Today’s Deep Space Extra

December 2nd, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… European Space Agency (ESA) member states intend to commit significantly to the NASA led lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway that is part of an accelerated return to the surface of the Moon with astronauts in 2024. U.S. and European spacewalkers embarked early Monday on the third in a series of four spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS) to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray observatory.

Human Space Exploration

ESA declares success at ministerial meeting (11/28): A two day ministerial meeting of European Space Agency (ESA) member states in Seville, Spain concluded on November 28 with a commitment to spend 12.45 Euros, or the equivalent of nearly $13.8 billion, U.S. over the next three years. The initiatives include development of the ESPIRIT refueling and telecommunications module for the NASA led lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway and joint work with Japan on a Gateway habitation module. ESA also plans a large robotic lunar lander. The agency also recommitted to Hera, a part of NASA’s planetary defense demonstration mission, the Double Asteroid Redirect Test, or DART. DART is to assess the effectiveness of using an impactor to deflect an asteroid. Hera will provide a post impact damage assessment. ESA had sought a total of 12.5 billion Euros over the three years.

Watch NASA TV Monday as spacewalkers continue cosmic repair work
NASA (12/2): International Space Station ISS) crew members Luca Parmitano, of the European Space Agency (ESA), and Drew Morgan, of NASA, embark early Monday on the third in a planned series of four spacewalks to upgrade the thermal control system of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray observatory. Previous spacewalks on November 15 and 22 went well. Monday’s six to seven hour excursion is focused on installing a new coolant circulation pump package and reconnecting small coolant lines. With link to

Astronaut Luca feeling the force, to advance rover control
European Space Agency (11/29): European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano worked from a control post aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to demonstrate a capability to control a ground based robot at the European Astronaut Center in Germany on November 25. The session featured a force feedback capability that enabled Parmitano to see and feel what his Analog-1 rover was experiencing as it maneuvered along narrow pathways for selecting rocks for study.

Hungary in talks with Roscosmos to send astronaut to ISS by 2024
TASS of Russia (11/27): Budapest and Moscow are in negotiations over the launch of a Hungarian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2024. The first ever Hungarian in space launched on a Soviet era Soyuz rocket for a seven day mission in 1980.

Space Science

Scientists find ‘monster’ black hole so big they didn’t think it was possible
Washington Post (11/29): A Chinese led study has discovered a 70 solar mass black hole, far exceeding the once believed black hole limit of 20 solar masses. Black holes form when stars exhaust their fuel and collapse. The object, LB-1, is 15,000 light years from Earth. It was detected with China’s Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope. The findings were published in the journal Nature.

Other News

NASA proposes to buy seat on short-duration commercial ISS flight
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (11/28): NASA intends to purchase a short term ticket for an astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from one of its Commercial Crew Program partners, Boeing or SpaceX. The 15 to 30 day mission would unfold prior to 2024. The effort would nourish NASA efforts to commercialize low Earth orbit operations and enable research for the agency’s human deep space exploration plans, according to a NASA announcement.

Baikonur to be designated free economic zone
Astana Times of Kazakhstan (11/28): Kazakhstan hopes to promote tourism at its historic space launch complex, the Baikonur Cosmodrome. A 25 year implementation period is planned starting in 2021. Baikonur has long supported Russian and Soviet missions, including the launches of astronauts and cosmonauts as well as cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).

Blue Origin’s expansion plans rush ahead at its Seattle-area HQ and in Los Angeles (11/29): Blue Origin, ever expanding, is ramping up a California propulsion system design and development operations center in the Los Angeles area to support administrative, launch and production facilities in Kent, Washington; West Texas; and Huntsville, Alabama.

Preparing the next generation of GPS
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin
CBS (12/1): Lockheed Martin is at work with the U.S. Air Force on a third generation of GPS satellites, which have over the past three decades become an integral part of life on Earth, whether its determining location, financial transactions or using a mobile phone. The GPS III constellation will be three times more accurate and eight times more resistant to jamming. Two of the new generation are in Earth orbit already and the entire constellation of new generation GPS satellites should be in orbit by 2034.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of December 1-7, 2019 (12/1): Still a significant concern is agreement by Congress and the White House on federal 2020 budget for the fiscal year that began on October 1. A second budget Continuing Resolution is in force through December 20, at which point a government shutdown is a possibility. In play are elements of NASA’s accelerated plan to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon in 2024. Early Monday, the third in a series of four planned spacewalks is to get underway outside the International Space Station (ISS) to overhaul the thermal control system of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray observatory. The excursion is the third of four planned spacewalks to extend efforts to explain the makeup of dark matter and confirm the existence of anti-matter. Also this week, NASA Administrator is to host a Town Hall on Tuesday at noon, EST. The presentation will be broadcast live on NASA TV,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.