Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 22nd, 2020

Please note Deep Space Extra will not run on Monday, May 25 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. 


In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for the NASA Commercial Crew Program/SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley continues into Friday. Doug Loverro addresses some of the speculation about his recent departure from NASA. Two newborn planets are orbiting a distant star.

Human Space Exploration

Demo-2 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) continues this morning (5/21): A lengthy Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for the NASA Commercial Crew Program/SpaceX launch of the Demo-2 test flight to the ISS began Thursday and continues into Friday. The review is to confirm preparations for a planned May 27 liftoff of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. A second discussion, a Launch Readiness Review, is to follow on Monday. The launch will mark the first from the U.S. for an orbital mission with a human crew since the final flight of NASA’s space shuttle fleet in July 2011.

NASA invites public to be its guests to celebrate historic ‘Launch America’
NASA (5/21): NASA is reaching out to offer the public a virtual front row to Launch America, the launch of the NASA Commercial Crew Program/SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the ISS with NASA astronaut/test pilots Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Launch from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is planned for May 27 at 4:33 p.m., EDT, though a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) expected to conclude Friday will formally set the date. If it’s May 27, countdown coverage will begin at 12:15 p.m., EDT. The public has been asked not to gather in person at the launch site because of coronavirus pandemic concerns. Check for an updated schedule of upcoming activities and any updates.

Trump may watch SpaceX’s 1st astronaut launch for NASA in person (5/21): President Trump said Thursday he may attend the first launch of NASA astronauts on an orbital mission from the U.S. since the space shuttle fleet was retired in July 2011.

SpaceX says “high chance” human launch will be pushed back
Futurism (5/21): Given it’s Spring on Florida’s Space Coast, stormy weather could be a factor in the final decision to launch NASA’s Commercial Crew Program/SpaceX Demo-2 Crew Dragon mission on May 27.  

Why did NASA’s human spaceflight chief Doug Loverro abruptly resign? (5/21): Doug Loverro, who abruptly departed NASA earlier this week as associate administrator for human exploration and operations, addresses speculation over his leaving the agency after joining last December.

Space Science

The bold plan to see continents and oceans on another Earth
The Planetary Society (5/21): Combine solar sailing, a technology that could propel a properly equipped spacecraft with star light, and gravitational lensing, a phenomena in which the gravity from a star like the sun can bend and magnify the light coming from a distant star, perhaps one with Earth-like planets. Together, they would enable scientists to observe whether distant extra solar planets have oceans, continents and clouds.

Astronomers are sure These are two newborn planets orbiting a distant star
Universe Today (5/21): A Caltech led investigation spots what appears to be the formation of two Jupiter class planets around PDS 70, a star about 370 light years from Earth, through a theorized process called core accretion, which begins with dust particles joining together to form larger bodies that continue to merge together. The findings were published in the Astronomical Journal.

Other News

Space Command gets new mission statement (5/21): Under a new mission statement, the U.S. Space Command, not to be confused with the recently established U.S. Space Force, is to defer conflict, but defeat aggression. The guidance is to shape day-to-day operations, activities and investments.

Remote sensing industry welcomes revamped regulations (5/21): The changes relax requirements for commercial satellites that image the Earth with the latest technologies as regulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce through NOAA. Among the changes proposed by Commerce are an easing of limitations on spacial resolution, a national security concern and also a factor in the ability of U.S. companies to compete with foreign satellite developers.

Soyuz-2.1b rocket with military satellite takes off from Plesetsk Cosmodrome
TASS of Russia (5/22): A Russian Soyuz-2.1b launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome early Friday to place a military satellite in orbit.

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