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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. SpaceX may face another delay in an approaching bid to become the first U. S. commercial company to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. The U. S. and Japan expand their space ties on military and civil fronts. Fragments from a recent California fireball reveal a rare form of meteorite as the source. New findings suggest Mars had heat energy, water, possibly conditions favorable for biological activity. Upcoming NASA mission promises to delve into the dynamics of the Earth’s radiation belts. Brown dwarf — not stars, not planets.
1. From CBS News.com: SpaceX may need more time to prepare for its bid to become the first commercial company to launch a supply mission to the International Space Station. The Hawthorne, Calif., based company has been working toward a lift off on Monday of the 18 day test flight. More pre-flight analysis may be necessary, work that would push a launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., to May 10 at the earliest., CBS and Spaceflightnow.com report.
A. From The Washington Post: What’s at stake for the nation’s civil space efforts as SpaceX nears the launching of the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station? Ultimately, it may be a White House strategy to free NASA to look toward future human deep space exploration. SpaceX, at least for the moment, sits at the forefront of a strategy to turn low Earth orbit missions, both for cargo and humans, to the U. S. commercial sector. SpaceX is preparing for a May launch of the Falcon 9/Dragon mission, following an April 30 launch countdown dress rehearsal.
2. From Space News: The White House announces that the U. S. and Japan plan to expand their space-related ties. The larger framework includes a sharing of space surveillance data and joint work on a space code of conduct. Japan also agrees to extend operations aboard the International Space Station beyond 2016.
3. From New Scientist: Recovered fragments from a fireball that streaked across the skies of northern California on April 22 indicate the much larger host rock was a rare form of meteorite laden with organic materials.
4. From Space.com: Much of Mars, perhaps nearly a third of the planet, is covered by glass dune fields. The finding suggests that volcanic activity interacted with Martian water, a circumstance that could have been favorable for biological activity.
5. From Space.com: The European Space Agency ponders plans for a reusable eight-person suborbital craft for a range of research activities, the web site reports in an exclusive account. .
6. From Spaceflightnow.com: What moves the Earth’s radiation belts? A pair of NASA spacecraft designed to investigate the motion arrive at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will be readied for an August lift off.
7. From Discovery.com: Why brown dwarfs, planetary bodies larger than Jupiter but smaller than the sun, go it alone.
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