WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and beyond.
The missions – Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), InSight lander, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, OSIRIS-REx, and New Horizons – have been selected for continuation, assuming their spacecraft remain healthy. Most of the missions will be extended for three years; however, OSIRIS-REx will be continued for nine years in order to reach a new destination, and InSight will be continued until the end of 2022, unless the spacecraft’s electrical power allows for longer operations.
REDMOND, Wash. (Xplore PR) — Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space as a Service® today announced they are opening a satellite manufacturing facility in Redmond, Washington. Their new, state-of-the-art campus is a key step in the company’s mission to expand mass manufacturing of the XCraft® the company’s highly-capable, ESPA-class satellite, and the LightCraft™, Xplore’s highly-maneuverable spacecraft for deep space missions. The company will move into its new headquarters in June 2021.
Angela Birney, Mayor of the City of Redmond, said, “We are delighted that Xplore is establishing its headquarters in Redmond and employing Washington space professionals to grow the space economy.” She continued, “Redmond is a magnet for vision, technology, and talent. Xplore joins our community of thriving aerospace, high tech, and biotech companies, and thousands of small businesses where over 85,000 people are employed. Thank you for choosing Redmond.”
Now 50 times as far from the Sun as Earth, History-Making Pluto Explorer photographs Voyager 1’s location from the Kuiper Belt
LAUREL, Md. (NASA PR) — In the weeks following its launch in early 2006, when NASA’s New Horizons was still close to home, it took just minutes to transmit a command to the spacecraft, and hear back that the onboard computer received and was ready to carry out the instructions.
DENVER, April 7, 2021 (Voyager Space Holdings PR) — Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. (Voyager), a global leader in space exploration, today announced Jim Bridenstine will join the company’s advisory board as chairman. The former NASA Administrator will join an esteemed group of industry experts guiding Voyager as it continues on its mission to create a vertically integrated, publicly traded NewSpace company.
As NASA’s 13th Administrator, Bridenstine led the agency in advancing American aeronautic, science, and space exploration objectives including the introduction of NASA’s new human lunar exploration mission, the Artemis program.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, March 16, 2021 (Southwest Research Institute PR) — One of the most profound discoveries in planetary science over the past 25 years is that worlds with oceans beneath layers of rock and ice are common in our solar system. Such worlds include the icy satellites of the giant planets, like Europa, Titan and Enceladus, and distant planets like Pluto.
DENVER (Voyager Space Holdings PR) — Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. (Voyager), a global leader in space exploration, today announced the appointment of Marian Joh to the company’s Board of Directors. Joh joins esteemed industry experts National Security Expert and four-star Air Force General William Shelton, leading investor Gabe Finke, world leading planetary scientist, Dr. Alan Stern, and former undersecretary of technology Dr. Cheryl Shavers. Joh will serve as an advisor to Voyager as the company moves closer to its overall goal of delivering any mission humans can conceive.
Joh joins Voyager on the heels of another recent appointment: in January, the company added noted public company director Dr. Cheryl Shavers to its Board. This continued momentum follows Voyager’s record-breaking 2020, which included the announcement of its intent to acquire X.O. Markets and its largest subsidiary, commercial space services provider, Nanoracks. Additionally, Eric Stallmer was tapped to lead Voyager’s East Coast expansion as Executive Vice President.
SANTA FE, NM (Solstar Space PR) — Solstar Space Company, the world’s first in-flight internet service provider for astronauts and space researchers is honored to announce that Dr. Alan Stern has joined Solstar as an advisor.
First of three additional flight tests set for later this month
Richard Branson scheduled to fly on third flight test in Q1 2021
New SpaceShipTwo set to rollout in Q1 2021
LAS CRUCES, N.M., November 5, 2020 (Virgin Galactic PR)– Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or the “Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, October 14, 2020 (SwRI PR) — A Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) planetary scientist has been chosen to be among the first group to conduct NASA-funded science experiments while flying aboard a commercial spacecraft, the space agency announced today.
1. Monday, July 6, 2020; 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) No special programming for this date.
2. Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) We welcome back ROBERT (BOB) ZIMMERMAN for space news and policy updates plus more.
3. Wednesday, July 8, 2020; Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.
4. Thursday, July 9, 2020: 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT): No special program today.
5. Friday, July 10, 2020; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT. We welcome back DR. JIM VEDDA with DR. GEORGE POLLOCK of The Aerospace Corporation re their Center For Space Policy And Strategy paper, “Cislunar Stewardship: Planning For Sustainability And International Cooperation.”
6. Sunday, July 12, 2020 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): DR. ALAN STERN returns for news regarding Pluto, New Horizons and more.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to keynote conference
SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 27, 2020 (NSRC PR) — Since its debut in 2010, the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) has rapidly become the largest gathering of suborbital researchers and educators in the world, providing an invaluable forum for information, discussion, coordination and networking in this community.
NSRC-2020, to be held at the Omni Interlocken hotel in Broomfield, Colorado, March 2-4, will bring together vehicle providers, spaceport operators, government officials, industry leaders and hundreds of researchers and educators to engage in a variety of presentations, panels, workshops and networking opportunities. The NSRC conference series is jointly led by Southwest Research Institute and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In a fitting tribute to the farthest flyby ever conducted by spacecraft, the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 has been officially named Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning “sky” in the Powhatan/Algonquian language.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released a report Friday with recommendations from the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) the agency established in response to a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and a recommendation from the NASA Advisory Council.
With NASA, international, and commercial entities planning bold missions to explore our solar system and return samples to Earth, the context for planetary protection is rapidly changing. NASA established the PPIRB to conduct a thorough review of the agency’s policies.
Planetary protection establishes guidelines for missions to other solar system bodies so they are not harmfully contaminated for scientific purposes by Earth biology and Earth, in turn, is protected from harmful contamination from space.
The board’s report assesses a rapidly changing environment where more samples from other solar system bodies will be returned to Earth, commercial and international entities are discussing new kinds of solar system missions, and NASA’s Artemis program is planning human missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars.
The report discusses 34 findings, and 43 recommendations from the PPIRB, which was chaired by planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute to address future NASA missions and proposed missions by other nations and the private sector that include Mars sample return, robotic missions to other bodies, eventual human missions to Mars, and the exploration of ocean worlds in the outer solar system.
“The landscape for planetary protection is moving very fast. It’s exciting now that for the first time, many different players are able to contemplate missions of both commercial and scientific interest to bodies in our solar system,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “We want to be prepared in this new environment with thoughtful and practical policies that enable scientific discoveries and preserve the integrity of our planet and the places we’re visiting.”
The PPIRB, comprised of a high-level team of 12 experts and stakeholders from science, engineering and industry, examined how to update planetary protection policies and procedures in light of current capabilities. Such guidelines have periodically been updated and inform exploration by spacefaring nations that have signed the Outer Space Treaty since the 1960s.
“Planetary science and planetary protection techniques have both changed rapidly in recent years, and both will likely continue to evolve rapidly,” Stern said. “Planetary protection guidelines and practices need to be updated to reflect our new knowledge and new technologies, and the emergence of new entities planning missions across the solar system. There is global interest in this topic, and we also need to address how new players, for example in the commercial sector, can be integrated into planetary protection.”
NASA plans to begin a dialogue about the PPIRB report’s recommendations with stakeholders, and international and commercial partners to help build a new chapter for conducting planetary missions, and planetary protection policies and procedures.
For more information about Planetary Protection, visit:
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 18, to discuss recommendations presented by the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB), established in June 2019 by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.
Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA’s website.
DENVER (Voyager Space Holdings PR) — Voyager Space Holdings Inc., the first space focused holding company in the world, today announced Matthew Kuta will join the team as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) and add three world class leaders to its Board of Directors.
As the market’s first vertically integrated NewSpace holding company, Voyager will help enable engineer founded and run subsidiaries to focus on the development of innovative products and services by centralizing shared service functions at the holding company level. The firm’s first in industry model is uniquely tailored to support the growth needs of commercial space companies by offering an alternative solution to traditional private capital models with a longer-term approach as a provider of permanent capital.