Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 7th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and others on space coast prepare for Hurricane Irma.

Space Coast and Others Prepare for Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma prompts HURCON status at Kennedy Space Center; meetings underway

Florida Today (9/6): On Wednesday, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center braced for the possible approach of Hurricane Irma. The last such posturing was for Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Irma, approaching Puerto Rico late Wednesday, could reach the Florida peninsula on Sunday.

Hurricane Irma threat closes Arecibo, world’s second-largest radio telescope (9/6): Puerto Rico’s Arecibo radio telescope, the world’s second largest, closed Wednesday ahead of the approach of powerful Hurricane Irma. Arecibo is instrumental in the characterization of asteroids that approach the Earth and in listening for signals from possible extra solar intelligent civilizations.

As hurricane approaches, SpaceX poised to launch Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane

Space News (9/6): The Pentagon prepared the winged, reusable X-37 B space plane for its fifth classified mission launch Thursday atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and ahead of a possible impact to Florida from major Hurricane Irma. Previous launches and classified activities have unfolded from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, atop Atlas V launch vehicles.


Human Exploration

Orbital ATK completes qualification of solid rocket booster avionics for NASA’s Space Launch System

Coalition Member in the News

Yahoo Finance (9/6): Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, recently completed an important qualification test of the avionics system for the solid rocket boosters the company has developed and is now manufacturing for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). Completion of this milestone is an important step toward preparing the SLS and Orion spacecraft for their first flight in 2019. Two Orbital ATK-developed five-segment rocket boosters will be used on each SLS launch to help provide initial thrust for the first two minutes of flight.

Life on Mars: An interplanetary marriage

New York Times (9/6): Newlyweds Laura and Walter Lark explain the challenges of marriage when one of them, Laura, is participating in a month’s long, simulation of a mission to Mars at the NASA funded Hi-Seas research facility on a Hawaiian volcano. Their communications are restricted to a daily email exchange. “It’s definitely been tough,” says Walter in this five minute video feature. “It’s definitely changed the way we communicate.” Audio communications in the close quarters of the simulation’s habitat are awkward, Laura explains.


Space Science

NASA studying less expensive options for Europa lander mission

Space News (9/6): NASA is continuing to examine options to a costly evidence for life seeking lander mission to Jupiter’s ice and ocean covered moon Europa. A mission concept selected earlier would attempt to land in 2031 for a 20 day prime mission, following a Space Launch System send off by late 2025. An unmanned Europa mission will cost several billion dollars, according to experts.

Geomagnetic storms possible tonight (9/6): New solar flare eruptions this week have sent powerful coronal mass ejections toward Earth. The latest CMEs could smash into the Earth’s magnetic field on Friday.


Other News

Space Nation enlists NASA’s help with astronaut training app

Coalition Member in the News

Space News (9/6): Space Nation, the Finnish startup, announced plans September 6 to work with NASA under a Space Act Agreement to refine the contents of the astronaut training smartphone application it plans to release in February. “We can use NASA’s expertise to make the experience better,” Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola, Space Nation captain and co-founder, said by email. “This affects all parts of the app. We aim to engage and inspire large audiences by bringing NASA expertise to the fingertips of people worldwide.”

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