In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 Orion pressure vessel is ready for structural tests and final assembly at the Kennedy Space Center.
Human Deep Space Exploration
KSC begins assembly of moon-bound Orion capsule
Florida Today (2/3): Workers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center are prepping the Orion crew capsule pressure vessel that reached NASA’s Kennedy Space Center earlier this week for structural tests before completing assembly of the spacecraft assigned to the first uncrewed test flight of the Space Launch System exploration rocket. Initial assembly by prime contractor Lockheed Martin at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans set the stage for the work ahead. The space agency’s Super Guppy air transport flew the pressure vessel to Cape Canaveral, Fla., for the testing and assembly activities ahead. The launch is planned for late 2018.
NASA shows off Orion EM-1 structure at KSC for inaugural SLS lunar flight test
AmericaSpace.com (2/4): The pressure vessel for the NASA/Lockheed Martin Orion crew capsule assigned to the first test flight of the Space Launch System exploration rocket has been mounted on a modified test stand at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Transported from the initial production facility in New Orleans earlier this week, the Orion pressure vessel is ready for structural testing and final assembly ahead of a late 2018 lift off. The three week Exploration Mission-1 test flight will take the unpiloted capsule around the moon and back to Earth for evaluation.
Buzz Aldrin: The next giant leap for space exploration
Washington Post (2/3): Buzz Aldrin’s deep space exploration strategy would land international astronaut crews on Mars by 2040. A progressive strategy would advance human activities from low Earth orbit, to the lunar environs without a return to the surface, an asteroid flyby, Venus and the Martian moon Phobos before landing on Mars and establishing a permanent settlement. “My vision has long been that our ventures in space double as a challenge to the human spirit. They underscore our internal and external drive to explore the unknown,” writes the Apollo 11 moonwalker in an op-ed. Aldrin leads the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology.
Congressional Republicans pan NASA asteroid mission
USA Today (2/3): During a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, some lawmakers expressed opposition to NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission, a plan to launch U.S. astronauts to a boulder retrieved with robotics from a near Earth asteroid and maneuvered into orbit around the moon. The capture would demonstrate solar electric propulsion, a technology for reaching asteroids and Mars with human explorers.
Tiny nation, big ambitions: Luxembourg wants to be the NASA of asteroid mining
Geek Wire (2/3): Europe’s Luxembourg announced Wednesday it hopes to foster a space industry focused on mining the resources found on asteroids.
Juno spacecraft one move closer to Jupiter arrival
Orlando Sentinel (2/3): NASA’s Jupiter bound Juno mission spacecraft carried out the first of two planned trajectory adjustment maneuvers on Wednesday to pave the way for a July 4 rendezvous with the solar system’s largest planet. The next thruster maneuver is planned for May 31. Once in orbit, Juno will probe Jupiter’s atmosphere for new information about how the planets formed.
The truth is out there: CIA publishes UFO investigation tips
Space.com (2/3): A look back at Roswell, N.M., the 1940s and a surge in interest in UFOs. The U.S. Air Force investigated a range of sightings and the CIA weighed in with tips on analyzing claims.
Low Earth Orbit
Russian spacewalkers maintain experiments, launch ceremonial flash drive into space
Space.com (2/3): Cosmonaut space walkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov spent nearly five hours outside the International Space Station on Wednesday, retrieving a long running European astrobiology experiment and exchanging materials science experiments that could guide engineers in the development of future spacecraft.
New spacesuits to be delivered to ISS
Interfax (2/3): Russia plans to deliver three new space suits to the cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station by the end of 2016.
China to launch nearly 40 Beidou navigation satellites in five years
Xinhuanet, of China (2/3): China is prepared for a flurry of satellite launches in the next five years to support an independent global satellite navigation network. Within China, the accuracy of the growing network has already reached five meters, according to a spokesman for the Beidou Navigation Satellite System.
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
New commercial space legislation unlikely this year
Space News (2/3): Enacted into law last year, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act and its implications will likely draw the focus of U.S. policy makers in 2016 rather than efforts to enact new legislation, according to George Nield, head of the FAA’s commercial space office in remarks before the Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington on Wednesday. The latest legislation extended liability protection for commercial space activities and asserted rights of ownership to resources obtained from asteroids and other planetary bodies.
U.S. private space companies plan surge in launches this year
Reuters (2/3): Commercial launch activity from Central Florida is expected to surge in 2016, possibly surpassing 30 missions but exceeding the 18 logged in 2015, according to launch services providers and the U.S. Air Force, which manages the U.S. Eastern Range.
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