Boeing Starliner Commercial Crew Delay: ~3 Years

Boeing’s first crewed Starliner finished initial production at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. and is readied for its cross-country trip. (Credit: Boeing)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On March 26, Vice President Mike Pence went to Huntsville, Ala., to declare that the Trump Administration would use “any means necessary” to accelerate the return of American astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2024 — four years earlier than planned.

Pence was putting Huntsville-based Marshall Space Flight Center and prime contractor Boeing on notice to get the delayed, over budget Space Launch System (SLS) being built to accomplish that goal back on track. If they didn’t, the administration would find other rockets to do the job.

In his effort to accelerate the Artemis lunar program, however, Pence unintentionally contributed to delays in NASA’s behind schedule effort to launch astronauts to a much closer location: low Earth orbit.

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Video: Designing Flames Aboard the International Space Station

The Flame Design investigation is studying the quantity of soot produced under different flame conditions. The results of this experiment occurring aboard the International Space Station could enable the design of flames that are more sooty or soot-free, and allow for the creation of burner designs which are more efficient and less polluting.

Read more about this and other flame research aboard the International Space Station: https://go.nasa.gov/2LqSzja 

Learn more about the research being conducted on Station: https://www.nasa.gov/iss-science 

Follow Twitter updates on the science conducted aboard the space station: https://twitter.com/iss_research 

HD download link: https://archive.org/details/jsc2019m000710_Designing-Flames-Aboard-ISS

UK Space Agency Launches Competition for Business Ideas to Test on Space Station

SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — British entrepreneurs could have their business ideas tested out on the International Space Station thanks to a new funding contest.

The UK Space Agency will provide funding and the first space flight for the winning concepts, which could be anything from medicines and innovative materials developed in microgravity, to space-flown consumer products.

Matched funding of up to £1 million is available via the UK Space Agency from the European Space Agency’s Business Applications Space Solutions fund. The announcement was made during World Space Week, which runs from 4 to 10 October.

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Aleph Farms Completes First Slaughter-free Meat Experiment in Space

REHOVOT, Israel, Oct. 7, 2019 (Aleph Farms) — Aleph Farms, a food company that grows cultivated beef steaks, announces today it has successfully taken “one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind” in producing meat on the International Space Station, 248 miles (339 km) away from any natural resources.

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Raytheon Wins $150 Million Contract to Help JPL Develop, Test New Space Systems

DULLES, Va., Oct. 8, 2019 (Raytheon PR) — Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) will develop new space systems and flight software, and provide engineering, training and operations support for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by Caltech, under a five-year, $150 million contract. The contract could potentially be worth $300 million over 10 years if all options are exercised.

“JPL’s pioneering spacecraft and rovers have led to groundbreaking discoveries of our solar system and beyond,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “This is an incredible opportunity to continue enabling the future of space exploration.”

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China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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Astronauts Wrap Up First of Five Power Upgrade Spacewalks This Month

Astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are pictured in their U.S. spacesuits during another spacewalk earlier this year. (Credit NASA)

ISS, October 6, 2019 (NASA PR) — Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 2:40 p.m. EDT. During the seven-hour and one minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts began the replacement of nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss.

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Controlling Robots Across Oceans and Space

A prototype rover is commanded to drive in and sample a quarry resembling a lunar site. The image shows a virtual reality impression of the test. The rover is a key element of the ESA-led Heracles mission in cooperation with the Canadian Space Agency CSA and Japan’s JAXA space agency. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This Autumn is seeing a number of experiments controlling robots from afar, with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano directing a robot in The Netherlands and engineers in Germany controlling a rover in Canada.

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NASA, CERN Timepix Technology Advances Miniaturized Radiation Detection

Space radiation (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As we prepare to send the first woman and next man to the Moon and on to Mars, NASA, with support from the University of Houston, has been working to develop advanced radiation detectors to better protect astronauts and vital spacecraft systems during solar storms. The detectors are based on technology that was originally developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to detect particle collisions in high-energy physics experiments. Storms emanating from our Sun release invisible, high energy particles, also called ionizing radiation, into space at relativistic speeds that can damage spacecraft electronics and systems, and impact the health of astronauts. 

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First of Six October Spacewalks Set for Sunday Morning

NASA astronauts Nick Hague (top) and Anne McClain work to swap batteries in the Port-4 truss structure during today’s spacewalk. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two NASA astronauts will exit the station’s Quest airlock in their U.S. spacesuits on Sunday at 7:50 a.m. EDT for a six-and-half hour spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan will begin the work to install new lithium-ion batteries on the Port-6 truss structure.

This will be the first of five spacewalks in October to upgrade station power systems. Televised spacewalk coverage begins Sunday at 6:30 a.m.

Watch the spacewalk preview briefing that was broadcast Friday on NASA TV.

Upcoming spacewalk assignments:

Five more spacewalks are planned in November and December aimed at repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Astronauts Preparing for Spacewalks

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques seen inside the Quest airlock replacing the Hard Upper Torso (HUT) on an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) aboard the International Space Station. (Credit NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts have been busy getting their spacesuits ready to go in preparation for a suite of 10 spacewalks outside the International Space Station. The first of five spacewalks to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries on the space station’s truss with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries is set to begin Sunday, Oct. 6, with four more following before the end of the month.

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NanoRacks Opens Office in United Arab Emirates

ABU DHABI, UAE (NanoRacks PR) – NanoRacks, the world’s leading provider of commercial access to space, is pleased to announce that it’s opening and staffing its first office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi’s Hub71, a global tech ecosystem driven by Mubadala Investment Company, backed by the Abu Dhabi Government’s Ghadan 21 program.

This expansion highlights NanoRacks commitment to the growing space sector in the UAE and will offer end-to-end customer service and technical advice for a fast-developing customer base in the Middle East, Africa, and South East Asia region.

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Astronauts Return from International Space Station

NASA astronaut Nick Hague, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and visiting astronaut from United Arab Emirates (UAE) Hazzaa Ali Almansoori returned to Earth from the International Space Station at 6:59 am in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Nick Hague returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Thursday, alongside Soyuz commander Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The crew landed safely at 6:59 a.m. EDT in Kazakhstan.

Hague and Ovchinin launched March 14, along with fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch. Six hours later, they began their 203-day mission on the station, orbiting Earth 3,248 times and traveling 86.1 million miles.

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NASA, SpaceX Test Pad Emergency Egress System

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, in front, and Bob Behnken participated in the exercise to verify the crew can safely and quickly evacuate from the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency before liftoff of SpaceX’s first crewed flight test, called Demo-2. During the escape verification, Walker and Behnken pass through the water deluge system on the 265-foot level of the crew access tower. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX conducted a formal verification of the company’s emergency escape, or egress, system at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Sept. 18, 2019. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Shannon Walker participated in the exercise to verify the crew can safely and swiftly evacuate from the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency before liftoff of SpaceX’s first crewed flight test, called Demo-2.

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NASA Television to Air 10 Upcoming Spacewalks, Preview Briefing

NASA astronauts Nick Hague (top) and Anne McClain work to swap batteries in the Port-4 truss structure during today’s spacewalk. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan to conduct what may become a record pace of 10 complex spacewalks during the next three months, a cadence that has not been experienced since assembly of the space station was completed in 2011.

Experts will discuss those plans in a briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 1, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Live coverage of the briefing and all spacewalks will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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