Praise for Space Policy Directive 1

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Praise is pouring in for Space Policy Directive 1, the Trump Administration’s document that focuses the nation’s civilian space program on returning astronauts to the moon.

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) signed today by President Trump, formalizing the commitment made by the Administration during the first meeting of the National Space Council to reinvigorate America’s deep space exploration program. The signing ceremony in the White House West Wing was attended by Coalition President and CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar together with the President, Vice President, members of Congress, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and NASA astronauts – including Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who together with the late Captain Eugene Cernan were the last Americans to visit the Moon during Apollo 17 exactly 45 years ago.

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Ariane 5 Orbits Four Galileo Satellites

Ariane 5 launch on Dec. 12, 2017. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has successfully launched satellites 19, 20, 21 and 22 in the Galileo constellation, using an Ariane 5 heavy launcher on behalf of the European Commission (DG GROW) and under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The launch took place on December 12, 2017 at 3:36 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
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Video of Blue Origin New Shepard Flight

Video Caption: New Shepard flew again for the seventh time on Dec. 12, 2017, from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. Known as Mission 7 (M7), the mission featured the next-generation booster and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0.

Crew Capsule 2.0 features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall. M7 also included 12 commercial, research and education payloads on board.

Crew Capsule 2.0 reached an apogee of 322,405 feet AGL/326,075 feet MSL (98.27 kilometers AGL/99.39 kilometers MSL). The booster reached an apogee of 322,032 feet AGL/325,702 feet MSL (98.16 kilometers AGL/99.27 kilometers MSL).

Editor’s Note:  Jeff Bezos tweeted that an instrumented test dummy was on board the spacecraft.

Rocket Lab, SpaceX Reschedule Launches

First Electron rocket at launch site. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab has rescheduled its launch of its Electron rocket for Thursday. The launch window opens at 0130 UMT (8:30 p.m. EST Wednesday). The previous attempt was aborted with two seconds left in the countdown due to an issue with the booster’s liquid oxygen (LOx).

“Launch was aborted due to rising liquid oxygen temperatures – the result of a LOx chilldown bleed schedule not compatible with the warm conditions of the day,” the company said in a tweet. “The fix is simple. Next attempt tomorrow!”

SpaceX has rescheduled the Falcon 9 launch of a Dragon resupply ship to the International Space Station for Friday at 1535 UMT (10:35 a.m. EST).

“Taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2nd stage fuel system,” SpaceX said in a tweet. “Now targeting CRS-13 launch from SLC-40 on Dec. 15. Next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December.”

NASA Establishes Advisory Group for National Space Council

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has established a new advisory group on behalf of the National Space Council that will represent the expertise, interests and perspectives of non-federal aerospace organizations to the National Space Council.

The official charter for the Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) was signed by acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on Dec. 6, and subsequently announced in the Federal Register. It explains, in detail, the role, responsibilities and operation of the advisory group.

The UAG will advise and inform the National Space Council on a broad range of aerospace topics, including the impacts of U.S. and international laws and regulations, national security space priorities relating to the civil and commercial space sectors, scientific and human space exploration priorities, and ways to bolster support for U.S. space priorities and leadership in space.

The UAG will consist of between 15 and 30 members selected to serve in the capacity of either a representative or a special government employee (SGE). Representatives will come from non-federal aerospace organizations, such as private industry, and act as advocates for their sector. SGEs will be selected for their expertise in their particular aerospace field to provide objective advice. More information on the member nomination process will be made available later this month.

The charter is available online at:

https://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/acmd.html

Orbital ATK Awarded USAF Contract for Long-Duration Propulsion ESPA Spacecraft

ESPAStar space platform (Credit: Orbital ATK)

DULLES, Va., 11 December 2017 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced it has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missiles Center (AFSMC) to build LDPE, or the Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) space platform.

The innovative platform, positioned between the launch booster and a primary space vehicle, is used to carry small payloads or deploy small satellites.

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UK Incubator Boosts Funding for 4 Business Incubators

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has announced £200,000 ($267,000) of funding for 4 new business incubators to boost the number of start-up companies in the space sector across the UK.

The incubators, in Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire and London, will provide world-class science innovation support for entrepreneurs and small businesses to help grow the UK space industry.

The funding follows the launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy, which includes a £50 million programme to enable new satellite launch services and low gravity spaceflights from UK spaceports, to boost the economy and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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Space Florida, Made In Space Forge Financing Agreement

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT, December 11, 2017 (Space Florida PR) – In 2017, Space Florida forged a first-of-its-kind financing agreement with innovative in-space manufacturing company, Made In Space (MIS), Inc.

With operations in Jacksonville, Florida and in Silicon Valley, MIS is a market leader in the growing segment of in-space manufacturing. MIS products are utilized both in space and on Earth, and the company was the first to manufacture hardware off the planet.

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OSIRIS-REx Continues Cruise Toward Asteroid Bennu

This is an artist’s concept of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — OSIRIS-REx is continuing outbound cruise operations, en route to arrival in August of 2018 at the asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft is currently 29.6 million miles (47.6 million kilometers) from Earth and is executing a program designed to study and reduce the presence of water on the spacecraft.

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SpaceX Resupply Mission Slips to Wednesday

CAPE CANAVERAL (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 11:24 a.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 13th, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX requested additional time for prelaunch ground systems checks.

A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Saturday, Dec. 16.

NASA Television coverage for launch is as follows:

Wednesday, Dec. 13

  • 10:45 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
  • 12:30 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX

Saturday, Dec. 16

  • 4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture
  • 7:30 a.m. – Installation coverage

Watch live on NASA Television and the agency’s website: www.nasa.gov/live.

Join the conversation online by following @space_station.

Presidential Memorandum on Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program

Credit: Matt Wade

Presidential Memorandum on
Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program

SUBJECT:  Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program

Section 1.  Amendment to Presidential Policy Directive-4.

Presidential Policy Directive-4 of June 28, 2010 (National Space Policy), is amended as follows:

The paragraph beginning “Set far-reaching exploration milestones” is deleted and replaced with the following:

“Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.  Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;”.

Sec. 2.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(d) This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.

Donald J. Trump

Rocket Lab Aborts Electron Launch at Last Second

Rocket Lab aborted the launch of its Electron rocket just as the booster’s first stage engines began firing. The launch was scrubbed for the day as engineers analyzed the reason for the abort. The company has not announced the date for the next launch attempt.

This is the second flight test for the small satellite launcher from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The booster is carrying CubeSats for Planet and Spire Global. The first attempt failed back in May.

This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, Dec. 11, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PST (4-5:30 PM CST, 5-6:30 PM EST): We welcome back DR. RICHARD OBOUSY, theoretical physicist. Our guest will be discussing interstellar flight, advanced propulsion and much more. I suggest you watch his recent talk at the 2017 Starship Congress from early August. Just Google his name and the 2017 Starship Congress to see the video of his talk.

2. Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: We welcome CHRISTOPHER RICHINS of RBC Signals. This is a commercial company providing satellite ground service and communications to small sats and others.

3. Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017: 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, Dec. 15, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PST, (12:30 -2 PM EST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST) We welcome DR. ROBERT REYNOLDS, research scientist at the Mortality Institute. He recently completed a thorough study and evaluation, factually based, on heart disease among the Apollo lunar astronauts. His study is titled ” Mortality due to Cardiovascular Disease Among Apollo Lunar Astronauts.” See the archive page for this show as the link to his paper is posted there for your review. There is no firewall for the paper at this time but that will change in the near future so I suggest you download the paper sooner, not later.

5. Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017: 12-1:30 PM PST; 2-4:30 PM EST; 2-3:30 PM CST. Welcome to OPEN LINES. .All callers welcome. We talk about the topics you want to discuss. This will be the last Open Lines show for the year!

Blue Origin Scrubs for the Day

New Shepard in flight (Credit: Blue Origin)

Report indicates that Blue Origin scrubbed the launch of its upgraded New Shepard rocket and capsule this afternoon. The flight had been set for 1 p.m. EST (12 p.m. CST), then was pushed back an hour before being scrubbed. The uncrewed suborbital capsule is set to carry experiments.

No word on the cause of the scrub or when the flight might be rescheduled at Blue Origin’s test site near Van Horn, Texas. The company has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) to stay clear of the area during potential flight hours through Thursday.

This will be the first launch of a New Shepard suborbital system since October 2015. A new booster and spacecraft have been built incorporating upgrades based on lessons learned from the earlier series of six launches.

Trump Space Policy Directive Focused on Sending Astronauts Back to the Moon

President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviving the National Space Council. (Credit: The White House)

The ceremony will be live streamed at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-trump-participates-signing-ceremony-space-policy-directive-%E2%80%93-1Here’s a preview from the White House:

“The President, today, will sign Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD-1) that directs the NASA Administrator to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars.

Since the beginning of his Administration, President Trump has taken steps to refocus NASA on its core mission of space exploration by signing the NASA Transition Authorization Act, the INSPIRE Women Act, and an Executive Order on Reviving the National Space Council.

The President listened to the National Space Council’s recommendations and he will change our nation’s human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology.”

—Hogan Gidley, Deputy White House Press Secretary