Five Top Space Stories of 2019

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We’re Back and Ready to Go for a New Decade! Before Jump In, Though, Let’s Take a Look at the Five of the Top Space Stories of 2019.

A lot can happen in a year. And within the realm of space news, a lot did happen in 2019. As such, we’ve picked a handful of the top space stories of 2019 and decided to break them down for you.

1. Vice President Pence Shaves Four Years off of the Artemis Moon Landing Deadline.

Though we’re not really ranking this list per se, this is perhaps the most significant story in U.S. space policy news from last year. When Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Trump administration was shaving four years off of NASA’s timeline for returning astronauts to the moon, it sent ripples through both the agency and the entire space community. First, it prompted NASA administrator to fire William Gerstenmaier, the longtime head of human space exploration for NASA.

Second, it sped up timelines for the already beleaguered Space Launch System (SLS). That project has famously suffered major setbacks over the years since its inception. It’s also a lot more expensive than commercial options that would do the job as competently and more quickly for less money. And the leaders of those commercial companies, along with top NASA officials have taken notice. As a matter of fact, they practically begged Congress to scrap the SLS in favor of commercial options.

Finally, it provided a glorious opportunity for the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces to demonstrate how painfully little he knows about anything having to do with science.

2. SpaceX Crew Dragon Successfully Docking with the ISS

SpaceX leads the pack when it comes to commercial crewed spacecraft. There’s little doubt about that. After all, they are the only company with a working prototype that has actually docked with the International Space Station (ISS). Boeing’s attempt to do the same on December 20th ended in failure. Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, for their parts, aren’t really a part of this particular conversation, however, as neither is working on a vessel to ferry astronauts to the ISS. 

Despite suffering serious setbacks during one of the final testing phases, Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s contribution to the commercial crew program, should be ready astronauts early this year.

3. The First All-Female Space Walk

In a watershed moment for women in space, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history by executing the first all-female spacewalk, or EVA, to perform maintenance on the ISS. Women have performed EVA’s before, but the dangerous activity is a team effort, and prior to this, each female who’d done an EVA had been partnered with a male. Meir and Koch pulled off their duties without a hitch and entered the history books. Both women continue to inspire young women around the world who are interested in space and astronomy.

4. India’s ISRO – The Little Space Agency That Could (Almost)

India really wants to be a world-class presence in space. To that end, their space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been quite busy this year. They aimed most of their focus, however, on the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 program. Chandrayaan-2 launched with two primary missions in mind. The first was to land a probe on the surface of the moon near the south pole. The second was to put a spacecraft in orbit around the moon to study the surface from above. While the first part of the mission would have made India just the fourth nation to successfully land a craft on the moon, they lost control of the lander just above the landing site and the Vikram lander crashed. 

Though the first objective ended in failure, most see the mission as an overall success for a nation that has only just begun its exploration into space. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft made it to the moon and nearly succeeded with a fraction of what other countries spend to do similar missions. That’s what makes it one of the top space stories of the year

5. The First Picture of a Black Hole

So, this is pretty much at the top of everyone’s list of the top space stories of 2019. And really, how could it not be? I mean, they found a way to take a photograph— literally from the Greek meaning “a drawing from light”—of an object that eats light. It’s a groundbreaking discovery, to be sure, and it will provide astrophysicists with a lot of work for years to come.

I mean, it’s not a bunch of morons trying to “Storm Area 51,” but then again, that wasn’t much of a story, now, was it?

As we wave goodbye to 2019 and ring in 2020 here at Space Porn, we’d like to wish you all a happy new year and a happy new decade! Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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