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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA’s Space Launch System heavy lift rocket, in development to start humans on future missions of deep space exploration, completes first stage critical design review with $2.8 billion Boeing contract. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visits advanced solar array production factory. While Mars beckons, the next step divides. Origins of Titan, Saturn’s salt-laced moon, may lie in the distant Oort Cloud. Radio signals may point to life on Jupiter’s moons. United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket places Orbiting Carbon Observatory in Earth orbit. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station watch tropical storm developments off U.S. East Coast. Students prepare for a space station photo session.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Spaceflight Insider (7/2): NASA and Boeing reach a $2.8 billion contract agreement for development of the Space Launch System heavy rocket’s core stage following a critical design review at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The SLS is intended to start U.S. explorers on future missions of deep space exploration. “The SLS program team completed the core stage critical design review ahead of schedule and continues to make excellent progress towards delivering the rocket to the launch pad,” said SLS Program Manager Todd May. The first unpiloted test flight of the evolvable SLS is planned for 2017.
Boeing (7/2): Boeing and NASA reach a $2.8 billion contract agreement for the core stage development of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. Boeing will also work on SLS upper stage development. The contract follows a critical design review for the first stage of the deep space transportation system.
Los Angeles Times (7/2): California figures prominently in development of Space Launch System avionics and first stage propulsion. An initial unpiloted test flight is planned for 2017.
Santa Barbara Independent, of California (7/2): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visits solar array technology companies participating in efforts to capture and steer an asteroid into a lunar orbit. Solar electric propulsion is consider a key technology for future human deep space missions.
National Journal (7/3): Path to Mars, which has bipartisan Congressional support, divides Democrats and Republicans over the next step — an asteroid, or the moon.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Science News (7/2): Nitrogen in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan likely had its origins in the vast Oort Cloud, a community of comets just beyond the solar system, say scientists.
Time (7/2): Findings from NASA’s long running Cassini mission suggest a surface comprised of a dense liquid below ice with lots of mineral salts.
Space.com (7/2): Naturally induced radio waves emanating from Jupiter may aide experts in their search for possible alien life on the Jovian moons. Giant Jupiter counts 67 moons.
Low Earth Orbit
Space News (7/2): NASA launches Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Earth observing mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Two year primary mission will assess C02 emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere and their impact on climate change.
New York Times (7/2): 2009 loss of NASA’s Orbital Carbon Observatory is overcome early Tuesday with the launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.
Universe Today (7/2): Tropical Storm Arthur forms off the U.S. East Coast. North and South Carolina may be affected.
PRWeb (7/2): Program inspired by Sally Ride, the first U.S. female astronaut, supports a remote photo session for students using cameras aboard the International Space Station. The upcoming student Earth observing session runs from July 15-19.
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