Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 18th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA joined U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) auditors before the House Space Subcommittee to discuss the status of efforts to certify new Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft for the transport of astronauts to the International Space Station. Private companies finding economic promise in the moon. Pulsars offer resource for deep space navigation. Luxembourg and China to cooperate in seeking space resources.

Human Space Exploration

GAO warns of further delays in certifying commercial crew vehicles

Space News (1/17): In testimony and analysis presented Wednesday before the U.S. House Space Subcommittee, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cautioned that NASA may not be able to certify that Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX-s Dragon 2 are qualified to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station until late 2019, perhaps early 2020. Both spacecraft are in development under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. That could lead to a lapse in NASA’s ability to staff the Space Station’s U.S. segment.

NASA “brainstorming” options if Commercial Crew not ready before end of 2019 (1/17): With safety rather than schedule the chief concern, NASA informed the U.S. House Space Subcommittee that it is “brainstorming” a plan to keep the six person International Space Station staffed in the event Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s crewed Dragon have not been certified to begin transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station in 2019. Both companies are partnered with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Working through Boeing, NASA has already secured seats on Russia’s Soyuz for its astronauts to launch to and return from the space station into 2019.

Moon rush: These companies have big plans for lunar exploration

Coalition Member in the News: Astrobotic (1/17): Private companies, small and large, have their eyes on lunar exploration as a means of expanding the Earth’s economic sphere. Representatives of Astrobotic, Blue Origin and Moon Express were among those who spoke on the topic last week at the Lunar Science for Landed Missions Workshop at NASA’s Ames Research Center. The effort could lead to human outposts on the moon, according to participants.


Space Science

NASA just proved it can navigate space using pulsars. Where to now?

Wired (1/17): A sensor aboard the International Space Station, the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, has demonstrated that distant pulsars could serve as beacons to navigate through space. The data confirms a theory that emerged nearly a half century ago.


Other News

Luxembourg cooperates with China in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes

Space Resources. Lu of Luxembourg (1/17): Luxembourg and China agree to cooperate in the peaceful exploration of space. Areas of potential cooperation include economic, legal, regulatory and technological aspects of the utilization of space resources.

Japanese Epsilon rocket sends ASNARO-2 radar satellite to orbit (1/17): Japan’s ASNARO-2, the second in a series, introduces a high resolution synthetic aperture radar satellites for Earth observations, was successfully launched on Wednesday from the Uchinoura Space Center.

Asteroid mining is getting closer to reality. Planetary Resources Arkyd-6 satellite just launched

Universe Today (1/17): Redmond, Washington, based Planetary Resource’s Arkyd-6 was among 31 small satellites launched from India last week. The CubeSat was developed to test asteroid prospecting technologies. The company plans a 2020 spacecraft mission to survey actual asteroids for water ice.

Kazakhstan, U.S. vow to step up space cooperation

Kazinform (1/18): During a recent meeting in New York, U.S. and Kazakh representatives agreed to future space cooperation in areas including assessments of environmental and natural hazards with technology enhancements, according to the report.

U.K. firm contracts to service satellites

BBC (1/17): The U.K.’s Effective Space announces a contract with an undisclosed company to dispatch two spacecraft  developed to repair a pair of orbiting satellites. Effective is not disclosing the repair satellites’ owner. A 2020 launch is planned.

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