Today’s DeepSpace Extra

September 12th, 2017

In Today’s Extra… Post Irma storm damage assessments are underway at NASA and U.S. Air Force launch facilities on Florida’s Space Coast.

Human Space Exploration

KSC, Cape hope to have ‘dodged another bullet’

Florida Today (9/11): With Hurricane Irma now an unpleasant memory for nearly all of Florida, damage assessments are underway in earnest at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base in the aftermath. Though there are not yet reports of major damage, KSC will remain closed until further notice.

Soyuz rocket rolled out for next station crew launch (9/11): Russia’s Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft was rolled to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of a planned lift-off with two NASA astronauts and a veteran cosmonaut on Tuesday at 5:17 p.m., EDT. With a successful liftoff, NASA’s Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei, and Russia’s Alexander Misurkin should dock with the International Space Station about six hours later.


Space Science

James Webb Space Telescope will hunt for signs of life in the solar system (9/11): The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the designated successor to the 27-year-old Hubble Space Telescope, will enable new levels of observation of Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus, a pair of outer solar system moons that may host habitable environments. NASA confirmed the plan earlier this month. JWST’s launch is planned for late 2018 from French Guiana. The European and Canadian space agencies are partners in the development of the NASA led space observatory.

The past and future of outer solar system exploration

The Space Review (9/11): More emphasis on a strategy to explore the solar system’s outer planets with planetary probes could become more of a priority, writes TSR editor Jeff Foust. He notes the long-running, NASA-led mission Cassini mission at Saturn ends Friday and an eagerness among scientists to establish a third deep space destination for NASA’s New Horizon mission. New Horizons sped close to distant Pluto in 2015. The mission’s science team is considering a third destination beyond 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object that New Horizons is to flyby on New Year’s Day 2019. NASA’s Juno mission maneuvered into orbit around Jupiter in 2016, and the agency is developing plans for follow-on missions to Europa, the ice and ocean covered Jovian moon with a possible habitable environment.

The sun’s strongest flare in 11 years might help explain a solar paradox

Science News (9/11): Recent powerful solar activity may be revealing the role played by the sun’s powerful magnetic field, according to researchers. Now slumping toward solar minimum, the sun spot designated Active Region 2673 unleashed seven major flares between September 4th and 10th.


Other News

Support builds for Bridenstine to lead NASA despite past skepticism on climate change

Washington Post (9/11): Support appears to grow for U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, the Oklahoma congressman and former Navy aviator, to lead NASA. President Trump announced Bridenstine’s nomination earlier this month. Some have questioned the lawmaker’s position on global warming, however.

Commercial satellite to link Latin America lifts off on Proton rocket (9/12): A Russian Proton rocket launched the Amazonas 5 Ka band communications satellite into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Monday afternoon. Owned by Madrid, Spain based Hispansat, the spacecraft built by Space Systems Loral will provide broadband communications services for portions of Latin America.

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