Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 13th, 2020

New Episode of The Deep Space Podcast Available Now

Tune in to the first episode of the Space Policy Series featuring Jared Stout, who has served in various space policy positions in Congress, the National Space Council, and the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Having worked on multiple space-related legislative initiatives and participated in the development of several Space Policy Directives, Jared shares insight into what has changed in the space field over the last decade, what has remained the same, and the work ahead as space activities increase. Click here to listen now.

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The head of Russia’s space agency casts doubt on significant participation in the development of a NASA-led Gateway. Crucial Space Launch System (SLS) first fueling test scheduled for later this month as part of the Green Run test series.


Human Space Exploration

Rogozin wants ISS extension, Gateway too U.S. centric (10/12): Speaking in a heads of agency panel discussion at this year’s virtual International Astronautical Conference (IAC), Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, cast doubt Monday on significant participation in the development of a NASA-led, lunar orbiting Gateway. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, one of six panel participants, later issued a statement saying NASA awaits a response to a draft cooperative Gateway agreement presented to Russia last year. Besides Russia, NASA has also reached out to its European, Japanese, and Canadian International Space Station (ISS) partners for cooperation in the Gateway.

Crucial first fueling test on tap for SLS core stage later this month
Coalition Members in the News — Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin (10/9): With Hurricane Delta out of the way, work by NASA and its contractors to complete the Green Run test campaign of the Space Launch System’s (SLS) core stage at NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi continues. Next up, the core stage will be loaded with over 700,000 gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen and oxygen to assess how the plumbing and other systems respond to temperatures of more than 400 degrees below zero. The series of ground tests will conclude with an eight-minute full duration test firing of the core’s four RS-25 engines as soon as November.

Rocket problem prompts NASA and SpaceX to delay next launch of astronauts
TechnoCodeX (10/11): NASA on Saturday announced a delay in SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from October 31 until no sooner than early to mid-November. The change permits a closer look at a last second launch abort of a Falcon 9 moments before an October 2 launch attempt with a GPS satellite due to “unexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator,” a component in the launch vehicle’s first stage Merlin 1 engines.


Space Science

Fake asteroid? NASA expert IDs mystery object as old rocket
Associated Press via ABC News (10/11): A small object spotted by an observatory in Hawaii and initially identified as Asteroid 2020 may actually be a Centaur rocket upper stage that launched NASA’s Surveyor 2 Moon lander mission in 1966, which crashed on the Moon. The Centaur’s trajectory placed it in an orbit around the sun that apparently has the 26-foot-long object returning on a course that could place it in a temporary orbit about the Earth in mid-November, according to Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.


Other News

After weeks of delay, Blue Origin sets up suborbital space mission to test NASA landing technology (9/12): Blue Origin has rescheduled a New Shepard test launch for early Tuesday after a planned launch was scrubbed due to weather and technical concerns two weeks ago. The experiment lineup on board includes a Doppler lidar sensor, a terrain relative navigation system, and a descent and landing computer, three of the elements in NASA’s precision landing system known as SPLICE under development for future missions to the Moon. The liftoff is set for no earlier than 9:35 a.m., EDT.

The three administrators
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
The Space Review (10/12): The threat posed by China to U.S. space leadership, a need for a nuclear propulsion technology and a commercial space exploration strategy that is truly commercial were three of the topics discussed by previous NASA administrators Charles Bolden, Sean O’Keefe and Dan Goldin during a webinar hosted by Aviation Week & Space Technology last Friday. The three led NASA under Democratic as well as Republican administrations between 1992 and 2017. Bolden offered special praise for the International Space Station (ISS), which brought five global space agencies and 15 nations together for a common peaceful purpose in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Space industry rebounds from pandemic (10/9): Participants in last week’s Satellite Innovation 2020 conference believe the space enterprise has fared better economically than anticipated earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While there were losses, a number of companies had the government as a customer, and some were designated as “critical infrastructure,” allowing them to remain open in response to the pandemic. “It won’t be a record-breaking year, but it won’t be a year where no one could raise money,” noted Carissa Christensen, chief executive of Bryce Space and Technology.

The U.S. military and Elon Musk are planning a 7,500-mph rocket that can deliver weapons anywhere in the world in an hour
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
Business Insider (10/9): The Pentagon has contracted with SpaceX for the development of a rocket that could function as a faster version of a large cargo aircraft to deliver weapons and supplies anywhere in the world in less than an hour. Exploration Architecture Corp. is also part of the development. The goal is an 80 metric ton payload. SpaceX will assess a possible initial test in 2021.

Kate Rubins prepares for birthday ride to Space Station (10/10): NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, her 42nd birthday, for a six-month mission. She will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a two-orbit, three plus-hour rendezvous “fast track” trajectory, flown previously only by Progress resupply capsules. Liftoff is planned for 1:45 a.m., EDT (


Major Space-Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of October 11-17, 2020 (10/11): A busy week of activities related to space policy started on Monday with the virtual International Astronautical Congress (IAC). On Friday at 1 p.m., EDT, the Space Transportation Association (STA) will host a briefing on the upcoming October 20 attempt by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission spacecraft to obtain a sample of the asteroid Bennu for return to Earth. While the U.S. House and Senate are in proforma status this week, some committee hearings are planned.

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