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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, plus a roundup of weekend activities. Russia meets with success during a second attempt at an International Space Station docking system test. Japan’s HTV-3 automated re-supply craft docks with the space station. Does NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory’s Aug. 6 landing represent a day of reckoning. Houston and Cape Canaveral look up a year after the final shuttle mission. China test fires a propulsion source for its next major rocket. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter finds photo evidence for five of the six Apollo mission flags. One Russian rocket lofts four satellites. Time for the Perseid meteor shower. Denmark steps toward a private suborbital passenger rocket capability. A look at major space policy related events scheduled for the week ahead. Fighting for space in the U. S.
1. From Space.com, July 28: Russia’s second attempt to re-dock the un-piloted Progress 47 re-supply craft with the International Space Station meets with success late Saturday. The test exercised the KURS-NA automated rendezvous system prototype that Russia plans to place aboard future Soyuz crew as well as Progress cargo craft.
2. From CBS news, July 27: Japan’s third re-supply spacecraft, the HTV-3, reaches the International Space Station. Astronauts capture the 33 foot long spacecraft with Canada’s robot arm as it moves within 40 feet of the station on Friday.
3. From Florida Today, July 29: NASA faces a “day of reckoning,” as the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover barrels toward an Aug. 6 landing/ or crash on the Martian surface, according to a Florida Today report. The report notes: “The pressure is on, the historical probability of failure is 67 percent, and for the U.S. space program, the stakes could not be higher.” MSL is aiming for Gale Crater and a two year mission to determine if Mars hosts habitable environments.
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, July 29: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity lander adjusts its course slightly early Sunday. The one ton lander is a week from its landing in Mars’ Gale Crater near the base of Mount Sharp.
4. From the Houston Chronicle, July 29: In an editorial, The Chronicle finds NASA’s Johnson Space Center committed to space exploration one year after the agency’s final shuttle mission. “The space agency and the Johnson Space Center are very much alive,” according to the editorial, which adds, “It has been a while since NASA has had a ‘Wow!’ moment.”
A. From CNN.com, July 28: A look at Central Florida’s rebound one year after NASA’s long running shuttle program comes to a close. “There is life after KSC, I promise you it will go on” notes one former shuttle manager, who started his own lawn care business. “You just got to get up and go to work.”
5. From The Atlantic, July 27: “Fight for Space,” a proposed documentary with a decided edge, looks at the future of U. S. human space exploration. The documentary is in search of financial backers.
6. From Xinhuanet of China, July 29: China tests a powerful rocket engine for the Long March 5 rocket. It becomes only the second country in the world, after Russia, to grasp the core technologies for an LOX/kerosene high-pressure staged combustion cycle rocket engine, the news service reports. A flight test is possible in 2014.
A. From The Huntsville Times, July 29: NASA looks to an upgrade of a Saturn V Apollo moon rocket F-1 first stage engine as a propulsion source for the new Space Launch System. NASA is developing the SLS to start future human explorers on missions of deep space exploration.
7. From Collectspace.com, July 29: Photos from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission suggest all but one of the six U. S. flags planted by the Apollo mission crews still stand. The missions were flown between mid-1969 and the end of 1972.
8. From Ria Novosti of Russia, July 27: Russia launches a cluster of four satellites, one of them for the Russian military, atop Rokot booster from the Plesetsk space center.
A. From Space.com, July 27: The annual Perseid meteor shower is coming in mid-August. But there are some other less known showers in the wings as well.
9. From Space.com, July 27: Danish space enthusiasts move ahead with plans for a human suborbital rocket system.
10. From Spacepolicyonline.com, July 29: A look ahead at major space policy related events scheduled for the week ahead.
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