Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 15th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s investments in private sector space technologies may help to open a low Earth orbit to new commercial space activities, lower the cost of deep space exploration. Canada’s Alberta a close match for Mars rover development competition. Russia selects new cosmonauts.

Human Space Exploration

RS-25 engine tests modernization upgrades

Coalition Member in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne

Aerojet Rocketdyne (8/14): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine joined a gathering at the agency’s Stennis Space Center on Tuesday to watch the hot fire test of an RS-25 development engine. Four of the engines will power the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) that will launch the Orion capsule and its crews on missions of deep space exploration. Though of shuttle heritage, the engine production process has been upgraded to save time and money. Those include new bonding techniques and the use of 3-D printing.

NASA invests in concepts for a vibrant future commercial space economy

Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, LLC., The Boeing Company, Deloitte Consulting, Lockheed Martin Company, NanoRacks, LLC., Northrop Grumman

NASA (8/9): NASA has announced an estimated $11 million investment in 13 companies poised to expand the U.S. space economy into low Earth orbit. These traditional and new space companies received four month contracts from NASA to develop options for expanding commercial opportunities in low Earth orbit that will support NASA’s needs as well as those of investors, allowing the space agency to transition its human exploration focus to deep space.

Lunar exploration tech tops NASA’s “Tipping Point” funding list

Coalition Members in the News – Astrobotic Technology, Inc., Paragon Space Development Company, United Launch Alliance

Scientific American (8/9): NASA awarded $44 million in Tipping Point awards August 8 to U.S. companies with technologies useful in the human exploration of deep space. Ten awards were granted to six companies, representing old and new space. Each project award requires its corporate sponsor to pay 25 percent of the next development phase. The work ranges from new propulsion technologies, to power generation, impact shielding and space craft navigation and landing sensors and hardware.

Digging into the details of Orion’s EM-1 test flight

Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (8/13): NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is shaping up into rigorous test of not only NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule, but also their integration with the European Service Module that will provide in space power and propulsion. The multi-week test flight, which will not be conducted with astronauts, will place the Orion capsule in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. EM-1 is planned by mid-2020.


Space Science

NASA’s Opportunity rover has been in sleep mode for weeks, engineers hope music will help wake it up

USA Today (8/14): NASA’s Opportunity Rover has been silent on Mars for weeks because of a massive global dust storm. Ground control teams at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are hopeful that their play list of wake up songs may break the silence. Opportunity landed in January 2004 for what was to be a 90 day mission.


Other News

Rovers descend on southern Alberta’s Mars-like badlands

CBC News of Canada (8/13): With Mars still far, far away, Canada’s southern Alberta offers a good substitute for the terrain for international teams competing to demonstrate their robotic rover capabilities. The competition drew 13 teams, where they performed a number of tasks that simulate what a real Mars rover would have to do, including prospecting and extracting resources and searching for an injured astronaut at night.

Russia’s new cosmonauts include brother of ISS crew member (8/13): Russia has announced its 17th class of astronaut trainees, eight men, with backgrounds that include economist, military airplane pilot, aerospace engineer as well as a civilian airline pilot. All face years of additional training before they launch.

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