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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest in reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites score a flight test milestone with SpaceShipTwo. Orbital Sciences Corp., NASA’s second International Space Station commercial re-supply service, earns an okay to launch a pivotal demonstration mission on Sept. 17; Orbital mission will honor former NASA astronaut, Orbital executive G. David Low. NASA readies a moon mission probe for a late Friday lift off within sight of the nation’s capital. Scientists and engineers debate changes to NASA second Curiosity Mars rover. NASA prepares a time capsule for the orbiter Atlantis display at the Kennedy Visitor Center Complex in Florida. Space Station astronaut Chris Cassidy shares a keep sake. A Russian cosmonaut bows out. A Japanese space robot greets International Space Station companions. Oscar winning actress Sandra Bullock takes on physical challenges to star in Gravity, a soon to open space thriller.
1. From Forbes.com: Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites complete a successful Mojave, Calif., test flight of SpaceShipTwo. Virgin Galactic looks to 2014 for the start of suborbital passenger missions.
A. From CNET: Virgin Galactic strides closer to suborbital space passenger travel.
B. From Parabolic Arc: Photos of Virgin Galactic’s test flight success.
C. From The Los Angeles Times: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo achieves new heights, breaks sound barrier.
2. From Space News: Orbital Sciences receives NASA’s blessings to lift off Sept. 17 on a pivotal re-supply mission to the International Space Station. With success, Orbital becomes NASA’s second commercial re-supply service for the six person space station. Orbital could be asked to repeat the flight quickly, while NASA’s initial commercial re-supplier, SpaceX, works on a Falcon 9 rocket upgrade.
A. From Collectspace.com: Orbital dedicates demonstration mission to the International Space Station to G. David Lowe, a former NASA astronaut and Orbital Sciences Corp. executive. Lowe died of cancer in 2008.
3. From Virginian Pilot: A look at NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE mission, a space probe scheduled for a launching from Virginia’s eastern shore late Friday. From lunar orbit, LADEE will study the properties of the moon’s thin atmosphere and sharp edged dust particles.
A. From the Baltimore Sun: A primer on observing the scheduled Friday 11:27 p.m., EDT, lift off of LADEE from Virginia’s eastern shore.
4. From Space News: NASA’s plans to launch a twin of the Curiosity rover to Mars in 2020, this time to find and store samples of rock and soil to be returned to Earth and studied at a later date. Cost limits have scientists and engineers discussing whether to make changes in the mobile geologist. Curiosity, which reached Mars in August 2012, is searching for evidence of once habitable conditions on Mars.
5. From the Orlando Sentinel: A shuttle program time capsule will be sealed within the orbiter Atlantis on Sept. 9. On display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, Atlantis offers an historical retrospective on the 30 years of NASA shuttle operations, which came to a close in July 2011.
6. From Collectspace.com: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is among three International Space Station crew members scheduled to descend to Earth next Tuesday after more than five months in orbit. A small astronaut figurine has been along for the ride. Pavel Vinogradov, Alexander Misurkin and Cassidy will descend into Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz spacecraft.
7. From Ria Novosti: Veteran cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov to depart cosmonaut corps, giving up 2015 International Space Station assignment.
8. From ABC News.com: Japan’s Kirobo, the latest robot to take up residence on the International Space Station, says “Hello.”
9. From the New York Times: Academy Award winning actress Sandra Bullock tackles a difficult role in Gravity, a space thriller, scheduled to open Oct. 4.
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