Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 27th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Japan’s Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample return mission reaches its asteroid destination, Ryugu. Testimony before the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee raise concerns over the pace and content of proposed FAA supervised launch vehicle regulatory reforms. NASA to offer update on James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launch plans.

Space Science

NASA hosts media teleconference on status of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

NASA/Goddard (6/26): NASA officials plan a Wednesday 1 p.m., EDT, news briefing on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which has faced a series of technical, cost and schedule challenges. The observatory designed to succeed the 28-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is currently planned to launch in May 2020.

Relief short-lived after Hayabusa 2 arrives at Ryugu asteroid

Asahi Shunbum (6/27): Japan’s Hyabusa 2 asteroid sample return mission spacecraft reached its destination early Tuesday, following a 3 1/2 year journey to the asteroid Ryugu, which orbits the sun between the Earth and Mars. The probe is to remain at the asteroid for about 1 1/2 years for observations and three landings to gather samples for return to Earth in 2020.

The quest to find a trillion-dollar nuclear fuel on the Moon

Forbes 6/26): India’s plans an October launch of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which includes a lunar orbiter, lander and a rectangular rover. The six-wheeled vehicle, powered by solar energy, will collect information for at least 14 days and cover an area with a 400-meter radius. Its goal is to explore for water, ice and helium-3, a potential fusion reactor fuel source to meet the Earth’s energy needs without producing radioactive wastes.

Weird stuff swirls in air of huge, puffy alien planet (6/26): WASP-127b is a large extra solar planet with some unexpected material in its atmosphere, including possible signs of water, observations with a ground based telescope suggest. This planet lies 332 light years from the Earth.


Other News

RL-10 engine added to Air Force agreement with Aerojet Rocketdyne

Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, United Launch Alliance

Space News (6/26): The U.S. Air Force has agreed to support Aerojet Rocketdyne development of an advanced version of the RL-10 upper stage rocket engine, a version that incorporates 3-D printing and other advanced technologies to lower production costs. The upgrade is designated the RL10C-X.

Hearing raises questions about pace of commercial launch regulatory overhaul

Space News (6/26): Testimony presented Tuesday before the Aviation Subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on rocket launch regulatory reforms called for in President Trump’s Space Policy Directive -2 raised concerns about the pace of the reform process, which is to be completed February 1, 2019. The FAA of the Department of Transportation is to develop revised regulations covering launches and re-entries. Representatives from Blue Origin and SpaceX told the panel out dated regulations needed to be change to reflect launch vehicle reuse and automated safety systems. Some discussion characterized the pace of the reform process as too aggressive. Other comments suggested implementation could be adjusted.

China’s 18th space launch of 2018 carries two technology test satellites into orbit from Xichang

GB Times of Finland (6/27): China on Wednesday launched a pair of technology demonstration satellites from the  Xichang Satellite Launch Center  atop a Long March 2C rocket. The spacecraft are to demonstrate new intersatellite communications and Earth observation technologies, according to the report.

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