Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 20th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The first meeting of the National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group was held yesterday at NASA HQ. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross explains why space traffic management is essential to national security. The first member of NASA’s 2013 astronaut selection class assigned to serve on the International Space Station is to launch in October. China, Russia seek international partners for space projects.

U.S. Space Policy

Space Council’s “think tank” starts work

Coalition President & CEO in the News – Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar

Space News (6/20): An advisory group dubbed the “think tank” for the National Space Council formally kicked off its work June 19 with a broad but vague mandate to study space policy issues.  The Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) of the National Space Council held its first meeting at NASA Headquarters, a five-hour “inaugural and, quite frankly, organizational session” of the committee, in the words of its chairman, retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Ellis. The UAG was included in the executive order signed by President Trump nearly a year ago reestablishing the space council, with members formally announced at the council’s second public meeting in February. Coalition President & CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar and Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Eric Stallmer were named Co-Chairs of the Economic Development / Industrial Base Subcommittee.

President Trump wants my department to keep space safe. We’re ready.

Washington Post (6/19): In an op-ed, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross explains why enhanced space traffic management is crucial to national security; timely, accurate weather forecasting and other Earth observation, global navigation and rapid communications. The operations of 800 functioning U.S. satellites are at stake amidst 20,000 large pieces of manmade orbital debris and an estimated 600,000 fast moving smaller pieces of debris.

As mega-constellations loom, U.S. seeks to manage space debris problem

Ars Technica (6/18): Earlier this week, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive-3 instructing several arms of the federal government, including the military to enhance the nation’s space traffic management, or awareness of orbiting satellites and thousands of fragments of manmade orbital debris, large and small. The Department of Commerce is poised to assume a larger role in the effort, one intended to encourage greater space commerce, including large constellations of satellites to support broadband Internet access.


Human Space Exploration

Nick Hague set to become first member of 2013 astronaut class to fly (6/19): Hague, a U.S. Air Force flight test engineer, is to become the first of NASA’s 2013 astronaut selection class to launch into space. He’s to launch to the International Space Station in October on a Russian Soyuz rocket with cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.


Space Science

Dwarf planet Ceres has way more organic molecules than originally suspected (6/19): Scientists have detected organic molecules on Ceres, the large dwarf planet that orbits the sun in the main asteroid belt, in greater concentrations than first detected a year ago with the Dawn spacecraft that has been orbiting Ceres for more than three years. A Southwest Research Institute researcher led the assessment team.

Wow! This fresh meteoroid impact on Mars triggered a dusty avalanche (6/19): NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured an image of a meteoroid impact site on the Red Planet as well as the avalanche with a long trail in the soil it triggered. The impact likely occurred within the past 10 years.

Proposed CAESAR mission could return a sample from comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko (6/19): The proposed Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR), mission under evaluation by NASA would revisit the comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko, this time to collect and return a sample to Earth, offering a fresh look at material that originated in the early days of the solar system. The European Rosetta mission successfully rendezvoused with and landed on the comet in late 2014. NASA intends to decide on whether to pursue CAESAR mission development in the spring of 2019.


Other News

China, U.N. Office enhance cooperation on outer space affairs

Xinhuanet of China (6/20): China is displaying desires to cooperate peacefully in space as well as make new strides in exploration, according to the head of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. China’s soon to be assembled space station will be open to U.N. member states, said Simonetta Di Pippo, who heads the office.

Head of Russia’s Roscosmos discusses joint projects with India and Japan

Tass of Russia (6/19): This week, the heads of Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, and his Japanese and Indian space agency counterparts discussed future cooperation in space, including human exploration programs while in Vienna for the United Nations’ UNISPACE symposium.

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