CSExtra – Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, including those from the U. S. Memorial Day weekend. Russia prepares to launch U.S., European as well as Russia astronauts to the International Space Station. Aerojet looks to a roll in NASA’s Space Launch System, the super rocket that could start human explorers on deep space mission. Lunar craters may hold samples of alien terrain. In Washington, Congress questions NASA’s plans to corral a small asteroid as a stepping stone to a future human Mars expedition. NASA’s Curiosity rover renews the search for organic compounds in the Martian rocks and soil. Some lawmakers question NASA’s use of flexible Space Act Agreements to further the agency’s goals. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry signs legislation to accommodate a potential SpaceX commercial launch site in South Texas. In Florida, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV takes flight with a military communications satellite. A shared enthusiasm for space passenger travel could bring billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos together on the topic. In Washington, scientists say studies of other planets may help answer questions about terrestrial climate change. A look at space policy events planned during the week ahead.
1. From CBS News and Spaceflightnow.com, May 27: A Russian Soyuz crew transport awaits a lift off from Kazakhstan on Tuesday at 4:31 p.m., EDT, with NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, of the European Space Agency. They will head for a 10:17 p.m. docking with the International Space Station and a five to six month tour of duty.
A. From Itar-Tass, of Russia, May 26: RSC Energia places a Soyuz rocket on the launch pad for a late Tuesday launching of U.S., Russian and European astronauts Karen Nyberg, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Luca Parmitano to the International Space Station.
B. From Florida Today, May 27: NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg plans to balance life in space with care of a 3-year-old son, Jack, on Earth. Nyberg is married to fellow NASA astronaut Doug Hurley. Phone calls, emails and video conferences will help them stay in touch.
2. From The Sacramento Bee, of California, May 26: Aerojet develops propulsion systems for NASA’s Space Launch System, the super rocket that could start American astronauts on missions of deep space exploration.
3. From Space News, of May 24: The House Space Subcommittee, in a hearing last week, questioned NASA’s plans to corral an asteroid as a next step in the human exploration of Mars.
A. From Universe Today, May 24: Experts look to the Moon or cislunar space as more favorable than an asteroid as an affordable precursor to launching U. S. asteroids to Mars.
B. From MSNBC News and CosmicLog, May 24: In Hawaii, and soon in Texas, volunteers begin to evaluation food, clothing and activities to deal with separation from Earth – issues astronauts launched on missions to distant destinations, like Mars, will face. So far, wraps and vegetables rank as the top of food choices.
C. From Universe Today, May 25: The Arctic, with its cold dry conditions, offers a potential terrestrial analog for a lengthy human Mars mission.
4. From Spaceflightnow.com, May 27: On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover renews its search for evidence of organic compounds in the rock and soil at Gale Crater. The discovery of organics would lend more evidence that Mars once and possibly still possesses conditions for life.
5. From Florida Today, May 26: NASA’s growing use of Space Act Agreements, now numbering more than 1,500, to advance the agency’s objectives has drawn the attention of Congress and the agency’s inspector general. Some lawmakers question whether the flexible agreements compromise safety.
6. From The Brownsville Herald, of Texas, May 24: A bill favorable to SpaceX and signed before Memorial Day by Texas Gov. Rick Perry will assure the closing of a South Texas beach prior to rocket launches. Hawthorne, Calif., based SpaceX is considering Brownsville as the potential site for a future commercial launch complex.
7. From Spaceflightnow.com, May 24: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV places a U. S. military communications satellite into Earth orbit.
8. From USA Today, May 27: A shared passion for space passenger travel may bring billionaires Richard Branson, of Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos, of Blue Origins, to a discussion of their pursuits, Branson told a business group in Montreal.
9. From The Huffington Post, Space.com and Astrobiology Magazine, May 25: Studies of the solar system’s rocky planets and Earth-like worlds circling other stars may help to explain a wider phenomenon of climate change, say scientists.
10. From Discovery.com, May 26: Lunar craters may host debris from distant sources in the solar system, perhaps even bits of the early Earth.
11. From Spacepolicyonline.com, May 26: A look at major space policy activities planned through June 7.
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