Russia’s Progress Resupply Ship Docks In Manual Mode Due To Deviation From Berth Axis

The Russian Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft switched from the automatic to the remote control mode of docking with the International Space Station (ISS) due to its deviation from the berthing axis, the state space corporation Roscosmos told TASS on Wednesday.

“During the docking, the Progress MS-16 cargo transportation spacecraft deviated from the mooring axis,” the Russian space agency said.

Read more at: TASS

FAA Closes Investigation Of Spacex’s Starship SN9’s Test-Flight Crash

SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype is a big step closer to liftoff.

Elon Musk’s company is gearing up to launch that vehicle, known as SN10, on a 6-mile-high (10 kilometers) test flight from its South Texas site in the near future.

And such preparations can really ramp up now, because SpaceX and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have just concluded an investigation of the last such flight, a Feb. 2 jaunt that ended with SN10’s predecessor, SN9, exploding upon touchdown.

Read more at:

NASA, Boeing Update Starliner Orbital Flight Test Date

NASA and Boeing now are targeting no earlier than Friday, April 2, for launch of the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 to the International Space Station.

As preparations continue for the second uncrewed flight test, teams remain focused on the safety and quality of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft and successful launch of the end-to-end test to prove the system is ready to begin flying astronauts to and from the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Read more at: NASA

The First Helicopter On Mars Phones Home After Perseverance Rover Landing

The first helicopter ever sent to another world is doing just fine on Mars after surviving a “seven minutes of terror” landing aboard NASA’s Perseverance.

The Ingenuity helicopter, which landed on Mars with Perseverance on Thursday (Feb. 18), is awake and communicating with controllers on Earth.

Controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) received a downlink on Friday at 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT) through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, indicating the 4-lb. (2 kilograms) helicopter and its base station are both operating normally.

Read more at:

Mars Rover Footage Compiled Into an Astonishing 4K Video That Reveals the Surface of the Planet

Elderfox Studios took photographic footage taken by various Mars space rovers and compiled them into an absolutely astonishing 4K rendered video that reveals the surface of Mars. The original photos used in this short but stunning documentary were from NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS, Cornell University and ASU.

Read more at: laughingsquid

China Assembling Rocket To Launch First Space Station Module

The Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket to launch China’s first space station module is soon to be assembled at Wenchang for launch in April.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) stated Thursday that the Long March 5B was headed for Wenchang, citing a Feb. 16 press release from the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).

The 849-metric-ton Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket will launch the roughly 22-metric-ton Tianhe core module from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center following delivery, assembly, integration and testing.

Read more at: Spacenews

Astronauts Training For Space Station Missions

Chinese astronauts have started receiving intensive training for spaceflights tasked with building the nation’s space station, the China Manned Space Agency said on Tuesday.

Several astronauts have spent the past year in hard training and are now in the prelaunch training phase, focusing on extravehicular activities and some other operations, it said in a news release.

The agency said its scientists, engineers, technicians and workers have also been busy preparing for the missions. It did not give more details, such as the roles of those taking part in the training sessions.

Read more at: Spacedaily


NASA Delays Launch Of Planetary Defense Mission

NASA will delay the launch of a mission designed to test one technique for deflecting a potentially hazardous asteroid, although that delay won’t affect the spacecraft’s arrival at its target.

NASA announced Feb. 17 that it will postpone the launch of its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission from its primary launch window of July 21 to Aug. 24 of this year to a backup window that opens Nov. 24 and runs to Feb. 15, 2022. The spacecraft will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Read more at: spacenews

The Comet That Killed The Dinosaurs

It was tens of miles wide and forever changed history when it crashed into Earth about 66 million years ago.

The Chicxulub impactor, as it’s known, left behind a crater off the coast of Mexico that spans 93 miles and goes 12 miles deep. Its devastating impact brought the reign of the dinosaurs to an abrupt and calamitous end by triggering their sudden mass extinction, along with the end of almost three-quarters of the plant and animal species then living on Earth.

Read more at: Eurekalert

Falling to Earth Takes a Long Time

Our planet’s atmosphere reduces the energy of satellites in orbit (on Earth, this would be like reducing their speed, but in space, it’s complex!). This then brings them back down to Earth.

This process can be relatively fast for satellites flying at low altitudes, taking less than 25 years, but for satellites launched into orbits tens of thousands of kilometres away, it can be thousands of years before they return, if the atmosphere is able to impact them at all.

Had the dinosaurs launched a satellite into the furthest geostationary orbit, it would still be up there today.

Link to podcast

Read more at: Spacedaily


Private Spaceflight Specialist Axiom Space Raises $130 Million To Become The Latest Space Unicorn

Houston-based Axiom Space is going full tilt into scaling production of private space stations, while also flying paying passengers on trips to orbit, with the company announcing Tuesday it received $130 million in a new round of funding.

“This round lets us go make a major payment in the build of our [space station] module and lets us build up the team, which we’ve been expanding at just a crazy pace,” Axiom President and CEO Michael Suffredini told CNBC.

Read more at: CNBC

ABL Space Systems Signs Customer For First Launch

Small launch vehicle developer ABL Space Systems will launch two satellites for L2 Aerospace on the first flight of its RS1 rocket this spring, the companies announced Feb. 16.

The two satellites developed by L2, a company founded by Lance Lord, a retired Air Force general and former head of Air Force Space Command, will be used to rapidly test new technology and support training activities, according to a statement the companies. L2 didn’t disclose details about the size or other aspects of the spacecraft.

Read more at: Spacenews

Landspace Closes In On Orbital Launch With Liquid Methane Rocket

Chinese private firm Landspace is working towards a potential first orbital launch attempt with a methane-fueled launch vehicle later this year.

Landspace completed assembly of the four Tianque-12 liquid methane-liquid oxygen engines which power the first stage of the Zhuque-2 rocket in early February.

This was preceded by a payload fairing separation test and a series of 400-second hotfire tests of the 80-metric-ton thrust engines in late January.

Read more at: Spacenews

ISRO Keen On Formulating Exclusive Space Start-Up Programme, Says Chief K Sivan

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has embarked on a mission to take startups in the space sector to a higher orbit with a string of initiatives to help them realise their business potential.

According to a report in news agency PTI, Isro chairman K Sivan said the space agency is keen on formulating an exclusive space startup programme — “Space Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (SEED)”.

SEED is conceived as a competitive early stage encouragement programme to startups and MSMEs (Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises) keen on developing products/services in focus areas of interest to ISRO with the space agency helping them to use its facilities, officials was quoted as saying.

Read more at: India today

Geely To Start Making Satellites

A plant in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, has won the approval from the authorities, said its subsidiary Geely Technology in a statement on Thursday, without disclosing the investment amount. It said production is expected to commence eight months from now as the first piece of equipment has entered the plant, and up to 500 satellites could be produced a year for various commercial operations.

The group, which is the owner of Volvo, unveiled its low-orbit satellite network plan earlier last year. It had planned to launch its first satellites in late 2020, but the plan was put off, said a company representative, without offering a new schedule

Read more at: ECNS

Read more at: ESPI

SWF and Caelus Foundation Release Paper: “Lost Without Translation: Identifying Gaps in U.S. Perceptions of the Chinese Commercial Space Sector”

On February 18, 2021, SWF and Caelus Foundation released  “Lost Without Translation: Identifying Gaps in U.S. Perceptions of the Chinese Commercial Space Sector.”

U.S. commercial space actors firmly believe that competition from  China will be an inevitable part of their future decision-making. However, beyond this surety, there are significant gaps in understanding of how this competitive relationship will develop. For US stakeholders, it remains unclear who their Chinese competition will be, what resources they will have, and what rules they will operate under. By comparing common U.S. stakeholder perspectives with discourse and analysis on China’s commercial space sector, this paper highlights where more effort is required to better understand these emerging dynamics.

Link to report

Read more at: SWF

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