Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 18th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The Japanese government has decided to join with NASA in the development of a lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway for the future exploration of the Moon. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir prepared to embark early Friday on the first all-female spacewalk.

Human Space Exploration

Japan to take part in lunar space station project
NHK of Japan (10/17): The Japanese government on Friday decided to join with NASA in development of the human tended, lunar orbiting Gateway, a small space station like spacecraft that will orbit the Moon as a way point for astronauts launched from Earth. At the Gateway, astronauts will board landers for transportation to the surface of the Moon.

Watch live today! Astronauts taking 1st all-female spacewalk (10/18):  NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir were to step outside the International Space Station (ISS) early Friday for a five to six hour spacewalk, the first ever planned for two women. The two astronauts are to make the way along the Station’s port side solar power truss to remove a faulty power controller that has interrupted a multi spacewalk effort to upgrade the Station’s power storage batteries.

Space Science

Distant exoplanets not so different to Earth
Cosmos (10/18): A UCLA led study of White Dwarfs, the remnants of aged sun like stars, has found traces of what may be planets with geophysical and geochemical similarities to the Earth. The study was published in the journal Science.

Chandrayaan-II: First illuminated image of the lunar surface released by ISRO
Hindustan Times of India (10/17): India’s Chandrayaan 2 lunar orbiter has imaged the landing site where contact with the Vikram lander was lost late September 6. U.S. time as the spacecraft neared a much anticipated touchdown at the Moon’s south polar region.

Other News

SpaceX sees U.S. Army as possible customer for Starlink and Starship (10/16): SpaceX president and CEO Gwynne Shotwell hints at discussions with the U.S. Army over  Starlink and Starship, the company’s broadband communications network and large rocket, which might offer point to point transportation.

Rocket Lab takes another step towards reusability with its ninth launch (10/17): Rocket Lab logged the ninth launch of its Electron rocket from New Zealand on Wednesday to help it assess the recovery and future reuse of the small launch vehicle’s first stage.

Long March 3B launches TJSW -4 (10/17): China on Thursday launched a secretive satellite atop a Long March 3B rocket. Speculation over its purpose ranges from communications to national security.

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