Today’s Tidbits: October 10, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: October 10, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today, October 10, 2017:  Pence visits Mojave Air and Space Port, the Outer Space Treaty’s 50th birthday, The Verge asks where the money for the Moon base will come from, and astronauts complete spacewalk two of three. Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Pence Visits Mojave Air and Space Port

Vice President Mike Pence can add a visit to one of the centers of the U.S. commercial space industry to his list of travels as Chairman of the White House National Space Council.  Today he toured companies at the Mojave Air and Space Port — usually referred to in space circles simply as “Mojave” — in the California desert. Mojave is in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s district and his office announced yesterday that Pence would be stopping by. As of press time, neither Pence nor McCarthy’s office appeared to have issued any tweets or other public statements (Pence’s were focused on the fires raging in northern California), but Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company (which is part of Virgin Galactic), and Stratolaunch shared photos of the visit on Twitter.

50th Anniversary of the Outer  Space Treaty

Today is the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST), the foundation of space law and the topic of much debate these days.  Some want to scrap it entirely as a relic of a bygone era, while others want to keep it as is because even though some aspects (especially those affecting non-governmental space activities) may need updating there is more good than bad and do not want to open Pandora’s Box.  The International Institute of Space Law (IISL) issued a statement today arguing the latter point.

Speaking of the Moon…

Vice President Pence wants the United States to return astronauts to the lunar surface before heading out to Mars.  The same goal was espoused in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush and in 2004 by President George W. Bush.  The problem is how to pay for it.   Loren Grush of the Verge asks that question in an article published today.

Two Down, One to Go

NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei completed the second of three spacewalks to perform maintenance on the robotic Canadarm2.  They were outside the International Space Station (ISS) for 6 hours and 26 minutes this time.  They accomplished the first of the trio of spacewalks on October 5.  The final one will take place on October 18.  Bresnik will team with Joe Acaba for that one.

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