Vice President Pence Talks Future Human Space Exploration at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Mike Pence

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Vice President Mike Pence, with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, will visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Thursday, Aug. 23, to discuss the future of human space exploration and the agency’s plans to return to the Moon as a forerunner to future human missions to Mars.

The event will be held at 12:45 p.m. CDT in the Teague Auditorium at Johnson and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Media Schedule (all times CDT):

  • 6:30-7:30 a.m. – Media call time and pre-set for video cameras and tripods
  • 7:30-9:30 a.m. – Venue access closed to press for security sweep
  • 9:30 a.m. – Media re-entrance
  • 12:45 p.m. – Event begins

Check out the latest on NASA’s plans for human space exploration at:

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/humans-in-space

Ice Confirmed at the Moon’s Poles

The image shows the distribution of surface ice at the Moon’s south pole (left) and north pole (right), detected by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument. Blue represents the ice locations, plotted over an image of the lunar surface, where the gray scale corresponds to surface temperature (darker representing colder areas and lighter shades indicating warmer zones). The ice is concentrated at the darkest and coldest locations, in the shadows of craters. This is the first time scientists have directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. (Credits: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of scientists has directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. These ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely, but sparsely spread.

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NASA’s InSight Passes Halfway to Mars, Instruments Check In

NASA’s InSight to Mars undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., ahead of its May 5 launch date. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s InSight spacecraft, en route to a Nov. 26 landing on Mars, passed the halfway mark on Aug. 6. All of its instruments have been tested and are working well.

As of Aug. 20, the spacecraft had covered 172 million miles (277 million kilometers) since its launch 107 days ago. In another 98 days, it will travel another 129 million miles (208 million kilometers) and touch down in Mars’ Elysium Planitia region, where it will be the first mission to study the Red Planet’s deep interior. InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

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Walkway Installed on Pad 39A for Crew Dragon Flights

Current Crew Dragon Flight Test Schedule
(to International Space Station)

Uncrewed Flight Test: November 2018
Crewed Flight Test: April 2019

Stratolaunch Announces New Launch Vehicles

Air-launched boosters (Credit: Stratolaunch)

SEATTLE, Wash. – August 20, 2018 (Stratolaunch PR) – Stratolaunch announces today its new family of launch vehicles that will enter regular service starting in 2020. The company’s unique air-launch system will use the world’s largest aircraft as a mobile launch platform, capable of deploying launch vehicles that will carry satellites to multiple orbits and inclinations on a single mission. With these new vehicles, Stratolaunch is poised to make access to space convenient, affordable, and routine.

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Russians to Launch Long-Delayed Module to Space Station Next Year

Multifunctional Laboratory Module (Credit: Khrunichev)

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has announced a new launch date — November 2019 — for the launch of its long-delayed Nauka multi-functional module to the International Space Station. Whether this new date will hold is anyone’s guess; the module’s launch will be a dozen years behind schedule by that point.

Nauka will serve as a scientific laboratory as well as a rest area for Russian astronauts aboard the space station. The module will include an airlock for experiments, crew quarters, a galley and a toilet. Nauka also includes a docking port for Soyuz and Progress spacecraft and a European-supplied robotic arm.

Construction of the Nauka module began in 1995. It was originally a backup for the Zarya module, which was the first element of space station launched in November 1998.

With Nauka no longer needed to back up Zarya, plans were made to convert it to a multi-purpose module with a launch scheduled for 2007. However, technical problems repeatedly delayed the launch.

In 2013, RSC Energia engineers found a leaking valve and contamination in Nauka’s fuel system.  The module was shipped back to Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center for repairs and cleaning.

The following year, Russian officials announced that Nauka would be further delayed because it needed a new propulsion system. The propulsion unit installed on the module had exceeded its warranty.

Three RSC Energia Officials Charged With Corruption

Russian authorities say they have arrested RSC Energia Deputy Director Aleksey Beloborodov with marked bills worth 500,000 rubles ($7,400) as well as $28,000 euros and dollars as part of a bribery investigation, according to CrimeRussia.com.

Beloborodov and two specialists in RSC Energia’s Department of Control and Auditing Activities — Oleg Pylnov and Ilya Shenderey — are charged with extorting a bribe from one of the company’s contractors that wanted to compete for a contract.

The online news site said that marked money was allegedly transferred to Pylnov and Shenderey, who then gave it to their boss. The pair decided to cooperate with the investigation after they were detained by authorities, the website said.

CASIS & Teledyne Brown Engineering Announce Remote Sensing Challenge

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), August 20, 2018 – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) today announced a sponsored program up to $4.5 million, offering researchers the ability to propose flight project concepts for the International Space Station (ISS) focused on remote sensing and Earth observation. Within this opportunity, up to $1 million will be available for researchers to support sensor development. Prospective awardees will utilize the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) platform, developed and managed by TBE. This funding opportunity will run through December 7, 2018.

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This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, August 20, 2018; 2-3:30 PM PDT (4-5:30 PM CDT, 5-6:30 PM EDT): We welcome back BRENT SHERWOOD of JPL with additional guests Dr. A. SCOTT HOWELL and DR. THEODORE W. HALL re LOP-G and more.

2. Tuesday, August 21, 2018: 7-8:30 PM PDT; 9-10:30 PM CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT: No show due to Mars Society Conference

3. Wednesday, 22, 2018: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, August 24, 2018; 9:30 AM-11 AM PDT, (12:30 -2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT): No show for Mars Society Conference

5. Sunday, August 26, 2018: 12-1:30 PM PDT; 2-3:30 PM CDT; 3-4:30 PM EDT. No Show for Mars Society Conference.

Colorado Air and Space Port Receives Spaceport License

BRIGHTON, Colo. (Adams County PR) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a site operator license to Colorado Air and Space Port after a 180-day review period, the 11th such license granted in the United States. Colorado Air and Space Port will serve as America’s hub for commercial space transportation, research, and development.

“Facilities like Colorado Air and Space Port will be developed around the country and the world,” said Mary Hodge, chair of the Adams County Board of Commissioners. “We’ll be building a hub that connects Colorado to commercial and research opportunities across the globe.”

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SSTL’s NovaSAR-1 & SSTL S1-4 Satellites to Launch on ISRO’s PSLV

NovaSAR-1 and SSTL S1-4 satellites in flight cases. (Credit: SSTL)

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed an agreement with Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), for the launch into a 580km sun-synchronous orbit of NovaSAR-1, a small Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, and SSTL S1-4, a high resolution Earth observation satellite. The two satellites will launch on PSLV-C42, due to lift-off in September 2018.

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U.S. Air Force Selects SSL to Define Next-generation Secure Satellite Communications


HERNDON, Va.,
August 16, 2018 (SSL PR) SSL, a Maxar Technologies company (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.) (NYSE: MAXR; TSX: MAXR), and a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, announced today that SSL was selected to help define next generation protected communications for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. SSL will develop, test and analyze antenna subsystem prototypes through a contract with the Space Enterprise Consortium, managed by Advanced Technology International. The award highlights SSL’s ability to contribute to U.S. leadership in space with novel concepts for the U.S. Department of Defense’s next-generation spacecraft systems.

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Russian to Spend Decade, $25 Billion on Super Heavy Launch Vehicle

Ergonomic testing has been conducted for the new Federation spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Russia is moving ahead with a decade-long, $25 billion (1.6 trillion ruble) program to create new super-heavy launch vehicles capable of lifting up to 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit (LEO), Tass reports.

The new boosters, known as Energia-3 and Energia-5, will incorporate technologies and elements of the Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket, which is now under development.

Soyuz-5 is designed to launch Russia’s new crewed spacecraft, Federatsiya (Federation), into Earth orbit. The Energia rockets will be used for lunar missions.

RSC Energia, which is developing the boosters, plans to test the Soyuz-5 rocket from 2022-25. The super-heavy booster would then be tested from 2028-2035 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

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Nominations Hearing Set for NASA Deputy Administrator, OSTP Director

Nominations Hearing

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10: 15 a.m. on Thursday, August 23, 2018, to consider three presidential nominees.

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations

Witnesses:

  • Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, of Oklahoma, to be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy [Questionaire]
  • Mr. James “Jim” Morhard, of Virginia, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [Questionaire]
  • Mr. Joel Szabat, of Maryland, to be Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the Department of Transportation [Questionaire]

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Thursday, August 23, 2018
10: 15 a.m.
Full Committee

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.