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CSExtra – Top Space News for Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30th, 2014

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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA readies Orion capsule for first unpiloted test launch in December. NASA carries out Mars landing technology test flight over the Pacific, declaring success. Russia extends offer of space cooperation to China. Layered ice and dust at the Martian north pole could hold clues of climate change. NASA prepares carbon observing satellite mission for launch early Tuesday. Robonaut 2, a three-year resident of the International Space Station, prompts technology advances. Espresso coming to the space station. NASA extends commercial crew development agreements for two U.S. companies. India launches French Earth-observing satellite. Houston official outlines spaceport plans. Russia scrubs first launch of post-Soviet Angara rocket family. A look ahead at upcoming space-related activities.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Orion EFT-1 Work Progressing Toward Dec. 4 Launch Attempt

AmericaSpace (6/29): NASA brings unpiloted Orion capsule and Delta IV rocket together for first unpiloted test flight in December. Slated for Dec. 4, the launch will send Orion around the Earth twice for a demonstration of flight, re-entry and ocean recovery systems.

NASA launches ‘flying saucer” for tests of Mars entry technology

CBS News (6/29): NASA carries out Low Density Supersonic Decelerator experiment on the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Test Facility, a collection of air braking and parachute technologies that could increase the mass of payloads delivered to the Martian surface in support of future human exploration.

Parachute Glitch Curtails “Flying Saucer” Test Flight

SEN (6/29): Parachute difficulties mark conclusion of Mars landing technology flight test over Pacific Ocean.

Russia, China Ready to Cooperate in Space, Explore Mars

Ria Novosti of Russia (6/30): Russia ready to join with China for human exploration of the moon and Mars, deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin tells the the First Russia-China Expo in China. “If we talk about manned space flights and exploration of outer space, as well as joint exploration of the solar system, primarily it is the Moon and Mars, we are ready to go forth with our Chinese friends, hand in hand,” he said.

Why Russia Won’t Catch Up in the Space Race

Time (6/29): Time’s op-ed compares current Russian space operations with those of the U.S.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

Mars Arctic Block Falls Reveal Dynamic World

Discovery.com (6/27): Imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals dust and ice layers around the planet’s north pole. Further studies may hold clues to a history of changing Martian climate.

Low Earth Orbit

NASA Launching Satellite to Track Carbon

New York Times (6/29): NASA set to launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission early Tuesday. Instruments aboard the spacecraft will trace the fate of carbon missions as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA’s Robot Astronaut Inspiring Tech Advances Here on Earth

Space.com (6/29):  NASA’s Robonaut 2, a resident of the International Space Station since 2011, is pioneering technologies useful on Earth as well as space, several of them health related. Soon, R-2 is to acquire new legs to take on maintenance activities inside and perhaps outside the station.

Cosmic caffeine: Astronauts getting espresso maker

Associated Press via Houston Chronicle (6/27): Strong coffee brewed in the absence of gravity is headed to the six-person International Space Station.

Commercial to Orbit

Commercial Crew Partners Get Extension

Space News (6/29): NASA extends agreements for work underway by SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp. to develop commercial U.S. crew transportation services. The two companies now have until March 2015 to complete milestones specified in their Commercial Crew Integrated Capability contracts, which began in August 2012.

French imaging satellite in orbit after launch from India

Spaceflightnow.com (6/30): India launches French Earth-imaging satellite and smaller international satellites.

Proposed spaceport main topic at Clear Lake Chamber luncheon

Clear Lake Citizen (6/27): Houston airport official presents plans for commercial spaceport at Ellington Airport. The facility would focus on horizontal launch and landings using existing runways. “I have no doubt that commercial space flight will grow in this century in the same way that commercial aviation grew in the last century.” said Arturo Machuca, manager of business development at the Houston Airport System.

Russia’s Angara Launch Scrubbed, Next Attempt Uncertain – UPDATE

Spacepolicyonline.com (6/27): Russia postpones the much anticipated first launch of the Angara family of rockets. The Angara series would replace many Soviet-era launch vehicles.

Test Launch of Russian Angara Space Rocket Aborted, Putin Demands Explanation

Ria Novosti of Russia (6/27): Vladimir Putin seeks quick explanation for Angara launch delay.

The Week Ahead

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 30 – July 18, 2014

Spacepolicyonline.com (7/29): The long-range outlook includes a series of international rocket launches.

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