Today’s Tidbits: January 21, 2020

Today’s Tidbits: January 21, 2020

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for January 21, 2020:  Andrucyk to take Goddard post permanently, NRO smallsat to launch from New Zealand, vote to name the Mars 2020 rover by January 27.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy January 19-25, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 19-25, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of January 19-25, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week beginning Tuesday.  The House is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

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Successful In-Flight Abort Test Moves NASA Closer to Sending Astronauts to ISS from American Soil

Successful In-Flight Abort Test Moves NASA Closer to Sending Astronauts to ISS from American Soil

SpaceX’s successful test this morning of an abort system to return astronauts safely to Earth if anything goes awry during launch moves the United States closer to restoring the capability to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).  SpaceX’s Crew Dragon system could take two NASA astronauts to ISS in the second quarter of this year if data analysis and other tests go as planned.  NASA has not been able to launch anyone to ISS since the space shuttle program was terminated in 2011.  It currently pays Russia for crew transportation services.

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NASA’s New NEO Mission Will Substantially Reduce Time to Find Hazardous Asteroids

NASA’s New NEO Mission Will Substantially Reduce Time to Find Hazardous Asteroids

With its first tranche of funding for NASA’s new mission to search for Near Earth Objects (NEOs), Congress is underscoring its interest in protecting Earth from these Potentially Hazardous Objects.  After directing NASA in 2005 to find 90 percent of NEOs greater than 140 meters in diameter within 15 years, it is now funding a dedicated space telescope to make that a reality.  The original deadline cannot be met, but the new mission will reduce from 30 to 10 the number of years still needed to achieve the goal.

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SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test Still on for Tomorrow, But Weather a Particular Challenge — UPDATE

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test Still on for Tomorrow, But Weather a Particular Challenge — UPDATE

SpaceX and NASA are still planning to conduct the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort (IFA) test tomorrow, but the weather is a particular challenge since it needs to be good not only for launch, but recovery.   NASA’s Kathy Lueders warned reporters today that they may have to wait some time for everything to be just right.  The four-hour window opens at 8:00 am ET, but SpaceX’s Benji Reed added they may extend that window if necessary. [UPDATE, JANUARY 18: The test has, in fact, been delayed to Sunday due to high winds and waves in the recovery area.]

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Dynetics Confirms HLS Proposal for NASA’s Artemis Program

Dynetics Confirms HLS Proposal for NASA’s Artemis Program

Dynetics confirms that it is one of the companies bidding for a NASA Human Landing System (HLS) contract to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024.  The news broke last week during a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) media teleconference where a SNC representative disclosed that SNC is teaming with Dynetics on the proposal.

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SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test Confirmed for January 18

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test Confirmed for January 18

NASA and SpaceX confirmed today that the In-Flight Abort test for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will take place on Saturday, January 18.  The four-hour launch window opens at 8:00 am ET.  The test is a critical milestone towards Demo-2, the crewed flight test of SpaceX’s commercial crew system to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

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Dream Chaser on Track for 2021 Cargo Mission, Crew Within 5 Years

Dream Chaser on Track for 2021 Cargo Mission, Crew Within 5 Years

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is on track for the first cargo flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft next year.  Looking like a small space shuttle, Dream Chaser lost out on a contract for NASA’s commercial crew program, but was selected in the second round of commercial cargo contracts.  SNC still plans to use Dream Chaser for crewed missions for other customers and expects the first within 5 years.  SNC also is bidding on contracts for NASA’s Artemis program, including as part of a Dynetics team for the Human Landing System.

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House Committee Approves Space Weather Legislation

House Committee Approves Space Weather Legislation

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved a space weather bill this morning at its first meeting in the 2nd session of the 116th Congress. The Senate Commerce Committee approved its own version in April 2019, but filed a report on the bill only in December.  Coupled with a significant boost in NOAA’s budget for a Space Weather Follow-On program in the FY2020 appropriations bill, it could be that after several years of trying, a space weather bill may finally clear Congress.

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