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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. In Switzerland, experts say they are prepared to address the hazards posed by orbital space debris. Aboard the International Space Station, an astronaut and a robot with a human appearance, Robonaut 2, shake hands in space for the first time. In Russia, experts suggest using the space station to simulate long human interplanetary missions. NASA, faced with funding cuts in its Mars science program that will force it to withdraw from two joint missions with the European Space Agency, looks for less expensive alternatives. The Hubble Space Telescope spots a massive black hole in an unlikely place. LightSquared regroups after an unfavorable FCC ruling on its proposed wireless system.
1. From USA Today: The Swiss propose CleanSpaceOne, a mission to rid Earth orbital space of some of the hazardous man made debris that has accumulated over the past half century. Launched in three to five years, the mission would begin by removing two aging Swiss satellites from orbit. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/story/2012-02-15/swiss-janitor-satellite/53103008/1
2. From collectspace.com: Wednesday marked the first time a human, NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, and a humanoid, or robot with human qualities, shook hands in space. http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum30/HTML/000991.html#021512a
3. From Voice of Russia: Russian spaceflight officials back the use of the International Space Station to simulate human interplanetary missions. That could mean longer stays aboard the orbiting science laboratory for human crews. http://english.ruvr.ru/2012/02/15/66140907.html
A. From Space.com: A look for a common thread in a series of difficulties including mission losses that have confronted Russia’s space program in 2011-12. They include a recent ground test failure that destroyed a Soyuz crew transport capsule. Years of modest funding and the loss of experienced personnel may be a factor, according to two experts interviewed by the website. http://www.space.com/14588-russian-space-failures-larger-problems.html
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA’s proposed budget for 2013, unveiled earlier this week, includes a cut in planetary science that has prompted NASA to withdraw from two joint Mars spacecraft projects slated for launches in 2016 and 2018. However, representatives from NASA’s space science, human exploration and chief technology divisions are discussing whether they can combine resources for a less expensive mission that would contribute to NASA’s future exploration objectives. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/nasa-science-officials-news-not-entirely-bleak-for-mars-pu-238-restart-still-needed
A. From the La Canada Valley Sun of California: Hundreds of workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory face job losses if NASA’s Mars program is cut back, as proposed in the agency’s 2013 budget. http://www.lacanadaonline.com/news/tn-vsl-0216-nasa-budget-cuts-threaten-jpl-mars-exploration,0,7704851.story
5. From Wired.com: The Hubble Space Telescope spots a super massive black hole in what seems an unlikely place. Astronomers believe they have an explanation. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/02/lone-black-hole-survivor/
6. From POLITICO.com: LightSquared regroups after the Federal Communications Commission rules earlier this week that the privately funded company’s wireless network would interfere with GPS transmission vital to the military and others. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72909.html
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