Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 16th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Brazil signs the Artemis Accords. NASA opens contest to name the “Moonikin” that will fly aboard the Orion spacecraft on Artemis I.


Human Space Exploration

Nelson asks Senate appropriators for more HLS funding (6/15): During an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee on Tuesday for a hearing on NASA’s FY2022 budget, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson asked for additional funding to support the development of a second lunar Human Landing Systems (HLS). Nelson said he supported competition and, as he did at a House appropriation hearing in May, suggested one way to enable that was to add money for HLS in a “Jobs bill.” Nelson also stated that an effort to reach the Moon with astronauts is important as the U.S. faces aggressive competition from China. Both Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), chair of the CJS Subcommittee, and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), ranking member, asked Nelson about the 2024 Moon landing. Nelson said that while 2024 remained the goal, space is a difficult field. Other topics included the extension of the International Space Station (ISS) operations until 2030, NASA’s role in understanding climate change, and aging NASA infrastructure.

NASA SLS core/boosters mate sets the stage for Artemis 1 pre-launch checkout
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Jacobs, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance (6/15): The integrated operations team of NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) and prime launch processing contractor Jacobs finished mating the SLS core stage with the rocket’s boosters on June 13. The physical combination of the large SLS elements was a big step in the Artemis I launch campaign. Now that the Core Stage and boosters are bolted together, EGS and Jacobs can start plugging SLS into the EGS control system to prepare for testing and checkouts while continuing to stack the rest of the vehicle and eventually the Orion spacecraft.

Brazil makes history in signing the Artemis Accords for Moon exploration (6/15): Brazil has signed NASA’s Artemis Accords, a set of guidelines for responsible behavior for exploring the Moon and establishing a permanent human presence. Brazil becomes the ninth country to sign the accords and the first from South America.

Peggy Whitson is back! The record-breaking astronaut reveals why she chose to command a private space mission after leaving NASA.
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (6/15): Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds a record for time in space, set prior to her 2018 retirement, explains why she is eager to return to the International Space Station (ISS) as a commercial spaceflight participant now employed by Axiom Space. Whitson will command the Ax-2 mission planned for 2023. “I want my crew to be a team, just like a NASA crew is,” Whitson said in an interview.


Space Science

NASA asteroid-hunting satellite clears hurdle on path to 2026 launch (6/15): NASA’s Near-Earth Object Surveyor, a telescope intended to identify and track asteroids and comets that could pose an impact threat to the Earth, has been approved to move to the preliminary design phase of development, the space agency announced late last week. Launch is planned for 2026.


Other News

NASA wants you to help it name its Moon-bound manikin
Digital Trends (6/15): Planned for late this year, NASA’s Artemis I mission will send an Orion crew capsule launched atop a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on an unpiloted test flight around the Moon and back to Earth. A manikin will make the voyage in place of astronauts to record acceleration and vibration throughout the mission. NASA is seeking proposals from the public to choose a name from among eight options.

House T&I subcommittee hearing on Starships and Stripes Forever: FAA’s Role in the Future of Spaceflight, June 16, 2021, DC/virtual, 2:00pm ET
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance (6/15): The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee will hold a hearing today at 2:00p.m. ET entitled “Starships and Stripes Forever: An Examination of the FAA’s Role in Future Spaceflight.” The hearing will be held in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building and virtually. Witnesses include ULA’s Tory Bruno and the FAA’s Wayne Monteith.

Space nuclear power is nearing critical mass as the final frontier’s next frontier
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin (6/15): Participants in the annual meeting of the American Nuclear Society this week declared a requirement for space nuclear power as the U.S. and other nations prepare to return to the Moon with humans to prepare for missions to Mars and other deep space destinations. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is already studying the prospect for both nuclear power generation and spacecraft with nuclear propulsion.

Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur 1 rocket launches three classified NRO payloads
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (6/15): Three U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payloads were placed in orbit Tuesday with the launch of a Minotaur 1 solid fuel rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The four-stage Minotaur is fashioned from the decommissioned Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile.

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