In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The towering core stage for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket assigned to NASA’s Artemis one test flight is now upright at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi. Space Situational Awareness continues to draw interest along with strategies for eliminating orbital debris. Remembering 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film classic.
Human Space Exploration
NASA Artemis program and Stennis Space Center set the stage for testing in 2020
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing
NASA/Stennis Space Center (1/23): The 212-foot-long Boeing assembled core stage for NASA’s Artemis 1 mission, the first joint test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and an uncrewed Orion capsule now stands vertical in the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. It was transported by barge earlier this month from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and moved inland. Later this year, the SLS core and its four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 rocket engines and latest avionics will be commanded to carry out a full duration ground test firing. The hardware will then be barged to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida for Artemis 1, a multi-week mission that will send the Orion without astronauts around the Moon and back to Earth. Later, Artemis 2 will carry out a similar test flight with astronauts. Artemis 3 is to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon on an accelerated schedule in 2024.
NASA reveals the payloads for the first commercial Moon cargo deliveries
Coalition Member in the News – Astrobotic
Tech Crunch (1/23): The collection due for launching beginning next year include 16 science and technology cargoes that will be launched by Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines. Each is to help prepare NASA for the Artemis initiative, which is to return human explores to the surface of the Moon in 2024.
Could future homes on the Moon and Mars be made of fungi?
NASA.gov (1/14): NASA is exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi to become our future homes in the stars, and perhaps lead to more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well. The myco-architecture project out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley is prototyping technologies that could “grow” habitats on the Moon, Mars and beyond out of life – specifically, fungi and the unseen underground threads that make up the main part of the fungus, known as mycelia.
Andrucyk to take Director of Goddard Space Flight Center post permanently
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/23): NASA announced today that Dennis Andrucyk will permanently take the job as Director of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has been Acting Director since the first of the year. Andrucyk was Deputy Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters before taking the Acting Director job on January 1.
NanoRacks oven didn’t exactly nail it as first space cookies took hours to bake
Coalition Member in the News – NanoRacks
Associated Press via Houston Chronicle (1/22): A recent oven experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) demonstrated that cookies will bake and their scent is welcome among those on board. It may take longer and/or more heat, however, to achieve an Earth-like result. DoubleTree by Hilton provided the cookie dough, NanoRacks the test oven.
Can space traffic control handle the volume of private launches?
National Public Radio (1/23): Currently, the U.S. Air Force is responsible for watching over an estimated 26,000 objects, much of it man made debris from past rocket and satellite launches, in orbit around the Earth and larger than a softball. The total includes about 2,000 working satellites. It’s quite a challenge to track and issue email warnings of possible collisions to the satellite owners. It’s about to become even more so as companies like SpaceX and OneWebb pursue launches of constellations of small communications satellites numbering in the thousands. Currently, it’s up to individual international satellite operators to take action to avoid collisions. Without a global regulatory network, the U.S. Department of Commerce is working to help unburden the Air Force with a regulatory strategy. But it’s unfolding slowly, much more so than the launch rate and the likelihood of collisions that will create even more debris and a constraint on a growing space economy.
DARPA scraps XS-1 military space plane project after Boeing drops out
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
Space.com (1/23): Boeing announced this week it is halting development of an experimental suborbital space plane for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Boeing was selected by DARPA for the Experimental Spaceplane Program, the second and third phases of the initiative, in May 2017. Boeing said it direct its investment in the program to other air, sea and space activities. The decision has prompted DARPA to drop the Phantom Express initiative, at least for now.
Tethers Unlimited says early results of deorbit hardware test promising
SpaceNews.com (1/23): In June 2019, a Georgia Institute of Technology experiment called Prox-1 launched on a multi-mission SpaceX Falcon that included an investigation called “Terminator Tape” as part of the Planetary Society’s Light Sail 1 deployment. In September 2019, the Prox-1 deployer released a 230 foot tape as part of a notebook sized module built by Washington-based Tethers Unlimited. Observations affirm that the tape deployment increased by 24 times the de-orbit rate of the small experimental spacecraft.
EU to invest 200 million euros into space industry
SpaceNews.com (1/22): Earlier this week, the European Union (EU) agreed to provide $222 million in space industry support in the form of loans to support development of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle and other commercial startup activities. One EU official termed the backing a “game changer.” The Ariane Group will use its funds to finance facilities in France and Germany for the production and launch of the Ariane 6.
Firefly suffers anomaly during launch vehicle test
SpaceNews.com (1/23): Firefly, the small satellite launch company headquartered in Briggs, north of Austin, Texas, experienced an anomaly during a static fire test on Tuesday night, prompting road closures and evacuations, according to area law enforcement. Using social media, Firefly reported a small fire on a test stand, no explosion nor risk to those on site or nearby. Planned prior to the incident was a test fire of the Alpha rocket with all four Reaver rocket engines installed. A Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, launch no earlier than April had planned prior to the incident.
The making of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was as far out as the movie
New York Times (1/23): A look back at what it took to create and produce one of the most enduring science fiction movies of all time, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubric’s 1967 hit, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film will mark the 52nd anniversary of its release in April.
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