NASA Astronaut, Cosmonauts, Land Back On Earth From Space Station

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikiov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov landed on Earth on Saturday after a half-year International Space Station mission.

They departed the station in their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 9:34 p.m. EDT Friday and landed safely under parachutes at 12:55 a.m. EDT Saturday in Kazakhstan after spending 185 days in space, NASA announced.

Ryzhikiov and Kud-Sverchkov are slated to return to their training base in Star City, Russia. Rubins is scheduled to fly home to Houston.

Read more at: Spacedaily

A Northrop Grumman Robot Successfully Docked To A Satellite To Extend Its Life

Satellites could live longer lives thanks to new technology being tested by Northrop Grumman. 


On Monday (April 12), Northrop Grumman Corporation and SpaceLogistics LLC (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman) announced that their satellite servicing spacecraft, called Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2), successfully docked to the commercial communications satellite Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02). 

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SpaceX, NASA Give ‘Go’ For Astronaut Launch, 3rd For Dragon

SpaceX is gearing up for its third astronaut launch in under a year, after getting the green light from NASA a week ahead of next Thursday’s planned flight. Managers from NASA and Elon Musk’s space company Thursday cleared the Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule for a dawn liftoff with a crew of four to the International Space Station. They will spend six months at the orbiting lab, replacing another SpaceX crew that’s close to coming home.

Read more at: ABCnews

As Artemis Moves Forward, NASA Picks SpaceX to Land Next Americans on Moon

NASA is getting ready to send astronauts to explore more of the Moon as part of the Artemis program, and the agency has selected SpaceX to continue development of the first commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. At least one of those astronauts will make history as the first woman on the Moon. Another goal of the Artemis program includes landing the first person of color on the lunar surface.

The agency’s powerful Space Launch System rocket will launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for their multi-day journey to lunar orbit.

Read more at: NASA

Manned Spacecraft, Carrier Rocket For Shenzhou-12 Mission Arrive At Launch Center

The manned spacecraft and carrier rocket for the Shenzhou-12 manned space mission have arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

The manned craft and the Long March-2F carrier rocket are now undergoing final assembly and testing at the launch site, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said on Friday.

The astronauts for the Shenzhou-12 manned space mission are participating in intensive training before embarking on their space journey, said the CMSA.

Read more at: Xinhuanet

President Biden Nominates Former Astronaut Pamela Melroy For NASA Deputy Administrator

President Joe Biden will nominate former NASA astronaut and Air Force colonel Pamela Melroy to serve as NASA’s deputy administrator, according to a White House announcement released Friday (April 16). Biden had announced his nomination of former Florida Senator Bill Nelson to lead the agency in March; both nominations must be approved by the Senate. During her time as an astronaut, Melroy was one of only two women to command the space shuttle.

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German Space Agency To Use Lockheed Martin Tool To Track Space Debris

Germany will use Lockheed Martin’s space situational awareness software to track objects in space, the company announced.

The German Space Agency opted for the company’s iSpace command and control system, which collects data from government, commercial and scientific sensors all over the world to track thousands of objects in orbit, Lockheed said in an April 6 announcement. The system alerts operators to anomalies or potential collisions and suggests mitigating actions.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Japan Takes The Lead In Cleaning Up Orbiting Space Junk

Fragments of man-made debris are currently orbiting the Earth at speeds of up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) per second, posing a serious hazard to satellites and even manned spacecraft, such as the International Space Station.

And, with more nations launching satellites and some looking to explore further into outer space, the amount of junk in circulation is only going to increase.  

At least four Japanese companies see that as a business opportunity and are developing solutions that should make space travel safer in the future. 

Read more at: DW

Interview: How ESA Is Making Space Travel More Sustainable

Satellites deliver crucial information about the health of our planet. Measurements they provide help us forecast changes in climate, ensure sustainable fishing practices, increase environmental protection and monitor our rising seas. They also provide crucial services, such as navigation, telecom and broadcasting, used by everyone, every day. At the same time, our space missions themselves, at every stage of their design and execution, can also have a negative ecological impact on our planet – and can pollute outer space too. And the issue of space junk is only one factor.

Read more at: reset

Exolaunch Entering Orbital Debris Market With Eco-Friendly Space Tugs

German launch services provider Exolaunch is developing a line of eco-friendly space tugs called Reliant, designed to clean up debris after sending satellites to custom orbits.

Flight tests will start in the second half of 2022 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission with customer payloads, according to Exolaunch vice president of launch services Jeanne Medvedeva.

The German company, which has coordinated rideshare launches for more than 140 small satellites, said its orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) will de-orbit within two hours after completing their mission in a first for the sector.

Read more at: Spacenews

Leolabs Adding New Services To Support Growing Space Activity In Low Earth Orbit

Space object-tracking startup LeoLabs is adding more sensors and data processing capacity to its network in preparation for a surge in satellites launches in the coming years, the company’s CEO said April 15.

There are about 2,000 functional satellites today and there will be about 50,000 orbiting the Earth in the next three to five years, said Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs’ chief executive and co-founder.

Ceperley spoke at the Amazon Web Services public sector summit online, an event that showcases users of AWS cloud services.

Read more at: Spacenews

How Are Asteroids, Space Weather And Space Debris Detected Before They Hit Earth?

The idea of threats to Earth from outer space sounds like science fiction, but at some level our planet has always been vulnerable to them — think of the giant asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. 


Fortunately, such occurrences are extremely rare; but other natural phenomena, such as solar storms, can strike from space much more frequently. These have little direct effect on living things, but they can wreak havoc on electronic systems we increasingly depend on, particularly satellite-based technologies. 

To make matters worse, the proliferation of human-made satellites has created a space hazard of its own, as the loads of orbiting debris have the potential to destroy other satellites.

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SpaceX’s NASA Contract Has Sparked Reaction From Industry Figures Seeking Details. Blue Origin Says It Is ‘Looking To Learn More About The Selection.’

Many figures in the space and science communities are seeking more details about how NASA chose only SpaceX for its return to the moon even though the agency’s stated plans called for two commercial partners.

SpaceX had been competing against Blue Origin and Dynetics for a pair of contracts for NASA’s Artemis program. But NASA on Friday announced SpaceX would get an exclusive $2.9 billion contract.

Read more at: BusinessInsider

Blue Origin Aces ‘Astronaut Rehearsal’ New Shepard Test Flight

Blue Origin has another clean test flight under its belt.


The company launched the 15th uncrewed test flight of its reusable suborbital vehicle New Shepard today (April 14), blasting off from a West Texas launchpad at 12:50 p.m. EDT (1650 GMT; 11:50 a.m. local time). Originally targeting launch at 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT; 10:15 a.m. local time), the flight was delayed about an hour and a half for final checks.

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Spacewatch: 60 Years After Gagarin, First ‘All-Civilian’ Mission Is In Works

This week was the 60th anniversary of the first human spaceflight. On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The flight lasted 108 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 327km (203 miles). Following the re-entry of his space capsule, Gagarin parachuted the last 7km to Earth, landing in a potato field near Saratov. A woman and her granddaughter were planting the crop, and were startled to see him in his bright orange flight suit coming towards them.

Read more at: Guardian

Rocket Lab To Recover Electron Booster On Next Mission

Rocket Lab reports that on its next mission the company will attempt to bring a rocket back from space, slowing the Electron launch vehicle down from speeds of >Mach 8 as it re-enter’s Earth’s atmosphere before splashing the rocket down in the ocean.

The complex mission is the next major step toward making Electron the first orbital-class reusable small launch vehicle, enabling rapid-turnaround launches for small satellites.

Read more at: Spacedaily

UAE To Send Rover To The Moon In 2022

Lunar exploration firm iSpace said Wednesday it will transport a United Arab Emirates unmanned rover to the Moon next year, as the Gulf state seeks to expand its space sector.

The UAE — made up of seven emirates including the capital Abu Dhabi and freewheeling Dubai — announced in September 2020 that it planned to launch the “Rashid” rover by 2024.

The rover “will be transported to the Moon on iSpace’s lunar lander” during a mission in 2022, the Japanese company said in a statement.

Read more at: Moondaily

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