CSExtra – Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. In Iran, officials offered a surprise announcement on Monday: the successful launch and recovery of a rocket with a primate. Scientists suggest high altitude bacteria and fungi may influence the Earth’s weather. Would NASA’s Space Launch System ambitions fare better as a private sector initiative? Russia attempts to revive its planetary mission prowess. U. S. entrepreneurs aim for the asteroids. Remembering the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia astronauts. Russia and Kazakhstan attempt to mend fences over the Baikonur Cosmodrome. South Korea readies a third attempt to launch a spacecraft into orbit. The European Space Agency outlines ambitious plans for spacecraft investigations of Mars and Venus.
1. From The New York Times: Iran reports it launched and recovered a primate on Monday. The suborbital flight is a prelude to human mission, Tehran claims.
A. From Reuters via Aviation Week & Space Technology: Iran’s primate mission raises new concerns in the West over Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions.
B. From Spacepolicyonline.com: U. S. State Department officials are unable to confirm Iranian primate launch.
C. From Xinhuanet.com, of China: Iran offers few details of the primate mission but claims the spacecraft was recovered.
D. From The Fars News Agency, of Iran: Iran’s mission capsule and primate passenger reached an altitude of 360,000 feet before recovery.
E. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Iran reports plans to place an astronaut in space in five to eight years.
F. From Space.com: A look back at the history of primate space missions. In the U. S., moneys blazed a trail into space for the first astronauts.
2. From The Los Angeles Times: Surprising numbers of bacteria and fungi flourishing at high altitudes may influence the Earth’s weather, according to a report from the National Academy of Sciences.
3. From Spacepoliticsonline.com and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required): In a WSJ op-ed, commercial space advocate Robert Walker, the former congressman, and Charles Miller, call on Congress to cancel NASA’s development of the Space Launch System, a rocket intended to start U.S. astronauts on deep space missions. The commercial sector could handle the development less expensively, Walker and Miller contend.
4. Two essays from The Space Review find Russia attempting to revive its planetary mission science and management capabilities and U. S. start ups looking toward the asteroids for new business ventures.
A. In “A Russian moon,” Dwayne Day finds Russia growing more interested in the moon, with orbital and lander missions planned. China plans a lunar lander mission this year. Though robotic, it could be the first spacecraft from Earth to soft land in more than 40 years. Currently, NASA is flying the only active lunar orbiter.
B. In “Asteroid mining boom or bust?” TSR editor Jeff Foust examines what appears to be similar business case for Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources. Last week, Deep Space became the second venture to outline a strategy for mining the asteroids for resources. Planetary Resources debuted last year. Both plan to start with small reconnaissance missions before looking to more ambitious asteroid encounters.
5. From Space.com: This week, the space community set memorials to the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, 17 men and women who gave their lives to pioneer human space flight.
A. From Scientific American: As a child, Challenger astronaut Ron McNair dared to dream of spaceflight. .McNair, the second African American to launch on a NASA spacecraft, became a physicist and talented musician.
B. From Slate.com: Space exploration brings crucial rewards in spite of the risks.
6. From The Voice of Russia: Russia and Kazakhstan confront issues over Russia’s use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the launch complex used to support the International Space Station with crew and cargo missions. Most of the issues deal with launchings of the Russia’s Proton rocket and its toxic fuel load.
7. From the Yonhap News Agency of South Korea: South Korea nears a third attempt to demonstrate a domestic satellite launch capability. Previous attempts to achieve the capability in 2010 and 2009 failed. The causes of the mishaps remain largely unexplained.
8. From Space.com: The European Space Agency’s ambitious agenda for 2013 includes a map of Mars created with data gathered by ESA’s Mars Express mission. The map will identify regions of the red planet with minerals potentially formed in water. Mars Express will also make a close pass to the Martian moon Phobos. ESA’s Venus Express will dip into the atmosphere of Venus to demonstrate aero braking.
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