Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Short Takes – 3-19-24 – Space Geek Edition -

The US government seems serious about developing a lunar economy. ArsTechnica.com article. Pull quote: “However, it seems clear that DARPA, which has an annual budget of $4 billion, is seriously interested in lunar commercial activity. The areas of interest cited above are all important precursors for a sustained presence on the Moon. So if US companies can step forward with innovative solutions to these technical problems, federal dollars would likely become available, and we might really take some meaningful steps toward developing the Moon.”

The International Space Station retires soon. NASA won't run its future replacement. NPR.org article. Pull quote: “"I'm looking forward to seeing very modern laboratory equipment on these space stations. We say the International Space Station has a lot of capability, but it's more like a test kitchen. I'm looking forward to seeing the future commercial space stations take these laboratory capabilities and really develop them into state-of-the-art space laboratories," said Gatens.”

After Thursday’s flight, Starship is already the most revolutionary rocket ever built. ArsTechnica.gov article. Pull quote: “Starlink terminals on the ship were sending signals to satellites in low-Earth orbit, which then sent them back to Earth. This is not a new idea. For the last 40 years, NASA has used a small constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites to communicate with spacecraft, beginning with the Space Shuttle. Starship was able to communicate with these satellites upon its reentry, but it was only at a low data rate, and it dropped out as the plasma thickened. The Starlink connection remained longer and is what enabled the stunning video of reentry.”

Trio of mini moon rovers pass key tests ahead of upcoming lunar launch. Space.com article. Pull quote: “The Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Exploration, or CADRE, rovers are a trio of suitcase-sized robotic wheeled explorers for which cooperation is the name of the game. They will fly to the moon's Reiner Gamma region on the second mission by Houston company Intuitive Machines, where they will act as a proof of concept to showcase how robots can work together on another world without the explicit interference of humans.”

Boeing begins fueling Starliner capsule ahead of 1st astronaut launch. Space.com article. Pull quote: “On Monday (March 18), Boeing announced that it had taken a significant step toward launch — beginning to load propellant into Starliner, a process that will take about two weeks.”

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