Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 6th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A key piece of Artemis-1 hardware has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley assess their Demo-2 experience. Experts assess the surgical risks and responses that could accompany long human missions to Mars. SmallSats drawing deep space mission assignments.

Human Space Exploration

LVSA arrives at KSC, NASA EGS readies final pre-stacking preparations for Artemis 1
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance (8/5): The Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter (LVSA) for NASA’s first Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle arrived at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on July 29 on the agency’s Pegasus barge at the end of a delivery trip from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The cone-shaped interstage connector was moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) program and prime Test and Operations Support Contractor — Jacobs — will now perform through fit checks while waiting for the SLS Core Stage to finish its Green Run test campaign at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Demo-2 astronauts praise performance of Crew Dragon spacecraft (8/5): NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley praised the agency’s Demo-2 test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), a mission that spanned two month and ended with a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the shores of Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday. The two fliers described their experience during a news briefing two days after their return. “Honestly, from start to finish, all the way, there were no surprises,” said Hurley. “There are certainly things on Dragon that could be tested more,” such as the ability to dock at a different port on the Station, he added. “I think it’s going to take a few flights before we can consider this vehicle completely tested.”

From floating guts to ‘sticky’ blood, here’s how to do surgery in space
The Conversation (7/8): Experts estimate that once every 2.4 years a human mission to Mars may require surgical intervention, no easy task given the absence of gravity, exposure to radiation and other environmental challenges. Nonetheless, research teams have been looking into the approaches that would be necessary to surgically address an injury, appendicitis, even cancer.

Space Science

Happy anniversary, Curiosity! NASA rover marks 8 years on Mars (8/5): NASA’s Curiosity rover marked the 8th anniversary Wednesday of its landing at Mars in Gale Crater. The anniversary follows by less than a week NASA’s launch of the Perseverance Mars 2020 rover, which has many similarities to Curiosity.  Perseverance is to join Curiosity on Mars with a landing at Jezero Crater in February 2021. Both sites have displayed evidence of past habitable environments.

MarCO shows interplanetary cubesats possible but not easy (8/5): NASA’s twin MarCO small satellite mission to Mars is proving to be a trailblazer. With an $18.5 million price tag, they accompanied the Mars InSight lander, which touched down in November 2018 to study the Red Planet’s crust, mantle and core. The MarCO mission’s primary job was to provide a communications relay for InSight during the entry, descent and landing. Though they experienced some difficulties, the success of the MarCOs is providing templates for small, lower cost missions to map water and hydrogen on the Moon and to scout near Earth asteroids.

NASA imaged the bubble around the solar system and yikes
Futurism (8/5): Data from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer offers new perspectives on the shape of the solar system. NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn and the New Horizon mission to Pluto and other Kuiper Belt objects contributed data as well. Think of a deflated croissant, according to findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Other News

SpaceX, ULA secure more contracts to launch satellites from Cape Canaveral
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
Florida Today (8/5): Luxembourg based SES has selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX for the future launches of communications satellites from Florida’s space coast no earlier than 2022.

California seeks to expand commercial space launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base (8/5): The government of California announced Wednesday that it will join with Vandenberg Air Force Base, the primary launch site for polar orbiting payloads, to provide the facilities necessary to expand commercial space activities. Two startups, Firefly and Relativity Space, are among those with plans to launch from Vandenberg.

China launches new optical remote-sensing satellite
Xinhuanet of China (8/6): The Gaofen-9 04 and Q-SAT satellites launched Thursday will respectively provide high resolution imagery for land surveys, road network design, agriculture and disaster mitigation as well as measurements of atmospheric density.

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