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Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 16th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s plans for lunar return include landing the first woman on the lunar surface. Education advocates oppose a $1.6 billion 2020 NASA budget supplement that proposes to redirect funds from the Pell Grant reserves. NASA awards $106 million to U.S. small businesses developing technology to support lunar exploration and development. Troubleshooting continues on the Mars Insight heat probe.

Human Space Exploration

NASA plans to land the first woman on the Moon by 2024

CNN.com (5/13):  NASA is planning on sending the first woman ever and the first man in nearly five decades to the moon by 2024, thanks to an additional increase to the agency’s budget by President Trump. Only 12 humans, all male, have ever walked on the moon and they were all American, according to Bettina Inclán, NASA Communications Director. All 12 men were Americans. “The last person walked on the Moon in 1972,” Inclán told CNN in a statement. “No woman has ever walked on the lunar surface.”

Should Trump take Pell Grant money for NASA’s Moonshot? Outraged education advocates say no

USA Today (5/15): Earlier this week, the White House presented Congress with a proposed $1.6 billion 2020 NASA budget supplement to help accelerate a human return to the surface of the Moon from 2028 to 2024. Opponents say the money would come from Pell Grants, used to fund higher education for low income students.

Watch International Space Station (ISS) flybys all night long

Sky and Telescope (5/15): For three nights beginning Friday, the six person International Space Station (ISS) will be especially visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

Space Science

Troubleshooting of Mars InSight instrument continues

SpaceNews.com (5/15): NASA’s Mars InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in late November, soon deployed seismic and subsurface heat probes, each in an effort to learn more about the planet’s mysterious interior. Engineers continue to investigate why the heat probe, or ‘Mole,” is stuck just a few inches below the surface.

Video: Fly over Mount Sharp on Mars

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (5/15): NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring Gale Crater and Mt. Sharp on Mars since touching down in 2012. New video shows where the robotic explorer is heading in its quest to unravel how the Red Planet’s environment changed from warm and wet to cold and desert like.

Moon crash site found! NASA probe spots grave of Israeli lunar lander

Space.com (5/15): Israel’s bold attempt to accomplish the commercially financed Moon landing of its Beresheet lander failed in April 11. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has managed to image the crash site.

Genesis prize announces $1 million grant to support Beresheet 2

Jerusalem Post (5/13): Known for its support of Jewish achievement and contributions to society, the Genesis Prize Foundation will grant SpaceIL, of Israel, $1 million toward a second attempt at a Moon lander mission, Beresheet 2.

 

Other News

NASA, ULA find launch opportunity for inflatable heat shield demonstrator

Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance

Spaceflightnow.com (5/15): United Launch Alliance (ULA) has found a test flight opportunity for a new technology, an inflatable heat shield that could be employed to recover and reuse rocket engines from the company’s new Vulcan rocket as well as to place heavy cargoes on the Martian surface. The test launch is planned by early 2022.

NASA awards $106 million to U.S. small businesses for technology development

NASA.gov (5/14): Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Editor’s Note: Coalition Members Made in Space, Inc. and Paragon Space Development Corporation are among those receiving awards.

House appropriators restrict funds for Space Development Agency

SpaceNews.com (5/14): House appropriators would block funding for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency until 90 days after the secretary of defense submits a detailed plan for the new agency. The language is included in the draft of the proposed fiscal year 2020 funding bill for the Defense Department released on Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. The HAC defense subcommittee will mark up the bill in a closed session on Wednesday. The bill provides $690.2 billion in discretionary spending for the Defense Department, an increase of $15.8 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, and $8 billion below the Trump administration’s request.

Air Force confirms Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal on short list for Space Command

Alabama.com (5/15): Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal is a strong candidate to become headquarters for a new U.S. Space Command. Other candidates include five U.S. Air Force Bases, four of them in Colorado and one in California.

NASA, ULA find launch opportunity for inflatable heat shield demonstrator

Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance

Spaceflightnow.com (5/15): United Launch Alliance (ULA) has found a test flight opportunity for a new technology, an inflatable heat shield that could be employed to recover and reuse rocket engines from the company’s new Vulcan rocket as well as to place heavy cargoes on the Martian surface. The test launch is planned by early 2022.

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