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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, including a look back at weekend activities. A tough economy challenges, perhaps threatens, future human exploration efforts. Speculation grows over a new commercial space prospecting venture involving Internet, software and aerospace veterans. An un-piloted Russian Progress re-supply craft docks with the International Space Station. Sunday marked Earth Day, sparking debate over the future of the planet, its resources and a growing population. The embattled, Florida-based non-profit group selected by NASA to attract research to the International Space Station maps out a new strategy. Orbital Sciences Corp. looks to slip its first cargo delivery mission to the space station to late 2012. Northern California witnesses a loud meteor display. A look at space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Discovery.com, April 23: NASA’s efforts to further U. S. space exploration must contend with a difficult budget environment, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver informs National Space Symposium audiences in Colorado Springs last week. International cooperation and NASA’s nurturing of new commercial space initiatives are helping the agency through the difficult period, Garver explains.
A. From The Houston Chronicle, April 20: In an op-ed, former NASA Johnson Space Center director Chris Kraft and Tom Moser, a former Johnson engineering director, contend that the administration’s Space Launch System threatens to bankrupt future human space exploration, stalling efforts to develop planetary landers, habitats and rovers. Johnson’s future and Texas jobs are at stake, they write. The SLS heavy lift rocket will be paired with the Orion/Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle for humans mission to deep space destinations, under President Obama’s strategy.
B. From Spacepolitics.com: April 21: As shuttle Discovery made its way from Florida to the nation’s capitol last week for public display at the Smithsonian Institution, one Washington columnist saw the transfer as a symbol of a declining national commitment to space exploration. White House Science and Technology advisor John Holdren and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden see instead, a bright future.
C. From Rianovosti of Russia: Humans will reach Mars in the first half of this century, predicts a prominent Russian scientist, Anatoly Grigoryev, deputy chief of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Grigoryev was among those who orchestrated the multi-national Mars500 Project that simulated the isolation of a 500 plus day mission to Mars and back. Grigoryev’s timeline approximates the 2030s time frame laid out by U. S. President Barack Obama.
2. From Forbes.com, April 20: Major Internet and software billionaires team with aerospace visionaries to forge a commercial asteroid mining strategy. Participants include Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Microsoft software developer Charles Simonyi as well as the Ansari X-Prize’s Peter Diamandis.
A. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, April 21: Planetary Resources looks to add “trillions of dollars” to the Global Gross Domestic Product” with its space mining vision.
B. From the Wall Street Journal, April 20: Planetary Resources founders plan to unveil more details from Seattle on April 24.
3. From Rianovosti of Russia, April 22: Russia’s 47 Progress mission successfully docks with the International Space Station, delivering 2.8 tons of propellant and supplies. The spacecraft was launched Friday.
4. From The Los Angeles Times, April 22: NASA imagery of the Earth, collected from space over the decades, reveals the changes made by a growing global population to the planet. The Earth’s population surpassed the seven billion in October — with no sign of letting up.
A. From the Washington Post, April 22: In many ways, the Earth’s growing population seems better off than ever — healthier and longer lived, even as concerns rise over the adequacy of future resources. It’s called the environmentalist’s paradox.
B. From The Huntsville Times, April 21: A new camera, ISERV, developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is scheduled to take its place on the International Space Station this summer to accelerate the collection of Earth imagery. The imagery promises to help with disaster response planning around the globe.
C. From CNN, April 22: As part of weekend Earth Day celebrations, CNN offers a selection of the Earth imagery snapped by Italian astronaut Paulo Nespoli during his recent six month stay on the International Space Station.
5. From Collectspace.com, April 20: NASA ways weather will delay efforts to transport the test orbiter Enterprise from Dulles International Airport to New York City. Enterprise is on its way from the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
6. From Space News, April 20: CASIS, the troubled Florida non-profit selected by NASA to pull science projects into the National Laboratory assets of the International Space Station vows a renaissance in the strategy it employees to match experiments with resources and launch opportunities.
7. From Spaceflightnow.com, April 20: Orbital Science Corp outlines plans to carry out a NASA fostered test cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in late 2012. Competitor SpaceX plans to lift off on April 30 on the first attempt by a U. S. commercial company to deliver supplies to the orbiting science lab on May 3.
8. From the Associated Press via Yahoo News, April 22: A loud noise across northern California to Nevada early Sunday that rattles homes and frightens a young child is linked to a meteor shower, according to experts. The Lyrid meteor shower was prominent this weekend.
9. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look a key space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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