Tributes Pour In for NASA’s Mike Freilich

Tributes Pour In for NASA’s Mike Freilich

Mike Freilich, who led NASA’s earth science program for more than a decade, has lost his battle with cancer. Highly respected and admired not only in the United States but internationally, Europe named one of its satellites in his honor earlier this year. His legacy is not only the earth science satellite programs he nurtured at NASA, but his passionate advocacy for interagency and international cooperation to obtain and analyze the scientific data needed to understand and protect our changing planet.

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SpaceX Scores Another Success for Starship Just Days After Crew Dragon’s Safe Return

SpaceX Scores Another Success for Starship Just Days After Crew Dragon’s Safe Return

Just two days after ushering in an era of commercial human orbital spaceflight with the splashdown of Crew Dragon, SpaceX scored another success.  A brief “hop” of a prototype of its Starship vehicle — following aborts yesterday and earlier today — is one more step towards Elon Musk’s goal of building a huge rocket to take people to the Moon and Mars.

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Space Weather Bill Clears Senate, Creates Pilot Program at NOAA

Space Weather Bill Clears Senate, Creates Pilot Program at NOAA

The Senate passed the PROSWIFT space weather bill on July 27, another step along what has been a long path for the legislation. It is a compromise with a version adopted by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in January that includes a provision calling for NOAA to create a commercial space weather data pilot program akin to its commercial weather data program. All that is needed now is passage by the House and a signature from the President, which would mark the end of a five-year effort.

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Bob and Doug Back on Earth

Bob and Doug Back on Earth

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are back on Earth, completing a successful crewed flight test of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.  It is the last test towards certifying the system for routine operational missions to and from the International Space Station, which are expected to begin in September.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy August 2-8, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy August 2-8, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of August 2-8, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House schedule is uncertain.

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Demo-2 Crew On Their Way Home with Flag and Tremor

Demo-2 Crew On Their Way Home with Flag and Tremor

The crew of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission is on their way home after two months in space.  The crewed test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is the last step towards certification of the vehicle for operational flights. As NASA and SpaceX officials often say, the test is not over until “Bob and Doug” — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — are back on terra firma.

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House Passes FY2021 Appropriations for NASA, NOAA and FAA

House Passes FY2021 Appropriations for NASA, NOAA and FAA

The House passed the FY2021 funding bill that includes NASA, NOAA and the FAA today. Overall, there were only minor changes to the recommendations of the House Appropriations Committee. Efforts to add $2.6 billion to NASA’s budget and to elevate the Office of Space Commerce to the Secretary of Commerce’s office failed.  The next step is action by the Senate, which has not marked up any of its FY2021 appropriations bills yet.

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Perseverance Rover on Its Way to Mars

Perseverance Rover on Its Way to Mars

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover, carrying the Ingenuity helicopter, began its journey to Mars this morning. It is the third Mars probe to launch from Earth in the past two weeks, joining spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates and China as the Red Planet continues to entice scientists to unveil its past, especially whether life existed there in ancient times.

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Possible Tropical Storm Does Not Deter Preps for Demo-2 Landing

Possible Tropical Storm Does Not Deter Preps for Demo-2 Landing

A tropical storm expected to form and head towards Florida is not deterring NASA and SpaceX from preparing to bring the Demo-2 crew back to Earth on Sunday. It will splash down on either the Atlantic or Gulf coasts of the state. The track of the storm, to be named Isaias, could threaten all seven potential Demo-2 splashdown sites. The storm will not affect the launch of NASA’s Mars Perseverance mission tomorrow morning.

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Rules Committee Nixes $2.6 Billion Plus Up for NASA, Other Amendments Advance

Rules Committee Nixes $2.6 Billion Plus Up for NASA, Other Amendments Advance

The House Rules Committee today nixed a proposed amendment to the FY2021 funding bill for NASA that would have added $2.6 billion more than approved by the House Appropriations Committee. It did allow other civil space-related amendments to advance for floor consideration, including one to elevate the Office of Space Commerce to the Secretary of Commerce’s office, and another to increase funding for FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

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