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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Early Tuesday, China launches a two-man, one-woman crew on a 15-day mission to the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. NOAA’s GOES-13 weather satellite returns to service after a bout with a micrometeoroid. Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, just back from command of the International Space Station, announces plans to retire. Essays suggest: A.) Discovery offers the best return on investments in human space exploration and B.) Suborbital spaceflight is about more than tourism. A small galaxy offers a massive lesson. The women in the lives of America’s early astronauts shouldered new social burdens. Russia’s asteroid explosion was a record setter. NASA’s space shuttle main engines find a new mission. Claims of a neighboring star system with an Earth-sized planet meet a skeptic. Saturn’s moon Dione may have harbored a geologically-active ocean.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: At 5:38 a.m. EST, China Launches the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft with three astronauts: Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping. The destination for their 15-day mission is China’s Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. “This carries the dream of the Chinese nation,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was present for the liftoff of the two-man, one-woman crew. The flight marks China’s fifth human mission since 2003. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/china/shenzhou10/status.html
A. From Xinhuanet, of China: China’s Shenzhou-10 crew achieves orbit.
B. From China Daily: China’s just-launched mission to the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost is led by a Chinese space veteran, Nie Haisheng, 49, who flew for his homeland in 2005.
From Xinhuanet: China’s Shenzhou-10 crew meets the press prior to their launching.
D. From Space.com: Manual and automated dockings of the Shenzhou spacecraft with Tiangong-1 are planned.
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A micrometeoroid collision appears to be blamed for the difficulties with NOAA’s GOES-13, a key weather satellite, that surfaced as the U.S. Atlantic hurricane season prepared to open on June 1.
A. From Space News: Despite damage, NOAA’s GOES-13 space weather sentry returns to service.
3. From the CBC, of Canada: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who recently returned from command responsibilities aboard the International Space Station, announces at a Canadian news briefing that he will retire in July after a 21-year career as an astronaut. Hadfield intends to pursue professional interests outside of government.
4. Two essays from The Space Review suggest “discovery” offers the best return on the human space exploration investment and suggest that U.S. suborbital space flight is about more than tourism.
A. In “A value-based approach toward national space policy,” Matt Greenhouse, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, argues that “discovery” is the most persuasive basis for future human space exploration. Without savvy policy makers, NASA cannot be expected to make worthy strides, he adds.
B. In “Suborbital space research enters a new time of transition,” TSR editor Jeff Foust notes a change in direction within the suborbital space transportation initiatives NASA seeks to foster. Researchers, as well as their scientific and engineering projects, are being welcomed as part of the investments the space agency is willing to make in the suborbital arena. It’s a change from the notion that suborbital space travel is just for tourists. NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver unveiled the change in thinking last week at the annual Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC).
5. From The Los Angeles Times: Segue 2, an extremely small galaxy of but 1,000 stars, is helping astronomers unravel the mysteries of dark matter, the gravitational glue that holds vast star systems together, according to a study prepared for the Astrophysical Journal.
6. From The Chicago Tribune: A new book looks back to the “Wife Stuff,” the grit required of the wives who accompanied their husbands to NASA’s early astronaut corps. “The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story,” is social history, writes the newspaper.
7. From Nature.com: The small asteroid that exploded over Russia on Feb. 15 was the largest recorded.
8. From NASAspaceflight.com: Early versions of NASA’s Space Launch System will turn to the space shuttle’s reusable main engines as a first stage propulsion source.
9. From The New York Times: A credentialed skeptic questions claims from European scientists last fall that Alpha Centauri B, part of a triple star system just 4.4 million light years away, hosts a planet about the size of the Earth. Questions over the claim surface in Germany.
10. From Space.com: Dione, an icy moon of planet Saturn, may have once hosted a geologically-active ocean, say scientists.
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