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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the wanted,-a-big-vacuum-cleaner dept.

NASA Administrator expresses support for Space Policy Directive-3

With the threat of space debris destroying satellites, crewed spacecraft and even the International Space Station increasing, processes have been initiated to help alleviate and prevent this threat. NASA's new Administrator Jim Bridenstine made several statements about the new Space Policy Directive-3, which was signed by President Trump. During the June 18, 2018, meeting of the National Space Council, Trump signed SPD-3, which directs the U.S. to lead the management of space traffic and mitigate the effects of space debris.

[...] This comes less than a month after the signing of SPD-2, which called for the reform of the United States' commercial space regulatory framework. Additionally, SPD-1 was signed in December 2017, which instructed NASA to return U.S. astronauts to the Moon with the eventual goal of human flights to Mars.

[...] One of the main features of SPD-3 is the management of space debris. It calls for the U.S. to utilize government and commercial technologies to track and monitor debris and set new guidelines for satellite for satellite design and operation.

Additionally, it calls for the update of the U.S. government's Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices, which currently states that spacecraft and upper stages should be designed to eliminate or minimize debris released during normal operations. Additionally, any debris larger than five millimeters that is expected to remain in orbit for more than 25 years is to be justified on the basis of cost and mission requirements.

NASA Administrator statement.

Related: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1
2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon
Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview


Original Submission

Related Stories

President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1 100 comments

No more sending humans to an asteroid. We're going back to the Moon:

The policy calls for the NASA administrator to "lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities." The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," said President Trump. "It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints -- we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond."

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA's existing effort to send humans to an asteroid. The president revived the National Space Council in July to advise and help implement his space policy with exploration as a national priority.

President's remarks and White House release.

Presidential Memorandum on Reinvigorating America's Human Space Exploration Program

Also at Reuters and New Scientist.

Previously: Should We Skip Mars for Now and Go to the Moon Again?
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022


Original Submission

2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration 56 comments

NASA is going back to the Moon, perhaps permanently, as seen in a new road map (image):

Four months after President Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, the agency has presented a road map to meet the goals outlined in Space Policy Directive-1. The updated plan shifts focus from the previous "Journey to Mars" campaign back to the Moon, and—eventually—to the Red Planet.

"The Moon will play an important role in expanding human presence deeper into the solar system," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, in a release issued by the agency.

While the revamped plan may share the same destination as the Apollo program, NASA said it will approach the return in a more measured and sustainable manner. Unlike humanity's first trip to the Moon, the journey back will incorporate both commercial and international partners.

To achieve this, NASA has outlined four strategic goals:

  • Transition low-Earth orbit (LEO) human spaceflight activities to commercial operators.
  • Expand long-duration spaceflight activities to include lunar orbit.
  • Facilitate long-term robotic lunar exploration.
  • Use human exploration of the Moon as groundwork for eventual human missions to Mars and beyond.

This may be the best outcome for the space program. Let NASA focus on the Moon with an eye towards permanently stationing robots and humans there, and let SpaceX or someone else take the credit for a 2020s/early-2030s manned Mars landing. Then work on a permanent presence on Mars using cheaper rocket launches, faster propulsion technologies, better radiation shielding, hardier space potatoes, etc.

Previously: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1

Related:


Original Submission

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon 26 comments

NASA chief on Moon return: "This will not be Lucy and the football again"

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, a long-range commitment toward the human exploration of deep space, beginning with a return to the Moon. "Major parts of that policy went forward, but establishing permanence on the Moon was abandoned," Bridenstine said Tuesday. Then, in 2004, President George W. Bush announced a bold plan to send humans back to the Moon, where they would learn how to operate in deep space and then go on to Mars. This became the Constellation program. Again, major parts of that policy went forward, Bridenstine said. But NASA abandoned the drive back to the Moon.

Before the US Senate confirmed pilot and former congressman Bridenstine, the Trump administration announced a plan to send humans back to the Moon. "To many, this may sound similar to our previous attempts to get to the Moon," Bridenstine said Tuesday. "However, times have changed. This will not be Lucy and the football again."

How have times changed? During his brief address, Bridenstine listed several technologies that he believes have lowered the cost of a lunar return. These include the miniaturization of electronics that will allow for smaller robotic vehicles, the decreasing costs of launch, private investment in spaceflight, commercial interest in lunar resources, and new ways of government contracting. (Bridenstine did not mention the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion spacecraft).

The speech was only a few minutes long, so I wouldn't read too much into the absence of SLS/Orion. But it's no secret that BFR could deliver 150 metric tons to the Moon or Mars by using in-orbit refueling, vs. a lot less when using the expensive SLS.

Previously:

Related:


Original Submission

Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview 49 comments

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin are looking to partner with NASA and ESA to help create settlements on the Moon. However, he implied that he would fund development of such a project himself if governments don't:

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos says his Blue Origin space venture will work with NASA as well as the European Space Agency to create a settlement on the moon. And even if Blue Origin can't strike public-private partnerships, Bezos will do what needs to be done to make it so, he said here at the International Space Development Conference on Friday night.

[...] To facilitate a return to the moon, Blue Origin has a lunar lander on the drawing boards that's designed to be capable of delivery 5 tons of payload to the lunar surface. That's hefty enough to be used for transporting people — and with enough support, it could start flying by the mid-2020s. Blue Origin has proposed building its Blue Moon lander under the terms of a public-private partnership with NASA. "By the way, we'll do that, even if NASA doesn't do it," Bezos said. "We'll do it eventually. We could do it a lot faster if there were a partnership."

[...] It's important to point out that moon settlement isn't just a NASA thing. Bezos told me he loves the European Space Agency's approach, known as the Moon Village. "The Moon Village concept has a nice property in that everybody basically just says, look, everybody builds their own lunar outpost, but let's do it close to each other. That way, if you need a cup of sugar, you can go over to the European Union lunar outpost and say, 'I got my powdered eggs, what have you got?' ... Obviously I'm being silly with the eggs, but there will be real things, like, 'Do you have some oxygen?' "

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by requerdanos on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:32PM (1 child)

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:32PM (#695668) Journal

    any debris larger than five millimeters that is expected to remain in orbit for more than 25 years is to be justified on the basis of cost and mission requirements.

    "debris larger than five millimeters": Is a little ambiguous. TFA gives the more clear guideline of "debris larger than 5 mm in any dimension".

    Any debris is to be justified: Actually it's any instance of a qualifying debris release that must be justified (not each piece of debris itself). There's quite a difference between having to justify one release of a hundred bits of debris vs. having to do a hundred justifications, each covering one bit of debris.

    Here's what TFA actually says here:

    Each instance of planned release of debris larger than 5 mm in any dimension that remains on orbit for more than 25 years should be evaluated and justified on the basis of cost effectiveness and mission requirements.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:55PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:55PM (#695675) Journal

      evaluated and justified on the basis of cost effectiveness and mission requirements.

      Seems a lot of wiggle room in there. Cost effective for WHO? Probably not the the various satellite operators that have to dodge them for 25 years.
      NASA's policy on dodging:

      Debris avoidance maneuvers are planned when the probability of collision from a conjunction reaches limits set in the space shuttle and space station flight rules. If the probability of collision is greater than 1 in 100,000, a maneuver will be conducted if it will not result in significant impact to mission objectives. If it is greater than 1 in 10,000, a maneuver will be conducted unless it will result in additional risk to the crew.

      Clearly there must be some altitude where even the thin atmosphere will de-orbit stuff quicker than 25 years. I wonder how high that is?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:59PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 20 2018, @05:59PM (#695676) Journal

    Will the debris be managed the way managers usually manage things on the surface of the planet?

    Perhaps by executive order space debris should only threaten non US satellites.

    And what's wrong with Space Debris? We have the best space debris! The best. The very best. Other world leaders call me all the time to tell me how they aspire to make their space debris as good as ours. Trust me. Think of how many more jobs could be created if there were more space debris to clean up. We could build a wall to protect our satellites from other nation's satellites entering our space. Too many other nations' satellites enter our airspace and it is so unfair.

    Manager: how many unknown bugs are there and how long will they take to fix? I need to know by Thursday morning! I also need a list of unforeseeable problems that will be discovered within 30 days after product release.

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday June 20 2018, @06:15PM (1 child)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 20 2018, @06:15PM (#695687) Journal

      You forgot to put on your RealDonnaldTrump hat.
      Fake account owner exposed!

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 20 2018, @08:12PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 20 2018, @08:12PM (#695752) Journal

        Sorry. I'm not RealDonaldTrump.

        --
        I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20 2018, @06:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20 2018, @06:16PM (#695688)

    I, for one, welcome our new space garbagemen [wikipedia.org].

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20 2018, @10:19PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20 2018, @10:19PM (#695833)

    Translation: nobody, repeat: NOBODY is going to clean up the garbage.They just want to be able to use their own killsats with impunity and avoid the friendly fire.

    Only the Chinese actually tested a killsat in orbit AFAIK, but you may safely assume the US and Russia have the capability as well.

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