Today’s Deep Space Extra for Monday, February 8, 2016

February 8th, 2016

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The country mourns the loss of Edgar Mitchell, Apollo moon walker, engineer and philosopher.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Edgar Mitchell, sixth astronaut to walk on the moon, dies at 85 (2/5): Apollo 14 lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, died Feb. 4 in West Palm Beach, Fla., he was 85. Mitchell was a U.S. Navy test pilot with a doctorate in astronautics and aeronautics from MIT when he was selected by NASA for astronaut training in 1966. The nine day, February 1971 Apollo 14 mission, his only spaceflight, further inspired Mitchell to explore the reach of human consciousness.

Low Earth Orbit

North Korea launches rocket seen as cover for a missile test
New York Times (2/6): North Korea launched what it described as a polar orbiting science satellite Sunday, or late Saturday in the West, raising concerns in South Korea, Japan and the U.S., where officials characterized the launch as a likely ballistic missile test. The U.S. and South Korea called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in response to the matter and possible tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.

U.N. Security Council condemns North Korea launch, vows action
Reuters (2/7): The U.N. Security Council condemns North Korea for weekend rocket launch.

Glonass-M satellite brought to intermediate orbit – Russian Defense Ministry
TASS, of Russia (2/7): A Soyuz rocket placed a Russian Glonass global communications satellite in Earth orbit on Sunday after lifting off from the Plesetsk space port.

`Slick 6:’ 30 years after the hopes of a West Coast space shuttle (2/8): Early in its history, NASA’s shuttle program envisioned a second launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for U.S. national security payloads assigned to polar orbits. The shuttle Challenger loss in 1986 prompted a change. Today, the Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-6 is home to the United Launch Alliance Delta IV.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Gerstenmaier: LEO commercialization requires space industry to be innovative, nimble (2/8): As NASA looks increasingly toward deep space for its future investments, the low Earth orbit realm now anchored by the International Space Station will become the province of commercial space. Speaking before an FAA sponsored commercial space flight gathering last week, NASA human exploration Chief Bill Gerstenmaier counseled its pioneers to make wise, timely decisions.

Atlas V launch marks ‘end of an era’ for GPS
Florida Today (2/5): The last in the current generation of U.S. Air Force Global Positioning Satellites was placed in Earth orbit Friday atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket following a lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

NASA offers more details on cargo contract decision
Space News (2/5): NASA offered new details on the selection criteria it used in January to award contracts for continued commercial resupply of the International Space Station between late 2019 and 2014. The contracts were awarded to incumbents Orbital ATK and SpaceX and newcomer Sierra Nevada.


Editorial: NM has too much invested to give up on Spaceport
Albuquerque Journal (2/6): Despite setbacks over the past decade, New Mexico’s Spaceport America has come too far to turn back, according to a newspaper editorial. The complex, still seeking tenants, represents a $218.5 million investment in state funds and revenues from increased sales taxes.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of February 7-12, 2016 (2/7): President Obama submits his 2017 budget proposal to Congress on Tuesday. The U.S. House and Senate are in session this week.


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