Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 5th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Russia says a discussion is nearing among the partners of the International Space Station (ISS) for future cooperation in the exploration of the Moon as well as activities aboard the orbiting science lab. Astronomers issue more warning about growing small satellite constellations. The U.S. Space Force likes NASA’s public/private partnership strategy. 

Human Space Exploration

Roscosmos, NASA, other space agencies to discuss Moon research on June 9
TASS of Russia (6/4): According to a Russian source, leaders of the Russian, European, Japanese, Canadian and U.S. space agencies will participate in a June 9 teleconference to discuss future cooperation on the NASA-led Artemis initiative focused on a return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers in 2024 as well as future cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS).

New HTV-X resupply ship to be more capable, affordable (6/4): On May 31, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the ninth and final version of its current resupply mission capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). Next up, is the HTV-X, a lighter more capable version of the spacecraft, which is on a course for a first launch on a new HTV-3 launch vehicle in 2022 and potentially in the future to the NASA led, lunar orbiting human tended Gateway.

Space Science

How the Thirty Meter Telescope is changing astronomy and politics (Spring 2020): Cultural issues with a long history on Hawaii’s lofty Mauna Kea mountain peak are a factor in the development of a ground-based space observatory with the latest in optical technology. Native Hawaiians find the project sacrilegious. The tensions have prevented the start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Astronomers warn about effects of other satellite megaconstellations (6/4): Concerns among the global astronomy community continue in response to plans for the launches of increasing numbers of low Earth orbit satellite constellations devoted to an expansion of internet connectivity. OneWeb, though facing bankruptcy, for instance is pursuing plans to launch 48,000 of the satellites in the coming decade. (Ed NOTE: CDSE President/CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar will be chairing a panel on June 11 during next week’s joint meeting of the National Academies Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board that will focus on questions and potential solutions regarding satellite constellations and astronomy. This session will be livestreamed. See here for the entire ASEB/SSB agenda:

Other News

DoD reviewing new data on pandemic impact on space industry suppliers (6/3): The coronavirus has impacted scheduling, supply chains and changes in future business plans among the business community, the Pentagon’s Space Acquisition Council discovered in the early findings of a survey of its suppliers conducted by the Space Enterprise Consortium. “We have to keep the mission going,” Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense, told a June 3 AIAA podcast.  “And this includes the space industrial base that we rely on. Sustaining the space industrial base is a national security concern.”

Spacecom, Space Force officials discuss planetary defense, astronaut launch (6/2): NASA and the U.S. military would likely combine efforts in the future to address a possible impact threat to the Earth from an asteroid, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. John Shaw, now commander of the Combined Force Space Component within the U.S. Space Command. He serves as commander of Space Operations Command within the newly created U.S. Space Force and discussed the issue during a Space News sponsored webinar earlier this week.

Space Force thinking about NASA-style partnerships with private companies (6/5): Small and focused on technology to carry out its national security mission, the new U.S. Space Force intends to borrow a page from NASA in working with the U.S. private sector as a partner, U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Felt, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, told a Space News sponsored on line event on Thursday.

Trump campaign pulls ad featuring astronauts and their families (6/5): A space themed campaign ad for President Trump’s re-election may have exceeded legal limits outlined in the Hatch Act, which restricts political activities by government civil servants. The advertisement featured Saturday’s Demo-2 test flight launch of NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). The president was among a small number of onlookers present at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for the liftoff. Kate Nyberg, retired NASA astronaut and Hurley’s wife, was among those expressing concern over politicizing the event. Objections prompted the Trump campaign to pull the ad.

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