NASA Receives More Than 12,000 Astronaut Applications

NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA, who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. The two are preparing for their first spacewalk together on Oct. 18, 2019, to replace a failed power controller on the International Space Station’s P6 truss structure. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — More than 12,000 people have applied to join NASA’s next class of astronauts, demonstrating strong national interest to take part in America’s plans to explore the Moon and take humanity’s next giant leap – human missions to Mars.

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Astronauts to Offer Inspiration During Isolation in #SpaceConnectsUs

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti working on the 3D Printer aboard the space station. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In Europe and around the world, we’ve been getting used to a different way of living in recent weeks. On Thursday, 26 March, ESA and long-time partner Asteroid Day will host #SpaceConnectsUs – a chance to connect across borders and hear from space explorers, artists, and scientists about how to manage ourselves and our environment as our communities battle a global pandemic.

#SpaceConnectsUs is an online event running from 16:00–21:00 CET (15:00–20:00 GMT) on ESA WebTV and ESA YouTube to help everyone practising social distancing or in isolation enjoy science, our home planet, and our dreams of the sky above us.            

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Frontier Development Lab Sets 2020 Challenges

The Frontier Development Lab (FDL) applies artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to space science to push the frontiers of research and develop new tools to help solve some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces. FDL is a public-private partnership with NASA in the USA and ESA in Europe.

FDL 2020 PROPOSED CHALLENGES

Note that this list is still provisional and while most challenges detailed here are confirmed to go ahead, some may be adapted or moved to 2021 based on capacity.

ASTRONAUT HEALTH

Long duration missions and cancer: A testbed for building causal inference methods

Can we use causal inference methods to understand the molecular basis of cancer in high radiation environments, such as a long duration stay on the Moon or Mars?

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An Astronaut’s Guide to Applying to Be An Astronaut

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is assisted out of the Soyuz MS-11 that returned her and crewmates Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency back to Earth on June 24, 2019, landing in a remote area near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, after 204 days aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

By Anne McClain
NASA Astronaut

About every four years, NASA accepts applications for a new class of astronauts. We in the astronaut office are thrilled and excited it is that time again! As someone who just went through this process a short seven years ago, I know how stressful it can be. It is hard to want something so badly for your whole life, to have a dream so magical that it has kept you up at night, then try to contain all that excitement while concisely describing your experiences and skills for complete strangers via an application form. So I wanted to share some thoughts for all those who find themselves in that position.

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NASA Accepting Applications for Astronaut Positions

NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA, who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. The two are preparing for their first spacewalk together on Oct. 18, 2019, to replace a failed power controller on the International Space Station’s P6 truss structure. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — For the first time in more than four years, NASA began accepting applications Monday for future astronauts. Aspiring Moon to Mars explorers have until 11:59 p.m. EDT Tuesday, March 31, to apply.

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NASA Recruiting More Astronauts

NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA, who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. The two are preparing for their first spacewalk together on Oct. 18, 2019, to replace a failed power controller on the International Space Station’s P6 truss structure. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As NASA prepares to launch American astronauts this year on American rockets from American soil to the International Space Station – with an eye toward the Moon and Mars – the agency is announcing it will accept applications March 2 to 31 for the next class of Artemis Generation astronauts.

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NASA to Honor New Astronauts on Friday

A new class of astronauts will graduate basic training on Jan. 10, 2020. They will join the active astronaut corps, beginning careers in exploration that may take them to the International Space Station, on missions to the Moon under the Artemis program, or someday, Mars. The 2017 class includes (top row) Matthew Dominick of NASA, Kayla Barron of NASA, Warren Hoburg of NASA, and Joshua Kutryk of CSA, (middle row) Bob Hines of NASA, Frank Rubio of NASA, Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons of CSA, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, and Jessica Watkins of NASA, (bottom row) Raja Chari of NASA, Jonny Kim of NASA, Zena Cardman of NASA, and Loral O’Hara of NASA. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will honor the first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program at 10:30 a.m. EST Friday, Jan. 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After completing more than two years of basic training, these candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.

The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The new graduates also will be available for in-person and remote media interviews following the ceremony.

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China’s Ambitious Plans to Dominate Cislunar Space

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s plans to achieve a commanding position in cislunar space. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is determined to establish a commanding position in cislunar space, seeing it as a strategic location from which to dominate the final frontier.

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Russia Mourns Passing of World’s First Spacewalker, Alexey Leonov

Alexey Leonov (Credit Rocosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos State Corporation is sad to announce the passing away of Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov.

The legendary Soviet cosmonaut No. 11 was the first human in the world to perform a spacewalk, was twice awarded with Hero of the Soviet Union title.

One of the first cosmonauts of the world space era, Alexey Leonov was committed to his Motherland and his cause, his name is lettered in gold in the world space exploration history.

Roscosmos State Corporation management and employees express deep condolences to the friends and relatives of Alexey Leonov. A telegram with condolences was sent to the friends and relatives on behalf of Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.

Alexey Leonov was 85 years old.

The visitation with Alexey Leonov will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, at Mytishchi Military Memorial cemetery, at 08:00 UTC.

Fly Your Experiment to the Space Station with Bioreactor Express Service

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli prepares the Kubik hardware. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is partnering with Kayser Italia to offer the Kubik facility on the International Space Station to commercial customers. The new Bioreactor Express Service allows users to conduct experiments in weightlessness.

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A New Journey into Earth for Space Exploration

Astronauts from five space agencies around the world take part in ESA’s CAVES training course– Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills. (Credit: ESA – A. Romeo)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Six astronauts, five space agencies and a fresh start into underground worlds to help prepare for living on other planets. ESA’s latest training adventure will equip an international crew with skills to explore uncharted terrains on the Moon and Mars, this time with a focus on the search for water.

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China De-orbits Tiangong-2, Looks Ahead to Permanent Space Station

China de-orbited its Tiangong-2 space station on Friday, ending a precursor mission to the establishment of a large, multi-module station beginning in 2020.

Launched on Sept. 15, 2016, Tiangong-2 hosted a 30-day visit by astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong beginning the following month. The Shenzhou 11 crew tested out the station’s life support and other systems, performed experiments, released a satellite, and grew rice and vegetables before returning to Earth after 33 days in space.

In April 2017, the Tianzhou-1 cargo ship docked with the space station. The automated ship refueled Tiangong-1 and un-docked and re-docked with the station twice in the months that followed. Tianzhou-1 subsequently separated from the station and was de-orbited on Sept. 22, 2017.

Tiangong-2 was 10.4 m (34 ft) long and weighed 8,600 kg (18,960 lb). That is about half the size of the Salyut 1 space station the Soviet Union launched in 1971.

The station’s predecessor, Tiangong-1, hosted six Chinese astronauts during two crew visits in 2012 and 2013.

China plans to launch the Tianhe-1 core module for a permanent space station in 2020. Two laboratory modules would be subsequently attached to the station over the next two to three years. The facility will be roughly the size of the Mir space station built by the Soviet Union beginning in 1986 and about one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station.

China has opened up its human spaceflight program to other nations. European astronauts have been training for flights to the new space station aboard Shenzhou vehicles. And China has offered to fly foreign experiments to the facility.

Building a Toolkit for the Moon Underwater

Testing ESA prototypes for geological sampling tools underwater. (Credit ESA/NASA-H.Stevenin)

COLOGNE, Germany (ESA PR) — As the world celebrates 50 years since the first lunar landing, the team at ESA’s astronaut centre is looking to the future of lunar exploration. This includes developing prototypes for rock and soil sampling equipment to be used on the Moon.

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Testing the Value of Artificial Gravity for Astronaut Health

Control room of DLR’s short-arm centrifuge (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, Germany, 21 March 2019 (EXSA PR) — Test subjects in Cologne, Germany will take to their beds for 60 days from 25 March as part of a groundbreaking study, funded by European Space Agency ESA and US space agency NASA, into how artificial gravity could help astronauts stay healthy in space.

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National Space Council to Meet Next Tuesday

Vice President Mike Pence addresses NASA employees, Thursday, July 6, 2017, at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Fifth Meeting of the National Space Council

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. CDT
Location: Saturn V Hall, Davidson Center for Space Exploration, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Panel 1: “Ready to Fly”

  • Gen. Les Lyles, USAF (ret.), former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • Col. Eileen Collins, USAF (ret.), former Shuttle commander
  • Dr. Sandy Magnus, former Shuttle astronaut

Panel 2: “Ready to Explore”

  • Dan Dumbacher, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Dr. Jack Burns, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Wanda Sigur, independent consultant