Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 20th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… United Launch Alliance Delta II launches advanced NASA/NOAA weather satellite. Satellite servicing may prove commercial space moneymaker. Leonid meteor shower peaks

Human Space Flight

Shenzhou-12: China preparing upgrades for first human spaceflight mission to space station

GB Times of Finland (11/17): China looks at advanced spacecraft guidance to accelerate the flight time from launch to rendezvous with the future Tianzhou-1 space station.


Space Science

Penultimate Delta 2 rocket launch lofts advanced polar-orbiting weather satellite

Coalition Member in the News (United Launch Alliance) (11/18): The joint NASA/NOAA JPSS-1 spacecraft, first in a series of four planned advanced U.S. weather satellites, lifted off for its assigned polar orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California early Saturday. Working in concert with NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, forecasters believe that with JPSS-1 they will be able to improve warnings of hazardous weather, including hurricanes and flooding, out three to seven days.

When James Webb finally reaches space, here’s what it’ll be hunting

Universe Today (11/17): The James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the 27-year-old Hubble Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch late next year. Scientists have converged on an early science program: Studies of the first light following the big bang; early galaxy formation; and assessments of the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars. The work involving scientists from 18 countries is to follow a six month commissioning period.

Swarm of nanosatellites could visit over 300 asteroids (11/12): Within a span of three years, 50 small satellites might recon 300 asteroids under a proposal outlined during September’s European Planetary Science Conference in Latvia.

Planet with lava oceans also has an atmosphere, says new study

Universe Today (11/17): Discovered in 2004, the super Earth exo-planet 55 Cancri has an atmosphere that has been characterized with NASA’s Spitzer space telescope. In addition to lava lakes, 55 Cancri has an atmosphere comparable to Earth’s, though one that is much hotter.


Other News

On-orbit satellite servicing: The next big thing in space?

Space News (11/17): The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is preparing to spearhead efforts to refuel and repair satellites as they orbit the Earth, potentially opening new commercial space markets. Safety and on orbit security issues remain to be resolved.

Leonid meteor shower 2017: When, where & how to see it this week (11/16): The annual Leonid meteor shower peaks in mid-November. The Leonids have produced as many as 50,000 falling stars per hour.

Milky Way and other celestial sights will make for spectacular stargazing this month (11/17): Crisp fall evenings make for prime time viewing of the Milky Way galaxy and its stellar landmarks. Binoculars can help bring them within visual range.

Rocket Lab prepares Electron for its second test flight (11/17): Rocket Lab’s new small launch vehicle is nearing a second test flight from New Zealand. The payload aboard the composite rocket with its innovative Rutherford rocket engine is to include at least three small satellites. A target launch data has not been announced.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of November 19-24, 2017 (11/19): Policy meetings hosted by the National Academies and the International Space University as well as a Canadian Space Summit are or will be underway this week to discuss topics that include the analysis of extraterrestrial samples and an International Moon Village.

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