Virgin Galactic Reaches Milestone Building SpaceShipTwo No. 3

SpaceShipTwo no. 3 (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic announced today that it has mated the fuselage and cabin of its next spaceship to the completed wing assembly. In addition, the two tail booms have been mated to the spaceship’s rear feather flap assembly. The completion of these two milestones brings assembly of the next SpaceShipTwo, planned to enter service after VSS Unity, a major step forward. 

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Video: Brad Pitt Speaks with NASA Astronaut Nick Hague Aboard ISS

Video Caption: “What’s a spacewalk like? What do you feel?” As NASA prepares to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024 under the #Artemis program, Brad Pitt is playing an astronaut in his latest film, Ad Astra. On Sept. 16 from NASA Headquarters in Washington, the actor spoke to astronaut Nick Hague about what it’s truly like to live and work in space.

Mackay Says: SpaceShipTwo Will Be “Safe, Reliable Commercial System”

The BBC visits Spaceport America. Safety claim begins at 6:46. Mackay also makes interesting claim about 15 years of development time.

Hey, BBC. If you’re going to visit New Mexico, for the sake of perspective, maybe talk to some of the folks who paid for the spaceport about all the benefits they were promised when they agreed to fund it.

JAXA, UAE to Cooperate on Educational Project on Space Station

UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori holds Int-Ball training model. (Credit: MBRSC)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates will cooperatively perform an educational project that uses JAXA’s “Int-Ball”, a camera robot for the International Space Station, when the UAE astronaut gets on board the International Space Station for the first time.

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One Giant Leap for Lunar Landing Navigation Taken in Mojave

This map of the Moon shows the five candidate landing sites chosen by the Apollo Site Selection Board in February 1968. Photographs gathered during earlier uncrewed reconnaissance missions gave NASA information about terrain features. (Credit: NASA)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

MOJAVE, Calif., September 13, 2019 (NASA PR) — When Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, it first flew over an area littered with boulders before touching down at the Sea of Tranquility. The site had been selected based on photos collected over two years as part of the Lunar Orbiter program.

But the “sensors” that ensured Eagle was in a safe spot before touching down – those were the eyes of NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

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Michael Collins Honored with 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

Michael Collins

WASHINGTON,DC (NAA PR) – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce that Major General Michael Collins has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for … “his lifelong dedication to aerospace and public service in the highest order, both as a pioneering astronaut and inspired director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.”

Established by NAA in 1948 to honor the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the trophy is awarded annually to a living American for “…significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” One of the most important, historic, and visible aerospace awards in the world, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy reflects a timeline of the most innovative inventors, explorers, industrialists, and public servants in aeronautics and astronautics.

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A Closer Look at the Virgin Galactic-Social Capital Merger Deal

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo’s first flight above 50 miles on Dec. 13, 2018. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

As shareholders in Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia prepare to vote on an $808 million merger with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic on Monday, it seemed like a good time to take a closer look at it.

Fortunately, Virgin and Social Capital have filed a new 8K form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that includes an updated PowerPoint document titled Analyst Day Presentation that is dated Sept. 5.

The presentation is 100 slides long. I’ve gone through and excerpted the highlights so that you don’t have to. But, if you want to read the whole thing, visit this page and scroll down.

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NASA Study Links Genetics and Vitamin Status to Eye Changes

Astronaut Karen Nyberg, Expedition 37 flight engineer, performs an Ocular Health fundoscope exam in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

by Shaneequa Vereen
NASA Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — Recent research findings show a link between nutrition, genetics and ocular changes during bed rest, an analog of spaceflight. These findings support and extend earlier findings in astronauts and may point to potential low-risk countermeasures. 

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White House Includes Space in Top 5 Research Priorities

NASA’s Orion spacecraft that flew Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014 is seen on the South Lawn of the White House, Sunday, July 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. ( Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Trump Administration has included space research and development to support returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 under NASA’s Artemis program among its top R&D priorities for fiscal year 2021, according to a White House memo.

“Departments and agencies should prioritize in-situ resource utilization on the Moon and Mars, cryogenic fuel storage and management, in-space manufacturing and assembly, and advanced space-related power and propulsion capabilities,” the memo said.

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NASA Seeks Additional Input from U.S. Industry on Artemis Lander Development

Astronauts explore a crater at the lunar south pole. (Credit: NASA)

Update August 30, 2019 – NASA has issued a second draft of NextSTEP H, integrated human landing system. This updated draft reflects changes NASA has made to address industry feedback following the first draft that was issued in July. Draft 2 is available for download here: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=ad3d753a1fe588799b1eb002a91e4eb0&_cview=0.

Responses to draft 2 are due Sept. 6. NASA anticipates issuing the final solicitation this fall, with the intent to select providers this winter.  


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ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Endorses Lunar Gateway

Gateway with Orion over the Moon (Credit: ESA/NASA/ATG Medialab)

ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Joint Statement

The International Space Station (ISS) Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) met on August 6, 2019. Its members[1] acknowledged the recent 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission, praised the ongoing important work of the ISS, and discussed opportunities for the future of human exploration on and around the Moon and forward to Mars.  

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ILC Dover Introduces Line of Adaptive Commercial Spacesuits

Astro™ EVA (R), and Sol™ LEA (L) spacesuits. (Credit: ILC Dover)

FREDERICA, Del., August 28, 2019 (ILC Dover PR) — Space. Vast and unknown. Commercial spaceflight might barely make a dent in the enigma with more visitors but ILC Dover, maker of the spacesuits that took the giant leap on the Moon in 1969, is ready. The company recently rolled out its first line of commercial spacesuits this month with the launch of Astro™, the EVA (Extravehicular Activity) spacesuit, and Sol™, the LEA (Launch, Entry and Abort) spacesuit.

“These suits mark the next generation for ILC Dover,” said CEO Fran DiNuzzo. “We were at the forefront during the first manned space missions and helped change the world. We’re excited to do it again as we go back to the Moon and on to Mars.”

Building a More Personalized Spacesuit

Beyond Boundaries™ is more than just a saying for ILC Dover; it’s the foundation. Its engineers recognize that innovation, curiosity and the drive for excellence are at the forefront of human endeavor.

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Khrunichev Center, Boeing Agreed to Continue Zarya ISS Module Operation

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On August 27, 2019 during the first business day of the MAKS-2019 Air Show the Boeing company and the Khrunichev Center signed an agreement to prolong the contract on the Zarya functional cargo block of the International Space Station.

The companies reached the agreement, according to which the Khrunichev Center will supply the replaceable equipment to the ISS to ensure the Zarya module operation, as well as modernize the design to improve the technical capacities of the module in 2021-2024.

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Soyuz MS-13 Re-docks with Space Station; Soyuz MS-14 to Try Again

Soyuz MS-13 re-docked to the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On August, 26 the Soyuz MS-13 piloted spacecraft was successfully redocked from the Zvezda module to the Poisk module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.   

Earlier the crew including Alexander Skvortsov, Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan transferred into the spacecraft and closed the transfer hatches. After checking the sealing and carrying out the necessary preparations the crew prepared for undocking.   

At 03:35 UTC the Soyuz MS-13 detached from the ISS. After making a fly-around of the ISS, at 03:59 UTC it docked to the Poisk module. All the operations were performed by Alexander Skvortsov using the manual control system.   

The freed up Zvezda module berth will be used to dock the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft, which is scheduled for August, 27 at 03:12 UTC. The spacecraft test launch took place on August, 22 with its automatic docking to the ISS called off due to technical issues.

Study Started for Bacteria-free Space Missions

ESA’s Columbus space laboratory in 2014 during ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst’s six-month Blue Dot mission on the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

LUXEMBOURG (ESA PR) — Bacteria grow everywhere, including inside the International Space Station. That is why ESA has selected the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) to develop antimicrobial surface treatments for the interior of spacecraft.

The Luxembourg institute launched its 18-month research project dubbed “ESA NBactspace”, on 4 March 2019, with a view to ensuring the health and safety of astronauts during future missions.

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