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CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden testifies before House appropriators on the agency’s proposed 2015 budget. Tuesday’s lengthy hearing featured questions on the security of sensitive technologies, commercial crew funding and support for the Asteroid Redirect Mission. Emerging NASA authorization bill bans work on Asteroid Redirection Mission. Astronaut vision issues could influence U.S. human deep space exploration plans. U.S. Space and Rocket Center debuts new student planetary rover competition. Russian official says his country has no intention of escalating U.S. space sanctions. Terrestrial tensions could give way to new models of space exploration, according to op-ed. Russian Progress re-supply mission scheduled to launch, dock with International Space Station on Wednesday. Gus Grissom’s Mercury capsule headed to Germany for fall exhibit. International Space Station crew embraces Instagram. NASA notes progress in preparations for commercial crew launches from Florida. SpaceX, Orbital Sciences adjusting launch of International Space Station re-supply missions in response to U.S. Air Force Eastern Range tracking station repairs.

NASA 2015 Budget and Policy

Bolden and House appropriators spar on various issues (4/8): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden defended NASA’s $17.5 billion 2015 budget request on Tuesday during a 3.5 hour appropriations hearing before the House Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee.  Hot topics include funding required under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to nurture competing U.S. human orbital transportation services by 2017, the agency’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission and cooperation with Russia.

House hearing generates heat, but Bolden stays on message — fund commercial crew (4/8): Hearing also focused on NASA security practices, which drew criticism from HCJSS chair Frank Wolfe last year. At times during Tuesday’s hearing NASA Administrator Charles Bolden took issue with assertions from Wolfe and others. Throughout, Bolden urged the panel to fund the agency’s Commercial Crew Program to keep it on pace for a 2017 inaugural mission, restoring a U.S. human launch capability lost with the shuttle’s 2011 retirement.

Report questions NASA centers’ security protocols

Florida Today (4/8): Sensitive U.S. space technologies have been compromised by lax security, according to a report prepared by the National Academy of Public Administration.  U.S. Frank Wolfe, chair of the House Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee, an appropriations panel, raised security concerns last year. Findings were presented to the subcommittee on Tuesday.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Like last year, new House NASA bill prohibits development of Asteroid Redirect Mission (4/8): Pending 2014 NASA authorization bill would prohibit the space agency from spending on the Asteroid Redirect Mission unveiled by the Obama Administration and NASA in 2013. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Space Subcommittee is scheduled to markup the measure on Wednesday.

Possible Mars mission ‘showstopper’: Vision risks for astronauts (4/8): Scientists focus on identifying the basis for the blurred vision experienced by some astronauts assigned to long duration missions. The syndrome could be linked to the fluid shift that occurs as the human body acclimates to weightlessness. Six in 10 assigned to long duration flight report the difficulty.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

New course, new name, new rules as NASA’s Human Exploration Rover challenge draws near

Huntsville Times (4/8): Huntsville, Alabama’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center will debut the NASA Human Exploration Rover challenge this weekend. For two decades the contest, open to high school and college students, was known as the Great Moon Buggy Race. The competition was altered to envision humans and rovers on Mars.

Awesome alignment: Mars, Earth, sun to line up (video)

USA Today (4/8): Earth, sun and Mars to reach “opposition” next Tuesday. Mars, appearing as a reddish point of light, should be visible most of the night as it moves across the sky overhead.

Low Earth Orbit

Space Station cooperation with NASA to continue — Russian official

Ria Novosti, of Russia (4/8): Russian official says his country will not escalate the U.S. sanctions on cooperation with Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency.  “We are in no way raising the question or trying to develop a response [to NASA's sanctions] because we don’t see any grounds for it,” said Denis Lyskov, Roscosmos deputy chief. The sanctions were announced last week.

Future space efforts don’t have to look like the past

NBC News (4/9): The events and partnerships that forged the International Space Station may give way to new realities. Tensions between the U.S. and others and Russia over Ukraine may hasten new models for space exploration nurtured by cheaper launch costs, advances in robotics and other themes, according to an op-ed.

Fresh cargo ship set for launch to space station (4/8): Russia’s Progress 55 resupply mission to the International Space Station is set for a six hour sprint today. Lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is set for 11:26 a.m., EST, docking at 5:20 p.m., EST.

Mercury space capsule shipping overseas for German art exhibition (4/8): Liberty Bell 7, the spacecraft that carried the second American into space, Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom, will go on display this fall in Bonn, Germany at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany. The small spacecraft was submerged for nearly 40 years after Grissom’s 15 minute 1961 flight.

NASA astronaut posts first ever Instagram from space

Houston Chronicle (4/8): NASA astronaut Steve Swanson breaks new social media grounds with first Instagram post. Swanson posts a selfie.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Notebook: Plans proceed for crew launches from KSC

Florida Today (4/5): NASA Commercial Crew Program partners SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada make progress on individual fronts in competition to launch U.S. astronauts from Central Florida.

SpaceX to launch robotic capsule to Space Station next week (4/8): SpaceX regroups for the launch of its third resupply mission to the International Space Station under a NASA commercial agreement. Lift off is set for April 14, following a delay for the repair of damage to a U.S. Air Force Eastern Range tracking facility near the Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch site.

NASA eyes June launch for next Cygnus cargo mission (4/8): Delay in third SpaceX Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station may move the launch of Orbital Sciences’ next space station resupply mission from early May to mid-June.

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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