Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 14th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA is making progress on plans to resume human deep space exploration on several fronts. A growing global space market has communities across the U.S. vying to develop commercial launch complexes.

Human Space Exploration

NASA administrator supports Trump ‘Space Force’ proposal

Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Lockheed Martin

Associated Press via Washington Post (8/13): Continuing his tour of NASA installations, NASA Administrator visited the Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans on Monday. He praised the efforts by workers to develop the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule for future human deep space exploration. While endorsing President Trump’s plans to establish a U.S. military Space Force, he stressed that NASA is focused on exploration, science and technology development.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft test module passes weight test, headed to Ohio for more work

Houston Chronicle (8/13): At NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) work continues on preparations for a critical April 2019 launch abort test of the Orion Crew Capsule, which is being developed to launch and land astronauts assigned to future missions of human deep space exploration. The abort system is designed to propel Orion and its four astronauts to safety if their Space Launch System (SLS) rocket were to malfunction on the launch pad or early in flight.

Hickory-made compression suits possibly headed for outer space as NASA considers them for Orion deep-space missions

Winston Salem Journal of North Carolina (8/12): Essity, a local company, appears to have a countermeasure for astronauts returning to Earth, and gravity, after long periods of weightlessness. Until they’re acclimate to gravity, astronauts can feel faint. A new compression garment may help keep enough fluids in the upper part of the chest and head to prevent fainting and falling.

Sierra Nevada Corp complete key step for NASA’s NEXTSTEP-2 long duration space travel study

Sierra Nevada (8/9): The key step is a study of the Power and Propulsion Element, or first large component of NASA’s human tended Lunar Gateway. Sierra Nevada is one of five companies to undertake the NASA study, which is a prelude to bidding on the PPE’s development.


Space Science

TESS practices on a comet before starting on its science operations.

Coalition Member in the News – Orbital ATK

Universe Today (8/9): Launched April 18, NASA’s TESS exoplanet seeking space telescope began science operations on July 25 and recently checked out its observing powers with studies of the comet C/2018 N1. Soon, TESS will replace the Kepler space telescope and planet hunter as the nine-year-old mission spacecraft runs out of fuel.

Meteorite bombardment likely created the oldest rocks on Earth (8/13): The oldest rocks on Earth appear to have come from space, according a research effort led by an Australian scientist. These rocks showered down on the Earth during the first 600 million years of the solar system.


Other News

Across the U.S., the spaceport race is on

Wall Street Journal (8/11): With global space market estimates reaching $384 billion in 2017, a race is on across the U.S. to develop commercial space ports. The FAA has granted 10 licenses for launch facilities so far, and is assessing licenses for two more in Colorado and Georgia. The return on investment is slower in some locales than others, but the growth trend looks stable.

As the Pentagon moves to stand up a Space Force, budget fight looms (8/11): Congress is to consider the Trump Administration’s proposal to initiate a Space Force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military, when the 2020 budget proposal is presented to Congress early next year. It will have a price tag, cautions Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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