CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27th, 2015

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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Combine the promise of solar electric propulsion with the versatility of water and the merger just might take humans far in space. Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina in space, outlines a pathway to deep space for human explorers. NASA’s Jason Crusan leads efforts to overcome the technical challenges of reaching Mars. Reaching Mars is filled with tough challenges. China’s lunar exploration plans raise strategic concerns, according to a veteran planetary scientist. NASA selects instruments for a robotic mission to determine whether Jupiter’s ice and ocean covered moon Europa is habitable. NASA Mission Control personnel take on alterations of the International Space Station to prepare for dockings by future U.S. commercial crew transportation spacecraft.  Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, draws praise for contributions to space, education and science. The U.S. Congress wrestles with the right amount and timing of space industry regulation. Small satellites are all the rage — hype or reality? Central Florida pursues Blue Origin production. Russia identifies cause of 2013 Proton rocket crash.

Human Deep Space Exploration

A stagecoach to the stars

The Space Review (5/26): Solar electric propulsion with water as a fuel and for other uses could be a crucial factor in future human deep space exploration, writes Brian McConnell, San Francisco software and electrical engineer, in an essay.

Ellen Ochoa on the next chapter of spaceflight

Al Dia (5/26): NASA Johnson Space Center director Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina in space, explains the role of the International Space Station in preparing humanity for the future exploration of Mars.

Journey to Mars: Meet Jason Crusan, NASA’s director of Advanced Exploration Systems

Washington Post (5/26): Jason Crusan heads NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems division. That means identifying and finding solutions to the toughest technical challenges for reaching Mars with humans in the future. The division’s efforts contributed to the successful unpiloted orbital test flight of the Orion crew exploration vehicle in December.

How you’ll die on Mars

Popular Science (5/26): Years of technical research will be required to reach Mars with human explorers and keep them safe, according to the report.  Without sufficient effort, humans could crash, freeze, starve or suffocate, according to an outline of the hazards and efforts underway at NASA and elsewhere to overcome the obstacles.

China and the “dark side”

Air & Space Magazine (5/26): China’s plans to undertake the first landing of a spacecraft on the moon’s far side could be another strategic move by Beijing to strengthen a strategic presence in cis-lunar space, according to U.S. lunar planetary scientist Paul Spudis. “With a mission to the ‘dark side’ of the Moon, China not only achieves a new milestone in the history of space exploration, but also advances itself to become the leading world power of lunar spaceflight,” he writes.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

NASA selects 9 instruments for Europa mission

Space News (5/26): Nine instruments selected by NASA on Tuesday may find their way to Jupiter’s ice and ocean covered moon Europa. Their design may help to determine whether the distant moon hosts a environment suitable for life. NASA plans to invest $110 million to develop the instruments. Some in Congress would like to prepare a Europa mission for launching in 2022.

NASA chooses instruments to determine if Europa is habitable — and what is that brown gunk? (5/26): The proposed NASA Europa mission would attempt to determine if Jupiter’s ice and ocean covered moon is habitable with 45 flybys over 2 1/2 years. The space agency selected nine instruments for the mission from 33 proposals on Tuesday.

Low Earth Orbit

Why NASA is re-configuring part of the International Space Station

ABC News (5/26): Early Wednesday, NASA Mission Control personnel commanded the Canadian robotic arm aboard the International Space Station to relocate a U.S. storage module. The move is part of an intricate strategy to prepare the six person station for the docking of U.S. commercially launched spacecraft with multinational astronauts. It’s a task that NASA’s space shuttle, carried out until the fleet’s retirement in mid-2011.

Our spaceflight heritage: A life of exploration and discovery – remembering Sally Ride

Spaceflight Insider (5/26): Tuesday marked the 64th anniversary of the birth of America’s first female space traveler, NASA’s Sally Ride.  However, Ride was much more: scientist, educator and a key participant in the investigation of two U.S. human spaceflight tragedies. Ride died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Congress launches commercial space legislation

The Space Review (5/26): Nurturing the U.S. commercial space industry in the current legislative environment can be challenging. While there is progress, the level of oversight by the FAA has been relaxed for years.  That may end on Oct. 1 unless Washington lawmakers can reach a consensus on an extension and other issues.

Small satellite pioneer warns of Cubesat bubble

Space News (5/26): The global enthusiasm for small satellites has over reached the financial resources available to support the movement, according to a pioneer of the movement in remarks before the Global Space and Satellite Forum in Abu Dhabi.

Brevard incentives could lure Blue Origin space facility from Oak Hill

Daytona Beach News Journal (5/26): In Central Florida, Brevard and Volusia counties vie for new Blue Origin rocket manufacturing facilities.

‘Upside down’: Inverted velocity sensors caused Proton-M failure in 2013

Sputnik News (5/27): The investigation of a Russian Proton rocket failure in 2013 found that three workers at the Krunichev State Research and Production Space Center were responsible for the erroneous sensor installations, causing navigation and control difficulties. The subsequent crash claimed three Russian navigation satellites.

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