Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 10th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA has outlined a strategy to encourage a growing low Earth orbit economy by granting commercial companies and astronauts access to the International Space Station (ISS). Reaching the lunar surface with human explorers is a necessary step in achieving a horizon goal of exploring Mars, NASA explains.

Human Space Exploration

NASA releases ISS commercialization plan
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (6/7): NASA on Friday presented the next step in its strategy to build a growing low Earth orbit economy by transitioning oversight of the agency’s continuing low Earth orbit activities on board the International Space Station (ISS) to the commercial sector. Private sector astronauts could purchase transportation to and from the six person orbiting science lab from Boeing and SpaceX. Two astronauts annually could stay aboard the Station for up to 30 days at a cost of $35,000 per day. NASA would provide an ISS docking port for commercial vessels and commercial free flying low Earth orbit platforms. NASA intends to seek proposals for ISS docking port access this year.

NASA is opening the Space Station to $35,000-a-night visits. A tourist who paid Russia $30 million to get there a decade ago says it’s a ‘seismic shift.’
Business Insider (6/7): American Richard Garriott is one of seven individuals who paid Russia millions of dollars for access to the International Space Station (ISS), which has been permanently staffed since November 2000. He called NASA’s strategy to encourage commercial use of the Space Station by allowing two non-astronauts to visit each year a positive “seismic shock.”

White House reiterates human Moon missions on the path to Mars (6/8): Scott Pace, the White House National Space Council executive secretary, on Saturday offered some clarification of President Trump’s social media remarks from Friday on NASA’s human deep space exploration priorities. Mars, with the Moon as the next step, is the horizon goal, Pace explained in response to a question from the floor of the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Washington.

Pace: Trump’s tweet reflects impatience (6/98): Scott Pace, executive secretary of the White House National Space Council, explained Saturday that President Trump has grown impatient with NASA’s talk about a human return to the lunar surface. He believes the discussion should be directed toward a larger goal, exploring Mars with humans, according to Pace. Pace was asked for clarification on Saturday during the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Arlington, Virginia.

Deep-space shielding
Scientific American (6/5): A journey to Mars for human explorers could mean exposure to radiation levels 700 times those on the Earth. A shielding material incorporating lithium hydride may help to offer a solution.

A short history of Presidential vacillation: Mars or the Moon
The Atlantic (6/8): Presidential goals for human space exploration shift from administration to administration. A look back.

Why the Soviets lost the Moon race
Air and Space (June 2019):  According to space historian Asif Siddiqi, the U.S. came from behind to reach the Moon with astronauts ahead of the former Soviet Union largely because NASA had an effective top/down management structure.

Space Science

How the Webb Telescope will explore Mars (6/4): When NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launching in 2021, reaches its destination a million miles from Earth, it will be able to see the whole disk of Mars every two years. If a global dust storm envelops the Red Planet at a time when Webb could see it, the powerful space telescope could gather information about the storm, adding to data from spacecraft on or close to the planet’s surface.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe may solve 500-year-old sun mystery (6/4): NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is on its way to another close encounter with the sun, where investigators hope the spacecraft will solve a long-standing solar mystery: Why is the sun’s outer atmosphere millions of degrees hot (Fahrenheit or Celsius), while the surface is only about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius)?

Physicists search for monstrous Higgs particle. It could seal the fate of the universe (6/8): Physicists continue efforts to understand the nature of the Higgs boson and the subatomic particle’s place in the universe.

Other News

United Technologies and Raytheon to combine into aerospace and military giant
Coalition Member in the News – United Technologies
New York Times (6/10): Plans for the all stock merger of the two companies was announced Sunday. The combined venture will be known as Raytheon Technologies.

Aerojet Rocketdyne doubles down on its Huntsville bet this week
Coalition Member in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne (6/7): As the first work week of June came to a close in Huntsville, Alabama, Aerojet Rocketdyne, state and local officials marked the opening of two new facilities, an 136,000 square foot Advanced Manufacturing Facility for rocket propulsion and a 122,000 square foot Defense Headquarters building to manage work contracted by NASA and the Redstone Arsenal to aerospace and defense contractors. “Huntsville is a great place to build a future, and that’s what we’re doing with our expansion here,” Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake said Friday.

Europe is working on a reusable space transport system: Space RIDER
Universe Today (6/7): Space RIDER is a reusable capsule with a 1,760 pound cargo capacity under development by the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch atop a Vega C rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guinea. The initial launch is anticipated by 2022.

Wernher von Braun’s record on civil rights (6/8): It was in June 1965 that NASA Administrator James Webb and Wernher von Braun, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and a former Nazi, stood up to then Alabama governor and presidential aspirant George Wallace and his segregationist beliefs as Wallace visited Marshall with members of the news media.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of June 9-15, 2019 (6/9): Monday, the U.S. Chamber hosts policy briefs and panel discussions on the International Space Station (ISS) and NASA’s planned lunar orbiting Gateway. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee hosts a hearing on NASA’s science agenda on Tuesday. This week, the full House begins consideration of 2020 fiscal year spending bills that have or will work their way through the appropriations process at the committee level.

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