May 9th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space ExtraA House appropriations bill released May 8 offers more than $21.5 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2019. New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine promises that NASA and the nation will not back off a human return to the Moon. NASA should operate the International Space Station (ISS), which has been permanently occupied by astronauts since 2000, for as long as possible, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told a Human to Mars Summit session in Washington. Cruz chairs a Senate subcommittee that authorizes the space agency. China plans reusable rocket test.


Policy and Budget

House spending bill offers $21.5 billion for NASA in 2019

Space News (5/8): A House appropriations bill released May 8 offers more than $21.5 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2019, a significant increase over both what the agency received in 2018 and what the White House proposed for 2019.The bill, released by the House Appropriations Committee on the eve of its markup by the commerce, justice and science (CJS) subcommittee, includes $21.546 billion for NASA. That is an increase of more than $1.65 billion over the administration’s request and $810 million more than what NASA received in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill passed in March. The bill does not discuss potential cost overruns for the James Webb Space Telescope, but does include $1.35 billion for Orion and $2.15 billion for Space Launch Systems (SLS), the same funding those exploration programs received in 2018. NASA requested slightly less for each: $1.164 billion for Orion and $2.078 billion for SLS.

House appropriators propose another big boost for NASA in 2019 (5/8): The U.S. House Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee responsible for NASA’s budget released a spending measure that would fund the space agency at $21.55 billion in 2019, $1.6 billion more than proposed by the White House for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, and $810 million more than in 2018. Planetary science fares well in the subcommittee proposal, including the James Webb Space Telescope, which is facing new pre-launch challenges, and proposed flyby and lander missions to Jupiter’s ice and ocean covered moon, Europa. Funding for Deep Space Exploration, including the SLS, Orion and their ground systems, is proposed at $5.08 billion, $526 million more than in the White House 2019 budget proposal.


Human Space Exploration

Bridenstine promises, “This won’t be Lucy and the football again” (5/8): New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine reflected on the Peanuts comic strip on Tuesday as he addressed participants in a NASA hosted conference on measures to forge public/private alliances that can underpin a human return to the Moon. Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush attempted in 1989 and 2004 to set the nation on a course back to the moon with NASA astronauts. Both efforts dissolved, though NASA’s development of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule live on as cornerstones of a Trump Administration human lunar initiative that is to feature substantial commercial participation. “NASA is asking for your to help,” Bridenstine told those gathered in Washington to learn more about the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program

Ted Cruz calls Trump effort to phase out International Space Station ‘irresponsible’

Dallas Morning News (5/8): As part of its strategy to transition U.S. human space exploration from low Earth orbit to deep space, the White House plans to end direct NASA support for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025. The private sector would develop low Earth orbit alternatives, with NASA and others as a commercial clients. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, chair of the Senate subcommittee that authorizes NASA activities, believes such a transition is premature. “It would be irresponsible not to get the maximum return from that investment and to extend the life of it as long as scientifically feasible,” said Cruz of the ISS on Tuesday at the Explore Mars, Inc., Human to Mars Summit in Washington.

Orbital ATK space station freighter named for late executive and NASA director

Coalition Member in the News – Orbital ATK (5/8): Slated for a May 20 launch, Orbital ATK’s ninth NASA contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station will feature a Cygnus cargo capsule named in honor of the late J. R. Thompson, a former Orbital ATK and NASA senior executive. Thompson died Nov. 7, 2017 at the age of 81. With a successful launch, the S.S. J.R. Thompson is reach the space station with a nearly 7,400 pound cargo on May 24.


Space Science

Made In Space bags NASA contract

Coalition Member in the News – Made In Space

Spaceflight News (5/8):  Made In Space has a new NASA agreement to advance its three dimensional manufacturing processes in space. The company plans to increase the space readiness of its Vulcan manufacturing system through a NASA phase II Small Business Innovation Research award. Ultimately, the manufacturing technology could become a part of human deep space exploration.

How many of Earth’s moons crashed back into the planet?

Universe Today (5/8): The most widely accepted theory for the formation of the Moon was a long ago collision between a second planetary sized object and the Earth. The geological record points to other collisions. Were there other moons? An international science teams suggests the answer may well be yes and that the other moons crashed back into the Earth.


Other News

China to test rocket reusability with Long March 8 Booster (5/6):  China will advance efforts to make the core stage of its Long March 8 rocket reusable through a propulsive vertical return to land. Twin solid rocket boosters will be recovered by parachute.

Rogozin out as overseer of Russian defense & space sectors

Parabolic Arc (5/8):  Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister and overseer of the country’s civil and defense space programs for seven years, appears out of office. Recently re-elected Russian president Vladimir Putin has selected Yuri Borisov as Rogozin’s successor.

Rocket booster crashes near Chinese town after Apstar-6C satellite launch

GB Times, of Finland (5/7): Parts of a Long March 3B rocket used to launch a commercial communications satellite on May 4 crashed to Earth near homes in the Guizhou Province, in southwest China, not uncommon. Residents of the region may have overlook a pre-launch warning.

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