NASA’s Mars Helicopter’s Third Flight Goes Farther, Faster Than Before

NASA’s mini helicopter Ingenuity on Sunday successfully completed its third flight on Mars, moving farther and faster than ever before, with a peak speed of 6.6 feet per second.

After two initial flights during which the craft hovered above the Red Planet’s surface, the helicopter on this third flight covered 64 feet (50 meters) of distance, reaching the speed of 6.6 feet per second (two meters per second), or four miles per hour in this latest flight.

“Today’s flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing,” said Dave Lavery, the Ingenuity project’s program executive.

Read more at: Marsdaily

NASA Chooses SpaceX To Land Next Astronauts On The Moon

NASA has selected SpaceX to build a spacecraft to land the first astronauts on the Moon since 1972, choosing Elon Musk’s space company over competing proposals from Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and the aerospace firm Dynetics, officials announced Friday.

A derivative of SpaceX’s next-generation Starship vehicle will carry the astronauts to the lunar surface and launch the crew members back off the Moon. Under NASA’s plans, the astronauts will blast off from Earth on the agency’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and fly an Orion capsule to the vicinity of the Moon, then transfer into the Starship for the final leg of the journey to the surface.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

False Alarm: No Space Junk Threat After All To SpaceX Crew

SpaceX’s four astronauts had barely settled into orbit last Friday when they were ordered back into their spacesuits because of a potential collision with orbiting junk.

It turns out there was no object and no threat, the U.S. Space Command acknowledged Monday. The false alarm is under review.

Lt. Col. Erin Dick, a spokeswoman for Space Command, said it was believed at the time that an object was going to come close to the newly launched SpaceX capsule carrying a crew to the International Space Station.

Read more at: heraldonline

Space Safety Institute

The Aerospace Corporation is establishing a Space Safety Institute to deliver independent technical support and assessments to enhance the safety of space and space-related activities for government, commercial, and international customers.

The Space Safety Institute will also provide a collaborative framework for supporting industry standards for safe space operations in all aspects – including launch, operating in space, reentry, and cyber – in addition to fundamental safety research and disseminating results through training, workshops, and publications.

Read more at: Aerospace

SpaceX’s First Reused Crew Dragon Docks At Space Station With Four Crew-2 Astronauts

A used SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the company’s Crew-2 mission docked successfully at the orbiting lab early Saturday (April 24).

The Crew Dragon Endeavour, which launched SpaceX’s first crewed flight for NASA in May 2020, linked up with the station’s U.S. built Harmony module at 5:08 a.m. EDT (0908 GMT) as both spacecraft sailed 264 miles above the Indian Ocean.

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First Module of Russia’s New Space Station to Be Ready for Launch in 2025, Roscosmos Announces

The first module of Russia’s new space station will be ready for launch in 2025, this will be the Science Power Module, originally intended for the International Space Station (ISS), Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin announced on Tuesday.

In mid-April, the Russian Academy of Sciences announced that Russia would terminate its participation in the ISS project due to worn-out technical conditions and would create its own Orbital Service Station after 2025.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Next Starliner Test Flights Slips To Late Summer

Boeing said April 17 that the next test flight of its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle won’t take place until at least August, confirming a lengthy delay widely expected because of the schedule of other launches and International Space Station missions.

In a statement, Boeing said that the company and NASA are projecting the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) 2 mission will take place in August or September. That date is “supported by a space station docking opportunity and the availability of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Eastern Range.”

Read more at: Spacenews

China Is Set to Launch First Module of Massive Space Station

Since the Soviet Union launched the first space station, Salyut 1, 50 years ago, humans have lived on a total of 11 such facilities in Earth orbit. China will soon add one more to that list. With the core module of the Chinese Space Station (CSS) scheduled to lift off at the end of April, the culmination of a project the nation’s government initially envisioned in 1992 is finally entering the construction phase.

After the core module reaches space, China plans at least 10 more launches of other major modules, as well as crewed and cargo missions, to complete the station’s assembly by the end of 2022.

Read more at: Scientific American

SpaceX Launches 4 Astronauts To Space Station, Nails Rocket Landing

SpaceX just launched its third astronaut mission in less than a year.

A slightly sooty Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Crew Dragon capsule took to the skies above NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) today (April 23), lighting up the predawn sky as it lifted off from the historic Pad 39A.

The launch kicked off SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission, which will carry four astronauts — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide — on a 24-hour flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Space Force Sees Need For Civilian Agency To Manage Congestion

The U.S. Space Force is not too worried at this point that the growth of commercial space activity is creating safety issues. But things could change if space traffic and debris are not managed, said Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force.

Commercial ventures such as space internet constellations and civil activities in low Earth orbit are positive developments, Thompson said in an interview with SpaceNews. The military supports this growth, he said, but would like to see a civilian agency in charge of managing traffic and regulating unsafe activities.

Read more at: Spacenews

Where Do Satellites Go to Die? Dr Space Junk Explains It All in New Book

One person’s space trash is another’s space treasure — and that’s definitely true for Alice Gorman, an archaeologist specializing in the detritus of spaceflight.

Gorman was always interested in physics but ended up an archaeologist instead, specializing in Australian indigenous heritage preservation. In her new book, “Dr. Space Junk vs. the Universe: Archaeology and the Future” (MIT Press, 2019), she shares the story of how she came to combine the two fields, studying spaceflight as an archaeologist.

Read more at:

World’s First Wooden Satellite Set To Launch In 2021 In Test Of Environmentally-Friendly Space Exploration

The first ever satellite made of wood is set to launch into orbit later this year as part of a project to test the use of sustainable materials in space.

The WISA Woodsat mission will gather data on the durability of plywood within the harsh conditions of space in order to assess whether future space stations or even spacecraft could be built out of wood.

The nanosatellite, which measures 10cm in length and weighs 1kg, will be exposed to extreme temperatures, vacuum pressure and space radiation over an extended period as it orbits the Earth at an altitude of 500 kilometres.

Read more at: Independent

Costa Rica Unveils Radar That Tracks Space Objects From A Farm

Surrounded by clear blue skies and fields of sugar cane crops on the Pacific coast, a farm in the northwest of Costa Rica is now home to a giant radar capable of tracking small objects in space that threaten the safety of astronauts and satellites.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado and U.S. and Costa Rican astronauts on Thursday unveiled the four large reflective panels that make up the commercial radar, which is connected to the servers of aerospace company LeoLabs in San Francisco.

“This commercial radar is the most advanced that exists in the world,” said Alvarado.

Read more at: Reuters

China’s Hongyan Satellite Constellation Plan To Undergo Major Change: Source

The Chinese authorities in charge of the Hongyan project, China’s satellite constellation and part of the nation’s “new infrastructure” projects, say the project might undergo major changes according to the report from domestic news outlet published on Monday.

“As we understand, relevant Chinese authorities are making overall planning about China’s satellite constellation construction including the Hongyan and Hongyun projects. The Hongyan project might undergo major changes,” said Ge Yujun, President of China Spacesat Co Ltd, a company based in China mainly engaged in research, manufacture and application of satellites.

Read more at: Globaltimes


NASA Contractor Launches Abu Dhabi Office As UAE Builds Space Race Reputation

ZIN Technologies, one of the oldest NASA prime contractors, has launched operations in Abu Dhabi as the UAE builds its reputation as one of the world’s leading countries in space technology.

Zin Aerospace Ltd has been incorporated in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the business district in the UAE capital, to provide space flight physical and life science instrument solutions.

Read more at: Arabian business

Ozmens’ SNC Launches Sierra Space, an Independent Commercial Space Company

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader, announced the creation of Sierra Space, a new commercial space company. The new company’s “space-as-a-service” business model will leverage cutting-edge technologies, such as Dream Chaser® spaceplanes and expandable LIFE™ habitats, within the fast-growing new space economy, which is projected to grow to $1.4T by 2030.

With assets transitioned from the SNC’s Space Systems business area, Sierra Space will deliver the future of space transportation, destinations and infrastructure, including plans to offer the first free-flying commercial space station.

Read more at: SNCorp

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