In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A NASA spacewalk is underway Friday outside the International Space Station. Managers are optimistic NASA’s aging Opportunity rover can withstand a major dust storm on Mars. Bright future predicted for Florida’s space economy.
Human Space Exploration
Space.com (6/14): NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold are to spacewalk for more than six hours Friday outside the International Space Station. Their primary task is to install high definition cameras on the Node 2 Harmony module to afford views of the approach corridor and docking ports that will be used by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners, Boeing and SpaceX. The two companies are developing spacecraft able to transport astronauts to and from the Space Station, capabilities lost when the space shuttle fleet was retired in mid-2011.
Spaceflightnow.com (6/13): Mars is in the midst of a major dust storm. NASA’s solar powered Opportunity rover, now more than 14 years on the Martian surface, is expected to recover despite the absence of the usual sunlight needed to recharge the mechanical geologist’s batteries, mission officials said Wednesday. Contact, however, has been lost temporarily. Opportunity, which landed in January 2004, was designed to function just 90 days.
Universe Today (6/13) NASA’s 28-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is awaiting a pair of successors to join it in space, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Wide Field Infrared Survey Satellite (WFIRST). Discussions are already underway on what comes after, including space telescopes equipped to directly image extra solar planets as well as larger and upgraded versions of the JWST. Together, they are focused on developing a better understanding of the origins and evolution of the universe.
Space.com (6/13): Two studies report that HD 163296, a relatively young 4 million year old star that is 330 light years distant, has three planets. Observed with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, all three are Jupiter sized. The discoveries were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Florida Today (6/13): Frank Di Bello, president of Space Florida, predicts major economic growth for Florida’s Space Coast, thanks to a growing commercial space industry that could mean more than 100 rocket launches annually for the region. “This is not far-fetched, and it is near-term,” DiBello told a National Space Club Florida Committee gathering on Wednesday. “The growth of the industry is inevitable, and we can either let it happen or we can manage it well.” Just seven years ago, the region was bracing for job losses as NASA retired its space shuttle fleet.
Nikkei Asian Review (6/13): Japan, which achieved the 33rd successful launched of its H-2 rocket on Tuesday, plans to pursue a cost cutting strategy to compete with its U.S. rival, SpaceX. The H-2A debuted in 2001 and has not experienced a failure since 2003.
Australian Broadcast Corporation (6/14): Some Australians are wondering why their nation should establish a space agency. National security and economics, say advocates. “The world has entered a new space era and the investment calculus has changed. Satellites are now smaller, cheaper and more capable thanks to smart phone electronics and more widely accepted standards,” experts tell the broadcast corporation. “This has opened the door to countries like Australia which can develop innovative space applications without mammoth up-front costs, and seed space start-ups that can bootstrap their way to success.”
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