Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 16th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA and Roscosmos leadership express confidence Soyuz missions to the International Space Station (ISS) will resume “swiftly.” NASA’s Chandra X-ray space telescope, in orbit since 1999, is on the mend after a gyroscope issue. Billionaire commercial space backer Paul Allen has died.


Human Space Exploration

Chiefs of NASA, Russian space agency pledge swift return to Soyuz launches (10/15): Statements from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Dmitry Rogozin, who chairs Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, indicate a confidence from each that Soyuz missions to the International Space Station (ISS) with astronauts on board will resume soon. The next was slated for December 20 prior to last week’s Soyuz launch abort.

NASA cancels this week’s spacewalk after aborted launch to International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday

Houston Chronicle (10/15): Plans to replace aging solar power system batteries outside the International Space Station (ISS) with a pair of spacewalks, the first slated for Friday, have been postponed because of the Soyuz launch abort last Thursday. NASA astronaut Nick Hague, one of the space walkers, descended safely to Earth in remote Kazakhstan with Soyuz crew mate cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin after the abort. Hague was to join with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst for the spacewalks to install six lithium ion batteries delivered to the Space Station by a Japanese cargo mission last month.


Space Science

NASA Chandra X-ray space telescope back online after brief shutdown

Associated Press via Washington Post (10/15): NASA’s Chandra X-ray space telescope, launched in 1999, is emerging from a gyroscope issue that thrust the observatory into safe mode briefly. Chandra should resume science operations by the end of this week.

The path that MASCOT took across asteroid Ryugu during its 17 hours of life

Universe Today (10/15): MASCOT was the third lander deployed to the surface of the asteroid Ryugu upon close approach early this month by Japan’s Hyabusa 2 mission. For 17 hours, an hour longer than anticipated, the German/French MASCOT hopper/rover explored the asteroid’s rugged surface and took pictures.

Even Ganymede is showing tectonic activity. We’re going to need another icy moon orbiter

Universe Today (10/15): Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, ice and ocean covered like the more famous Jovian moon Europa, was once tectonically active, but no more, according to a new study. Europa, the focus of a future NASA planetary science missions, still is. The study is based on images gathered by NASA’s previous Galileo mission to Jupiter.


Other News

Stratolaunch founder Paul Allen dies (10/15): Billionaire Paul Allen, who is best known as the co-founder of the software giant Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was 65. In addition to funding the SpaceShipOne, the winning entry in the Ansari X-Prize, Allen funded Stratolaunch and contributed to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

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