In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA pays tribute to the late Apollo and shuttle astronauts Alan Bean and Don Peterson. NASA is teaming with the U.S. private sector and academia to develop technologies needed to mine the Moon and other deep space destinations for resources.
Human Space Flight
Spaceflightinsider.com (5/31): A memorial Thursday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center visitor complex paid tribute to two NASA astronauts who died over the Memorial Day weekend, Alan Bean, military aviator, Apollo era astronaut and artist, and Don Peterson, military pilot and shuttle astronaut. Bean, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, was the fourth human to walk on the moon. Peterson participated in the first space shuttle spacewalk.
NASA (5/31): NASA has selected nine U.S. companies and one university to pursue and develop technologies that could enable future human explorers to mine resources from the Moon and Mars and convert them into resources for life support and rocket propellants. The effort could reduce the need for resupply missions. NASA will invest about $10 million in the effort through agreements reaching to the end of 2021. Each company must contribute as well. “We are continuing to learn about our Moon and the value its resources can provide for human exploration,” said Jason Crusan, director of Advanced Exploration Systems at NASA headquarters.
Space.com (5/31): The nonprofit For All Moonkind is joining with TODAQ, a blockchain financial services enterprise, to establish a map of the moon that will track and chart where human activities have taken place.
Washington Post (5/31): NASA’s New Horizons mission flyby of distant Pluto in July 2015 continues to provide surprising results. The latest, published in the journal Science, reveals dune like features, made of methane ice, a surprise for such a small world with a thin atmosphere.
European Space Agency (6/1): This weekend marks the 15th anniversary of the launching of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission. The camera equipped orbiter maneuvered into its preliminary orbit around the red planet on December 25, 2003. Recent software upgrades may keep the mission’s picture taking going through the mid-2020s.
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
Space News (5/31): On May 22, NASA’s SOFIA, a Boeing 747 airborne infrared astronomical observatory, resumed flight after lengthy stand down for maintenance.
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
Air and Space Magazine (6/1): Tory Bruno resists the temptation to trash-talk Elon Musk, for the most part. Bruno is in charge of the establishment empire striking back. The imperium in this case is United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of America’s two aerospace titans, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, mashed together a dozen years ago to create a reliable national delivery service for U.S. military spacecraft and NASA. Reliable ULA has been, its Delta and Atlas rockets completing 122 successful launches as of last fall, and five more since.
Space News (5/30): Launched November 18, the NOAA 20 polar orbiting weather satellite has completed checkout and been declared operational, ensuring advanced weather observations as much of the U.S. enters the 2018 hurricane season.
Science Magazine (5/30): Much of life on Earth, including the dinosaurs, was wiped out when a large planetary object slammed into the Earth 66 million years ago. But it returned quickly, a find that continues to puzzle scientists.
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