Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 17th, 2020

New Episode of The Deep Space Podcast Available Now

Tune in to the first episode of our Deep Space Podcast’s Workforce of the Future series. Young professionals Amanda Gertjejensen, a senior production manager at Boeing, and Kevin Chau, a Project Component Engineer at Aerojet Rocketdyne, join us to share their experience working on the hardware that will enable human deep space exploration again. Part of the teams working on the NASA Space Launch System’s (SLS) rocket core stage and RS-25 engines, our guests speak about the Green Run test campaign currently underway at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Amanda and Kevin also offer thoughts on the future of deep space exploration and share their experience working and growing within big aerospace companies. Click here to listen now.



In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Four astronauts successfully docked to the International Space Station last night, bringing the number of people living and working in space to seven. United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno comments on the FAA’s streamlined launch and reentry regulations.


Human Space Exploration

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon docks crew of four to the International Space Station
The Verge (11/16): NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission docked with the International Space Station (ISS) late Monday, bringing the number of astronauts aboard the orbiting lab to seven. NASA hopes the increased number of astronauts will lead to more scientific research and technology development.

NASA officials hope to fly Russian cosmonaut on Crew Dragon next year
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (11/15): The U.S. State Department, at NASA’s request, is reviewing documentation that would permit Russian cosmonauts to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard U.S. Commercial Crew Program space vehicles certified by NASA. In exchange, NASA astronauts would continue to launch to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. There would, however, not be an exchange of funds.

A private company has a crew going to the ISS next year
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space
MIT Technology Review (11/12): Axiom-1, a private mission to the International Space Station planned by Axiom Space in late 2021 aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon will include four people. Retired NASA astronaut Mike Lopez-Alegria will lead the crew, which will also include former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe and two others yet to be formally named.


Space Science

Arrokoth’s flattened shape could shed light on planetesimal formation process (11/15): NASA’s New Horizon mission is famous for being the first spacecraft to sweep close to distant Pluto in the summer of 2015. Its second destination was a Kuiper Belt object known as Arrokoth on January 1, 2019. The imagery and data gathered from the dual lobed Arrokoth is shedding new light on how small planetary objects, and maybe even planets, form.



FAA streamlining effort empowers U.S. launch industry 
Coalition Members in the News – Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance (11/17): In a new op-ed, United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) President and CEO Tory Bruno comments on the FAA streamlined regulations for launch and reentry that were recently released. “These clarified rules provide a solid foundation for the commercial rocket launch industry” said Bruno, adding that the FAA’s interest in industry perspective has helped facilitate the creation of effective rules that protect launch infrastructure and individuals in launch and reentry areas, but don’t hinder innovation.

Lunar commerce: a question of semantics?
The Space Review (11/16): Understanding the link between exploration of the Moon and doing so with a commercial theme is becoming more crucial as policymakers debate if and how soon NASA and others should return to the surface of the Moon with humans, writes Derek Webber, founder of Spaceport Associates and the Moon Village Association. “Maybe we shall not be ready for commercial development of the Moon for at least another several decades, or perhaps the problem we are facing is not one of timing, but instead a matter of definition, of semantics,” he writes.

Space system cybersecurity: Challenges ahead translating policy to practice (11/16): In September, the White House released Space Policy Directive-5, Cybersecurity Principles for Space Systems. While an important achievement, the directive falls short of setting requirements for the private sector, which poses a risk to national security, says Gregory Falco. The author also argues satellites should be declared critical infrastructure so certain protections and requirements can more easily apply to them.


Other News

European Vega rocket suffers major launch failure, satellites for Spain and France lost (11/16): Satellites were lost late Monday as their Vega launch vehicle failed eight minutes into flight following liftoff from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Monday’s failure is the second major malfunction of the Vega rocket in two years.

George Sutton, the (other) Father of American rocketry
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman
Air and Space Magazine (11/16): While Robert H. Goddard is considered the principal figure in early American rocket science, George Sutton, who passed away last month from natural causes, was one of the pioneers of rocket research as well. Sutton was a mechanical engineer who worked for Aerojet Engineering Corp., known today as Aerojet Rocketdyne, later also joining North American Aviation.

A nuclear power plant on the Moon
CNBC (11/15): Working with the Department of Energy, NASA is seeking proposals for development of a fission nuclear power plant for use on the Moon and Mars. The goal is to have a flight system, reactor, and lander ready for launch by 2026.

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