CSExtra -Top Space News for Monday, November 11
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA’s Space Launch System plans politically, financially in good shape. Orion’s capsule fairing achieves September test success after June difficulties. NASA downsizing efforts to meet budget constraints encounter political resistance. Scott Carpenter’s sense of wonder. The personal passion behind the search for Earth 2.0 and what it means for life here. NASA’s Maven Mars probe affixed to Atlas V launcher for Nov. 18 lift off. India’s Mars mission stumbles. Comet ISON moves within observation with binoculars. U.S., Russian and European astronauts descend to Earth after 5 1/2 months aboard International Space Station. Spacewalking cosmonauts exchange Olympic torch outside the International Space Station on Saturday. European GOCE satellite falls to Earth — without reports of injuries. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to spotlight Commercial Crew Program successes. Florida economic development officials hold out hope for post shuttle, high tech automobile manufacturing venture. NBC and Virgin Galactic agree to programming for first SpaceShipTwo passenger flight. A look at major space activities scheduled for the week ahead.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Space News (11/8): NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program, a heavy lift rocket designed to start future explorers on missions of deep space exploration, appears to be in good shape both politically and financially, ATK Chief Executive Officer Mark DeYoung told investors and analysts on a Nov. 7 earnings call.
Spaceflight Insider (11/8): NASA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin overcome a June rocket fairing separation problem. The problem, which surfaced in June, was overcome in September ground testing to keep plans for a first unpiloted flight test of the Orion spacecraft on schedule for September 2014. The fairing protects the Orion capsule’s service module, the SM’s radiator and solar arrays.
From Hearst Newspapers via the San Francisco Chronicle (11/9): As NASA attempts to downsize a coast to coast network of installations forged during the Apollo era, it is running into political opposition at the local level. In the meantime, NASA is responsible for maintenance expenses for an underutilized infrastructure. Some lawmakers are proposing a realignment that could lead to closings.
Boulder (Colo) Daily Camera: In an op-ed tribute to the late Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, writer Clay Evans recalls the spirit of adventure and wonder that Carpenter, a Colorado native, brought to the early days of human space exploration. “Even as he approached the end of his life, Scott Carpenter held out hope that the United States would find the will — and the wonder — to take the next steps into outer space, a moon colony and a manned mission to Mars.” Carpenter died on Oct. 10. He was 88.
New York Times (11/08): Lonely Planet traces the brief history of the search for Earth 2.0, alien planet candidates with conditions suitable for life. Billings’ efforts touch on the lives of the people at the center of the modern search and their commitment. Times science correspondent and author Dennis Overbye reviews.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Spaceflightnow.com (11/8): The next U.S. mission to Mars, NASA’s Maven spacecraft, is affixed atop its Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Maven will study the red planet’s upper atmosphere and interactions with the solar wind.
Times of India (11/11): India’s Mars Orbiter Mission falters during the fourth of six orbit altitude raising maneuvers. India’s flight control team schedules another boost in the plan to gradually increase the velocity of the spacecraft which was launched last week.
New Yorker (11/8): India attempts Mars on the cheap with the just launched Mangalyaan, also known as the Mars Orbiter Mission. Price tag $73 million and a strategy that relies on recycled rocket hardware and lots of software backed testing. The goal: study the Martian surface and check for methane, a biomarker.
Spaceweather.com 911/9) Comet ISON hurtling toward a brush with the sun late this month is now visible in the skies of Earth with binoculars. Other comets visible as well. Also, the latest on solar flares.
Low Earth Orbit
CBS News (11/10): U.S., European and Russian crew members Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano and Fyodor Yurchikhin descended safely to Earth late Sunday aboard their Soyuz capsule after 166 days in orbit aboard the International Space Station.
Ria Novosti: Returning space station astronauts carry ceremonial Olympic torch back to Earth.
CBSNews (11/9): An unlit ceremonial torch associated with the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, passed between two spacewalking cosmonauts during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Saturday.
Collectspace.com (11/9): The aluminum red and silver torch, which for the exception of a tether is identical to the 14,000 torches being used in the traditional terrestrial relay now a month underway in Russia, arrived at the space station on Thursday (Nov. 7)
Ria Novosti, of Russia (11/9): The initial camera views captured Kotov waving the torch against the backdrop of blue-and-white orb of the Earth. Cosmonauts then carefully passed the torch to one another, making sure that the rarity item is safely secured to their spacesuits.
Spaceflightnow.com (11/10). The European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite makes an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere late Sunday, breaking apart across the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctic. No reports of damage or injury. Entry time around 7 p.m., EST.
Associated Press via Yahoo.com (11/9): European GOCE satellite plummets to Earth without reports of injury or damage. Launched in March 2009, GOCE studied the Earth’s gravity field and the ocean current circulation patterns. Out of fuel, it was destined for a destructive re-entry.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
NASA (11/8): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and agency staff will host a forum on the Commercial Crew Program from Washington on Wednesday. The program nurtured the development of two U.S. commercial cargo providers for the International Space Station.
Florida Today (11/9): Visions of a Florida car production venture that could fill a void left by the space shuttle’s retirement advances at a slow pace. Backers, including those who provided state funding, remain optimistic the venture will mature.
Las Cruces Sun News, of New Mexico (11/8): The programming will feature the first flight of SpaceShipTwo, the commercial suborbital space plane developed for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Branson and his adult children, Holly and Sam, are expected to be the first private passengers to fly to space from the Sierra County-based spaceport sometime next year. A prime time special about the flight will air the night before the launch. The day of the flight, a three-hour live event will be hosted on the Today show.
Spacepolicyonline.com (11/10): A summary of the major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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