Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 13th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Japan joins the European and Canadian space agencies in formally partnering with NASA for development of the Gateway. NASA’s Curiosity rover marks 3,000 Martian days.  


Human Space Exploration

Japan and NASA formally agree to Gateway cooperation
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman (1/12): Following an announcement of intent in 2020, NASA announced late Tuesday that Japan has formally agreed to participate in the assembly of the Gateway, a lunar outpost that will serve as a staging facility for lunar exploration. Japan will contribute several capabilities for the Gateway’s International Habitation module (I-Hab) and batteries for the Gateway’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO).

Year-long Green Run enters home stretch, as teams aim for Saturday Hot Fire test
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, United Launch Alliance
America Space (1/12): NASA and contractors Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne plan to wrap up the Space Launch System’s (SLS) Green Run series on Saturday with a hot fire of all four of the rocket core stage’s RS-25 engines. If the test goes well, the core stage will be refurbished and shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in February and prepared for Artemis I, a test flight of the integrated SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft around the Moon and back to Earth, planned for November of this year.

Artemis: NASA’s program to return humans to the Moon
Congressional Research Service (1/8): In an updated fact sheet, the Congressional Research Service explains the goals, components, and historical context for Artemis, NASA’s initiative to return humans to the surface of the Moon in order to establish a sustainable presence there through the 2020s and prepare for human expeditions to Mars in the 2030s.


Space Science

NASA Curiosity Mars rover celebrates 3,000 Martian days with glorious image (1/12): Still going strong, NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on Mars on the floor of the immense Gale Crater on August 6, 2012. NASA and its science teams marked a 3,000-day milestone of crater exploration with the release of a panoramic image.

It’s really there! Kepler space telescope’s 2nd-ever exoplanet candidate finally confirmed (1/12): Launched in 2009, NASA’s Kepler space telescope is responsible for the discovery of the majority of the known exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. Neptune-sized KOI-5Ab was the second of those flagged by Kepler as an exoplanet candidate. Some 1,800 light years from Earth, KOI-5Ab had escaped confirmation as an actual planet. However, earlier this week it was announced that Kepler’s successor, TESS, and ground-based observations contributed to confirmation of the planet’s existence as part of a three-star system.


Other News

White House executive order promotes development of space and defense nuclear power systems (1/12): An executive order issued on Tuesday directs the development of small nuclear reactors designed for space and national security applications by NASA, the Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Energy (DOE). The order follows the issuance on December 16, 2020 of Space Policy Directive 6 (SPD-6) regarding the National Strategy for Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion.

45th Space Wing forecasts more than 50 launches in 2021
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, United Launch Alliance (1/12): In remarks Tuesday before the National Space Club of Florida, Col. Brande Walton, vice commander of the 45th Space Wing, predicted a potential record-shattering number of rocket launches from Florida’s Space Coast during 2021, with a forecast of 53. A record of 31 rockets launched from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in 2020.

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