Damaged Russian Spacecraft Means NASA Astronauts Might Stay Stuck on the ISS

Last summer, a former NASA administrator quipped to Futurism that Russia’s spacecraft are held together “with baling wire and duct tape” — and per the latest on Roscosmos’ damaged Soyuz capsule, it seems like that assessment may have been dead on.

In a statement, NASA cryptically announced the plan to retrieve Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio “is under review” as they wait aboard the International Space Station for someone to come pick them up in the wake of return craft issues. Translation: it may be a while yet before those professional space travelers get to come back home to Earth.

Read more at: futurism

Russia Says Stranded Astronauts To Return From ISS In September

Russia said on Tuesday that three astronauts left stranded on the International Space Station (ISS) by a leak on their return capsule last year would land back on Earth in a Soyuz MS-23 replacement capsule in September.

Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and U.S. astronaut Francisco Rubio, who had been due to end their mission in March, were left stuck in space after the cooling system of their Soyuz MS-22 capsule started leaking two months ago.

Read more at: reuters

The Coming Chinese Megaconstellation Revolution

China’s response to Starlink and OneWeb first became apparent in 2020 in filings for just under 13,000 satellites with the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva. Beijng followed up by designating “satellite internet” a national “new infrastructure” project and establishing the high-level, state-owned China Satellite Network Group in 2021 to oversee the constellation project known as “Guowang.”

News regarding the progress of Guowang has been limited since then. The group signed an agreement with the government of Shanghai to foster the development of commercial space activities and set up two companies in the city of Chongqing as part of the project.

Read more at: spacenews


Logan Lab Studies Impact Of Solar Flares On Satellites

Your credit card stops working, then your radio kicks out. What’s happening?

It could be a solar flare causing glitches in a satellite. That’s why employees at the Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State University in Logan are investigating. They want to know how the sun messes with satellites and if the Earth’s atmosphere plays a part.

“Solar wind, coronal mass ejections, high energy particles coming from the sun, that is space weather,” said Space Dynamics Laboratory Payload Manager Eric Syrstad.

“And that is what impacts that region of space where we have, you know, really expensive satellites flying around. We rely on those for communication and GPS and that type of thing.”

Read more at: ksl

6 Types Of Objects That Could Cause Space Debris Apocalypse

The space around our planet is getting cluttered. Thousands of satellites and millions of out-of-control fragments of space debris hurtle high above our heads, threatening to collide. Here are the objects that experts fear the most. 

In just the past month, the goings-on in near-Earth space have twice made headlines and prompted experts to call for action. On Jan. 27, space debris researchers looked on in horror as two huge pieces of space junk ⁠— a decades-old upper stage of a Russian rocket and a long-defunct Russian satellite — came within 20 feet (6 meters) or so of each other.

Read more at:

New Space Mission Will Watch For Hazardous Asteroids Hidden By The Sun

Although astronomers are tracking most of the largest and deadliest asteroids in our solar system, there’s one glaring blindspot in the sky – the vicinity of the Sun. Thankfully, ESA plans to plug the gap soon with NEOMIR, a mission that will give us advance warning of any Earth-bound rocks from that direction.

As we’ve seen in the past, asteroid impacts can have devastating consequences. Since the 1990s, NASA and other organizations have been making a concerted effort to identify and track as many space rocks as possible, to predict when and if an impact might occur. If spotted early enough, there’s a chance we might have time to intervene – after all, a recent test to redirect an asteroid by ramming a spacecraft into it proved successful.

Read more at: newatlas

NASA Confirms 1,000-Pound Meteor Hit The Ground In Texas

NASA confirmed a meteor that was about 2 feet wide and weighed roughly 1,000 pounds fell in South Texas.

Experts believe the space rock broke into several pieces before hitting the ground around 6 p.m. Wednesday near McAllen, Texas. “Although meteorites tend to hit Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, they slow as they travel through the atmosphere, breaking into small fragments before hitting the ground. Meteorites cool rapidly and generally are not a risk to the public,” NASA said in a statement.

Read more at: fox4news

NASA Sounds Alarm! Earth’s Close Encounter with Massive 99-foot asteroid soon

Asteroids are regarded as some of the most substantial hazards to humanity throughout the universe. These celestial bodies are distributed throughout our solar system and range in size from minuscule to enormous. Even though the largest asteroid in the solar system, called Ceres, is almost 939 kilometers (about twice the length of New York State) wide, a much smaller asteroid could cause significant destruction and potentially lead to human extinction. The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was only 10 kilometers in size.

Recently, NASA has reported that another asteroid is rapidly approaching Earth, and while it is not expected to cause global destruction, it will come very close to our planet.

Read more at: hindustan times

China’s Space-Tracking Vessel Yuanwang-5 Departs For Monitoring Missions

Yuanwang-5, China’s third-generation spacecraft tracking ship, set sail for monitoring missions in a predetermined sea area on Monday, embarking on its maiden voyage in 2023.

The vessel departed from Jiangyin City in east China’s Jiangsu Province.

The voyage is expected to be Yuanwang-5’s longest one since 2020. Preparatory work, including supply replenishment, equipment maintenance, route formulation and meteorological observation, had been done for a smooth voyage.

Read more at: CGTN


NSL Unveils New Black Box

NearSpace Launch, an Indiana company known for robotically assembling ThinSats, is unveiling a new Black Box for autonomous satellite tracking and data relay.

“Operators want to keep connected to their satellite to get critical health and safety data,” Matthew Voss, NSL chief operating officer, told SpaceNews. “Even over the polar regions or the ocean, you can always connect to your satellites.”

Read more at: spacenews

Blue Origin Claims Its New Method Unlocks ‘Unlimited Solar Power’

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space firm, Blue Origin, announced it has developed a method for producing solar cells and transmission wire using only lunar regolith.

Blue Origin famously filed a legal complaint against NASA after it snubbed its lunar lander design in favor of awarding SpaceX a contract for a modified Starship lander.

Though that dispute was struck down, Blue Origin may play a crucial role in helping to sustain lunar habitats thanks to its latest innovation, called Blue Alchemist.

Read more at: interesting engineering

Euclid Electromagnetic Compatibility Tests Successful

ESA’s Euclid mission is undergoing the final test before launch in July 2023. The image above shows it standing in a special room in the Thales Alenia Space test facilities in Cannes, France, where it successfully underwent electromagnetic compatibility testing. 

This kind of testing is routine for spacecraft. All electronics emit some form of electromagnetic waves that can cause interference with other devices. Think of the buzz that speakers give out right before an incoming call on a mobile phone. Spacecraft electronics can cause similar interference, but out in space such interference can have disastrous consequences, so all systems must be checked before launch.

Read more at:

Vast Acquires Launcher To Support Space Station Development

Vast, a startup developing artificial-gravity space stations, announced Feb. 21 that it acquired launch services company Launcher, using its technology to further space station plans while ending developing of a small launch vehicle.

Vast announced it acquired Launcher for an undisclosed amount. The two companies, which currently have separate facilities in Southern California, will move into a new facility in Long Beach, California, this summer that Vast announced it January it would relocate to.

Read more at: spacenews

ClearSpace Clears First ESA Review For 2026 De-Orbit Mission

ClearSpace has started procuring spacecraft parts for its inaugural debris de-orbit mission in 2026, the Swiss startup said after announcing Feb. 21 it had cleared its first major program review.

The venture said it passed the European Space Agency’s Key Performance Gate 1 (KPG1) milestone at the end of 2022, or phase 1, to conclude the initial design phase for its servicer.

Muriel Richard-Noca, ClearSpace’s co-founder and chief technology officer, said it achieved the milestone after prototype tests in October at an ESA technology center in the Netherlands validated “the soundness of our concepts.”

Read more at: spacenews

Japanese Startup Unveils Balloon Flight Space Viewing Tours

A Japanese startup announced plans Tuesday to launch commercial space viewing balloon flights that it hopes will bring an otherwise astronomically expensive experience down to Earth.

Company CEO Keisuke Iwaya said passengers do not need to be billionaires, go through intense training or have the language skills needed to fly in a rocket.

“It’s safe, economical and gentle for people,” Iwaya told reporters. “The idea is to make space tourism for everyone.” He said he wants to “democratize space.”

Read more at: APnews


Cortical Reorganization In An Astronaut’s Brain After Long-Duration Spaceflight

To date, hampered physiological function after exposure to microgravity has been primarily attributed to deprived peripheral neuro-sensory systems. For the first time, this study elucidates alterations in human brain function after long-duration spaceflight. More specifically, we found significant differences in resting-state functional connectivity between motor cortex and cerebellum, as well as changes within the default mode network. In addition, the cosmonaut showed changes in the supplementary motor areas during a motor imagery task. These results highlight the underlying neural basis for the observed physiological deconditioning due to spaceflight and are relevant for future interplanetary missions and vestibular patients.

Read more at: springer

ESA, China Conduct Spacecraft-Rocket Integration Tests But Joint Science Mission Delayed To 2025

Scientists at the European Space Agency’s ESTEC and visiting Chinese counterparts conducted a series of spacecraft-rocket integration tests for a joint mission.

The Solar wind-Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission is a joint mission of ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Teams conducted docking, satellite separation and impact tests with a prototype of the SMILE satellite developed by the Innovation Academy for Microsatellites of the CAS (IAMCAS) and the payload adapter for the mission’s Vega-C rocket at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), CAS stated Feb. 13. It is the first time a Chinese team has conducted such tests at ESA facilities.

Read more at: spacenews

NASA Is Mapping Duststorms From Space With This New High-Tech Device

In the Mediterranean, it’s called “Sirocco,” and in the Canary Islands, “La Calima,” while it goes by “Harmattan” in West Africa, and “Haboob” in Sudan. But these varied names all describe the same thing: dust storms. Sand and dust storms are a global phenomenon. These fine dust particles can be carried by winds across thousands of miles, impacting health and livelihoods. According to the UN, dust storms have dramatically increased in recent years due to climate change, land degradation and drought.

Read more at: CNN

Roscosmos: Russian Spacecraft Leak Caused By External Impact

A coolant leak from an uncrewed Russian supply ship docked at the International Space Station resulted from an external impact and not a manufacturing flaw, Russia’s space corporation said Tuesday.

The leak from the Progress MS-21 cargo ship was spotted on Feb. 11 and followed a similar leak from a Soyuz crew capsule in December.

Russian space officials said that December’s leak was caused by a tiny meteoroid that left a small hole in the exterior radiator and sent coolant spewing into space. But the new leak from another ship raised doubts about that theory, and Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos launched a probe into the incident to check whether it could have resulted from a manufacturing defect.

Read more at: APnews

New Discovery On Mars May Change Everything We Know About The Red Planet

Read more at: MSN

NASA Just Found A New Type Of Ancient Asteroid Loaded With Water

Scientists have identified a new type of large, dark space rock in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter that is flush with water.

This asteroid group has striking similarities to Ceres, the only dwarf planet within the inner part of the solar system, known for being chock-full of H2O. But these asteroids — though relatively close to Ceres — are orbiting farther out in the belt than their much larger sibling.

Read more at: mashable


North Korea Fires Two More Missiles Into Its Pacific ‘Firing Range’

North Korea launched two more ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, with the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un saying North Korea’s use of the Pacific as a “firing range” would depend on the behaviour of U.S. forces. The launches come just two days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea off Japan’s west coast, prompting the United States to hold joint air exercises with South Korea and separately with Japan on Sunday.

Read more at: reuters

Pilots Advised Of Large White High-Altitude Balloon East Of Hawaii (Updated)

According to multiple reports, the FAA notified pilots of a sighting of a large white balloon at between 40,000 and 50,000 feet roughly 600 miles east of the Hawaiian Islands. Subsequent ACARS (Aircraft Communications, Addressing and Reporting System) messages show aircraft in the area — which is normally quite busy as it sits on the route from the U.S. west coast to Hawaii — acknowledging the alert, which includes a request to report back if they spot any such object.

It’s unclear when the initial report of the balloon was made to FAA, but alerts about it appear to have been going out to pilots since at least 7:46 A.M. local time in Hawaii, or nearly 10 hours ago.

Read more at: drive

Space Force Considers Public-Private Partnerships To Respond To Crises

When the Pentagon was ordered to evacuate U.S. troops and civilians from Afghanistan in 2021, the military’s transportation command called up the nation’s commercial airlines to help with the evacuation. 

This was a rare instance when DoD activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), a program set up by the U.S. government with commercial airlines to augment airlift capacity during emergencies.

Read more at: spacenews

Secretive Military Space Agency Stepping Out Of The Shadows

When a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched a national security mission to geostationary Earth orbit Jan. 15, the Space Force revealed that three of the payloads onboard were developed by one of its most secretive agencies, the Space Rapid Capabilities Office.

The announcement was unusual as the Space RCO, based at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, operates under the radar and rarely advertises what it does.

Read more at: spacenews

Space Force: Smaller Launchers Made Case To Compete For National Security Contracts

In its latest strategy to procure launch services, the U.S. Space Force is taking a calculated risk that new players in the industry will deliver on their ambitious plans. 

“What we’ve heard from small launch companies was they wanted an opportunity to compete, they wanted an opportunity to play,” Maj. Gen. Stephen Purdy, program executive officer for assured access to space at the Space Systems Command, said Feb. 21.

Read more at: spacenews

Military To Tap Commercial Industry For ‘Space Mobility’ Services

The U.S. Space Force is looking for ways to support future military operations with nontraditional space transportation systems and on-orbit logistics, the head of the national security launch program said Feb. 21.

The idea is to tap commercially available space vehicles and logistics services to fill the needs of military combatant commanders, said Maj. Gen. Stephen Purdy, program executive officer for assured access to space at the Space Systems Command.

Read more at: Spacenews

The Future Of Starship Includes National Security Missions

As SpaceX prepares to attempt Starship’s first orbital flight, the company is contemplating military applications for the super-heavy launch vehicle. Starship holds the potential to become a mobility platform for the U.S. military, said Gary Henry, senior advisor for national security space solutions at SpaceX. Speaking Feb. 21 at the Space Mobility conference, Henry said the experience SpaceX will gain launching Starlink satellites on Starship and developing the vehicle for NASA’s Artemis program will help the U.S. military better understand how to employ it for cargo delivery and other missions.

Read more at: spacenews


The High-Speed Strategic Bomber That Pushed The Limits Of Supersonic Aviation

When thinking of the immense array of bombers that the U.S. Air Force wields these days, it’s easy to picture powerful weapons of war that are adept at both delivering enormous explosive payloads and avoiding interception. The Department of Defense has worked tirelessly to incorporate anti-detection coatings and fuselage designs in modern aircraft, as well as faster speed and greater maneuverability. All of these next-gen enhancements are built around the core goal of achieving aerial dominance at a moment’s notice. Read More:

Read More: slashgear

Russia Sinks Damaged Space Cargo Ship In Pacific Ocean

“The Progress MS-21 (ship) was deorbited, entered the atmosphere and collapsed. Unburned elements of its structure fell in the non-navigational area of the South Pacific Ocean” on Saturday, the space agency was quoted as saying in a statement.

Roscosmos reported loss of pressure in the ship on Feb. 11. Investigations into the incident have delayed the launch of craft to take two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut back from the space station to as late as March 10 from a previous plan to launch on Monday.

Read more at: gcaptain

ESA’s David Parker Updates Status Of Orion Service Modules And European Astronauts For Artemis

Airbus and ESA invited media for the Moon Media Day to show and talk about the three Orion European Service Modules currently being produced at Airbus Space and Defence in Bremen. During the event, NASASpaceflight spoke with two experts from NASA and ESA about the upcoming Artemis missions, the results of the first Artemis I mission, and more ESA projects.

NASASpaceflight first spoke with David Parker, the ESA Director for Human and Robotics Exploration. In a second interview, NASASpaceflight spoke to William Hartwell from NASA’s Orion Program Office, which will be covered in a subsequent story.

Read more at: NASAspaceflight

FAA Mandates SMS For 265 Major Airports

The FAA is requiring the establishment of safety management systems (SMS) at 265 of the country’s biggest and busiest airports with a final rule that will be effective 60 days from its publication in the Federal Register. The airports will have up to five years to complete their SMS. “The safe operation of our nation’s airports is paramount during these historic times in aviation as we work to repair and construct necessary airport infrastructure,” said Associate Administrator for Airports Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E. “This rule promotes safety and allows airports to work collaboratively with partners to mitigate risks and avert accidents.” 

Read more at: avweb

US Believes Russia Had Failed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test Around When Biden Was In Ukraine

Russia carried out a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears to have failed around the time President Joe Biden was in Ukraine, according to two US officials familiar with the matter.

Russia notified the United States in advance of the launch through deconfliction lines under its New START treaty obligations, one official said, adding that “such testing is routine.” Another official said that the test did not pose a risk t

Read more at: CNN

NASA’s $3.5 Billion Plan To Redesign Its Aging Spacesuits

NASA has been using the current spacesuits on the International Space Station for decades and they are showing their age.

“The spacesuits that are being used now in the International Space Station by NASA are suits that were really designed in the ’70s. These are suits that were originally designed for the space shuttle program. Due to the lack of funding, NASA kept working on them, kept repairing them and maintaining them for all these many years. But really, these are suits that are at the end of their useful life,” says Pablo De León, director of the Human Spaceflight Laboratory at the University of North Dakota.

Read more at: CNBC

Farming on the Moon

Sooner or later, settlers on the Moon will have to become farmers. A new ESA Discovery project led by Norway’s Solsys Mining is looking into the treatment of lunar soil to create fertiliser for growing plants.

The good news is that analysis of lunar samples returned to Earth in the past by Moonwalkers and robots shows sufficient essential minerals are available for plant growth, apart from nitrogen compounds. The bad news is that lunar soil (or ‘regolith’) compacts in the presence of water, creating problems for plant germination and root growth.

Read more at: ESA

Boeing Pauses Delivery Of 787 Dreamliners Over Fuselage Issue

Boeing has temporarily halted deliveries of its 787 Dreamliners so it can do additional analysis on a fuselage component, the company and the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday. “In reviewing certification records, Boeing discovered an analysis error by our supplier related to the 787 forward pressure bulkhead. We notified the FAA and have paused 787 deliveries while we complete the required analysis and documentation,” Boeing said in a statement.

Read more at: CNBC

Investing In Space: Texts From Orbit

Recently I woke up to a text message from a satellite, sent by Lynk Global co-founder and CEO Charles Miller. Satellite communications are in a new era of disruption, and “direct to device” has become one of the hottest topics in the past year. So I caught up with Miller to have him explain the significance of the 20-word message I received, sent by a Lynk team in an area outside of D.C. that has no cell coverage. 

Read more at: CNBC