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CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Alabama congressman asserts White House prepared to under fund development of the NASA Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. NASA embraces a capability driven framework for future human deep space exploration. NASA teams working seven days a week to prep first unpiloted Orion test flight by end of 2014. Advocate makes case for a lunar base. Sluggish economy altering U.S. space sector future. Astrophysicists find evidence for gravity waves, a sign of post big bang inflation. International Space Station maneuvered to avoid space debris. Checking China on anti-satellite weapons test. Shaping a space code of conduct that is fair to the commercial space sector. U.S. Sen Bill Nelson sounds call for Commercial Crew Program spending in response to tensions with Russia over Ukraine. Planet Labs announces plans to expand its Earth observing fleet of CubeSats.

Human Deep Space Exploration

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks says Obama White House ‘seriously underfunded’ Space Launch System in 2015 budget (photos)

Huntsville Times, of Alabama (3/17): U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, of Alabama, claims the White House is underfunding development of NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, which is intended to send U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration. The White House budget request for fiscal year 2015 seeks $1.38 billion to develop SLS, vs the $1.6 billion for 2014. Anything less in 2015 will delay development plans, said Brooks. While visiting the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville last week, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden disagreed. The agency is asking for what it needs to stay on a development schedule, said Bolden.

Creating capability foundations for NASA’s exploration roadmap (3/17): NASA embraces a capability-driven framework that requires the agency to select celestial destinations based on future space and ground systems’ capabilities rather than designing space and ground systems’ capabilities based on destinations. Capabilities in development or on the drawing board could take humans to lunar orbit, support an asteroid encounter and eventually a mission to the Martian surface, the web site reports.

Orion boosters build anticipation

Florida Today (3/18): NASA’s Kennedy Space Center teams are working seven days a week to prepare first unpiloted flight of Orion crew capsule by the end of 2014. Mission, though, slipping from September/October to December to accommodate a U. S. military mission. “…as soon as we get our opportunity, we’re going to be launching that vehicle on its first flight test, and that is pretty darn amazing.” Kennedy’s director says Monday.

It’s time to return to the moon, former NASA division chief says

Fox News (3/17): “The prospect of establishing a permanent presence on the moon would be a game-changer for the human race,” according to Gene Grush, a former propulsion and power division chief at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “If we can make it there, we could start to understand what it really takes — from both the design and human survival perspective — to live on a foreign body.” The network plans a five part series on how America could return humans to its closest planetary neighbor.

It’s the cost

Space News (3/17): The U.S. space sector, civilian as well as military, must cope with change or shrink, cautions Gary Oleson, a veteran engineer, in an op ed. The U.S. is faced with its slowest year by year growth since World War II, he notes. “The federal space sector thus faces a stark choice: Reduce unit costs or produce less,” he says. “By reducing unit costs I mean reducing full life-cycle costs while maintaining or increasing the quantity, quality and reliability of the results produced.”

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

Space ripples reveal Big Bang’s smoking gun

New York Times (3/17): Researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announce compelling new evidence for the theorized Big Bang and a force that caused the universe to swell enormously just after.

Inflation rides gravity waves into cosmological history

Science News (3/17): Harvard astrophysicists spot evidence for long sought signature of gravity waves that accompanied the theorized big bang from which the universe emerged.

Gravitational waves provide strong evidence for inflation (3/17): South Pole observatory finds compelling evidence for inflation after big bang. Finding accounts for observations of a universe expanding faster than the speed of light.

How astronomers saw gravitational waves from the Big Bang

Nature (3/17): Harvard astrophysicist John Kovac explains the gravitational wave discovery.

Low Earth Orbit

Space station moves away from space junk

Associated Press via Washington Post (3/17): U.S. and Russian ground control teams coordinate an evasive maneuver of the International Space Station on Sunday night, NASA announces on Monday. Alerted, the three astronauts on board slept as debris from a former Soviet weather satellite passed without incident.

Through a glass, darkly: Chinese, American, and Russian anti-satellite testing in space

Space Review (3/17): The Obama administration should do more to spotlight evidence of a Chinese anti-satellite system test launch in May 2013, writes Brian Weeden, a technical advisor for Secure World Foundation, in a lengthy essay. The exposure could mobilize global outrage over the destabilizing test, he writes.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Nelson argues for commercial crew, Brooks and Shelby seek more money for SLS (3/17): NASA briefs some members of Congress on how tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine might impact space relations, reports U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida. Concerns merit more money for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, an initiative to nurture U.S. private sector transportation for astronauts to the International Space Station, says Nelson. The U.S. pays Russia for Soyuz rides now.

Regulatory effects of the International Code of Conduct on commercial space

The Space Review: (3/17): Consideration of an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities should be carefully assessed for its impact on commercial space activities, writes Michael Listner, a U.S. expert in space law, in an essay.

Planet Labs secures funding to launch another 72 satellites

Space News (3/17): The San Francisco based company’s new CubeSats will join 28 of the small Earth observing spacecraft launched from the International Space Station in February. With 100 of the satellites, Planet Labs can photo the entire Earth every 24 hours.

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 or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].


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