May 3rd, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… White House official foresees the Moon as a critical “first stop” for human deep space explorers. Boeing’s CEO predicts thriving low Earth orbit economy. NASA unveils fission reactor for planetary surface activities. Australia establishes a space agency.

Human Space Exploration

Top Trump official promises a ‘gas station’ on the Moon

Washington Post (5/2): U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross outlines a concept for using water ice on the Moon to develop propellants for rockets with human explorers prepared for missions to Mars and other deep space destinations. In an interview, Ross offered an optimistic timeline that policy experts in the field questioned. The accessibility and quality of lunar water has yet to be established.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg foresees busy commercial ‘ecosystem’ in Earth orbit

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (5/2): Boeing’s CEO foresees a growing low Earth orbit economy, with as many as a dozen space station like destinations in place over the next two decades. Dennis Muilenburg discussed the prospect in remarks Wednesday at Northwestern University near the company’s Chicago headquarters. Boeing will be a leader, and its role in developing the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for NASA will be instrumental in reaching the Red Planet with the first human explorers, he told the audience.

Demonstration proves nuclear fission system can provide space exploration power

NASA (5/2): NASA joined with the U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday to announce the successful demonstration of a compact nuclear fission reactor that could serve as a power source on the surface of the Moon or Mars. NASA’s Glenn Research Center supervised a multi-month demonstration in Nevada. “I expect the Kilopower project to be an essential part of lunar and Mars power architectures as they evolve,” said NASA’s Jim Reuter, who leads the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.


Space Science

NASA struggling to get James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) across the finish line

Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman

Space News (5/2): An independent review is underway to assess the status of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the official successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Recently, the launch was delayed from the Spring of 2019 to May 2020 to deal with pre-launch test and integration issues. Might the delays and technical difficulties exceed an $8 billion development cost cap established in 2011? The answer should emerge in June.

An exoplanet first! Helium spotted on bizarre comet-like world (5/2): A recent discovery of helium in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet, a first, is a potentially encouraging find for efforts to examine the atmospheres of distant planets for evidence of bio markers without advanced space telescopes. WASP 700b is a large planet about 200 light years from the Earth. The data was collected by the 28-year-old Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA is investigating a self-assembling space telescope

Universe Today (5/2): A NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts program study will assess technologies that would permit a future space telescope with post launch, self-assembly capabilities to ease the challenge of launching very large observatories.


Other News

Op-ed | A new governance model to grow U.S. space launch capability

Coalition Member in the News – Deloitte

Space News (4/30): Expectations for a thriving U.S. space economy will increase the need for a new model for sustainable, safe and adaptable ways to manage the airspace. There are ten U.S. spaceports between the U.S. East Coast and Alaska, though only four presently launch spacecraft to orbit. In an op-ed, two Deloitte Consulting experts outline the need to establish one of the ten as a model, or test case, for meeting the airspace challenge.

Australia is late to the space agency party, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing

Australian Broadcasting Corp (5/3): Australia will soon become the latest country to establish its own space agency. Organizers believe that as a late starter they can earn a share of the growing global space market by turning to the latest technologies, including reusable rockets and small satellites.

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