CSExtra – Monday, April 15, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related events from around the world, including developments from the weekend. Aerospace industry as well as flight crew interest in the 2018 Inspiration Mars mission proposed by Los Angeles investor Dennis Tito takes off. Some predict tensions within NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and Exploration development initiatives under President Obama’s proposed 2014 budget. Russia marks Cosmonautics Day with ambitious plans for a new cosmodrome and big rocket to support human lunar missions. Could NASA’s Skylab space station concept return as a deep space workshop? SpaceShipTwo makes another advance toward powered test flights. Orbital Sciences Corp readies its Antares rocket for a Wednesday lift off. The U. S. Navy announces plans to name a research vessel for Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut. Comet C2013 A1 is unlikely to collide with Mars, new calculations suggest. RESOLVE, a NASA lunar mission, will attempt to extract water from the moon. The Earth greets a solar flare on Saturday. Learn to colonize space, physicist Stephen Hawking urges fellow Earthlings. A look at major space activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 12: Inspiration Mars, the private sector initiative recently proposed by Dennis Tito to launch astronauts around Mars in 2018, is receiving interest from industry as well as volunteers who would like to fly the challenging 501 day mission. “I think we’re going to be selecting from an incredible set of teams,” predicted one official involved in the ambitious project. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_04_12_2013_p0-568289.xml
A. From The Colorado Springs Gazette, April 14: The private sector and non-profits flex their deep space exploration ambitions during the 29th annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs last week. Budget restrictions kept many from NASA and the U. S. Department of Defense from attending the gathering. http://www.gazette.com/articles/earth-153473-space-organize.html
B. From Space.com, April 14: Golden Spike outlines a change to its commercial moon exploration plans that could lower the cost and enlarge the market. Media marketing each launch like the Olympics might be the key, explains Golden Spike’s Alan Stern. http://www.space.com/20635-private-moon-mission-golden-spike.html
2. From Spacepolitics.com, April 13: Early signals emerge that the 2014 U. S. budget, proposed by President Obama on April 10, could generate tensions between NASA’s Exploration and Commercial Crew initiatives. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/04/13/congressional-tensions-between-sls-and-commercial-crew-fy2014-edition/
A. From Florida Today, April 13: Now is no time to short change NASA’s efforts to foster a commercial crew space transportation capability nor far reaching capabilities to send astronauts beyond low Earth orbit, writes columnist John Kelly. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130414/COLUMNISTS0405/304140025/John-Kelly-Promising-projects-deserve-funding?nclick_check=1
B. From AmericaSpace.com and NASA Spaceflight, April 14: The inaugural launch under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program appears to be slipping into late 2017, the web site reports based on developments from the Flight Planning Integration Panel. http://www.americaspace.com/?p=34159#more-34159
3. From Spacepolicyonline.com, April 12: As Russia marked the 52nd anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first human spaceflight, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged future support for the country’s space program. However, the $70 billion Russia was prepared to commit through 2020, will fall to $51.5 billion. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/putin-pledges-space-program-support-on-cosmonautics-day
A. From Nature News, April 13: Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome will play key roles in Russia’s space future, according to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Human missions could be launching by 2018, a super rocket capable of reaching the moon by 2020. http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/04/russia-announces-new-space-spending-plan.html
B. From Reuters via Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 12: Russia will be prepared to launch its first human mission from the new Vostochny cosmodrome by 2018. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_04_12_2013_p0-568445.xml
C. From Florida Today, April 12: Russians will continue to depart for space from Kazakhstan, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who spoke during a tour of Vostochny, a new national launch complex. http://www.floridatoday.com/viewart/20130413/SPACE/304130015/Russia-continue-using-Kazakhstan-s-space-center
4. From Discovery.com, April 14: NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office, working with Gray Research, examines the possibility of a deep space station based on Skylab, NASA’s Apollo era space station. Skylab II would be fashioned from the upper stage of the new Space Launch System. http://news.discovery.com/space/private-spaceflight/skylab-ii-living-beyond-the-dark-side-of-the-moon-130414.htm
5. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, April 13: SpaceShipTwo advances toward powered test flight in California’s Mojave Desert. Once powered test flights are complete, SpaceShipTwo will move toward suborbital passengers flights. http://spacecoalition.com/blog/spaceshiptwo-moves-forward-to-first-powered-flight
6. From the Associated Press via the Washington Post, April 13: At NASA’s Wallops Island Facility, on the Virginia Shore, Orbital Sciences Corp., readies its first Antares rocket for a test launch on Wednesday evening. Orbital Sciences Corp. is the second participant in NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, an initiative started to foster competing re-supply services for the International Space Station. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/nasas-wallops-island-facility-in-va-prepares-for-global-close-up-with-antares-rocket-launch/2013/04/13/2b4b15da-a44d-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, April 14: A faulty valve assembly surfaces in a countdown rehearsal. Orbital will press on with plans for a Wednesday launching. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/antares/demo/status.html
7. From Collectspace.com, April 14: The U. S. Navy intends to name a new oceanographic research vessel for Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-041413a.html
8. From Universe Today, April 12: New calculations suggest Comet C2013A1 will not impact Mars as it nears in October 2014. http://www.universetoday.com/101437/new-calculations-effectively-rule-out-comet-impacting-mars-in-2014/
9. From Discovery.com, April 12: NASA’s planned RESOLVE mission will attempt to extract water from the one of the moon’s poles. NASA will partner with Canada for the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction mission that will be launched in November 2017. http://news.discovery.com/space/making-water-on-the-moon-130412.htm
10. From Spaceweather.com, April 13: A solar flare, unleashed last Thursday, strikes the Earth’s magnetic field on Saturday. http://www.spaceweather.com.
11. From Space.com, April 13: Earthlings must learn to colonize space to protect the species, astrophysicist and author Stephen Hawking tells a Los Angeles audience. http://www.space.com/20657-stephen-hawking-humanity-survival-space.html
A. From The New York Times, April 12: An astronomy quiz related to space colonization and findings from NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/education/edlife/earth-day-pop-quiz-astronomy.html?_r=0
12. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look at major space policy events scheduled for the week ahead. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/space-policy-events-for-the-week-of-april-14-19-2013
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