Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 17th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA targeting second half of 2024 for human Moon landing. Huge, mysterious ‘bubbles’ discovered at the heart of the Milky Way.  ISS receives call from Brad Pitt.

Human Space Exploration

No date set yet, but NASA targeting second half of 2024 for human Moon landing (9/16): For six months, NASA has been chasing big plans to land humans near the south pole of the Moon in 2024. That deadline came from Vice President Mike Pence in March and represented a significant increase in speed from the human Moon landing’s previous timeline, targeting 2028. The project has since been dubbed the Artemis program, a nod to the fact that NASA plans to include a female astronaut in the Moon landing for the first time.

Pakistan aims to send its first astronaut to space by 2022, will take help from China (9/16): Pakistan plans to send its first astronaut to space by 2022 with the help of its close ally China, Minister for Science and Technology has said. The selection process for the astronaut would start in 2020, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Sunday. China would collaborate with Pakistan in its space mission, Fawad was quoted as saying by the News International reported. He said that initially, 50 individuals would be selected after which the list will be shortened to 25 in 2022. And out of them only one would be sent to space.

Chinese space station core module passes review but faces delays (9/11): The first module for China’s planned space station has passed a final review, but the project continues to suffer launch vehicle-related delays. The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced September 6 that the 20-metric-ton ‘Tianhe’ module design and prototype had passed final reviews September 2. The flight model would be manufactured in the near future. Tianhe (‘Harmony of the Heavens’) is the core module for the Chinese Space Station (CSS) and will control the station’s orbit and attitude and function as the main astronaut quarters.


Space Science

NASA cubesat to test lunar Gateway orbit (9/16): NASA has awarded a contract to a small business for the development of a cubesat designed to demonstrate the use of the unique orbit planned for the agency’s lunar Gateway. The $13.7 million contract to Colorado company Advanced Space covers the development of Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE), a 12-unit cubesat that the agency could launch as soon as the end of 2020.

Huge, mysterious ‘bubbles’ discovered at the heart of the Milky Way
NBC News (9/16): A pair of enormous “bubbles” have been discovered at the center of the Milky Way. The mysterious structures, joined together in an hourglass-like shape and spewing radio waves, are thought to be the remnants of a vast cosmic explosion that occurred in our galaxy some 7 million years ago. The radio-emitting bubbles, described in a paper published September 11 in the journal Nature, measure about 1,200 light-years across and are in an active region near the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way.

Girl Scout space science badges take-off (9/9): Last year, Girl Scouts introduced space science badges, developed by the SETI Institute in partnership with GSUSA, for Daisies, Brownies, and Junior Girl Scouts. In just one year, more than 68,000 Girl Scouts have completed a Space Science. This year, Girl Scouts released space science badges for older girls, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.

Other News

What it was like to fly the baddest airplane the world has ever known
Ars Technica (9/16): The X-15 was not the first rocket-powered aircraft, but it is probably the best one ever built and flown. Before the first X-15 took flight in the late 1950s, the fastest speed airplanes had reached was Mach 3. The X-15 doubled that. And, remarkably, it also went on to fly into space more than a dozen times.

Brad Pitt calls Space Station astronaut to talk ‘Ad Astra’ and life in space (Video) (9/15): Brad Pitt, who plays an astronaut in the upcoming sci-fi film “Ad Astra,” chatted with NASA astronaut Nick Hague — who recently screened the film at the International Space Station (ISS) — about what it’s really like to be in space. Hague and Pitt spoke on a call from space to Earth about everything ranging from who controls the music on the Station to NASA’s Artemis Program, which is preparing to send the next man and first woman to the lunar surface. 

Relativity Space signs the satellite transportation company Momentus as a new customer
Tech Crunch (9/11): Relativity Space, the startup developing manufacturing technologies for entirely 3-D printed rockets and space equipment, has signed its latest paying customer, the orbital transportation startup, Momentus. Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket will carry Momentus’ small and medium-sized satellite payloads on its rocket and Momentus will then move those satellites into geosynchronous orbit using its own in-space shuttle technology.

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