Astra Rocket 3.3 Launch Fails

Astra’s third attempt to reach orbit failed Aug. 28 when its Rocket 3.3 vehicle struggled to get off the launch pad because of an engine shutdown and eventually failed in flight.

The small launch vehicle, designated LV0006 by Astra, ignited its five first-stage engines at about 6:35 p.m. Eastern from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska on Kodiak Island. Various issues, including taking additional time to load propellant and update software configurations, delayed the launch from the opening of the window at 4 p.m. Eastern.

The rocket, instead of immediately ascending vertically, tipped and moved sideways, hovering just about the ground. It took nearly 20 seconds for the sideways motion to stop, at which point the rocket started to ascend.

Read more at: Spacenews

More Cracks Found In Russian International Space Station Section

The International Space Station (ISS) is showing its age. After decades orbiting our planet, problems have begun to pop up with regularity. Among them, there are leaks, cracks, and even problems with the oxygen supply. A senior Russian engineer now reports that cracks have appeared on the Zarya module of the ISS, which is used for storage as well as the ongoing problems to the Zvezda module, which houses the cosmonauts. Russia’s state-owned RIA News sat with Vladimir Solovyov, chief engineer of Moscow-based company Energia and the prime contractor for Russia’s human spaceflight program, talking about the current conditions of the Russian segments of the ISS and the potential of a completely Russian space station in the near future.

Read more at: IFLscience

Astroscale Complete First Test Of Satellite Capture Technology

Astroscale has completed the first major test of technology to capture and remove objects in orbit by releasing and then recapturing a small satellite.

The company announced Aug. 25 it performed a test earlier that day of its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) spacecraft where the main “servicer” spacecraft released a small client spacecraft, then recaptured it using a magnetic mechanism. The test was the first time the client had separated from the servicer since the launch of ELSA-d in March.

“It was a first step, but for us, it was big,” said Chris Blackerby, chief operating officer of Astroscale, in an interview during the 36th Space Symposium here.

Read more at: Spacenews

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s Next Great Observatory, Passes Final Ground Tests

NASA and its partners working on the James Webb Space Telescope have completed their final tests of the giant observatory and are now preparing it for a trip to a South American spaceport for a launch later this year. Conceived more than 30 years ago as a successor of the then new Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb will be the largest observatory ever to be put in orbit. It is designed to use its infrared eyes to peer further into the universe’s history than ever before. With its 6.5-meter in diameter gold-plated mirror, the telescope will attempt to answer questions about the formation of first stars and galaxies out of the darkness of the early universe.

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China Working On Landing Astronauts On Moon

China’s Lunar Exploration Program, named after the Chinese moon goddess “Chang’e”, has so far deployed lunar orbiters, landers, rovers and sample return spacecraft to the moon. Now, the country is planning to put human beings on the moon—a feat not seen since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

According to a report by Space News citing an article by the Xiamen University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China has appointed Yang Lei as “Chief commander of the crewed lunar landing vehicle system”. The human lunar landing project has been dubbed as a “national strategy”. The plans are for a crewed moon landing that could take place around 2030 using a Long March 5 rocket.

Read more at: Week

‘A Shortfall Of Gravitas’ Returns With Its First Falcon 9 Catch

SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas made its way into Port Canaveral, Florida, after catching its first Falcon 9 stage just a couple days ago.

Just before 8 a.m. EDT (12:00 UTC) Aug. 31, the drone ship entered the port and began making its way to a wharf on the north side of the channel where on-shore cranes are set to lift the 155-foot (47-meter) tall booster off of the rocket-catching barge and onto a mount for inspections, as well as to fold up its four landing legs.

Read more at: Spaceflight insider


Space Agencies Support Space Traffic Management But Differ On How It Should Be Developed

Leaders of national space agencies agree that space traffic management (STM) should be a priority but have differing views on who should be responsible for it.

During a panel discussion at the 36th Space Symposium Aug. 25, the heads of space agencies in Europe and North America emphasized the importance of space traffic management given the growing amount of space objects in orbit and the threat they pose to space activities.

“Space traffic management is, from our point of view, a very important topic,” said Walther Pelzer, head of the German space agency DLR.

Read more at: Spacenews

Russian Tech Firm Develops New Radar For Safe Launch Of Satellites

The Scientific Research Institute for Long-Distance Radio Communications (NIIDAR, part of the RTI Systems Group) has developed a radar system of space measurements to ensure the safe launch and operation of satellites in orbit, the RTI Systems press office told TASS on Monday.

“The system automatically tracks a carrier rocket from its launch at a spaceport to the delivery of a satellite into the designated orbit. The radar selects objects in the near-the-Earth space, separating the rocket’s spent parts from orbited satellites for their further monitoring,” the press office said.

Read more at: TASS

Millennium Space In An Experiment De-Orbited A Satellite In Eight Months

Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems announced Aug. 23 it successfully demonstrated the use of a deployable tether to de-orbit a satellite after it completes its mission.

The company in November launched an experiment called Dragracer aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. Two identical cubesats were deployed. One had a 70-meter long drag tape made by Tethers Unlimited and the other did not. The satellite with the drag tape burned upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere after eight months. The satellite without tape will naturally de-orbit which is estimated to take at least seven years

Read more at: Spacenews

Scientists’ 1st-Ever View Of Sun’s Middle Corona Could Sharpen Space Weather Forecasts

Recent telescope views shed new light on the sun’s elusive middle corona that could prove beneficial to space weather forecasts. Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-17 satellite, researchers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) captured the first-ever images of the sun’s middle corona — also known as the sun’s outer atmosphere — and the dynamics that trigger solar wind and the big eruptions dubbed coronal mass ejections, according to a statement from the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

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What Goes Up Must Come Down: Helping Clean Up Space Junk With First-of-Its-Kind Mission Optimizer

Less than a year on from the UK Space Agency committing £1 million in funding to combat space debris, Fujitsu UK has successfully combined quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to support the transformation of space debris removal.

Fujitsu’s prototype – created in collaboration with the The removal of space debris is key to sustainability in space, reducing, or even preventing, the risk of obsolete spacecraft colliding with new and existing satellites.

Read more at: Scitech daily

Progress MS-17 Cargo Spacecraft To Be Dumped Late November

The cargo spacecraft Progress MS-17 will be detached from the International Space Station (ISS) and dumped at the end of autumn, Russian Space magazine (an official periodical of Roscosmos corporation) has said.

The separation from the ISS and dumping are scheduled for November 24.

During the Progress MS-17’s flight on June 2 some phases of one-orbit flight pattern of closing up and docking with the International Space Station were practiced.

Read more at: TASS

Spacecraft Deorbiting Device Developed at Purdue Ready for Firefly Alpha Launch on Thursday

A drag sail that a team at Purdue University developed to pull launch vehicles in space back to Earth is scheduled to undergo a test launch on Thursday (Sept. 2). The mission, set to take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, will evaluate how well the prototype helps its vehicle deorbit from space after mission completion. A livestream of the launch will be available through Everyday Astronaut. Faster deorbiting times may prevent spacecraft and launch vehicles from turning into hazardous space debris as they wait to deorbit naturally, a process that could take days, months or years without assistance. Abandoned, lost or post-mission space vehicles are part of the more than nine thousand tons of space debris currently traveling through Earth’s lower orbit at dangerous speeds.

Read more at: Parabolic arc


iSpace Unveils New Larger Lunar Lander

Japanese lunar space transportation company ispace is developing its design for a larger lunar lander that will be built in the United States.

The Tokyo-based company unveiled the design of the lander at the 36th Space Symposium Aug. 23. The lander, being developed by the company’s U.S. office in Denver, will fly as soon as 2024 on the company’s third mission to the moon.

A major difference in the new design, company officials said in interviews, is the payload capacity. While the lander ispace is building for its first two missions in 2022 and 2023 can carry 30 kilograms of payload to the lunar surface, the new lander will have a payload capacity of 500 kilograms to the surface or 2,000 kilograms of payloads to lunar orbit.

Read more at: Spacenews

First Commercial Rocket Due To Be Launched From Australia Later In 2021

Australia’s first commercial rocket launch will take place in South Australia this year, after receiving approval from the federal government.

Australian space company Southern Launch will send a Taiwanese rocket into space after being granted a launch permit, it was announced on Monday.

The Taiwanese company TiSPACE will conduct a test flight of its suborbital rocket Hapith I. The rocket will blast off from Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Read more at: Guardian

Blue Origin Flies Payloads On Latest New Shepard Flight

Blue Origin launched a New Shepard suborbital vehicle Aug. 25 on a mission carrying research and educational payloads as the company prepares for its next crewed flight.

New Shepard lifted off from the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 10:31 a.m. Eastern. The launch was delayed by nearly an hour because of two holds during the countdown, first for an unspecified vehicle issue and then a nearly half-hour hold for what the company called a “payload readiness issue.”

The crew capsule reached a peak altitude of 105.9 kilometers before landing under parachutes 10 minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff. The vehicle’s booster made a powered landing on a nearby pad a few minutes earlier.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX Starship: Photo Shows Impressive Heat Tiles Ahead Of Major Test

On Monday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared a photo of the under-development space rocket. It’s perhaps the most ambitious ongoing project for SpaceX, as it plans to use the Starship to send the first humans to Mars and beyond. Dorsey’s photo shows a prototype model ahead of the planned first orbital flight, representing a major milestone in the project’s development.

“Grateful for [SpaceX CEO] Elon Musk and SpaceX,” Dorsey wrote with the image. A reply from Musk suggested that Dorsey and record producer Rick Rubin visited the company’s Starbase facility in Texas.

Read more at: Inverse


China Researching Challenges Of Kilometer-Scale Ultra-Large Spacecraft

The National Natural Science Foundation of China has outlined a five-year project for researchers to study the assembly of ultra-large spacecraft.

Scientists are being directed to meet the “urgent need” for the construction of ultra-large spacecraft. Preliminary research is to include studying the challenges of developing lightweight structures and subsequent on-orbit assembly and control.

Though vague, the project would have practical applications for potential megaprojects including colossal space-based solar power stations. Such facilities would be based in geostationary orbit and span kilometers. These stations would collect solar energy and transmitting power to Earth through microwaves.

Read more at: Spacenews

Scientists Working Hard To Make Astronaut Underwear Cleaner Than Ever

“Not every shooting star is romantic,” says Gernot Groemer.

After all, the glowing objects burning up in the sky as they re-enter the atmosphere are not necessarily meteorites heading to Earth.

Thanks to modern science, they might instead be capsules stuffed with trash, perhaps even astronaut’s underwear, from the International Space Station (ISS), heading for a controlled crash landing.

But Groemer and his team of scientists at the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) and the Vienna Textile Lab (VTL) are doing their best to make sure that the next shooting star you spot isn’t just a bucket of space-frozen astronaut underwear.

Read more at: dpa international

Scientists Are Planning to Build Noah’s Ark on the Moon

A team at the University of Arizona is proposing a concept that just might save us from extinction: a 21st-century version of Noah’s Ark on the moon. This ark wouldn’t contain two of every animal, but rather a repository of cryogenically frozen reproductive cells from 6.7 million species on our planet. Consider it a global insurance policy, says Jekan Thanga, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and the project’s mastermind. “As a human civilization, we’re in a fragile state,” he says. And such a shelter could come to fruition in the next three decades, he adds.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

Thinking Outside The Box: Aerospace Corp.’S Thin Disksats

The Aerospace Corp., an early adopter of the cubesat standard, is proposing a new shape for small satellites, a thin plate called DiskSat that is designed to maximize volume and surface area.

A DiskSat that is one meter in diameter and 2.5-centimeters thick could accommodate enough solar cells to produce 200 watts.

“To get 200 watts of solar cells on a cubesat, even a fairly large cubesat, you need deployable arrays,” said Richard Welle, Aerospace Corp. senior scientist for Mission Systems Engineering, told SpaceNews.

A DiskSat also could accommodate a large-aperture antenna.

Read more at: Spacenews

ULA Stops Selling Its Centerpiece Atlas V, Setting Path For The Rocket’s Retirement

United Launch Alliance won’t be selling any more of its workhorse Atlas V rockets, and it has stopped buying the launch vehicle’s Russian-made rocket engines for good, the company’s chief executive told The Verge. ULA’s decision sets up the retirement of one of the US government’s most trusted launch vehicles and is expected to mark the end for Russia’s iconic — but controversial — RD-180 engine, an engineering marvel and a core source of revenue for Russia’s space program.

“We’re done. They’re all sold,” CEO Tory Bruno said of ULA’s Atlas V rockets in an interview.

Read more at: Verge

The Forecast For Mars Includes Otherworldly Weather Predictions

As scientists prepare for crewed research missions to nearby planets and moons, they’ve identified a need for something beyond rovers and rockets.

They need accurate weather forecasts. Without them, any trip to the surface may be one dust storm away from disaster.

A new Yale study helps lay the foundation for more accurate, otherworldly forecasts by taking a phenomenon related to Earth’s jet stream and applying it to weather patterns on Mars and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The study appears in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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Inspiration4 Mission Expands Health Research On Spaceflight

Inspiration4, an all-civilian commercial space mission that aims to launch in mid-September, will be conducting a variety of experiments to test the impact of spaceflight on the body. SpaceX, the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine and researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine will collect environmental and biomedical data, as well as biological samples, from the four crew members before, during and after the flight. The four-person crew will collect information on ECG activity, movement, sleep, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, as well as data about noise and light levels in the cabin.

Read more at: mobihealthnews

Martian Cave Entrances May Offer A Life-Friendly Radiation Shield

Most of Mars is extremely inhospitable to life, but there may be a workaround. The areas near the entrances to caves should, in theory, be shielded from some of the harmful radiation that bombards the planet’s surface.

Because Mars doesn’t have a global magnetic field or a thick atmosphere like Earth, its surface is exposed to dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation and ionising radiation from space, which would present a problem for native life and human explorers alike. Any living thing on the Martian surface would be exposed to doses of radiation that are 900 times higher on average than what it would experience on Earth.

Read more at: Newscientist


To Solve Space Traffic Woes, Look To The High Seas

Thanks mainly to the rise of satellite megaconstellation projects like OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink, the American Astronomical Society suggests, it’s possible we may see more than 100,000 satellites orbiting Earth by 2030—a number that would simply overwhelm our ability to track them all. Experts have repeatedly called for a better framework for managing space traffic and preventing a future plague of satellite crashes, but the world’s biggest space powers are still dragging their feet. All the while, more and more objects are zooming perilously close to one another.

Read more at: Technology review

Africa Joins The Global Space Race

Governments are leading the way in the race to space as they look to bridge the connectivity equality gap on the back of rising demand for cheaper, high-speed internet. African countries are looking to space to meet the rising demand for connectivity, fueled by fast-changing data consumption patterns and the growing need to bridge the digital divide in land-locked countries.

Demand for internet connectivity has skyrocketed across the continent in the last two years, driven largely by COVID-19 disruptions that have significantly altered the way Africans consume data.

Read more at: QZ

International Space Station Could Be Followed By Commercial Space Stations After 2030, NASA Says

NASA hopes that commercial space stations will orbit Earth once the International Space Station eventually retires, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said today (Aug. 25) at the 36th Space Symposium. 

The space station, which was completed in 2011, could retire as soon as 2024. However, today, Nelson revealed that he expects the orbiting lab to last to 2030 and that NASA hopes it will be replaced by commercial labs in orbit.  

“We expect to expand the space station as a government project all the way to 2030. And we hope it will be followed by commercial stations,” Nelson said during a “Heads of Agency” panel alongside other space leaders from around the world. 

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Ukraine Must Become A Space State Again – Zelensky

During his visit to the United States, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. The Ukrainian leader reported this on his Twitter page.

According to him, during the meeting with the head of NASA, he had discussed with Bill Nelson the projects Ukraine can join with its unique space technologies.

Earlier, it was reported that the Ukrainian delegation headed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi began a working visit to the United States.

Read more at: 112international

Top FAA Regulator Pledges A Light Hand For Commercial Space Industry

The Federal Aviation Administration’s top regulator for space flight says his agency is struggling to keep up with the rapid growth of the commercial space industry as it wrestles with new issues including whether it should ensure the safety of space tourists and which of them should get commercial astronaut’s wings.

Wayne R. Monteith, a retired Air Force general who served for years in space billets in Colorado Springs is now the FAA’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation. He told a Space Symposium crowd at The Broadmoor Wednesday that to a large extent, he’s trying to keep his agency out of the way of the rush to space.

Read more at: gazette

ESA Pursuing European Space Summit To Discuss New Flagship Space Programs

The head of the European Space Agency says plans are moving forward to host a European space summit early next year to discuss proposals for new major space initiatives.

In an interview during the 36th Space Symposium, Josef Aschbacher said that summit, which he proposed shortly after becoming ESA director general in March, is expected to take place by next spring. France will host the event as the country will have both the co-presidency of ESA as well as the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2022.

Read more at: Spacenews


Representatives Lamborn and Crow Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Establish a Space Force National Guard and Reserve

U.S. Representatives Doug Lamborn and Jason Crow, both members of the House Armed Services Committee and Co-Chairs of the House Space Force Caucus, joined in introducing the Space National Guard Establishment Act. This bipartisan legislation will establish a Space National Guard as a Reserve component of the Space Force, our nation’s newest military branch.

“For 25 years, our National Guard space units have provided operational and tactical assistance to protect our nation’s vital interests in space and enhance our military lethality,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Aerospace Corp. CEO Sees Winds Of Change In Space Procurement

The rapid commercialization of space and the establishment of the U.S. Space Force have created ideal conditions for change in the national security space business, says Steve Isakowitz, CEO of the Aerospace Corp. and former president of Virgin Galactic.

Aerospace, based in El Segundo, California, is a federally funded research and development center focused on analysis and assessment of space programs for the Defense Department, NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office.

Read more at: Spacenews

More Flexibility, Greater Urgency Key For Space Security: Aerospace’s Isakowitz

Aerospace Corporation President Steve Isakowitz says he never has a free Friday afternoon, but it doesn’t sound like something he’s in a hurry to change — unless perhaps the NFL’s Sunday afternoon season openers move to a new day. He’s a big sports buff, who says his staff roll their eyes at his constant use of sports metaphors. His lack of free time probably isn’t surprising. In addition to long-standing work with the Air Force, Aerospace has become the go-to advisor for the Pentagon’s space leaders — with its fingers in everything from policy questions for the Center for Space Policy and Strategy, to designing new micro-thrusters for teeny Cubesats.

Read more at: Breaking defense

NORTHCOM Needs Help In Space For Arctic Communications

The biggest focus of collaboration between US Northern Command and US Space Command will be on secure communication capabilities in the Arctic, according to the leader of NORTHCOM/NORAD.

Responding to a question as the annual Space and Missile Defense conference in Huntsville, Ala., earlier this month about how his team and SPACECOM are integrating, Gen. Glen VanHerck noted that secure comms will be particularly vital for the Arctic area — itself becoming a more prominent part of the NORTHCOM/NORAD mission to defense the homeland.

Read more at: Breaking defense


The Star Theory That Some People Think Proves The Moon Landing Was Fake

What is it about moon landing conspiracy theories? Whether or not NASA went to the moon doesn’t seem like it has much bearing on the average person’s life, and yet there are an awful lot of people devoted to believing very, very strongly that the Apollo moon landings never happened.

Why would we fake a moon landing? The story goes that NASA realized they just didn’t have the capability to do it. But they wanted to save face in front of both the Russians and the American public, so they hired (in most versions) Stanley Kubrick to fake the whole thing on a soundstage (via Rolling Stone). Why Kubrick? Because he had made “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Or maybe the guys at NASA were just big “Dr. Strangelove” fans, who knows. Read More:

Read more at: Grunge

Space Foundation Adds Fisher Space Pen to Space Tech Hall of Fame

More than 50 years after its pressurized writing instruments first entered orbit, Fisher Space Pen and its late founder are entering the Space Technology Hall of Fame.

The company and its namesake are being honored during a private ceremony on Thursday (Aug. 26), held as part of Space Foundation’s 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. Fisher Space Pen is being inducted as an organization and Paul C. Fisher, inventor of the iconic space pen, will be inducted posthumously as an individual (Fisher died in 2006 at the age of 93).

“We are grateful to be inducted into Space Foundation’s 2021 Space Technology Hall of Fame,” Matt Fisher, vice president of Fisher Space Pen, said in a statement. “On behalf of my grandfather Paul C. Fisher, my father Cary Fisher, my brother Paul, myself and everyone at Fisher Space Pen Co., we thank Space Foundation for this incredible honor.”

Read more at: Collectspace

Meet The Black Woman Looking to Change What People Think an Astronaut Looks Like

Lisa Alcindor is a Black woman on a mission to get to outer space. The 34-year-old Northern Virginia resident promotes herself as an “Astronaut Candidate” on her LinkedIn and Instagram pages.

“What do astronauts look like?” her Instagram bio reads. With a goal of touring the universe, Alcindor has started a GoFundMe in an effort to get help paying for the astronaut training she will need ahead of being launched to infinity and beyond. “My goal is to show people that they truly are limitless,” she told Washington Post.

Read more at: blackenterprise

The Passing of Larry Young: Bioastronautics Expert

I was saddened to learn of the passing of a great friend and leader in bioastronautics – Laurence Young.

Larry was the Apollo Program Professor Emeritus of Astronautics and professor of health sciences and technology at MIT. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Aug. 4 after battling cancer. He was 85.

Over the decades, Larry and I had countless conversations focused on the human factors of spaceflight – particularly his thoughts on artificial gravity. Indeed, in one of my treks to MIT, a visit with Larry led me to call him a true “spin doctor,” and a “G-whizz” professor.

Read more at: leonarddavid

Picky Astronauts Refuse to Put Pineapple on Space Pizza

Astronauts stationed on board the International Space Station threw their own zero-gravity pizza party, as seen in a clip uploaded to Instagram by European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet. “Floating pizza night with friends, it almost feels like a Saturday on Earth,” Pesquet wrote in a caption. “They say a good chef never reveals their secrets, but I made a video so you can be the judge.” The crew was also celebrating NASA astronaut and current crew member Megan McArthur’s 50th birthday. “My Space Brothers went all out: quesadillas and tortilla-pizzas with real cheese!” she wrote in a Monday tweet.

Read more at: Futurism