Today’s Deep Space Extra

March 6th, 2017

Human Deep Space Exploration

Don’t expect a space race. SpaceX and NASA need each other

Los Angeles Times (3/5): NASA and SpaceX have recently announced similar goals, launching humans around the moon and returning them to Earth. However, that doesn’t mean they are in competition. NASA is SpaceX’s top customer. NASA, in turn, relies on SpaceX as well as Boeing to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and perhaps soon, the transport of astronauts.


Elon Musk’s urgent moonshot

Houston Chronicle (3/4): Plans by SpaceX’s Elon Musk to launch two space tourists around the moon in a Dragon 2 capsule atop a Falcon Heavy have raised the visibility of government/private sector cooperation in the human exploration of space. The White House has yet to define its vision for the space agency, but experts point to exploratory goals that will require the best of both. (Behind a paywall)


NASA should continue snubbing the moon

Inverse (3/3): NASA’s highest purpose is maintaining a focus on the human exploration of Mars by continuing to pursue developments of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and Orion crew capsule. Making use of cis-lunar space with private sector and international partnerships will help prepare NASA for the exploration of Mars, according to the report.


NASA’s Charles Bolden receives 2017 Klass Lifetime Achievement Award

Aviation Week & Space Technology (4/3): Charles Bolden’s recent retirement as NASA’s administrator capped a long career in aerospace and military aviation as a four-time space shuttle astronaut, high-ranking Marine Corps officer, test and combat pilot. The South Carolina native entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964. Appointed as NASA’s administrator in 2009, Bolden guided the agency through the shuttle’s retirement, introduced wider civil access to the International Space Station and helped open a new chapter in human deep space exploration with development of the Space Launch System and Orion crew exploration spacecraft.


Space Science

Doctor launches vision quest to help astronauts’ eyeballs

NPR (3/4): University of Texas Medical Researcher Benjamin Levine is focused on finding a countermeasure for a potential obstacle in future human deep space exploration, a blurring of the vision experience by many of the astronauts assigned to long missions aboard the International Space Station. Experts believe the issue is linked to a shift of fluids from the lower to the upper torso, including the brain and back of the eyeball, in weightlessness. A remedy may be a “break” from weightless for the body provided by a snug at the waist garment or sleeping bag that pulls a vacuum for a few hours each night.


James Webb Space Telescope will search TRAPPIST-1 planets for signs of life

Spaceflight Insider (3/3): A joint effort by NASA, the European and Canadian space agencies—the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) — is scheduled to lift-off in late 2018 as the successor to the 27-year-old Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST will be equipped to observe planets beyond the solar system as well as the earliest galaxies. The discovery of Trappist-1, a star with seven rocky planets, with at least several of them orbiting in the habitable zone, was announced in February. The powerful new space observatory can study them for signs of atmospheres with biomarkers, or trace gases produced by possible living organisms.


NASA seeks payload ideas for mystery satellite

Space News (3/3): Last week NASA issued a fast-paced request for information, essentially a solicitation for proposed payloads that would fly on a satellite inherited from another federal agency as “surplus.” The spacecraft could be launched into orbits that range from low Earth to lunar in the 2021 time frame. Proposals sought by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate are due March 17 and must help further the agency’s science and technology goals.


Low Earth Orbit

NASA marks 50 Space Station expeditions with flown metal mementos (3/5):  A new metal medallion and lapel pin commemorate the fifty missions and 230 astronauts who’ve launched to and lived aboard the International Space Station continuously since late 2000.


Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

NASA releases latest software catalog to public to spur tech innovation (3/3): As it has annually, NASA is making new software tools available to the public without charge. “Access to these software codes has the potential to generate tangible benefits that create American jobs, earn revenue and save lives,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Mission Technology Directorate.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of March 6-10, 2017 (3/5): The space policy arena should be active in the Washington area this week. The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 on Tuesday, an activity previously planned for last week. The House Space Subcommittee will meet Wednesday for a hearing on regulation of space activities; the AAS Goddard Memorial Symposium and the National Academies Committee on Planetary Protection kick-off sessions on Tuesday.


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