Human Space Exploration Update: (September 6-23, 2016)


  • Continuing Resolution:  Congress Votes to Keep Government Open Through December 9  Congress has passed none of the 12 appropriations bills that comprise a budget for the 2017 fiscal year starting Oct. 1, including a spending plan for NASA. The budget CR will remain in effect through the November elections and until Dec. 9.


International Space Station


Orion and Space Launch System

  • Orion Update:   Orion Mission Update for September 2016  At NASA’s Johnson Space Center, divers train to retrieve astronauts returning to Earth after deep space missions aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Meanwhile assembly and testing of an Orion spacecraft move forward ahead of the capsule’s first uncrewed test flight atop a Space Launch System exploration rocket in late 2018.


Commercial Space Transportation

  • Starliner Update:  Boeing’s Starliner crew trainers installed in historic NASA simulator facility  Boeing crew trainer equipment for astronauts preparing to launch aboard future Boeing CST-100 Starliner missions to the International Space Station has begun to arrive at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Personnel from NASA’s Flight Operations Directorate will use the trainers to prepare astronauts and flight controllers for the ascent, rendezvous and docking, and descent phases of flight in the Boeing spacecraft.

Space Budgets, Policy, Missions, Benefits, International …


  • The Case for Space:  America still needs space travel: Mark Kelly  Humanity must not let temporary setbacks, like the still unexplained Sept. 1 launch pad explosion of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, reduce space exploration ambitions, writes former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly in an op-ed. Kelly believes the U.S. private sector is an important partner with NASA in the quest.
  • Lunar Exploration:  Is a moon village the next step for space exploration? ESA’s chief thinks so  European Space Agency director general Jan Woerner believes an internationally supported lunar village offers the best post-International Space Station endeavor for human explorers to test technologies for missions deeper into the solar system. Jeff Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut, believes lunar missions could be a benefit if the infrastructures don’t become so costly they “suck up” the resources needed to reach Mars.
  • Musk Plans for Mars:  Musk Shares Technical Details of His Dream for Mars Colonization  SpaceX founder Elon Musk presented a Mars settlement strategy before the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara, one intended to make the human race a multi-planet species through the development of large, reusable spacecraft that can be refueled. “It was a visionary speech that appealed to many in the crowd, but despite Musk’s evident passion, many question the realism of his plans. Even Musk said that his immediate goal is to create the dream of Mars in people’s mind, to “make it seem possible in our lifetimes,” according to the report.
  • 200 Launches Annually from Space Coast:  Space Florida CEO expects up to 200 launches per year  Florida can look forward to as many as 200 space launches annually as interest in commercial space grows, according to Frank DiBello, head of Space Florida, the state’s aerospace development agency.
  • Dream Chaser UN Payload:  United Nations to fly first space mission on Dream Chaser   The United Nations will join with Sierra Nevada Corp. for the 2021 launch of the company’s reusable Dream Chaser launch vehicle. Dream Chaser will carry payloads from the world’s developing nations under an agreement with the U.N.’s Office of Space Affairs.
  • Vulcan Rocket Update:  ULA, Air Force agree on Vulcan rocket certification process  United Launch Alliance and the Air Force sign agreements intended to lead to certification of ULA’s new Vulcan rocket for the launching of U.S. national security payloads. The military will review ULA’s overall flight history, vehicle design, reliability, process maturity, safety systems, manufacturing and operations, systems engineering, risk management and launch facilities and monitor at least two Vulcan flights as part of the process.


Citizens for Space Exploration – a pro-space, taxpayer, grassroots advocacy group ( ) – has travelled to Washington, D.C. the past 24 years to meet face-to-face with Members/staff of Congress to discuss the value of America’s investment in space exploration. In order to sustain that dialogue on a regular basis, Citizens distributes “Space Exploration Update” to Congressional offices on a weekly basis.  The intent is to provide an easy, quick way to stay abreast of key human space exploration program and policy developments. 

Human Space Exploration Update:  (October 4-21, 2016)
Human Space Exploration Update: (September 6-23, 2016)