FAA Rule Would Streamline Commercial Space Launch and Reentry Requirements

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today posted a proposed rule (PDF) that would streamline federal commercial space transportation requirements for future launch, reentry, and launch-site providers, and maintain safety during launches and reentries. The proposed rule follows the National Space Council’s 2018 ‘Space Policy Directive 2’, which called on the Secretary of Transportation to review and revise the Department’s commercial space launch and re-entry licensing regulations. It will expand national and international access to the economic, scientific, and educational benefits of traveling to space.

“These rules will maintain safety, simplify the licensing process, enable innovation, and reduce costs to help our country remain a leader in commercial space launches,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

Read more at: FAA

Chinese Startup Onespace Fails In First Orbital Launch Attempt

A solid-fueled rocket launched Wednesday by the Chinese startup OneSpace flew off course shortly after liftoff, the second time in five months one of China’s new space companies failed in a bid to become the country’s first private firm to place a spacecraft into orbit.

The four-stage OS-M rocket, sometimes called the OS-M1, lifted off from the Jiuquan space center in northwest China at 0939 GMT (5:39 a.m. EDT) Wednesday, but video recorded by spectators near the launch pad showed the vehicle veering off course around a minute after liftoff, shortly after first stage separation and second stage ignition.

The rocket fell back to Earth, ending OneSpace attempt to become the first private Chinese company to launch a satellite. Another company — LandSpace — launched an orbital-class rocket in October, but it also faltered before reaching orbit.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

NASA Orion Spacecraft Conducts First Altitude Abort System Test

Intended for deep-space exploration missions, the Orion is the spaceship that will launch on top of the agency’s brand new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). Until that moment comes to pass, a lot of testing has to be done though.

This week, NASA revealed the capsule performed on March 20 a static hot-fire test of the Launch Abort System Attitude Control Motor at its builder’s facility in Elkton, Maryland. The test lasted for only 30 seconds but is the first of a series of three meant to show the motor is suitable and safe for crewed flights.

The first flight of the Orion, scheduled to take place at a yet unspecified date next year, is called Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) and will be an uncrewed test. The spacecraft will be traveling empty 280,000 miles away from Earth (450,000 km) and well past the Moon, on a three-week-long journey.

Read more at: Auto evolution

Tests Prove Out Orion Safety Systems From Liftoff to Splashdown

Engineers completed two key tests the week of March 18 to help ensure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready from liftoff to splashdown for missions to the Moon. Teams successfully tested one of the motors on Orion’s Launch Abort System responsible for taking the crew to safety in an emergency during launch, and completed testing at sea for the qualification of the system used to upright Orion after it lands in the ocean.

At its facility in Elkton, Maryland, Northrop Grumman hot fired a motor for Orion’s launch abort system. The attitude control motor is responsible for orienting the crew module for landing in the event that Orion’s ride to space experiences a failure during launch or ascent.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Commercial Alternative To Sls For Em-1 Rejected

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said today that commercial rockets cannot substitute for the Space Launch System on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).  He revealed that NASA was studying that possibility at a Senate hearing on March 13.  The analysis showed it would not be feasible within the available time frame and budget, however.  Bridenstine is determined to launch EM-1, an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft around the Moon, in June 2020 despite reports of new SLS schedule delays.

The news was overshadowed by Vice President Pence’s declaration that the United States will land astronauts at the Moon’s South Pole by 2024.  He addressed the White House National Space Council, which he chairs, at a meeting in Huntsville, AL where SLS was a major theme.

Read more at: Space policy online

How Astronauts Manage Their Mental Health In Space – From The ISS And Beyond

When astronauts return to Earth, they often speak about the profound and awe-inspiring experience they had when they looked back down onto our small, blue planet. “All I know is I was stunned in a way that was completely unexpected,” NASA astronaut Nicole Stott told Inverse. “I felt connected,” Mae Jemison recalled. “For me, it was a connection back down to Earth. It was a connection with the rest of the universe.”

Known as the Overview Effect, this mental shift in awareness can have a big impact on astronauts when they go into space for the first time. But although spaceflight may be wonderous, exciting and a dream come true for many astronauts, it isn’t without risk of adverse behavioral and psychological effects.

Read more at: Tech radar

New Evidence Of Deep Groundwater On Mars

In mid-2018, researchers supported by the Italian Space Agency detected the presence of a deep-water lake on Mars under its south polar ice caps.

Now, researchers at the USC Arid Climate and Water Research Center (AWARE) have published a study that suggests deep groundwater could still be active on Mars and could originate surface streams in some near-equatorial areas on Mars.

The researchers at USC have determined that groundwater likely exists in a broader geographical area than just the poles of Mars and that there is an active system, as deep as 750 meters, from which groundwater comes to the surface through cracks in the specific craters they analyzed.

Heggy, who is a member of the Mars Express Sounding radar experiment MARSIS probing Mars subsurface, and co-author Abotalib Z. Abotalib, a postdoctoral research associate at USC, studied the characteristics of Mars Recurrent Slope Linea, which are akin to dried, short streams of water that appear on some crater walls on Mars.

Read more at: Spacenews feed

If Space Is The Future, That Future Needs To Include Everyone

Space sounds like the future. It’s rocket ships and astronauts, Buck Rogers and Captain James T. Kirk. But our concepts of the future are built on 1950s sexism — and not just our ideas, but the actual infrastructure of space travel. How can we boldly go where no one has gone before when two women apparently can’t spacewalk at the same time?

This week, a seemingly perfect PR opportunity for NASA turned into a disaster when the first all-women spacewalk scheduled in the agency’s 50-year history was scrapped due to logistics.

The spacewalk was a coincidence in the first place. Last year, a Soyuz spacecraft malfunctioned during launch, which shifted the staffing schedule on the International Space Station, causing astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch to be stationed there at the same time.

Read more at: Washington post

ESA and NASA Team Up on Lunar Science

ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker, and Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, signed a Statement of Intent to coordinate joint science research about the Moon and identify opportunities for lunar mission cooperation.

Signed during the National Academies’ Space Science Week in Washington DC, the statement highlights a common interest in accessing the Moon, driven by scientific discovery and support for private-sector capabilities, and mission services on the lunar surface and in the vicinity of the Moon.

“We are thrilled to be bringing European expertise to the table,” said David, “and to work collaboratively to prepare the way to a sustainable presence on the Moon where nations and the private sector work together to deliver benefits for all the people of Earth.”

Read more at: ESA

Jeff Bezos Wants To Take His Fellow Billionaires To Space With Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos has done it. Elon Musk has done it. In fact, if you’re a billionaire who hasn’t started a space company you’re officially behind the times.

While SpaceX might have the name recognition (shooting a mannequin-driven car into space will do that for a brand), Blue Origin is nipping at its heels when it comes to the space race. And the two have a lot in common. Namely, eccentric billionaire founders who want to build a future for humanity far away from the confines of planet Earth.

In this week’s episode of Watch This Space, we take a look at Bezos’ plans for space travel with Blue Origin and investigate just what the world’s richest man wants to do with his spacious, space-aged rockets.

Read more at: CNET

Why Point-To-Point Rocket Travel Will Take Longer Than You Think

Some people believe that before too long, flying passengers might choose space instead of flying by air to get to faraway destinations on Earth. SpaceX founder Elon Musk and investment banking company UBS have made enthusiastic predictions about this, including a recent report from UBS saying that the space tourism market will triple to $805 billion by 2030.

While UBS does not provide an exact date for point-to-point travel in spaceflight, a chart in the report shows potential “long-haul travel” starting anywhere between the late 2020s and the late 2030s. The company assumes the annual revenue opportunity would be more than $20 billion, based on calculations from current long-haul flights.

Read more at: Forbes

Great Images Of Fireball Over Bering Sea

A NASA instrument aboard the Terra satellite captured images of a fireball – or extremely bright meteor – over the Bering Sea on December 18, 2018. The images shows the fireball as well as the meteoroid’s path, marked by a dark trail of smoke over thick, white clouds. NASA said the meteor exploded about 16 miles (26 km) above the Bering Sea.

The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, or more than 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima during World War II.

Read more at: Earthsky

A Great First Step To A Futuristic Defence System

Wednesday’s A-SAT operation is the first major step towards building up a futuristic defence in India against attacks by space-borne systems and space docking activities. Such activity requires multi-agency coordination, including the Tracking and Command network of the Indian Space Research Organisation, the radar network of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the excellent and 100 per cent reliable communications link between the various ground stations, radars and computational infrastructure.

This mission was accomplished with the help of good computational capability, a precise triangulation algorithm, automated launch and control of missile, accurate, orbital and position estimation of the satellite and various other systems. The scientists and all other personnel of both Isro and DRDO deserve the entire nation’s hearty congratulations!

Read more at: Deccan chronicle

India’s Anti-Satellite Missile Test Is a Big Deal. Here’s Why.

India’s unexpected launch of an anti-satellite missile test this week sparked surprise (and some alarm) among international and aerospace-industry experts. The test’s success makes India the fourth country capable of destroying an enemy satellite, after the U.S., Russia and China. But how does that technology work?

An anti-satellite weapon, or ASAT, is anything that destroys or physically damages a satellite. That’s the broad definition.

“The problem with defining an ASAT is that since most space technology is dual-use, ASATs come in many non-overt forms,” Joan Johnson-Freese, professor of national security affairs at Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, said in an email to Space.com.

Read more at: Space.com

Spaced Out

The high point of the week was the ascent of an anti-satellite missile, which was prefaced by the Prime Minister’s announcement that he would make an announcement. It is reported that this message without a payload sent foolish people scuttling off to ATMs. They should have known that governments do not strike twice on the same vulnerability.

The story of the destruction of the satellite proved to be as complicated as the debate over the Balakot strike had been. Why are national security issues so complicated these days? Back in the last major conflicts, there was never any doubt that Saigon had fallen or that Nagasaki had been nuked. It was only within the pages of Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle that the reader could reasonably wonder if The Grasshopper Lies Heavy was a history or a work of fiction.

Read more at: Indian express

U.S. Military Sensors Track Debris From Indian Anti-Satellite Test

The U.S. Air Force was tracking at least 270 debris fragments created by an Indian anti-satellite missile test, but the debris field posed no immediate threat to the International Space Station or most other satellites in low Earth orbit, a senior U.S. military official said Wednesday in a congressional hearing.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the successful anti-satellite test — named “Mission Shakti” — in a televised address Wednesday, heralding the achievement as a proud moment for India, which became the fourth country to demonstrate such a capability after the United States, Russia and China.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

India Says Its Anti-Satellite Weapon Test Created Minimal Space Debris. Is That True?

Just weeks before election season starts in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nation completed a successful test-fire of its first anti-satellite launch missile, dubbed “Mission Shakti,” on Wednesday (March 27). The event sparked a global conversation about space policy, politics and the militarization of space in the hours that followed, as well as speculation about whether that type of test could create dangerous space debris.

This achievement by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DDRO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) makes it only the fourth country to ever launch an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon.

Read more at: Space.com

China Completes Compatibility Test On Core Parts Of Rocket Engine

Chinese engineers have successfully carried out a compatibility test on the turbopump and gas generator of rocket engine on Sunday, according to China Daily on Thursday.

The engine will deliver 500 tonnes of thrust using a combination of liquid oxygen and kerosene, the paper quoted a statement of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. as saying.

The test, conducted at a facility in Baolongyu area of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, verified designs of the turbopump and gas generator and paved the way for the engine’s overall testing, the statement said, noting that a turbopump is a core part of a rocket engine.

Read more at: Xinhuanet

The Original Sin of NASA Space Suits

The crew of the International Space Station spends most of their time inside, but sometimes they venture out. Astronauts have conducted more than 200 space walks in the past two decades, often to spruce up the station, and on the next one, two astronauts are scheduled to replace some old solar-panel batteries. It was going to be a historic excursion: For the first time in history, both of the spacewalkers would be women.

That was the plan. But on Monday, just days before Anne McClain and Christina Koch were supposed to float outside, NASA announced that McClain had been replaced with a male astronaut, Nick Hague. According to the space agency, the ISS doesn’t have enough space suits on board that would fit both women.

Read more at: Atlantic

NASA Creates Helicopter To Fly On Mars In 2021

NASA has successfully completed the first test flight of a helicopter built to fly on Mars as the space agency looks to find new ways of exploring the red planet.

The helicopter is scheduled to reach Mars in two years time as part of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, which aims to answer key questions such as whether humans could one day live in its harsh environment.

But flying it won’t be easy. Remotely controlling a helicopter from hundreds of millions of miles away, on top of Mars’ thin atmosphere and temperatures as low as -90C, is an incredibly difficult technical feat.

Read more at: Telegraph

NASA Begins Testing Habitation Prototypes

Over the next several months, NASA will conduct a series of ground tests inside five uniquely designed, full-size, deep space habitat prototypes. The mockups, constructed by five American companies, offer different perspectives on how astronauts will live and work aboard the Gateway – the first spaceship designed to stay in orbit around the Moon, providing the critical infrastructure needed for exploration, science and technology demonstrations on the lunar surface.

NASA doesn’t plan to select one habitat prototype to advance to flight – rather, the tests will help NASA evaluate the design standards, common interfaces, and requirements for a future U.S. Gateway habitat module, while reducing risks for eventual flight systems.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

We Shouldn’t be Scared of Nuclear Rockets in Space

A few weeks ago, a spending bill passed by Congress included $100 million earmarked for NASA to develop nuclear thermal rocket engines. In spite of the ever-present backlash to nuclear material, it’s not uncommon when it comes to space exploration. The Curiosity rover is just one of many NASA missions powered by nuclear material, in this case, a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) that converts heat from decaying plutonium-238 into electricity. But that’s robotic and doesn’t impact humans, you say? The Apollo lunar landing missions also had nuclear generators on board; the ALSEPs used radioisotope thermoelectric generators to power some of the surface experiments.

Read more at: Discover magazine

Russia Develops First Washing Machine For Space

The days of astronauts packing enough clean clothes to last a whole mission could soon be over as Russia said Friday it is developing a washing machine for space.

The RKK Energiya corporation, which builds spacecraft, dropped a brief mention of the innovation in a video posted on YouTube.

“By the way, for future lunar expeditions and other interplanetary crafts, RKK Energiya has started developing a special space washing machine,” the voice-over says, without giving further details.

Read more at: Japan times

Microbes Survive In Space Outside The ISS, Raising Hopes For Life On Mars

From the hottest deserts to the freezing polar regions, microorganisms keep turning up in Earth’s most extreme environments. And if that’s the case, why wouldn’t it hold that life can do the same on other planets? To test whether certain hardy microbes can survive the harsh conditions of space or Mars, colonies were placed on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) for almost 18 months – and many managed to survive.

For the project, known as the Biology and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX), several hundred samples of Earthly microbes, including bacteria, archaea, mosses, lichens, fungi and algae, were placed in containers attached to the outside of the Russian Zvezda module on the ISS. Some samples were kept in soil and air that mimicked that of Mars, to see whether they could survive on the Red Planet.

Read more at: Newatlas

U.S.-Brazil Agreement Goes Beyond Launch

While a recent agreement signed between the United States and Brazil has been touted as enabling American launches from a Brazilian spaceport, the agreement’s biggest effect may be on other aspects of aerospace cooperation between the two nations.

A technology safeguards agreement (TSA) was signed March 18 by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford and Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations Ambassador Ernesto Araujo, the State Department announced. They signed the agreement during a trip to the United States by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Council Adopts Recommendations At Its March 26, 2019 Meeting

At its meeting in Huntsville, AL today, the National Space Council adopted the following recommendations unanimously and without debate. The text was provided by the Space Council.

Recommendations Approved by the National Space Council to President Trump

 Recommendations on Human Space Exploration

  1. Consistent with the overall goals of SPD-1, the United States will seek to land Americans on the Moon’s South Pole by 2024, establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028, and chart a future path for human Mars exploration. NASA’s lunar presence will focus on science, resource utilization, and risk reduction for future missions to Mars.

Read more at: Space policy online

US Is in a New Space Race with China and Russia, VP Pence Says

The United States is racing to the moon once again.

The nation aims to put boots on the lunar surface by 2024, four years earlier than previously planned, Vice President Mike Pence announced yesterday (March 26). The schedule shift was prompted at least in part by a desire to defeat two other space powers that Pence described as adversaries: Russia and China.

“Make no mistake about it — we’re in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s, and the stakes are even higher,” Pence said during the fifth meeting of the National Space Council (NSC) at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Read more at: Space.com

New Mission Directorate In NASA Budget Request Would Explore New Capabilities For Moon, Mars Missions

NASA’s 2020 budget request includes some pretty big projects, not least of which are the ongoing mission to return to the moon, and efforts to lay the foundation for a manned mission to Mars. But projects of that scale will require changes to how NASA manages them, NASA Administrator James Bridenstine told the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

“What we’re talking about is creating a new mission directorate at NASA,” Bridenstine said during the March 27 hearing. “And it’s focused on development activities that are very large in scale. And that mission directorate, we would call it Moon to Mars Mission Directorate, because it’s going to be focused on getting to the moon and using those capabilities to go on to Mars. So on the management side we’re trying to separate operations from development so that we can get a better mix of the right people in the right places to accomplish these objectives.”

Read more at: Federal news network

Senate Reintroduces Space Frontier Act

A bipartisan group of senators has reintroduced legislation designed to reform commercial launch and remote sensing regulations, this time without a provision that led to the bill’s defeat last year in the House.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced March 28 the introduction of the Space Frontier Act. The bill is scheduled to be marked up by the Senate Commerce Committee during an executive session April 3 that will consider a number of other bills and nominations.

“I am proud of this bipartisan legislation as it will help to fortify America’s leadership in the domain of space,” Cruz, chairman of the Commerce Committee’s aviation and space subcommittee, said in a statement about the bill’s introduction.

Read more at: Spacenews

Why Trump Wants to Go to the Moon So Badly

There’s some disagreement about what the last people to visit the moon said just before they left. It could be Gene Cernan telling Jack Schmitt, who was fiddling with a camera, “Now let’s get off. Forget the camera.” It could be what was spoken after that, which NASA’s official transcript of the Apollo 17 mission describes only as “[garbled].” Or it could be, as astronaut lore has it, a few colorful words from Cernan: “Let’s get outta this mutha.”

The point is, the NASA astronauts left the moon in 1972, and no one has been back since.

When the Apollo program ended, NASA turned its attention toward other parts of the cosmos. It built space stations and shuttles, designed powerful floating telescopes, and sent machines to fly past some planets and moons and to land on others. Today the moon, Earth’s closest companion, seems almost distant in comparison.

Read more at: Nextgov

Op-Ed | Where Does Space Begin? The Decades-Long Legal Mission To Find The Border Between Air And Space

Although very few people have been to “outer space,” virtually everyone has some conception of what it is. We have seen TV reports of astronauts (or cosmonauts) in orbit. Our popular culture – in film, books, art and even music – is suffused with images of space. We conceive it as a place beyond the Earth’s physical limits, where there is no atmosphere, where things are “weightless” and where spacecraft operate (and where, according to the promoters of the 1979 film Alien, “no one can hear you scream”).

As lawyers, we know that there exists a thing called “space law,” governing the peaceful uses of “outer space.” Many may be surprised, therefore that there is, at present, no agreed definition on where “outer space” actually begins. Stranger still, perhaps, many of the leaders in space exploration (the United State, in particular) have vigorously opposed any attempts to fix such a definition.

Read more at: Spacenews

The US Regains Leadership in Space

In the field of competitors in the global “NewSpace” economy, American companies appear to be maintaining a capability and technology development advantage over both European and foreign entities.  The latest “Buy America” White House Executive Order issued January 31st, 2019 will strengthen this lead, likely bringing procurement, additional manufacturing, new research and innovation, and space launch missions all home to the United States.

However, even before the crafting and release of President Trump’s latest “Buy America” Executive Order, the tables were turning in favor of America’s competitive space advantage.

Read more at: Americanthinker

Trump Nominates Raymond To Be Commander Of U.S. Space Command

President Trump on Tuesday nominated Air Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond to be the commander of U.S. Space Command, a new unified combatant command that will focus on space operations and war doctrine.

Raymond is currently the commander of Air Force Space Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. If confirmed by the Senate to run U.S. Space Command, Raymond would be dual-hatted and retain the title of Air Force Space Commander.

Trump on Dec. 18 directed the Department of Defense to establish a United States Space Command as a “functional Unified Combatant Command.” He also directed the secretary of defense to recommend officers for nomination and Senate confirmation. Raymond was seen as a shoo-in for the position because of his extensive experience organizing, training and equipping space forces.

Read more at: Spacenews

HASC Chairman Bolsters Blue Origin’s Argument To Delay Launch Competition

As the Air Force prepares to start the second phase of its launch services competition, it is looking increasingly unlikely that it will heed Blue Origin’s call to delay the contract award, currently slated to occur in early 2020.

But the head of the House Armed Services Committee is pushing back on that course of action, telling Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in a March 28 letter that the service should take time to reassess its current plan — and hinting that there could be language in the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill that addresses the launch service procurement program.

Read more at: Defense news

UN Talks On Space Peace Treaty Fail To Reach Consensus

United Nations-backed talks to prevent an arms race in outer space ended without agreement on Friday, delivering another blow to global disarmament diplomacy.

Twenty-five nations—including major space-faring powers such as China, Russia and the US—held two weeks of negotiations that aimed to lay foundations for a treaty ensuring peace in space.

Diplomats meeting within the so-called Group of Governmental Experts were not able to reach consensus on a set of recommendations, said Brazil’s ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, who led the talks.

Read more at: Phys.org

STRATCOM To Design Blueprint For Nuclear Command, Control And Communications

U.S. Strategic Command was handed the responsibility last fall to solve one of the Defense Department’s most sensitive and complex technology problems: the modernization of the nation’s nuclear command, control and communications system, known as NC3. This job previously belonged to the Air Force Global Strike Command, but following the completion of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review last May, the Defense Department decided to give it to STRATCOM, the combatant command that oversees the nation’s nuclear forces.

Read more at: Spacenews

National Security Space Association is Open for Business

The proposed Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces has been a big political story. But it has huge business implications as well. Whether it’s the Space Force or the Air Force, who ultimately will run the military’s space programs is a question to which space and defense contractors — as well as their customers — would like a clear answer. But lawmakers are far from ready to endorse the new branch — so the outlook remains muddy at best.

In these times of transition and uncertainty, the national security space industry needs a prominent voice in Washington, says Steve Jacques, the acting executive director of a newly formed nonprofit, the National Security Space Association.

Read more at: Spacenews

Northrop Grumman Names Spaceship For Fallen Apollo 1 Astronaut

 Northrop Grumman has named its next space station resupply ship after an astronaut who died in NASA’s pursuit of the first moon landing.

The “S.S. Roger Chaffee,” Northrop Grumman’s next Cygnus spacecraft to launch to the International Space Station, is christened in honor of the Apollo 1 astronaut, company officials announced on Monday (March 25).

“This is the 50th anniversary year of us landing people on the moon on the Apollo 11 mission and when we think of that mission, we think of the thousands of people who sacrificed so much to make that program a success,” said Frank DeMauro, the vice president and general manager for space systems at Northrop Grumman, during a Facebook Live broadcast. “But there are three people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the advancement of moving humans to the moon and they are Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, the three Apollo 1 astronauts who tragically perished in a fire during a pad test.”

Read more at: Collectspace

Early Soviet-Era Cosmonaut Bykovsky Dies Aged 84

Soviet-era cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who was one of the first group of military pilots chosen to join his country’s space program, has died at the age of 84, Russia’s space agency has announced.

Roscosmos said on March 27 that Bykovsky had died a day earlier, but it did not give the cause of death.

Bykovsky was one of 20 Soviet military pilots in the first group picked for the manned space flight program. Bykovsky flew into space three times. His first mission was in June 1963, spending what was then a record five days in space alone aboard Vostok-5.

Read more at: rferl