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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. More on NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver’s decision to leave the space agency. Experts assess her impact. Garver predicts White House will nominate a successor. At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Space Florida facilitates a possible Department of Defense tenant for a pair of former space shuttle hangers. United Launch Alliance sends a Delta IV rocket into orbit with a military communications satellite. Japan’s HTV-4 re-supply capsule heads for a rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station early Friday. NASA gathers proposals for uses of the Kepler space telescope in case efforts to recover the observatory’s precision pointing are unsuccessful. NASA plots a speculative mission to Europa. What’s next for NASA’s one-year-old Mars Curiosity rover? Technologist develops new trajectory analysis tool for planetary exploration.
1. From The New York Times: Departing NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver was often the public face and lightning rod for criticism of the Obama administration’s efforts to push NASA in new directions, according to The Times.
A. From Space News: In a brief exit interview, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver predicts that President Obama will nominate a successor. She steps down formally on Sept. 6.
B. From Space News: Speculation grows over a possible successor to departing NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.
2. From Florida Today: Space Florida, a state economic development group, advances efforts to place a Department of Defense tenant in two hangars at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and used previously by the space shuttle program. The tenant may be the U. S. Air Force’s secretive and un-piloted X-37B reusable space plane.
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: United Launch Alliance sends a Delta IV rocket with a military communications satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., late Wednesday.
4. From New Scientist: Japan’s HTV-4 re-supply capsule is on course to reach the International Space Station early Friday. The cargo includes four CubeSats, compact satellites equipped with Earth remote sensing instruments, ready for deployments from the station’s Kibo module.
5. From Space.com: While in the midst of efforts to recover the Kepler space telescope. NASA asks scientists to propose alternate missions for the observatory in case the recovery is unsuccessful. Kepler has experienced multiple reaction wheel failures that prevent the precision pointing required for its alien planet search.
A. From The Huffington Post: Though large, Exoplanet GJ 504b appears to have the lowest mass of any alien planet discovered so far. The find outlined in the Astrophysical Journal is challenging theories of solar system formation.
6. From Discovery.com: NASA gazes into the future to ask what it would take to land a spacecraft on the Jovian moon Europa and investigate the prospects for life there.
7. From The Los Angeles Times: What’s next for NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover after its first year in Gale Crater. The rover will scale Mount Sharpe, a peak that rises from the center of the crater, to seek more evidence of habitable environments.
8. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: A new computer tool plots planetary mission trajectories with greater efficiency. The software was developed by Jacob Englander, a technologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
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