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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers a collection of the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities. China looks to June for the launching of the country’s fourth human spaceflight. In the U.S., policymakers ponder the future of human spaceflight, with tight budgets an influencing factor. Power companies confront an increase in solar activity. Arianespace launches telecommunications satellites for Japan and Vietnam. The Pentagon seeks help from NASA in solving a puzzling problem faced by X-22 pilots. Russia’s 30 Soyuz mission is expected to dock with the International Space Station early Thursday with American Joe Acaba among the three crew members. Why did the former high school teacher bring a small Smokey the Bear figure with him?
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: China looks to June for the launching of the nation’s fourth human spaceflight mission. The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, with a crew of three, will attempt a manual docking with China’s Tiangong 1 space station. The crew may include a woman. The identities of the crew and the length of the mission have not been announced.
2. From Space News: In an op-ed, Chris Carberry tracks the dilemma confronting U. S. space policymakers. It’s shaped by big dreams for the future, but a lack of resources and a leadership confronted with challenges on other fronts. The situation is not much different in Europe, Russia, China and Japan. The best we can do, Carberry writes, may be to keep our sights set on Mars until the environment improves. Gilbert is a visiting scholar at the George Washington University Space Policy Institute.
A. From Discovery.com: Is the NASA fostered U. S. commercial space race drawing to a close? The House version of NASA’s commercial crew development initiative raises the possibility.
B. From Space.com: U. S. aerospace companies ponder their options, as NASA considers who to fund in the initiative to foster U. S. commercial crew transportation services. The agency hopes to award development funding to at least two companies this summer under the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative. SpaceX plans to continue with its development efforts, whether it receives funding or not. Boeing is unsure. Others face the same choice.
C. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: NASA, adjusting to funding constraints, is unlikely to launch another robot rover to Mars until 2020. NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, which is headed toward a landing on the red planet in early August and a two year mission, will have to suffice.
3. From the Wall Street Journal: Power companies brace for an increase in solar activity. An intense solar storm could disrupt power grids, leading to interruptions in service as well as losses in revenues.
4. From NASAspaceflight.com: An Ariane 5 launches communications satellites for Japan and Vietnam from French Guiana.
5. From the Associated Press via the Washington Post: The Pentagon seeks assistance from NASA and Navy experts in solving a puzzling problem with the U. S. Air Force F-22. Some pilots experience dizziness and symptoms of oxygen shortage while flying the high performance stealth fighter. A remedy has eluded the military for months, prompting some pilots to refuse to take to the air.
6. From Collectspace.com: Remember Smokey the Bear?. NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba is carrying a small Smokey figure aboard Russia’s 30 Soyuz mission, which is on its way to a docking with the International Space Station early Thursday.
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