Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 23rd, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA, Boeing change Commercial Crew Program test flight participant to address medical concern. More Congressional action is planned this week to address growing partial U.S. government shutdown. Russian space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin urges space partners to fend off external political pressure. New book reports Trump wanted NASA to get to Mars in his first term.

Human Space Exploration

NASA switches astronaut on Boeing’s 1st crewed Starliner spacecraft test flight

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (1/22): NASA announced Tuesday that astronaut Eric Boe will no longer prepare to fly aboard the Boeing CST-100 Starliner as part of planned Commercial Crew Program test flight activities because of an undisclosed medical issue. The flight, planned for August, is part of NASA’s effort to re-establish a U.S. human space launch capability that ended in 2011, with the retirement of NASA’s shuttle fleet. Boe will be replaced by veteran NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, who currently serves as assistant commercial crew program chief in the NASA astronaut office. Boe will assume previous Fincke’s duties. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners include Boeing and SpaceX. The crewed test flights are to be preceded by uncrewed test flights of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. NASA hopes to complete certification of each crew capsule this year, starting with the uncrewed test flight of the Dragon vehicle in February.

Senate leaders plan competing bills to end shutdown

New York Times (1/22): By Thursday, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on rival measures that could end the partial U.S. government shutdown that has been in place since December 22, and affected agencies like NASA and NOAA and an estimated 800,000 workers who have not been paid. One Senate measure would okay $5.7 billion for a southern border wall, the other would fund the federal government through February 8 without addressing the wall.

Roscosmos, NASA, ESA must withstand political pressure, says Russia’s space chief

TASS of Russia (1/21): Russian Space Agency chief Dmitry Rogozin urged NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) and other international partners to work closely to withstand external political pressures that threaten the success of global space ventures. Rogozin spoke at an event that included the International Space Station (ISS) crew that returned to Earth in October, NASA’s Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel as well as Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

How Trump offered NASA unlimited funding to go to Mars in his first term (1/22): During a briefing for a live call to the International Space Station (ISS) with Peggy Whitson, the President offered an unlimited NASA budget if they could reach Mars by the end of the President’s first term.


Space Science

ArianeGroup and PTScientists to study lunar lander mission for ESA (1/22): The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the ArianeGroup and a former Google Lunar X-Prize competitor a contract to develop a Moon lander concept for hardware available to launch by 2025 in order to demonstrate techniques for mining lunar rigolith and extract resources such as oxygen from the lunar surface. The study in part will assess how much of the mission could be conducted commercially. The feasibility assessment should be complete in November. The lunar X-Prize competition, intended to stimulate commercial lunar activities, was halted early last year when it became clear none of the contestants was prepared to meet competition deadlines.

UAE’s mission to Mars on track for lift-off in 2020

United Arab Emirates (1/21): The UAE’s Hope Probe, an orbital mission, is to launch for Mars between July and September of 2020, arriving in 2021. The spacecraft is equipped to study the Martian atmosphere.


Other News

Johnson plans to restore credibility to House Science Committee

Earth & Space Science News (1/17): Longtime Texas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson now chairs the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She plans changes to the proceedings of the yet to be assembled panel that are intended to restore respect for science, including climate change, in order to ensure U.S. leadership across the STEM fields, Johnson said in an interview.

Russia’s Angara A5 booster has serious flaw

Parabolic Arc (1/22): Russia’s Angara A5 rocket has a serious flaw that could cause it to explode in flight due to low frequency oscillations. The Angara is intended to replace the long serving Proton and other Russian rockets that compete globally in the commercial launch market as well as loft national security payloads.

Watch Blue Origin’s first New Shepard test flight of 2019

The Verge (1/23): This morning, Jeff Bezos’ private spaceflight venture Blue Origin is set to conduct another test flight of its New Shepard rocket — a vehicle designed to take passengers to the edge of space and back. It’ll be the first launch of the year for the company, and the tenth overall for the New Shepard system. With each new test, Blue Origin gets one step closer to putting people on the rocket, a milestone the company hopes to achieve this year.

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