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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. A Mars mission simulation in Hawaii exposes isolation challenges. Russia and China confer on manufacturing standards for joint human lunar missions. Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin envisions Mars with a permanent human presence. NASA’s New Horizons mission to extend humanity’s reach to Pluto. Student cosmic dust counter key part of Pluto mission. On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover takes a detour for a rock study. NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover on Mars enables tribute to Lindbergh’s first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Google honors Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. The U.S. and its International Space Station partners adjust to the failure of Russia’s latest Progress resupply mission. Japan plans upgrades for its International Space Station resupply capsule. NASA retires Kennedy Space Center shuttle locomotives. Russia confronts failure, possible corruption in its commercial space programs. UAE establishes the first Middle East space research center. India readies reusable unpiloted rocket plane test. A look at major space related activities planned for the next two weeks.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Australian Broadcasting Corp. (5/23): In Hawaii, six human subjects are looking to June for the end of a simulated long duration deep space mission that began in October. Depression, linked to the isolation and group cohesion issues, has become a factor in the final weeks. The crew, which leaves their shelter on simulated space walks, has overcome simulated radiation storms and power losses.
TASS (5/25): The two space powers agree to look at common manufacturing standards for spacecraft and technologies that will support human activities beyond low Earth orbit, including lunar activities.
Global News (5/26): Speaking in Toronto at a space development conference, Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin outlines a vision that includes establishing a permanent human presence on Mars after an initial landing around 2035.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Cosmos (5/25): The U.S. is ready to extend its reach into deep space as NASA’s New Horizons mission spacecraft approaches distant Pluto for a July 14 flyby. Not since the long running missions of NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft, launched in the mid-1970s, have scientists and engineers extended their reach so far. The three billion mile journey began with a launching nearly 10 years ago. “This is the last great voyage of discovery we’re likely to see in the next 20 years…,” Cosmos reports.
New York Times (5/25): NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft includes a University of Colorado, student developed instrument that has been measuring and characterizing space dust during the near 10 year journey. New Horizons is on course to carry out the first flyby of distant Pluto on July 14.
Space.com (5/23): Now in the foothills of Mount Sharp, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has encountered some slippery terrain. The encounter has prompted a detour to a scientifically interesting rock pair that could hold clues to past climate conditions on the red planet.
University Today (5/23): NASA’s Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover team, now maneuvering the rover on the red planet for more than 11 years, has begun to assign names to landmarks that honor the May 1927 first solo flight of the Atlantic Ocean by Charles Lindbergh and his plane the Spirit of St. Louis. They include the Spirit of St. Louis Crater, Lindbergh Mound and Lambert Field.
Low Earth Orbit
Collectspace.com (5/25): Use Google as a web browser? The browser features a doodle tribute to Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. Ride would have been 64 today. Ride, who reached orbit aboard the shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983, died on July 23, 2012 of pancreatic cancer.
America Space (5/23): The April 28 loss of Russia’s Progress M-27M, or Progress 59, has introduced changes in NASA’s plans to reconfigure the U.S. segment of the International Space Station for the future dockings of new commercially launched astronaut transportation services.
Spaceflight Insider (5/23): Japan plans cost and weight savings for its HTV International Space Station re-supply capsule without lowering the amount of cargo it carries — six tons. The fifth HTV launch to the six person space station is scheduled for the late summer.
Florida Today (5/23): Two locomotives that once moved space shuttle solid rocket motor segments at the Kennedy Space Center depart for a Louisiana for work site and a museum in Indiana.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
TASS, of Russia (5/25): A human error in production led to the May 16 failure of a Proton rocket with a Mexican communications satellite, according to the Russian news agency. A commission investigating the launch failure is to make a formal report on May 29.
Moscow Times (5/25): As part of a major space industry overhaul, Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos will be replaced with a state corporation by the end of this year. The name will remain Roscosmos. The new organization will unite all elements of the country’s troubled space sector, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on a Sunday evening talk show
Moscow Times (5/24): Russian government auditors find $1.8 billion in financial violations by Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency. A large part of the space agency’s financial irregularities are related to ongoing problems at the construction site of Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, according to the head of Russia’s Audit Chamber.
Gulf News (5/26): The United Arab Emirates will establish the Middle East’s first space research center — goals include international cooperation and preparations for a previously announced 2021 Mars mission.
IANS, of India (5/23): The Indian Space Research Organization is looking to late July for the test launching of an unpiloted reusable space plane. The vehicle is to glide to a landing.
Major Space Related Activities for the Week
Spacepolicyonline.com (5/25): NASA will announce its selection of science instruments for a robotic Europa mission favored by Congress. Also, this week, NASA plans to move ahead with the next step in the reconfiguration of the International Space Station to accommodate future dockings of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. Congress is in recess for the week.
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