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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. House appropriators strike a compromise with NASA that will allow the agency to nurture at least two prospective commercial crew transportation providers. A new look at proposed cuts in NASA’s planetary science program for 2013. Money could be an issue as NASA welcomes a pair of space telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office but looks for a suitable mission. Venus cross the sun and draws a crowd. Houston welcomes Russia’s gift of a bronze statue of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
1. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: NASA’s commercial crew space transportation initiative receives a reprieve from the chair of the agency’s House appropriations panel. In response to a letter from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, U. S. Rep. Frank Wolf agrees to allow NASA to support 2 1/2 commercial crew partners — though at reduced funding. Previously, the panel suggested NASA would have to limit its commercial crew partners to a single company.
A. From Spacepolitics.com: NASA appears a clear winner in the deal struck with House appropriators.
B. From the Orlando Sentinel: Money will still go to those companies most likely to succeed, according to Frank Wolf, the chair of NASA’s House appropriations panel.
2. From Space Quarterly and Spaceref.com: The publication offers a fresh look at the alarm expressed earlier this year over proposed cuts to NASA’s planetary science program and especially the Mars components. Since then, NASA has organized a new approach to its future Mars mission planning — one that may bring human and science goals into a common focus.
3. From Space News: NASA faces a possible financial pinch as it finds a mission for a pair of Hubble class space telescopes provided the agency at no cost earlier this week. NASA must find the funding for the instruments and the launchers to mount a scientifically significant mission to investigate dark energy.
4. From USAToday: Venus transits the sun on Tuesday — a crossing seldom visible from the Earth. Youngsters are thrilled at the opportunity to follow along from a California observatory.
A. From MSNBC.com and Cosmic Log: Astronomers offer stunning imagery of Venus.
B. From the Associated Press via the Washington Post: The Venus transit offers a reminder of the Earth’s small stature. The two planets are about the same size.
5. From the Houston Chronicle: Russia presents Houston’s parks department with a new statute of Yuri Gagarin and a second piece of art depicting Mercury Astronaut John Glenn. The two works will grace the front of the parks department offices that once served as NASA’s headquarters in the city. The bronze statute and busts of Gagarin presented to Chicago and Mumbai commemorate the 50th anniversary of his flight.