Japan Lands Two Tiny Rovers on Asteroid Ryugu

Japan Lands Two Tiny Rovers on Asteroid Ryugu

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has landed two tiny rovers on the asteroid Ryugu as part of its Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission.  The rovers, MINERVA-II1 A and B, weigh 1.1 kilogram (~2.4 pounds) each and can hop across the asteroid’s surface to obtain data that will help JAXA determine the best sites to obtain samples for return to Earth.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy September 23-29, 2018

What’s Happening in Space Policy September 23-29, 2018

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of September 23-29, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

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CSIS’s Harrison Pours Cold Water on $12.9 Billion Space Force Cost Estimate

CSIS’s Harrison Pours Cold Water on $12.9 Billion Space Force Cost Estimate

Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today sharply questioned the Air Force’s $12.9 billion cost estimate for establishing a Space Force and a unified combatant command.  An experienced defense budget analyst, Harrison went so far as to call it an example of “malicious compliance” where the highest possible estimate is being used to influence the debate.

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Today’s Tidbits: September 20, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: September 20, 2018

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for September 20, 2018:  Ivanka Trump visits JSC; JAXA’s Hayabusa2 about to release rovers onto Ryugu.  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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Today’s Tidbits: September 19, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: September 19, 2018

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for September 19, 2018:  Bridenstine still interested in branding opportunities; NOAA awards more commercial weather data contracts; NASA names first woman chief flight director.  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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Shanahan: “No Groupthink in the Pentagon” re Space Force

Shanahan: “No Groupthink in the Pentagon” re Space Force

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said today that the Pentagon is still working through how to create a Space Force. He praised the contributions of senior military and civilian leaders as the debate continues, stressing there is “no groupthink in the Pentagon” and they will find the answers as a team.

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AFA: Space Force, No, But How About a New Name for the Air Force?

AFA: Space Force, No, But How About a New Name for the Air Force?

The Air Force Association (AFA) has issued a position paper rejecting the idea of creating a new U.S. Department of the Space Force as demanded by President Trump, at least for now.  Instead, it calls for renaming the Air Force as the Aerospace Force to highlight that air and space are “indivisible,” as pointed out at the beginning of the Space Age by then Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas White.

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Are SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Test Flights Slipping Again?

Are SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Test Flights Slipping Again?

During an announcement tonight about the first private passenger to fly around the Moon, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk indicated that the dates for the company’s commercial crew test flights may be slipping again.

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Japanese Billionaire To Fly BFR To The Moon in 2023, Along With Some Friends

Japanese Billionaire To Fly BFR To The Moon in 2023, Along With Some Friends

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tonight introduced the first person who will fly around the Moon on SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) — Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. He does not plan to make the trip alone.  An art collector, he will invite six to eight artists to join him so they can create art that reflects their experiences.  The week-long trip would notionally take place in 2023, although Musk made clear that is only a planning date.  Both declined to reveal how much Maezawa is paying.

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Space Force to Cost $12.9 Billion Over 5 Years

Space Force to Cost $12.9 Billion Over 5 Years

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson estimates that a Department of the Space Force and an associated unified combatant command will cost $12.9 billion over 5 years. The estimate is included in a September 14 memo signed by Wilson.  President Trump directed DOD to create a sixth military department for space earlier this year.  Wilson said today that the Air Force has a responsibility to develop a “bold” proposal that answers the President’s vision.

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