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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the world. At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA managers will meet today to set a date for the launching of the final space shuttle flight. The last mission has policymakers debating the shuttle’s place in history. A small asteroid passes close to the Earth on Monday. It’s only a matter of time before we are struck by an asteroid — small or large, say experts. NASA scrambles to comply with a Senate document request. A look at the White House national space policy a year after its introduction. An encounter with alien life is decades away, according to a Russian astronomer. A new comet could light up the night sky in 2013. Russia launches a military spy satellite.
1. From Florida Today: At the Kennedy Space Center, top NASA managers meet today to set an official launch date for the launching of orbiter Atlantis on NASA’s 135th and final shuttle mission. On the eve of the Flight Readiness Review, the agency said technicians are on track for a July 8 lift off at 11:26 a.m., EDT. In recent days, the shuttle’s external fuel tank stringer section has cleared an X-ray screen in search of cracks. A leaky shuttle main engine fuel valve has been replaced as well. The 12-day mission will deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
A. From USAToday: A look at the triumphs and the disappointments of NASA’s space shuttle era. Though expensive to launch, the reusable shuttle represented an advance. Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether the nation intends to replace the shuttle system with something more capable, say experts.
2. From Space.com: The bus-sized asteroid 2011 MD zipped within 7,500 miles of the Earth on Monday. This space rock was detected June 22 and though it soared close to the surface of the southern Atlantic Ocean, it never posed a collision threat.
A. From Time.com: It’s only a matter of time before the Earth is struck by fast moving asteroids. We may be over due for an encounter for a local to regionally disastrous strike, the magazine reports.
3. From Florida Today: Last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee threatened to subpoena NASA documents related to the development of a new heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System, and other hardware for human exploration. A Monday deadline came and went without a confrontation. A NASA spokesman said the materials are being accumulated in response to the committee’s wishes.
4. From The Space Review: In “The National Space Policy, One Year Later,” TSR Editor Jeff Foust notes this week’s first anniversary of the policy unveiled by the White House a year ago this week. He turns to a forum on the topic sponsored by the Secure World Foundation for a report card that produced mixed grades. He finds progress in the areas of assured space access and rocket procurements. However, implementation has lagged behind in addressing the orbital debris threat and export control reform. Implementing new policies is difficult when there are provisions that conflict with existing programs, Foust notes.
5. From Reuters via Yahoo.com: In Moscow, a Russian astronomer predicts that an Earthly encounter with alien life is certain within the next two decades. It is as certain as the formation of atoms, says Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Applied Astronomy Institute
6. From Space.com: A new comet, C/2011L4(PANSTARRS) may light up the night skies as it cruises through the inner solar system in 2013. The comet was discovered June 5-6 using a terrestrial telescope.
7. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Russia launches a military reconnaissance satellite aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Plesetsk space center in the country’s northern region.
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 www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at Info@spacecoalition.com.