Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Congress Instructs NASA to Build a Space Habitat by 2018

A new year.  Maybe we can do a bit more looking up.  

Hans Kalff sent me a link (see below) and Jun Okushi posted on Facebook some of the same (see below, below)

Hmmmm, A Space Habitat by 2018.  It will be interesting to see what happens before I pass on to a far, far, away place. :-)
US$55 million out of $19.3 billion budget.  
Hmmmm, Disney spent $4 billion to purchase Lucasfilm so "Star Wars The Force Awakens" wasn't cheap to make.  
Then again they expect to make money in the long run.

I wonder if Disney would like to help marketing going to the Moon, Mars, and Beyond.
There ought to be a few toys to sell and a few comic books, and .....

May the force be with you, and thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Congress Instructs NASA to Build a Space Habitat by 2018
Some of NASA’s successes in 2015 include finding liquid water on Mars and icy mountains on Pluto. In fact, the agency has been making so much waves that the US Congress has decided to give it a raise.
However, there’s a catch.
Congress is instructing NASA to use some of that money, which is at least US$55 million, to construct a prototype model of a deep space habitat. An omnibus bill passed by Congress this month directs NASA to accelerate work on a “habitation augmentation module” that could be used for future deep space missions.
The funds will be part of the Advanced Exploration Systems program, which in turn is part of the Exploration Research and Development line item in the budget that received $350 million in the bill. It further states that “NASA shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program.” NASA will also be required to provide Congress with a report within 180 days of the bill’s enactment detailing how those funds are being used to create the habitation module.
And Congress wants everything done by 2018.
Inline image 1
Image credit: NASA
See Spacenews - LRK -


Jun Okushi's Facebook post from the Huffington Post

- LRK -

Mars, here we come.

NASA celebrated news of an unexpected windfall earlier this month when after years of penny-pinching, Congress announced it would increase the space agency’s budget by $1.3 billion in 2016. 

Now it's emerged that a chunk of that money has been earmarked to help bolster the agency’s plans for a Martian mission. As Popular Science noted, Congress directed NASA to use $55 million of its $19.3 billion budget to begin building a deep space habitat that will house astronauts during future exploratory missions to the red planet.
Congress gave the agency until 2018 to develop a decent prototype model of the “habitation module.” NASA must also produce a report on the status of the program in 180 days.
NASA said it hopes to launch a crewed mission to Mars by the 2030s, and to begin cislunar (between Earth and the moon) testing of a workable habitat by the 2020s.
As SpaceNews noted, the agency has already started working with companies like Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing and Orbital ATK to study habitat designs. The new funding and directive from Congress, however, “could force NASA to speed up” these plans.
NASA's habitation module may “shape deep space travel for dozens of decades,” wrote Yahoo! Tech. For now, though, very little is known about the habitat, including its requirements and how it will be built.
“It’s much too early for that,” Sam Scimemi, International Space Station director at NASA Headquarters, told SpaceNews. “As soon as I put a picture up there, somebody is going to assume what the configuration 

Congress Pushes NASA To Build Deep Space Habitat For Mars Mission By 2018

The agency has received $55 million for the project.


Will have to watch Bigelow Aerospce. 
- LRK -

Bigelow Aerospace and NASA
Execute NextSTEP Contract to Study B330 Utilization


Via its NextSTEP contract, Bigelow Aerospace will demonstrate to NASA how B330 habitats can be used to support safe, affordable, and robust human spaceflight missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. As the name indicates, the B330 will provide 330 cubic meters of internal volume and each habitat can support a crew of up to six. Bigelow expandable habitats provide much greater volume than metallic structures, as well as enhanced protection against radiation and physical debris. Moreover, Bigelow habitats are lighter and take up substantially less rocket fairing space, and are far more affordable than traditional, rigid modules. These advantages make the B330 the ideal habitat to implement NASA’s beyond low Earth orbit (“LEO”) plans and will support the utilization of transportation systems such as the SLS and Orion. Additionally, the B330s, which will initially be deployed and tested in LEO, will be used as private sector space stations that will conduct a wide variety of commercial activities.


Appreciate all the suggestions provided in the past years.
Time seems to move faster as one ages and I don't know where last year went.

Granddaughter will be 9 in a couple of weeks and shows grandma how to play games on a tablet.
She can call up TV programs on my tablet with COMCAST TVGO and use ear phones to shut out the sound of grandma's Family Feud game show on the big Samsung Smart TV. (bedroom still has a heavy 35 inch glass tube analog TV in an old cabinet.)

We have come a long way since DOS 1 and having to push video data a byte at a time to video memory locations. 
I need to make room in the garage. I may have to get rid of the old BYTE and Dr Dobb's Journal magazines.


Thanks for looking up with me, 
- LRK -
Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4B, Targets Star Wars: Episode 7 for 2015

With the acquisition, Disney adds one of the world’s most enduring — and most profitable — sci-fi franchises to its ever-expanding stable. Disney, which has grown from humble animation company to massive media brand, successfully roped in Pixar in 2006 and bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 (also for a $4 billion price tag). Buying Lucasfilm, Disney chairman Robert Iger said, was in line with the Marvel acquisition: The move essentially means Disney has cornered the market on superhero and sci-fi/fantasy films.

NASA Gets Big Boost in Final FY2016 Appropriations Bill
Congress reached agreement on a FY2016 appropriations bill overnight.  NASA will get $19.285 billion, $785 million more than the President's request and $1.285 billion more than FY2015.
Division B (Commerce-Justice-Science) of the bill, H.R. 2029, provides
  • $5.589 billion for science
  • $640 million for aeronautics
  • $686.5 million for space technology
  • $4.030 billion for exploration
  • $5.029 billion for space operations, including up to $1.244 billion for commercial crew
  • $115 million for education
  • $2.767 billion for safety, security and mission services
  • $388.9 million for CECR, and
  • $37.4 million for Inspector General
The bill and explanatory statement are posted on the website of the House Rules Committee.
Among the big winners are planetary science, the exploration program (including the Space Launch System and Orion), and commercial crew.  The commercial crew program is funded at the requested level of $1.244 billion, a win for the Obama Administration. 
Planetary Science.  Funding for planetary missions is $1.631 billion, an increase of $270 million above the request and $193 million more than FY2015.  It includes $175 million for a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, a priority of House Appropriations CJS subcommittee chairman Rep. John Culberson (R-TX).  He added substantial funding for the mission in FY2013 ($75 million) and FY2014 ($80 million) although NASA did not request any.  For FY2015, NASA requested $15 million and Congress provided $100 million.  For this year, NASA requested $30 million. Not only did Congress add $145 million to that figure, but it directs NASA to build a lander as well as an orbiter.  It reiterates that it wants the mission launched in 2022.  NASA has been envisioning a later launch date to match the projected funding levels in the President's budget request.
Exploration:  The Space Launch System (SLS) gets $2.0 billion, $643.5 million more than the request and $300 million more than FY2015.  The funding includes $85 million for an Enhanced Upper Stage (EUS) that is needed for all but the first flight of SLS.  The first flight, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), will not carry a crew and will use an interim upper stage.  EM-2 will carry a crew and the question was whether to spend funds to human-rate the interim upper stage or move forward expeditiously on the EUS, which will be human-rated.  The decision was to move forward with EUS.    The Orion spacecraft will receive $1.270 billion, $174 million more than the request and $76 million more than FY2014.  Within Advanced Exploration Systems funding, Congress also directs NASA to spend no less than $55 million on a habitation module, which will be needed to augment living space for astronauts on lengthy trips beyond low Earth orbit.  Congress wants a prototype habitation module no later than 2018.  The final agreement also directs NASA to human-rate all systems prior to the EM-2 mission and "notes that additional funds above the request have been provided to address this untenable gap presented by NASA in its budget request."   The "untenable gap" refers to NASA's current plan for a five year gap between the first test flight of SLS (EM-1), with an unoccupied Orion capsule, in 2018, and the second SLS launch (EM-2), with a crew, in 2023 (NASA insists it is still working toward a 2021 date for EM-2 as originally planned, but does not use that as its official baseline for the program).
Commercial Crew.  Congress provided full funding for the commercial crew program: $1.244 billion.  The House-passed CJS appropriations bill would have cut that to $1.0 billion and the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $900 million.  NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden has been relentless in his advocacy for full funding for commercial crew to enable the United States to end its reliance on Russia for taking crews to and from the International Space Station (ISS).   Congress adopted the Senate Appropriations Committee's decision to move this program out of Exploration and into Space Operations.
FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Clears Congress, Signed by President


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