Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 21st, 2019

Deep Space Extra will be on Summer hiatus starting, Thursday, August 22, returning on Tuesday, September 3.  Coalition for Deep Space Exploration offices will also reopen after summer break on September 3.

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Vice President Mike Pence declared NASA on track to achieve an accelerated return to the surface of the Moon by 2024 during a meeting of the National Space Council on Tuesday. The council’s cabinet level members also adopted a dozen recommendations intended to strengthen the nation’s lead in exploration as well as bolster space commerce and strengthen space national security.

Human Space Exploration

Space Council says NASA’s exploration programs “on track”
Coalition for Deep Space Exploration in the News together with members Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and United Launch Alliance (8/20): Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the White House National Space Council, declared NASA on track to achieve a March 26 directive to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon by 2024, an initiative that has been named Artemis. His comments came Tuesday at the sixth meeting of the cabinet level space council in Chantilly, Virginia. “Our Moon-to-Mars mission is on track, and America is leading in human space exploration again,” Pence said as the two hour session unfolded.  In remarks, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency was overcoming issues with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and initiating efforts to fund and develop a lunar lander with U.S. commercial partners. The future human exploration of Mars is to be closely linked to future sustained lunar activities.

Recommendations adopted at the sixth National Space Council meeting (8/20): The White House National Space Council adopted a dozen recommendations for President Trump during its sixth session on Tuesday, including one that would require the NASA administrator to designate an office and submit a plan to the National Space Council outlining how lunar exploration will establish needed technologies and capabilities for the human exploration of Mars. Earlier this year, the White House instructed NASA to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon by 2024 to establish a sustainable presence and prepare for the exploration of Mars. Other recommendations call on NASA to work with the State Department in enlisting global partners for the 2024 Moon landing and develop a plan to stabilize the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion programs to prevent future cost and schedule concerns. 

SLS contractors expect first launch in 2021
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (8/20): Artemis 1, the joint test launch of NASA Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion crew capsule is anticipated for early 2021, after months of schedule delays to address technical challenges. The first multi week flight will be uncrewed and take Orion around the Moon and back to Earth for recovery. Contractors involved in the project, who were among those assembled this week In Indianapolis for the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum, provided the latest estimates. NASA has not yet announced target dates for the flights.

Commercial crew providers prepare for fall test flights
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (8/20): NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners, Boeing and the CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX and its Crew Dragon spacecraft, addressed their latest flight test plans at the AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum in Indianapolis this week. Boeing is looking to October for an uncrewed orbital flight test, though the schedule for a crewed follow on to the International Space Station (ISS) is not clear. SpaceX, which completed its uncrewed orbital flight test in March, hopes to launch the crewed version to the ISS by year’s end. Both companies await launch abort tests as well. Once certified, the two spacecraft are to begin the regular commercial transport of astronauts to and from the Space Station.

To the Moon by 2024: Here’s the plan
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin
Coalition Advisor – Doug Cooke
Air and Space Magazine (8/21): The first U.S. Moonshot was done in a decade. Can NASA make it in half that time?

Russia’s Roscosmos plans Mars missions in distant future
TASS of Russia (8/21): Russia’s plans for the human exploration of Mars are paced by the travel time from Earth and exposure to harmful radiation during the long journey, according to Sergei Krikalev, the director of human spaceflight for Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency.

Ladies welcome: Roscosmos forming cosmonaut crew for outer space missions
Roscosmos (8/20): Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency plans to increase the number of women cosmonauts as it looks to future exploration beyond the International Space Station (ISS), according to Dmitry Rogozin, head of the organization. Recruiting began June 3.

Space Science

Exploring the icy moons of Jupiter. NASA’s Europa Clipper and ESA’s JUICE
Universe Today (8/20): NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are putting a planetary science focus on Europa, the ice and ocean covered moon of Jupiter, also known for its geyser like eruptions. Might the combination of factors mean Europa is potentially habitable? Scientists hope to discover more with NASA’s Europa Clipper and Europe’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), a pair of planetary science missions.

Other News

New U.S. Space Command will launch next week, VP Pence says (8/20): The White House National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence met for the sixth time on Tuesday near Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. Among the many topics discussed were plans to have the new U.S. Space Command, a sixth branch of the military, up and running by the end of this month. Under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force, the space national security branch will be known as the United States Space Command. A formal ceremony is planned for August 29.

Chinasat 18 communications satellite encounters problem after launch (8/20): China’s Chinasat 18 satellite, which was to provide broadband service to the nation’s rural areas, airline passengers and maritime vessels, was launched early Monday atop a Long March 3 B rocket.  While the launch was nominal, the satellite suffered a post separation anomaly, whose cause is under investigation.

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