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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex breaks ground on a Florida display venue for shuttle Atlantis. The Air Force prepares for the launching of a military communications satellite late Thursday. The European Space Agency faces a funding challenge. Black boxes for modern automobiles? The number of studies addressing the future of human space flight soar. A SpaceX safety chief departs. Astronomers prepare to image a black hole. The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation selects a National Space Trophy winner. A new documentary examines the disappearing night sky.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: Florida’s lieutenant governor is among the dignitaries who gather Wednesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to break ground on a $100 million display venue for the shuttle orbiter Atlantis. Atlantis and a crew of four returned from NASA’s final shuttle mission in July 2011. http://bit.ly/xtL1fM
A. From the Orlando Sentinel: The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveils the display strategy for Atlantis. The venue is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013. http://thesent.nl/zclnNn
B. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer: Seattle’s Museum of Flight will take ownership of NASA’s full fuselage shuttle trainer during ceremonies at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. A museum gallery featuring the trainer is scheduled to open to the public this spring. http://bit.ly/zhyDko
2. From Florida Today: The U. S. Air Force prepares for the launching of a Delta 4 rocket with a military communications satellite late Thursday. http://bit.ly/wl0psO
3. From the New York Times: The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is ill-equipped to assess the electronics and the electronics software that populate the latest generation of automobiles, the National Research Council concludes in a new study. The study stemmed from a rash of sudden accelerations reported by drivers of Toyota automobiles two years ago. NASA’s assessment of the problem found no defects in Toyota’s electronics. Working off earlier findings, the NRC suggested the addition of black box recorders in new cars to assist in accident investigations. http://nyti.ms/yBU3e7
4. From the Houston Chronicle: It’s been nearly four decades since the last humans left low Earth orbit on a mission of exploration. Since the end of NASA’s Apollo program, 24 blue ribbon panels have attempted to address what should come next, the Chronicle reports. http://bit.ly/zrW7vw
5. From Space News: Space Exploration Technologies safety chief, Ken Bowersox, a former NASA astronaut, has left the company, the trade publication reports. The company’s mission assurance responsibilities are now shared by several people, according to a spokeswoman. http://bit.ly/AfS2Qr
6. From Discovery.com: Astronomers assemble to image a black hole. Their target is the event horizon of the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. http://bit.ly/wkbquf
7. From the Bay Area Citizen of Houston: The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation will present NASA’s Johnson Space Center director, Michael Coats, with the National Space Trophy. Coats is a former space shuttle commander and pilot as well as an aerospace company executive. http://bit.ly/xlET2d
8. From Space.com: The City Dark, a new film documentary, examines how pervasive illumination is progressively wiping away views of the night sky. “I started with a simple question: ‘Why do we need the stars?'” explains filmmaker Ian Cheney. http://bit.ly/Amza4v
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