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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. A first meeting of the Starship Congress urges participants to consider human space exploration as transformative. The U. S. retires a key weather satellite. Essays a.) find Mars a worthy destination for future human exploration and eventual colonization and b.) lament an absence of X vehicle development in the United States. Chinese satellite puzzles observers. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ready to release shuttle, Apollo-era Mobile Launch Platforms. India scrubs a key spacecraft recovery mission. Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser achieves runway milestones. An August full moon is so much more than “blue.”
1. From Discovery.com: The first Starship Congress, organized by the nonprofit organization Icarus Interstellar, wrapped up a weekend conference in Dallas, TX, with an over arching theme. Humanity can turn inward to address peace, poverty and illness, or look out as well by investing in exploration. The benefits could be transformative.
2. From Space News: GOES-12, a decade old U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellite, reaches retirement. NOAA spacecraft launched in 2006, 2009 and 2010 now watch the North American continent for weather development, including hurricane formation.
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com: In tribute to GOES-12.
3. From The Space Review: Essays from this week’s edition explains why the human exploration of Mars is an important human quest and lament the passing of U. S. X vehicle development.
A. In “To Mars, or not to Mars,” Thomas D. Taverney, a senior SAIC vice president, finds Mars as worthy a goal for contemporary human exploration as the moon was in the Cold War era. He envisions similar benefits for terrestrial technology development as well as a spiritual boost for a global population bogged down by a sluggish economy and other social ills. The cost will be high, but not too high for an internationally backed mission, writes Taverney.
B. In “Can lightning strike twice for RLVs?” TSR editor Jeff Foust recalls the Reusable Launch Vehicle strides made by the McDonnell Douglas DC-X rocket two decades ago. The first flight on Aug. 18, 1993, triggered wide, but short lived interest in advancing the reusable launch vehicle concept. Participants at a commemorative gathering in New Mexico lamented the current lack of government X vehicle projects.They extended praise, however, to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who has embraced the concept for the first stage of his Falcon 9 rocket.
4. From Spacepolicyonline: A recently launched Chinese satellite mystifies observers with maneuvers.
5. From Florida Today: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center looks to dispose of the mobile launch platforms from which the space shuttle and Apollo era moon rockets were launched. The hardware may be headed to the commercial space sector, museums or the scrap heap. NASA is weighing proposals.
6. From Spaceflightnow.com: India scrubs launch plans for its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle because of an apparent fuel leak on the second stage. The launch attempt marked the first for the GSLV in three years. The program was suspended by back to back failures and now faces another lengthy delay.
7. From Space.com: Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser completes runway milestones. Sierra Nevada is one of three companies partnered with NASA for the development of an orbital crew transportation system.
8. From Space.com: Tuesday brings not only a full moon, but a “blue moon.” The feature sorts out the history and the significance of the designation.
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