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Today’s Deep Space Extra for Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22nd, 2016

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA and Lockheed Martin ready the Exploration Mission-1 Orion spacecraft for the journey to its Kennedy Space Center launch site. Canadian space engineer Natalie Panek is among those who see starry nights for future generations of young women engineers and scientists.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Road to EM-1: Orion one step closer to next flight
Spaceflight Insider (1/21): The NASA/Lockheed Martin Orion capsule designated for the first uncrewed test flight atop the Space Launch System exploration rocket will be transported from its New Orleans production facilities to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, following a complex two-month welding operation that joined seven  primary components of the spacecraft’s pressure vessel. The air lift will be carried out with NASA’s super guppy aircraft in early February. As part of Exploration Mission-1, the SLS will send Orion around the moon and back to Earth for a splashdown and parachute recovery in late 2018.

Space Science

Women in space seek more women in space
Fast Company (1/20): From her youthful camping trips in the Canadian Rockies to her work as an engineer with the MDA Corp. in Toronto, Natalie Panek has never stopped looking to the stars. Today, Panek helps to assemble the joint European/Russian ExoMars rover scheduled to make its way to the surface of the red planet in 2018. Panek and others like her are hopeful more young women will follow them into aerospace.

Below the line: Designing ‘The Martian’
The New York Times (1/21): Oscar-nominated production designer Arthur Max turned to NASA and Jordan for “the look” that turned the The Martian into a realistic drama about a future astronaut who becomes stranded on the red planet. “We were very good at making rocks,” says Max whose efforts took him from NASA spacecraft and habitat mock-ups to the Jordanian heartland.

This isn’t the first time astronomers have ‘found’ a planet nine
Wired (1/21): Earlier this week, Cal Tech scientists raised prospects of an undiscovered “super Earth” planet well beyond Pluto. Skeptics, though, say this is not the first time for the claim.

When will we make contact with intelligent aliens?

Space.com (1/21): While the discovery count for planet candidates orbiting stars well beyond the sun climbs, experts disagree on whether they harbor intelligent life.

Low Earth Orbit

Into the homestretch: Kelly and Kornienko to pass 300 days in space, heading for 2 March return to Earth
America Space.com (1/21): Closing in on the early March finale of a near yearlong stay aboard the International Space Station, NASA’s Scott Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko passed the 300-day-mark on Thursday.

New Space Center Houston exhibit offers glimpse into shuttle flights
Orlando Sentinel (1/21): Space Center Houston, the official visitor facility for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will feature a new perspective on NASA’s space shuttle development and operations beginning Saturday. The new Independence Plaza will feature the Boeing 747 jumbo jet, NASA 905 that transported the reusable shuttle orbiters piggyback between their landing and launch sites, as well as a high fidelity mockup of the spacecraft that carried astronauts into Earth orbit for three decades. Visitors may tour each.

U.S. Air Force: Russian rocket body may have broken up in orbit
Space News (1/21): A Russian Breeze-M rocket stage lodged in geosynchronous orbit shattered into 10 fragments earlier this week, according to the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center. Satellite operators will be notified of pending close approaches between the debris and their spacecraft.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

French government commissions report on rocket reuse, competitiveness 
Space News (1/21): Are U.S. strides in rocket reuse a future competitive edge within the global launch services industry?  A former French space minister will examine the issue for possible future technology investments by her government. Europe’s Arianespace has long been a major global launch services competitor.

McCain schedules hearing on Russian rocket engines
Space News (1/21):  U.S. Sen. John McCain, chair of the Armed Services Committee, has called some top Pentagon officials before a Jan. 27 hearing regarding future imports of Russian RD-180 rocket engines. Currently, there are eased restrictions on the imports of the Russian hardware for near-term launches of U.S. national security payloads.

 

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