Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 16th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Sunday’s Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) marks the start of a new chapter in U.S. commercial spaceflight. The ASCEND Conference takes place this week; tune in to hear from space leaders like our CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, who is part of the conference’s Guiding Coalition.


Human Space Exploration

Astronauts fly with SpaceX in landmark launch for commercial spaceflight
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (11/16): NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The launch follows a two-month test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the station over the summer with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. “The big milestone here is we are now moving from development and test into operational flights,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine noted as Sunday’s mission approached. The mission’s crew members– NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi– are scheduled to dock with the ISS on Monday at 11 p.m. EST to begin a six-month stay.


Space Science

SpaceX’s Crew-1 launch for NASA is carrying rock-eating microbes (and more weird science)
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (11/12): The Crew-1 mission that launched last night includes a science cargo for delivery to the ISS. Some of the tasks to be tackled include tests of space suit components and an assessment of microbes that consume rock minerals, as well as a check of how diet may influence the body’s immune system.

Arecibo radio telescope: Warning of structure collapse (updated)
Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space (11/14): The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, renowned for its role in astronomical discoveries, is at risk of collapsing after losing another one of its supporting cables this month. In August, the observatory lost cable support, causing the remaining wires to sustain more weight than before. The latest cable loss increased the likelihood of another cable failure, which would likely result in the collapse of the entire structure, explains the University of Central Florida (UCF), which manages the facility.


Other News

ULA Atlas 5 launches National Reconnaissance Office satellite
Coalition Members in the News – Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance (11/13): ULA successfully launched a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload into orbit on Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The classified mission marked ULA’s 141st consecutive flight. The launch also marked the debut of new rocket boosters developed by Northrop Grumman.

Space isn’t the place to run out of fuel
Cosmos Magazine (11/14): A new low-cost imaging technique known as electrical capacitance volume tomography (ECVT) may offer a new means of monitoring fuel levels in space. ECVT can approximate an object’s shape by taking measurements at different angles by emitting electric fields and measure the objects ability to store electric charge. The new idea was described in a paper published in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.
What’s the post-election outlook for NASA and planetary exploration?
The Planetary Society (11/12): The nonprofit Planetary Society offers its prognosis for what the outcome of the U.S. 2020 election could mean for planetary science, astrobiology, and planetary defense. Democrats will continue to lead the U.S. House. In the Senate, the division is close and a January runoff in Georgia will determine whether there will continue to be a Republican majority. Key predictions are that efforts to return to the surface of the Moon in 2024 will be pushed back, and Earth science will become more of a priority.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of November 15-21, 2020
Coalition president and CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar in the News (11/15): The AIAA ASCEND conference convenes for three days of activity beginning Monday. Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, the CDSE’s president and CEO, is a member of ASCEND’s guiding coalition. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts a presentation on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the heavy lift rocket designed to support future human deep space exploration, on Tuesday at 1 p.m. EST. The virtual lineup includes lawmakers and a former NASA astronaut. Meanwhile, Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov are preparing for a Wednesday spacewalk outside the ISS starting at 9:30 a.m. EST, to prepare the Russian segment for the addition of a major science module, Nauka, in April. Rocket Lab has scheduled a launch from New Zealand on Wednesday at 8:44 p.m. EST that will include a first stage recovery attempt. The launch of the NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-6 global ocean monitoring satellite is planned for Saturday at 12:17 p.m., EST from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The House and Senate are in session this week.

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