I realize it’s a bit late, but here’s a look back at the major developments in space in 2017.
I know that I’m probably forgetting something, or several somethings or someones. Fortunately, I have eagle-eyed readers who really seem to enjoy telling me just how much I’ve screwed up. Some of them a little too much….
So, have at it! Do your worst, eagle-eyed readers!
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, Jan. 13, west of Baja California, with approximately 4,100 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.
The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach, California, where some cargo will be removed immediately for return to NASA. Dragon then will be prepared for a return trip to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for final processing.
SpaceX’s Dragon resupply ship splashed down in the Pacific Ocean this morning with 4,078.6 lbs (1,850 kg) of experiments and technology from the International Space Station. The vehicle spent nearly a month at the station.
Meanwhile, SpaceX has rescheduled Falcon Heavy’s static fire for Monday. The six-hour window runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST (2100 to 0300 UTC). The heavy-lift booster’s 27 first stage engines will be fired for up to 15 seconds.
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA and industry partners, Boeing and SpaceX, are targeting the return of human spaceflight from Florida’s Space Coast in 2018. Both companies are scheduled to begin flight tests to prove the space systems meet NASA’s requirements for certification in the coming year.
SpaceX has taken another step forward toward flying astronauts to the space station.
In a sign that astronaut launches from Florida are growing nearer, SpaceX recently leased an Air Force facility where it will prepare Dragon capsules to fly crews to the International Space Station.
The 45th Space Wing said work on the capsule called Crew Dragon or Dragon 2 would take place in Area 59, a former satellite processing facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
“This summer, they should be receiving their first Dragon 2 capsule, which will directly support NASA and the return of astronauts (launching into orbit) from U.S. soil,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, the Wing commander, at a recent transportation summit in Port Canaveral.
It’s unclear when SpaceX or Boeing will be ready to launch test flights of astronauts under NASA contracts.
SpaceX had a banner year in 2017, launching a record 18 times and helping to propel the United States to the top of the global launch table with a perfect 29-0 record. The U.S. total made up 32.2 percent of 90 orbital launches worldwide, which was an increase over the 85 flights conducted in 2016.
The 29 American launches were a leap of seven over the 22 flights conducted the previous year. This is the highest number of American orbital launches since the 31 flights undertaken in 1999. However, that year the nation’s launch providers suffered four failures whereas they were perfect in 2017.
MADISON, Wis., Dec. 27, 2017 (CDI PR) — Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a FUJIFILM company, the leading developer and manufacturer of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiated tissue-specific iPSC-cells, announced that its iCell® Cardiomyocytes were launched into space via SpaceX’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station on Dec.15, 2017.
The purpose of the scientific research project utilizing CDI’s iCell Cardiomyocytes in space is to validate the function of NASA’s new Bioculture System for automated cell culture on the International Space Station and to study human cardiac cell function in microgravity.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space Tango, Inc. launched an Anheuser-Busch research payload on December 15th at approximately 10:36 AM EST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 for NASA Commercial Resupply Services-13 (CRS-13) mission. Additional payloads from Zaiput and Biorasis, Inc., as well as two experiments from Space Tango, will yield data that could improve life on Earth.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:26 a.m. EST.
The 13th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-13) delivered more than 4,800 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station. Among the research materials flying inside Dragon’s pressurized area, one investigation will demonstrate the benefits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment. Designed by the company Made in Space, and sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the investigation will attempt to pull fiber optic wire from ZBLAN, a heavy metal fluoride glass commonly used to make fiber optic glass. Results from this investigation could lead to the production of higher-quality fiber optic products for use in space and on Earth.
Dragon is scheduled to depart the station in January 2018 and return to Earth with more than 3,600 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.
Expedition 54-55 Flight Engineers Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are on their way to the space station after a launch earlier today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:21 a.m. EST Sunday, Dec. 17 (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time). The trio will orbit the Earth for approximately two days before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Zaiput’s gravity-independent liquid extraction technology will be tested in space. This will help to further our understanding of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial applications, particularly in pharmaceutical production.
Cambridge, MA (Zaiput Flow Technologies PR ) — As space travel and extraterrestrial habitation becomes a reality, it is becoming important to be able synthesize chemicals in space. Liquid separation is a key step in liquid extraction, one of the common steps in pharmaceutical production.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft into orbit for its 13th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on Friday morning. Dragon was lifted into orbit atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to crew members living and working aboard the station.
This science-heavy flight will deliver investigations and facilities that study and/or measure solar irradiance, materials, orbital debris and more.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft.
Launch of the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted for no earlier than Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:36 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concern is for thick clouds.
NASA Television coverage for launch and arrival activities are as follows:
Friday, Dec. 15
10 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
12 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX
Sunday, Dec. 17
1:15 a.m. – Soyuz MS-07 launch coverage begins
4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture coverage begins
Rocket Lab has rescheduled its launch of its Electron rocket for Thursday. The launch window opens at 0130 UMT (8:30 p.m. EST Wednesday). The previous attempt was aborted with two seconds left in the countdown due to an issue with the booster’s liquid oxygen (LOx).
“Launch was aborted due to rising liquid oxygen temperatures – the result of a LOx chilldown bleed schedule not compatible with the warm conditions of the day,” the company said in a tweet. “The fix is simple. Next attempt tomorrow!”
SpaceX has rescheduled the Falcon 9 launch of a Dragon resupply ship to the International Space Station for Friday at 1535 UMT (10:35 a.m. EST).
“Taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2nd stage fuel system,” SpaceX said in a tweet. “Now targeting CRS-13 launch from SLC-40 on Dec. 15. Next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December.”