NASA Names Holly Ridings New Chief Flight Director

Holly Ridings is at her Flight Director console in the space station flight control room in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Nov. 17, 2008, for day four of the space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-126 mission. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has named Holly Ridings its new chief flight director, making her the first woman to lead the elite group that directs human spaceflight missions from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

(more…)

Japanese Billionaire is Passenger on SpaceX BFR Moon Flight

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX headquarters. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa was introduced on Monday as the customer for SpaceX’s planned circumlunar flight aboard the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

The 42-year old billionaire, who founded the clothing company Zozo (www.zozo.com) and collects high-priced art, said he plans to invited six to eight artists on the trip who would create works of art after returning home. The passengers could include painters, sculptors, film directors, architects, writers and fashion designers.

Musk praised Maezawa as brave to take the flight. “This is dangerous, let’s be clear,” Musk warned. “This is no walk in the park.”

Maezawa’s flight is tentatively scheduled to occur in 2023. SpaceX Founder Elon Musk admitted he was not sure of the date because BFR is still under development.

Musk said Maezawa made a significant deposit on the expensive voyage around the moon. The funds will help fund the development and testing of the reusable rocket/spacecraft, which Musk estimated will cost $5 billion.

Maezawa is calling his flight Dear Moon and has established a website, dearmoon.earth. The flight’s Twitter handle is @dearmoonmission.

New Artist’s Conceptions of SpaceX’s BFR in Flight Released

BFR in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk and SpaceX have tweeted some new artist conceptions of the BFR in flight.

BFR in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

Musk tweeted that there is now a “forward moving wing” near the nose.

BFR in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

The announcement of the first passenger signed for a trip around the moon aboard BFR will be webcast tonight at 9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT) from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

How NASA Goddard Tests Tools Astronauts Will Use to Explore Distant Worlds

Kelsey E. Young, a geologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who helps develop space-exploration tools, is using the handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer to investigate lava flow chemistry at Valentine Cave at Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake, California. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

When astronauts land again on the surface of another world, their limited resources will allow for a short window of time each day to explore their new surroundings. Instruments designed to quickly reveal the terrain’s chemistry and form will help them understand the environments around them and how they change over time.

To protect precious hours available for extraterrestrial scientific investigations, a team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland — the Goddard Instrument Field Team (GIFT) — is testing and refining the chemical-analyzing and land-surveying tools that will assist future human explorers of places like the Moon and Mars.

(more…)

5 Hazards of Human Spaceflight

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A human journey to Mars, at first glance, offers an inexhaustible amount of complexities. To bring a mission to the Red Planet from fiction to fact, NASA’s Human Research Program has organized hazards astronauts will encounter on a continual basis into five classifications. Pooling the challenges into categories allows for an organized effort to overcome the obstacles that lay before such a mission. However, these hazards do not stand alone. They can feed off one another and exacerbate effects on the human body. These hazards are being studied using ground-based analogs, laboratories, and the International Space Station, which serves as a test bed to evaluate human performance and countermeasures required for the exploration of space.

(more…)

NASA Completes Orion Parachute Tests for Missions with Astronauts

An Orion test capsule with its three main parachutes touches down in the Arizona desert Sept. 12. (Credit: NASA)

YUMA, Ariz. (NASA PR) — NASA has completed the final test to qualify Orion’s parachute system for flights with astronauts, checking off an important milestone on the path to send humans on missions to the Moon and beyond.

(more…)

New Coalition Formed to Revive Canadian Space Program


A new coalition of industry, academic and interest groups has launched  a campaign called Don’t Let Go Canada in an effort to bolster the Canadian space program.

“While other countries have been increasing their investments in space, Canada has fallen from 8th place in 1992 to 18th place (% of GDP), and hasn’t had a long-term plan to guide Canada’s investments for decades,” the group said on its website.

“The economic stakes of space participation are higher than ever. The global space market is worth over USD $380B today; analysts forecast it will grow to be a multi-trillion-dollar market in coming decades,” the website states. “Ambitious governments are staking their claims. Luxembourg plans to be the leading country in space mining; the UK aims to capture 10 percent of the global space market by 2030.”

Among the members of the coalition are MDA, Honeywell, Magellan Aerospace, ABB, AIAC, Neptec, Canadian Space Society, Canadian Astronautics and Space Institute, and The Planetary Society. A full list of members is on the organization’s website.

The group is calling for a properly funded, long-term Canadian Space Strategy to guide the nation’s efforts. One pressing concern is a decision on whether Canada will participate in the U.S.-led Lunar Gateway program, which will place a human-tended station in orbit around the moon.

SpaceX to Reveal First Passenger for BFR Circum-lunar Flight on Monday


HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle – an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space.

Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17 at 6pm PT.

Editor’s Note: SpaceX announced in February 2017 to send two people around the moon aboard a modified Crew Dragon spacecraft using a Falcon Heavy booster.  The two individuals had already paid significant deposits toward the flight, which was to have taken place late this year.

In Febraury 2018, Musk announced that he had scrapped plans to use the Falcon Heavy and Crew Dragon. Instead, the BFR would be used for the cicum-lunar flyby. Musk said earlier this year that BFR could be ready for flights beyond Earth orbit in 2022.

 

Bone Cells Round Trip to Space, Rinse and Repeat

Alexander Gerst exercising on the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Noordwijk, The Netherelands (ESA PR) — The bones in your body are constantly dissolving – but don’t worry, healthy people naturally create new cells daily to repair and keep your bones strong. This process of disappearing bone is called osteoclast and its rebuilding at the cellular level is called osteoblast.

(more…)

Competition Seeks University Concepts for Gateway and Deep Space Exploration Capabilities

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — To enable human expansion across the solar system, NASA is working with private companies and international partners to develop the Gateway, an outpost for crewed missions to the Moon that also supports scientific discovery and opportunities for a lunar economy.

The agency is involving college students and faculty with the adventure of human space exploration through the 2019 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition. RASC-AL is seeking proposals from the university community in four categories related to the Gateway and supporting capabilities that will establish a long-term human presence in deep space near the Moon and on the lunar surface.

(more…)

India, France to Cooperate on Human Spaceflight

BENGALURU, India (CNES PR) — Announcing the establishment of a French-Indian working group dedicated to cooperation in the field of manned spaceflight, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and ISRO President K Sivan have concretized one of the main commitments made by the President of the Republic during his state visit to India.

CNES and ISRO will pool their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.

(more…)

NASA Releases RFP for Lunar Gateway Power & Propulsion Element

Boeing Deep Space Gateway (Credit: Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released the final version of the Power and Propulsion Element Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Lunar Gateway on Sept 6.

NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed. It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications.

(more…)

Video: Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques Trains for Space Station Mission

Video Caption: David Saint-Jacques has done years of training to be ready for a space mission. Since his assignment to the crew of Expedition 58/59, he has taken customized training on the International Space Station and its various modules, the Soyuz spacecraft, Canadian and international science, and a variety of mission-specific tasks. His training has taken him to Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States. David Saint-Jacques will fly to the International Space Station in December 2018. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

Useful Links

Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques – Mission: http://asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/exp…

Expedition 58/59: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions…

Find out more about this video: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/search/v…

Creating Dynamism in Indian Space Ecosystem

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — The Sixth edition of the Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX-2018) took off with the theme — Creating dynamism in the Indian space ecosystem — with specific focus on enabling new space players in India. This event provided a single platform for the interaction of hundreds of delegates with specialists, entrepreneurs and space industry heavyweights.

The event is organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in association with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Antrix Corporation Limited. More than 700 delegates are participating in this Asia’s largest event on Space, Satellites and Launch Vehicles.

Inaugurating the event, Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space, called upon the industry to take active part in all ongoing and future space missions.

(more…)