Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 29th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… President Trump and Vice President Pence visit the Artemis I Orion crew capsule at KSC. NASA and Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner SpaceX watch the weather in preparation for a second launch attempt on Saturday.

Human Space Exploration

President, Vice President tour KSC before Demo-2 launch attempt
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (5/27): President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, along with Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, Marillyn Hewson, Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin, Mike Hawes, VP of Human Space Exploration and Orion Program Manager at Lockheed Martin Space, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, are seen by the Artemis I capsule during a tour of the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

President Trump tours Orion Capsules
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin
CSPAN (5/27): President Trump and first lady Melania Trump toured the Orion Capsule at the Kennedy Space (KSC). Shortly after this tour, the SpaceX launch was rescheduled for Saturday, May 30 due to poor weather conditions.

Weather is not favoring backup Demo-2 launch dates (5/28): A second attempt to launch the NASA/SpaceX Demo-2 mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) with NASA astronauts  Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken is planned for Saturday at 3:22 p.m., EDT, with a backup opportunity on Sunday at 3 p.m. As it was with the first launch attempt on Wednesday, weather could be a factor. The regularly updated weather outlook provided by Patrick Air Force Base weather forecasters called for a 60 percent chance of unfavorable conditions on both days.

China outlines intense space station launch schedule, new astronaut selection
SpaceNews (5/28): China intends 11 missions in two years, starting in 2021 with the launch of the Tianhe core module for the assembly of a space station. Two experiment modules are to follow Tianhe. The station is to be staffed by three Chinese astronauts serving six month rotations. Activities will be focused on astronomy, space medicine, space life science, biotechnology, microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion and space technologies. Up to 18 new astronauts from military as well as civilian backgrounds are to be selected by China in July.

Space Science

NASA researcher provides overview of science on the ISS (5/29): Research conducted on board the International Space Station (ISS) encompasses numerous science fields, such as biology and biotechnology, human research, the physical sciences, technological demonstrations, Earth and space science, and public education, noted Brandon Redell of NASA’s ISS Integration Office at the Johnson Space Center. Redell outlined several major reasons for conducting scientific research on the ISS. First, the micro-gravity environment removes all conditions driven by gravity, letting scientists understand other factors involved in their studies. Second, being in low-Earth orbit provides a unique vantage point, along with support services for Earth and space science missions.

New research: Closest exoplanet to Earth could host life
Futurism (5/28):  Proxima Centauri is the closest neighboring star, about 4.2 light years distant.  An international research team has confirmed that presence of Proxima b, an Earth-like planet orbiting close to the star. The confirmation and new details about Proxima 6 were carried out by ground based observatories in Chile.

The Role of Earth and Space
EOS Science News by AGU (5/26): While the immediate concern during this public health emergency is focused on the provision of medical care and interventions to reduce transmission, this is not only an issue for biomedical scientists, virologists and public policy experts to tackle. Earth and space scientists have an important role to play too. Soil scientists, climate modelers, hydrologists and people from many other disciplines can offer valuable insights into the coronavirus pandemic and other global health challenges. During recent decades, humans have been exploiting the natural resources of our planet – fossil fuels, water, land, timber, minerals, wildlife and much more. The need and desire for more natural resources has led humans to encroach on various natural habitats. This results in expansion of “ecotones”, where species assemblages from different habitats mix, providing new opportunities for “spillover” of pathogens from wild animals and insects into human beings.

Other News

For clues about Space Force’s future, look to Crew Dragon
Air Force Magazine (5/27): An emerging U.S. Space Force and the innovation in human space launch being introduced through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has some speculating the U.S. military may soon want a means of launching its own personnel on space national security missions.

FCC stands by Ligado decision as lawmakers step up criticism
SpaceNews (5/27): Despite new congressional concerns, the FCC is standing by its decision to permit Ligado Networks, a U.S. satellite communications company, use of a portion of the L-band spectrum. Leaders of both the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees expressed concerns earlier this week that the FCC failed to obtain classified briefings from national security agency personnel on the impact of the decision on the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Private players welcome in India’s Space journey, but ISRO needs an organizational revamp to focus on R&D
WIONews, of India (5/28): The Indian Space Research Organization leadership intends to welcome a greater private sector role in the nation’s efforts to establish more capable, higher technology launch services and satellite development capabilities leading to greater global independence in space activities.

SpaceX rival OneWeb looks past Chapter 11 in bid to launch 48,000 satellites (5/27):  Though facing restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy provisions, OneWeb is seeking FCC permission to launch 48,000 broadband satellites to establish a global communications network while evaluating offers from potential buyers.

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