Soyuz Crew Rocket Arrives On The Pad For First Time Since Dramatic Launch Abort

Keeping up a tradition dating back to the dawn of the Space Age, a Russian Soyuz rocket emerged from a hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before sunrise Saturday for rollout to Launch Pad No. 1 at the Central Asia space base, moving into position for liftoff Monday with a U.S.-Russian-Canadian crew heading for the International Space Station.

The Soyuz-FG rocket’s rail journey to the same starting point used on Yuri Gagarin’s historic first trip into space in 1961 occurred in the early morning, a traditional time for the transfer of Russian rockets from their hangars to their launch pads.

But for the first time since 1984, a Soyuz launcher rolled out with a crew capsule on-board to return the venerable Russian spaceship to service following a rocket failure. In that instance, the Soyuz was returning to flight after an on-pad emergency abort in September 1983, triggered to whisk two Soviet cosmonauts to safety after their Soyuz rocket caught fire during the final countdown.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

NASA’s InSight Mission Triumphantly Touches Down on Mars

NASA’s InSight lander completed its seven-month interplanetary journey of nearly 500 million kilometers in dramatic style on Monday, slamming into the Martian atmosphere at a speed of nearly 20,000 kilometers per hour. Only six-and-a-half harrowing minutes later, after ejecting its heatshield, deploying a supersonic parachute and firing retrorockets, its speed had dramatically slowed to a jogging pace after traversing the 130 kilometers between Mars’s upper atmosphere and the planet’s arid surface.

According to mission controllers here at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, InSight’s entry, descent and landing (EDL) phase was completed without a hitch and the $850 million lander touched down shortly after 2:50 P.M., Eastern time.

Read more at: Scientific American

Small Launch Vehicle Industry Entering Key Period

The next two years will be a key period for the small launch vehicle industry as several companies prepare for first flights of their vehicles and try to find their niche in a market of uncertain size.

During a panel discussion at the SpaceCom Expo here Nov. 27, representatives of three small launch vehicle developers said they expected to carry out their first orbital launches in the next year with hopes of quickly scaling up to meet demand they expect from government and commercial customers.

“We see the next two years as being really critical for this industry,” said Stephen Eisele, vice president for business development at Virgin Orbit. “2019 is going to be a year where we’re going to finally start seeing these commercial smallsat dedicated launch vehicles come to the fore and start launching more regularly, proving business cases for the smallsat market.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Former Air Force General Picked To Lead FAA Commercial Space Office

The Federal Aviation Administration has named an Air Force general who previously ran the launch facilities at Cape Canaveral as the new head of its commercial space office.

The FAA announced Nov. 29 that Wayne Monteith will become the next associate administrator for commercial space transportation, effective Jan. 20. Monteith is an Air Force brigadier general who will formally retire from the service Dec. 1.

Monteith had served, from August 2015 until this past August, as commander of the 45th Space Wing, responsible for operations of the Eastern Range that supports launches from Cape Canaveral.

“General Monteith is a proven leader with extensive experience who will help us accelerate innovation while protecting public safety,” Dan Elwell, acting FAA administrator, said in a statement. “I’m pleased to welcome General Monteith to our team, and I look forward to working with him to ensure we remain on the cutting edge of this burgeoning industry.”

Bio: Brigadier General Wayne R Monteith

Read more at: Spacenews

How SpaceX Will Conduct an Inflight Abort Test for Crew Dragon

The FAA has published its draft environmental assessment for issuing a launch license for SpaceX’s upcoming in-flight abort test for the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The following excerpts describe how Elon Musk’s space company will conduct the test next spring from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A).

Selected Excerpts

The abort test is currently scheduled for 2019. The abort test would involve observation, photography, and debris management associated with the breakup of the Falcon 9 first and second stages.

The launch scenario where an abort is initiated during the ascent trajectory at the maximum dynamic pressure (known as max Q) is a design driver for the launch abort system. It dictates the highest thrust and minimum relative acceleration required between Falcon 9 and the aborting Dragon. As the in‐flight abort would occur during the first stage portion of the launch trajectory, the second stage of Falcon 9 would be simplified.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Bridenstine: Spacex, Boeing Safety Review Prompted By Past Tragedies, Not Just Musk

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said today that the recently announced safety review of the two commercial crew contractors was his decision.  In a meeting with reporters, he explained that investigations of past fatal human spaceflights cited workplace culture as a contributing cause and he wants to get ahead of the issue before crews launch on the Boeing and SpaceX systems, not after something goes wrong.  While SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s recent behavior was “not helpful,” he would have ordered the safety review anyway.

The first crewed flights of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon are expected next year.  Both are being developed as public-private partnerships where the government and the companies both pay for development and the government, in this case NASA, guarantees to purchase a certain amount of services.  The goal is a commercially-provided service where NASA is just one of many customers resulting in lower costs than if the agency used traditional procurement mechanisms.

Read more at: Space policy online

There’s Drug-Resistant Bacteria in the Space Toilets, Guys

Cleaning a toilet in space is no more fun than cleaning one on Earth, but it can lead to more interesting surprises. Case in point: NASA scientists have discovered four previously unknown strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria lurking in the loos aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

In a new study published Nov. 23 in the journal BMC Microbiology, a team led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California analyzed several bacterial samples collected from around the ISS in 2015. That included four samples from the lavatory’s waste and hygiene compartment. In these four space-toilet samples, plus one sample taken from the foot platform of a piece of resistance-training exercise equipment, the researchers identified five previously unknown strains of Enterobacter bacteria — a genus with high resistance to antibiotics that often infects hospital patients who have compromised immune systems.

Full article

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Indian Rocket Launches 31 Satellites to Orbit

An Indian rocket successfully lofted 31 satellites to Earth orbit late Wednesday night (Nov. 28), just a few days before the scheduled liftoff of a SpaceX booster that’s even more jam-packed.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, on India’s southeast coast, at 11:27 p.m. EST (0427 GMT and 0957 local Indian time on Nov. 29).

The PSLV’s primary payload was the 840-lb. (380 kilograms) HySIS satellite, whose main goal “is to study the Earth’s surface in the visible, near-infrared and shortwave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum,” officials with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) wrote in a statement after the successful launch.

Read more at:

Russian Space Firm Modernizes Proton-M Launch Control System

Russian Space Systems Company (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) has modernized the system of liftoff measurements for the launch compound of the Proton-M heavy carrier rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Company’s press office reported on Thursday.

“The last stage of the trials has been concluded, the system has been put into operation and is ready for work during the 2019 launch campaign. The measurement system is designed to monitor the condition of all the assemblies and systems of the launch compound. It controls all the stages of the preparations for the launch of a carrier rocket: its placement on the launch pad, fueling and the pre-launch preparation and gathers information during the launch,” the press office said in a statement.

Read more at: TASS

Boundary Of Space Being Reconsidered As Virgin Galactic Test Program Advances

As Virgin Galactic gets closer to its first suborbital flights into space, a potential change in terminology could make it easier for the company to achieve that milestone.

In an interview with CNN published Nov. 30, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said the company was within weeks of flying its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane into space. That vehicle, named VSS Unity, has been performing a series of powered test flights, most recently July 26.

“Space is difficult,” Branson said in response to a question that cited unnamed critics who didn’t believe the company would be able to reach space with SpaceShipTwo. “Obviously, we’d love to prove our critics wrong and I’m reasonably confident that, before Christmas, we will do so.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Future ISS Crew Needs No Extra Psychological Support Due To Aborted Launch – Scientists

Members of the future mission to the International Space Station (ISS) require no additional psychological support in connection with the the recent aborted space launch, a spokesperson for Russia’s Institute of Medicobiological Problems has told TASS.

“All kinds training, including psychological one, are being carried out as usual, no changes were introduced. No additional elements of psychological support are required for members of this expedition,” the source said.

A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 11. On board the spacecraft were Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin (the commander of the Soyuz MS-10) and NASA astronaut Nick Hague.

Read more at: TASS

Dedicated Rideshare Falcon 9 Launch Raises Satellite Tracking Concerns

As SpaceX prepares to launch a Falcon 9 carrying dozens of small satellites, some experts are worried that it will be difficult to track and identify the satellites once in orbit.

The Falcon 9 flying the SSO-A mission for Spaceflight Industries is currently scheduled to launch Dec. 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch, once scheduled for Nov. 19, was delayed first by additional inspections of the Falcon 9 and then by poor weather at the launch site. The launch slipped again from Dec. 2 in order to perform additional checks of the rocket’s upper stage, SpaceX announced late Dec. 1.

SSO-A is a “dedicated rideshare” mission with no large primary payload. Instead, the Falcon 9 is carrying 64 small satellites for a variety of government and commercial customers.

Read more at: Spacenews

What Happens When Materials Take Tiny Hits

When tiny particles strike a metal surface at high speed — for example, as coatings being sprayed or as micrometeorites pummeling a space station — the moment of impact happens so fast that the details of process haven’t been clearly understood, until now.

A team of researchers at MIT has just accomplished the first detailed high-speed imaging and analysis of the microparticle impact process, and used that data to predict when the particles will bounce away, stick, or knock material off the surface and weaken it. The new findings are described in a paper appearing today in the journal Nature Communications.

Mostafa Hassani-Gangaraj, an MIT postdoc and the paper’s lead author, explains that high-speed microparticle impacts are used for many purposes in industry, for example, for applying coatings, cleaning surfaces, and cutting materials. They’re applied in a kind of superpowered version of sandblasting that propels the particles at supersonic speeds.

Read more at: MIT

Galactic Garbage Collector Aims To Clean Up In Space

Mitsunobu Okada openly admits that Astroscale, the Singapore-based space debris removal company he founded in 2013, was born out of a mid-life crisis.

“I was 39 years-old, I was wondering, what’s life going to be when I’m 40?” the Japanese entrepreneur says. After 15 years in IT, and ready to move on from the software business he had founded in 2009, Okada decided to rekindle his teenage passion for space. But while he imagined a life filled with scientists talking about rocket systems or micro satellites, today he finds himself preoccupied with galactic garbage.

Astroscale is one of a small group of international businesses vying to be the first to develop a commercially viable way to bring down defunct satellites and capture a piece of an unusual, but potentially lucrative future market.

Read more at: Nikkei asia

NASA Takes A Tangible Step Back Toward The Moon With Commercial Program

NASA announced Thursday that it has partnered with nine companies to enable the delivery of small scientific payloads to the lunar surface. No money was exchanged up front, but the space agency said these companies would now be eligible to “bid” for contracts to deliver select experiments to the Moon.

Read more at: Arstehnica

Richard Branson Says Virgin Galactic Will Take People To Space Before Christmas

Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic is on the verge of a major achievement: It will send astronauts into space by Christmas.

The billionaire entrepreneur told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane this week he is “pretty confident” his space tourism venture can achieve its milestone by the end of the year. “We have a brilliant group of astronauts who literally believe 100% in the project, and give it their everything,” he said.

The first few trips to space will be flown by test pilots without anyone else on board. Branson says he will be the first passenger. Eventually, paying tourists will also make the trip. “I’m not allowed up until the [test pilots] have broken it in a few times, first,” he said. “I would love to have gone on this very [first] flight, but [pilots] are incredibly brave people.”

Read more at: CNN

Spacex Set To Launch Crs-16 Dragon To ISS

Following the successful static fire test of a Block 5 Falcon 9 booster on Friday, Nov. 30, SpaceX appears ready to launch its Dragon resupply spacecraft on the company’s 16th operational mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The mission, designated SpaceX CRS-16 (Commercial Resupply Services 16), is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Florida, at 1:38 p.m. EST (18:38 GMT) on Dec. 4, 2018. The weather forecast for the instantaneous (one second long) launch window appears to be favorable.

The Dragon spacecraft is loaded with 5,673 lbs. (2,573 kg) of crew supplies, scientific research equipment, and experimental hardware that will support the Expedition 57 and 58 crews in their work aboard the ISS.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Project Launched In Chongqing

China’s first global mobile satellite communication and internet space project via low earth orbit (LEO) satellites has been launched in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.

The project has drawn an investment of about 20 billion yuan (about 2.9 billion U.S. dollars) for its first phase, making it the largest investment for a single commercial aerospace program in China, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, which co-founded a company in charge of the project.

The project features hundreds of LEO satellites and a global data processing center, which can help realize global two-way communication in real time under complicated geological conditions 24 hours a day upon completion.

Read more at: Xinhuanet

Amazon-Lockheed Venture Casts Shadow On Ground Station Startups

A  joint effort by Amazon and Lockheed Martin to provide ground station services to satellite startups could pose a competitive threat to other startups offering similar solutions.

During a presentation at the AWS re:Invent conference Nov. 27 in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin to provide satellite ground stations as a service, similar to other cloud computing applications it offers to its customers. The AWS Ground Station service will use a network of ground stations called Verge developed by Lockheed.

The creation of AWS Ground Station was based on feedback from customers who use other AWS cloud computing services, such as storage and processing, for satellite data. “What these customers tell us all the time is that it’s not so simple dealing with satellites if you actually want to be able to upload and download data,” said Andy Jassy, chief executive of AWS, during the presentation.

Read more at: Spacenews

What ISS Taught Us In the Past 20 Years

Twenty years ago today, the International Space Station’s first assembly mission launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazhakstan. The payload: the Zarya module, which kept the station fueled and aligned during its early assembly, and whose name, poetically, means “sunrise.”

It was the dawn of the ISS age—a period, two decades and counting, that has seen humankind dramatically extend its understanding of space and of itself, particularly how its frailties might be magnified or diminished in the strange environments that await beyond our home planet.

Zarya was originally designed with an operational life span of 15 years, but in 2013, a team of Russian engineers cleared it to remain in space through 2028. Zarya is an overachiever, as is the space station itself—it has produced scientific advancements in an incredible variety of fields, and these are just some of them in its 20-year life span.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Secret Rocket Company Could Bring Jobs, Investment To Space Coast

Space Florida is closer to finalizing a deal with a secret commercial rocket launch company that could bring 239 more jobs to Brevard county.

Its code name is “Project Maricopa” and Space Florida officials said the company is willing to invest $52 million into the Space Coast.

At a board meeting in Orlando, Space Florida received approval to broker a deal with the Florida Department of Transportation to provide up to $18 million for infrastructure upgrades. In return, the company will create 239 jobs with an anticipated annual wage of around $70,000 with benefits.

The company would manufacture its rockets at Exploration Park, a facility south of the Kennedy Space Center, and launch from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 20.

Read more at: wmfe

Space Could Fry Your Phone: How Space Tourists Can Protect Their Electronics (and Data)

Before the space-tourism industry takes flight and passengers start taking their electronic devices into orbit, there had better be a way for travelers to protect their digital data from the harsh environment of space.

Between the radiation and the effects of microgravity, the typical smartphone, tablet or laptop may malfunction before you have the chance to tweet your amazing photos of Earth. Add NASA’s worries about hackers intercepting communications and even commandeering control of satellites in space, and our electronic devices and the data they contain become even more vulnerable.

If and when your personal electronic devices succumb to these vulnerabilities in space, whether it’s during a suborbital flight on SpaceShipTwo or an extended stay at a luxury space hotel, there will likely be no resident IT expert aboard your spacecraft. And without a working mobile device, you’ll have a hard time calling tech support back on Earth.

Read more at:

Russian Space Launches’ Incident Rate Matches World Level, Says Roscosmos

The analysis of Russian space launches’ statistics shows that their incident rate corresponds to world figures, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos said in its annual report posted on its website on Friday.

“The analysis of statistical data shows that the integrated index – the share of launchers’ failure out of the overall number of launches (on an accrual basis) measures 5.29% for Russia and, therefore, generally complies with the world level (EU countries – 3.1%, China – 4.25% and the United States – 5.56%),” the document says.

The report notes that the Russian space agency failed to avoid incidents while implementing the launch plan in 2017, despite measures taken to meet the requirements of quality and reliability.

Read more at: TASS

Korea Successfully Flight-Tests Rocket Engine [VIDEO]

Korea successfully test-launched a first-stage rocket booster powered by a domestically developed engine, Wednesday, paving the way for the development of the nation’s first space vehicle entirely designed and built in the country.

The 75-ton-thrust engine was fired up and launched the first-stage rocket at the Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, at 4 p.m., as part of the country’s long-term project to launch the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-2 (KSLV-2), dubbed Nuri, in 2021.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said it achieved an engine burn-time of 151 seconds, which exceeded its goal. It earlier said the test launch would be considered a success if the engine maintained a burn-time of about 140 seconds.

Read more at: Koreatimes

Space Exploration Must Be for All

On Monday, NASA landed the InSight lander on the surface of Mars. Over the next three months, the lander will use its various scientific instruments to collect data from the interior of the planet. This data will be used to better understand the planet’s geological history, which will deepen our understanding of Earth’s own history. The InSight lander represents a major milestone toward many world superpowers’ ultimate goal of human colonization of Mars.

What’s interesting about this recent success is that it was a NASA mission; a lot of recent discussion about the colonization of Mars has been focused on SpaceX and the ambitious, possibly unattainable, plans laid out by CEO Elon Musk. While Musk has been in the news cycle for some questionable actions, discussion of a Mars space race has already begun, and the inclusion of private entities raises serious questions about the nature of interplanetary space law.

Read more at: Nyunews

Russian Space Program In ‘Crisis’ As David Saint-Jacques Set To Blast Off

As Russia prepares to blast Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques into orbit next week, back on Earth, its space program is confronting existential questions about its ability to find a niche in a rapidly evolving sector and stay relevant.

Saint-Jacques’ mission, his first trip into space, will also be the first manned trip to the International Space Station (ISS) since the failed Soyuz MS-10 launch on Oct. 11. The Dec. 3 event will be a moment of reckoning for Roscosmos, Russia’s version of NASA.

Russia’s space agency is facing nothing short of an existential crisis, said Pavel Luzin, a space analyst and university professor in the Russian Ural city of Perm.

Read more at: CBC

Training the Space Force: How the Military Will Prepare for Future Battles

When President Donald Trump announced earlier this year that he was asking the U.S. military to begin the process of establishing a sixth armed service that would focus on space, Washington pundits and analysts wasted no time lauding or decrying the move.

Although details on what a future space force could look like are still nebulous and the reorganization requires congressional approval, industry is already thinking about how it can provide future space warriors with simulators and training equipment to prepare for battle.

While these skirmishes likely won’t include hand-to-hand combat in full astronaut gear, space warriors will need to understand how to deal with hostile actions from adversaries that could include everything from electronic warfare attacks that jam signals, or even missile strikes that obliterate key satellites, experts have said.

Read more at: National Defense Magazine

UK Will Not Use EU’s Galileo For Defence, Key Infrastructure Post-Brexit – May

Britain will not use the European Union’s Galileo space project for defence or critical national infrastructure after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday.

A row over Galileo, which the bloc is developing to rival the U.S. Global Positioning System, erupted earlier this year when London accused the EU of shutting British businesses out of the project before Britain’s exit next March.

The EU has said its rules prohibit it sharing sensitive security information with countries outside the bloc.

Britain will explore options to build its own Global Navigation Satellite System to help guide military drones, run energy networks and provide essential services for civilian smart phones, May’s office said. It will also work with the United States to continue accessing its GPS system.

Read more at: Reuters

Space Force Idea Lacks Public Support, Survey Reveals

President Donald Trump’s calls for a new military branch for space win loud cheers at his political rallies. But the American public at large is not sold on the idea, according to a new survey by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.

The survey shows a deep partisan divide over the Space Force and other national security issues. “President Trump’s proposal to create a new U.S. Space Force lacks broad public support,” the foundation reported. “Americans are split down the middle on the idea, with Republicans favoring the idea over Democrats by 2:1.”

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute released results of its inaugural National Defense Survey on Friday to coincide with the kickoff of the 2018 Reagan National Defense Forum at the presidential library in Simi Valley, California. The survey found deep political and social polarization characterizing American civic life today is reflected in Americans’ views of national security and military.

Read more at: Spacenews

Don’t Let Space Become The Next Military Battleground

President Donald Trump’s recent proposal for a military-oriented Space Force has renewed a debate that occurred at the outset of American space exploration 60 years ago: Should issues associated with exploring the heavens be controlled by the military or by a civilian organization?

In 1958, embarrassed by the Soviet Union’s triumphant launch of Sputnik, President Dwight Eisenhower could have easily turned space matters over to the military on a permanent basis. Instead, his solution was to create a dual track, with the more visible agency — the National Aeronautics and Space Administration — being civilian-led.

That is a precedent with the Trump White House should follow.

Read more at: Delaware online

Air Force Commander: Strategy To Fight China In The Pacific Brings Greater Attention To Space

Just four months into his tour as Pacific Air Forces Commander, Gen. C.Q. Brown Jr. is quickly getting up to speed on the benefits and vulnerabilities of space systems.

“This is an area that I’m actually learning a lot more about,” Brown told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.

A component of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Pacific Air Forces, or PACAF, is headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Brown commands 46,000 airmen whose primary mission is to provide air and space power in the Asia-Pacific region.

Brown said his plans to prepare for future air and space warfare are being shaped by the Defense Department’s National Defense Strategy, which emphasizes military readiness for “great power competition.” For PACAF, this means, among other things, equipping and training for the possibility of a large-scale conflict in the South China Sea.

Read more at: Spacenews

Why Do We Put Telescopes in Space?

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into Earth’s orbit in 1990 over 25 years ago. The Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble’s infrared sister, just celebrated its 15th anniversary in space. Multiple X-ray observatories, including the Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton, and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (or NuSTAR) are also surveying the sky from their perches in space, high above the ground here on Earth. In the next decade, NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope, the next generation Hubble and Spitzer, which will orbit the Sun.

Putting a telescope in space has its limitations. For starters, it can’t be too big because it has to fit inside the rocket that launches it. Our ability to repair it is likewise limited should (knock on wood) anything go wrong. And lastly, to state the obvious, it’s pretty expensive. So why do we even do it?

Read more at: Scientific American

The Colonization Of Space

Humanity is inching closer to establishing colonies on other worlds. Is it really feasible? Here’s everything you need to know:

What’s the timeline?
The best guess is that humanity will set up shop on the moon or Mars or both sometime in the 2030s. NASA says it will develop the ability to establish a lunar colony within six years, but currently has no such plans. Russia says it will establish a lunar outpost by 2030, and China’s and Europe’s space agencies are toying with a moon base, too. Setting up a colony on Mars would be far more challenging. The tiny Dutch company Mars One claims it will send pioneers by 2032 — but few outside experts think this is feasible. Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to land two unmanned cargo ships on Mars in 2022. Four more will follow in 2024 — two of those manned. Musk said he wants Mars Base Alpha done by 2028 for the first colonists. NASA’s timeline calls for a round-trip manned mission to orbit Mars in 2033 and for a landing in 2039. But it has no current plans to establish a permanent colony there.

Read more at: Week

Commentary: Woke NASA Scientists Think ‘Exploration’ Is ‘Problematic’, Oppose Mars Missions

Adler astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz is the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, not to mention a guest star (as herself) on National Geographic’s Mars TV series. Cosmologist Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is with Department of Physics at the University of Washington, and fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. And together they are, counter-intuitively, not so keen on the exploration or colonization of Mars.

In fact, the very word “exploration” is inherently “problematic”, they would have us believe, as detailed in a panel discussion published at Gizmodo last week. It was highlighted Sunday by Powerline, with the observation that “if these folks had been with NASA in the 1960s, we’d have never made it to the moon.” That may seem like a snarky insult on the part of Powerline, but in fact it’s precisely the point that the scientists made.

Read more at: Blaze

Behind the Scenes of Recovering NASA’s Hubble

In the early morning of October 27, 2018, the Hubble Space Telescope targeted a field of galaxies not far from the Great Square in the constellation Pegasus. Contained in the field were star-forming galaxies up to 11 billion light-years away. With the target in its sights, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 recorded an image. It was the first picture captured by the telescope since it closed its eyes on the universe three weeks earlier, and it was the result of an entire team of engineers and experts working tirelessly to get the telescope exploring the cosmos once again.

“This has been an incredible saga, built upon the heroic efforts of the Hubble team,” stated Hubble senior project scientist, Jennifer Wiseman, at NASA Goddard. “Thanks to this work, the Hubble Space Telescope is back to full science capability that will benefit the astronomical community and the public for years to come.”

Read more at: Hubble site

Insurance For Manned Soyuz Spacecraft Launch Doubles After October 11 Faulty Liftoff

Sogaz insurer has won a tender to insure risks during the launch of a Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft and its docking with the International Space Station (ISS), according to information posted on the government procurement website on Friday.

The insurance cost has risen more than twofold after the faulty launch of the manned Soyuz spacecraft on October 11.

Sogaz will get 310.2 million rubles ($4.7 million) compared to the contract’s initial price of 344.65 million rubles ($5 million). The insurance coverage will amount to 4.78 billion rubles ($71.9 million).

Read more at: TASS

Elon Musk Says There Is A 70% Probability He Will Go To Mars After Recent Spacex ‘Breakthroughs’

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said there is a “70 percent” likelihood that he will personally go to Mars, speaking in an interview with Axios published Sunday.

Musk’s rocket company has “recently made a number of breakthroughs that I am just really fired up about,” he said. He did not elaborate on those new developments, instead focusing on his Mars colonization effort. “I’m talking about moving there,” Musk said.

Musk recently began speaking about his personal aspirations to fly in space, as he said in September he might join Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a trip around the moon planned for 2023. When SpaceX announced Maezawa as the first person to sign with the company for a private flight, Musk said he was “not sure” when he would go.

Read more at: CNBC

Jim Duffy Comment: Richard Branson And Elon Musk Threaten The Purity Of Space

Nasa, as part of the American push to get to the moon before the Russians, was heavily funded to be successful at all costs. The cost of the Apollo programmes and all that has happened since makes the eyes water. The space shuttle programme is estimated to have cost around $196 billion (£153bn), while the space station, a mere $50bn. All in all since its creation in 1958, Nasa has cost the US taxpayer in excess of $16bn a year, levelling off at more than $900bn. Certainly a big number in anyone’s playbook. But, while the costs have been huge, including loss of life, the vision, ingenuity and ambition have been awe inspiring and led others to want to go one better. And herein lies the problem for me.

Read more at: Scotsman

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Soyuz Crew Launch

Waking up from a feverish nap, I carefully rose from my airplane seat. Fellow Canadian journalist Sean Costello noticed I was awake. “I hope you’re feeling better, Elizabeth. This is going to get interesting.”

So began several hours of diplomatic negotiations as our plane — full of roughly 60 VIPs, journalists and astronaut family members en route to watch the launch of the Expedition 58 crew on a Soyuz rocket here — experienced a forced detour that is extremely rare for these chartered flights. A Russian Soyuz rocket is scheduled to launch three members of the International Space Station’s crew into orbit on Dec. 3.

Read more at:

From Moon Rocks To Astronaut Suits, Sotheby’s Has The Best Gifts For Space Fans

NASA-branded swag is having a fashion moment, and Sotheby’s has something even more special for the aerospace enthusiast on your holiday gift list. Tomorrow (Nov. 29) at 10am ET, the New York auction house will open bidding on a sale of art and memorabilia related to space exploration.

The lot expected to fetch the highest price is a group of three tiny lunar rocks collected by a Soviet lunar probe in 1970, which Sotheby’s estimates could sell for $1 million. In addition to those moon rocks and a full 1960s-era space suit, Sotheby’s offers some slightly more modestly priced memorabilia that will look better framed.

Rocket Billionaires author and Quartz reporter Tim Fernholz says he would bid on the technical drawing depicting the various stages of a landing system’s deployment, were he himself a rocket billionaire. And Quartz Things editor David Yanofsky has his eye on a mosaic of 124 photographs of Saturn’s rings, captured by Voyager 1.

Read more at: QZ

New-Found Debris Believed From Flight MH370 Handed To Malaysia Govt

Relatives of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Friday handed over new-found debris believed to be from the ill-fated plane, hoping it could help shed light on the jet’s mysterious disappearance four years ago.

The Boeing 777 jet with 239 people on board vanished on March 8, 2014 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur in the world’s greatest aviation mystery.

An official report released in July following a lengthy investigation and years of fruitless searching gave no new clues about why the plane disappeared, sparking anger among relatives. V.R. Nathan, whose wife Anne Daisy was on the ill-fated jet, told AFP the debris consisted of five small plane parts found off Madagascar.

Read more at: Space daily

Abstract Deadline for 10th IAASS Conference

DEADLINE: 7 December 2018

Read more at: 10th IAASS Conference

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