Axiom Space Wins NASA Approval for Construction of Commercial Space Station on ISS

Axiom space station (Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON, Jan. 27, 2020 (Axiom Space PR) — The human dream of universal access to living and working in space has drawn one step closer.

On Monday the National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected Axiom Space as the winner of the NextSTEP-2 Appendix I solicitation, which sought to grant access to the International Space Station’s Node 2 Forward port for a commercial space station that could ultimately serve as ISS’ replacement.

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NASA Selects First Commercial Destination Module for International Space Station

Axiom modules attached to the International Space Station. (Credit: Axiom Space)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Axiom Space of Houston to provide at least one habitable commercial module to be attached to the International Space Station as the agency continues to open the station for commercial use.

“NASA has once again recognized the hard work, talent, and experience of Houstonians as we expand the International Space Station and promote commercial opportunities in space,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. “I’m proud Axiom will continue to build upon Texas’ legacy of leading the nation in human space exploration.”

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OneWeb, Astana International Financial Centre Sign Partnership to Accelerate Connectivity in Kazakhstan

London and Nur Sultan, January 27, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global communications company, whose goal is to connect everyone everywhere, has announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), the largest financial hub in Central Asia, to accelerate broadband connectivity in Kazakhstan.

The MoU marks the start of a partnership focused on achieving two important goals in Kazakhstan and Central Asia: providing the first low-latency satellite broadband in Kazakhstan and establishing a technical hub in the country to support OneWeb’s communication service delivery across Central Asia.

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This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, Jan. 27, 2020; 7 PM PST (9 PM CST; 10 PM EST) No special programming today.

2. Tuesday, Jan. 28, 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT): No show today. It has been moved to Thursday of this week.

3. Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, Pre-recorded Hotel Mars Program with John Batchelor. See Upcoming Show on The Space Show website for details.

4. Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020: 7-8:30 PM PST (9-10:30 pm CST; 10-11:30 PM EST): We welcome DEEP PRASAD to discuss quantum computing and his new SETI Org. in Silicon Valley.

5. Friday, January 31,, 2020; 9:30-11 AM PST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST; 12:30-2 PM EST. We welcome back DR..NAMRATA GOSWAMI on China, Asia and national security space issues and news.

6. Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): We welcome back DR. GIL LEVIN & BARRY DiGREGORIO with news updates for Viking, searching for life on Mars and more.

Spaceport America Seeking Additional $92.6 Million for Improvements

Sunset at the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor/Publisher

It’s budget season again in Sante Fe. As usual, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) is seeking money for additional upgrades to Spaceport America.

The Albuquerque Journal has a story outlining a series of requests totaling nearly $93 million. I have helpfully summarized the information in the table below.

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How Earth Climate Models Help Scientists Picture Life on Unimaginable Worlds

Illustration of an exoplanet. (Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)

by Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — In a generic brick building on the northwestern edge of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, thousands of computers packed in racks the size of vending machines hum in a deafening chorus of data crunching. Day and night, they spit out 7 quadrillion calculations per second. These machines collectively are known as NASA’s Discover supercomputer and they are tasked with running sophisticated climate models to predict Earth’s future climate.

But now, they’re also sussing out something much farther away: whether any of the more than 4,000 curiously weird planets beyond our solar system discovered in the past two decades could support life.

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NASA to Pay Tribute to Fallen Heroes with Day of Remembrance

The crew of STS-107, the last flight of the space shuttle Columbia. From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon. (Credit: NASA)

NASA will honor members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery, including the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, during the agency’s annual Day of Remembrance Thursday, Jan. 30.

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SpaceX Starlink Launch Scheduled for Monday

60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)

Update: The launch was scrubbed due to high upper level winds. The next launch opportunity is Tuesday at 9:28 a.m. EST, or 14:28 UTC.

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Monday, January 27 at 9:49 a.m. EST, or 14:49 UTC, for its fourth launch of Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. A backup launch opportunity is available on Tuesday, January 28 at 9:28 a.m. EST, or 14:28 UTC.

The launch webcast will go live about 15 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast.

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ESA, Airbus Sign Contract for Bartolomeo Platform on ISS

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)

BREMEN, 23 January 2020 (Airbus PR)  – The Bartolomeo platform from Airbus gives new opportunities for research on the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency ESA has now firmly booked a payload slot for a Norwegian instrument to monitor plasma density in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Alsbury’s Name Added to Space Mirror Memorial

Scaled Composites pilot Mike Alsbury died in the break up of SpaceShipTwo Enterprise on Oct. 31, 2014. The memorial at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center includes pilots who died during spaceflight and those in training for them.

A New Tool for ‘Weighing’ Unseen Exoplanets

The NEID instrument, mounted on the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. The NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) partnership funds NEID (short for NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy). (Credits: NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory /KPNO/NSF/AURA)

TUCSON (NASA PR) — A new instrument funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation called NEID (pronounced “NOO-id”; sounds like “fluid”) will help scientists measure the masses of planets outside our solar system — exoplanets — by observing the gravitational pull they exert on their parent stars. That information can help reveal a planet’s composition, one critical aspect in determining its potential habitability.

NEID recently made its first observations on the WIYN 3.5-meter (11.5-foot) telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory when it studied 51 Pegasi, which in 1995 was the first Sun-like star found to host an exoplanet.

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NASA Determines Australian Meteor Crater is the Oldest Known

Yarrabubba meteor crater

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Earth is pocked with roughly 190 major meteor craters, yet scientists only know the age of just a few. Recently, A NASA scientist analyzed the age of the Yarrabubba meteor crater in Australia and found it to be 2.229 billion years old, making it now the oldest crater currently known.

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NASA TV to Air Departure of Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft from Space Station

The U.S. Cygnus space freighter is pictured as the Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Jessica Meir with fellow Flight Engineer Christina Koch as her back up, reaches out to grapple the 12th resupply ship from Northrop Grumman on November 4, 2019. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — More than two months after delivering several tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, the SS Alan Bean, will depart the orbiting laboratory on Friday, Jan. 31.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s release will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 9:15 a.m. EST, with release scheduled for 9:35 a.m.

Cygnus will demonstrate a new release position for departure operations and will incorporate the first ground-controlled release. The new orientation allows for easier drift away from the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

With Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir of NASA providing backup support, ground controllers will send commands to the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the unpiloted cargo spacecraft after ground controllers remotely unbolt the craft from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module and maneuver it into release position.

Within 24 hours of its release, Cygnus will begin its secondary mission – deploying a series of payloads – before Northrop Grumman flight controllers in Dulles, Virginia, initiate its deorbit and it executes a safe, destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere at the end of February.

More details of Cygnus’ mission and Expedition 61 crew activities can be found at:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Bridenstine Names New Director for Glenn Research Center

Marla Pérez-Davis

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has named Marla Pérez-Davis director of the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, effective immediately. Pérez-Davis has been serving as the acting director of Glenn since Oct. 1, 2019.

“I offer my sincere congratulations to Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis for being named NASA Glenn’s permanent director,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. “Through years of remarkable service at NASA, including Cleveland’s own NASA Glenn, Dr. Pérez-Davis has the experience necessary to successfully carry out the mission of the facility and lead the more than 3,000 employees and contractors across NASA Glenn and Plum Brook. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Pérez-Davis as NASA Glenn enters into a new era of exploration, discovery, and job-creating innovation.”​

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Astronauts Wrap Up Spacewalk Repair Job on Cosmic Ray Detector

A helmet cam attached to the spacesuit of astronaut Andrew Morgan pictures astronaut Luca Parmitano during the final spacewalk to repair a cosmic ray detector. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON — Expedition 61 crew members Andrew Morgan of NASA and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) concluded their spacewalk at 1:20 p.m. EST. During the 6 hour, 16 minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully completed leak checks for the cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and opened a valve to being pressurizing the system. Preliminary testing shows AMS is responding as expected.

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