Today’s Deep Space Extra

December 3rd, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A busy Monday starts the week for NASA. A new U.S., Canadian and Russian crew launched to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA’s Osiris Rex asteroid sample return mission arrives at its destination Bennu, following a more than two year journey from Earth.

Human Space Exploration

Live coverage: Russia preps for first crewed mission since aborted launch

Expedition 58 successfully launched from Baikonur this morning at 6:31 am EST. Soyuz MS-11 is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 11:45 EST.” (12/2): The news site offers live coverage of Monday’s 6:31 a.m., EST, launch of U.S., Canadian and Russian astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a soyuz rocket from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The planned six hour launch to arrival at the Space Station is the first for astronauts since a dramatic October 11 soyuz launch abort in which cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA’s Nick Hague landed safely. The planned docking of Russia’s soyuz MS-11 p.m. Monday at 12:36 p.m., EST, with NASA’s Anne McClain, Canada’s David Saint-Jacques and Russia’s Oleg Kononenko will briefly restore the Station to six person operations.

Cabana: How we’re going back to the Moon | Opinion

Florida Today (11/30): In an op-ed, Kennedy Space Center (KSC) director Robert Cabana, explains how a sustained return to the Moon by NASA and its commercial and international partners will pave the way for the future human exploration of Mars and other deep space destinations. The Moon will inspire new launch services, habitats and equipment that can be developed and tested for challenging new missions.

NASA, private partners will go to the Moon and beyond

Houston Chronicle (12/2): In an op-ed, Johnson Space Center (JSC) director Mark Geyer explains NASA strategy for a sustained return to the Moon by partnering with the U.S. commercial sector and international partners. It’s an alliance intended to take human explorers well beyond the Moon as the partnership develops the capabilities.

Moon exploration is back in fashion as nations vie in space race

Nature News (11/30): China will attempt to become the first nation to land on the Moon’s far side with the December 8 launch of the Chang’e 4 mission, part of a coming global renaissance in lunar exploration. In addition to the U.S. and its commercial partners and China the other players include Japan, India and Russia. The search for lunar resources, among them water ice, is a looming incentive.

Will Canada boldly join the next-generation space station project?

Globe and Mail of Canada (11/30): Canada’s robot arm contributions to NASA’s space shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS) have been significant. Yet it’s unclear whether Canada will join with the U.S. and other nations in the assembly of a human tended, lunar orbiting Gateway in the coming decade. Amit Chakman, president of Canada’s Western University, examines the issue.

NASA program to launch astronauts to Space Station facing delays but 2019 still on target

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing

USA Today (11/29): Speaking at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Thursday Administrator Jim Bridenstine lowered expectations for a January uncrewed test launch of the SpaceX crew Dragon. The planned January 7 flight is to be the first of four anticipated in 2019 for SpaceX and Boeing, NASA’s two Commercial Crew Program partners as they work to restore a U.S. human space launch capability lost as the shuttle program was retired in 2011. Each company plans an uncrewed, then crewed test flight to certify their spacecraft for regularly scheduled missions. The January launch could slip to into the spring, as engineers address some hardware issued, including the Dragon landing parachutes.


Space Science

NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx set to start mission at asteroid Bennu

New Scientist (12/1): Launched in September 2016, NASA’s Osiris Rex mission represents the agency’s first attempt at an asteroid sample return. The spacecraft is to arrive at the asteroid Bennu Monday at midday for a lengthy reconnaissance. The scrutiny is to lead to the selection of a July 2020 landing site to gather surface material. Osiris Rex is to return to Earth and drop off its asteroid materials on September 24, 2023.

Kepler’s supernova experiment captures first moments of a dying star

NASA/Ames (11/30): During its final year, NASA’s Kepler space telescope joined an array of observatories that captured images of the violent death of a distant star, SN2018oh. Kepler was retired on October 30, about nine and a half years after launch.


Other News

How one rocket company overhauls its business to compete in today’s space race

Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance

Houston Chronicle (12/2): United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Tony Bruno explained forthcoming changes into the company launch services planned around the planned 2021 debut of the Vulcan Centaur. The Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture emerged in 2006 featuring at one point 41 configurations of its mainstay Atlas and Delta rockets. Speaking before the Space Commercial Conference and Exposition in Houston last week, Bruno explained how the company’s many missions can be addressed with four versions of the new rocket.

NASA Administrator statement on passing of George H.W. Bush

NASA (12/1): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recalled former President George H.W. Bush’s support for space exploration in a statement following Bush’s death late Friday, November 30, at his home in Houston, Texas. President Trump has proclaimed a Day of Mourning for Wednesday. The former president is to lie in state in Washington early this week.

Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will take people to space before Christmas

CNN Business (11/30): SpaceShipTwo could reach space with test pilots by Christmas, Richard Branson, who leads Virgin Galactic, told the cable business news channel. Branson said he is “pretty confident” of achieving the suborbital test flight milestone this year. The company plans to launch suborbital passengers from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Brexit: U.K. to build own satellite system after May rules out using EU’s Galileo project

Sky News (12/1): Great Britain will end its participation in the military side of Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system based on concerns it will not be able to influence development after the U.K exits the European Union (EU). Britain will explore the alternative, said Prime Minister Theresa May.

Rockot launches Russian military satellites (11/30): A Russian Rockot launch vehicle, fashioned from a former ballistic missile, launched three military satellites from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Friday.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of December 2-8, 2018 (12/2): Wednesday is a day of mourning for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who died late Friday. A busy week on the space front begins with Russian’s first soyuz launch with International Space Station (ISS) crew members since an October 11 launch abort led to a safe return for NASA’s Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin about two minutes into flight. Russia’s soyuz MS-11 is to deliver NASA’s Anne McClain, Canada’s David Saint-Jacques and Russia’s Oleg Kononenko to the Space Station about midday, following a 6:31 a.m., EST, launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About the same time, NASA Osiris-Rex asteroid sample return mission spacecraft is to reach its destination, the asteroid Bennu, for a lengthy reconnaissance. The U.S. House and Senate are to meet this week ahead of a looming Friday deadline for passage of a 2019 budget for civil government agencies, including NASA and NOAA, or an extension of the current budget continuing resolution.

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