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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden fortifies the NASA Advisory Council with new members. Marshall Space Flight Center’s future focused on Space Launch System, the heavy lift rocket that will start U.S. astronauts on future missions of deep space exploration. Scientist finds Mars a candidate for food crops. NASA Mars orbiter spots Curiosity rover on exploratory trail. More lunar eclipses coming. SpaceX, NASA set Friday for next attempt at Dragon cargo mission launch. Forthcoming documentary explores astronaut’s silent bravery. Russian aerospace executive focus of theft investigation. Russia turns to around the clock construction of new Vostochny space launch center. Egyptian reconnaissance satellite takes flight on Russian rocket.
Human Deep Space Exploration
NASA (4/16): New NAC members serve with chair Steve Squyres. They are Wanda Austin, Wayne Hale, Scott Hubbard, Miles O’Brien, Thomas Young, and Kathryn Schmo.
Alabama Public Radio (4/16): NASA’s Marshall Space Center Director Patrick Scheuermann points to the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket as the installation’s future focus. “What we’ve embarked upon now is the next great ship that’ll take us even further into the oceans of space, and that’s the Space Launch System, an incredibly powerful rocket,” says Scheuermann.
Spacepolitics.com (4/17): General Accountability Office finds NASA achieving funding, scheduling stability in major programs. Nonetheless, the congressional auditors urge diligence with management of the James Webb Space Telescope, Space Launch System, Orion and Commercial Crew. Problems in those complex initiatives could ripple throughout the agency, according to the GAO. One issue: ICESat-2, an Earth observing spacecraft, which will likely miss its 2017 launch date because of complex instrument suite.
Coalition for Space Exploration (4/15): Dutch scientist convinced Martian soil suitable to grow fresh foods for humans. Technologies could be developed within a decade, says plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen UR.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Discovery.com (4/16): Imagery from NASA’s high resolution Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals trail as Curiosity maneuvers among the rocks of the Martian terrain.
Los Angeles Times (4/16): More lunar eclipses like those of Monday night coming to the night skies. Oct. 8 is next in a series.
Low Earth Orbit
CBS News (4/16): SpaceX plans second attempt to launch nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station on Friday at 3:25 p.m., EDT. Launch attempt Monday was scrubbed in response to first stage helium leak. Launch plans open opportunity for U.S. spacewalk to replace faulty computer controller outside of space station next Wednesday
Spaceflightnow.com (4/16): SpaceX re-supply mission will provide legs for Robonaut-2, the “seventh” International Space Station crew member. The NASA developed humanoid was launched to the space station in 2011. Legs will give R-2 new internal mobility.
Houston Chronicle (4/16): New documentary will tell NASA astronaut Rich Clifford’s story from diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to final space shuttle mission. The Astronaut’s Secret, his saga, is meant to inspire.
Itar Tass, of Russia (4/17): Authorities suspect theft in case of Russian aerospace company executive. Losses of $1.1 million suspected, according to report.
Ria Novosti (4/16): Round the clock construction planned for new Far Eastern Vostochny space launch center. Vostochny will host Russia’s soon to debut Angara rocket. New launch complex intended to reduce Russia’s reliance on its main Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
Spaceflightnow.com (4/16): Launch of satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will provide Egypt with Earth imagery for environmental, scientific and military applications.
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