Today’s Deep Space Extra

July 1st, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The launch of NASA’s Perseverance Mars 2020 rover has been delayed to not earlier than July 30, prompting an extension of the launch window to August 15. The Hubble Space Telescope recognized with a commemorative gold coin. Comet Neowise predicted to become naked eye bright in July. 

Human Space Exploration

Starliner parachutes perform under pressure
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (6/30): The parachutes packed aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for use in launch aborts as well as the entry, descent and landing phase of planned commercial missions to and from the International Space Station (ISS) with astronauts were successfully assessed during a high altitude balloon drop over White Sands Space Harbor, N.M. on June 21. The test also benefited NASA’s Orion crew capsule development.

Space Science

Mars 2020 launch slips again (6/30): The launch of NASA’s next Mars rover mission has been delayed to no earlier than July 30 because of a launch vehicle processing issue, the latest in a series of slips that have now used up nearly half of the available launch opportunities for the mission. NASA previously stated that the launch period for Mars 2020 would close on August 11. NASA confirmed in the latest launch delay announcement that the mission can now launch as late as August 15.

Happy Asteroid Day! Why we’re going out to space rocks before they come for us (6/30): Tuesday marked Asteroid Day, an annual observance backed by the U.N. and marking the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska event, in which a piece of an asteroid or comet exploded in the atmosphere over Siberia, leveling a large forested region. The observance recognizes an urgency in the discovery of Near Earth Objects that pose an impact threat and the value of resources that may be present on asteroids if they are explored.

Hubble Space Telescope to feature on American Innovation $1 coin (6/10): The U.S. Mint on Tuesday unveiled the design for a commemorative $1 gold coin that pays tribute to the now 30-year-old Hubble Space Telescope and the state of Maryland, which along with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center hosted the observatory’s development. Hubble was launched April 20, 1990 and continues to explore the mysteries of the universe. A release date for the coin has not been announced.

Scientists say they’ve found the exact center of the solar system
Futurism (6/30): The exact center is the solar system’s center of gravity, as assessed by researchers. The center they’ve identified is just above the sun’s surface, according to findings published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The rapid brightening of Comet Neowise (6/30): Comet Neowise is just passing the sun and experiencing a rapid increase in brightness, so much so that Neowise is predicted to be naked eye visible in July. However, predictions of the same for comets Atlas and Swan earlier this year proved disappointing as they grew bright while nearing the sun, but then disintegrated. 

Other News

NASA pays out $51 million to small businesses with big ideas (6/30): The NASA grant initiative will help more than 300 small businesses to advance the development of high technology innovations. Examples include higher power solar arrays, a smarter air traffic control system for urban areas, a water purification system for use on the Moon and improved lithium ion batteries.

SpaceX vaults GPS satellite from Cape Canaveral, sticks drone ship landing
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin
Florida Today (6/30): A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivered the latest member of the Pentagon’s Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) constellation to orbit on Tuesday, following a liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 4:10 p.m., EDT. The rocket’s first stage successfully descended, touching down on a drone recovery ship in the Atlantic Ocean eight minutes later. The GPS spacecraft joins a navigation and guidance constellation of 31 satellites.

Space Force unveils organizational structure (6/30): Space Operations, Space Systems and Space Training and Readiness will form the three organizational commands of the new U.S. Space Force, Gen Jay Raymond, chief of space operations for the newest branch of the military, announced Tuesday. Created last December 20, the Space Force is part of the U.S. Air Force.

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