Human Space Exploration Update (June 1-10, 2016)


·         Space Policy Legislation:  Bridenstine pleased by progress on space policy bill In April, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, of Oklahoma, introduced the American Space Renaissance Act, a sweeping space policy doctrine. So far, Bridenstine is pleased with how the thrust of his legislation has found its way into other legislative bills influencing the direction and financing of military as well as civilian space objectives. One theme urges the federal government to look to commercial space enterprises for services once provided by civil servants.

International Space Station

·         Inflatable Space Modules:  Take a look inside the 1st inflatable space room for astronauts (photos)  International Space Station astronauts offered photos of the new Bigelow Expandable Activities Module (BEAM) after opening hatches and entering for the first time on Monday. BEAM is a prototype for a reinforced fabric extendable module that could shelter astronauts on missions to deep space destinations or while living on Mars and other planetary surfaces. Launched to the space station in April, BEAM will undergo a two year observation period to learn how the structure responds to temperature swings, radiation exposures and impacts from micro meteoroids and orbital debris.

·         ISS Space Walks:  Spectacular Space Station spacewalks: photos  Since 1998, the International Space Station has been the site of 193 spacewalks for the assembly and repair of the six person orbiting science laboratory as well as to tend to external experiments. NASA has compiled a social media album of the best images over the years.

Orion and Space Launch System

·         Orion and Deep Space Exploration:  Astronaut Drew Feustel talks Orion and the future of space exploration (video)   As space explorers return to deep space for missions that stretch from the lunar realm to Mars, they will add to the volume of the four person Orion capsule NASA is currently developing with Lockheed Martin. The agency is working with several U.S. companies on space habitats that could be linked to Orion. Once they reach their destinations, future explorers will be prepared to develop the natural resources for life support, propellant and other needs, explains NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, a native of Lake Orion, Mich.  (See also:  Space industry officials to visit Ohio shop working on Orion space exploration program)

Commercial Space Transportation

·         Starliner Progress:  Starliner moves closer to crucial pad abort test  Major components of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner are coming together at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to support critical flight tests in late 2017. The Starliner is in development to transport NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Crewed launches are planned in 2018.

·         Antares Rocket:  Re-engined Antares rocket completes ground test firing  Orbital ATK test fired the first stage of its upgraded Antares rocket Tuesday at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia's eastern shore. The Dulles, Va.,  based company is preparing to resume NASA contracted resupply missions to the International Space Station from the launch complex, following an October 2014 launch mishap that prompted new rocket engines for Antares and a rebuilding of the launch pad.

Space Budgets, Policy, Missions, Benefits, International …

·         Asteroid Redirect Mission:  Op-Ed | Saving NASA's ARM and the Journey to Mars  House appropriators have misjudged the significance of NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), according to Louis Friedman, executive director emeritus and co-founder of the Planetary Society. ARM is an important precursor to the goal of reaching Mars with human explorers, he writes.  (See also:  Will NASA's ARM mission to an asteroid be cancelled?)

·         Lunar Exploration:  Seeing the end of Obama's space doctrine, a bipartisan Congress moves in  The next administration may find enthusiastic bipartisan congressional support for a return to the moon as the next step in efforts to reach Mars with human explorers, according to the report. The U.S. commercial space industry and international partnerships would play key roles in the endeavor.  (See also:  White House works out a process to clear commercial missions to moon and Mars and Private company wants U.S. clearance to fly to the moon)

Citizens for Space Exploration – a pro-space, taxpayer, grassroots advocacy group ( ) – has travelled to Washington, D.C. the past 24 years to meet face-to-face with Members/staff of Congress to discuss the value of America’s investment in space exploration. In order to sustain that dialogue on a regular basis, Citizens distributes “Space Exploration Update” to Congressional offices on a weekly basis.  The intent is to provide an easy, quick way to stay abreast of key human space exploration program and policy developments.