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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest space related reporting and commentary from around the world. NASA’s Kepler space telescope resumes it search for alien planets, following a hiatus to checkout a spacecraft pointing problem. South Korea becomes only the 11th nation to launch its own satellite. A NASA/contractor team readies the latest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite for lift off. Evidence accumulates for a subterranean water source on Mars. Cosmonauts on the International Space Station demonstrate laser communications. Former NASA astronaut Jerry Ross offers a personal reflection on the Columbia tragedy and why the losses of life deserve an ambitious human space exploration agenda. A device for extracting water and other resources from the moon receives a check out. U. S. Sen. Richard Shelby fends off critics of NASA’s Space Launch System. In Florida, supporters rally to establish a state owned launch complex near the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. An asteroid will speed close to Earth in mid-February.
1. From Space.com: NASA’s Kepler space telescope resumes its nearly four-year-old search for alien planets. The search was interrupted several days ago by a problem with the observatory’s attitude control system. On Earth, experts are still investigating the source of a friction buildup in reaction wheels.
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: South Korea succeeds in launching a satellite into orbit with rocket hardware comprised of Russian as well as domestic components. The lift off of the Korea Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Naro Space Center occurred Wednesday at 2 a.m., EST. Similar efforts failed in 2010 and 2009.
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: In Florida, NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance ready the TDRS-K communications satellite for lift off late Wednesday. The spacecraft represents the first addition to NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network in a decade. The constellation of seven spacecraft supports voice and data relay needs of the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s fleet of Earth observing satellites.
4. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: Evidence accumulates for subterranean water source on Mars and underground environments suitable for biological activity.
5. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station use laser communications to transmit data to Earth, the Russian federal space agency announces.
6. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: Former NASA astronaut and author Jerry Ross reflects on the shuttle Columbia loss a decade ago Friday with vivid memories of waiting for the crew’s return to the Kennedy Space Center. The loss of 17 astronauts from Columbia, Challenger and the Apollo 1 fire underscore the sacrifices made to sustain human space exploration with a bold agenda, Ross writes. He is the first human to launch into space a record seven times.
A. From Space.com: The Columbia tragedy that claimed the lives of seven astronauts changed the way NASA develops future human spacecraft, agency experts explain.
7. From The Atlantic: RASSOR, short for Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot, could be the device that extracts water and fuel from the moon.
8. From The Huntsville Times: U. S. Sen. Richard Shelby, the Alabama Republican, vows to win funding for NASA’s Space Launch System, the heavy lift rocket that could start astronauts on future deep space missions. Shelby reacted to critics who believe NASA should turn to the commercial sector for its propulsion needs.
9. From The Orlando Sentinel: In Florida, officials urge NASA to release land for a state-owned commercial launch complex near the Kennedy Space Center. A state owned facility might spare commercial launch companies schedule conflicts with NASA and U. S. Air Force operations.
10. From USA Today: The equivalent of the asteroid responsible for the 1908 Tunguska blast will speed past the Earth on Feb. 15. The space rock DA14, measuring half the length of a football field will pass harmlessly, according to NASA expert Don Yeomans.
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