Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 29th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Supplies and new experiments launched successfully to the International Space Station early Friday. Wind might offer a power source to Mars explorers.

Human Space Exploration

NASA planning revisions to commercial crew test flight schedule

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing

Space News: (6/28): NASA is assessing schedules for the launching of test flights of the Boeing and SpaceX capsules developed under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, an agency official told a news briefing to discuss the launch Friday of a SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station. Commercial Crew partners Boeing and SpaceX are currently slated to carry out uncrewed and crewed test flights of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon 2 before year’s end.

Life-changing experience’: Teacher-astronaut gives students a lesson about space (6/28): NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold, currently serving aboard the International Space Station and a onetime middle and high school science teacher, spoke with New York City school students earlier this week about life in space. “Looking back at our home planet (from the Space Station) is a life-changing experience,” Arnold said.  “When you get up here and look out of the window for the first time, all you want to be able to do is take everyone you’ve ever met and bring them up here to have a chance to look back on our home planet and realize how special and beautiful it is.”


Space Science

Wind-powered Mars landers could really work (6/29): Wind turbines could generate electrical power on the Martian surface, according to a study using a Danish wind tunnel simulator. Wind would join solar and nuclear as potential power sources. The research was presented at a recent Mars conference held in Lakewood, Colorado.

Record-setting Mars dust storm was overdue (6/28): Mars has been enveloped by a global dust storm that notably stopped communications with NASA’s Opportunity rover. However, historical record suggests the storms occur intermittently and the current dust siege may actually be “overdue.”

NASA preps first ever solar sail mission to explore asteroid

WZDX-TV of Huntsville, Alabama (6/28): NASA is preparing an asteroid exploration mission that will be propelled through space with a solar sail, a kite like structure that is pushed along by sunlight. NASA plans to launch the Near Earth Asteroid Scout mission as a companion payload on a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Simulated Moon dirt is turning up some real challenges for future lunar missions (6/28): Off Planet Research, a small Seattle area company, is producing simulated Moon soil to assist potential lunar commercial ventures with the testing of their operations plans. As the Apollo astronaut learned, lunar soil is nothing like the soil that covers the Earth. It’s more abrasive. But part of the Moon may harbor water, which could be extracted to produce oxygen and water for human life support or broken down into liquid oxygen and hydrogen for rocket fuels.

SpaceX boosts Station cargo – and ‘floating brain’ – to orbit

CBS News (6/29): SpaceX’s 15th NASA contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday at 5:42 a.m., EDT. The Dragon resupply capsule should reach the six person Space Station early Monday with three tons of cargo, including a German developed Artificial Intelligence experiment called CIMON.


Other News

House protects Alabama’s role in NASA rocket propulsion

Huntsville Times (6/27): Legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week seeks to protect NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center and its role as the space agency’s lead for rocket propulsion development. Alabama lawmaker Mo Brooks said the legislation will protect Marshall from those who would seek politically to reassign the center’s long standing NASA focus.

China developing smart rocket able to plot own flight plan

Xinhuanet of China (6/29): At the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, engineers are at work on a rocket that is equipped with a reusable power system, self-guidance and other technologies intended to help overcome non-fatal malfunctions in flight, according to the report.

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