Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 8th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) releases its 2019 Annual Report. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced plans Tuesday for an independent investigation into the root cause of the timing issue that prevented Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner from carrying out an automated docking with the International Space Station (ISS) during an uncrewed flight test last month. Scientists describe discovery of most distant galaxy observed so far.

Human Space Exploration

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) releases 2019 annual report (1/7): The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, issued its 2019 annual report Tuesday examining the agency’s safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns. “The panel noted considerable headway toward NASA’s human exploration objectives in 2019,” said ASAP Chair Patricia Sanders. “We are supportive of the significant amount of testing – both completed and underway – as well as the thoroughness of ongoing work to resolve technical issues. While many challenges remain, the progress to date is encouraging; however, much work lies ahead.”

NASA/Boeing team to look for root cause of Starliner’s mission elapsed timer issue
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (1/7): NASA and Boeing are forming an independent review team to look for the root cause of the timer issue that interrupted post launch efforts by Boeing’s uncrewed CST-100 Starliner to carry out an automated docking with the International Space Station (ISS). Starliner landed successfully in New Mexico two days after the December 20 launch from Florida’s space coast. Once underway, the joint NASA/Boeing investigation will require about two months. Concurrently, NASA will assess whether the uncrewed Boeing test flight must be repeated. SpaceX, the second NASA Commercial Crew Program partner, completed its automated test flight to the ISS without astronauts last March, but additional flight test milestones must be satisfied prior to certification.

NASA’s new human spaceflight chief is determined to make 2024 deadline (12/2019 and 1/7): In a joint interview with, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Doug Loverro, Bridenstine’s recent choice to take over the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, discuss the basis for the selection, including Loverro’s background in national security space, technical skills, program management and political intuition.

Mighty Mice splash down aboard SpaceX Dragon cargo ship after zero-g study on ISS (1/7): A rodent research experiment was among a 3,600 pound cargo that returned to Earth on Tuesday aboard SpaceX’s latest NASA contracted Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of the Long Beach, California. A study of growth factors in the mice may help to develop countermeasures for the muscle and bone loss experienced by astronauts during long periods of weightlessness.

Space Science

How NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will search for oxygen on alien worlds
Coalition Member in the New – Northrop Grumman (1/7): A new study led by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center offers a new technique for identifying oxygen in the atmospheres of extra solar planets, an approach that could be used by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is undergoing preparations for a March 2021 launch to study the star forming period of the early universe and look for biomarkers in the atmospheres of extra solar planets.

Astronomers see the farthest galaxy group ever found, when the universe was only 5% of its current age
Universe Today (1/7): Scientists presented new findings on the early universe before the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Honolulu this week based on observations of a galaxy, EGS77, which had formed 680 million years after the big bang, or less than 5 percent the age of the universe.

Electricity surges through the soil of Norway (1/7): The intense aurora visible from Norway at night earlier this week were unexpected and due to the interplay of Earth and solar electrical and magnetic fields and a surge of current through the ground in Norway.

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