Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 10th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… In an Op Ed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer discuss NASA’s future and link it to NASA JSC.  The Parker Solar Probe has been cleared to launch early Saturday. The Trump administration announces it will move forward with plans to establish a U.S. military Space Force.  Reaching the moon with human explorers will be a challenge. The Trump administration announces it will move forward with plans to establish a U.S. military Space Force.

Human Space Exploration

NASA’s legacy is linked to Houston [Opinion]

Houston Chronicle (8/9): In an op-ed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director Mark Geyer chart JSC’s contributions to human space exploration and offer assurances that more are to come. The International Space Station, with JSC as the lead NASA center for its development, will mark 18 years of continuous staffing by astronauts later this year. Currently, JSC leads the development of the Orion crew capsule for future human deep exploration.

Why getting back to the Moon is so damn hard

MIT Technology Review (8/2): A post-Apollo return to the Moon proved just beyond the reach of the private sector contestants for the recently suspended $20 million Lunar X-Prize. Can a public/private partnership strategy to return to the Moon with human explorers like that proposed by the White House for the 2020s work? A significant cost challenge is rooted in the infrastructure, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the human tended Lunar Gateway and Orion capsule, to make the return a sustainable one and establish a business case for investors who can ensure the private sector makes a significant contribution.

NASA signs off on SpaceX’s “load-and-go” procedure for crew launches (8/9): NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has assessed and grown comfortable with SpaceX’s plan to fuel the Falcon 9 rocket late in the countdown, while astronauts are aboard the Dragon 2 spacecraft, a program official explains in an interview.


Space Science

This NASA spacecraft is about to probe one of Earth’s scariest threats, the sun

Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance

Washington Post (8/9): NASA’s Solar Parker Probe, centerpiece of a mission to study the sun closer and more thoroughly than ever before, is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, early Saturday. The spacecraft’s seven year mission will explore the high temperature solar corona, or upper atmosphere, the solar wind, magnetic field and radiation, features with influences that reach far into the solar system. Liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV heavy rocket is set for 3:33 a.m., EDT.

This meteor exploded over Greenland, but nobody saw it. Here’s why it matters (8/9): On July 25, a few stargazers where surprised by a fireball over remote Greenland, but many more responded with alarm over social media. Though releasing an estimated 2.1 kilotons of energy as it lit up, the object was too small to be observed and tracked ahead of time.


Other News

Vice President Pence announces first steps towards creating a new military branch for space

Space News (8/9): Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday ended any speculation over whether the Trump White House intends to establish a Space Fourth as a sixth branch of the U.S. military. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force. It’s not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have dominance,” said Vice President Mike Pence from the White House. Now, Congress must agree.

Pence calls for new U.S. Department of the Space Force by 2020 (8/9): Requests for funding and authorization to establish a sixth branch of the U.S. military, the Space Force, will be submitted to Congress as part of the White House 2020 fiscal year budget request, Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday.

SpaceX planned humanity’s future on Mars at a meeting you weren’t invited to

Motherboard (8/8): SpaceX’s secretive inaugural  Mars Workshop, a gathering this week at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has some space enthusiast concerned, essentially over the private nature of the company’s technology developments. “Space belongs to everyone, but private corporations such as SpaceX are not federally mandated to disclose how they intend to use it,” writes Daniel Oberhaus, a Motherboard staffer. Workshop participants were asked not to discuss the invitation only event.

Laser “license plate” could improve identification of cubesats (8/9): Laser license plates may be coming to the growing small satellite population. The satellites could be easier to track once deployed with the installation of a low power laser that can be observed from Earth.

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