Contamination Found in SLS Engine Tubing

NASA is dealing with a contamination problem with tubing in part of the core stage of the first Space Launch System vehicle, an issue that could contribute to further delays for its launch.

At a May 17 meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, panel member Don McErlean said the committee had been briefed on a “late development” with the core stage, being constructed at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

A “routine quality assurance inspection” of the core stage, he said, discovered contamination in tubing in the engine section of the core stage, which hosts the vehicle’s four RS-25 main engines and associated systems. That contamination turned out to be paraffin wax, which is used to keep the tubes from crimping while being manufactured but is supposed to be cleaned out before shipment.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX’s Controversial Rocket Fueling Procedure Appears ‘Viable,’ Says NASA Safety Advisory Panel

A NASA safety advisory group weighed in Thursday on SpaceX’s highly scrutinized proposal to load rocket propellants while astronauts are aboard, saying it appears to be a “viable option.”

Several members of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said that as long as potential hazards can be controlled, loading crew before fueling is finished could be acceptable.

“My sense is that, assuming there are adequate, verifiable controls identified and implemented for the credible hazard causes, and those which could potentially result in an emergency situation … it appears load-and-go is a viable option for the program to consider,” panel member Capt. Brent Jett Jr. (Ret.) said during Thursday’s meeting.

Read more at: LA Times

Expedition 55 Spacewalkers Tend to Station Cooling System on 50th Quest-Based EVA

Expedition 55 spacewalkers Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold have completed a six-hour and 31-minute session of Extravehicular Activity (EVA), outside the International Space Station (ISS), during which they removed a 235-pound (107 kg) Pump Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) from a spare parts platform to the Dextre “hand” of the 57.7-foot-long (17.6-meter) Canadarm2 robotic arm. It will be robotically relocated to the P-6 truss, where it will be further inspected and analyzed, before potential future use as a viable spare for the station’s cooling system. Meanwhile, Feustel and Arnold brought a leaky PFCS from Dextre for storage and removed and replaced a failed external camera group and a space-to-ground transmitter receiver controller, the latter of which provides critical redundancy for the station’s Ku-band communications infrastructure.

The completion of today’s activities positions Feustel—who was making his eighth career EVA—within the Top Ten most seasoned spacewalkers of all time, with a total of 54 hours and 59 minutes.

Read more at: America Space

Space Station’s Orbit Raised by 600 Meters Ahead of Manned Soyuz Missions

The Russian Mission Control Center on Sunday adjusted the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) by 600 meters in the run-up to manned Soyuz missions, a mission control official told TASS.

“The maneuver was conducted with the help of Progress MS-08 thrusters that remained switched on for 172 seconds,” the source said. As a result, the average altitude of the ISS increased by 600 meters, to 404.7 kilometers, he added.

The adjustment was necessary for creating proper ballistic conditions prior to the Soyuz MS-07 departure from ISS on June 3 and the launch of the Soyuz MS-09 to the station on June 6. It was also necessary for a 6.5-hour spacewalk by NASA astronauts Richard Arnold and Andrew Feustel, due on May 16.

Read more at: TASS

Anti-Radiation Vest to Get Deep-Space Test Next Year

NASA and the Israel Space Agency have signed an agreement to use the AstroRad radiation protection vest on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the uncrewed first flight of NASA’s powerful new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

AstroRad is the second product developed by the American-Israeli company StemRad, after StemRad 360 Gamma — the world’s first wearable shield that provides meaningful protection from harmful gamma radiation.

Tel Aviv-based StemRad collaborated with NASA’s prime contractor for the Orion crew-carrying spacecraft, Lockheed Martin, to adapt its technology for use in space. On EM-1, which is currently scheduled to launch in late 2019, Orion will launch atop SLS, kicking off a three-week mission that will take the capsule beyond the moon.

Read more at: Space.com

Will NASA Go Nuclear to Return to the Moon?

If all goes as planned, sometime in the next decade an American robotic lander will arrive at a burgeoning moon base toting a small nuclear reactor. Inside the reactor a boron control rod will slide into a pile of uranium and start a nuclear chain reaction, splitting uranium atoms apart and releasing heat. Next that warmth will be piped to a generator. Then the lights will come on—and stay on, even through long, cold lunar nights.

After a half-century struggle to develop a nuclear power plant for use in space, NASA just completed a successful test of a brand-new design. The next milestone for the new reactor, called Kilopower, could be an inaugural spaceflight sometime in the 2020s.

Read more at: Scientific American

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway: an Unneeded and Costly Diversion

A consensus has developed for crewed lunar return. The Trump Administration has made it their official policy, Congress seems supportive, and other countries, who have never been to the Moon, are eager to take part in this program.

Two components have emerged in NASA’s plans to return to the Moon. The first is to establish a human tended space station in lunar orbit. Originally called the Deep Space Gateway, this program was renamed the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) by the Trump Administration. The second component is to return humans to the surface of the Moon and establish a lunar base. Thus far NASA has been short on details regarding the latter.

Read more at: Space review

Rescue Operations Take Shape for Commercial Crew Program Astronauts

Rescue and recovery involves meticulous planning and close coordination between NASA, the Department of Defense (DOD), and company recovery teams for Starliner and Crew Dragon.

These are the spacecraft of commercial partners Boeing and SpaceX that will fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station from U.S. soil. In the event of a variety of contingency landings, an elite team is prepared to rescue the crew anywhere in the world.

In preparation for both launch and landing, U.S. Air Force “Guardian Angel” Pararescue forces will be pre-positioned in key locations, alert and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. Should a spacecraft splash down within 200 nautical miles of the launch site, an HC-130 aircraft along with two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters will deploy from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. These aircraft will carry a team of up to nine Guardian Angels–also known as pararescue specialists–along with rescue equipment and medical supplies.

Read more at: Spaceref

China Preparing to Launch Chang’e-4 Relay Satellite May 21

China is set to launch a relay satellite to the second Earth-moon Lagrange point May 21, in a necessary precursor to the planned Chang’e-4 soft-landing on the lunar far side late in the year.

Chang’e-4 is the backup to the Chang’e-3 mission which put a lander and rover on Mare Imbrium in late 2013. Following that success, the lunar craft have been repurposed for a pioneering landing on the moon’s far side. The lunar far side does not face the Earth as the moon’s orbital period matches its rotational period, thus requiring a relay satellite to facilitate communications.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Traffic Control

Space traffic control is coming. The Department of Commerce has accepted the challenge to create an appropriate policy portfolio that will ultimately lead to regulations on how to fly your satellite in the Earth’s vicinity.

This challenge is daunting. Unlike air traffic control which requires aircraft to respond to ATC commands is simple 3-dimensional space over the Earth’s surface, between the ground and 60,000 feet altitude, space traffic control must deal with 3-dimensional curved space in which all objects in low orbits are each travelling at speeds in excess of 16,000 MPH and moving in all directions.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Students Complete 370-day Isolation Test in Bioregenerative Lunar Habitat

Chinese students have completed the final stage of a one-year isolation test, emerging from a self-contained, simulated lunar habitat in Beijing on Tuesday.

The four volunteers left Yuegong-1, or “Lunar Palace-1” at the Beihang University of aeronautics and astronautics to be greeted by fellow students and academics, including veteran spacecraft designer Qi Faren. The students, together with another four volunteers, completed the 370-day experiment in three phases, taking it in turns to live in the self-contained environment, which aims to simulate, and provide lessons for, a habitat on the surface of the Moon.

Read more at: Gbtimes

The Largest Parachute Ever Built for Mars Aces its First Test

The largest-ever parachute bound for Mars, which will land Europe’s ExoMars rover on the surface of the Red Planet in 2021, passed the first in a series of tests in Sweden.

The ring-slot parachute is 115 feet (35 meters) across, weighs almost 200 lbs. (90 kilograms) and is equipped with 3 miles (5 kilometers) of cords. According to a video by the European Space Agency (ESA), which oversees ExoMars, it takes five working days to prepare and fold the parachute into its correct configuration.

For the recent test, a helicopter carried the 1,100-lb. (500 kg) test landing module to an altitude of about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) and dropped it from that height. After a 12-second free fall, the parachute deployment sequence was initiated, starting with the opening of a smaller, 15.7-foot (4.8 m) pilot chute, which then triggered the opening of the second, main parachute.

Read more at: Space.com

House Committee Struggles with US Future in LEO

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee tackled the issue today of the future of the United States in low Earth orbit (LEO).  Committee members and witnesses agreed that the United States needs to have a presence in LEO, but the questions are how long to maintain operations of the International Space Station (ISS) and when the commercial sector will be ready to assume the primary role of LEO operations to support human spaceflight.  No easy answers emerged.

ISS is a partnership among the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and 11 European countries operating through the European Space Agency.  The first ISS module, Zarya, was launched in 1998 and it took 12 years to complete construction.  International crews have permanently occupied the facility since the end of 2000 rotating on roughly 4-6 month schedules.

Read more at: Space policy online

SpaceX Rocket Fairing Reappears on Mr Steven After Six Week Hiatus

A hop and a skip away from SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 Block 5 recovery, the company’s famous fairing recovery vessel Mr Steven was caught by Teslarati photographer Pauline Acalin performing some unusual maneuvers at sea, hauling what can only have been the intact fairing half recovered after SpaceX’s March 30 launch of Iridium NEXT-5.

Why exactly the fairing half was aboard Mr Steven for high-speed trials and eventual delivery to Berth 240 – SpaceX’s future Mars rocketfactory – is not entirely clear. The most obvious explanation is that these new operations are in some way related to Falcon 9 payload fairing drop tests hinted at recently by CEO Elon Musk, tests that would allow the company to hone the accuracy of the autonomous parafoils currently used to recover them. In light of Mr Steven’s newly upgraded net, the goal is to gently catch each fairing before they touch down on the ocean’s surface – per SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann, even partial immersion in seawater precludes any future attempts at reuse.

Read more at: Teslarati

Isro Set to Develop Smart Propellants for Reusable Launches

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is planning to develop world class propulsion technology to ensure cost effective re-usable, recoverable, re-startable and reliable space launches, said Isro chairman K Sivan in his video message for the annual National Conference on Emerging Trends in Aerospace Technologies – ‘ASET’ 2018 on future of propulsion at Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) Valiyamala here on Friday.

Now, the latest in propulsion including electric, hybrid, cryogenic and nuclear power propulsion system is being developed indigenously at LPSC, Sivan said. The attempt is to control the engine thrust to explore all landing modes including vertical and soft landing of launch vehicles, so that it can be reused, he said.

Read more at: Times of India

Los Angeles, America’s Future Spaceport

Los angeles is an open-air museum of aerospace history. It is a city of abandoned missile-defense facilities and stealth-jet assembly plants, of erased airfields and repurposed hangars, flagships of another era standing dormant but unnoticed in plain sight. First lost to the secrecy of war, then overlooked as mundane industry, this earlier version of the metropolis is stirring once again, as private space investment promises to turn Southern California into the nation’s spaceport. Los Angeles, city of terrestrial stars, is becoming a gateway to celestial stars anew.

“Southern California as we know it would not exist without aerospace,” the historian Peter Westwick has written. The industry transformed the region, in his words, “from a collection of agricultural groves to a sprawling high-tech nexus on the Pacific Rim,” one whose military and financial power spanned the entire 20th century.

Read more at: Atlantic

Study Offers Pessimistic Outlook for Commercial Space Stations

As NASA formally requests proposals for studies on the commercialization of low Earth orbit, another study presented at a congressional hearing May 17 concludes commercial space stations are unlikely to be financially viable in the mid-2020s.

In testimony at a House Science Committee hearing on America’s future in low Earth orbit, Bhavya Lal of the Institute for Defense Analysis’ Science and Technology Policy Institute said a study performed by her organization found it unlikely that a commercial space station could generate a profit in 2025, the year NASA plans to end federal funding of the International Space Station.

Read more at: Spacenews

‘China’s Elon Musk’ Ready to Take on US Space Ventures

The Chinese startup that launched the nation’s first commercial rocket on Thursday aims to be a major global player in the space launch business.

Beijing-based OneSpace, led by 32-year-old CEO Shu Chang, sent up the OS-X Chongqing Liangjiang Star from a site in Inner Mongolia at 7:33 a.m. The 9-meter-long, 7.2-ton rocket traveled a total of 273km during the five-minute flight, soaring as high as 38.7km.

“I hope we can become one of the world’s foremost small-satellite launchers,” Shu told reporters. OneSpace enjoys a notable cost advantage. A rocket launch comes in under $5 million — less than one-third the international average.

Read more at: Nikkei Asia

Russia May Help China Create International Cosmonauts Rehabilitation Center

Russian scientific organizations are ready to assist China and its partners in creating an international rehabilitation center for cosmonauts, as well as other infrastructure needed for developing space medicine and biology, a spokesman for the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Science told Sputnik.

“The IMBP [Institute of Biomedical Problems] is ready along with the Chinese side to create a rehabilitation facility for cosmonauts in Sanya in the Hainan province and to develop means and methods of rehabilitation in cooperation with the concerned Chinese organizations and specialists,” Mark Belakovsky said.

Read more at: Sputnik news

NASA Successfully Test Fires 3D-Printed Rocket Engine Part

NASA successfully hot-fire tested a 3D-printed combustion chamber for a rocket engine. The successful test is the latest in a series of advancements in 3D-printed rocket technology from both private companies and public research groups.

The engine project is the work of three NASA centers across the country: Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia; and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2015, material scientists at Glenn developed a powdered copper alloy that engineers at Marshall used to 3D-print the space agency’s first full-scale copper rocket engine part, a lining for the combustion chamber.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Advisory Committee Asks NASA to Develop Plans for Reduced ISS Crew

A NASA advisory committee, concerned about delays in the development of commercial crew systems, wants the agency to look at options where the International Space Station is operated with a reduced crew.

At a May 14 meeting of the ISS Advisory Committee, its chairman, Thomas Stafford, said that NASA should consider training Russian cosmonauts on key systems in what’s known as the U.S. Operating Segment (USOS) portion of the ISS, which includes elements from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Canada, in the event extended commercial crew development delays reduce the size of the station’s crew.

Read more at: Spacenews

How to Fly a Helicopter on Mars

To understand the monumental task of flying an aircraft on Mars, one needs to consider the atmosphere. The Red Planet’s average atmospheric pressure at the surface is about 6 millibars (0.09 psi), less than 0.06 percent of the air pressure at sea level on Earth. To put it another way, the atmosphere on Mars at the planet’s surface is as thin as our planet’s air at 100,000 feet of altitude. Helicopters have never flown that high. The altitude record for a rotorcraft stands at just over 40,000 feet, and during that flight the engine flamed out and the pilot had to land using autorotation.

Mars flight is not going to be easy. Yet NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wants to fly a chopper on the Red Planet, where the air on the ground is thinner than atop the highest mountains of Earth.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Earth’s Magnetic Field is Drifting Westward, and Nobody Knows Why

Over the 400 years or so that humans have been measuring Earth’s magnetic field, it has drifted inexorably to the west. Now, a new hypothesis suggests that weird waves in Earth’s outer core may cause this drift.

The slow waves, called Rossby waves, arise in rotating fluids. They’re also known as “planetary waves,” and they’re found in many large, rotating bodies, including on Earth in the oceans and atmosphere and on Jupiter and the sun.

Earth’s outer core is also a rotating fluid, meaning Rossby waves circulate in the core, too. Whereas oceanic and atmospheric Rossby waves have crests that move westward against Earth’s eastward rotation, Rossby waves in the core are “a bit like turning atmospheric Rossby waves inside out,” said O.P. Bardsley, a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge in England, and the author of a new study on the Rossby wave hypothesis.

Read more at: Space.com

Brexit Britain’s Space Ambitions are an Expensive Waste of Time

Brexit is officially an astronomical pain in the neck. Because Britain is departing the EU, its access to the continental club’s satellite network is changing – and while those pre-existing rules shouldn’t have been news to our government, the ensuing disagreement has the UK threatening to launch its very own navigation satellite system.

But ignore the headlines saying the EU is blocking Britain from accessing the space infrastructure it helped build (it’s not – not yet at least), and the stories screaming that we’ve already started building our own £3 billion satellite network (we haven’t – we’ve only just got a task force). The real story isn’t the loss of secure signal, but us throwing away our sensible space policy.

Read more at: Wired

SpaceX Founding Employee Tom Mueller to Speak at International Space Development Conference

Tom Mueller, a founding SpaceX employee, and designer of the Merlin and Raptor engines, is one of the world’s foremost spacecraft propulsion experts. Mueller will be providing the Thursday, May 24th Plenary Address at the ISDC in Los Angeles, CA. If you attend, you have a chance to hear the latest information on SpaceX’s Mars plans.

Mueller holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho, and a Masters degree in the same area from Loyola Marymount University. He worked at TRW for 15 years, serving as the lead engineer for the TR-106 engine, which provided 650,000 lbf of thrust using liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The TR-106 was notable for the usage of pintle injectors which allowed for a wide range of throttling. Mueller rose to become the TRW Vice President of Propulsion during his time there.

Read more at: NSS

John W. Van de Kamp: NASA Goddard Takes the Lead in Returning Us to the Moon

Jim Bridenstine has hit the ground running. The 42-year-old three-term former congressman from Oklahoma is NASA’s new administrator. He’s a Navy combat pilot with missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and has also flown with the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

Just two weeks after his Senate confirmation, he told an audience of commercial contractors that he wants their help to put American astronauts back on the moon by the mid-2020s.

From the time President John Kennedy said this nation was committed to putting a man safely on the moon — on May 25, 1961 — it took eight years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin climbed out of the Eagle and took “one giant step for mankind” on July 20, 1969, 49 years ago.

Read more at: Capital gazette

New Johnson Space Center Director Named

NASA has announced that Mark Geyer will be the new director of the Johnson Space Center.

Geyer, who is currently serving as the acting deputy associate administrator for Technical for the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C., will take over the JSC director position May 25, when Ellen Ochoa retires.

Before that, Geyer served as deputy center director at JSC until September 2017.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to lead the men and women of this proud center,” Geyer said. “The Johnson Space Center has unique capabilities that are critical to NASA’s ability to execute our mission to take humans farther into the solar system, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you on the ambitious tasks ahead.”

Read more at: Click2houston

Young Female Welder Devoted to Aerospace Industry

Aviation welding calls for patience, attention and duration.

Wang He, born in the 1980s, has been devoted to China’s space research for the past 12 years, welding spacecrafts and labs and cultivating younger welders.

Wang, a spacecraft circuit board welder working for the electronic fitting center of the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has welded hundreds of spacecraft components and parts in the past 12 years. She won China’s first IPC Hand Welding Competition in 2010 and was the bronze medalist of the IPC International Hand Welding Championship in 2013.

Wang was also involved in the building of several national aviation programs including the Shenzhou spacecrafts, the Tiangong space labs and the Chang’e lunar exploration project.

Read more at: Women of China

Russian Hypersonic Weapon ‘Ready for Launch by 2020’

A futuristic Russian weapon will be ready for deployment as early as 2020, according to sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence reports.

Russia successfully tested the hypersonic glide vehicle – labelled Avangard – twice in 2016, CNBC was informed by anonymous sources. In a third trial in October 2017, it crashed seconds before striking a target. The weapon – a type of hypersonic glide vehicle – was part of the Russian hi-tech arsenal unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in March. During his presentation, Putin declared the country’s weapons program was “invincible”.

The Avangard is built to sit on an intercontinental ballistic missile that piggybacks it into the atmosphere.

Read more at: 9news

Air Force Gen. Pawlikowski: Military Satellites will be Smaller, More Mobile

Back in 2005, then one-star general Ellen Pawlikowski commanded the military satellite communications systems wing at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, in Los Angeles. In those days, “survivability wasn’t even on the sheet,” she recalled.

Pawlikowski spent eight of the past 10 years in the Air Force overseeing space programs as vice commander of SMC and in senior posts at the National Reconnaissance Office and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Now the four-star commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Pawlikowski mused about how much the business has been transformed.

“The expectations for our space systems have changed,” she said on Tuesday at a breakfast meeting with reporters.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Situational Awareness is Space Battle Management

Space Situational Awareness has long been synonymous with detecting, tracking, and identifying all artificial objects in Earth orbit otherwise known as catalog maintenance. Today, space is more congested and contested than ever before, and threats against U.S. capabilities grow every day. While catalog maintenance is a part of the SSA mission set, SSA enables the continuous preparation of the battlespace in order to fight and win a war in space. Simply put, SSA is Space Battle Management. Like the air domain, there is a daily mission of air traffic control and a wartime mission of Air Battle Management. To ensure effective SSA, sensors need access to intelligence, flexible tasking, rapid decision making, and integration between platforms.

Read more at: AFSPC

Missile Defense Agency Contracts for Aegis 6.0 Modeling Support

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract for services in support of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.

The Missile Defense Agency contract was announced on Tuesday by the Defense Department and enables Lockheed Martin to provide “materials necessary to support Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense 6.0 modeling and simulation.”

The contract is valued at more than $12.8 million under the terms of a cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previous Pentagon award. The modification increases the overall value of the contract to more than $2.805 billion for research and development of the Aegis system.

Read more at: Spacewar

Could Life on Earth Have Come From Space?

People who search for aliens on Earth are likely thinking of little green men and flying saucers in the sky, but what if they should be looking at tentacles in the sea? A recent paper claims that octopuses and other cephalopods have their origins on a different planet, brought here as eggs on some asteroid in our planet’s distant past.

It’s a pretty far-fetched idea, and almost certainly not true, but the idea of life on Earth originating from somewhere else is not as completely ridiculous as it might seem. The idea is called ‘panspermia,’ and while there’s not a whole lot of evidence supporting it, it’s also not impossible.

Panspermia, broadly defined, is the idea that living organisms or genetic material can travel between planets in our solar system, and even between our solar system and nearby stars.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Neil Armstrong’s Dyna-Soar Abort Training Aircraft Being Restored for Moon Landing Anniversary

A piece of Neil Armstrong’s pre-astronaut space history is being restored in preparation for next July’s 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The Armstrong Air and Space Museum in the astronaut’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, is restoring the Douglas F5D Skylancer aircraft that he flew as part of his training for the Dyna-Soar project, which was cancelled in December of 1963. Armstrong had been named to NASA astronaut group three in October of that year.

The Skylancer has been on outdoor display in front of the museum since its opening in 1972. Naturally, the years and the elements have caught up with the aircraft, which has been repainted only twice in the 46 years it has been on display.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

The Right Man: Remembering Gordon Cooper’s Day-Long Mercury Mission, 55 Years On

Early on 14 May 1963, a hotshot pilot lay on his back in a tiny capsule, atop a converted ballistic missile, and steeled himself to be blasted into space. On Project Mercury’s final mission, Gordon Cooper would spend 34 hours in space, circle the globe 22 times, and establish NASA’s first real baseline of long-duration experience as the space agency and the nation prepared to land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. To be fair, the flight would last barely a quarter as long as the Soviet Union’s four-day Vostok 3 mission a year earlier, but for NASA it would mark an important step forward. Yet there were many senior managers who doubted Cooper was right for the job. Two days earlier, he had buzzed the administration building at Cape Canaveral in his F-106 jet, sparking a flurry of frantic emergency calls and maddening Project Mercury Operations Director Walt Williams to the extent that he almost grounded Cooper in favor of his backup, Al Shepard. Cooper had much ground to make up in order to restore faith in his abilities.

Read more at: America Space

Former Astronaut and NASA Chief Charles Bolden Donates Personal Collection

Charles Bolden did not realize that he had so much stuff to give. A four-time space shuttle astronaut and the former head of NASA, Bolden filled 40 boxes with his papers, artifacts and mementos, which this month he donated to the University of South Carolina.

On Monday (May 14), Bolden traveled to his hometown of Columbia to visit the school and talk with students and the university’s guests about the gift, his career and the future of space exploration. “It’s just things I have collected over my time in the Marine Corps and NASA,” said Bolden, as reported by The State newspaper. “I didn’t realize I had all this stuff.”

The Charles F. Bolden Jr. Collection documents the career of the Columbia-native, who launched four times to space and was the first African American to lead NASA, serving as its twelfth administrator from 2009 to 2017. Selected as an astronaut in 1980, Bolden piloted his first two missions, including the 1990 space shuttle mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope, before helming two missions as commander.

Read more at: Collect space