Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 28th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA preps for more critical ground tests of the Space Launch System (SLS). Italy to join with NASA for the Artemis initiative. Congress must reach agreement on a temporary federal spending plan as the 2020 fiscal year comes to an end this week. A strong solar storm is underway.

Human Space Exploration

Green Run Test 6 set to begin next week, as Stennis aims for early November hot fire
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (9/26): NASA announced Friday it is looking to early November to conduct an eight-minute, full-duration ground-based test firing of the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage. The fifth of the eight-step Green Run test campaign was concluded earlier this month. The hardware will then be moved to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for Artemis I, an uncrewed test flight that will send an Orion capsule on a multi-week voyage around the Moon and back to Earth for recovery.

As Bridenstine begs for bucks at home, Italy & Japan move forward on Artemis cooperation (9/25): Italy and the U.S. have signed an agreement in which the European country expressed strong interest in participating in NASA’s Artemis initiative to return humans to the Moon. Meanwhile, Japan’s Science and Technology Ministry is seeking 760 million for the coming year to develop a lunar resupply craft and life support systems in order to participate in Artemis.

Space Science

NASA delays Dragonfly launch by a year (9/25): The launch of Dragonfly, a NASA mission to Saturn’s moon Titan with a drone explorer, has been delayed a year, or until 2027, due budgetary to issues and work slowdowns linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Other News

How do you ship a brand-new airlock destined for the Space Station? Very carefully
Coalition Member in the News – Nanoracks
News Break (9/26): Bishop, a commercial airlock developed for the International Space Station (ISS) by Nanoracks, of Houston, departed company facilities late last week for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), where it is scheduled to launch in mid-November. Bishop will provide new capabilities while attached to the Space Station for NASA and other commercial customers.

How SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and others compete in the growing space tourism market
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, Boeing
CNBC Markets (9/26): After a long wait, space tourism appears close, with SpaceX and Virgin Galactic preparing for flights next year. Suborbital and orbital destinations are expected to vary widely in how much they generate in revenue, with suborbital generating more in the near term.

Geomagnetic storm warning (9/26): The Earth may be in store for one of its strongest geomagnetic storms in a year. A moderately strong solar storm arrived late Monday, a day earlier than first forecast. Auroral activity already underway at the north pole could dip to the northern tier of the U.S., including Montana and Michigan.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of September 27 to October 3, 2020
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (9/27): Thursday, October 1, at 12:01 a.m., the U.S. government’s 2021 fiscal year begins. Congress must agree to a budget Continuing Resolution (CR) if it is to avoid a shutdown. The Senate must act and the president must sign a CR before October 1 to keep the government open. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who could see efforts to return to the Moon in 2024 diminish without sufficient funding, will appear before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Wednesday to discuss the agency’s Artemis initiative.

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