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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest news and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. The crew of China’s Shenzhou-10 spacecraft docks and boards the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. In op-eds, former U.S. astronauts and a lawmaker urge policy makers to set politics aside to forge a strong space exploration policy that inspires and triggers valuable innovation. NASA’s inspector general questions the rapid pace of payments to Orbital Sciences Corp. for International Space Station resupply services. United Launch Alliance completes a preliminary design review for the dual engine Centaur upper stage, a component key to its commercial crew launch plans. The Hubble Space Telescope spots an unusual star-planet combination. Making NASA’s Orion/Multipurpose Crew Vehicle reusable. A passport for guests of NASA visitor centers and space museums.
1. From Space.com: China’s Shenzhou-10 docks with China’s Tiangong-1 orbital outpost on Thursday.
A. From Global Times, of China: Shenzhou-10’s two-man, one-woman crew enters the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost.
B. From MSNBC News and Cosmic Log: China’s Shenzhou-10 crew makes perhaps the final visit by astronauts to the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. The prototype Chinese space station will likely be de-orbited later this year.
2. From the Huffington Post: In an op-ed, former NASA shuttle commander Eileen Collins and U.S. Congressman Nick Lampson, of Texas, urge policy makers to move beyond politics to surge ahead with the human exploration of space. Exploration is a valuable source of innovation and youthful inspiration, they write.
A. From The New York Times: In an op-ed, Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin calls for a U.S.-led, international effort to explore space, first by returning to the moon, then establishing a permanent presence on Mars. “Our Earth isn’t the only world for us anymore,” writes Aldrin. “It’s time to seek out new frontiers.”
3. From Space News: NASA’s inspector general questions the aggressive pace of payments to Orbital Sciences Corp., the space agency’s second commercial provider of resupply services for the International Space Station. Orbital Sciences expects to demonstrate it can launch the missions with its Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo carrier later this year. Nonetheless, NASA has already paid the company $600 million to build hardware for future missions.
A. From Spacepolicyonline: NASA criticized for “excessive” early payments to Orbital Sciences Corp. for post space shuttle resupply services to the International Space Station.
4. From AmericaSpace: United Launch Alliance completes a preliminary design review for the dual engine Centaur upper stage it plans to place atop the Atlas V rocket for the launchings of spacecraft developed under NASA’s commercial crew program.
5. From Discovery.com: Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope spot a giant planet orbiting unusually far from its young star. The two are separated by 7.5 billion miles, or twice the distance from the sun to Pluto.
6. From Space.com: NASA strives to make the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, the next U.S. spacecraft developed to carry astronauts on missions of deep space exploration, reusable.
7. From Collectspace: A new NASA visitor center “passport” will allow guests to collect stamps to commemorate their visits. Fourteen museums and visitors centers in nine states are participating in the program that begins with the summer travel season. Some centers host NASA’s fleet of retired space shuttle orbiters.
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