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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest in reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. plus a roundup of happenings from the weekend. With the U. S. fiscal cliff looming, the aerospace community raises concerns about a potential loss of capabilities and jobs. In Kazakhstan, Russia prepares a Soyuz rocket for a launching early Wednesday to the International Space Station with U. S., Canadian and Russian crew members. Former astronaut Tom Jones outlines an alternative to a U. S. goal of reaching a near Earth asteroid with human explorers by 2025. In Pensacola, Fla., the Navy marks key U. S. space anniversaries that led to the nation’s first orbital and final lunar landing space missions. In the U.S., commercial space supporters face questions over qualifying passengers to meet the rigors of space flight. China carries out a successful close-up survey of the asteroid Toutatis. Researchers introduce a new lighting to the International Space Station to ease insomnia. Controllers ease a Russian launched communications satellite into an operational orbit, following a booster failure. Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the first planetary flyby, Mariner 2’s cruise past Venus. A look at space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From USA Today, Dec. 15: In the U. S., NASA and NOAA civil space initiatives are in peril if the nation cannot reach a budget compromise before the Jan. 2 fiscal cliff, writes Mark Kelly, the retired NASA astronaut, in an op-ed.
A. From Florida Today, Dec 15: Columnist John Kelly sounds concerns, based on a report from the Aerospace Industry Association, that NASA and NOAA face long standing economic damage if the U. S steps over the Jan. 2, fiscal cliff.
B. From ABC Radio News, Dec. 15: The Aerospace Industry Association estimates that more than 20,000 professionals who work for NASA and NOAA could lose their jobs, if Congress and the White House fail to resolve the Jan. 2 Fiscal Cliff.
C. From Bloomberg News, Dec. 14: The impasse over the Fiscal Cliff has the nation’s business community unnerved, according to Robert Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s chairman and CEO.
2. From Itar-Tass, of Russia, Dec. 17: A Soyuz rocket reaches a launch pad in Kazakhstan over the weekend. It’s poised for launch on Wednesday with U. S., Canadian and Russian crew members to the International Space Station. Lift off is set for 7:12 a.m., EST.
3. From Space Politics.com, Dec. 16: In Washington, former NASA astronaut Tom Jones outlined an alternative to NASA’s goal of reaching a near Earth asteroid with explorers by 2025. In response to constrained budgets, NASA would spearhead an effort to robotically capture a small asteroid and place it in Earth orbit. There, NASA could work with the commercial sector in learning how to extract resources from the space rock, said Jones in remarks at the Space Policy and History Forum.
A. From USA Today, Dec. 15: Mercury astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, and Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, reminisce over the weekend at a Pensacola, Fla., gathering at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
4. From Time Magazine, Dec. 14: The emergence of commercial space passenger travel is likely to include health criteria and requirements for medical checks.
5. From NBC.com and the Cosmic Log, Dec. 15: China’s camera carrying Chang’e moon probe carried out a successful flyby of the asteroid Toutatis on Dec. 13. China now joins the U. S., Europe and Japan as the only space powers to have cruised by an asteroid with a spacecraft. China’s encounter took place about 4.4 million miles from the Earth.
A. From Space.com, Dec.14: NASA’s Deep Space Network gathers radar imagery of Toutatis as it sailed past the Earth last week.
6. From Space.com, Dec. 14: A new source of high tech lighting aboard the International Space Station should facilitate sleep, according to researchers.
7. From Ria Novosti, of Russia, Dec. 15: Control teams succeed in nudging an oil company communications satellite into the desired orbit after a recent Russian rocket upper stage failure stranded spacecraft in a low altitude.
8. From National Public Radio, Dec. 14: NASA’s Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to reach another planet a half century ago.
A. From Science News, Dec. 13: Astronomers worldwide turned their cameras towards the sun in June for an opportunity to observe Venus as it made a rare transit.
9. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Dec. 16: A look at space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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