Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 26th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is among those awaiting a Russian Soyuz launch recovery. China lifts a veil on its space station plans. Mars cloud has scientists puzzled.

Human Space Exploration

David Saint-Jacques waits patiently for launch to space station after Soyuz setback

Canadian Press (10/24): Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is one of three astronauts and cosmonauts who were preparing for a December launch to the International Space Station (ISS), when on October 11 a Russian Soyuz rocket aborted its liftoff to the Space Station with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin aboard. The two men landed safely in Kazakhstan, but Soyuz launches have been suspended while Russia investigates. Saint-Jacques, a physician, astrophysicist and part of the backup crew for the aborted launch, said he’ll be ready for his mission when the concerns are resolved.

China’s unveiling an up-close look at the design of its future space station

Quartz (10/25): Next week, China’s Manned Space Agency plans to unveil a life sized replica of the core module of its future space station. Launch is planned for 2020, with the start of human operations aboard the Chinese space station anticipated two years later.


Space Science

‘It’s going to be historic’: New Horizons team prepares for epic flyby of Ultima Thule (10/25): NASA’s New Horizons mission and its historic flyby of distant Pluto in 2015 has raised expectations for a second Kuiper Belt object flyby, Ultima Thule, on New Year’s Day. The observations should help planetary scientists better understand how the solar system formed. “Whatever we do, it’s going to be historic,” New Horizons principle investigator Alan Stern told a gathering of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) this week.

A Martian tail

Scientific American (10/25): A strange cloud on Mars, imaged by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express mission, has scientists musing over its source, and apparently, it’s not a volcano. The wispy feature appears to contain ice particles, possibly linked to the dust storm that enveloped much of the planet earlier this year.


Other News 

ULA awarded Delta IV heavy hardware contract for NRO

Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance

United Launch Alliance (10/25): The Centennial, Colorado, company will continue to supply the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) with U.S. security launch services using the Delta IV heavy rocket.

ULA now planning first launch of Vulcan in 2021

Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance (10/25): In order to meet U.S. Air Force requirements, United Launch Alliance (ULA) has now set the first launch of its Vulcan rocket for April 2021. ULA was one of three launch services companies winning an Air Force contract on October 10.

A fully funded NASA is vital to keeping Virginia at the leading edge of space research and exploration

Hampton Roads Daily Press of Virginia (10/26): “If we’re to reach for the stars, Virginia and the rest of the nation will have to stand on NASA’s shoulders,” writes the newspaper’s editorial board in response to concerns over a government wide budget cut recently proposed by the White House and the potential impact it could have on NASA’s Langley Research Center.

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