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Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 1st, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The newly formed National Space Council headed by Vice President Mike Pence to focus on defense and economic policy, not exploration, a former member of the NASA transition team says.  Meanwhile, NASA’s Earth Science capabilities are supporting Hurricane Harvey recovery from space.

 

Human Space Exploration

Trump administration tees up National Space Council to offer cohesive strategy, former insider says

Space News (8/31): The Trump administration’s recently reformed cabinet level National Space Council will focus on defense and economic policy rather than science and exploration, according to a presentation made by Greg Autry before the Space Technology and Investment Forum meeting in San Francisco this week. Autry, who served as a member of the Trump administration’s NASA transition team, said the NRC headed by Vice President Mike Pence now has its key government representatives and will hold its first session soon.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson prepares for Earth

USA Today (8/28): NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson is set to descend to Earth late Saturday with fellow U.S. flier Jack Fisher and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, after their Soyuz MS-04 departs the International Space Station. Launched November 17, 2016, Whitson returns following an extended mission that will be the longest trip to space for any female, 288 days. Her career total of 665 days in space will be the most logged by an American.

How NASA kept the ISS flying while Harvey hit Mission Control

The Verge (8/31): As metropolitan Houston became a target of major tropical storm Harvey, NASA’s flight control team decided to stay, camping out in the Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center in order to watch over the six person International Space Station. Streets flooded making it difficult to commute. High water endangered their homes as well.  “This is what we do and what the American people have trusted us to do,” explains NASA’s Zebulon Scoville, the Space Station lead flight director.  “We fly the Space Station not only when it’s easy but when it’s hard.”

Plans unveiled for multiple Chinese solid rocket launches and reusable spacecraft

GB Times (9/1): The developer and producer of new Chinese solid-fuelled rockets has unveiled plans to launch four Kuaizhou-1A rockets within one week next year, while the maiden flight of the heavier Kuaizhou-11 launch vehicle will carry six satellites. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), a major space contractor, revealed the plans at the Third China International Commercial Aerospace Forum held in the city of Wuhan this week.

 

Space Science

Harvey response: NASA lends space-based eyes to recovery

Space.com (8/31): Satellite and aircraft borne NASA instruments are providing imagery that is helping federal, state and local governments respond to the flooding from major hurricane turned tropical storm Harvey across much of the Texas coast earlier this week.

Hubble spots first indications of water on Trappist-1S planets

Universe Today (8/31): Trappist-1, the nearby star announced in February to host seven rocky planets, all orbiting in the habitable zone,  may be even a more promising environment for life. Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope hint at the loss of large amounts of water — an ingredient for life — from the inner most of the planets. However, water losses from the outer planets in the Trappist-1 habitable zone appear more modest.

 

Other News

Plans unveiled for multiple Chinese solid rocket launches and reusable spacecraft

GB Times (9/1): The developer and producer of new Chinese solid-fuelled rockets has unveiled plans to launch four Kuaizhou-1A rockets within one week next year, while the maiden flight of the heavier Kuaizhou-11 launch vehicle will carry six satellites. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), a major space contractor, revealed the plans at the Third China International Commercial Aerospace Forum held in the city of Wuhan this week.

Indian navigation satellite launch suffers failure

SpaceFlightInsider.com (8/31): The eighth of India’s Regional Navigation Satellite System spacecraft failed to reach orbit August 31, when the payload fairing failed to separate during ascent.

Spaceport officials to seek more funding, but it could be hard sell

Santa Fe New Mexican (8/31): Managers of state owned Spaceport America plan to seek an increase in state funding for the coming year, one that would more than double the current $375,900. Opened in 2011 at a cost of nearly $220 million, the launch complex has not yet been able to realize its goal of launching space tourism.

Falcon 9 rocket fired up for launch of military mini-shuttle

Spaceflightnow.com (8/31): SpaceX hot fired the Falcon 9 rocket assigned to the planned September 7 launch of the U.S. Air Force X-37B unmanned reusable space plane from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

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