Today’s Tidbits: October 25, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: October 25, 2017

Here are our tidbits for October 25, 2017:  Vice President Pence to visit Lockheed Martin in Colorado; Russia gets ready to choose crews for new generation spaceship; and Energia’s long term plans for human spaceflight. Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Pence to Visit Lockheed Martin Facilities Near Denver

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at National Space Council meeting, October 5, 2017, Chantilly, VA. Screengrab.

Vice President Mike Pence will pay a visit to a Lockheed Martin facility outside Denver, CO on Thursday, October 26.

According to his official schedule, Air Force Two will arrive at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, CO at 1:30 pm Mountain Time (add 2 for Eastern) and tour Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Canyon Facility beginning at 2:35 pm MT.  There is no indication if there will be any live coverage of the visit or how long he will be there.  His next event is at 6:20 pm MT (a Colorado Republican Party fundraiser in Denver).

Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson was one of the witnesses at Pence’s National Space Council meeting earlier this month.

According to the company’s website, 4,000 employees work at the facility.  Satellites and spacecraft currently being manufactured there include the Air Force GPS III, NASA’s InSight Mars lander, NOAA’s GOES-R series weather satellites, and commercial communications satellites.  In August it announced that preliminary construction is underway on a new 266,000 square foot “factory of the future” that will speed production and lower costs.  Called the Gateway Center, it is scheduled to open in 2020.  The construction effort will employ 1,500 contractors.

Russia Ready To Choose First Crew for New Federatisyia Spaceship

Russia is building a new crew spacecraft to replace its venerable Soyuz, which has been in use since 1967, although it has been upgraded a number of times.  “Soyuz” means “Union” (as in Soviet Union).  The new spacecraft is “Federatisyia” meaning “Federation” (as in Russian Federation).

Federatisyia will be able to take crews not only to Earth orbit, but to the Moon and accommodate four instead of three crew members. It will be able to fly autonomously for 30 days and remain for one year at the International Space Station (instead of 6 months for Soyuz).

The plan is for the first uncrewed flight in 2022, the first flight with a crew in 2023, and the first flight to ISS in 2024.  To get ready, Russia’s cosmonaut training center plans to choose the first crews next year according to Russia’s official news agency TASS.  Read more at: []

Russia’s Energia Reveals Long Term Human Spaceflight Plans

TASS also reported today on plans that have been put forward by Russia’s Energiya rocket and space corporation leading to a lunar base in 2050.  Energia has offered many such plans over the decades, but funding to implement them has been scarce.

This plan [] runs from 2017 to the post-2050 time frame, beginning with robotic missions to choose a location for a lunar base, development of systems (including Federatisyia and a super heavy lift rocket) to put humans on the Moon in the 2031-2040 time frame, a lunar base by 2050, and human missions to deep space after 2050.

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