Today’s Deep Space Extra

July 13th, 2017

 In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The Trump Administration is likely to pace the development of a new space policy, according to a White House transition team member.

Human Space Exploration

White House not expected to rush development of new space policy

Space News (7/12): The Trump administration will likely not rush to develop a new national space policy, two members of the presidential transition team said this week in remarks before the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Propulsion and Energy Forum in Atlanta. Even with the recently re-established White House National Space Council, the forging of a new policy could take a “couple of years,” one transition team member speculated.

In NASA simulation, people tote hardy, allergy-inducing molds to Mars

Ars Technica (7/12): A NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars simulation suggests that Earthly toxins, including fungi, spores and pollens, are hardy enough to trail along when human explorers set out for the red planet. The findings are intended to help the space agency prepare for the maintenance of habitats developed for future deep space exploration.


Space Science

House spending bill increases NASA planetary science, cuts NOAA weather satellite program

Space News (7/12): The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Thursday is expected to markup a $19.9 billion spending bill for NASA in 2018. The measure includes a record amount for planetary science, $2.12 billion. The planetary science budget includes support for development of an orbiter and lander for Europa, the geologically active moon of Jupiter; a new Mars orbiter for launching in 2022; and a helicopter companion for the already planned Mars 2020 rover.

Stunning close-ups of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot from Juno probe flyby are here (7/12): Sooner than anticipated, NASA and the Southwest Research Institute on Wednesday released images from the Jupiter orbiting Juno spacecraft’s close fly over of the planet’s Great Red Spot. Juno swept 5,600 miles over the swirling, red hued 10,000 mile wide storm late Monday with all science instruments and primary camera operating.

NOAA’s Polar Follow On program zapped by House Appropriators (7/12): More action is planned by U.S. House appropriators on Thursday, but the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee’s draft would greatly reduce funding for a follow on generation of NOAA polar orbiting weather satellites. The White House has proposed a re plan of the Joint Polar Satellite System program satellites.


Other News

Orbital ATK awarded $48 million rocket motor sustainment contract by Missile Defense Agency

Orbital ATK (7/12): A $48 million U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract with Orbital ATK will support continued work on target and interceptor vehicles in support of the development of U.S. missile defenses.

White House opposes Space Corps (7/12): The Trump Administration informed the House that it does not agree on the need for the Space Corps proposed in the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The White House Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) called the proposal premature because DOD is still in the process of studying potential organizational changes.  The White House used stronger language to object to two other space provisions in the bill.

‘Space agency’ one option as Australia pursues $420b space technology sector

SBS of Australia (7/13): On behalf of Australia’s science ministry, a plan to grow that nation’s commercial space sector is to be complete by the end of March 2018. The plan could lead to the creation of a national space agency.

Astronaut promotes new memoir with ‘epic adventure’ photo contest (7/10): Dr. Scott Parazynski, the only astronaut to launch into space five times and scale Mt. Everest, is sponsoring a contest that could earn the winners some of his memorabilia. The short term contest, which ends this week, asks competitors to submit photos of personal adventures via the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The contest is running in conjunction with the debut of Parazynski’s new book, “The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space and Speed.”

Moon Express releases details of its lunar lander missions

Space News (7/12): Florida based Moon Express unveiled a mockup of the MX-1E lunar lander, which the company hopes to launch by the end of this year and in time to win the $20 million Google Lunar X-Prize. Speaking in Washington, CEO Bob Richards said larger more capable versions of the lander are planned for the coming years, including the MX-9 for a lunar sample return. The lander’s launch vehicle, startup Rocket Lab’s Electron, is to liftoff from New Zealand. The rocket carried out its first partially successful flight in late May.


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