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Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 6th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA assigns eight astronauts to the first crewed missions of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon 2, a milestone in the nation’s efforts to restore a human space launch capability. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin staffs up for production of the New Glenn rocket.

 

Human Space Exploration

NASA names astronauts for Boeing and SpaceX flights to International Space Station

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing

New York Times (8/3): NASA on Friday named eight astronauts assigned to the first test flights of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program partner spacecraft, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Dragon 2, as well as to the first post-certification missions of the two commercial spacecraft. All four missions are expected to dock with the International Space Station. Astronauts have not launched from the U.S. since NASA’s shuttle program was retired in July 2011. The astronauts are Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Doug Hurley, Nicole Mann and Suni Williams. The group includes Chris Ferguson, of Boeing, a retired NASA shuttle commander, who was named earlier. The first of the four missions is planned for 2019.

NASA unveils the astronauts who will relaunch human space flights from U.S. soil

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing

Washington Post (8/3): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who introduced the NASA astronauts assigned to the first four missions of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon compared the eight men and women to the Mercury astronauts. The four crews will also include a Boeing astronaut, Chris Ferguson, who is a retired NASA space shuttle commander and Navy aviator. “The Mercury 7 and the crews that we just announced — that same spirit is there,” he said. “After all these years, it hasn’t gone away.”

 

Space Science

China solicits int’l cooperation experiments on space station

Xinhuanet.com (8/5): The China Academy of Space Technology is opening research opportunities on its planned space station to international partners. “We hope to solicit and evaluate experiments with common international practices, and select the most promising and innovative projects. The research data will be shared by the international community,” said Bao Weimin, chairman an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

JAXA to send landing probe to moon

The Japan News (8/5): Japan plans a 2021 lunar lander probe that will target the interior of an equatorial crater, where there could be olivine, a mineral substance that can be studied for comparisons with olivine from Earth. A comparison may help to further establish whether the moon formed from a collision between the Earth by a third planetary object.

New Horizons team reports initial success in observing Ultima Thule

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (8/4): Ground based telescopes have achieved observations of Ultima Thule, the next destination for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft mission. New Horizons, which carried out the first ever flyby of distant Pluto in July 2015, is to make its closed approach to Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object, on January 1, 2019.

 

Other News

Bezos throws cash, engineers at rocket program as space race accelerates

Reuters (8/3): Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is stepping up production efforts for the company’s New Glenn rocket to stay on track for a 2020 inaugural launch. The Seattle area company is looking to reach an employment total of about 3,000 workers in the next two to three years. New Glenn is to launch satellites as well as humans.

Chandrayaan-2 launch postponed again

The Hindu of India (8/5): India is facing a delay in its second robotic mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2, which includes an orbiter, lander and rover, in response to technical issues.  The lander/rover portion of the mission is to study terrain at the Moon’s south pole for evidence of water ice, a potential resource for human, explorers. Launch is planned for no sooner than January.

NASA Wallops Flight Facility to explore efficiencies with sister campus

Salisbury Times of Maryland (8/3): NASA is undertaking a 90 day study to identify possible new efficiencies in operations of the Goddard Space Flight Center, of Maryland, and the Wallops Island Flight Facility, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, which serves as a satellite launch facility and ground station for nation’s newest generation of weather satellites.

SpaceX’s CRS-15 Dragon splashes down in Pacific

Spaceflightinsider.com (8/3): Docked for about a month at the International Space Station, SpaceX’s 15th NASA contracted Dragon resupply mission returned to Earth late Friday, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near Baja, California. About 3,800 pounds of return hardware and scientific research was aboard and recovered by SpaceX.

 

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of August 5-31, 2018

Spacepolicyonline.com (8/5): In Washington, Congress is largely adjourned until after Labor Day. A major space policy gathering week is the SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah.

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