G7 Nations Commit To The Safe And Sustainable Use Of Space

Today at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA, the UK and the EU pledged to take action to tackle the growing hazard of space debris as our planet’s orbit becomes increasingly crowded.

One of the biggest global challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts orbiting Earth. Space debris could stay in orbit for hundreds of years and present a real danger to the rapidly increasing number of new satellites being launched each year.

Read more at: UK gov

Rocket Lab Cleared to Resume Launches

Long Beach-based Rocket Lab USA Inc. has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to resume flights following a failed launch attempt in mid-May.

The aerospace company’s license was under FAA review after a failure that occurred around three minutes into a May 15 launch from its facility on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula. The launch marked the 20th mission for Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket.

After a successful lift-off from Launch Complex 1, including stage separation and second stage ignition, the rocket’s stage two engine shut down, resulting in the loss of its payload.

Read more at: labusiness journal

Jeff Bezos Will Blast Into Space On Rocket’s 1st Crew Flight

Outdoing his fellow billionaires in daredevilry, Jeff Bezos will blast into space next month when his Blue Origin company makes its first flight with a crew.

Read more at: ABCnews

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson Aims to Fly to Space Before Jeff Bezos

It looks like Richard Branson could beat fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos to space next month.

Virgin Galactic is working on a plan to send Branson on a suborbital flight aboard the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane over the July 4 holiday weekend, according to a source who requested anonymity. The flight is contingent upon obtaining an operator’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Branson’s flight would take place about two weeks before Bezos, his brother Mark and the winner of an online auction are scheduled to board Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle for a suborbital flight on July 20. It will be the first crewed flight of New Shepard, which has flown 15 times with no one aboard.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Gaganyaan Mission: The Why And How Of Isro’s Ambitious Project To Send Indians To Space

The Gaganyaan Mission, India’s foray into independent human space exploration, is moving ahead with plans to send an uncrewed mission into orbit. Scheduled for December, a final call on the launch will be taken post-assessment of the situation once lockdown is lifted in Bengaluru. The mission is part of the three-stage Gaganyaan project.

While the first unmanned flight is likely to be launched this year, the second demonstration launch could happen in 2022-23 before the astronauts finally take to the skies in a full-scale, crewed mission.

Read more at: India today

Boeing Schedules Launch Date For Second Starliner Test Flight

The second Starliner test flight has an official launch date, according to United Launch Alliance.

Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation-100 Starliner spacecraft will launch on July 30 at 2:53 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

“This test flight is the last major step before the Atlas V and Boeing’s Starliner capsule take American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program,” ULA said in a news release.

Read more at: Mynews13


Earth’s Meteorite Impacts Over Past 500 Million Years Tracked

Researchers have been studying geological series since the 19th century in order to reconstruct how flora, fauna and the climate have changed over millions of years. Until now, however, almost nothing has been known about ancient meteorite flux — which makes sense since impact is rare, and the battered celestial bodies quickly break down as they encounter Earth’s oxygen. A new study published in PNAS shows how researchers in Lund have reconstructed meteorite bombardment towards Earth over the past 500 million years.

Read more at: Sciencedaily

An Updated Comparison of Four Low Earth Orbit Satellite Constellation Systems to Provide Global Broadband

Twenty years of technological improvements have raised once again the question of the economic viability of offering Internet access from space using non-geostationary orbits (NGSO). Trying to answer this question, many established satellite operators (e.g., SES, Telesat) and newcomers (e.g., SpaceX, Amazon) have recently filed applications for these types of constellations, with SES currently operating a NGSO constellation in MEO. The new architectures rely on thousands of high-throughput satellites, combined with an even-larger ground segment, which will compete with and complement the terrestrial Internet infrastructure where it is inefficient or non-existent. This paper provides an updated comparison of four of the largest LEO mega-constellations, namely Telesat’s, OneWeb’s, SpaceX’s, and Amazon’s, in terms of throughput estimation.

Read more at: MIT

Which Way Does The Solar Wind Blow?

Astronomers have studied the sun’s activity for centuries with greater and greater understanding. Today, computers are central to the quest to understand the sun’s behavior and its role in space weather events.

The bipartisan PROSWIFT (Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow) Act, passed into law in October 2020, is formalizing the need to develop better space weather forecasting tools.

Read more at: Sciencedaily

NASA Approves Asteroid Hunting Space Telescope to Continue Development

NASA has approved the Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope (NEO Surveyor) to move to the next phase of mission development after a successful mission review, authorizing the mission to move forward into Preliminary Design (known as Key Decision Point-B). The infrared space telescope is designed to help advance NASA’s planetary defense efforts by expediting our ability to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, collectively known as near-earth objects, or NEOs.

Read more at: JPL

If A Scary Asteroid Will Actually Strike Earth, Here’s How You’ll Know

On April 13, 2029 (which happens to be Friday the 13th), something unsettling will happen.

A decent-sized asteroid, the 1,100-foot-wide Apophis, will pass so close to Earth it’ll be visible in the sky from certain places. Crucially, the giant rock will not strike our humble planet. But it will pass closer than 20,000 miles from the surface, which is closer than where some of the United States’ most prized weather satellites orbit.

Read more at: Mashable


Medical Emergencies in Space: Is Private Space Tourism Ready for a Worst Case Scenario?

The age of commercial passenger space flight is upon us. Efforts by companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing and Virgin Galactic aim to put paying individuals in space. The International Space Station expects to receive its first private crew early next year during the Axiom Mission 1, with the three tourists paying a sum of $55 million each to stay at the space station for eight days. 

As the potential for private space travel grows, it’s only natural to wonder: What if something goes wrong? With more chances to send people into space comes greater potential for mishaps.

Read more at: Discover magazine

Space Tourism Is About To Take Off. Here’s How Firms Like Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin And SpaceX Are Making Sure Visitors’ Bodies Can Survive The Trip.

Companies like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin are gearing up to send tourists to the edge of space – and eventually, beyond – as soon as 2022. But for ordinary citizens, zero gravity and long flights could wreak havoc on their bodies.

Getting to space is a naturally challenging experience, especially for the human body. That’s why the firms hoping to sell trips are taking a page from NASA’s playbook and undertaking a rigorous training program for would-be travelers to mitigate things like muscle atrophy and bone loss that studies show can happen on trips outside the atmosphere.

Read more at: Business insider

SpaceX Outfits Drone Ship For Panama Canal Transit After 45th Booster Recovery

Just a few hours after returning to Port Canaveral, SpaceX lifted Falcon 9 B1067 off of drone ship Of Course I Still Love You’s (OCISLY) deck, completing the vessel’s 45th successful East Coast booster recovery.

Minutes later, SpaceX began loading unusual hardware onto the drone ship and it soon became clear that preparations were underway to transport OCISLY from Florida to California. Just an hour or two after B1067 was craned onto dry land, SpaceX began removing OCISLY’s water ballast and installing bumpers on the corners of the drone ship’s ‘wings,’ potentially indicating that the company’s plans to begin West Coast Starlink launches as early as July may actually be within reach.

Read more at: Teslarati

Spaceport Cornwall Signs Agreement With US Company

The Sierra Nevada Corporation wants to make spaceflight “globally accessible”.

Its spaceplane Dream Chaser, run by subsidiary Sierra Space, is designed to launch vertically to low-Earth obit and land on a spaceport or runway.

Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport near Newquay, said she was “delighted” to welcome Sierra Space ahead of the G7.

Spaceport Cornwall is working towards launching the first satellites into space in spring 2022.

Read more at: BBC

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