Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 1st, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Saturday’s successful launch of the NASA Commercial Crew Program/SpaceX Demo-2 mission delivered NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station on Sunday.

Human Space Exploration

A historic docking, 250 miles above Earth
The Atlantic (5/31): The Demo-2 SpaceX Crew Dragon with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken evaluated the manual flight controls of their spacecraft ahead of Sunday’s linkup to the International Space Station (ISS), where they were greeted by station commander, Chris Cassidy, of NASA, and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Before they linked up, Hurley and Behnken tested the Crew Dragon’s manual controls. The actual 10:16 a.m., EDT, docking, however, was automated, something much different from the space shuttle era that came to a close nine years ago.

Dragon crew names their spacecraft Endeavour; complete first manual flight test (5/30): Shortly after their successful liftoff on Saturday Demo-2 NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken named their SpaceX Dragon Capsule “Endeavour,” one intended to reflect a pioneering effort by NASA to work with the U.S. private sector to introduce commercial human space transportation. Also, both fliers had launched previously on space shuttle Endeavour before the shuttle fleet was retired in July 2011.

Trump hails SpaceX’s 1st astronaut launch success for NASA
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (5/29): President Donald Trump hailed SpaceX’s epic first crew launch today (May 30) as the dawn of a new era in spaceflight. SpaceX’s Demo-2 test mission, which is carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 3:22 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Demo-2 is the first orbital crewed mission to launch from the United States since the space shuttle retired in 2011. Today’s liftoff also marked the first time astronauts had flown aboard a new American spaceship since the space shuttle’s orbital debut back in 1981, a milestone that Trump noted.

Biden commends SpaceX launch, vows to continue space exploration as president
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
The Hill (5/31): Anticipated Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offered congratulations to NASA, following Saturday’s Commercial Crew Program/SpaceX launch of the Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. Biden noted that he and former president Barack Obama initiated the effort to develop commercial partnerships with Boeing and SpaceX for the transportation of astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration congratulates NASA and SpaceX on Demo-2 launch
The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (CDSE) – a broad-based association of companies supporting NASA’s programs in human and scientific exploration of space, space commerce, and the advancement of space technology – congratulates NASA and SpaceX on a successful launch of the Demo-2 test flight with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley today from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Another Starship super-rocket prototype blows up on SpaceX’s test pad in Texas
Geekwire (5/29): A static fire for the latest in a succession of SpaceX Starship prototypes ended with an explosion Friday at test facilities in South Texas. The company has more prototypes in development as it strives to develop a reusable and refuelable spacecraft for missions to the Moon and Mars.

Lunapolitics: Russia’s Roscosmos signals openness to U.S.-proposed Artemis Accords (5/29): Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, has signaled a desire to discuss with NASA a role developing a lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway, including discussions of the provisions of the Artemis Accords. The NASA sponsored Accords emphasize a cooperative policy in the search for and use of space resources such as lunar ice to sustain a human presence on the Moon and prepare for future expeditions to Mars.

Space Science

Return to quiet (5/29): The sun on Friday unleashed its largest solar flare in three years, interrupting the current deep solar minimum. The magnetically charged sunspot source for a flurry of flares was rotating into view from the Earth over the weekend and quickly subsided. While the solar minimum has returned, it may not last.

Ancient ‘ring of fire’ galaxy found glaring at Earth across space and time
Live Science (5/26): Eleven billion years ago, a hot, active, galaxy that looked like an eye glared across space. Now, using data from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have captured a snapshot of its unblinking gaze.

6 space museums, observatories & facilities you can visit from home
Forbes (5/31): There are a number of science museums, observatories, and even NASA facilities that offer online resources to help keep us all busy while staying home. It might not be as fun as visiting in person, but it will do until these facilities re-open for visitors again.

Other News

Eight U.S. manufacturers selected to make NASA COVID-19 ventilator
NASA (5/29): On Friday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managed for NASA by Caltech, granted licenses to eight U.S. manufacturers for the production of more ventilators to aid in the treatment of those stricken by the coronavirus. The patented device is known as the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally, or VITAL.

SpaceX gets FAA approval for Starship flight tests
SpaceNews (5/29): A day before the destructive SpaceX Starship test conclusion on Friday, the FAA granted the company license to conduct suborbital test launches from its South Texas production and test facilities near Brownsville, Texas.

China sends two satellites into planned orbit
Xinhuanet, of China (5/31): Satellites for Earth observation were launched Sunday atop a Long March 2D rocket.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of May 31 to June 6, 2020 (5/31): A modest menu of space policy activities are planned this week. The House will step up its appropriations and authorization activities virtually. The smaller U.S. Senate is in session this week as normal. Activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS) should ramp up this week and going forward with the arrival Sunday of the NASA/SpaceX Demo-2 crew astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The newcomers are to join space station commander Chris Cassidy for a news briefing on Monday at 11:15 a.m., EDT.

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