ISS Crew Rotations Through Spring 2020 Do Not Include Commercial Crew Flights

ISS Crew Rotations Through Spring 2020 Do Not Include Commercial Crew Flights

NASA released crew assignments for the International Space Station (ISS) through spring 2020 today.  Notable by their absence are flights by the two U.S. commercial crew companies, SpaceX and Boeing.  NASA had hoped that U.S. launches of ISS crews would begin this year.  Instead, U.S. crew members will be staying for longer periods of time, including what will be a record-breaking mission by Christina Koch.  She will remain for almost 11 months, returning in February 2020 instead of this fall.

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STPI: Human Mission to Orbit Mars in 2033 “Infeasible”

STPI: Human Mission to Orbit Mars in 2033 “Infeasible”

The Science and Technology Policy Institute’s (STPI’s) independent analysis of the possibility of sending humans to Mars in 2033 concludes that it is “infeasible under all budget scenarios and technology development and testing schedules.”  It might be possible for such a mission to depart Earth in 2037, but 2039 is more realistic, the report says.  “Mars 2033” became a rallying cry for some human spaceflight enthusiasts during the Obama Administration and although NASA’s plans have changed quite a bit since then, a sizable Mars-or-bust community remains.

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Today’s Tidbits: April 15, 2019

Today’s Tidbits: April 15, 2019

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for April 15, 2019: Beresheet 2 already in the works; Falcon Heavy core stage tips over; Apollo 11’s Mike Collins wants “JFK Direct” to Mars; Skylab and shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott passes away.  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 April 14-27, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy April 14-27, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next TWO weeks, April 14-27, 2019, and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess until April 29, except for pro forma sessions.

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Senators Unsure About Need for Space Force

Senators Unsure About Need for Space Force

Almost two dozen members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) quizzed four top military and civilian Pentagon leaders for more than two hours today about why a Space Force is needed and how much it will cost.  In the end, there was no consensus from either Republicans or Democrats. Most seem to remain unconvinced that it will add value instead of just more bureaucracy, but are open to further discussions.

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Israeli Lunar Lander Fails in Last Moments

Israeli Lunar Lander Fails in Last Moments

The Israeli Beresheet lunar lander failed to make a soft landing on the Moon today, but the effort, led by Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, is being widely hailed nonetheless.  Although it did not win the $20 million Google Lunar X-Prize, the X-Prize Foundation decided to award the SpaceIL team $1 million anyway in recognition of reaching lunar orbit.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin were among those praising SpaceIL and encouraging them to keep trying.

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Two Phases of the Moon — NASA Will Tackle Lunar Return Fast, Then Sustainably

Two Phases of the Moon — NASA Will Tackle Lunar Return Fast, Then Sustainably

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said today that NASA is dividing its human lunar exploration program into two phases.  Phase 1, to be completed by 2024 as directed by the White House, will focus on getting astronauts to the lunar surface fast.  Phase 2, by 2028, will focus on making the program sustainable. The plan itself remains the same as before, but the Administration will request funding to accelerate it by 4 years.

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Hyten Nominated to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Hyten Nominated to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Gen. John Hyten (USAF) was nominated today to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He will succeed Gen. Paul Selva (USAF), who is retiring.  Hyten currently is Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), but has spent most of his career in the military space sphere.  Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan called him “one of our brightest minds” and a “great pick” for the job.

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Loverro: Space Force Is Critical Regardless of Today’s Threats

Loverro: Space Force Is Critical Regardless of Today’s Threats

Former DOD space policy official Doug Loverro told the National Space Council’s Users’ Advisory Group today that it is essential to create a Space Force now in order to build a culture and identity within DOD to support the space mission.  He argued that the Space Force concept has become too tightly tied to today’s threat environment, but the need existed long before those threats emerged.  Indeed, many studies over the past two decades have recommended such an organization as outlined by Mark Berkowtiz who was involved in many of them.  He worries that implementation aspects of the proposal before Congress remain opaque and while the proposal has merit, it may not solve the problem.

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Moon 2024: Sirangelo Takes Charge of Strategy and Plans, Space Council UAG Plans Red Team Analysis

Moon 2024: Sirangelo Takes Charge of Strategy and Plans, Space Council UAG Plans Red Team Analysis

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced today that he is naming Mark Sirangelo as a special assistant to take charge of developing a strategy and plan for NASA to return humans to the Moon in 2024 as directed by the White House.  Also today, the National Space Council’s Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) took steps towards setting up a Red Team analysis of NASA’s plans as they come together.

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