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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. U.S. government shutdown taking wider toll on federal science, contractor jobs, including pre-launch testing of the James Webb Space Telescope. Human mission to Mars would generate enthusiasm for math and science among young Americans, according to veteran planetary scientist. Led by a former NASA astronaut, 100-year Starship project aims for nearest star. NASA Jupiter bound Juno mission exists safe mode Friday, following Oct 9 flyby. Latest U.S. lunar probe, LADEE, enters instrument check out phase. Joint deep space mission featuring NASA solar sail technology demonstration readied for early 2015 launching. British entertainer Sarah Brightman anticipating International Space Station visit in 2015. Feature film Gravity scores big at the box office for a second week, stirring new talk of human space exploration and a SNL parody. Studies of Mexican meteorite suggests material from exploded star contributed to newly formed solar system. Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield joins faculty of Waterloo University. SpaceX reaches new heights with Grasshopper flight, but delays two commercial Falcon 9 mission to address upper stage issues. A look at space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From SpacePolitics.com: Impact of U.S. government shutdown spreading, witnesses tell U.S. Senate Commerce Committee during Friday’s hearing. Impacts spread across NASA, NOAA and the FAA, which licenses commercial space launches. Some committee members urge U.S. aerospace companies to be more vocal about the impacts.
A. From the New York Times: Work to ground test the $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope in a Maryland test facility is halted by the U.S. government shutdown. “It’s just sitting there twiddling its thumbs,” said Matt Mountain, the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute. The JWST, designated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is targeted for a late 2018 launch, following a series of NASA cost and management reforms.
B. From Space.com: U.S. government worker furlough sidelines NASA research activities that range from microgravity, to astronomy and aeronautics.
C. From the Wall Street Journal: Furloughed government workers, forced to stay away from their offices during the U.S. government shutdown, NASA among them, jockey to stay in touch with their day to day professional duties.
D. From the Houston Chronicle: U.S. government shutdown threatens to take larger and larger toll on NASA contractors at the Johnson Space Center.
2. From the Huffington Post: The human exploration of Mars would spur a new generation of young Americans to embrace the STEM fields, as an older generation did in response to the Apollo missions, writes Pascal Lee, planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute.
A. From AmericaSpace.com: Mars Society seeks volunteers for one year analog mission to the red planet. Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station positioned on Devon Island in northern Canada. Analog crew will focus on science experiments and self-sufficiency during simulation.
3. From the Houston Chronicle: 100 Year Starship project aims for human space travel to nearest star. Fueled by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency grant, 100 Year Starship seeks to overcome the social and cultural as well as the technical obstacles to human stellar space travel. ”All my life, I’ve liked challenges,” says Mae Jemison, the former NASA astronaut who leads the organization. In 1992, Jemison became the first African American woman in space.
4. From Universe Today: NASA’s Jupiter bound Juno probe exits safe mode late Friday. The spacecraft carried out a crucial Earth flyby two days earlier to increase its velocity to its Jovian destination on July 4, 2016. Juno transmits images of the Earth taken during the approach from deep space.
5. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Experiment Explorer, LADEE, carries out a weekend orbit adjust. Now circling the moon in a polar orbit, LADEE will undergo a month long instrument check out phase. The $280 million mission was launched on Sept. 6.
6. From the Coalition for Space Exploration: DISCOVR, a U.S. multi-mission solar sentry spacecraft clears a recent development milestone. Launch is planned for early 2015 launch. The mission also features NASA next solar sail technology demonstration mission, Sunjammer. Once DISOVR reaches the L-1 Earth/Sun Lagrangian point, Sunjammer will deploy a 13,000 square foot solar sail to demonstrate propellant less propulsion and navigation capabilities for future deep space missions.
7. From the St. Paul Press, of Minnesota: British entertainer Sarah Brightman looks forward to a 2015 trip to the International Space Station as a spaceflight participant.
8. From the Washington Post: The feature film Gravity scores a second successful weekend at theater box offices. Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly addresses the reality of the space drama in a review.
A. From the New York Times: In an editorial, the New York Times notes the dramatic villain in Gravity, space debris, is an issue still in search of a solution.
B. From The Washington Post: Gravity, more than a feature film? WP opinion writer David Ignatius places the new film drama about astronauts stranded in orbit on a scale with 1968′s 2001: A Space Odyssey. ”….our sodden political dysfunction is tuning out the cosmos,” he writes. “Maybe tumbling helplessly in space is how we will remember life in October 2013.”
C. From Forbes.com: Gravity scores impressive $44.2 million second weekend at the box office.
D. From the Houston Chronicle: NBC’s Saturday Night Live opens with parody of Gravity and the U.S. government shutdown.
9. From Space.com: Studies of the Allende meteorite that fell to Mexico in a 1969 fireball suggest a stellar explosion contributed material to the solar system soon after it formed.
10. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Russian observatory in New Mexico spots kilometer wide near Earth asteroid. 2013 TB80 poses no threat to the Earth, however, said a Russian expert.
11. From MacCleans: Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield joins the University of Waterloo as a profession of aviation. Hadfield was the first from his country to command the International Space Station.
12. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: SpaceX’s Grasshopper prototype reaches 2,440 feet in an Oct. 7 test flight in McGregor, Texas. The testing is part of company founder Elon Musk’s efforts to develop a reusable first stage for the Falcon 9 rocket.
A. From NASASpaceflight.com: SpaceX re-schedules a pair of commercial launches to respond to an upper stage re-start issue that surfaced during the inaugural launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 on Sept. 29.
13. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look at space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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