Today’s DeepSpace Extra

September 11th, 2017

In Today’s Extra… Emergency operations teams watched over Central Florida space launch sites as Hurricane Irma lashed the sunshine state. The White House and Congress have agreed on hurricane relief as well as temporary budget appropriation measures as the start of 2018 fiscal year nears.

Space Coast Impacted by Hurricane Irma

Riding out Irma on Florida’s Space Coast and keeping an eye on the spacecraft

NPR (9/10): As Hurricane Irma battered Florida over the weekend, 120 professionals were secured within NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the state’s space coast watching over the facilities and critical space hardware, like the sheltered Orion capsule and Space Launch System components undergoing preparation for the future Exploration Mission-1 test launch.

Congress passes CR & Debt Limit Extension till Dec. 8, initial hurricane relief (9/8): Late last week, the White House and Congress took steps to keep the federal government operating through December 8 without a formal budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which starts October 1. The House, Senate and President Trump agreed to a budget continuing resolution, debt limit extension and a down payment on appropriations to respond to Irma and Harvey, the major storms that have swept over Florida and parts of the Texas and Louisiana coast since late August.

Hurricane Irma delays Atlas rocket launch at Vandenberg AFB

Coalition Member in the News (United Launch Alliance)

Noozhawk, of Santa Barbara, California (9/8): United Launch Alliance has delayed the planned September 14 launch of a U.S. national security payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, because of Hurricane Irma. The storm forced some launch team members who support Atlas V operations from the east as well as the west coast to return to their Florida homes to prepare. A new launch date was to be established after the storm’s passage.


Human Space Exploration

Soyuz rocket with manned spacecraft installed at Baikonur launch pad
Science & Space (9/10): A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a Soyuz MS-06 manned spacecraft, which is due to take a new crew to the International Space Station on September 13, has been installed at a launch pad of the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, the Roscosmos space corporation told TASS.


Space Science

Major solar flare and radiation storm (9/10): The sun erupted again Sunday with a solar flare that sent more energy toward the Earth’s magnetic field, causing shortwave radio blackouts and extreme aurora.

Detection of mineral on Mars bolsters argument that Mars was once habitable

Universe Today (8/8): A detection by NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars, the presence of the chemical element boron, improves the prospect that the red planet was once habitable. Long ago, Mars was warmer and wetter then went through a transformation to a dry, cold realm between 4.2 and 3.7 billion years ago through the loss of its atmosphere. Boron is necessary for the creation of RNA found in all forms of Earthly life. The research led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Many nicknames for Pluto’s features are now official

Ars Technica (9/8): The International Astronomical Union has officially assigned names to 14 features on the surface of Pluto revealed by NASA’s New Horizons mission flyby in 2015.

Water molecules may survive on the Moon’s surface all day long (9/8): German research suggests that water may be chemically bound in the regolith found in the upper layers of the lunar surface — at not just at the higher latitudes as previous studies suggested. The findings were published in the journal Science Advances.

X-ray study shows older stars may be more supportive to life

Universe Today (9/8): Older stars, including sun-like stars older than one billion years, could be more conducive to life, according to a research effort led by the Queen’s University of Belfast and relying on observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM Newton. The correlation is also linked to magnetic field and X-ray emission intensities.


Other News

This ultrathin craft could soon envelop and destroy space junk (9/10): Brane Craft, a concept developed by Aerospace Corp. under a NASA Advanced Concepts initiative, would help sweep destructive man-made debris from Earth orbit by wrapping itself around its targets like a blanket and dragging them lower in altitude for a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

What’s Happening in Space Policy Sept. 11-15, 2017 (9/10): NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin are to launch to the International Space Station late Tuesday, restoring six-person station operations. NASA’s long-running Cassini mission at Saturn ends Friday. Politico hosts The New American Space Age, a Washington forum on Tuesday. Congress will be active in Washington in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma’s ravaging of Florida and Harvey’s of Texas and Louisiana, all since late August. Late last week, the House, Senate and White House agreed to a budget continuing resolution that will keep the U.S. government open through December 8.

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