Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 6th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The International Space Station (ISS) crew welcomes the arrival of a NASA contracted cargo mission early Monday. Last week’s Planetary Defense Conference featured simulated discovery and preparations for a possible asteroid impact threat.

Human Space Exploration

SpaceX launches 17th mission to send supplies to the ISS after power issues caused delays

Orlando Sentinel (5/4):  SpaceX’s 17th NASA contracted Falcon 9/Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) lifted off early Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, with 5,500 pounds of crew supplies, science experiments and technology demonstrations. The two day mission was delayed by several days, first by an electrical issue aboard the six person Station, with was corrected with Canadian robotics and Mission Control personnel, then an electrical issue with the drone ship landing site for the Falcon 9 first stage.


Space Science

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sends climate probe, organs on a chip to Space Station (5/3): Among new scientific research projects expected to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) aboard NASA’s 17th contracted SpaceX Dragon mission early Monday is an experiment with microchips embedded with living human cells. The research is intended to provide more information on how spaceflight affects the human body, data needed to prepare future explorers for long deep space journeys.

Don’t panic: Scientists are practicing for a killer asteroid impact

Washington Post (5/3): Last week’s Planetary Defense Conference, hosted at the University of Maryland, featured an elaborate asteroid encounter response simulation. During the exercise, experts worked to track and assess the object while refining its predicted course. Organizers stressed throughout the week long exercise that there was not an actual threat but that preparing a planetary defense strategy is a priority.

Mars InSight images show Martian sunrise and sunset

Orlando Sentinel (5/3); NASA’s Mars InSight lander, which touched down on the Red Planet in late November, offers a view of the sun from 140 million plus miles. The star appears much smaller than from Earth’s 93 million mile range.


Other News

Air Force requests bids for space launch services, will select two companies in 2020 (5/3): On Friday, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center released a request for proposal that will lead to competitive awards to two U.S. companies in 2020 for launch services. The procurement through 2024 will apply to about 25 launches through 2027.

Russian firm starts first tests of technology for space tourism – company CEO

Sputnik International (5/5): Kosmokurs, a Russian company, has begun testing a rocket and other technologies for suborbital space tourism.

3…2…1… Rocket Lab successfully launches U.S. Air Force payload

New Zealand Herald (5/5): Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket placed three experimental U.S. Department of Defense satellites into Earth orbit from New Zealand on Sunday. The satellite technology demonstrations include one on orbital debris.

Momo-3 is Japan’s first private rocket to reach space

Japan Times (5/5): Interstellar Technology Inc., became the first Japanese private company to launch on Sunday. The suborbital test flight reached an altitude of 68 miles before falling into the Pacific Ocean.

Silicon Valley co. to break ground on new Spaceport facility

Albuquerque Business First (5/3): SpinLaunch, of Silicon Valley, California, plans a Spaceport America facility in New Mexico. The company envisions a novel launch system that does not rely on fossil fuel propellants.

Elon Musk’s billionaire Moon passenger says he’s broke

Quartz (5/5): One of Japan’s wealthiest, Yusaku Maezawa, who signed on as a passenger for a proposed SpaceX voyage around the Moon in 2023, has encountered a financial rough spot.


Major Space Related News for the Week

Major space related news for the week of May 5-11, 2019 (5/5): Washington hosts the Satellite 2019 conference this week, with Vice President Mike Pence scheduled to speak Monday at 1:15 p.m., EDT, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Wednesday at 12 p.m., EDT. Also on Wednesday, the U.S. House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee will hold a 2 p.m., EDT, hearing entitled “Keeping Our Sights on Mars.” NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier and Mark Sirangelo are among those slated to testify.

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