This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, Dec. 11, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PST (4-5:30 PM CST, 5-6:30 PM EST): We welcome back DR. RICHARD OBOUSY, theoretical physicist. Our guest will be discussing interstellar flight, advanced propulsion and much more. I suggest you watch his recent talk at the 2017 Starship Congress from early August. Just Google his name and the 2017 Starship Congress to see the video of his talk.

2. Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: We welcome CHRISTOPHER RICHINS of RBC Signals. This is a commercial company providing satellite ground service and communications to small sats and others.

3. Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, Dec. 15, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PST, (12:30 -2 PM EST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST) We welcome DR. ROBERT REYNOLDS, research scientist at the Mortality Institute. He recently completed a thorough study and evaluation, factually based, on heart disease among the Apollo lunar astronauts. His study is titled ” Mortality due to Cardiovascular Disease Among Apollo Lunar Astronauts.” See the archive page for this show as the link to his paper is posted there for your review. There is no firewall for the paper at this time but that will change in the near future so I suggest you download the paper sooner, not later.

5. Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017: 12-1:30 PM PST; 2-4:30 PM EST; 2-3:30 PM CST. Welcome to OPEN LINES. .All callers welcome. We talk about the topics you want to discuss. This will be the last Open Lines show for the year!

Blue Origin Scrubs for the Day

New Shepard in flight (Credit: Blue Origin)

Report indicates that Blue Origin scrubbed the launch of its upgraded New Shepard rocket and capsule this afternoon. The flight had been set for 1 p.m. EST (12 p.m. CST), then was pushed back an hour before being scrubbed. The uncrewed suborbital capsule is set to carry experiments.

No word on the cause of the scrub or when the flight might be rescheduled at Blue Origin’s test site near Van Horn, Texas. The company has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) to stay clear of the area during potential flight hours through Thursday.

This will be the first launch of a New Shepard suborbital system since October 2015. A new booster and spacecraft have been built incorporating upgrades based on lessons learned from the earlier series of six launches.

Trump Space Policy Directive Focused on Sending Astronauts Back to the Moon

President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviving the National Space Council. (Credit: The White House)

The ceremony will be live streamed at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-trump-participates-signing-ceremony-space-policy-directive-%E2%80%93-1Here’s a preview from the White House:

“The President, today, will sign Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD-1) that directs the NASA Administrator to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars.

Since the beginning of his Administration, President Trump has taken steps to refocus NASA on its core mission of space exploration by signing the NASA Transition Authorization Act, the INSPIRE Women Act, and an Executive Order on Reviving the National Space Council.

The President listened to the National Space Council’s recommendations and he will change our nation’s human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology.”

—Hogan Gidley, Deputy White House Press Secretary

Get Ready for Space Policy Directive 1!

President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviving the National Space Council. (Credit: The White House)

President Donald Trump has the following on his schedule for Monday:

3:00PM THE PRESIDENT participates in a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1
Oval Office

SpacePolicyOnline.com, which covers space policy, and another website that watches all things NASA whose name escapes me are reporting rumors the policy relates to returning astronauts to the moon. We’re also celebrating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17 mission, which was the last human voyage to the moon in 1972.

Whatever it is, I’m hoping Trump can get through the signing without wandering off course and off script. The last thing anyone wants to hear about is Arnold’s stint on The Apprentice, Hillary’s emails or what network pissed him off that morning. And, if Buzz is there, he should under no circumstances refer to him as the second man on the moon. I think he would lose it and he’s got a pretty good right cross.

You’ll Never Guess Who Space Adventures Planned to Send Around the Moon

Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

by Douglas Messier
Local Blogger

It’s been one of the most intriguing on-the-books-but-never-executed space missions of the 21st century: two tourists paying $150 million each would fly around the moon in a modified Russian Soyuz spacecraft before landing back on Earth. It would be humanity’s first trip to the moon since Apollo 17, which landed there 45 years ago this month.

Space Adventures said it had signed two wealthy tourists to go years ago. There was much speculation about the identities of these individuals.  Was it Google Founder Sergey Brin? Titanic director James Cameron? Brin and Cameron? Cameron and a seat full of camera equipment?

The answer is none of the above. One prospective lunar tourist is someone few people have ever heard of. The other is a well known figure in the space community who was hiding in plain sight. The reason they didn’t fly to the moon together might surprise you.

(more…)

New Horizons Corrects Its Course in the Kuiper Belt

The New Horizons spacecraft is about 300 million miles (483 million kilometers) from 2014 MU69, the Kuiper Belt object it will encounter on Jan. 1, 2019. Track the NASA spacecraft on its voyage. (Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/ Southwest Research Institute)

LAUREL, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft carried out a short, 2.5-minute engine burn on Saturday, Dec. 9 that refined its course toward 2014 MU69, the ancient Kuiper Belt object it will fly by a little more than a year from now.

Setting a record for the farthest spacecraft course correction to date, the engine burn also adjusted the arrival time at MU69 to optimize flyby science.

(more…)

Busy Launch Week With Flights to ISS, Electron Test

The Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

We’ve got a busy launch week coming up with a new three-man crew headed for the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX launching a Dragon resupply mission to the station, and Rocket Lab attempting the second flight test of its Electron small-satellite launcher. Europe and China are also launching satellites this week.

December 10

Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B
Payload: Alcomsat 1 communications satellite (Algeria)
Launch Time: Approx. 1635 GMT (11:35 a.m. EST)
Launch Site: Xichang, China

December 10/11

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Payloads: 3 Planet and Spire CubeSats
Launch Window: 0130-0530 GMT on 11th (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EST on 10/11th)
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Webcast: http://www.rocketlabusa.com

December 12

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Dragon (CRS 13 mission)
Launch Time: 1646 GMT (11:46 a.m. EST)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Webcast: http://www.spacex.com and http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv/

Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5
Payloads: Galileo 19-22 navigation satellites
Launch Time: 1836:07 GMT (1:36:07 p.m. EST)
Launch Site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Webcast: http://www.esa.int

December 17

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: Soyuz spacecraft with Anton Shkaplerov (Roscosmos), Scott Tingle (NASA) and Norishige Kanai (JAXA)
Launch Time: 0720 GMT (2:20 a.m. EST)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Webcast: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv/

Blue Origin Plans New Shepard Flight Next Week

The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) for Dec. 11 through 14 (Monday through Thursday) covering its rocket test site near Van Horn, Texas.

A source tells Parabolic Arc the company will be testing an upgraded version of its suborbital New Shepard booster and capsule with scientific experiments aboard. The spacecraft will have real windows (the ones on the previous capsule were painted on) but is not intended for human flight.

The reusable New Shepard system has launched six times from its West Texas test site. On five occasions, both the booster and the spacecraft landed safely after exceeding the Karman line at 100 km (62 miles). The booster on the first flight crashed while attempting a landing. The capsule landed safely after reaching an altitude of 93.5 km (58 miles).

The most recent New Shepard flight was a test of the capsule’s abort system in October 2016. The spacecraft blasted away from the booster in mid-flight; both vehicles landed safely and were subsequently retired.

Millennium Space Systems’ ALTAIR Pathfinder Spacecraft Completes Demo Mission Goals

ALTAIR(TM) Pathfinder successfully deploying its solar arrays just after deploying from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer on the International Space Station. (Credit: NanoRacks, NASA)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017 (Millennium Space Systems PR) — Millennium Space Systems announces the successful completion of its ALTAIR™ Pathfinder mission objectives last week as the spacecraft reached its six-month milestone and 4,500 hours of successful operations in low earth orbit. ALTAIR™ Pathfinder was released via NanoRacks commercial launch service.

(more…)

Space Florida Announces Partnership with NASA for Orion Testing

The LEMNOS project will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, show in this artist concept. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT, FL (December 5, 2017) – Today, Space Florida is pleased to announce its partnership with NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas for use of Space Launch Complex 46 for the Orion spacecraft’s Ascent Abort-2 test. The landmark Sub-License Agreement gives JSC priority use of the launch complex.

The test is an effort to verify a key part of Orion’s safety system during ascent to space before it begins missions with astronauts to deep space. The collaboration is an effort to enable and ready a key part of the Orion, America’s next generation exploration vehicle, for human spaceflight by testing from Space Florida’s Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

(more…)

NASA Selects 3 Companies to Develop Prototype Space FabLab

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA is taking the next step in the development of a space-based, on-demand fabrication capability by partnering with three U.S. companies, under NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program, to create prototypes.

The selected companies are: Interlog Corporation of Anaheim, California; Techshot, Inc. of Greeneville, Indiana; and Tethers Unlimited, Inc. of Bothell, Washington. Combined funding for the awards is approximately $10.2 million. These companies will have 18 months to deliver the prototype, after which NASA will select partners to further mature the technologies.

(more…)

ispace to Announce Major Series A Investment Round

TOKYO — ispace, a Japanese start-up responsible for Team HAKUTO’s entry in the Google Lunar X Prize, is planning to announce “the largest fund raised in Series A in the global space industry” next week to support its efforts to mine the moon.

“It involves a round of significant financing and details around the next missions of ispace, planned after the currently run HAKUTO project,” according to an invitation sent to journalists.

(more…)