In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS) strategy for a human return to the Moon provides a range of capabilities that can address requirements and meet a 2024 target, but schedule pressure remains a significant factor. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe starts extended series of close passes to study the sun.
Human Space Exploration
Can NASA land humans on the Moon by 2024?
Coalition Members in the News – Dynetics, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Maxar, Northrop Grumman
The Space Review (5/18): The early months of planning and developing a Human Landing System (HLS) to return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers by 2024 are key to meeting the schedule, Douglas Loverro, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, explained in remarks last week before the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee. On April 30, NASA awarded contracts to three aerospace companies to provide lander concepts. Two of the three, Blue Origin and Dynetics, include multiple partners, large and small, some with names long familiar throughout the industry and some newer brands. The approach offers a diversity of approaches and technical maturity. The keys are to set requirements correctly without haste and stay the course, said Loverro, though many believe the 2024 goal is too aggressive.
More details of China’s space station unveiled
Xinhuanet of China (5/18): Following the recent flight test of a Long March-5B and prototype spacecraft, China has released more details about the space station it intends to assemble by 2022. The Heavenly Palace is to include 110 cubic meters of living volume with a core and two lab modules arranged in a T-shape. The complex is to house from three to six astronauts.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe starts sun observation marathon
Space.com (5/18): NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, a seven year mission to study the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, was launched in August 2018. Its latest in a series of lengthy close passes to the sun began on May 9 and will continue until June 28. On June 7, Parker will soar within 11.6 million miles of the sun as it further explores strange phenomena noted in the solar wind earlier.
Jupiter’s biggest moons started as tiny grains of hail
New York Times (5/18): Scientists from the U.S. and France have modeled a long running sequential process by which the largest moons of Jupiter and Saturn formed. The process may also help to point to the best planetary objects to look to for evidence of life beyond Earth.
SpaceX rideshare program putting downward pressure on prices
SpaceNews.com (5/18): SpaceX’s rideshare satellite launch initiative, begun in August, is driving down launch costs for smallsats.
Japan launches new unit to boost defense in space
Associated Press via Defense News (5/18): The Space Operations Squadron, part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, has been established to monitor and counter threats to the nation’s satellites, including those from space debris as well as enemy aggression and provide satellite navigation and communication for deployed military troops. Cooperation with the U.S. Space Command is planned.
Explaining China’s space ambitions and goals through the lens of strategic culture
The Space Review (5/18): As China heads to space for the assembly of an independent six person space station and the Moon, it is determined not to repeat the mistakes of its early history. In other words, Beijing is committed to assuring itself and others that it maintains command and control of the domain it explores, writes Dr. Namrata Goswami, a senior analyst and author of “Outer Space and Great Powers.”
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