ISS Crew Seals Off First Air Leak in Russia’s Zvezda Module

The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) has sealed off the first of the two cracks, which caused an air leak in the Russian Zvezda module with a patch, Energia corporation, a subsidiary of the Russian state space agency Roscosmos, said on Saturday.

“Today, as part of the work to eliminate leaks in the Zvezda module, the Russian crew of the ISS … will open the hatch of the intermediate chamber [in the Zvezda module compartment] and will apply a layer of sealant from the end face of the previously attached patch,” Energia spokesperson said.

Read more at: Sputniknews

Chinese Private Rocket Firm ispace Completes Launch Failure Investigation

Chinese private rocket firm iSpace said late Monday that it has completed investigation of its previous unsuccessful rocket launch, vowing that the firm will ramp up efforts on management and technology improvement.

Its launch of the second SQX-1 commercial carrier rocket failed on February 1. Abnormal performance was identified during the flight of the rocket, which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

Read more at: Globatimes

SpaceX Starship Makes Upright Landing, But Rocket Explodes Minutes Later

Elon Musk’s SpaceX notched the first upright landing of the company’s deep-space Starship rocket after a test flight early Wednesday evening in Boca Chica, Texas – but the rocket exploded minutes later.

A live feed showed the stainless steel rocket soaring above the South Texas shoreline, flipping over and decelerating to a gentle touchdown at a slight angle on the landing pad. But a fire broke out at the base of the rocket, which minutes later collapsed in a fireball, with no immediate explanation from the company.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Component Fatigue Caused Early Shutdown Of Merlin Engine On Last SpaceX Launch

SpaceX has concluded fatigue on an engine cover caused one of the nine Merlin 1D first stage engines on the company’s most recent launch to shut down early during ascent, leading to the loss of the booster during an offshore landing attempt in the Atlantic Ocean, an official said Monday.

A hole developed in one of the covers on the Feb. 15 launch, allowing hot gas into one of the engines, according to Benji Reed, senior director of human spaceflight programs at SpaceX. Reed disclosed the findings in a press conference Monday previewing SpaceX’s next crew launch for NASA, currently scheduled to fly to the International Space Station in late April.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Spacewalking Astronauts Tackle Stubborn Struts To Prime Space Station For New Solar Arrays

Two astronauts finally wrapped up tricky solar array strut installations outside the International Space Station Friday (March 5) that stymied a previous set of spacewalkers just a few days before.


Expedition 64 astronauts Kate Rubins of NASA (wearing a red-striped spacesuit) and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent 6 hours and 56 minutes working in the vacuum of space, most of that time dangling unusually far away from the core of the International Space Station (ISS).

Read more at:

NASA Prepares Dragon Capsule For First Reuse With Astronauts

NASA is preparing for the first time to reuse a SpaceX Dragon capsule, the Endeavor, on a crewed mission in April.

The capsule previously took astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station in May. The upcoming Crew 2 mission is planned for launch no earlier than April 20 from Kennedy Space Center.

NASA gave a detailed update this week about the capsule’s refurbishment for a second crewed flight. The launch in April also will be the first time a crewed mission uses a previously flown Falcon 9 booster.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Next SpaceX Liftoff, Carrying Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide, Eyed For April 22

NASA said Friday it is targeting another launch of a SpaceX spacecraft, due to carry Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide and three other astronauts to the International Space Station, for as early as April 22.

It will be the third manned flight to the ISS by a Crew Dragon capsule, developed by U.S. company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. The previous flight, known as the Crew-1 mission, took place in November, carrying three NASA astronauts and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi.

Read more at: Japantimes

China Selects Astronauts For Space Station Program

The crewmembers who will participate in the construction of China’s space station have been selected and are being trained for their missions, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

The construction of the space station has entered a crucial stage, said the CMSA, noting that this year will see several space missions including the launch of the station’s core module, cargo replenishment, and a manned flight, which will be carried out one after another.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Space Launch From British Soil One Step Closer

In a giant leap in British spaceflight history, government publishes response to commercial spaceflight consultation.

A giant leap in British spaceflight history is being made 5 March 2021 as the government publishes its commercial spaceflight consultation response, paving the way for space launches from UK soil.

Over the past few months, the government has been inviting industry, stakeholders and the public to have their say on the rules that will govern our spaceflight programme – and the consultation has captured the imagination of people across the UK, including schoolchildren.

Read more at: Spacedaily

NASA and Boeing Evaluating Launch Date for Orbital Flight Test-2

NASA and Boeing are evaluating a new target launch date for the CST-100 Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station after winter storms in Houston, and the recent replacement of avionics boxes, set the program back about two weeks. NASA also is weighing the volume of verification and validation analysis required prior to the test flight and the visiting vehicle schedule at the International Space Station.

Previously, the launch was targeted for no earlier than April 2.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Chinese Astronauts Training For Space Station Crewed Flights

China said Thursday a cohort of astronauts is training for four crewed missions this year as the country works to complete its first permanent orbiting space station.

The station’s core module, christened Tianhe, could be launched as soon as next month, according to the China National Space Administration and foreign observers. The massive Long March-5B Y2 rocket and its payload were moved into place last month at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in tropical Hainan province for assembly and testing.

Read more at: ABCnews


The Galaxy’s First Space Hotel Will Open in 2027, and Other News

Voyager Class, our solar system’s first-ever space hotel, will make its debut in 2027.

Bringing a whole new meaning to “room with a view,” the California-based startup Orbital Assembly Corporation has announced plans to build the first space hotel, set to open in 2027. Composed of two concentric rings—one for docking, one serving as the backbone of the structure—Voyager Class will house a restaurant, bar, gym, cinema, spa, and rooms for around 400 people. The rotating space station will also have the capacity to produce varying levels of artificial gravity by increasing or decreasing the rate of rotation. 

Read more at: Surfacemag

USSPACECOM To Sign MOA with NASA Including Cooperation on Planetary Defense

U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) is getting ready to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with NASA. NASA signed one with U.S. Space Force last fall, but this one will be operationally focused as befitting USSPACECOM’s mission. One area of cooperation among all three will be planetary defense — protecting Earth from asteroids and comets. Separately, NASA announced a slight delay in the launch of its DART planetary defense mission.

Lt. Gen. John Shaw, Deputy Commander of USSPACECOM, told the Washington Space Business Roundtable yesterday that he anticipates the MOA will be signed “within the next few months.”

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Studying Near-Earth Asteroids with Radar

Some observatories – like the recently collapsed Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico – examine nearby objects by bouncing radio light off of them. A new study has now improved how we analyze these observations to learn about near-Earth asteroids.

There’s plenty we can learn about the universe from passive radio astronomy, in which we observe the radio signals emitted by distant sources.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Source Of Hazardous High-Energy Particles Located In The Sun

These particles are highly charged and, if they reach Earth’s atmosphere, can potentially disrupt satellites and electronic infrastructure, as well as pose a radiation risk to astronauts and people in airplanes. In 1859, during what’s known as the Carrington Event, a large solar storm caused telegraphic systems across Europe and America to fail. With the modern world so reliant on electronic infrastructure, the potential for harm is much greater.

Read more at: UCL

Planetary Defense Experts Use Infamous Asteroid Apophis To Practice Spotting Dangerous Space Rocks

Earth’s most recent brush with asteroid danger was eight years ago, when a space rock the size of a six-story building came seemingly out of nowhere, injuring 1,200 people when it exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia.


Now, scientists are using this month’s flyby of the infamous asteroid Apophis to test their responses to potentially hazardous space rocks, honing the fine art of planetary defense. Planetary defense focuses on identifying asteroids and comets that hang out around Earth, mapping their precise paths and seeing how their orbits compare with Earth’s.

Read more at:

UK Meteor: ‘Huge Flash’ As Fireball Lights Up Skies

A large meteor blazed across UK skies on Sunday night, delighting those lucky enough to spot it.

The meteor was spotted shortly before 10pm and was visible for around seven seconds. It was captured on doorbell and security cameras in Manchester, Cardiff, Honiton, Bath, Midsomer Norton and Milton Keynes.

Read more at: Guardian


Rocket Lab Unveils Plans For New Rocket To Launch From NASA Wallops, New Factory

Big changes are in the works for Rocket Lab. 

The California-based company just announced its plans for a new “Neutron” rocket — an 8-ton payload launch vehicle “tailored for mega-constellation deployment, interplanetary missions and human spaceflight.”

And all Neutron launches will take place from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, according to the press release.

Read more at: delmarvanow

FAA Announces Delay In Spaceport Decisions

The Federal Aviation Administration announced today that decisions on Camden County’s spaceport launch site operator’s license and the final environmental impact statement (EIS) will not be released this month as anticipated. 

“As previously announced, the FAA had planned to release the Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) in March 2021,” said Stacey Zee of the FAA in an email Friday to stakeholders. “However, due to ongoing consultation efforts with the Georgia (State Historic Preservation Office) and the (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation), the FAA now intends to release the Final EIS by April 20th and the (record of decision) separately by June 18th.” 

Read more at: Tribune georgian

NASA Updates ISS Pricing to “Full Value” for Commercial Activities

NASA is laying the foundation for America to maintain a human presence in low-Earth orbit in which one day NASA will become one of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace. To realize that goal, NASA has opened the International Space Station (ISS) for business to enable commercial and marketing opportunities on the microgravity laboratory.

Since making these opportunities available, there has been a growing demand for commercial and marketing activities from both traditional aerospace companies and from novel industries, demonstrating the benefits of the space station to help catalyze and expand space exploration markets and the low-Earth orbit economy.

Read more at: Spacedaily

First Private Trip To The Moon Could Be A Tremendous Boost Or Bust For Space Tourism

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s latest plan for a lunar orbital flight is an open-to-the-public contest for berths for eight people in 2023 aboard a new SpaceX rocket. If successful, the pioneering flight could push private spaceflight forward by decades. A failure could keep private citizens firmly on the ground.

Maezawa announced the contest this week on his dearMoon website. According to the announcement, anyone can apply to become a member of what could be the first commercial flight around the moon and first return to the moon by humans since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

Read more at: CBC

Rocket Lab Plans New Neutron Rocket, Intends To Go Public

California-based Rocket Lab, which has sent rockets into space 17 times using its small Electron vehicle, plans to launch a much bigger rocket called Neutron by 2024.

As part of Rocket Lab’s effort to raise funds for Neutron, it plans a public listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange by the end of June. Rocket Lab is confident it will succeed, but humble enough to adapt and offer new products, founder and CEO Peter Beck said in an interview.

Read more at: Spacedaily

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