Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 6th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Coalition for Deep Space Exploration issues statement on President Trump’s nomination of Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA.

Human Space Exploration

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration statement on nomination of Jim Bridenstine for NASA Administrator (9/6): The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, representing major U.S. aerospace companies, issues statement on President Trump’s choice for NASA administrator, Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine. “Together with the establishment of the National Space Council chaired by Vice President Pence, this step advances the framework for U.S. leadership in space,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of the Coalition.

Learning to fly again

The Space Review (9/5): Last week, Sierra Nevada’s winged, reusable Dream Chaser in test article mode rose from Edwards Air Force Base, California, while tethered to a powerful helicopter, a milestone four years in the making for the spacecraft that was originally envisioned to commercially transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, with an aerodynamic descent to a range of existing U.S. runways. Currently one of three companies under contract to NASA to carry cargo to and from the Space Station starting in 2019, Dream Chaser may yet launch and land with a human crew, explains TSR editor Jeff Foust.

Russia’s evolving rocket plans

The Space Review (9/5): Russia’s Federatsia, a successor to the Soyuz human spacecraft and one designed to be qualified for future lunar as well as Earth orbiting missions, is struggling to attain an assigned launch vehicle under current long term planning. The new launch vehicle is to serve as a step toward a Space Launch System class rocket carrier as well. The rocket names have transitioned from Rus M to Angara A5 to Soyuz 5, and the launch site from Vostochny to Plesetsk to Baikonur in Kazakhstan. The transitions point to the lack of a long-term space vision, while raising the question of who is pulling the strings in the country’s space program, writes Bart Hendrickx, a long time Russian space program observer.

China challenges the US position in human space exploration (9/6): Ongoing developments suggest that two major space powers Europe and Russia are actively working to collaborate with China for lunar and human space exploration. The first casualty is likely to be the International Space Station (ISS), which has been a beacon for international space cooperation. Ironically, ISS’s origins lay in geopolitics from its very inception and geopolitics again appears to be playing a role in the evolving competition in the domain of manned or human space exploration.

Recycling water on the ISS: An inforgraphic

Vita Mission Blog (9/1): In honor of World Water Week, learn how the International Space Station recovers up to 80% of wastewater.


Space Science

A solar storm is coming (9/5): On Monday, a series of powerful solar flares hurled a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) toward Earth. Arriving late Wednesday, the CME is likely to activate new auroral activity.

Medium-sized black hole seen lurking in the Milky Way

Physics (9/5): Japanese scientists report they’ve found evidence for the existence of medium mass black holes. They point to a 100,000 solar mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way, perhaps originally from a dwarf galaxy that merged. The research was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Voyager Golden records alien greetings gets next-gen remixes (9/5): NASA’s still functioning Voyager 2 and 1 missions, which are marking the 40th anniversary of launches that sent Voyager 1 and soon will send Voyager 2 beyond the solar system, have generated intrigue over identical golden records that captured the sights and sounds of Earth before their August 20 and September 5, 1977 launches. The records are meant for a possible encounter between the Voyagers and a distant intelligent civilization. The recordings have been updated, possibly to be transmitted to the hard drive of NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft, the first probe to flyby distant Pluto.


Other News

Ariane 5 aborts moments after engine ignition (9/5): Moments from liftoff from French Guiana late Tuesday, an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket countdown was aborted. The two Intelsat 37e and BSAT-4a communications satellites on board were not damaged, and troubleshooting is underway.

China draws up Mars Village plans

GB Times of Finland (9/6): China plans a Mars simulation base in Qinghai, which features red planet like terrains. Beijing’s future planetary science plans include Mars orbiters and a sample return. The China’s Mars Village will be comprise of a Mars Community for tourists and a Mars Camp for more robust space travel like experiences.

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