CSExtra – Wednesday, September 5, 2012
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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the world. Neil Armstrong, who died Aug. 25, will be honored with a Washington memorial on Sept. 13. Two International Space Station astronauts will work outside the orbiting lab today during a spacewalk . NASA is expected to unveil a new blueprint for Mars exploration this month in response to spending cuts announced earlier this year. NASA delays a course adjustment burn for the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft. Two essays assess the presidential candidates on space exploration and examine the role of telerobotics. Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 Mercury capsule gets a Boston showing.
1. From Space.com: Neil Armstrong will be honored with a public memorial in Washington D. C. on Sept. 13, NASA announces. Armstrong, the first human to step to the surface of another world, died Aug. 25 at the age of 82. The memorial will be hosted by the Washington National Cathedral. http://www.space.com/17447-neil-armstrong-public-memorial-service.html
A. From Space News: In an op-ed, writer/space historian Andrew Chaikin explains a connection between Neil Armstrong and the “Ladder to the Moon.” http://www.spacenews.com/commentaries/120904-small-steps-giant-leaps.html
B. From The Boston Globe: In an op-ed James Carroll reminisces on the promise that accompanied NASA’s Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. That promise has been tempered, writes Carroll, by new knowledge of the challenge and the vastness of the final frontier. http://articles.boston.com/2012-09-03/opinion/33550400_1_apollo-missions-giant-leap-earth
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: Astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide will be working outside the International Space Station on Wednesday to complete the installation of a power system switching unit they countered difficulties with during an Aug. 30 spacewalk. Today’s excursion is scheduled to get underway at 7:15 a.m., EDT. The website offers one source of updates.
3. From Discovery.com: Coming this month from NASA: A new blueprint for the U.S. exploration of Mars. NASA began a re-assessment earlier this year in response to budget cuts and cost overruns in other space science programs. The National Research Council has urged the space agency and policy makers to keep an eventual Mars soil sample return mission at the forefront. http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-exploration-pay-dirt-curiosity-120904.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1
4. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA elected to delay by several days a scheduled course adjust burn of the Jupiter bound Juno spacecraft on Tuesday to check higher than expected engine pressure readings. The spacecraft was launched on Aug. 5, 2011 and is due at the Jovian system on July 4, 2016. The timeline depends on a gravity assist flyby of the Earth in October of next year, which the course adjust burn is to enable. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1209/04juno/
5. Essays from this week’s The Space Review examine an absence of discussion from the presidential candidates on space exploration and an enhanced role that telerobotics could play in human exploration.
A. In “Space policy in the campaign shadows,” TSR editor Jeff Foust finds the presidential candidates saying even less about their space exploration ambitions than four years ago. However, President Obama can point to his still unfolding commercial initiatives. Gov. Mitt Romney’s reticence could be linked to a difference of opinion among his advisers, notes one former policy maker. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2149/1
B. In “The next best thing,” Dan Lester examines the promise of telerobotic exploration, the extension of a human exploration presence with robots and sensors. Sending humans 99 percent of the way to exploration destinations could alleviate risk and cost, writes Lester, an astronomer at the University of Texas.
6. From Collectspace.com: Freedom 7, the Mercury capsule that lifted the first American into space, will go on display at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston on Sept. 12. The spacecraft was flown by Alan Shepard on May 5, 1961.
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