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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Seminal to the success of NASA’s Apollo explorations of the moon, the Saturn V F-1 rocket engine awaits an upgraded comeback, perhaps as part of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket in development to start humans on new missions of deep space exploration. The moon is the next step for humans, according to an op-ed. Inspiration Mars transitions from private to public in its bid to send two humans around the red planet within five years. James Webb Space Telescope promises to accelerate race to find earliest star systems. NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover conquers electrical short. Comet ISON nears a fateful encounter with the sun on Thanksgiving Day. NASA weighs new first light for Kepler mission. China picks Jade Rabbit as name for lunar rover. Far out space photo exhibit opens in Rochester, N.Y. Russia launches a Progress supply capsule to the International Space Station. Department of Defense embraces Air Force plan to upgrade U.S. space fence. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains how his book An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth came together. SpaceX faces launch delay. Arianespace, of France, considers price cuts. Maryland and NASA sign tech, economic development agreement.
Human Deep Space Exploration
The Space Review (11/25): The cluster of F-1 rocket engines that powered the Saturn V rocket of NASA’s Apollo program are legendary. They remain options for future U.S. heavy lift strategies, including enhanced versions of the Space Launch System, the heavy lift rocket NASA is developing for future human deep space exploration. Essayist Dewayne Day examines the life and enduring promise of the F-1.
Space News (11/25): A lunar base is the next step for the human migration into space, writes Hayn Benaroya, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, at Rutgers University, in an op-ed. It’s a step with less risk than Mars. Lunar resources will help to support the expense, he writes.
The Space Review (11/25): Once proposed as a private venture to launch two –male and female explorers — on a 500 day mission that would swing around Mars following an early 2018 lift off, Inspiration Mars, is now looking to NASA and Congress for significant government assets, including a Space Launch System send off and about $700 million. ”Now, Tito’s Inspiration Mars Foundation has undergone a trajectory correction maneuver of sorts,” writes TSR editor Jeff Foust. Tito is Dennis Tito, an early U.S. space tourist and the principle behind Inspiration Mars. The correction maneuver is away from a private to a government enabled endeavor.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
USA Today (11/23): The race among astronomers to gather images of the earliest galaxies in the aftermath of the big bang has been intensifying since a 2009 upgrade to the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists are now finding examples within the first 450 million light years of the explosion that created the universe. The launching of the James Webb Space Telescope in late 2018 is expected to bring them even closer.
Computerworld (11/25): NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover resumes its exploration of Gale Crater on Mars. The work was interrupted by a short circuit traced to the rover’s nuclear power source. Further interruptions are not anticipated. Curiosity landed in August 2012 to kick off a two year primary mission to determine if the red planet once hosted a habitable environment.
NASA (11/25): NASA satellites capture Comet ISON as the icy solar system body barrels toward a Thanksgiving Day encounter with the sun. If ISON emerges intact, it will make a bright appearance in the night skies of the Earth.
PBS News Hour (11/25): Stargazers can expect a night sky treat, if Comet ISON survives a brush with the Sun on Thanksgiving Day. ISON would be visible to the naked eye by the first to second week of December as it passes close to the Earth on its way to the distant solar system.
Christian Science Monitor (11/25): Comet ISON is on track to pass through the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, on Thursday. The encounter is expected to provide scientists new insight into the high temperatures of the sun’s corona and possibly other clues about solar mechanics.
NASA (11/25): After a productive four years in space, NASA’s Kepler exo-planet hunting space telescope was hobbled in May by a second reaction wheel failure. Three rather than two of the pointing devices are required to continue Kepler’s search for Earth-like planets circling in the habitable zones of distant stars. In response, the Kepler team has developed an innovative strategy that will use pressure from sunlight to help steer Kepler and enable the planet search to resume. A high level decision on whether to proceed is expected soon.
Xinhuanet of China (11/26): Yutu translates to Jade Rabbit, according to the news service. China’s Chang’e 3 mission with a lunar lander and rovers is nearing a December lift off. The name, which has a peaceful connotation, was among 190,000 suggestions submitted by the Chinese to the nation’s space agency.
New York Times (11/26): Two exhibitions, the History of Space Photography and Astro-Visions reach the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., for display. The exhibit of 150 images runs Jan. 12, 2014.
Low Earth Orbit
Space.com (11/25): Russia launches the Progress 53 cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan late Monday. The freighter, filled with nearly three tons of fuel, food, water, research gear and holiday gifts, is on a course to reach the six person station on Friday. Along the way, the capsule will carry out tests of a new rendezvous sensor for future Soyuz crew transport as well as cargo missions.
Space News (11/25): The Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force find agreement on plans to upgrade the U.S. Space Fence, the network or ground-based radars that tracks objects in orbit around the Earth, including the manmade debris that poses a collision threat to the International Space Station. A new contract should be awarded in April, according to USAF Gen. William Shelton, who leads the Air Force Space Command.
Collectspace.com (11/25): Astronaut Chris Hadfield became the first from his native Canada to command the International Space Station, a milestone that capped a lengthy career among U. S., European, Japanese and Russian astronauts. His new book, An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth, was penned before his 2012-13 flight and afterwards, he recounts in an interview with the website.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
Florida Today (11/25): A series of technical problems stall a bid by SpaceX to launch a telecommunications satellite. A second attempt is scheduled for Thanksgiving.
Space News (11/25): Europe’s Arianespace launch services consortium informs customers it is prepared to lower costs in response to SpaceX, the U. S. rival. The French company has a more than 50 percent share of the current global commercial launch market, Space News reports. The call came as SpaceX was preparing to reach geosynchronous orbit with a telecommunications satellite from U. S. soil for the first time in four years. The Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch was delayed by technical problems.
Baltimore Sun (11/25): NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the State of Maryland sign an agreements to leverage space technology for economic development.
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