Today’s Tidbits: November 5, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: November 5, 2017

Here are our tidbits for November 5, 2017: Chris Hearsey, formerly with Bigelow Aerospace, is running for Congress; publishes new EM-1 launch date.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Bigelow’s Chris Hearsey is Running for Congress

Chris Hearsey. Photo credit: Hearsey’s LinkedIn page.

Chris Hearsey, until quite recently the Director of Bigelow Aerospace’s Washington office, is running for Congress from the 6th district of Maryland.

Hearsey’s LinkedIn page announces the news and shows his tenure with Bigelow ending in November 2017, so just in the last few days.  According to, he is one of 6 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 1 Green, 1 Libertarian, and 1 Independent vying for the seat that will be left vacant by the incumbent, John Delaney (D).  Delaney has announced that he is running for President in 2020.

The 6th district is the second largest in Maryland and ranges from the most northern and western areas all the way down to the Washington suburbs.  It does not include NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (that’s in Steny Hoyer’s 5th district).

Bigelow Aerospace is building expandable modules that can be used in space or on the surfaces of bodies like the Moon and Mars.  A test module, BEAM, is currently attached to the International Space Station.

NASASpaceFlight.Com Publishes New EM-1 Launch Date, a non-NASA, but reliable source of information about NASA space activities, published an article on Friday with information about the new launch date for the first launch of the Space Launch System and an uncrewed Orion spacecraft — Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).  NASA conceded earlier this year that SLS/Orion and associated ground systems will not be ready by December 2018 as earlier advertised, but has not announced a new date. reports that a “best case” No Earlier Than (NET) date is December 2019 with a “more likely ‘risk informed’ date of Quarter 2 2020 — with May 2020 cited as the most likely timeframe…”

The article by Chris Gebhardt is actually focused on a different issue.  A major piece of ground equipment, the Mobile Launcher, will need a significant upgrade after EM-1 because future launches will use a different, much larger, upper stage.  The Exploration Upper Stage is needed for heavier payloads including crewed missions of Orion and robotic missions like Europa Clipper.  NASA estimates it will take 33 months to make the changes.  Some are suggesting that NASA buy a second Mobile Launcher so there is not such a long gap, but Gephardt reports on another problem — the Mobile Launcher is way overweight already.  Click on the link in the tweet to read the article.

NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, Bill Gerstenmaier, will testify to the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on Thursday.  Hopefully he will officially announce the new EM-1 launch date and discuss  the Mobile Launcher issues.

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