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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers a collection of the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. NASA says it will need all of the $830 million in proposed annual funding outlined in the agency’s 2013 budget proposal in order to field commercial crew launch services by 2017. Proposed cuts in NASA’s Mars science program prompt the European Space Agency to look to Russia as a partner for the ExoMars missions of 2016 and 2018. A European space observatory spots a curious haze in the Milky Way. Russia launches a communications satellite. In Canada, cameras spot a spectacular display of the Northern Lights.
1. From Florida Today: At an industry day presentation, NASA’s commercial crew space transportation development team members say they will need steady annual funding of $830 million to foster launches by 2017. “If we get less money than that, obviously it will slip that date out a little bit further,” says Phil McAlister, who leads NASA’s commercial spaceflight office. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120215/NEWS02/302150011/NASA-targets-830M-annually-reach-local-astronaut-launch-by-2017?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home
A. From Spaceflightnow.com: A deeper look at NASA’s unfolding strategy to nurture multiple commercial crew transportation services to the International Space Station. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1202/14commcrew/
B. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA’s bid to nurture U. S. commercial crew transportation services by 2017 will not keep the agency’s space operations managers from seeking a Congressional waiver to the Iran North Korea Non Proliferation Act. The act, without a waiver, prevents NASA from purchasing space services from Russia, including Soyuz launches to the International Space Station after mid-2016. Currently, Russia offers the only crew access to the station. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/gerstenmaier-soyuz-launch-date-may-advance-inksna-waiver-needed-beyond-leo-destination-tbd
2. From Space News: Officials from the European Space Agency say they will forge ahead with plans for Mars missions in 2016 and 2018 by looking to Russia rather than the U. S. as a partner. NASA’s proposed budget for 2013 reduces Mars mission funding for two joint missions with the Europeans. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120213-esa-press-ahead-exomars.html
A. From the Houston Chronicle: NASA’s long standing partnership with the European Space Agency has been strained by a 2013 budget proposal that will pull the U. S. out of two joint Mars mission projects scheduled for launches in 2016 and 2018, according to Ian Pryke, a former head of ESA’s Washington office. Ties between ESA and the Russian and Chinese space agencies could strengthen. http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/02/will-nasas-decision-push-the-europeans-into-russian-or-chinese-arms/
B. From the Boston Globe: In an editorial, the newspaper urges Congress to restore funds cut from NASA’s science program in the proposed 2013 budget. The reductions should come instead from human space programs, according to the editorial.
3. From Space.com: The European Space Agency’s Planck Observatory unveils puzzling haze in the Milky Way galaxy. http://www.exploredeepspace.com/14570-microwave-haze-milkyway-galaxy-planck.html
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com: Russia launches a European communications satellite. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/third-times-the-charm-russias-proton-rocket-successfully-orbits-ses-4
5. From MSNBC: Recent solar activity energizes the Northern Lights across northern Canada. http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10409895-the-sun-sends-earth-a-valentine?chromedomain=cosmiclog
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