CSExtra for Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19th, 2015

Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden urges the White House and Congress to pull together on reaching Mars with humans. While Mars rises as a consensus human exploration destination, much remains unsettled about the steps to reach the goal. An op-ed urges a near term focus on In Space Resource Utilization and 3-D Manufacturing as interim goals for space settlement. Dava Newman marks her first day as NASA’s deputy administrator. Boulders balance, whether it’s Utah or Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Para wings could help in the exploration of especially difficult to reach destinations on Mars.  A U.S. Air Force X-37B is poised for a Wednesday launch on national security mission with civilian secondary payloads. Earth’s poles are facing geomagnetic storms.  Op-ed suggests caution in regulation of emerging commercial space industry. Russia shamed by Saturday’s Proton rocket failure. Inmarsat absorbs Proton failure. Russia considers space tourist replacements for British soprano Sarah Brightman.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Bolden: “If We Don’t Pull Together, We’re Not Going to Mars” (5/18): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke Monday before the Space Transportation Association in Washington. In his remarks, the agency’s top official  urged the White House and Congress to work together to make Mars the nation’s goal for human deep space exploration. Bolden also urged them not to lock the agency into an architecture or roadmap for reaching that goal too quickly. Earth science, he noted, is also an important NASA responsibility.

Impatience for Mars

The Space Review (5/18):  Most with an interest in human spaceflight would agree Mars is a suitable, if challenging goal, a consensus that has come together in the past five years, writes TSR’s Jeff Foust in an op-ed. But reaching the red planet at an affordable pace seems two decades away, a limitation that has supporters debating what the interim steps should be and whether they might feature a stop at the Martian moon Phobos.

Two small steps for humankind

The Space Review (5/18):  Essayist Derek Webber offers a remedy for those eager to settle space, but aware of the financial restrictions. Develop and demonstrate two enabling technologies within a presidential term: In Space Resource Utilization and 3-D printing. Webber, a Google X-Prize judge, suggests the effort start with terrestrial demonstrations of both capabilities in challenging environments and in orbit before moving on in space.

Newman Begins Tenure as NASA Deputy Administrator

Spacepolicyonline.Com (5/18): MIT’s Dava Newman began her tenure as NASA’s deputy administrator on Monday. The high ranking position had been vacant since September 2103.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

Boulders balance on tiny tips as comet 67P zooms through space

Science News (5/18): Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko hosts finely balanced rocks not unlike those found in the national parks of the American southwest.

Hang Gliders on Mars: Innovative Idea to Land Probes on Red Planet (5/18): MARSDROP is a collaboration among researchers from the Planetary Science Institute, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Aerospace Corp. The strategy would use small para wings to deliver science instruments to especially hard to reach destinations on the Martian surface.

Low Earth Orbit

Air Force’s Robotic X-37B Space Plane Launches Mystery Mission This Week (5/17):  Largely classified, the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B reusable space plane heads for Earth orbit on Wednesday. The mission is largely classified. However NASA and the Planetary Society are aboard with secondary payloads that could further commercial as well as future human space exploration.

Unsettled Solar Wind (5/19):  Earth’s poles are experiencing geomagnetic storms. Auroras are possible at high latitudes.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Space is a win for all

The Hill (5/18): In an op-ed, Commercial Spaceflight Federation president Eric Stallmer urges lawmakers to take a measured bipartisan approach to the regulation of the emerging commercial spaceflight industry. “Sound, pragmatic policies are at the core of this successful industry,” he writes. “These policies place the burden on industry to create safe, cost-effective capabilities while allowing the government to retain the oversight needed to protect public safety and taxpayer wallet.”

Proton Carrier Rocket Accident Hurts Russia’s Reputation – Medvedev

Sputnik International (5/18):  The nation’s reputation has been damaged by Saturday’s failed Proton rocket launch with a Mexican communications satellite, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.  An investigation into the root causes of the loss and its consequences for Russia’s prestige as well as its finances is underway, he said.

Inmarsat First To Feel Ripple Effects of Latest Proton Failure Space News (5/18): Russia’s Proton loss on Saturday means another setback for Inmarsat efforts to establish the Global Express mobile communications network.

Candidate to replace Sarah for ISS flight to be approved in late May  source

TASS, of Russia (5/18): Brightman withdrew her bid last week to become a space tourist on a September Soyuz launch to the International Space Station. A wealthy Russian businessman may take her place, according to the TASS report. A young cosmonaut may be another option.

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