma-ray-light-record.html
6. From Space.com: Scientists characterize Jupiter’s smallest moons. Discovered in September 2010, S/2010 J2 and S/2010 J1 are about 1.2 and 1.8 miles in diameter. Jupiter counts 50 moons as well as 14 provisional moons. http://www.space.com/16111-jupiter-smallest-moon-discovered.html
7. From the Los Angeles Times: The official visitors tour at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center adds the Launch Control Center to the list of sites guests are permitted to visit. http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-tuesday-travel-ticker-a-peek-inside-nasa-20120608,0,5156528.story
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