Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the past two weeks, May 5-19, 2024, including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 19-25, 2024

May 19, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 19-25, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

Ed Dwight “Ecstatic” At Finally Reaching Space

May 19, 2024. Ed Dwight, who went through training in the early days of the space program that he thought would make him NASA’s first black astronaut, fulfilled his dream of seeing Earth from space today. At 90, he was one of the six passengers on Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 mission, the first flight with people on board since a failure in 2022. Today’s flight was successful and landed safely even though one of the three parachutes did not fully inflate.

Another Delay for the Starliner Crew Flight Test — Now May 25

May 17, 2024. Boeing is delaying the launch of the Starliner Crew Flight Test yet again. The most recent delay, from May 17 to May 21, was due to a helium leak in Starliner’s Reaction Control System. Boeing has determined the leak is stable and would not pose a risk, but needs time to develop operational procedures to cope with it. The new date is May 25 at 3:09 pm ET.

NASA, ESA Formalize Expanded Cooperation on ESA’s Mars Rover

May 16, 2024. NASA and the European Space Agency signed an agreement today formalizing NASA’s expanded role in ESA’s Rosalind Frankin Mars rover program, part of what was once the European-Russian ExoMars project. ESA terminated its cooperation with Russia on ExoMars immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine. NASA already was contributing a scientific instrument and now will replace Russia in providing radioisotope heating units, part of the propulsion system for landing, and launch.

Lithuania Becomes 40th Artemis Accords Signatory

May 16, 2024. The number of countries signing the U.S.-led Artemis Accords is now up to 40. Lithuania joined yesterday and Slovenia signed last month. The Accords are a set of non-binding principles of responsible behavior on the Moon. All countries are welcome to sign whether or not they have a space program or lunar aspirations.

FAA Reauthorization Clears Congress, Extends Learning Period

May 16, 2024. The House has passed the 5-year FAA Reauthorization bill, clearing it for the President who is expected to sign it before a temporary authorization expires on Friday. One provision extends the so-called learning period until January 1, 2025. Until then, the FAA is prohibited from promulgating new regulations for commercial human spaceflight, a restriction in place since 2004.

Starliner RCS Helium Leak Delays Crew Flight Test A Few More Days

May 14, 2024. Today Boeing announced another delay for the Starliner Crew Flight Test. The United Launch Alliance has fixed the faulty rocket valve that scrubbed the launch on May 6, but now Boeing has discovered a helium leak in one of Starliner’s Reaction Control System thrusters. The launch has slipped from May 17 to no earlier than May 21.

Paul Hill Leading IRB on Orion’s Heat Shield

May 13, 2024. Paul Hill, a former NASA space shuttle flight director and member of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, is heading an Independent Review Board to assess the agency’s investigation of why the heat shield on the Orion spacecraft lost so much material during the 2022 uncrewed Artemis I test flight. NASA has been trying to understand why the heat shield behaved differently than expected as it prepares for the first flight with a crew. NASA’s Office of Inspector General recently released a report identifying the heat shield as a pacing item for that flight, currently scheduled for September 2025.

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 12-18, 2024

May 12, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 12-18, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

Intense Solar Storm Not a Problem for ISS Astronauts, Starliner CFT Still Scheduled for May 27

May 10, 2024. Earth is on the receiving end of intense solar activity this weekend — a burst of “space weather.”  NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center issues warnings on a five-point scale because satellites and the terrestrial electric grid are vulnerable to outages from the high radiation levels. G5 is the highest and NOAA issued a G5 alert this evening. The radiation can also pose a danger to astronauts on the International Space Station, but NASA is not concerned for now. Separately, NASA confirmed that the rescheduled launch of the Starliner Crew Flight Test is still on track for May 17, but the two crew members are returning to Houston instead of remaining at Kennedy Space Center.

Starliner Crew Flight Test Slips to May 17 At the Earliest

The launch of Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test has slipped to at least May 17. The United Launch Alliance, which builds and operates the Atlas V rocket, determined that the malfunctioning valve that scrubbed last night’s attempt needs to be replaced. That means rolling the rocket back to ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Willams will remain in quarantine in crew quarters at Kennedy Space Center awaiting the next chance for a “go for launch.”

It’s a Scrub for Boeing Starliner’s First Crewed Spaceflight

May 6, 2024. The first crewed spaceflight of Boeing’s Starliner was scrubbed tonight because of unexpected behavior in an oxygen relief valve on the rocket’s upper stage. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were settling into their seats inside the spacecraft when the United Launch Alliance decided “out of an abundance of caution” to cancel the launch for tonight. ULA engineers will be working overnight to determine the status of the valve before deciding when they can try again.

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: April 29-May 5, 2024

May 6, 2024. Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, April 29-May 5, 2024, including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

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