Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 8th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Kennedy Space Center closes today through Monday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. U.S. commercial space companies present the U.S. House Space Subcommittee with plans to establish cargo delivery services to the lunar surface.

Space Coast Prepares for Hurricane Irma

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center braces for Hurricane Irma As powerful Hurricane Irma approaches South Florida over the weekend, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center announced it is closing from Friday through at least Monday. The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing also took measures to secure Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as Irma approaches.

Irma and Florida: Confidence in the hurricane’s forecast track is growing

Ars Technica (9/7): Powerful Hurricane Irma’s course may bring it over land between Florida’s Everglades and Miami.


Human Space Exploration

Private companies leading push for moon return as early as next year

Coalition Member in the News (Astrobotic)

USA Today (9/7): U.S. spacecraft— commercial spacecraft— are preparing for a return to the lunar surface, as soon as next year. In a hearing Thursday before the U.S. House Space Subcommittee, executives from three entrepreneurial companies, Astrobotic Technology, Moon Express and Blue Origin, urged lawmakers to support efforts to develop commercial lunar transport and landing services as part of a push to move human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The three companies are preparing to take payloads, small and large, to the lunar surface to locate water ice and other resources, install astronomical observatories and support technology demonstrations. NASA intends to be one of the customers.

Space Florida backs NASA nominee, but senators aren’t so sure

Orlando Sentinel (9/7): Space Florida, the state’s space economic development agency, has endorsed President Trump’s nominee to lead NASA, three term Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine, who is a former U.S. Navy aviator and current member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.



Space Science

How NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will meet its fiery end

National Geographic (9/7): The long-running NASA led Cassini mission, which has been orbiting Saturn with a spacecraft since 2004, will come to an end at the end of next week. The spacecraft’s destructive plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere is intended to protect the moons Enceladus and Titan from possible contamination by Earthly microbes on the spacecraft. Both moons host potentially habitable environments.

Sun fires off 3 huge flares, including strongest in a decade

Mashable (9/7): The sun has been quite eruptive over the past week, unleashing powerful coronal mass ejections, some directed toward the Earth. In addition to lighting up the Earth’s Northern and Southern lights at night, the encounters with the Earth’s magnetic field could disrupt satellite communications and surface power grids.

Geomagnetic storm update (9/8): Intense solar activities expected to drive bright auroral activity on Earth well into the weekend. The bright night time display has dipped as far south in the U.S. as Arkansas.


Other News
NASA picks 16 firms for potential $500M Space Station research, engineering IDIQ

Coalition Member in the News (Barrios, Boeing, Craig Technology Consulting, Leidos, MEI Technologies)

GovConWire (9/7): On Thursday, NASA selected 16 companies to support research and engineering activities aboard the International Space Station. The five to seven-year initiative includes a $500 million limit.

SpaceX beats hurricane with smooth launch of military’s X-37B spaceplane

Coalition Member in the News (Boeing)

Spaceflightnow: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched the U.S. Air Force/Boeing X-37B, reusable space plane on Thursday, with a 10 a.m., EDT, liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Four previous launches of the two-member X-37B fleet were successfully carried out with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. Like the others, the first SpaceX mission is largely classified and could last for many months. The Falcon 9 first stage returned to Landing Zone 1. All the activities occurred ahead of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Irma in the region.

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