Today’s DeepSpace Extra

October 17th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion are in the midst of ground processing for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), a piloted test flight of the deep space mission hardware around the moon and back. Vice President Mike Pence’s call to return to the moon with astronauts has the nation’s space community assessing the opportunities.

Human Space Exploration

Orion processing continues for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1

Coalition Member in the News (Lockheed Martin)

Colorado Space News (10/16): Thermal protection panels, components of the heat shield, and other subsystems are in the midst of ground processing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule. Uncrewed, EM-1 will last about three weeks as the Orion capsule travels around the moon and back to Earth for a Pacific Ocean splashdown and recovery. Lockheed Martin is NASA’s prime contractor for Orion.

Back to back to the Moon

The Space Review (10/16): Vice President Pence’s October 5 call that the U.S. strive for a strong leadership position in the exploration of space with a return to the moon became a hot topic last week during the annual meeting of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group and a Back to the Moon workshop that followed, both in Columbia, Maryland. Pence, chairing the first session of the re-established National Space Council at the time, asked Cabinet members for a plan, likely to include a lunar orbiting Deep Space Gateway (DSG), with resource identification in 45 days. Can NASA provide such a strategy while it is committed to the development of Orion, the Space Launch System (SLS), two commercial crew vehicles, and planetary science flagships? TSR editor Jeff Foust ponders the challenge.

Lunar scientists want to hitch a ride on America’s next moonshot

Wired (10/16): NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group posted a record attendance last week at its annual meeting, this year in Columbia, Maryland. Eager for a return to the moon outlined by Vice President Pence, scientists expressed interest in learning more about the origins of the solar system, trying out investigations ultimately destined for Mars and assessing lunar resources.


Space Science

NASA missions catch first light from a gravitational-wave event

NASA/Goddard (10/17): Multiple space and ground-based observatories witnessed and logged the powerful merging of two neutron stars in the galaxy, NGC 4993, some 130 million light years away. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope took note first on August 17. But many more participated in the observations that measured a “gravity wave” response. The findings made headlines in the science journals, Science, Nature, Physical Review Letters and The Astrophysical Journal.

When neutron stars collide! What the Hubble Telescope and others saw (videos) (10/16): So, what did the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and other space and ground-based observatories image when they were focused on a distant neutron star merger? Something bright and violent.


Other News

China’s Tiangong 1 space will soon crash to Earth. No one knows where it will hit

Washington Post (10/16): Launched in September 2011 as the prototype for a future manned space station, China’s 8 1/2 ton, 34-foot-long Tiangong 1 prototype is soon to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Most of the spacecraft will break and burn up during re-entry, but fragments weighing up to 220 pounds could crash to the surface, according to one expert.

Progress supply ship completes Space Station delivery (10/16): Launched on Saturday, Russia’s Progress MS-07 re-supply cargo capsule carried out an automated docking with the six-person International Space Station early Monday. The capsule was carrying 2.9 tons of propellant, life support needs and crew supplies.

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