Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 24th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A senator urges the Biden White House to re-enlist the National Space Council. The White House is remaining silent on rumors of a nominee for NASA administrator.


Space Science

There’s a hidden message in the parachute of NASA’s Mars rover
The Verge (2/23): It turns out the orange and white stripes that adorned the parachute that helped to lower NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover to the surface of the Red Planet last Thursday carried a message in binary code, “Dare Mighty Things.”

Scientists’ predictions for the long-term future of the Voyager Golden Records will blow your mind (2/23): As they launched in 1977 on long missions across the solar system, NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft carried golden record discs upon which were recorded sounds and images that portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth should the two spacecraft one day be encountered by another civilization. A recent assessment of how long the records might last suggests on the order of 5 billion years.


Why the National Space Council matters (2/23): In an op-ed, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, calls for the Biden administration to re-enlist the National Space Council as a whole-of-government approach to policymaking concerns that affect national security as well as science and human exploration.


Other News

White House – no news on NASA administrator
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (2/23): The White House is not rejecting but also not elaborating on rumors circulated earlier this week that it is considering Bill Nelson, a former U.S. Senator and member of the U.S. House from Florida, as a candidate for NASA administrator.

Redwire acquires Deployable Space Systems
Coalition Members in the News – Maxar, Redwire (2/23): Redwire, a Jacksonville, Florida startup, has announced the acquisition of Deployable Space Systems, of California, a manufacturer whose products include the Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA. NASA is preparing to upgrade the aging International Space Station (ISS) solar panels with ROSAs.

Eastern Range discusses drive toward “airport model” operations, eyes increased launch demand (2/23): NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, the FAA, and the U.S. Eastern Range are looking at more airport-like launch operations as they move toward an anticipated 60 launches annually from Florida’s Space Coast and potentially 96 by 2030. Two per day in some cases may not be unusual as the annual launch rate increases. The growth in activity was discussed among participants in this year’s SpacePort Summit.

India revises Gaganyaan human spaceflight plan, delays Chandrayaan-3 (2/23): The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is delaying plans for its inaugural human orbital launch from a previously planned August 2022 due to delays attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. India is also likely to delay Chandrayaan-3, the country’s third mission to the Moon and targeted for a landing with a small rover near the lunar south pole in 2022. The country’s first attempt at a lunar south pole landing in 2019 was closely followed but communications were lost as it descended. 

Lawmakers call for open dialogue on Chinese, Russian advances in space and nuclear weapons (2/23): Experts from think tanks appeared before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces to urge the Pentagon and others to be more open in expressing their concerns over Russia and China as they advance their nuclear capabilities and space technologies. Too much of the discussion is considered classified, according to subcommittee chair Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat.

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