Spacewalkers Take Extra Safety Precautions For Toxic Ammonia

Spacewalking astronauts had to take extra safety precautions Saturday after possibly getting toxic ammonia on their suits from the International Space Station’s external cooling system.

Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins had no trouble removing and venting a couple of old jumper cables to remove any ammonia still lingering in the lines. But so much ammonia spewed out of the first hose that Mission Control worried some of the frozen white flakes might have gotten on their suits.

Read more at: ABCnews

President Biden Nominates Bill Nelson to Serve as NASA Chief

President Joe Biden will nominate former Florida Senator Bill Nelson to lead NASA, according to a White House announcement released Friday (March 19).

In addition to a career spent representing the Space Coast in the federal government, Nelson’s claim to space fame is that before becoming a senator, he interrupted his career as an elected official to serve as a payload specialist on a six-day flight of the space shuttle Columbia in 1986.

“In the Senate he was known as the go-to senator for our nation’s space program,” Biden officials wrote in a statement. “Most every piece of space and science law has had his imprint.”

Read more at:

NASA Completes Engine Test Firing Of Moon Rocket On 2nd Try

NASA completed an engine test firing of its moon rocket Thursday, after the first attempt in January ended prematurely.

This time, the four main engines of the rocket’s core stage remained ignited for the full eight minutes. Applause broke out in the control room at Mississippi’s Stennis Space Flight Center once the engines shut down on the test stand.

NASA officials called it a major milestone in sending astronauts back to the moon, but declined to say when that might occur or even whether the first test flight without a crew would occur by year’s end as planned.

Read more at: ABCnews


Astroscale Space Debris Removal Demo Set For Launch

A mission will launch to space this weekend that aims to demonstrate commercial technology to remove orbital debris, such as a defunct satellite.

The showcase is being staged by the Astroscale company and will be run from an operations centre in the UK.

With more and more satellites being launched every year, there is now an imperative to try to keep orbits above the Earth clear of old junk.

And this ought to drive a vibrant market for debris removal services.

Read more at: BBC

U.S. Space Force Would Support Commercial Services To Remove Orbital Debris

Vice Chief of Space Operations of the U.S. Space Force Gen. David Thompson said it would make sense for the government to pay companies to clean up space junk if such services existed.

Orbital debris represents a risk to spacecraft and to safe operations in space, Thompson said March 16 in an interview with national security analyst John Nagl, of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

“I’ll pay by the ton if they can remove debris,” Thompson said, noting that there are no companies that can do that today.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA, SpaceX Sign Joint Spaceflight Safety Agreement

NASA and SpaceX have signed a joint agreement to formalize both parties’ strong interest in the sharing of information to maintain and improve space safety. This agreement enables a deeper level of coordination, cooperation, and data sharing, and defines the arrangement, responsibilities, and procedures for flight safety coordination. The focus of the agreement is on conjunction avoidance and launch collision avoidance between NASA spacecraft and the large constellation of SpaceX Starlink satellites, as well as related rideshare missions. A conjunction is defined as a close approach between two objects in space, usually at very high speed.

Read more at: NASA

How Do Tiny Pieces Of Space Junk Cause Incredible Damage?

In 2016, European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake shared a photo of a quarter-inch dent gouged into a glass window of the International Space Station (ISS). The culprit? A tiny fleck of space junk.

The piece of debris, perhaps a paint flake or a metal fragment from a satellite, was only a few thousandths of a millimeter across — not much bigger than a single cell of E. coli.

But how can something so small cause visible damage?

Read more at:

Space Force To Push Conversation On Spaceflight Safety, Orbital Debris

As more satellites are launched into space, there is a growing conversation about the need to keep the cosmos safe and establish rules of the road for orbital activities. The U.S. Space Force wants to get out in front of that discussion, said deputy chief of space operations Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman.

“I think we need to be a leader in both helping devise rules and tenets of responsible behavior in space,” Saltzman said March 19 on an webcast hosted by the Brookings Institution.

Read more at: Spacenews


Chinese Private Firm To Build Space Lab By 2025

As China has scheduled 11 launch missions in the next two years for the building of its first space station, a private space technology start-up based in Huzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province has been keeping its pace close to the national program, with an ambitious goal of initiating an orbital space biology lab around 2025, firm founder Cheng Wei told the Global Times on Sunday.

It aims to conduct studies relating to changes in humans’ vital signs in space to explore the development of future manned space missions, while also planning to load a self-generating life support system onboard its lab to study the feasibility of long-term human stays on moon or other extraterrestrial bodies.

Read more at: Globaltimes

Florida Space Officials Discuss Satellite Factory With ‘Project Kraken,’ But It’s Not Project Kuiper

An unnamed space company may have picked up a code name with Seattle connotations during negotiations for a satellite factory in Florida, but that doesn’t mean it’s associated with Amazon.

Amazon says its Project Kuiper broadband satellite mega-constellation isn’t “Project Kraken,” the mystery company that’s negotiating a business development deal with Space Florida.

Read more at: Geekwire

Spaceport America Welcomes C6 Launch Systems With Unveiling Of New Rocket Test Platform

Tuesday’s rocket launch nearly didn’t happen. The winds of March in southern New Mexico are often unfavorable, and by 9:30 a.m. strong gusts were blowing across the desert basin, tugging at masks and hats worn by Spaceport America personnel.

But it was a tiny rocket and the team wanted to celebrate.

Tuesday, coinciding with the 95th anniversary of Robert Godard launching the first liquid-fueled rocket, was the unveiling of a new piece of infrastructure for testing new liquid-fueled rocket engines.

Read more at: lcsun

Arianespace Signs With Avio For 10 Additional Vega C Launchers

During the recent meeting in Rome between Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, and Giancarlo Giorgetti, Italian Minister of Economic Development, Arianespace announced the signature of an agreement with Avio to start production of 10 new Vega C launch vehicles.

This agreement kicks off the procurement of long lead-time items and the initial activities for the production of 10 new launchers, to be delivered from 2023.

Read more at: Spacedaily

China To Construct Commercial Spaceport To Support Booming Space Industry

China will establish a commercial spaceport in the coming years to support the rapid growth of private space activities in the country.

The commercial space launch center was included in a list of national projects in the recently formulated 14th Five-Year Plan which covers 2021-2025.

The project gains approval following both a large increase in launches by the traditional space industry in China and the development of a private space sector in recent years.

Read more at: Spacenews

The complete coverage of IAASS Weekly Press Clips is only available to IAASS Members. Become an IAASS Member today.