Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 8th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Boeing establishes the cause of a parachute failure during a successful launch pad abort test of the CST-100 Starliner in New Mexico earlier this week. Russia says NASA has discussed an interest in acquiring one or two more seats aboard Soyuz rockets for astronaut transportation to the International Space Station (ISS).

Human Space Exploration

White House warns Congress about Artemis funding (11/7): In correspondence with Congress, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) spells out spending needs to support an accelerated human return to the surface of the Moon in 2024. NASA needs $2.3 billion for exploration research and development for the 2020 fiscal year that began October 1, not the $1.6 billion agreed to so far, according to the White House. The federal government began the new fiscal year with a budget continuing resolution that holds spending at 2019 levels, which are not sufficient within NASA for a lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway and the development of commercial lunar landers to achieve the goal, according to the correspondence.

Boeing identifies cause of chute malfunction, preps for Starliner launch
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (11/7): In briefings and statements on Thursday, Boeing and NASA’s Commercial Spaceflight Program initiative identified the difficulties behind a launch pad abort test flight difficultly earlier this week that prevented one of three parachutes from deploying.  The uncrewed Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule separated and descended to Earth as planned with two of three parachutes. The failure of the third parachute deployment was blamed on the absence of a pin between the pilot and main parachute.

NASA tentatively asking for 1-2 extra seats on board Soyuz spacecraft – Roscosmos’s Krikalev
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
Interfax of Russia (11/7): Russia’s Sergey Krikalev says NASA has made a preliminary request for one or two more Soyuz seats for NASA astronauts assigned to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA has turned to Russian for transportation to and from the ISS since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011. The agency’s efforts to initiate commercial a U. S. launch capability for astronauts with Boeing and SpaceX has taken longer than planned but is nearing a final round of test flights expected to lead to regularly scheduled launches by the two companies in 2020. However, NASA currently has only one seat aboard a Soyuz launch now planned for April. Krikalev is executive director of manned space programs at Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency.

Fifty years later, space experts and astronauts discuss what’s needed to get back to the moon
Florida Today (11/6): Florida Tech was host to a discussion this week among veterans of NASA’s Apollo program on the differences between then and now on reaching the Moon with human explorers. Strong NASA leadership and solid political support reigned during the first campaign a half century ago to achieve the goal, according to participants.

Space Science

Human heart cells beat differently in microgravity, which may benefit astronauts (11/8): A new gene level Stanford University led study of how human heart cells change in response to spaceflight and the absence of gravity offers evidence that the heart adapts quickly to the changing environments of space and re-exposure to gravity, a good news sign for long term, human deep space exploration.

NASA’s TESS spacecraft is finding hundreds of exoplanets and is poised to find thousands more
Mic (11/7): NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is expected to provide a wealth of evidence for Earth like planets orbiting the closest but still quite distant stars. The unfolding discoveries should offer targets to seek further evidence of life beyond Earth, according to astronomers. TESS launched in April 2018.

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