Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 11th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s 13th administrator calls on American companies.  NASA seeking proposals for lunar lander system. Russia looks to develop new rockets for exploration. Slingshot joins the small satellite launch provider community.  New images reveal Ultima Thule looking nothing like a snowman. 

Human Space Exploration

NASA: Join us in going to the Moon…and beyond (2/8): The U.S. space agency’s 13th administrator asks private American firms to help launch a bold new initiative. “We are calling on American companies to help design and develop human lunar landers, reusable systems for astronauts to land on the Moon”. “We are going to the Moon with innovative new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the surface than we ever thought possible”. “This time, when we go to the Moon, we will stay”.

NASA seeking proposals for human-rated lunar lander systems (2/9): With SLS and Orion in the latter stages of development, NASA wants to work with industry to develop a human-rated lunar lander by the mid-to-late 2020s. NASA is working to return astronauts to the Moon under Space Policy Directive-1. In order to do that sustainably, the agency announced plans on December 13, 2018, to work with U.S. companies to develop systems to land on the lunar surface. A formal request for proposals was published on February 7, 2019, with responses due by March 25.

Rogozin teases new Russian super-heavy rocket Yenisei (2/8): Despite a challenging budget outlook, Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, is moving ahead with plans to develop new rockets for space travel, including an upgrade to the venerable Soyuz now taking astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) called Federation and a super heavy variant of the Angara called Yenisei for missions to the Moon.


Space Science

CASIS seeks to increase awareness of ISS National Lab with name change (2/10): During its annual board meeting in Washington on Friday, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), explained a recent decision to acquire a new organizational identify, ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The change that is appearing across web and social media platforms is intended to raise awareness and stimulate new interest in the ISS as a research platform.

Russian-U.S. cooperation in science, culture may decrease political tensions

TASS of Russia (2/10): In an interview with the Russian news agency, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, called for greater cooperation with the U.S. in the fields of science and culture to ease political tensions.

New images of the distant Ultima Thule object have surprised scientists

Ars Technica (2/10): New imagery from NASA’s New Horizons mission spacecraft and its New Year’s close flyby of very distant Ultima Thule reveals nothing like the snow man that was first portrayed. The latest images, revealed Friday, depict a celestial object more like a giant flat pancake joined to a dented walnut. The latest images from beyond 4.1 billion miles only deepen the mystery of how the Kuiper Belt Object formed.

Huge storms spotted on Uranus and Neptune

USA Today (2/8): Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, it is clear other planets have weather worse than Earth. Distant Uranus and Neptune, for instance, experience giant storms and seasonal shifts that can last decades.


Other News

Honeywell to open technology incubator

Coalition Member in the News – Honeywell (2/7): Honeywell Aerospace plans to open its new Greenhouse space technology incubator in February. One focus will be an emerging transition from expensive geosynchronous communications satellites to lower altitude small satellite constellations and components like optical intersatellite links, reaction wheels and optical imagers. Greenhouse is opening with a 25 member staff in Ontario, Canada with the availability to work with assets throughout Honeywell for the production of high quality, reliable components.

SlingShot tests small satellite deployment and payload hosting capabilities

Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman

NASA (2/7): The International Space Station (ISS) has afforded an opportunity to test and demonstrate SlingShot, a new small satellite deployment mechanism developed by SEOPS. The company worked closely with Northrop Grumman to integrate the deployer into the Cygnus commercial Space Station resupply capsule. The 10th NASA contracted Northrop Grumman resupply capsule that launched to the Space Station in November departed last Friday, maneuvering above and below the Station’s orbital altitude to deploy small satellites.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of February 10-16, 2019 (2/10): Another partial U.S. government shutdown looms Friday, if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a budget agreement on immigration policy. NASA and NOAA are among the federal agencies that would be once again forced to furlough workers or call them to work without pay if the President and Congress cannot reach an agreement. NASA plans an industry/media forum Thursday on lunar exploration plans. NASA will broadcast.

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