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Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 23rd, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s human spaceflight initiative face a challenging 2020. Osiris-Rex takes its closest look yet at its sample collection site on the asteroid Bennu. 

Human Space Exploration

NASA administrator on the year ahead: ‘A lot of things have to go right’
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, United Launch Alliance
The Verge (1/22): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discuss the year ahead and the challenges. Those include the need for additional funding for Artemis, the accelerated 2024 return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers and NASA Commercial Crew Program certifications of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon so the U. S. can resume the launch of its astronauts, something not possible since 2011, when NASA shuttle fleet was retired.

Russia to supply U.S. with six RD-180 rocket engines this year
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, United Launch Alliance
Sputnik News of Russia (1/22): Russia is the supplier of first stage RD-180 rocket for the first stage of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket, used by NASA and the military for many of the nation’s most significant planetary science and national security missions. It is also the launch vehicle for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, which is closing in on certification from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to begin the regular transportation of astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Space Science

Atlas 5 for Solar Orbiter launch returns to assembly building for inspections
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
Spaceflightnow.com (1/22): Plans for a late February 5 launch of the joint NASA and European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter mission atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, could be delayed to address a cooling duct issue at the launch pad that surfaced prior to a countdown rehearsal on Wednesday.

Status report: OSIRIS-REx completes closest flyover of sample site Nightingale
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (1/22): NASA’s Osiris-Rex asteroid sample return mission spacecraft has obtained its closest look yet a Nightingale, the site on the asteroid Bennu designated in December as the primary site to collect a surface sample of the primitive planetary body in late August 2020 for return to Earth. The backup collection site, Osprey, will receive a similar close-up pass from an altitude of about 4/10ths of a mile on February 11. Even closer scrutiny of Nightingale and Osprey are planned by Osiris-Rex on March 3, for Nightingale, and May 26, for Osprey. The spacecraft is to depart for Earth next year to drop off the sample material in Utah on September 24, 2023.

A twilight tryst: Venus meets Neptune in the dusk sky
Universe Today (1/22): The Moon enters its new Moon phase on Friday evening. That means a darkened sky with opportunities for star gazers to look for planets. Here’s what to look for, depending on where you are viewing: Neptune, Venus and more.

Op Eds

A Space Force needs spaceships
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin
SpaceNews.com (1/22): The nation’s recently established Space Force may well need a means of reliable access to space, according to an op-ed from Pat Bahn and Tim Kyger, respectively the CEO of TGV Rockets Inc. and a space analyst. The most efficient solution is the development of a reusable, single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle capability, they contend.

What should we call the men and women of Space Force?
SpaceNews.com (1/21): Rick Tumlinson’s suggestion for how to designate the men and women of the new U.S. Space Force is “Spacers,” though if the new military branch had been designated the Space Guard, he’d have preferred “Guardians.” Tumlinson is a space investor and a founding member of the board of the X-Prize.

Other News

Northrop Grumman names Cygnus spacecraft for first African American astronaut
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
Space.com (1/22): Scheduled for launch on February 9 from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia, Northrop Grumman’s next Cygnus resupply mission spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been named in honor of U.S. Air Force pilot Robert Lawrence Jr., who was in line to become the nation’s first African American astronaut. He was selected for spaceflight by the USAF under its Manned Orbital Laboratory program in 1967. Lawrence perished in the crash of his F-104 fighter jet on December 8, 1967.

Acting NOAA leader stresses importance of public-private partnerships
SpaceNews.com (1/22): Neil Jacobs is the acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In an address before the Maryland Space Business Roundtable this week Jacobs touted the commercial sector as partners and stakeholders in the business of weather forecasting and Earth observation.

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