Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 26th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… UAE announces it will fly its first astronaut to the ISS in September.  A new U.S. Congress will find much left over from the previous Congress to resolve on the commercial space policy front.

Human Space Exploration 

UAE says its first astronaut to be sent to space in September

Times of Israel (2/25): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced Monday the first astronaut from the Gulf Arab nation will go into space on September 25. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre said the country will send either Hazza al-Mansouri or Sultan al-Neyadi to the International Space Station (ISS) on board a Russian Soyuz rocket.

NASA astronauts gear up for launch to Space Station next month (2/23): Nick Hague and Christina Koch are a little busy: In just three weeks, the NASA astronauts and their Russian counterpart will climb into a Soyuz capsule, blast off from a launch pad in Kazakhstan and make their way to the International Space Station (ISS) for a six-month stay. The three-person crew has just completed its final exams, a mandatory set of tests that ensure astronauts are prepared for their flight and anything that can go wrong during it.

SpaceX to send test dummy to International Space Station (ISS) on Crew Dragon mission

Florida Today (2/25): A space suited instrumented mannequin will occupy one of seven seats in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft set to launch early Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), on an agency Commercial Crew Transportation program test flight. The mannequin’s sensors reflect responses to the spacecraft’s environment as it travels to and docks with the International Space Station (ISS) a day after liftoff. If the test flight, which is to end with a March 8 return to Earth, is successful, a second Crew Dragon would launch later this year to the Space Station with actual astronauts.


Space Science


Failed 1970s Venus probe could crash to Earth this year (2/25): Late this year, perhaps early next, a bit of Soviet space history, Cosmos 482, a Venus lander that failed to make it beyond Earth orbit as it was launched on March 31, 1972, is expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, with some debris possibly reaching the ground.

Ancient subsurface ocean likely source of Charon’s surface ice (2/25): Charon is the fascinating moon of Pluto, which NASA’s New Horizons mission spacecraft flew closely by for the first time in July 2015. Follow-up studies suggest the moon’s icy surface may have originated in a subsurface ocean that erupted through cyrovolcanism. Findings were published in the journal Icarus.

NASA scientist says there might be ‘crazy form of methane-based life’ on Titan

Sputnik News (2/26): Saturn’s moon Titan, where liquid hydrocarbons flow and pool like water, may be another candidate for life in the solar system, according to an expert from NASA’s Roadmaps to Ocean Worlds Group. As a candidate, Titan joins Enceladus, also a moon of Saturn, and Europa, a moon of Jupiter, as candidates for hosting habitable environments. Both are ice covered ocean worlds with signs of geological activity. All are candidate destinations for future robotic missions as well.


Other News

Commercial space policy issues for 2019

The Space Review (2/25): There’s much for the new U.S. Congress to consider this year with changes in the House leadership on the U.S. commercial space front. At the forefront are decisions on who will regulate future commercial lunar lander and satellite servicing operations as well as whether NASA should continue to oversee International Space Station (ISS) activities through 2030, or transition the responsibility to the private sector by 2025, as proposed by the White House. Then there is the matter of which federal agencies, the Department of Commerce or the Department of Transportation’s FAA should provide regulation of new commercial space activities, writes TSR editor Jeff Foust.

NG-10 Cygnus ends post-ISS mission after deploying satellites

Coalition Members in the News – NanoRacks, Northrop Grumman (2/25): Northrop Grumman’s 10th NASA contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) successfully ended the extended second phase of its mission on February 25, as it made a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The Cygnus capsule was launched November 17 and reached the station two days later to deliver a 7,400 pound cargo. It departed on February 8 with 5,500 pounds of trash and a second mission, the deployments of small satellite above and below the Station’s orbit using commercial NanoRacks and SlingShot deployers.

‘First Man’ wins Oscar for visual effects

Deadline Hollywood (2/24): First Man, the film story that chronicles the life of NASA astronaut and Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, received the Oscar for best visual effects in ceremonies Sunday night. Paul Lambert recreated the early space travel backdrop with archived film footage, digital effects and miniature props. The nation will mark the 50th anniversary of the historic first Moon landing by Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in July.

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