CSExtra – Monday, July 2, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. A former NASA astronaut dies following a Florida jet ski accident. Kazakhstan welcomes three International Space Station crew members back to Earth, after a 193 day journey for the Russian, American and European astronauts. The National Research Council assesses NASA’s strategic direction — in response to a Congressional mandate. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center marks its 50th anniversary over the weekend. What drives the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence? Virgin Galactic’s White KnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo carry out test flights over California’s Mojave area. The Space Propulsion Group advances hybrid rocket motor development. NASA’s space shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer reaches Seattle’s Museum of Flight, following an airlift from Houston. A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 delivers a National Reconnaissance Office satellite to orbit. . NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is barreling toward a suspenseful Aug. 5/6 landing in Gale Crater. A look at major space policy events scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Collectspace.com, July 2: Former NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter dies following a Florida jet ski accident. The naval aviator, commanded and piloted shuttle supply and assembly missions to the International Space Station in 2010 and 2008. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-070212a.html
2. From Space.com, July 1: International Space Station crew members Don Pettit, of NASA, Oleg Kononenko, of ROSCOSMOS, and Andre Kuipers, of the European Space Agency, descend to Earth after 193 days in orbit. Their Soyuz spacecraft lands under parachute in southern Kazakhstan. Pettit and Kuipers were instrumental in the success of the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the space station during their voyage. http://www.space.com/16377-space-station-astronauts-land-soyuz-capsule.html
3. From Space News, June 29: NASA, with its 10 field centers, may be too large for its current mission, according to experts who testified last week before the National Research Council on the space agency’s strategic direction and mission. Congress ordered the study. NASA’s inspector general turned to the NRC to carry out an assessment due lawmakers in January. Among those offering testimony were current and past NASA administrators. “I would be less than honest if I told you we need everything we have,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told the Committee to Review NASA’s Strategic Direction on June 27. “We don’t.” http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120629-nrc-mulls-ctr-consolidation.html
A. From Spacepolitics.com, June 30: Increasingly, NASA’s future is constrained by a mixture of steering currents resistant to change, according to Mark Albrecht, who was the White House staff lead for the National Space Council during President George H. W. Bush’s administration. Albrecht addressed a Washington space policy forum last week. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/06/30/nasas-problem-with-farmers-the-committee-and-tinkerbells/
4. From Florida Today, June 30: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center celebrates its 50th anniversary as the space agency’s launch site for human space exploration. http://www.floridatoday.com/section/space04
A. From Florida Today, June 29: In an op-ed Kennedy’s director Robert Cabana notes the U.S. still has much to discover in space. Kennedy will remain the linchpin gateway to that discovery, Cabana writes. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120701/COLUMNISTS0205/307010006/Robert-Cabana-vibrant-future
5. From The Washington Post, June 29 : If we don’t search, we will miss the opportunity to find out, explains Jill Tarter, the U. S. scientist most closely associated with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, in a guest column. Tarter retired recently from the SETI Institute to raise money for the quest. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-im-not-giving-up-on-the-search-for-extraterrestrial-life/2012/06/29/gJQAbAeJCW_story.html
6. From Parabolic Arc., June 29: Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic carry out test flights of the White KnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo air and spacecraft in the Mojave, Calif., area last week. http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/06/29/spaceshiptwo-glides-for-second-time-this-week/
A. From Parabolic Arc.com, June 29: Photos of SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo during flight tests last week near Mojave, Calif. http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/06/29/awesome-photos-of-virgin-galactics-spaceshiptwo-in-flight/
7. From Space.com, June 30: A hybrid solid rocket motor, developed by the Space Propulsion Group of Sunnyvale, Calif., achieves a milestone ground test firing. Fueled by paraffin and liquid oxygen, the 22-inch rocket motor carried out its longest test to date. SPG is seeking efficient green technology alternatives to traditional chemical rocket propulsion systems for military, civil and commercial space applications. http://www.space.com/16378-hybrid-rocket-motor-test-spg.html
8. From Collectspace.com, July 1: Seattle’s Museum of Flight receives NASA’s shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer for public display. The mock up was once housed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., as an astronaut training tool. The FFT was flown to Seattle aboard NASA’s Super Guppy transport aircraft. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-070112a.html
9. From CBS News, June 29: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV delivers a National Reconnaissance Office satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Fla. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/nrol15_launch.html
10. From the Pasadena Sun of California, July 1: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover is barreling toward an Aug. 6 landing at Gale Crater on the red planet. Back on Earth, flight controllers must wait seven minutes to learn the dramatic outcome. http://www.pasadenasun.com/news/jpl/tn-pas-0701-how-nasa-jet-propulsion-laboratory-will-park-curiosity-on-mars,0,953614.story
11. From Spacepolicyonline.com. July 1: A look at major space policy related events scheduled for the week ahead. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-july-2-6-2012
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