Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 15th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A ground test of the powerful crew escape system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft is planned for Thursday in Utah.

Human Space Exploration

Orbital ATK poised to test Orion Launch Abort Motor (6/14): In Promontory, Utah on Thursday, Orbital ATK and Lockheed Martin plan a crucial, ground-based test firing of the Launch Abort System motor under development for NASA’s Orion crew exploration capsule. The QM-1 firing in Promontory, Utah is one of three planned to qualify the propulsion device that could save the lives of astronauts assigned to missions launched aboard the Space Launch System if something went wrong during the climb to orbit.  The first joint test flight of an Orion and SLS without astronauts aboard is planned for 2019.

Op-ed | Mars mania is completely rational

Space News (6/14): Assessments by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggest NASA’s plans to explore Mars with humans are supported by aspirational as well as pragmatic justifications. Those include the search for extraterrestrial life as well as spin off technologies, according to an op-ed.


Space Science

China focus: China launches space telescope to search for black holes, pulsars

Xinhuanet of China (6/15): China on Thursday launched the Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, or Insight, an orbiting X-ray observatory designed to study black hole evolution, neutron stars and pulsars. A Long March 4-B rocket, lofted from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, placed the observatory into a 342 mile high orbit.

Sun likely has a long-lost twin (6/14): Most sun like stars likely have a twin, perhaps unseen, that can influence planets around the other star, according to a study led by a University of California, Berkley researcher.


Other News

Russia to orbit over 70 small satellites for first time

TASS of Russia (6/14): On July 14, a Russian Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle is scheduled to place more than 70 small sats and a larger satellite into multiple orbits for the Kanopus-V-IK mission. The U.S. is among multiple international customers.

Is the Earth-observation industry consolidating, or just evolving? 

Space News (6/14): Recent acquisitions involving Terra Bella, Digital Globe and OmniEarth suggest that the business of observing the Earth with satellites and distributing the data has begun to evolve through acquisitions.


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