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Gene Mikulka
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Gene Mikulka

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Have to agree with Chris Ferguson, former NASA astronaut now leading the charge on Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (system) capsule. he said that If you look at it as a global effort, we need to have a redundant way to get humans back and forth from space,"  Speaking of NASA's Commercial Crew program he indicated that "What you see here today, it goes a long way to making that happen."
Until at least 2017, Russia's Soyuz will provide astronauts' only ride to the ISS.
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Gene Mikulka

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To be blunt the fact that the House sub committee passed the NASA Authorization Act along party lines was no big shock. A lot of hype going on about the Earth Science budget taking it on the chin and funds being sent to both the Planetary Science and Exploration divisions. Also that the Technology Research budget also took a hit. My Thoughts: This is just the first salvo in a LONG budget battle and these funds are most likely going to come back as "Lets Make a Deal" is played. PS- If you are torques off about this, don't send an e-mail Write an actual letter, invest the stamp, to your Representatives, and let them know. #SpacePolicy
Learn about the partisan discord that arose during the House Science, Space and Technology Committee's markup of the NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017, H.R. 2039, on April 30, 2015.
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Gene Mikulka

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Water is one of the constituents of life. How soon after the Big Bang, the colossal explosion that gave way to the universe, did water come to be? This article shines some light on some new findings about water vapor and the early universe. #Astronomy #Cosmology   
Water vapor could have been just as abundant in pockets of space a billion years after the Big Bang as it is today, according to new research.
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Towards the end of this month is the perfect time to see Saturn in all it's glory. This piece in EarthSky tells you how. #Saturn #BackyardAstronomy
Best time to see Saturn in 2015 is here! Instructions for finding this beautiful golden planet ... here.
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Farewell #MESSENGER, and we thank you...
On April 30th, this region of Mercury's surface will have a new crater! Traveling at 3.91 kilometers per second (over 8,700 miles per hour), the MESSENGER spacecraft will collide with Mercury's surface, creating a crater estimated to be 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter.
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Since ESA is constructing the Orion Spacecraft Service Module, I wonder of this technology will find its way on board?
The European Space Agency has chosen a new ultracapacitor energy storage technology that increases safety while reducing weight and costs for a possible mission in 2018.
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Gene Mikulka

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The Roscosmos 59 Progress cargo ship looks like it's now an expensive piece of space debris. It is  expected to fall harmlessly into Earth's atmosphere in a few weeks. Already seeing the lunatic fringe articles out there about how this may hit populated areas.. its hype folks.. don't believe it. Short Term, the ISS is in good shape, long term planners are now no doubt juggling the cargo manifests of Dragon, HTV, and yes Cygnus and adjusting accordingly. Stay tuned. 
#Roscosmos #59Progress  
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Every once in awhile, I come across editorials like this, especially when a new company heads for low Earth orbit, claiming we are in a new "golden age" of spaceflight and this is just like the fledgeling aviation industry the 1930's. Nothing against Blue Origin, their unqualified success opens their door to space and possible sub orbital operations. But does this mean in 10 years we're going to see the orbital hotel depicted in 2001 and a people spending vacations on the lunar surface? No. Not yet anyhow. Spaceflight is still very expensive and an inherently a risky business. The more players on the field however should help reduce the expense of getting to low Earth Orbit.  The risk however will still be out there, as the losses we suffered with the OrbitalATK Antares and the Virgin Galactic VSS Enterprise  in late October 2014 and the loss of the 59 Progress cargo ship this week demonstrate. Spaceflight isn't "routine" and there is always something out there that will come back to bite you if you are not vigilant.  Make spaceflight  safe as air travel and affordable to John and Jane Citizen and not Seymour Moneybags, then you may have something.    
Parallels with the 1930s era of aerospace, with its buccaneering engineer/tycoons, are unavoidable. Will commercial space flight developments change our lives?
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This piece on the EarthSky web site describes the real meaning of May Day, which is based in Astronomy. It celebrates the point halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice  Some other traditions here that I just didn't know about are explained. Well worth the read.
Happy May Day! A few words about this annual celebration, whose roots are in astronomy.
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Trying to find out what planets will be visible this month? EarthSky lets you know what is visible and where exactly to look. #BackyardAstronomy  
Four planets are visible at nightfall this month: Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Mars disappears into the glare of sunset.
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The interesting thing this Washington Post piece seems to omit ( for some odd reason)  is that NASA Administrator Bolden has also said that The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is NOT design to "save the Earth" from a potential asteroid impact. It is simply a technology demonstration mission.  Congress is not sold on ARM and does not see it as a step toward Mars. However at the Northeast Astronomy Forum a few weeks ago NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier did give a compelling argument for ARM saying it would give us a better understanding on how to deal with larger structures in cis- lunar space and other planetary regions.  #SpacePolicy  
Rep. Bill Posey reintroduces bill to get people living on Mars by 2023.
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that cool

On Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 1:29 PM, Raymond Tholley <****@**>
wrote:

> that cool
>
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For those of you  who may have missed this NASA's #NewHorizons spacecraft sent back some additional photos of the Pluto system yesterday. While these are mostly navigational "situational awareness" images they still yield a lot of science. This EarthSky Article gives details.
There may be an ice cap at Pluto's pole, as seen in the most recent images from the New Horizons spacecraft, now only 11 weeks from its historic flyby on July 14.
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