Taikonauts Complete Second Chinese Spacewalk, First In Support Of Space Station Construction

Taikonauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo have successfully conducted the second ever Chinese Extravehicular Activity (EVA), or spacewalk, and the first in a series to support of the construction of the newly launched Chinese Space Station (CSS).

The EVA began on July 4 at 00:11 UTC and completed at 06:57 UTC, for a total duration of six hours and 46 minutes. This duration is more typical of the regular spacewalks conducted outside the International Space Station (ISS) compared to China’s first EVA on Shenzhou 7, which lasted only 22 minutes.

Read more at: NASAspaceflight

No Quick Fix For Hubble Space Telescope’s Computer Glitch, NASA Says

NASA is struggling to fix a computer glitch that has left the Hubble Space Telescope offline for about two weeks — and its backup computer appears to have the same issue, too.

The Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990, halted operations on June 13 just after 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT), following a problem with one of the telescope’s computers. While the spacecraft has stopped collecting science data, its other hardware and science instruments remain in good health, according to a statement from NASA.

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Blue Origin Flight: Wally Funk, 82, To Join Jeff Bezos Space Flight

An 82-year-old woman who has spent six decades trying to reach space will join Jeff Bezos on the first human flight by his space company later this month.

Wally Funk, who underwent training in the 1960s, will become the oldest person to ever fly to space.

Mr Bezos has invited Ms Funk as an “honoured guest” and shared video on Instagram of him telling her the news. She will join the Amazon founder, his brother Mark and a mystery person who paid $28m (£20m) at auction for a seat.

Read more at: BBC

Branson To Be On Next Spaceshiptwo Flight July 11

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson will be on the company’s next flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle July 11, going to space days before fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Virgin Galactic announced late July 1 that it had scheduled its next flight of SpaceShipTwo, called “Unity 22,” for July 11 at no earlier than 9 a.m. Eastern from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The flight will have pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci at the controls, both of whom have previously flown SpaceShipTwo beyond the 80-kilometer altitude the company considers the boundary of space.

Read more at: Spacenews

Webb Passes Key Launch Clearance Review

This major milestone, carried out with Arianespace, the Webb launch service provider, confirms that Ariane 5, the Webb spacecraft and the flight plan are set for launch. It also specifically provides the final confirmation that all aspects of the launch vehicle and spacecraft are fully compatible.

During launch, the spacecraft experiences a range of mechanical forces, vibrations, temperature changes, and electromagnetic radiation. All technical evaluations performed by Arianespace on the mission’s key aspects, including the launch trajectory and payload separation, have shown positive results.

Read more at: ESA


Sun Erupts With Biggest Solar Flare In 4 Years In Early Fourth Of July Fireworks (Video)

The sun erupted with a surprise solar flare on Saturday (July 3), the largest since 2017, in an early explosion of cosmic fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July.

The solar flare occurred from a sunspot called AR2838 at 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT) on Saturday and registered as a powerful  X1-class sun event, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) tracking the sun’s weather. It caused a brief radio blackout on Earth, center officials said in an update.

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A Satellite’s Impending Fiery Demise Shows How Important It Is To Keep Space Clean

Space is vast. But the area around our planet is getting crowded.

New technologies and the proliferation of competing rocket companies have made it cheaper to reach low Earth orbit. But more objects in space can also mean more spacecraft-damaging collisions. That could jeopardize satellites that connect rural and underserved areas with broadband, as well as those that take images that help farmers track their crops’ health. It even could endanger the International Space Station, its astronauts and research aboard that could fuel cancer treatments and the creation of organs for transplant.

Read more at: LAtimes

NASA Team To Study New Roles For The Agency In Addressing Orbital Debris

NASA has established a working group to examine what new roles the agency can take to mitigate the growth of orbital debris and promote space sustainability.

In a talk at the Secure World Foundation’s Summit for Space Sustainability June 23, Bhavya Lal, senior adviser to the NASA administrator for budget and finance, said she is leading a recently established team that will examine how the agency could take a larger role in efforts to mitigate and remediate orbital debris.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA And ESA To Test Nudging Asteroids Off Collision Course With Earth

Of all the natural disasters that can strike at life on Earth, it is asteroid strikes that have the potential to wipe out life as we know it. Just as the dinosaurs met their fate with the help of a large asteroid some 66 million years ago, humanity would be in serious trouble if a similar event occurred. Luckily scientists are building up a picture of the near-Earth asteroids that could one day cause us problems.

Finding the asteroids is just the first part of the puzzle – but scientists also have some ideas about how to avoid potential future collisions.

Two new missions being launched by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are going to test a method of nudging Earth-bound asteroids off course.

Read more at: Euronews

China Begins Construction Of New Survey Telescope To Detect Space Debris

The construction of a survey telescope array, which will be mainly used to detect space debris in medium and high orbits, has begun in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, taking advantage of the plateau region’s clear night skies.

The multi-application survey telescope array, MASTA, developed by the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is under construction in the town of Lenghu, Qinghai, with an average altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level.

Slated for completion by 2023, the telescope’s spectrum is expected to fill China’s gap in this technology.

Read more at: Xinhuanet


Branson’s Virgin Orbit Launches 7 Satellites from 747 Plane

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit delivered satellites from three countries into space Wednesday, its second successful rocket launch from a plane.

The company’s modified 747 jet dubbed Cosmic Girl jet took off from California’s Mojave Desert, carrying the 70-foot (21-meter) rocket beneath its left wing. Once the plane was over the Pacific near the Channel Islands, the LauncherOne rocket peeled away, then fired its engine to head to space. The drop occurred at an altitude of about 37,000 feet (11,000 meters).

Read more at: ABCnews

SpaceX Rolls Giant Super Heavy Rocket To Launch Pad For Testing (Video)

SpaceX is getting ready to test its giant new rocket for the first time. The first true Super Heavy booster was rolled out of its high bay to a launch pad Thursday (July 1) at SpaceX’s Starbase site in South Texas. The 230-foot-tall (70 meters) Super Heavy is the first stage of SpaceX’s fully reusable Starship transportation system, which the company is developing to help humanity colonize Mars, among other tasks. The upper stage is a 165-foot-tall (50 m) spacecraft called Starship, a prototype of which aced a 6.2-mile-high (10 kilometers) test flight in May.

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Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic Target Crewed Suborbital Flights This Month

Only hours after Blue Origin named “Mercury 13” aviator Wally Funk to the long-awaited first crewed flight of its New Shepard rocket/capsule system on 20 July—in what is expected to see her become the oldest human ever to voyage into space—Virgin Galactic announced Thursday that its VSS Unity air-launched suborbital spaceplane is aiming for No Earlier Than (NET) 11 July to lift six crew to the edge of space.

Both flights include among their crews the respective founders of the two organizations, with Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos riding New Shepard and Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson doing likewise aboard Virgin Space Ship (VSS) “Unity”. On the face of it, this represents a desire of both billionaires to be “first”, but whichever vehicle flies first July promises a dramatic and historic month for commercial human spaceflight.

Read more at: Americaspace

Department Of Space’s Commercial Arm Newspace India Can Also Lease ISRO Assets

The NewSpace India Ltd, the commercial arm of Department of Space (DOS) apart from buying satellites from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) can also lease assets from the latter, said K. Sivan, Secretary, DOS. Sivan, also the Chairman of ISRO told IANS: “NSIL will acquire three communication satellites- GSAT 20, GSAT 22 and GSAT 24- made by ISRO. The company will be the owner and operator of the satellites.” Queried about transferring ISRO’s other satellites to NSIL, Sivan said: “We are thinking about asset transfer on lease basis. Plans are there.”

Read more at: economic times

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