As Congress works to finalize a fiscal year 2019 spending bill for NASA, a senator is asking colleagues to secure the future of two of NASA’s largest astrophysics missions.
As NASA starts to build up details about its plans to return humans to the moon, the agency is studying concepts for “human-class” lunar landers that would involve three-stage vehicles whose individual components could be flown on a range of launch vehicles.
The launch means China is now able proceed with its pioneering Chang’e-4 lunar mission, which will attempt the first ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon, with launch expected Dec. 7.
NASA’s plans to return humans to the surface of the moon within 10 years got a chilly reception from an advisory group Nov. 15, who called on the agency to accelerate that timeframe and reconsider development of the Gateway facility in lunar orbit.
NASA’s top official came to Canada to make his pitch for the country to become involved in a U.S.-lead lunar space mission but that direct appeal didn’t budge Canadian government officials, at least for now.
With NASA committed to a human return to the moon, Mars exploration advocates say those lunar missions can be useful to achieve their long-term goals, if designed properly.
The European Space Agency expects to carry out the qualification flight of the Space Rider spaceplane in 2021 followed by multiple demonstration missions before handing over the program to industry, according to Lucia Linares, head of ESA space transportation strategy and policy.
China unveiled a heavy-lift launch vehicle it is developing to carry a next-generation crewed spacecraft and power human spaceflight missions beyond low Earth orbit.
The European Space Agency plans to launch an Earth observation satellite equipped with an artificially intelligent processor that would enable the spacecraft to make decisions regarding what to image and which data to send to the ground.
NASA signed an agreement in September with a foundation to support initial studies of a privately funded mission to a potentially habitable moon of Saturn.
The Trump administration’s desire to establish a Space Force could be in jeopardy next year after Democrats assume control of the House, while the departure of a key House appropriator could spell trouble for NASA missions to the potentially habitable moon of Europa.
NASA has certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 to launch the agency’s most important science missions, giving the agency new options that could result in lower costs.
Building and launching spacecraft sometimes gets so much attention that the ground segment — user terminals, command and control systems and network operations —isn’t always ready even after a satellite is in space.