Category: Uncategorized

Crew-8 Up and Away

Crew-8 Up and Away

Weather finally cooperated for the NASA/SpaceX Crew-8 to lift off late Sunday evening on their way to the International Space Station. Docking is expected about 3:00 am on Tuesday.

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NASA Gets Significant Cut in Final FY2024 Appropriations

NASA Gets Significant Cut in Final FY2024 Appropriations

House and Senate appropriators released their final agreement on six FY2024 appropriations bills today including the one that funds NASA, Commerce-Justice-Science. The agency will get $24.875 billion, half a billion less than its FY2023 spending level of $25.384 billion and more than $2 billion less than President Biden’s request of $27.185 billion. Support for the Artemis program remains strong along with Mars Sample Return, but funding will be a challenge for both.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy March 3-10, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 3-10, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week plus a day of March 3-10, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week starting Tuesday.

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Odie and SLIM Asleep on the Moon

Odie and SLIM Asleep on the Moon

Sundown has returned to the area of the Moon where two small lunar landers — one Japanese, one American — have been collecting imagery and data. Both are powered only by solar cells, so when the Sun sets the surface and the landers literally go dark. They are not designed to survive the bitter cold 14-day lunar nights, but Japan’s SLIM beat the odds and returned to life for a few days this week. Time will tell if it can do that again and if the U.S. lander, Intuitive Machines’ Odyssesus, or Odie, will wake up later this month.

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Congress Clears New CR, Punting Shutdown Threat Further Into March

Congress Clears New CR, Punting Shutdown Threat Further Into March

The House and Senate passed a new Continuing Resolution today extending the deadlines for passing the 12 FY2024 appropriations bills further into March. Without the new CR, funding for departments and agencies in four of the bills would have run out tomorrow night and the rest a week later. This new legislation buys a bit more time. Now six of the bills will expire on March 8 and the others on March 22. The House also passed an extension of the FAA’s authorization, including extending the “learning period” prohibition on new commercial human spaceflight regulations until May.

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Former NASA Administrator Richard Truly Passes Away

Former NASA Administrator Richard Truly Passes Away

Former NASA Administrator and astronaut Richard Truly passed away on February 27, 2024. He was 86. Truly’s career will probably be best remembered for his leadership at NASA in returning the space shuttle to flight after the 1986 Challenger tragedy and his later appointment to head the agency by President George H. W. Bush, but he also served the nation in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of Vice Admiral, earning the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, and was the first commander of Naval Space Command.

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NASA and IM Agree: Odysseus Is A Success

NASA and IM Agree: Odysseus Is A Success

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander, the first U.S. spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon in 52 years, is a success as far as the company and NASA are concerned. Despite a significant number of challenges that could have meant failure, including forgetting to enable the laser altimeter before launch, the mission is reaching the end of its expected lifetime having returned megabytes of data for its government and commercial customers.

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Leak in ISS Russian Segment Increases, But Not an Immediate Concern

Leak in ISS Russian Segment Increases, But Not an Immediate Concern

NASA said today the air leak in the Russian segment of the International Space Station has increased, but along with Russia’s Roscosmos stressed it does not present an imminent threat. The leak was first reported several years ago, but NASA and Roscosmos have downplayed it, insisting the affected section could be sealed off with little impact on ISS operations. Separately, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel reiterated the need for an ISS deorbit tug to ensure the ISS does not make an uncontrolled reentry at the end of its lifetime, whenever that is.

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Congressional Leadership Agrees to Push Shutdown Worries Down the Road

Congressional Leadership Agrees to Push Shutdown Worries Down the Road

The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate and House agreed today to pass another Continuing Resolution this week to avoid a partial government shutdown. Funding for departments and agencies in four of the 12 appropriations bills otherwise would run out on Friday, March 1, and March 8 for the others. Now those in six of the bills will be funded until March 8 and the rest until March 22.  The FAA, NASA and NOAA are in the first bundle, while DOD is in the second.

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India Introduces First Astronaut Group

India Introduces First Astronaut Group

India introduced its first group of astronauts today. They will not be the first Indians to fly into space — that distinction belongs to Rakesh Sharma — but are the first official class of astronauts as part of India’s long term program for human spaceflight called Gaganyaan.

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