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 Exploration News of the last three weeks - 31 January 2012

31 January 2012
Russia to postpone next manned space launch: official
The current mission on the ISS is likely to land around 45 days later than the scheduled March 16, while the next mission set for March 30 will blast off with a similar delay, the Roscosmos official, Alexei Krasnov, said.
Krasnov said that delays came after the re-entry capsule of the Soyuz TMA-04M space ship to be used in the mission was shown in testing not to be hermetically sealed and could not be used for safety reasons.
MORE...
http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Russia_to_postpone_
next_manned_space_launch_official_999.html

31 January 2012
Russia blames 'cosmic rays' for Mars probe failure
"The most likely reason in the commission's opinion is the local influence of heavy charged particles from outer space on the onboard computer system," Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
MORE...
http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/Russia_blames_
cosmic_rays_for_Mars_probe_failure_999.html

31 January 2012
Roscosmos Launches Cosmonaut Selection Competition
MORE...
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Roscosmos_Launches_
Cosmonaut_Recruitment_Drive_999.html

31 January 2012
Has Space Coast Economy Weathered Post-shuttle Storm?
The home of Kennedy Space Center faced a bleak economic forecast as the space shuttle program came to a close, but data from 2011 indicate the Space Coast has absorbed the blow, the newspaper reports.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/commentaries/120131-
fromwires-space-coast-economy.html

30 January 2012
NASA's J-2X Engine Kicks Off 2012 With Powerpack Testing
NASA has refused to participate in an experiment designed to show if U.S. radars could have had an impact on Russia's troubled Phobos-Grunt Mars probe, the deputy head of the country's space agency, Roscosmos, Anatoly Shylov said on Thursday.
MORE...
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NASA_Says_
No_to_Probe_Crash_Theory_Test_999.html

30 January 2012
Goddard Director, Robert Strain, Leaving for Ball Aerospace
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120130-goddard-director-leaving.html

29 January 2012
Japan's next asteroid probe approved for development
Japanese government officials last week gave the green light to Hayabusa 2, a robotic explorer due for launch in 2014 on a journey to retrieve and return rocks from a near-Earth asteroid.
MORE...
http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1201/29hayabusa2/

27 January 2012
Panel Report Warns that Underfunding May Affect Commercial Crew Program
NASA safety watchdogs are warning that continued underfunding of the agency’s commercial crew initiative could put astronauts at risk by increasing the temptation to cut corners in order to end U.S. dependence on Russia for accessing the international space station (ISS).
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120127-
underfunding-commercial-crew.html

26 January 2012
Candidate Gingrich Promises Space Coast Voters the Moon
Gingrich called for a permanent U.S. base on the Moon by 2020; near-Earth commercial space activities including science, tourism and manufacturing; and a “continuous propulsion system” in space capable of cutting travel time to Mars.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120126-gingrich-
promises-space-coast-voters-the-moon.html

25 January 2012
Space debris experts confirm estimate for Phobos–Grunt reentry
Following the 15 January Phobos–Grunt reentry, the US Strategic Command confirmed a reentry time of 17:46 GMT, referring to an altitude of 80 km at 46°S and 87°W, near the South American coastline. This corresponds to a pass at 10 km altitude about seven minutes later – very close to ESA’s prediction.
MORE...
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMMXUH8RXG_0.html

25 January 2012
Russia's space programs fully financed until 2016
The Russian government has fully financed its space research programs until 2016, including two Moon expeditions, a leading Russian aerospace company Lavochkin said Tuesday.
According to Lavochkin Research and Production center head Victor Khartov, Russia plans to send two mission to the Moon, one to Venus and launch several scientific satellites for deeper space research by 2016.
MORE...
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russia_space_
programs_fully_financed_until_2016_999.html

23 January 2012
Commercial Crew Tender Slated for Feb. 7 Release
NASA plans to solicit proposals Feb. 7 for the third round of its commercial crew program and award at least two funded Space Act Agreements this summer that will run through 2014 and prepare competing astronaut transportation concepts for production.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120123-solicitation-
for-next-round-commercial-crew-program-expected-feb.html

23 January 2012
Japanese Space Spending Dropping Slightly for 2012
Japan’s general space activities budget for 2012 has been set at 296.9 billion yen ($3.85 billion), down slightly from the current 300.9 billion yen, according to figures released Jan. 19 by the Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy (SHSP).
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120123-japanese-
space-spending-dropping-slightly-for-2012.html

23 January 2012
NASA Renames Grail Probes Ahead of Mapping Mission
NASA held a nationwide student contest to find new names, ultimately picking the monikers “Ebb” and “Flow.”
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120123-nasa-renames-
grail-probes-ahead-mapping-mission.html

23 January 2012
NASA Set To Start Spending for Big Human Spaceflight Programs in 2012
With the space shuttle fleet having retired in July, leaving NASA with no independent means to launch astronauts to the international space station, human spaceflight will be the primary focus of the agency’s 2012 procurement activity.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120123-nasa-set-start-
spending-for-big-human-spaceflight-programs-2012.html

22 January 2012
Satellite spies cruise ship tragedy from space
As seen from space by one of the sharp-eyed Earth-imaging satellites operated by DigitalGlobe, the Costa Concordia cruise ship is pictured where it came to rest after running aground.
MORE...
http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1201/22ship/

20 January 2012
China plans to launch 21 rockets, 30 satellites this year
MORE...
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_plans_to_
launch_21_rockets_30_satellites_this_year_999.html

20 January 2012
NEOShield to assess Earth defence
NEOShield is a new international project that will assess the threat posed by Near Earth Objects (NEO) and look at the best possible solutions for dealing with a big asteroid or comet on a collision path with our planet.
MORE...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16651642

20 January 2012
Roscosmos Revives Permanent Moon Base Plans
Russian Space Agency Roscosmos is in talks with its European and U.S. partners on the creation of manned research bases on the Moon, the agencies chief, Vladimir Popovkin, said on Thursday.
MORE...
http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Roscosmos_
Revives_Permanent_Moon_Base_Plans_999.html

18 January 2012
SpaceX Safety VP Quit Late Last Year
Ken Bowersox, the former NASA astronaut and space station commander who joined Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in 2009, has quit the company.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/venture_space/120118-
spacex-safety-quit.html

16 January 2012
Chinese Manned Lunar Landing
Although the Chinese government has yet officially committed itself to such a programme, manned lunar landing remains a long-term objective of the Chinese space programme in the 21st century. There have been speculations about a three-step strategy in China's lunar exploration programme, of which the current robotic lunar probe programme (Chang’e Project) is only the first step.
MORE...
http://www.sinodefence.com/lunarexploration/manned-lunar-landing.asp

16 January 2012
SpaceX Postpones Station-bound Dragon Launch
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has postponed the scheduled Feb. 7 launch of its Dragon logistics capsule to the international space station for unspecified reasons, according to a company spokeswoman.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/venture_space/011612-
spacex-postpones-station-bound-dragon-launch.html

13 January 2012
Orion Test Launch Opens the Door for Alternative Human-rated Upper Stage
NASA’s quest for a rocket upper stage to boost its Orion deep-space capsule beyond low Earth orbit in test flights opens the door for an alternative human space launch capability that could impact the fledgling efforts to develop commercial passenger spaceships.
MORE...
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120113-
orion-human-rated-upper-stage.html

11 January 2012
Russia was well aware of Phobos-Grunt mission risks
Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, said in an interview with the Izvestia daily that even if Russia hadn't lost the mission, it would still lose five billion rubles ($157 million).
"We were hostages to previously made decisions, we had commitments to the European Space Agancy, which provided equipment, and to our Chinese colleagues as we undertook the task of delivering their satellite to Mars onboard Phobos-Grunt," Popovkin said.
It took too long to build the spacecraft, he said, and the life span of many parts was about to expire. The project officially began in 1999.
MORE...
http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/Russia_was_well_
aware_of_Phobos_Grunt_mission_risks_999.html

11 January 2012
The Challenges of Building A House on Mars
NASA has already started experimenting with a habitat fit for the long-term exploration of Mars.
Last year, students at the University of Wisconsin won the XHab competition to design and build an inflatable loft addition to a habitat shell that NASA had already constructed. The final structure now serves as a working model that is being tested in the Arizona desert.
MORE...
http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/The_Challenges_
of_Building_A_House_on_Mars_999.html

10 January 2012
Photographing the International Space Station from Your Own Backyard
Photographing the ISS seems like something that could be done only from space, but taking a picture from your own backyard actually is easier than you might think
MORE...
http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Photographing_the_
International_Space_Station_from_Your_Own_Backyard_999.html


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FOR FURTHER READING
30 January 2012
The need for real “rocket science” to solve Russian spaceflight setbacks
The failure of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft remains a mystery even as some Russian officials suggest a foreign power like America may have had a hand in the spacecraft’s demise. James Oberg argues that some rational engineering analysis—aka “rocket science”—can shed light on the spacecraft’s loss and dispel conspiracies.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2016/1

30 January 2012
Campaign lunacy
Space, typically an issue that gets very little attention in presidential campaigns, burst into public prominence last week thanks to a series of debate questions and speeches. Jeff Foust reports on how Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and other Republican candidates outlined their views on space, and what they also left out.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2015/1

30 January 2012
Not evolution - revolution
The press and public do not seem to be accepting Newt Gingrich’s position on space policy. Sam Dinkin discusses the implication for the transition to low-cost space access.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2014/1

30 January 2012
The geometry of shadows
The National Reconnaissance Office recently released a selection of images taken from the newly-declassified GAMBIT and HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite programs. Dwayne Day examines the relevance of those images to American space and defense efforts from the 1960s to the 1980s.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2013/1

30 January 2012
Review: Tweeting the Universe
Can the vastness and majesty of the universe be condensed into 140-character snippets? Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a Twitter-inspired examination of various questions in astronomy.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2012/1

23 January 2012
Caution and optimism about the future of human spaceflight
Six months after the Space Shuttle completed its final mission, many are still uneasy about the future of America's human spaceflight efforts. Jeff Foust reports that many in the field see cause for optimism for the future, mixed with a dose of caution about the obstacles in the path ahead.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2011/1

23 January 2012
A vision for a new frontier purpose for American spaceflight
Supporters of spaceflight have struggled to find rationales to back continued expenditures on relevant projects. Robert D. Lancaster argues that future spaceflight efforts should be based on planetary defense, access to resources, and settlement.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2010/1

23 January 2012
The difficult road to the Moon
Fifty years ago this week NASA launched the first in a series of Ranger spacecraft to the Moon, with poor results. Drew LePage examines the development of those spacecraft and the unfortunate outcomes of those early missions.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2009/1

23 January 2012
Review: Saving Hubble
One of the biggest space advocacy victories of the last decade was the grassroots push to restore a shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Jeff Foust reviews a documentary that recalls those efforts that attracted support from a broad swath of the general public.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2008/1

16 January 2012
Big science in an era of tight budgets
Advances in astronomy are dependent in part on the development of new large—and expensive—observatories on the ground and in space. Jeff Foust reports on the concerns raised by astronomers and other scientists that constrained budgets could threaten to put advances in astronomy on hold.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2007/1

16 January 2012
US rebuffs current draft of EU Code of Conduct: is there something waiting in the wings?
Last week a top State Department official announced that the US had decided not sign on the European Union’s proposed space Code of Conduct. Michael Listner examines the reasons for that move and if the administration has an alternative approach in the works.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2006/1

16 January 2012
Postcards from the edge
Images, of space and of the Earth from space, are among the most powerful tools for communicating the wonders of space. Andre Bormanis examines some recently-released historical images and illustrations of and about space.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2005/1

16 January 2012
Review: Space Probes
We are living in something of a golden age of planetary exploration today, with spacecraft exploring the far reaches of our solar system. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a wide-ranging history of the various past and present missions that have provided new insights on our celestial neighborhood.
MORE...
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2004/1

 


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