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Monday’s CSExtra presents the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Aboard the International Space Station, Saturday offered drama as the six astronauts scrambled to power Europe’s recently docked ATV-3 supply capsule to prevent a premature jettison. Central Florida continues to deal with the economic shock of the shuttle program’s retirement. Many workers still cannot believe the absence of a program to take its place. In California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory braces for cuts in the agency’s planetary science program. Astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson appears on CNN’s Global Public Square on Sunday to explain the link between space exploration and advances in science, technology and economic growth. March brings record heat to much of the eastern U. S. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden backs billionaire Jeff Bezos’ plan to recover the Saturn V first stage engines from the Apollo 11 mission. Orion/Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle components make their way to the Kennedy Space Center for a 2014 flight test. The U.N. offers a reference for the space resources it relies on to assess global threats, including climate change. Martian haze. China and Russia launch rockets. A look at space-related activities scheduled for the coming weeks.
1. From CBS.com, Mar. 31: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station and their global flight control team scrambled on Saturday to extend power to the European Space Agency’s newly docked ATV-3 supply craft. The backup power link was established, lowering prospects that the unpowered ATV-3 would have to be jettisoned on Monday afternoon. The automated transfer vehicle docked late Wednesday, delivering more than seven tons of supplies. The astronauts hustled early Saturday to off load high priority cargo in case the capsule had to be jettisoned, well before its scheduled late August departure.
A. From Rianovosti, April 1: ESA’s ATV-3 ignites rocket engines Saturday, following the resolution of a power system problem, to raise the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbit adjustment prepared the station for the departure and arrival of Russian cargo and crew capsules in April and May.
2. From CBS.com, April 1: 60 Minutes returns to Central Florida to examine the economic fall out from NASA’s 2011 space shuttle retirement. Seven thousand workers lost their jobs. The tough times have not subsided for many, 60 minutes reports.
A. From the Orlando Sentinel, Mar. 31: It’s been eight months since NASA’s final space shuttle mission, an event linked to thousands of job losses in Central Florida. CBS’s Sixty Minutes returned in early 2012 to re-examine the impact, and found the adjustments to recession emblematic of the situation across the nation. “People found it more difficult than they expected,” CBS correspondent Scott Pelley tells the Sentinel.
3. From the Los Angeles Times, Mar. 31: It’s the best and the worst of times for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The JPL-built Mars Science Laboratory is barreling toward an April 5/6 landing on the red planet, where it is to spend two years assessing the planet’s habitability. At the same time, the Obama Administration is seeking a cut in NASA’s planetary science program.
4. From CNN’s Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria, April 1: Neil deGrasse Tyson guests with his message: investments in space exploration can drive advances in science and technology that improve life on Earth, drive the economy.
A. From the San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 31: In an interview with the California newspaper, Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a case for space exploration as an important cultural force for embracing the value of science and driving a vibrant economy. Tyson, an astrophysicist, is the author of the recently published Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.
B. A. From the Los Angeles Times, Mar. 30: Will.i.am, front man for the Black-eyed Peas, embraces a similar theme as he joins with NASA to market a spin off marketing campaign for the benefits fostered by space exploration.
5. From USAToday, April 2: From Minneapolis to Tampa, March set records for daily high temperatures. The Eastern two thirds of the U.S. were in on the early heat wave. In all, 7,500 daily records for high temperatures were set during the month, USAToday reports.
6. From Collectspace.com, Mar. 30: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden endorses plans by billionaire Jeff Bezos to recover Saturn V rocket engines used to launch the 1969 Apollo 11 mission from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
7. From Space News, Mar. 30: Components of the Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Transfer Vehicle capsule destined for an 2014 orbital flight test should arrive at the Kennedy Space Center for assembly by the end of April, according to officials with Lockheed Martin.
8. From the Coalition for Space Exploration, Mar. 31: The United Nations has compiled a resource publication of the satellite programs it uses to assess global threats, including climate change.
9. From MSNBC, Mar. 31: Optical experts point to water haze as the most likely explanation for a mysterious cloud spotted over Mars.
10. From Xinhua of China, Mar. 31: China launches a French communications satellite atop a Long March rocket.
11. From Itar-Tass of Russia, Mar. 30: Russia successfully launches a military satellite atop a Proton rocket.
12. From Spacepolicyonline.com, April 1: A look ahead at major space related activities scheduled for the next two weeks. After a round of March hearings, Congress is in recess.
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