In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Four space agencies exchange International Space Station crews this week. NASA close to seeking Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOPG) proposals. U.S. aerospace industry eager to work with NASA’s newest Administrator.
Human Space Exploration
CBS News (6/3): NASA’s Scott Tingle, Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov and Japan’s Norishge Kanai descended safely to Earth early Sunday in their Russian Soyuz spacecraft, following a 168 day mission to the International Space Station. They are to be replaced aboard the six person orbiting science lab later this week, with the launch Wednesday of NASA’s Dr. Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russia’s Sergey Prokopyev and the European Space Agency’s Alexander Gerst. Their Soyuz spacecraft is to dock early Friday, when they will be greeted by NASA’s Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Russia’s Oleg Artemyev. Feustel is the Station’s new Expedition 56 commander.
Space News (6/1): This month, or next, NASA expects to issue a draft Request for Proposals for the first element of a human tended Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOPG). Launch of the first component, A Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), is expected in 2022. NASA is in the midst of discussions with potential international and commercial partners for the Gateway, whose other elements will include a habitat, docking ports, logistics module and airlock. NASA would like responses to proposals for the PPE by year’s end.
Coalition President and CEO in the News – Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar
Space News (6/1): In a congratulatory message to Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s new Administrator, Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, notes the agency and the nation have reached an opportune and challenging point in human exploration, planetary science and astrophysics. Effective leadership that includes merging the best of commerce with the best of government will help to bring each of the aspirations within reach, she writes.
Space News (5/31): Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, predicts a bright future for Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s new administrator, in an open letter. Bridenstine’s arrival at NASA’s helm coincides with a period marked by many ambitious goals, strong support from the White House, Congress and the public, all excited by the opportunities to achieve new milestones made sustainable by a maturing and more capable private sector.
Wall Street Journal (6/3): SpaceX says it won’t attempt to launch tourists around the moon this year, as envisioned in 2017. A new time table has not been announced.
Astronomy (5/31): Work by NASA to develop the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) continues, at least for the time being. Considered a high science priority by the National Academy of Science, the White House proposed cancellation over cost and technical issues. The Canadian Space Agency has withdrawn as a partner. The U.S. Congress has provided funding throughout 2018 as NASA works to keep the project moving toward a launch in the mid-2020s on a mission to survey the earliest star systems and investigate dark energy
Space News (6/3): NASA has announced that its next flagship astrophysics mission prospects face cost caps of between $3 billion and $5 billion. The caps were announced in response to cost and technical problems faced now by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). Four teams are studying mission concepts in response to the National Academy of Sciences latest decadal survey of highest priority astrophysics projects.
NASA/JPL (6/3): Boulder sized and discovered only Saturday to be on a collision course with the Earth, the asteroid 2018 LA disintegrated hours later as a fireball over Batswana. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office was able to turn the fast breaking events into an exercise that could help to issue warnings of a larger asteroid impact threat.
Universe Today (5/31): Chile’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), slated to be in operation by 2022, could be just the observatory to find so far unseen planetary objects deep in the solar system, perhaps even a theorized Planet X.
Coalition Member in the News – Deloitte
Space News (5/30): The rise of 10 commercial spaceports across the continental U.S. reflects an anticipated surge in commercial launch services. The growing interest also points to a need for a coordinated governance module to ensure safe use of the national air space. In an op-ed, two Deloitte Consulting experts offer governing principles for oversight and propose that one of the 10 spaceports serve as a “test case” for implementing an airspace model.
Florida Today (6/4): A large communications satellite for Luxembourg based SES was launched Monday at 12:45 a.m., EDT, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, whose first stage had flown previously.
Spaceflightnow.com (6/3): China launched the Gaofen-6 Earth observation satellite and a small satellite companion Saturday. The primary spacecraft will be used primarily for disaster management and agricultural research, according to the report.
Collectspace.com (6/1): On Friday, NASA introduced the logo it will use to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing initiative, from October 2018 through December 2022. Images of the moon and Mars fill the two “O’s” in the APOLLO insignia that includes the inscription, “Next Giant Leap.”
Politico (6/1): U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who chairs the Senate’s Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee, sees enormous economic opportunity in space as well as a high ground for national security. He credits bi-partisan support for passage of the Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act and 2017 NASA Authorization Act.
Major Space Related Activities for the Week
Spacepolicyonline.com (6/3): The International Space Station is in the midst of a three member crew exchange this week. A three man U.S., Russian and Japanese crew descended safely to Earth in Kazakhstan early Sunday. U.S., Russian and European replacements liftoff Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and dock to the Space Station early Friday. Congress is in session this week, and Washington is also host to several space policy activities.
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