Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 10th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s decision to move the planned first test launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion without astronauts should not affect plans to repeat the mission with astronauts between 2021 and 2023, Bill Gerstenmaier, the agency’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, tells a House oversight panel on Thursday.


Human Space Exploration

House Hearing: Exploration systems update (11/9): A setback in the target date for the first test launch of NASA Space’s Launch System (SLS) and the Orion crew capsule without astronauts, or Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), is not expected to impact the 2021-23 time frame for the first launch of the SLS/Orion with astronauts, or Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2). Gerstenmaier, told the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Thursday. An SLS launch with a planetary science mission to Jupiter’s ice and ocean covered moon Europa is planned in 2022. The change for EM-1 from November 2018 to December 2019 was affirmed ahead of Thursday’s committee hearing and had been anticipated since May.

Smith disappointed with lack of progress on SLS and Orion

Space News (11/9): U.S. Representative Lamar Smith chairs the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee. During a hearing Thursday on NASA space exploration systems, Smith expressed disappointment over delays in the progress the agency is making on planned flight tests of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion, cornerstones of U.S. efforts to resume human deep space exploration. Smith, who has announced he will not seek re-election, warned NASA that congressional support for the programs could diminish.

X3 Hall thruster sets records at NASA Glenn (11/10): The X3 Hall thruster, one of several ion thruster designs under development for spacecraft assigned to future human missions of deep space exploration achieved a new power milestone during testing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. The University of Michigan and U.S. Air Force are partnering in the test effort.

PBS’ ‘Beyond a Year in Space’: Exhilarating

Orlando Sentinel (11/9): The documentary traces retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s physically challenging return to Earth in March 2016, following a U.S. record setting 340 days aboard the International Space Station. The documentary, scheduled to air next Wednesday, includes a look at NASA’s newest astronaut hires and their spaceflight aspirations.

NASA’s $100K contest seeks safer air for astronauts (10/9): NASA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are partnering to encourage the development of a sensor to monitor breathing air quality on future deep space habitats as well as space stations. Registration for the competition closes December 13.


Space Science

NASA team studies CubeSat mission to measure water on the moon (11/9): A team of NASA scientists wants to draw a more complete picture of where water exists on the moon and whether it migrates across the lunar surface, including in the permanently shadowed regions that haven’t seen sunlight in perhaps a billion years or more.

Dinosaurs would have survived if asteroid hit Earth elsewhere, scientists claim

Washington Post (11/9): The devastation to life that accompanied the impact from a six mile wide asteroid in the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago may not have been so great had the space rock struck another location, two Japanese scientists suggest in a research paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Other News

Orbital ATK Antares rocket set for breakfast blastoff from Virginia to Space Station with S.S. Gene Cernan Cargo Freighter November 11: Watch Live

Coalition Member in the News (Orbital ATK)

Universe Today (11/10): Orbital ATK’s 8th NASA contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station is set for liftoff from the Wallops Island Flight Facility on Virginia’s eastern shore on Saturday at 7:37 a.m., EST.  The Cygnus cargo vessel, designated the S.S. Gene Cernan  in honor or the late Apollo 17 mission commander, is loaded with about 7400 pounds of supplies and research equipment for the Space Station’s astronauts and cosmonauts.

India is building reusable launch vehicles to explore Mars and search for alien life: ISRO Chief (11/9): The India Space Research Organization chair AS Kiran Kumar discussed plans for an Indian reusable launch vehicle to further planetary science investigations, including the search for life beyond the Earth and valuable space resources, in a talk on Wednesday.

XCOR files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Parabolic Arc (11/9): Eighteen year old XCOR, the suborbital reusable rocket company, has filed for bankruptcy. XCOR was behind the development of the two person Lynx suborbital launch vehicle, whose missions were to start and end on a runway.

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