Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 10th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine emphasizes urgency and the role played by international partners in returning to the Moon with human explorers. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross outlines a formula for succeeding in a growing commercial space market.

Human Space Exploration

Two phases of the Moon – NASA will tackle lunar return fast, then sustainability (4/9): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said speed comes first, then sustainability in the agency’s efforts to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon by 2024, a goal set forth by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in late March. In remarks Tuesday before the annual Space Symposium, meeting in Colorado Springs, Bridenstine said the plan will continue to include the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion and a human tended, lunar orbiting Gateway, though initially with fewer elements than previously planned.  The agency, he said, must discard anything that gets in the way to launch the first joint test flight of the SLS and Orion, a uncrewed trip around the Moon and back to Earth called Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) in 2020, followed by EM-2, a crewed version of the same mission as soon thereafter as possible. The sustainable elements of the architecture, a fully assembled Gateway and reusable lunar landers and ascent vehicles, are to follow by 2028.

Astronauts on the Moon in 2024? U.S. can’t do it alone, NASA chief says (4/9): NASA will need global partners in its quest to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon by 2024, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, stressed Tuesday in remarks before the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. He also expressed the need for strong bipartisan support from the Congress in order to acquire the budgets that will be necessary to return to the lunar surface by 2024, the goal outlined late last month by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.


Space Science

NASA demos cubeSat laser communications capability

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (4/9): A pair of NASA small satellites have demonstrated an important laser communications technology. With the proper pointing and alignment, two properly equipped spacecraft could support high volume data transfers between one another in low-Earth orbit or even in orbit around the Moon.

What does a black hole look like? We’re about to find out

Associated Press via ABC News (4/10): A bit of astrophysics drama is anticipated Wednesday as scientists affiliated with the Event Horizon Telescope offer images of the “event horizon” of the border surrounding super massive black holes.

Metal asteroid Psyche might have had volcanoes of molten iron

Universe Today (4/9): Psyche, is the asteroid destination for a new NASA mission. Psyche may once, like other asteroids early in their history, have been a blob of molten iron, according to a research effort led by scientists from the University of Santa Cruz.

Study: Nearest exoplanets could host life

Cornell University (4/9): Cornell researchers find evidence high levels of radiation may not prevent the emergence of life on the nearest extra solar planets.  Life on the early Earth survived high levels of ultraviolet radiation and so potentially could life on four of the nearest exo-planets, they conclude after modeling a range of atmospheric conditions.


Other News

Commerce Department seeks to increase American space industry’s global competitiveness (4/9): Regulatory reform and promotion are the keys to bolstering U.S. competitiveness in the global space industry market, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday in a keynote address before the annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. It’s a market that could exceed a trillion dollars annually within two decades.

SpaceX sets launch date for latest Falcon 9 resupply mission to ISS for NASA

Orlando Sentinel (4/9): SpaceX is planning an April 26 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for its next NASA contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the company’s 17th cargo flight to the six person orbital science laboratory overall.

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