Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 30th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Bill Nelson receives unanimous confirmation from the U.S. Senate to become NASA Administrator. The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration congratulates Administrator Nelson.


Human Space Exploration

Core of NASA’s first Artemis Moon rocket towed into Vehicle Asse mbly Building
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance (4/29): A day after reaching NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) by barge, the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) assigned to the Artemis I test flight was offloaded and transported into KSC’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). There, it is set to be mated to other elements such as the solid rocket boosters and interim cryogenic propulsion stage, and to the Orion spacecraft. NASA plans to roll the SLS out of the VAB for the first time as soon as August to travel to pad 39B for a countdown rehearsal.

Nelson confirmed by Senate to be NASA Administrator (4/29): The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed President Biden’s nomination of former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to serve as NASA Administrator. The bipartisan approval followed just a day after the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved and forwarded the nomination of Nelson to the full Senate. Nelson served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991 and in the Senate from 2001 to 2019. He won a reputation for bipartisanship on many issues and has been one of the most influential legislators on space policy of the last four decades. He flew on a January 1986 space shuttle mission, STS 61-C.


Space Science

4th flight fizzles for NASA’s Mars helicopter, retry Friday
Associated Press (4/29): NASA on Thursday was unable to initiate the planned fourth test flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. A follow-up attempt is planned for Friday. In all, two more test flights of the helicopter are planned before the Perseverance rover must move on to begin collecting samples of Martian rock and soil for a potential future return to Earth.



Sen. Nelson is strong choice to advance 21st century space priorities
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance (4/29): Bill Nelson’s long experience with space policy and intimate knowledge of NASA make him a “pragmatic yet inspired” choice to serve as the agency’s administrator, especially at a time the U.S. is faced with strategic challenges in space from China as well as Russia, writes Frank LoBiondo, a former New Jersey congressman with experience in the oversight of commercial space and currently an advisor to United Launch Alliance (ULA), in an op-ed.


Other News

Huge rocket looks set for uncontrolled reentry following Chinese space station launch (4/30): China launched the first module for its space station this week, but the mission launcher also reached orbit and is slowly and unpredictably heading back to Earth. Ground based radars used by the U.S. military to track spacecraft and other objects in space have detected an object and catalogued it as the Long March 5B rocket body.  Where and when the new Long March 5B stage will land is impossible to predict.

Stratolaunch flies world’s largest airplane on 2nd test flight (4/29): Early Thursday, the Stratolaunch “Roc” aircraft completed its second test flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The three-hour, 14-minute test fight is intended to prepare the world’s largest aircraft for the air launch of its first hypersonic vehicle. Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by the late Paul Allen and conducted its first test flight in April 2019. The company was subsequently sold.


New Episode of The Deep Space Podcast Available Now: This week, the Coalition is thrilled to welcome Robert Curbeam to the Deep Space Podcast. A former astronaut and test pilot, Curbeam has held several leadership roles in the industry, and is currently the Senior Vice President for Space Capture at Maxar Technologies. This week, he joins our team members Christen Kapavik and Jamil Castillo for a conversation about what it means to be a leader in the space sector, leadership traits he learned from his time as an astronaut, why we should continue to pursue human space exploration, and more. Click here to listen

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.