Trump wants more countries to join US policy approach to space resources, lunar mining

"This Executive Order establishes U.S. policy toward the recovery and use of space resources," Scott Pace, deputy assistant to the president, said in a statement.Trump's executive order reaffirms a decision made by Congress in 2015, which Pace noted gives American individuals and corporations "the right to engage in the commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space."A senior White House official told CNBC that the administration has seen support for this view of space resources from nations like Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and even China. 
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that directs Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to seek further international support for the U.S. policy that allows organizations to collect and use resources in space.
"This Executive Order establishes U.S. policy toward the recovery and use of space resources, such as water and certain minerals, in order to encourage the co…

Private companies find role in developing nuclear power for space travel

Nuclear-powered spacecraft could cut our travel time to Mars in half.
Space is about to go nuclear — at least if private companies get their way.

At the 23rd annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference (CST) in Washington, D.C., in January, a panel of nuclear technology experts and leaders in the commercial space industry spoke about developments of the technology that could propel future spacecraft faster and more efficiently than current systems can.

Nuclear technology has powered spacecraft such as NASA's Mars rovers, the Cassini mission and the two Voyagers that are currently exploring the outer reaches of our solar system. But those fuel sources rely on the passive decay of radioactive plutonium, converting heat from that process into electricity to power the spacecraft.

Instead, the CST panelists discussed Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), a technology developed in the 1960s and '70s that relies on the splitting, or fission, of hydrogen atoms. Although fission i…

NASA and SpaceX prepare to launch astronauts from the US again

For the first time since the final space shuttle mission in 2011, astronauts will launch into space aboard an American rocket and spacecraft from American soil, according to NASA.

The agency, along with SpaceX, is eyeing a mid-to-late May launch for the manned SpaceX Demo-2 flight test from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Since the last shuttle mission in July 2011, crews launching to the International Space Station have been conducted from Baikonur in Russia aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The agency is monitoring CDC guidance with regards to mission planning amid the coronavirus pandemic, they said. The launch date could be postponed. All NASA centers are currently operating with non-mission-essential work occurring remotely, which limits employee contact with the crew, according to the agency.

But for now, things are going according to plan. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are expected to be on the May flight test in SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of a…

SpaceX's Starship will soon be made of different stuff

SpaceX plans to build its Mars-colonizing spaceship out of a different stainless-steel alloy.

SpaceX is about to make a bone-deep tweak to its Starship Mars-colonizing spacecraft.

The California-based company built its first few Starship prototypes out of a stainless-steel alloy known as 301. But aerospace engineers have been using that particular metallic blend since the middle of the last century, and it's time for SpaceX to make a change, Elon Musk said.

"We should be able to do better in the 2020s than they did in, like, the '50s, you know?" Musk said Monday (March 9) during a keynote conversation at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, D.C. "So, I think we'll start switching away from 301 maybe in the next month or two."

SpaceX is still committed to stainless steel for both the 100-passenger Starship and Super Heavy, the giant rocket that will launch the ship off Earth. The company will just migrate to a different alloy, whose constituents …

Trump says India, US will together explore stars & space, hails Chandrayaan-2 mission

NEW DELHI: Giving an indication of a joint space programme with India in coming years, US President Donald Trump, during his speech at the world’s largest stadium Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, said the “US and India will be friends and partners on a voyage to stars and space”. He also hailed Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission.

The US president said, “America is looking forward to expanding space exploration with India as you (India) are pushing the limits, including in the realms of human spaceflight (Gaganyaan). That is a great thing.” Hailing Chandrayaan-2 mission, Trump said, “You are making exciting progress on your Chandrayaan lunar programme. It is moving along rapidly far ahead of schedule. It is truly extraordinary what this nation has achieved… under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi.”

According to US space experts, data and images of Moon’s south pole region from Chandrayaan’s orbiter will help US space agency Nasa plan its 2024 Armetius manned…

Commerce Department seeks big funding boost for Office of Space Commerce

WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department is once again requesting a large budget increase for its Office of Space Commerce in order to work on space traffic management activities after Congress rejected a similar request last year.

Parts of the department’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal were not released with the rest of the White House’s budget request Feb. 10. However, the section for “Departmental Management,” which covers the Office of Space Commerce, was released by Feb. 14.

That proposal, like the one for fiscal year 2020, seeks to combine the Office of Space Commerce with the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office, and moved the combined office from NOAA, where both offices currently reside, to directly under the Secretary of Commerce.

The Commerce Department is seeking $15 million for the combined office in 2021, up from the 2020 request of $10 million. Congress, however, rejected both the proposed spending and the request to combine the offices, giving CR…

SpaceX Crew Dragon arrives at launch site for the 1st orbital crew flight from US soil since 2011

Crew Dragon may get off the ground in early May.

The spacecraft that will fly SpaceX's first-ever crewed mission has made it to Florida.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule arrived on Florida's Space Coast on Thursday (Feb. 13), NASA officials said, completing a cross-country trek from the company's California headquarters.

"The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," NASA officials said in an update.

Technicians at a SpaceX processing facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station can now start prepping the vehicle for the launch that will kick off Demo-2, a historic test mission that will send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS).

That liftoff is targeted for early May from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral.

Demo-2 will mark the first crewed flight for Crew Dragon, and the first orbita…