Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 5th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner conducted a test of its launch pad abort system in New Mexico on Monday. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft offers a glimpse of the space environment beyond the solar system.

Human Space Exploration

Boeing performs Starliner pad abort test
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (11/4): Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner on Monday carried out a successful test of the abort motors for the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft the company is developing under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). However, as the White Sands, N.M. test was ending with a descent to the ground, one of three parachutes failed to deploy for the landing.

Artemis updates (11/4): A comparative overview of NASA’s Artemis initiative to achieve an accelerated return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers in 2024 through the eyes of Apollo and with slimmer financial resources.

Space exploration and nuclear proliferation
The Space Review (11/4): NASA’s Kilopower initiative could play an important role in assuring human lunar explorers have sufficient power sources during two week periods when the sunlight is now available. However, some worry the nuclear power source and even renewed interest in a nuclear space propulsion system for trips to Mars could potentially lead to unwanted nuclear proliferation.

Space Science

Voyager 2’s trip to interstellar space deepens some mysteries beyond our solar system (11/4): A year ago, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft joined its sister spacecraft, Voyager 1, in departing the solar system. Both were launched in the summer of 1977 and Voyager 1, on a different course, became the first to depart the solar system more than six years ago. Both long running missions have revealed surprises about the reach of the sun’s influence, including the solar wind and the sun’s magnetic field. Findings were published in the journal Nature.

Other News

One year after Planetary Resources faded into history, space mining retains its appeal
Geek Wire (11/4): Although the name Planetary Resources, a startup focused on the mining of asteroids, has faded from view, the concept has not. Though acquired by ConsenSys, Planetary Resources founders have not lost their enthusiasm for the promise of finding valuable resources in space.

NASA has a new method for cooling down electronics crammed together in a spacecraft
Universe Today (11/4): NASA engineers are addressing a major challenge in lowering the size and cost of complex spacecraft, the heat generated by their electronics. Two recent test flights of Blue Origins New Shepard suborbital rocket have demonstrated the value of microgap cooling.

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