Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 8th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee meets again Wednesday to consider the nomination of Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator. NASA Inspector General raises concerns over budget schedule reserves for NASA’s deep space exploration initiatives. Apollo 12 astronaut Dick Gordon passes away.

Human Space Exploration

Bridenstine pledges support for SLS and Orion to senators

Space News (11/7): The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will convene Wednesday morning in executive session to vote on whether to advance President Trump’s nomination of Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA. In written responses to questions from the lawmakers left from a November 1 hearing, Bridenstine expressed support for continued development of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule, cornerstones of NASA’s future human deep space exploration plans.

NASA Inspector General warns limited budget reserves could delay key programs

Space News (11/7): A NASA Inspector General’s report expresses concerns over budget reserves and technical issues as the agency’s leadership re-assesses a date for the first joint launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) and an uncrewed Orion capsule.

Dick Gordon, NASA astronaut who walked in space and flew to moon, dies at 88 (11/7): NASA astronaut Dick Gordon, who launched aboard Apollo 12 in 1969 as the command module pilot, and Gemini 11 in 1966 passed away on November 6. The Seattle native, U.S. Navy test pilot and post NASA businessman, was 88.

Six Russians locked into ‘spacecraft’ for 17 days in moon flight simulation

AFP via The Guardian of the UK (11/7): Three men and three woman began a 17 day lunar mission simulation in Moscow on Tuesday. The five Russians and one German are sharing an 8800 cubic foot chamber for the Sirius exercise. Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems has partnered with NASA for the project.

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to join new ISS mission from 2019

Japan Times (11/7): Veteran Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will join a six month mission to the International Space Station in late 2019, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced Tuesday. The 52-year-old launched on previous Station missions in 2009 and 2005.


Space Science

Help NASA and New Horizons nickname the icy world they’re targeting beyond Pluto

GeekWire (11/7): After its history making close flyby of distant Pluto in July 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft continues its journey deep into the Kuiper Belt, with its next flyby destination, 2014 MU69, on New Year’s Day 2019. NASA is seeking suggestions for a better name than 2014 MU69.


Other News

U.S. efforts to replace Russian RD-180 rocket engine advance

Coalition Members in the News (Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance)

Sputnik News (11/7): Orbital ATK’s rocket motor casing for an advanced launch vehicle has completed milestone structural loads and internal pressure testing. Orbital is one of three U.S. companies developing domestic alternatives to the Atlas V, which relies of imports of Russia’s RD-180 rocket engines to launch national security, commercial and civilian science payloads.

Dream Chaser readies for major approach and landing test milestone (11/6): Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, a winged reusable spacecraft under development as a cargo delivery vehicle for the International Space Station, is preparing for an approach and landing test at Edwards Air Force Base, California. It will be a second round of the testing.

Morocco’s first high-resolution surveillance satellite launched aboard Vega rocket (11/7): An Arianespace Vega rocket lifted off from the space center in French Guiana late Tuesday with a reconnaissance satellite for the government of Morocco.

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