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Homma etenee. Hyvä niin. Euroopan pitää olla vahvasti mukana tässä kuuprojektissa.

The International Space Station partners have endorsed plans to continue the development of the Gateway, an outpost around the Moon that will act as a base to support both robots and astronauts exploring the lunar surface.

The Multilateral Coordination Board, which oversees the management of the Space Station, stressed its common hope for the Gateway to open up a cost-effective and sustainable path to the Moon and beyond.

The announcement comes after several years of extensive study among space agencies who have developed a technically achievable design. The partnership includes European countries (represented by ESA), the United States (NASA), Russia (Roscosmos), Canada (CSA) and Japan (JAXA).

"We are getting ready, together, to send humans farther into the Solar System than ever before. The lunar Gateway is the next big step in human exploration and we are working to make Europe a part of it," says David Parker, ESA's human and robotic exploration director.

NASA's Orion spacecraft will transport astronauts to the Gateway. Orion is powered by the European Service Module, which will give the crewed vehicle a final push to inject it into translunar orbit.

Almost 50 years after the first human landing on the Moon, the Gateway will support human and robotic access to the lunar surface. "We will extend the presence of humans one thousand times farther into space compared to today's International Space Station," adds David Parker.

The Gateway will offer a platform for scientific discovery in deep space and build invaluable experience for the challenges of future human missions to Mars.

Nearly 400 000 km away from Earth, its orbit will provide excellent visibility of both the Earth and the Moon's surface allowing it to relay communications.

According to the board, the Gateway "will stimulate the development of advanced technologies, expand the emerging space economy, and continue to leverage the societal benefits of space exploration for citizens on Earth."

Canada has already confirmed its commitment to join NASA in the Gateway and contribute advanced robotics to the project, making the Canadian Space Agency the first partner agency.

ESA's potential involvement includes the ESPRIT module to provide communications and refueling of the Gateway and a science airlock for deploying science payloads and cubesats.

ESA is also studying its involvement in the international habitation module working with the international partners.

A possible commitment towards building Europe's contributions to the Gateway will be one of the key decisions to be made by Ministers at the Space19+ Conference in November 2019.
http://www.moondaily.com/reports/Gateway_to_the_Moon_999.html

Ja toinen. NASAlle oli korkea aika ruveta tukimaan näitä näytteitä.

NASA has selected nine teams to continue the science legacy of the Apollo missions by studying pieces of the Moon that have been carefully stored an untouched for nearly 50 years. A total of $8 million has been awarded to the teams.

"By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance our understanding of our lunar neighbor and prepare for the next era of exploration of the Moon and beyond, " said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. "This exploration will bring with it new and unique samples into the best labs right here on Earth."

Six of the nine teams will look at one of the three remaining lunar samples, from Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17, which have never been exposed to Earth's atmosphere. The particular sample these teams will study came to Earth vacuum-sealed on the Moon by the Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan in 1972.

The Apollo 17 sample comprises about 800 grams (1.8 pounds) of material, still encased in a "drive tube" that was pounded into the lunar regolith to collect a core of material. That core preserves not just the rocks themselves but also the stratigraphy from below the surface so today's scientists can, in a laboratory, study the rock layers exactly as they existed on the Moon. The core has been carefully stored at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, since December 1972.

Other teams will be studying samples that have also been specially curated, some from Apollo 17 that were brought to Earth and then kept frozen, and samples from the Apollo 15 mission which have been stored in helium since 1971.

NASA has only collected samples from a few places on the Moon so far, but NASA knows from the remote sensing data that the Moon is a complex geologic body. From orbit, the agency has identified types of rocks and minerals that are not present in the Apollo sample collection.

"Returned samples are an investment in the future. These samples were deliberately saved so we can take advantage of today's more advanced and sophisticated technology to answer questions we didn't know we needed to ask," said Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington, DC.
http://www.moondaily.com/reports/NASA_Selects_Teams_to_Study_Untouched_Moon_Samples_999.html
 

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Long March 9 voi viedä 140 tonnia LEO radoille. 15-50 tonnia kuun kiertoradoille tai 12 - 44 tonnia Marssin matkalle. Hurjia lukuja, mutta raketti tulee kiinan tiedostustoimiston mukaan 2030. Jenkkien LSL on tippumassa kokonaan pois NASAn budjetti ongelmien takia.

China has made significant progress in the development of the key technologies of the heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-9, which is expected to make its maiden flight around 2030.

The development of the heavy-lift rocket will greatly improve China's capacity of entering outer space. The Long March-9 rocket will support China's space industry development, utilization of space resources and deep space exploration, said experts from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

The rocket will have a core stage with a diameter of 9.5 meters. Its total length will be nearly 100 meters. The rocket will be able to carry payloads of 50 to 140 tonnes into low-Earth orbit, 15 to 50 tonnes into the lunar transfer orbit, and 12 to 44 tonnes into the Mars transfer orbit.

The carrying capacity of the Long March-9 will be five times that of the Long March-5, currently the largest carrier rocket of China.

The heavy-lift rocket is expected to help China realize manned lunar exploration, taking samples from Mars back to Earth, and other deep space explorations.
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_developing_key_technologies_on_heavy_lift_rocket_999.html
 

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Just kun pääsin sanomasta niin Britit ilmoittavat tästä

Britain's Reaction Engines has been given the greenlight to press ahead with an ambitious testing programme for its SABRE air-breathing rocket engine.

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA) took a look at the preliminary design for the engine core of the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) and gave the company the nod to proceed with testing.

The 200-strong outfit kicked off an effort back in October 2016 to design, build and demonstrate a SABRE engine core, a key part of the complete article. While lacking the pre-cooler and rocket nozzle, the company predicted that once the testing is done the "major elements of the world's first air-breathing engine capable of accelerating from zero to Mach 5 will have been demonstrated".

The core testing will occur at the company's under-construction test facility at Westcott Venture Park, Buckinghamshire.
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/03/14/reaction_engines/
 

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NASA has a rich history in missing launch dates, although to be fair to the agency, changes in the policies of US administration and inconsistent funding have played their part.

However, in this instance Bridenstine insisted: "We need to stick to our commitment." If NASA says it is going to launch in June 2020, then it jolly well will.

Of course, without a completed SLS (even in Block 1 form), sending the uncrewed Orion capsule and European Service Module (ESM) stack to the Moon will be a challenge. According to Bridenstine, the US does not have access to a rocket able to lift all the gear needed to perform the mission, dubbed EM-1.

Eyebrows then headed toward the ceiling as Bridenstine explained that two launches of a commercial heavy lift rocket could do that job. One could launch Orion and the ESM. The other could lift the upper stage required to send the spacecraft to the Moon.

Orion would, of course, need to dock with the upper stage. NASA has yet to come up with a plan for how that would work. Oh, and it all needs to be done by June 2020.

Bridenstine was careful not to name a commercial provider, although SpaceX's Falcon Heavy and United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Delta IV Heavy spring effortlessly to mind. The latter has a string of successful launches under its belt, including the December 2014 Exploration Flight Test-1 mission that sent an uncrewed Orion capsule into space to test the spacecraft's systems, heat shield and parachutes.

The decision to switch to a commercial provider has not been made, and regardless of what ends up being used for the EM-1 mission, Bridenstine was clear that SLS would be used for EM-2, describing the monster booster as "a critical piece of what the USA needs to build" in order to put the large objects into space.
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/03/14/nasa_pondering_switching_one_delayed_sls_for_two_commercial_launchers/

Toi Nasan budjetin leikkaus on ollut niin perinteistä toimintaa sitten kun Kennedy pistettiin hautaan. Ihme meininkiä. Ilmoitetaan mahtipontisesti että nyt on päästävä Kuuhun ja sitten leikataan työkalut alta ilman että korvaavia on olemassa. PRKLeen tunarit.
 

Osasto 31

Kapteeni
Linkki: https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2019/03/pentagon-wants-test-space-based-weapon-2023/155581/

Pentagon Wants to Test A Space-Based Weapon in 2023


Defense officials want to test a neutral particle-beam in orbit in fiscal 2023 as part of a ramped-up effort to explore various types of space-based weaponry. They’ve asked for $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop such beams, more powerful lasers, and other new tech for next-generation missile defense. Such weapons are needed, they say, to counter new missiles from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. But just figuring out what might work is a difficult technical challenge.

So the Pentagon is undertaking two studies. The first is a $15 million exploration of whether satellites outfitted with lasers might be able to disable enemy missiles coming off the launch pad. Defense officials have said previously that these lasers would need to be in the megawatt class. They expect to finish the study within six months.

They’re also pouring money into a study of space-based neutral particle beams, a different form of directed energy that disrupts missiles with streams of subatomic particles traveling close to light speed — as opposed to lasers, whose photons travel at light speed.

On Wednesday, officials speaking to reporters at the Pentagon voiced guarded confidence that they would result in something that would in fact be deployable.

It’s not the first time that the Department has looked at such weapons. In 1989, the U.S. launched a neutral particle beam into space, as part of an experiment called BEAR, for Beam Accelerator Aboard a Rocket.

The experiment report ldescribed it as modestly successful: “The BEAR flight has demonstrated that accelerator technology can be adapted to a space environment. This first operation of an [neutral particle beam] accelerator in space uncovered no unexpected physics.”

But there’s a big difference between a successful experiment and an affordably deployable weapon. As part of the earlier effort, several companies produced prototype designs. The weapons they sketched were enormous. One was 72 feet long.

On Wednesday, Defense officials said that advances in technology have brought down the potential size and cost of space-based particle beams.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of the technology we use today to where a full, all-up system wouldn’t be the size of three of these conference rooms, right? We now believe we can get it down to a package that we can put on as part of a payload to be placed on orbit,” said a senior defense official. “Power generation, beam formation, the accelerometer that’s required to get there and what it takes to neutralize that beam, that capability has been matured and there are technologies that we can use today to miniaturize.”

Officials, however, stress that the explorative studies do not necessarily mean that the Department will actually deploy a weapon. “I can’t say that it is going to be at a space and weight requirement that’s going to actually be feasible, but we’re pushing forward with the prototyping and demo,” said an official. The exploration, according to the official, “means we need to understand as a Department, the costs and what it would take to go do that. There’s a lot of folklore…that says it’s either crazy expensive or that it’s free. It needs to be a definitive study.”

The push to develop space-based weapons also reflects growing concern about advances in missile technologies from adversarial and so-called “competing” nations like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

“The addition of the neutral particle Beam effort will design, develop, and conduct a feasibility demonstration for a space-based Directed Energy Intercept layer. This future system will offer new kill options for the [Ballistic Missile Defense System] and adds another layer of protection for the homeland,” says an MDAdocument put out on Tuesday.

Those new options are essential, say defense officials, to hit missiles during their boost phase, as they leave the launch pad and head straight up.

“That’s a really hard battle space to go after, right?” said the senior official. “It’s a very short timeline, first to even know where it [meaning the missile] is coming from…It’s less than a couple minutes before it leaves the atmosphere. So you have to have a weapon that’s on station, that’s not going to be taken out by air batteries and so we have been looking at directed energy applications for that. But you have to scale up power to that megawatt class. You’ve got to reduce the weight. You’ve got to have a power source. It’s a challenge, technically.”

It’s also a controversial idea and not popular among arms control proponents. “The deployment of interceptors in space would be a disaster for strategic stability. To ensure the credibility of their nuclear deterrents, Russia and China would likely respond by building additional and new types of long-range ballistic missiles as well as missiles that fly on non-ballistic trajectories. Russia and China could also take steps to improve their ability to destroy such U.S. interceptors, thereby greatly increasing the threat to U.S.assets in space,” said Kingston Reif, who directs disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association.

The U.S. is a signatory to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits placing nuclear weapons in space. Another Defense official made clear that the treaty does not provide an obstacle to the deployment of either lasers or neutral particle beams in orbit. “The 1967 Outer Space Treaty says that weapons of mass destruction can not be placed into outer space and then it limits even further specifically military activities on celestial bodies, I think the moon or otherwise. But the treaty does not expressly prohibit activities that are not weapons of mass destruction on outer space.”

If the Defense Department does deploy weapons in space, the United States would be the first country to do so officially. But defense officials frequently contend that they probably would not be the first to do so in actuality. A February report from the Defense Intelligence Agency suggests that both China and Russia are developing space-based weapons and that they could be in orbit next year.
 

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The $12 billion Space Launch System (SLS) super heavy rocket program, under development by Boeing since 2011, was intended to be inaugurated a year ago, with the timetable slipping to 2019 and recently, to 2020.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has told US lawmakers that with its SLS rocket behind schedule, the agency is considering the use of commercial rockets for its upcoming Moon mission.

"We are now understanding better how difficult this project is," he said, commenting on the SLS project, in testimony to lawmakers from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"SLS is struggling to meet its schedule," the administrator noted. "Last week, it came to our attention that we're not going to be able to maintain the schedule" for a 2020 Moon mission, he added, pointing out that the rocket project was already three years behind schedule.

Saying the agency needed to "stick to" its commitment for the proposed June 2020 unmanned mission around the Moon, known as Exploration Mission-1, Bridenstine broke with NASA's earlier 'SLS or bust' promise and said that the use of commercial rockets needed to be considered for this to happen.

NASA is considering the use of two commercial launchers to deliver an unpiloted Orion crew capsule and its European-made service module into orbit for a test flight around the Moon, according to the official. The mission is expected to be the first leg in a series of manned flights, the creation of a space station orbiting the Moon, and the eventual return of astronauts to the Moon's surface for the first time since 1972 and the last of the Apollo series of missions.

NASA is one of several agencies developing or otherwise working on the creation of a super-heavy lift vehicle, with the retired US Saturn V and Soviet Energia presently remaining the only rocket systems in the world to date with a proven payload capacity of 100 tons or more. Along with NASA and its contract with Boeing, SpaceX, as well the Chinese and Russian space agencies, are working on their own super-heavy rockets.
 

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Jenkkien SLS soutaa ja huopaa, tällä kertaa NASA ilmottaa, että tottakait SLS tekee 2020 Orion testin ja toissa puolen maailmaa naapuri ilmoittaa, että Venäjä lisää uuden osion ISSn.

As NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) continued to cry out for its own variant of the "Distracted Boyfriend" meme, Russia showed the US space agency how to do delays properly.

SLS: So yeah – we can make that date. You don't need your commercial chums

After NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's surprising announcement to the effect that, hey, if you say June 2020, you've got to actually launch on June 2020 or we'll buy our rockets from someone that can, the SLS programme blinked and said "OK".

The hugely delayed Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) looks like it might actually make it to the ISS before the orbital outpost is sent to its watery retirement home in the next decade.

Dubbed "Nauka", the module will serve as a research module for Russia, once attached to the Russian segment of the ISS.
 

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Lahjoittaja
Ensimmäinen mohammed avaruuteen.


Arabimaat käynnistävät yhteisen avaruusohjelman
Saudi-Arabia, Algeria, Marokko ja kahdeksan muuta arabivaltiota käynnistävät yhteisen avaruusohjelman, kertoo Yhdistyneet Arabiemiirikunnat. Sen mukaan hankkeen ensimmäisiä tavoitteita on satelliitin lähettäminen kiertoradalle.
Arabiemiirikunnat on kertonut avaruussuunnitelmistaan jo aikaisemmin.
Maan pääministeri, sheikki Mohammed bin Rashed kertoi toissa vuonna maan lähettävän neljä astronauttia ISS-asemalle vuoteen 2022 mennessä. Ensimmäisen on määrä lähteä matkaan tämän vuoden syyskuussa.
 

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Ensimmäinen arabi (ja muslimi) avaruudessa oli saudiprinssi Sultan bin Salman joka nousi kiertoradalle Discoveryn kyydissä 1985. Ensimmäinen "muhammed" oli syyrialainen Muhammed Faris joka lensi Mirille 1987. Viimeksimainittu on nykyään Syyrian väliaikaishallituksen (eli kapinalliset) puolustusministeri.
Mutta tietysti näissä ollaan oltu kyydissä kutsuttuina matkustajina.
 
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