Weekend Edition
Fri-Mon / 3-6 March 2017

SpaceX And NASA May Return Humans To Moon Before 50th Apollo 11 Observation

Elon Musk Announces Ambitious Plans To Send 2 Commercial Tourists On 1-Week Circumlunar Trip Late 2018 In Crew Dragon Capsule Via Falcon Heavy Rocket; NASA, Originally Planning Uncrewed Circumlunar SLS / Orion EM-1 Flight 30 Sep 2018, Is Being Requested To Study Feasibility Of Redesigning Mission To Include Astronauts; U.S. President Trump States “American Footprints On Distant Worlds Are Not Too Big A Dream”; USA Could Claim First Human Return To Moon & First Woman To Moon With Energetic Timeline

Credits: SpaceX, NASA

Weekend Edition
Fri-Mon / 24-27 June 2016

Lunar CubeSats Queuing Up For Unique Boost Toward Moon

LED-6-24-16

13 CubeSats Hitching Ride To Translunar Space Aboard SLS EM-1 Test Flight 2018; Each No More Than 6 Units, 14 Kg; 10 Payloads Already Confirmed; 7 Selected By NASA Through NextSTEP (SkyFire, Lunar IceCube), Human Exploration & Ops Mission Directorate (NEA Scout, BioSentinel, Lunar Flashlight) And Science Mission Directorate (CuSP, LunaH-Map); 3 International; 3 TBD Pending Outcome Of CubeQuest Challenge; SLS Will Release Primary Payload Orion On Lunar Trajectory, Then 13 CubeSats To Deploy From Stage Adapter

Credit: NASA, Morehead State University

Friday / 24 April 2015

Russia 2016-2025 Space Program Draft Outlines Human Moon Landing By 2029 Russia Moon

Russia Space Program Submission For 2016-2025 Due June 1, To Consist Of ~US$38B Proposal Including Human Circumlunar Flight 2025, Human Moon Landing 2029, Construction Of Super-Heavy Rocket (Modified Angara-A5 To Increase Payload Capacity By 12,000 Kg, First Test Launch 2021 & Launch To ISS 2024); Construction Of ~1,000 Sq Km Vostochny Cosmodrome First Launch Planned Dec 2015

Pictured L-R: Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Russia President Vladimir Putin, Roscosmos Head Igor Komarov

Image Credit: Russian Ministry of Defence, Dmitry Rogozin, NASA, kremlin.ru

Tuesday / 10 March 2015

New NASA Moon Rocket Advancing

ATKslsTest0315

ATK Is Set To Conduct First Full-Scale Qualification Static Motor Test For NASA Heavy-Lift Space Launch System Wednesday 11 March In Promontory UT; 2-Minute Test Will Burn 628,225kg Of Solid Propellant In The Two 54-Meter-Long Engines, Producing 1.6 Million Kg Of Force; Rocket – Along With Orion Crew Capsule – Will Be Critical For New Era Of USA Human Lunar / Solar System Exploration; First 2 Test Flights (2018 & 2021) Likely To Include Circumlunar Voyage

Image Credit: NASA, ATK

Thursday / 23 October 2014

China Preparing To Launch Chang’e-5 Test Mission

Chang'e5TestP

1st Launch Of A Long March-3C/E Rocket Is Set To Boost The Next China Mission From Xichang Satellite Launch Center Sometime Between 24-26 Oct; Probe Will Test Earth Reentry Technologies / Capabilities Needed To Complete 2017 Chang’e-5 Sample Return Mission (L); Based On Modified Chang’e-2 Probe Design, Carrying A Re-entry Capsule, The Probe Will Travel Around The Moon And Return To Earth At >40,230 km/hr Before Parachuting For Earth Landing; 8-Day Mission Will Also Carry Payload Developed By LuxSpace Of Luxembourg

Image Credit: CNSA, CLEP

Thursday / 16 October 2014

China To Launch Reentry Test Orbiter
To Moon 23 October

Chang'e Test Orbiter, 4M OHB

Moon Orbiter To Test Reentry Technologies For 2017 Chang’e-5 Sample Return Mission Set To Launch 23 Oct On Long March 3C/E From Xichang Satellite Launch Center; 14-Kg Manfred Memorial Moon Mission Designed By OHB To Measure Radiation & Transmit Radio Signals Is Attached To 3rd Stage Booster; Chang’e Capsule Carrying Cameras (Perhaps Other Science Instruments) Filled With Samples, To Separate From 3rd Stage 20 Mins After Launch, Closest Approach 28 Oct At 00:33 UT ~13,000 Km Altitude, Return To Earth Oct 31/Nov 1 At 11 Km/s, Parachute-Assist Landing

Image Credit: CASC, CNSA, CCTV, OHB, LuxSpace

Friday / 19 September 2014

OHB Spacecraft 4M To Launch On China Rocket, Fly By Moon 28 October

OHB 4M

Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M), Dedicated To OHB Founder Manfred Fuchs, Developed By LuxSpace Of Luxembourg, To Travel 196 Hours To Moon, Fly By Surface 28 Oct 00:28:00 UT At 13,000 Km, Return To Earth; Will Measure Radiation During Flight & Around Moon, Transmit Radio Signals On Amateur Beacon; OHB Planning Moon Missions Including Landing Within Next Few Years; Likely Part Of China Technology Test Orbiter Moon Mission

Image Credit: OHB, LuxSpace

Weekend Edition
Fri-Mon 12-15 September 2014

Orion Spacecraft Taking First Steps To Lunar / Solar System Exploration

OrionTest0914

Test Version Of New NASA Flagship Crew Vehicle Moved To Fueling Depot In Preparation For 4 Dec Exploration Test Flight-1; 4.5-Hour, US$375M Mission Will Mimic Return From Moon As Delta 4 Rocket Will Launch Orion ~5,800km Above Earth, Craft Will Return At 32,000 Km/hr; Orion Will Launch Aboard New SLS For 2nd Test Flight In 2018; First Crewed Flight Expected In 2021, Taking 4 Astronauts On Circumlunar Cruise; NASA Expects To Spend US$15B On Orion Through 1st Crewed Flight; Increase In NASA Budget, Prioritization Of Human Lunar / Solar System Exploration Could Hasten Orion Flight Pace

Image Credit: NASA

Friday / 8 August 2014

ISEE-3 Moon Flyby Set For 10 August

ISEE-3 Lunar Flyby

ISEE-3 Reboot Mission, Privately Funded By ~US$160K Public Campaign, Scheduled To Cross Bow Shock Of Earth Magnetosphere Saturday Afternoon & Fly By Lunar Surface At 12,000km Altitude Sunday 10 Aug – Will Lose Power For 1st Time In Decades While In Lunar Shadow; 35-Year-Old Craft Will Continue On Original Heliocentric Orbit Trajectory To Deep Space, Will Be 15 Years Until Craft Is This Close To Earth Again; Team Will Gather Data From 4 Working Instruments Including Magnetometer; Previously Planned To Fly By Moon At ~50km & Achieve Earth Orbit

Pictured: Reboot Team Leads Dennis Wingo (L), Keith Cowing (R)

Image Credit: D. Wingo, K. Cowing, Spacecollege.org

Wednesday / 4 June 2014

Next Humans At Moon Likely Space Tourists

LunarTourism0614

Russia Aerospace Company RSC Energia CEO Vitaly Lopota (BR) Confirms Plan To Send 2 Space Tourists To Circle The Moon In 2017 Or 2018 Via Modified Soyuz, “We Can Do This”; Virginia-Based Partner Space Adventures (SA) Describes Mission As Bold Return To Deep Space Exploration, SA President Tom Shelley Confirms That 2 People Have Already Committed To Purchase The US$150M Seats, Company Has Yet To Disclose Identity Of The First Lunar Tourists

Image Credit: RSC Energia, Space Adventures