Today’s Tidbits: April 16, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: April 16, 2018

Here are’s tidbits for April 16, 2018: new CSIS Space Threat Assessment report, an update on Europa Clipper, and the cause of the Long March 5 failure last year.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

CSIS Space Threat Assessment 2018

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has issued a Space Threat Assessment 2018 that “reviews and aggregates open-source information on the counterspace capabilities and activities” of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

The Secure World Foundation issued its own open-source assessment of counterspace capabilities of those four countries plus the United States and India last week.   The two reports are useful complements to each other.

Europa Clipper, John Culberson and the SLS Versus Commercial Rocket Debate

Ars Technica reporter Eric Berger has a good article today about JPL’s plans for the Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa and the critical role being played by Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).  Culberson chairs the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee that funds NASA and has a passionate interest in space science, especially the prospect of finding life elsewhere.  Politically speaking, he is almost single-handedly forcing NASA to build Europa Clipper through legislative direction and by removing the major obstacle — money.  He wants it launched on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) in 2022.  NASA plans to launch it on a commercial rocket in 2025.  He also wants a lander, launched by SLS in 2024.  It’s an ongoing debate, as Eric explains. (Click the link in the tweet to read the article.)

Long March 5 Failure Caused by Turbopump

Another really good article published today is by Andrew Jones.  He usually writes for, but this one was published in Space News.  It summarizes China’s newly-released explanation for the Long March 5 failure last year during the rocket’s second flight.  The problem was a turbopump in one of the first-stage engines that “failed while under ‘complex thermal conditions.'”  The rocket is expected to make its return to flight towards the end of this year. (Click the link in the tweet to read the article.)

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