CSExtra – Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. With U. S. efforts to restore a human launch capability growing more distant rather than closer, NASA signs a $424 million contract extension with the Russian federal space agency to assure Soyuz transportation for American, Canadian, European and Japanese astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA’s Opportunity Mars exploration rover is back in contact with Earth. Texas, Alabama and Florida vie for future commercial launch business. NASA allays concerns about future space station power storage batteries. Physicist Stephen Hawking dreams of spaceflight. Canada finds a space theme for its $5 bill. Forming Jupiter.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA signs a $424 million contract extension with Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, to train, launch and return six U. S., European, Japanese and Canadian astronauts to and from the International Space Station aboard Soyuz spacecraft in 2016-17. Efforts to return a human launch capability to American soil following the shuttle’s 2011 retirement have been slowed to 2017 because of insufficient budgets.
A. From CBSnews.com: Russia’s cost per seat charge rises from $65 million to $70.6 million under NASA’s contract extension.
B. From the Associated Press via The Washington Post: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden points to Congress and its reluctance to fund NASA’s Commercial Crew Program as responsible for the contract extension. Reductions in commercial crew funding thwarted efforts to start U. S. commercial crew launches to the space station in 2015, Bolden contends.
2. From the Pasadena Star News, of California: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Mars exploration rover Opportunity re-establish communications. The link was broken during a long solar conjunction that placed the sun between the Earth and Mars. After nine years on Mars, Opportunity is beginning to show signs of age.
3. From The Brownsville Herald, of Texas: City commissioners adopt a resolution encouraging SpaceX to select nearby Boca Chica Beach as the site for a new commercial launch complex. The project means new jobs and tourism, say city leaders.
A. From the Anniston Star, of Alabama: Alabama’s state senate approves a bill to establish a state spaceport commission.
B. From The Daytona Beach New-Journal, of Florida: Space Florida, a state economic development agency, backs plans for an FAA environmental impact study on the use of a 150 acre site in Volusia County as a commercial launch complex. This site is owned by NASA, which recently offered permission for the study. “This is a signal to the commercial marketplace that Florida is still in the game,” Space Florida’s Dale Ketcham tells the newspaper.
4. From Spaceflightnow.com: New lithium ion power storage batteries in line for use on the International Space Stations are safer than the power storage devices that grounded Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner fleet earlier this year because of overheating. The new batteries in line for a 2016 launching and the aircraft batteries have a similar supplier.
5. From NBC News and Cosmiclog.com: Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, 71 and on a ventilator, is eager to take flight as a passenger on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. A half dozen years ago, Hawking experienced weightless on a zero G aircraft flight.
6. From Collectspace.com: Canada unveils a new space themed $5 bill. Native Canadian and International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield helps with the introduction.
7. From Space.com: The solar system’s inner planets formed from the collision of asteroid and comet-like materials. It also appears that giant Jupiter’s core formed from a similar but distinct process.
Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources. The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories. The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content. The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra. For information on the Coalition, visit www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].