Today’s Tidbits: September 28, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: September 28, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today, September 28, 2017.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

It’s Just Studies, Folks

The NASA-Roscosmos announcement yesterday that they are cooperating in studies of a Deep Space Gateway (DSG) in lunar orbit is being widely misinterpreted it seems.  Headlines that the two space agencies agreed to build a lunar orbiting facility together are incorrect.  They only agreed to studies and to engaging in international standards setting activities.

Time will tell what comes of it.  NASA does not even have permission or a budget to build its concept of the DSG much less to sign cooperative agreements with others about who will build what parts of it.  As a reminder, it took three years to negotiate the first (1988) Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA)  among the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan to build a joint space station (then called Freedom) and another three years to renegotiate it after Russia joined what is now the International Space Station program (that one was signed in 1998).

Canada Wants In

Whatever is going to be built as the next step in human space exploration, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) wants in, too.  One of the original ISS partners, CSA said today it is “getting ready” for the next step and “engaging Canadians in defining what could be our role and contributions.”

Lockheed Martin Unveils Mars Lander

While all the buzz is about Elon Musk’s Mars update that will take place in a few hours at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, Lockheed Martin had its own session at the IAC to showcase its plans for Mars.

Both presentations are on the same day (September 29) Australian time, but the 13.5 hour time difference put Lockheed Martin’s today, September 28, at 6:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time, and Musk’s tomorrow, September 29, 12:30 am EDT.  Lockheed Martin’s livestream didn’t work, unfortunately, but the company posted a video of it, minus the Q&A session, soon afterwards. []

Musk wants to sent a million people to Mars over several decades to create a self-sustaining civilization as a backup plan in case a catastrophe befalls Earth.

Illustration of Lockheed Martin’s conceptual Mars lander to take four astronauts from an orbiting Mars Base Camp to the surface of Mars and back. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin, conversely, is focused on demonstrating how a few people could get to Mars by the early 2030s.

Last year, the company rolled out its Mars Base Camp concept for an orbital station around Mars.  Today it added a Mars lander.

The conceptual reusable, single-stage lander could take four astronauts from the orbiting Base Camp to the surface, remain for two weeks, and then return to orbit for refueling and another mission.

Lockheed Martin also sought to tie in these Mars plans with the Deep Space Gateway (DSG) NASA is promoting as the next step in human spaceflight.  DSG would orbit the Moon and serve as a departure point for Mars-bound astronauts. Lockheed Martin foresees its Mars Base Camp being built up at the DSG and then sent to Mars.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft NASA is building as the crew spacecraft for human space flight beyond low Earth orbit.  It also has built most of the U.S. robotic spacecraft that have been sent to Mars.

Also on this week:

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