In Today’s Deep Space Extra… American astronauts excited about recent plans to restore U.S. manned space missions to lunar orbit. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner reaches another milestone in efforts by NASA to restore a human space launch capability. Earth shines brightly for Osiris Rex. The USAF and Orbital ATK reach agreement on the development of a new rocket without Russian propulsion.
Human Space Exploration
VOA News (1/3): American astronauts aboard the International Space Station told VOA on Wednesday that their excitement about recently announced plans to restore U.S. manned space missions to lunar orbit was eclipsed only by their skepticism about the logistical feasibility of completing the mission within six years.
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
SpaceFlightInsider.com (1/4): Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has cleared the Atlas V Launch Segment Design Certification Review portion of its partnership agreement under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Later this year, the four person Boeing spacecraft is to undergo uncrewed, then crewed orbital test flights. With success, the Starliner is to be certified to begin transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Nature (1/4): In an op-ed, the journal Nature urges those in the U.S., Europe and China most vocal about exploring the lunar surface to consider a far side radio telescope to help seek out the answers to origins of the universe.
Universe Today (1/4): Later this year, NASA’s Osiris Rex mission, launched on September 8, 2016, will begin its approach to the asteroid Bennu, where it is to gather a sample of surface material for return to Earth in 2023. Last year, the spacecraft neared the Earth for a gravity assist and an opportunity to image the home planet from afar.
CNN (1/4): Slated to liftoff January 25 from French Guiana, NASA’s GOLD mission will study little understood interactions between solar radiation, Earthly communications transmissions and lower altitude weather phenomena at the high altitude border between space and the Earth’s ionosphere. GOLD is to liftoff on an Ariane 5 rocket as a shared payload attached to an SES commercial communications satellite headed for geosynchronous orbit.
Space.com (1/4): It seems stars far larger and more massive than the sun could be more abundant than previously assumed, according to a research team led by Oxford University astrophysicist Fabian Schneider. The findings are published in the journal Science.
Universe Today (1/4): Beijing’s Chang’e 4 mission, the first to attempt the landing of a robotic rover on the far side of the moon, is anticipated to launch late this year. The lander’s payload will include some bio organisms and plants assigned to spaceflight to determine how they respond to the reduced gravity of the moon.
Coalition Member in the News – Orbital ATK
Florida Today (1/4): An agreement between the U.S. Air Force and Orbital ATK is expected to further development of a Next Generation Launch system. Launches of intermediate and heavy versions are forecast for 2021 and 2024, as the Pentagon works to find an alternative to the import of Russian rocket engines for its national security missions. East Coast launches are planned from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
People (1/4): New Girl’s latest doll, Girl of the Year 2018 Luciana Vega, is of Chilean descent. With NASA advising, Luciana is pursuing an interest in science and space so that she can become an astronaut. “We really wanted to do a whole character to show girls that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is cool,” said Rebecca Dekuiper, a designer at American Girl.
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