Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 5th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… White House announces President Trump’s intent to nominate Jim Bridenstine as NASA’s administrator. House to vote on FY 18 appropriation bills this week.  President calls Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer upon their return from the International Space Station.

Human Space Flight

White House nominates Bridenstine as NASA administrator

Space News (9/1): Late in the day on September 1, the White House announced President Trump’s intent to nominate Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine as NASA’s administrator. Bridenstine, long speculated to be the choice to lead NASA under the new administration, is a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard and former U.S. Navy aviator. Acting administrator Robert Lightfoot is expected to remain with the space agency.

Trump’s choice for NASA chief, Representative Jim Bridenstine, is likely to boost moonshots

GeekWire (9/2): Bridenstine, sponsor of the American Space Renaissance Act, has supported further human activities on the moon.

House to vote on bundle of eight FY 2018 appropriation bills this week (9/3): Budgets in 2018 for NASA, NOAA and the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space are part of eight appropriations bills the U.S. House is to consider this week. However, a Continuing Resolution appears necessary to keep the federal government from shutting down October 1, the start of the 2018 fiscal year.

Trump talks to NASA astronauts: ‘They make us all very proud’

The Hill (9/4): President Trump praised NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer aboard a NASA jet on their flight back to Houston and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, following their weekend return to Earth from the International Space Station. Whitson set multiple records as the two astronauts landed late Saturday aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-04 capsule in remote Kazakhstan with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson home after record-setting flight

CBS News (9/2): U.S. and Russian astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin departed the six person International Space Station and descended safely to Earth late Saturday. Their Russian Soyuz MS-04 landed in remote Kazakhstan. European and NASA aircraft returned the two Americans to their homes in Houston early Monday. Whitson returned after an extended 288 day mission, the longest spaceflight for any woman. Her career total 665 days in space over three missions, which include two space station commands, established a new U.S. record.

Saturn V and the storm: Houston’s NASA landmarks weather Hurricane Harvey (9/4): Much of the Johnson Space Center’s 1,700 acres were soaked by Harvey, the major hurricane turned super-sized tropical storm that forced NASA’s home to Mission Control to close August 27.  Johnson, which maintained its support of the International Space Station and thermal vacuum testing of the James Webb Space Telescope with essential only staffing, reopens Tuesday. The offsite Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, where astronauts train for spacewalks, reports water damage. One of only three remaining Saturn V rockets and other Apollo era hardware on public display survived.


Space Science

NASA Juno probe makes 7th close flyby of Jupiter (9/2): At Jupiter, NASA’s Juno mission spacecraft carried out its seventh close flyby of the giant planet on September 1 with all science instruments operating. In orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, Juno is seeking more information about the planet’s composition and magnetic and radiation fields.

Space photos of the week: NBD, just a galaxy shooting out microwave lasers

Wired (9/2): Unless there is an enormous celestial event, like say a total solar eclipse, it’s pretty easy to go about your day and not give the universe a second thought. But there’s so much more to see beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Just take a look at the fantastic images from space this week.


Other News

Alabama aerospace company plans major expansion

Coalition Member in the News

Birmingham Alabama Business Journal of Alabama (8/21): In Decatur, Alabama Dynetics has broken ground on an aerospace rocket structures assembly complex. The new facilities will be used to assemble the universal stage adapter for NASA’s Space Launch System as well as support hardware testing for the military, NASA and commercial companies.

Huntsville seeks FAA approval to host Dream Chaser landings at HSV

Spaceflight Insider (9/1): The Huntsville, Alabama municipal airport is seeking the FAA licensing required to support future landings of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser. Sierra Nevada is one of three companies under contract to NASA to launch automated resupply missions to the International Space Station starting in 2019. The reusable, winged Dream Chaser is capable of returning cargoes from the Space Station to Earth with runway landings as well.

Dr. Space Junk unearths the cultural landscape of the cosmos

New Yorker (9/1): Australia’s Alice Gorman is pioneering the field of space archeology, charting and collecting artifacts from the Space Age. Gorman, who teaches at Flinders University in Adelaide, is taking her messages to younger generations. She blogs under the name Dr. Space Junk.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of September 4-8, 2017 (9/3): Congress returns to Washington, with the October 1 start of the 2018 fiscal year looming and eight appropriations measures and the lifting of the U.S. debt limit yet to be addressed. The U.S. House Space Subcommittee hosts a hearing on “Private Sector Lunar Exploration” on Thursday. A gathering to mark the 40th anniversary of the Voyager 1 and 2 mission launches is planned for Tuesday at the National Air and Space Museum.

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