LEGENDARY COSMONAUT ALEXEI LEONOV DIES AT 85

LEGENDARY COSMONAUT ALEXEI LEONOV DIES AT 85

One of the world’s most legendary cosmonauts, Alexei Leonov, died today at 85 after a long illness.  In 1965, Leonov became the first human being to make a spacewalk and 10 years later commanded the Soviet side of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), the first U.S.-Soviet space mission.  Despite the Cold War, he and his U.S. counterpart, NASA astronaut Tom Stafford, became close friends and remained that way throughout the intervening decades exemplifying how space cooperation can change perspectives and transcend geopolitics.

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Astronauts Could Launch on Crew Dragon 1st Quarter 2020, If …

Astronauts Could Launch on Crew Dragon 1st Quarter 2020, If …

The heads of NASA and SpaceX agreed today that American astronauts could launch to space on an American rocket from American soil in the first quarter of 2020. But that is only if upcoming tests of an abort system and parachutes go as planned and that often is not the case.  The key is taking steps one at a time and making data-driven decisions focused on the safety of the two NASA astronauts who will be aboard.

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Musk Says Crew Dragon Tests Will be Done in About 10 Weeks

Musk Says Crew Dragon Tests Will be Done in About 10 Weeks

Elon Musk tweeted today that he expects tests of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket to be completed in about 10 weeks.  That would mean the crewed test flight, Demo-2, might take place before the end of the year or early in 2020.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will visit SpaceX headquarters on Thursday to see how the program is progressing for himself after recently complaining about schedule delays.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SPACE POLICY October 6-12, 2019

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SPACE POLICY October 6-12, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of October 6-12, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess (except for pro forma sessions) until October 15, the day after the Columbus Day federal holiday.

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All Female Spacewalk Back on Track as NASA Readies for 10 EVAs

All Female Spacewalk Back on Track as NASA Readies for 10 EVAs

NASA is getting ready to conduct 10 spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs), over the next three months to replace batteries and repair a scientific instrument attached to the International Space Station (ISS).  Three NASA astronauts and one from the European Space Agency (ESA), two men and two women, will be involved in the EVAs.  One will pair the two women astronauts, the first time an all-woman spacewalk will take place.  One had been planned earlier this year, but had to be scuttled because of spacesuit issues.  NASA is confident that will not happen this time.

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NASA Mulls Soyuz Needs As Commercial Crew Schedule Remains Fluid

NASA Mulls Soyuz Needs As Commercial Crew Schedule Remains Fluid

NASA is weighing whether it needs to buy more seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the schedule for the commercial crew program remains uncertain.  NASA’s space station program manager said today the agency is looking at options as it tries to ensure that no undue schedule pressure is exerted on the commercial crew contractors, Boeing and SpaceX.  Kirk Shireman agreed on the need to get those systems flying, but safely.  Meanwhile, a congressional waiver that allows NASA to pay Russia for Soyuz services expires at the end of 2020.

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Today’s Tidbits: September 30, 2019

Today’s Tidbits: September 30, 2019

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for September 30, 2019:  Bobby Braun headed to JPL; Trump welcomes Milley as new Joint Chiefs Chairman; Marla Pérez-Davis takes over at NASA-Glenn.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy September 30-October 5, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy September 30-October 5, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of September 30-October 5, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess (except for pro forma sessions) until October 15, the day after the Columbus Day holiday.

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Musk: First Starship With Crew Could Launch Next Year

Musk: First Starship With Crew Could Launch Next Year

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk laid out updated plans tonight for his Starship/Super Heavy system designed to send people to the Moon and Mars. A Starship prototype, Mk1, is under construction at SpaceX’s test facility in Boca Chica, Texas and served as the backdrop for the briefing.  Musk laid out an ambitious schedule, saying the first crewed Starship flight to Earth orbit could happen as early as next year. That might come as a surprise to the Administrator of NASA, who tweeted before the briefing that what he wants is for SpaceX to deliver on its commercial crew system to take NASA astronauts to and from the space station, which is years late.

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Senate Appropriators Nix Bureau of Space Commerce Until They Get Answers

Senate Appropriators Nix Bureau of Space Commerce Until They Get Answers

The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the Trump Administration’s request to elevate the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) to a higher level in the Department of Commerce (DOC) until they get answers to their questions. The committee criticized DOC for refusing to provide witnesses to explain the proposal, especially that DOC take over responsibility from DOD for providing satellite positional data to civil and commercial satellite operators.  The Senate bill requires a study by the National Academy of Public Administration and keeps OSC where it is, within NOAA, at its current funding level until it has the results.

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