Today’s Tidbits: December 14, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: December 14, 2017

Here are our tidbits for December 14, 2017:  Space Policy Directive 1 published in Federal Register; Blue Origin flies New Shepard with “Mannequin Skywalker.”    Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter for more news and live tweeting of events.

Space Policy Directive 1 Published in Federal Register

President Trump’s Space Policy Directive 1 is published in today’s Federal Register, an official repository for such government actions.   The directive replaces two sentences regarding NASA’s human spaceflight program in the 2010 National Space Policy issued by President Obama.  The remainder of the 2010 National Space Policy remains in effect until and unless other changes are made by Trump or future presidents.  Links to policy directives issued by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush are posted on our Civil space page.

As we reported extensively earlier this week, the Trump language reinstates the Moon as a destination for NASA’s human spaceflight activities instead of an asteroid as directed by President Obama, all as part of a program eventually to take astronauts to Mars and beyond.

Blue Origin Flies New Shepard with “Mannequin Skywalker”

For the first time sine October 2016, Blue Origin conducted a test flight of its reusable suborbital New Shepard rocket on Tuesday.  No live coverage of the flight was provided and the company did not even confirm the test took place until many hours later.   Video and other information has been posted since, however, including a fact sheet [].

This was a test of a new version of the rocket and of the capsule that will take tourists on suborbital space flights.  The new Crew Capsule 2 has very large windows to allow stunning views of the Earth during the brief trip up to space and back (11 minutes in this case).  An instrumented test dummy, “Mannequin Skywalker,” was along for the ride. This video [] shows the view from a passenger’s perspective.  The capsule reached 99.27 kilometers above mean sea level, very close to the 100 kilometer altitude that is typically used as the demarcation between air and space.

In a tweet that included a separate video of the test from outside the capsule, company founder Jeff Bezos said Mannequin had a “great ride.”  Twelve commercial, research and education payloads also were aboard.

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