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Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 20th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA expected to detail costs for fast-track Moon landing program next month.  NASA and SpaceX’s weather delayed Commercial Crew Program launch abort test was carried out as planned on Sunday. NASA receives funding to continue development of a hazardous asteroid detection mission. 

Human Space Flight

NASA expected to detail costs for fast-track Moon landing program next month
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Spaceflightnow.com (1/18): It’s anticipated that NASA will offer Congress an estimate of the cost to accelerate a return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers in 2024, when the White House submits its 2021 budget request to Congress in February. Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the National Space Council, directed NASA to accelerate the return from 2028 to 2024 last March. Congress, however, provided NASA much less than requested in 2020 for a commercial human lunar lander initiative, with some members pressing NASA for an overall cost estimate to achieve the 2024 goal.

SpaceX aces final major test before first crew mission
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
Spaceflightnow.com (1/19): SpaceX potentially could be prepared to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) as soon as early March — if the outcome of Sunday’s weather delayed Falcon 9/Crew Dragon in flight abort test is deemed successful, following assessments of the flight data and the recovered capsule. However, Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, pointed to a first flight with astronauts during the year’s second quarter. NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are in training for the Demo 2 test flight to the ISS.

Canada’s space industry set for relaunch decades after its biggest achievements
Financial Post of Canada (1/16): Canada intends to partner with NASA in the development of a lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway by contributing robotics systems, a tradition began with the robotic arms developed by Canada for the space shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS).

China plans 39 million-mile race to Mars to catch up with NASA
Bloomberg (1/18): The Earth and Mars will align favorably in July for a lineup of robotic missions to the Red Planet, launched by NASA; the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia; the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and China. Mars is a challenging destination with fewer than half an estimated 50 missions achieving success. Only NASA has succeeded in successfully landing and exploring the Martian surface. China’s yet to be named Mars mission includes an orbiter and a rover. At stake for Beijing is an opportunity to challenge U.S. leadership in space.

A freshly cooked meal in space? It could happen sooner than you think
Forbes (1/16): So far, its cookies, coffee and some salad greens when it comes to the fruits of fresh food developments in space. But the prospect of more is of interest to future human space exploration as well as tourism because of the psychological value as well as nutrition.

Space Science

NASA’s new NEOSM will substantially reduce time to find hazardous asteroid
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/19): NASA’s Near Earth Object Surveillance Mission (NEOSM) received a $35.6 million start as Congress and the White House came to a pre-Christmas agreement on a 2020 fiscal year spending plan. The mission is an infrared space observatory whose cost is currently estimated at $500 to $600 million and dedicated to achieving a goal set by Congress in 2005 of identifying 90 percent of asteroids larger than 140 meters with a potential to impact the Earth. The goal was to be achieved by 2020. Currently relying primarily on ground-based observatories, NASA acknowledged it would not be able to meet the 2020 goal. It’s believed that NEOSM, using a telescope called NEOCam, which has been under development for several years, could meet the 140 meter objective in 10 years. A launch no earlier than 2025 is envisioned.

Violent solar storms are happening closer to Earth than anyone thought was possible
Space.com (1/17): A new study reveals that interactions between the magnetic field lines of the sun and Earth can intensify solar storms that to the casual sky gazing public appear as aurora. However, accelerated electrons and ions from the sun can threaten satellite operations, even disrupt terrestrial power grids. The findings were published in the journal Nature Physics.

Op Eds

It’s our choice: Solve the innovator’s dilemma or perish
Forbes (1/15): The U.S. Government as well as the private sector have significant roles to play in space innovation, regarding commitments to strive for efficiencies and new capabilities beyond those in use by current customers.

Other News

Virgin Galactic has new COO, a new ship and a surging stock
Bloomberg.com (1/16): With the assembly of a third spacecraft under assembly, rising valuation and a promising market for global hypersonic point to point travel on the horizon, Virgin is looking to launch its first suborbital tourists by the end of 2020.

Luxembourg establishes space industry venture fund
SpaceNews.com (1/16): The government of Luxembourg is funding Orbital Ventures, an investment vehicle for early stage companies seeking to market “ground breaking ideas and technologies” in the commercial space arena. Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister of Luxembourg and the country’s economy minister, outlined the strategy in a January 16 statement. The government’s initial investment is 70 million Euros, or $78 million U.S., according to Orbital Ventures.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of January 19-25, 2020
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/19): Two spacewalks are on tap outside the International Space Station (ISS). NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are to team Monday to complete an exchange of aging nickel hydrogen solar power system batteries for new lithium ion batteries. Saturday, NASA astronaut Drew Morgan will join European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano to finish a thermal control system upgrade of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray observatory used to search for anti-matter and assess the composition of dark matter. Both multi spacewalk activities were interrupted in late 2019 in order to replace a battery charge/discharge unit. In Washington, the House is in recess, the Senate is focused on impeachment proceedings.

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