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NASA is Currently Exploring Commercialising Operations

Bridenstine also noted that this could spread NASA's influence in pop culture, the report said

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NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
NASA telescopes capture birth of black hole or neutron star. Flickr

NASA is exploring the feasibility of commercialising the agency’s operations in low Earth orbit to lower its costs while its eyes turn toward the Moon and Mars, the media reported.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has unveiled an “Advisory Council committee” that will explore some of these plans, which could include product endorsements from astronauts and even selling the naming rights to rockets and other spacecraft, the Engadget reported.

According to Mike Gold, head of the Committee, the committee would also consider scrapping “obsolete” regulations to let US astronauts support private activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Companies should not have to “turn to Russian cosmonauts” for private operations, suggesting that astronauts could even be involved in filming ads, he was quoted as saying.

Gold said the possibilities could include having NASA receive reimbursement when commercial space companies sell spots on spacecraft heading for the ISS, and leveraging those funds for access or services on future private-sector space stations.

NASA
NASA mulling product endorsements, selling naming rights. Pixabay

“Our companies should not have to turn to Russian cosmonauts to execute commercial operations,” Gold was quoted as saying by the GeekWire.

“When new industrial substance are created, commercial experiments conducted, or even advertisements filmed, American astronauts should lead the way.”

While Bridenstine stressed that he did not know if this kind of commercialisation was possible (hence the committee), he noted that the move might help NASA compete with private spaceflight companies.

Also Read- Report: Tesla Misses Model 3 Car Production Target

The US has a shortage of military pilots precisely because they can make more money with airlines, the administrator argued — there could be a similar problem if they’re tempted away by the likes of SpaceX — a California-based private aerospace manufacturer.

Bridenstine also noted that this could spread NASA’s influence in pop culture, the report said. (IANS)

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China Exchanged Data With NASA On Its Recent Mission To Moon

The country has also said that it will welcome scientists and astronauts from around the world to make use of its space station, which is slated for completion by 2022.

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China
Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the national space agency, speaks during a press conference held in Beijing, China, Jan. 14, 2019. VOA

China exchanged data with NASA on its recent mission to land a Chinese spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the Chinese space agency said Monday, in what was reportedly the first such collaboration since an American law banned joint space projects with China that do not have prior congressional approval.

The space agency’s deputy director, Wu Yanhua, said NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang’e 4 spacecraft, which made China the first country to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

China in turn shared the time and coordinates of Chang’e 4’s scheduled landing, Wu told reporters during a briefing on the lunar mission. He added that while NASA’s satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, it took photographs of the area afterward.

The state-run China Daily said that was the first such form of cooperation since the 2011 U.S. law was enacted.

Moon, China
The far side of the moon, photographed by the Chang’e-4 lunar probe, is seen in this image provided by China National Space Administration, Jan. 3, 2019. VOA

NASA has not published any statements on the collaboration and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The lunar mission by Chang’e 4 and its rover, Jade Rabbit 2, was a triumph for China’s growing space program, which has been rapidly catching up with those of Russia and the U.S. President Xi Jinping has placed space exploration among the country’s national development priorities and the far side mission offered a chance for China to do something not done before by any other country.

The far side of the moon – the side which faces away from Earth – posed a challenge for scientists because it is beyond radio signals’ reach. China set up a relay satellite in May to receive communication from Chang’e 4.

“In the past, we were always rushing to catch up to the advanced global standards” in space, said Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration project.

“There were many things to catch up on, and fewer things in which we could surpass others,” he said. “With the probe of the far side of the moon this time, Chinese people have done very well.”

China, Moon
This picture taken Jan. 3, 2019, and received, Jan. 4, from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) via CNS shows a robotic lunar rover on the far side of the moon. VOA

Officials at the briefing declined to give specific figures on the costs of the space program.

Wu Yanhua said the Chang’e 4 was originally built as a “backup product” for Chang’e 3. He said the spending needed to refit it for its new objective was akin to repairing a short section of subway line.

Also Read: NASA Telescopes Capture Birth of Black Hole or Neutron Star

Around the end of this year, China plans to launch Chang’e 5, which is to collect and bring back samples from the near side of the moon, the first time that has been done since 1976. Scientists are still researching whether to send Chinese astronauts, Wu said.

The country has also said that it will welcome scientists and astronauts from around the world to make use of its space station, which is slated for completion by 2022. (VOA)