CSExtra – Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12th, 2012

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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, including a roundup from the weekend. Great Britain decides on a surprise increase in its contributions to the European Space Agency. China looks to mid-2013 for the launching of its next crew to the Tiangong-1 space station crew as well as a robotic lunar lander. Europe’s impressive hurricane forecasting model draws its accuracy in part from U. S. weather satellites. Increased CO2 in the Earth’s upper atmosphere contributes to the accumulation of manmade space debris, say scientists. NASA’s declining astronaut corps looks to new hires in 2013 from an enthusiastic pool of applicants. The Planetary Society joins those urging U. S. President Obama to endorse ground breaking new human and robotic space missions. NASA’s twin Radiation Storm Belt missions are re-named for the late American physicist James Van Allen. An Ariane 5 rocket orbits European and Brazilian satellites. A look at major space policy related activities scheduled for the coming week.


1. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Nov. 9: The United Kingdom, in a surprise, announces plans to increase its contributions to the European Space Agency by 25 percent over the next five years. The move is intended to attract high tech jobs and strengthen the UK’s position in the satellite and telecommunications market.

2. From of China, Nov. 10: China aims for a June launching of its next human crew to the Tiangong-1 orbital space lab. The Shenzhou-10 crew will likely include two men and a woman. A 15-day mission is planned.

A. From, Nov. 9:  The timing of China’s next human mission to the Tiangong-1 space station supports Beijing’s methodical approach to exploration.

B. From China Daily, Nov. 11:  Beijing aims for a mid-2013 launching of the Chang’e 3 mission, a lunar lander. China’s Chang’e1 and Change’2 lunar orbital mapping missions were launched in 2007 and 2010.

C. From, Nov. 9: China’s work with the Shenlong space plane prompts speculation in the United States. The air launched vehicle has some similarities to the U. S. Air Force X-37B.

3. From The Houston Chronicle, Nov. 9:  A European forecasting model proved most accurate in predicting Hurricane Sandy’s destructive course. However, the model would lose much of its critical precision without U. S. satellite data, according to Jean-Noel Thepaut, chief of the Data Division of the Research Department at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

4. From, Nov. 11: Accumulations of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s upper atmosphere contribute to accumulations of space debris in worrisome orbits, according to a new study published in Nature Geoscience. The CO2 accumulations cool and contract the atmosphere at high altitudes.

5. From USA Today, Nov. 9:  NASA’s astronaut corps drops to 52 personnel a year after the shuttle’s retirement, approximately a third of its peak in 2000. The agency plans to hire about 15 candidates next spring from a collection of nearly 6,400 applicants — an indication that interest in the profession remains high.

6. From Space, Nov. 9: The Planetary Society urges President Obama to pursue ground breaking human and robotic space missions. In 2014, the administration should restore NASA’s  planetary science program budget to $1.5 billion. Spending in the proposed 2013 U. S. budget was cut from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion.

7. From, Nov. 9:  NASA renames the twin Radiation Storm Belt satellites it launched in August for James Van Allen, the scientist for whom the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts are named.

8. From, Nov. 10: An Ariane 5 rocket successfully launches European and Brazilian satellites from French Guiana on Saturday.

9. From A look at major space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead. The House and Senate return for post election business, which includes addressing the “fiscal cliff” and an extension of commercial launch indemnification.

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