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TODAY’S DEEP SPACE EXTRA

May 7th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… SpaceX is using powerful technology that could put lives at risk. InSight had a successful launch on Saturday in California atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket. The annual Human to Mars Summit is also underway in Washington Tuesday through Thursday.

Human Space Exploration

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is using a powerful rocket technology. NASA advisers say it could put lives at risk

Washington Post (5/5): Some safety experts are expressing concerns over a launch pad fueling strategy that SpaceX plans in order to launch the crewed version of its Dragon capsule to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The strategy involves flowing super cold liquid oxygen into the Falcon 9 rocket in order to shrink the propellant’s volume late in the countdown and while astronauts are aboard. Opponents believe the astronauts should board after the operation is complete. NASA’s crew safety requirement for commercial crew launches is 1/270.

Reused Dragon cargo carrier splashes down in Pacific Ocean

Spaceflightnow.com (5/5): Two tons of equipment, scientific samples and technology demonstration hardware returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Saturday aboard SpaceX’s 14th cargo mission to the International Space Station. The spacecraft, launched a month ago, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Long Beach, California, where it was recovered.

Robonaut 2 returns to Earth for repairs after seven years on Space Station

Collectspace.com (5/7): NASA’s Robonaut 2, a life sized humanoid robot, was among the hardware returned to Earth aboard SpaceX’s 14th cargo mission to the International Space Station. The return capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Long Beach, California, on Saturday. Robonaut 2 reached the Space Station in early 2011. Work with the robot was halted over a suspected internal electrical short. Ground experts plan repairs and a re-launch.

 

Space Science

NASA launches InSight spacecraft to Mars to dig down deep

Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance

KDVR.com (5/5): A robotic geologist armed with a hammer and quake monitor rocketed toward Mars on Saturday, aiming to land on the red planet and explore its mysterious insides. The spacecraft will take more than six months to get to Mars and start its unprecedented geologic excavations, traveling 300 million miles (485 million kilometers) to get there. Lockheed Martin built the InSight Mars lander at its facility in Jefferson County, Colorado.

InSight lander lifts off from California, kicking off quest to get Mars’ inside story

Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance

GeekWire.com (5/5): NASA’s Mars InSight lander began its long journey toward a November 26 landing at Elysium Planitia on the Red Planet with a successful liftoff early Saturday atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. “This is a big day,” stated NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. InSight is equipped to carry out the first studies of the Martian subsurface, or characterizations of the crust, mantle and core.

Are Marsquakes anything like earthquakes? NASA is about to find out

National Geographic (5/5): Once InSight lands on Mars, one science instrument will be extended 16 feet into the subsurface to assess what internal processes are at work and whether they resemble those of the Earth and perhaps other rocky planets.

Lunar rover’s cancellation hits KSC

Florida Today (5/6): NASA’s cancellation of Lunar Prospector, a small rover equipped to seek out physical evidence for water ice at the poles of the Moon by 2022, came as a shock to the Kennedy Space Center’s In Situ Resource Utilization team, a project set up two decades ago. It was to involve Kennedy personnel in space mission activities beyond launch operations. Now visualized by NASA as a commercial mission, the change to Prospector that was issued late April could delay efforts to determine whether there is ice and other potential resources for future human explorers on the Moon.

NASA argues Resource Prospector no longer fit into agency’s lunar exploration plans

Space News (5/4): Late last month, NASA said it was cancelling an agency mission, Lunar Prospector, designed to seek further evidence of water ice in the polar regions of the Moon. Ice would be a valuable resource for human activities on the lunar realm, providing a feed stock for liquid oxygen and hydrogen rocket propellants and life support. New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine believes prospector like activities can be carried out by commercial companies more rapidly under a Commercial Lunar Payload Services program initiative.

One of the Trappist-1 planets has an iron core

Universe Today (5/3): Trappist-1 is a seven planet solar system, whose discovery was announced by European astronomers just over a year ago. Three of the seven rocky planets orbit Trappist-1 in the habitable zone, a region where water, if present, would be stable as a liquid. A new study suggests one of the planets, Trappist 1e, has an iron core — like the Earth. That could imply a magnetosphere, which could provide the planet’s surface with a radiation shield and add to its habitability prospects.

 

Other News

SpaceX test-fires new Falcon 9 block 5 rocket ahead of maiden flight (updated)

Popular Mechanics (5/4): SpaceX’s latest upgrade of the Falcon 9 rocket underwent a static test firing Friday night at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The first Falcon 9 block 5 may launch this evening with the Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite.

 

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of May 6-12, 2018

Spacepolicyonline.com (5/6): NASA will host an Industry Day for its recently released Proposals for Commercial Lunar Payload Services in Washington on Tuesday. Late Wednesday, the U.S. House Commerce Justice and Science subcommittee responsible for NASA’s budget, proposed at $19.9 billion for 2019, will conduct a markup of the legislation. The annual Human to Mars Summit is also underway in Washington Tuesday through Thursday.

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