In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Researchers look to 3-D printing to support future human exploration destinations.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Space.com (4/17): Researchers at Northwestern University look to the promise of 3-D printing for the assembly of equipment and structures on distant planets and moons that could become destinations for future human exploration. The work incorporates synthetic lunar and Martian soils with chemicals and minerals already identified on the two planetary bodies.
The Space Review (4/17): Russia is temporarily scaling back the numbers of cosmonauts on the International Space Station from three to two, a cost-saving move while it attempts to address a long delay in the addition of the Multi-purpose Laboratory Module to the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Russian leadership is also discussing a possible extension of ISS activities from 2024 to 2028, attempting to settle on whether it wants a role in the European Space Agency’s proposed moon village and/or to join with NASA in pursuing the human exploration of Mars.
Endgadget.com (4/17): With the European Space Agency’s permission, NASA would like to track thruster bursts from the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft to track the clouds of dust left by asteroids and comets. The exercise may contribute a deeper understanding of the planet forming process.
SpaceflightInsider.com (4/16): Researchers from Princeton and CalTech determine that a binary star system could host a planet orbiting in its habitable zone. The concept was featured in the Star Wars film series.
Low Earth Orbit
Spaceflightnow.com (4/17): Orbital ATK’s seventh NASA contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station is set for lift-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Tuesday at 11:11 a.m., EDT. The Cygnus cargo capsule riding atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V is due at the space station early Saturday. Aboard are more than 7,600 pounds of crew supplies, science experiments and station hardware.
Washington Post (4/17): NASA’s YouTube channel plans to offer a 360-degree view of Tuesday morning’s Orbital ATK cargo mission launch of an Atlas V rocket to the International Space Station. The launch is set for 11:11 a.m., EDT.
Spacepolicyonline.com (4/17): China is preparing to launch its first cargo mission to the Tiangong-2 space station, a human tended but not permanently occupied orbital outpost launched in 2016. An in-orbit refueling exercise is anticipated. An April 20 lift-off is possible, according to China watchers and social media reports.
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