Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 23rd, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA and SpaceX are moving ahead with plans for the April 30 launch of the company’s 17th contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station, while they investigate a Crew Dragon thruster explosion last Saturday. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has offered new imagery of its efforts to gather a subsurface sample of the asteroid Ryugu for return to Earth earlier this month.

Human Space Exploration 

NASA moves ahead with cargo Dragon launch after Crew Dragon anomaly

Space News (4/22): NASA is moving ahead with plans to launch the agency’s 17th SpaceX contracted cargo mission to the International Space Station in the aftermath of an explosive incident Saturday at the U. S. Air Force Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., involving a SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule and preparation for an upcoming post launch abort test. The cargo mission launch is scheduled for early April 30.

Kennedy scientist leading team to combat lunar dust

NASA Kennedy Space Center (4/18): Lunar dust proved an unexpected challenge to the success of NASA’s six Apollo era Moon landings and the health of the astronauts. Scientists from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center launched an experiment to the International Space Station earlier this month to deal with the dust issue as human explorers prepare for a return to the lunar surface in 2024.


Space Science

The ghosts of flagships past and future

The Space Review (4/22):  As the astrophysics and astronomy community embarks on a new National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine assessment of the science priorities within their disciplines for the next decade, there may be some reason for optimism despite technical and budget challenges facing yet to be launched, past priorities, the James Webb Space Telescope and Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope. Primarily, it’s the value of the science objectives and a range of technology options. 

Now you can watch Japan’s Hayabusa2 shoot a bomb at an asteroid (4/22): The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is offering a look back at the April 4 effort to expose the subsurface of the asteroid Ryugu by dropping an explosive charge from the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft as it maneuvered overhead. The objective was to create a crater that exposed the subsurface for a future sample collection effort by the probe. In late February, the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft descended briefly to collect a surface sample of Ryugu. JAXA hopes to depart the asteroid with a subsurface and surface samples of Ryugu late this year, returning the materials from the primitive asteroid to Earth in late 2020.

Robotic Refueling Mission 3 can’t perform cryogenic fuel transfer

Parabolic Arc (4/22): On April 8, the Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) aboard the International Space Station started experiencing issues powering up its cryogen coolers that maintain the temperature of liquid methane contained within the module. After several troubleshooting attempts, it was determined the coolers could not be powered up. As a result, the temperature of the liquid began to rise. The liquid methane turned into a gas and was safely vented from the payload. There was no impact to other station systems or operations.


Other News

China to announce rules soon to regulate commercial rocket industry
Reuters (4/23): China’s national space agency said on Tuesday it will soon announce rules to regulate commercial rocket manufacturing, test flights and launches, state media reported, as the number of private startups in the nascent sector surged in the past year. A space law has been included in the legislative plan of parliament, and could be introduced in the next three to five years, China Space News reported, citing a presentation at an industry conference in Hunan province.

Op-ed | Ensuring peaceful use of space an important goal for U.S. and allies

Space News (4/19): The approach of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20 can serve as a reminder of the importance of maintaining space as a peaceful domain for the U.S. and its allies. In the decades that followed the achievement, near Earth space has become more congested and contested, writes Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, in an op-ed. “We must maintain space as a peaceful domain where common interests can align and flourish,” he writes.

NASA dedicates big new office building at its Alabama center (4/22): NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center marked Earth Day on Monday with the opening of a new five story green office building. The facility will house more than 400 workers assigned to human exploration, science and technology and engineering and safety.

UAE’s Mubadala creates Abu Dhabi Hub71 with Softbank and Microsoft for New Space, other tech start-ups
SpaceWatch.GLOBAL (4/22): Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala is set to create a start-up ecosystem in Abu Dhabi that will attract New Space and other emerging technology companies to the Gulf Arab state. The ecosystem will be called Hub71 and will include Softbank’s Vision Fund and Microsoft as partners, according to Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak – Mubadala’s Chief Executive Officer

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