Astra Rocket 3.3 Launch Fails

Astra’s third attempt to reach orbit failed Aug. 28 when its Rocket 3.3 vehicle struggled to get off the launch pad because of an engine shutdown and eventually failed in flight.

The small launch vehicle, designated LV0006 by Astra, ignited its five first-stage engines at about 6:35 p.m. Eastern from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska on Kodiak Island. Various issues, including taking additional time to load propellant and update software configurations, delayed the launch from the opening of the window at 4 p.m. Eastern.

The rocket, instead of immediately ascending vertically, tipped and moved sideways, hovering just about the ground. It took nearly 20 seconds for the sideways motion to stop, at which point the rocket started to ascend.

Read more at: Spacenews

More Cracks Found In Russian International Space Station Section

The International Space Station (ISS) is showing its age. After decades orbiting our planet, problems have begun to pop up with regularity. Among them, there are leaks, cracks, and even problems with the oxygen supply. A senior Russian engineer now reports that cracks have appeared on the Zarya module of the ISS, which is used for storage as well as the ongoing problems to the Zvezda module, which houses the cosmonauts. Russia’s state-owned RIA News sat with Vladimir Solovyov, chief engineer of Moscow-based company Energia and the prime contractor for Russia’s human spaceflight program, talking about the current conditions of the Russian segments of the ISS and the potential of a completely Russian space station in the near future.

Read more at: IFLscience

Astroscale Complete First Test Of Satellite Capture Technology

Astroscale has completed the first major test of technology to capture and remove objects in orbit by releasing and then recapturing a small satellite.

The company announced Aug. 25 it performed a test earlier that day of its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) spacecraft where the main “servicer” spacecraft released a small client spacecraft, then recaptured it using a magnetic mechanism. The test was the first time the client had separated from the servicer since the launch of ELSA-d in March.

“It was a first step, but for us, it was big,” said Chris Blackerby, chief operating officer of Astroscale, in an interview during the 36th Space Symposium here.

Read more at: Spacenews

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s Next Great Observatory, Passes Final Ground Tests

NASA and its partners working on the James Webb Space Telescope have completed their final tests of the giant observatory and are now preparing it for a trip to a South American spaceport for a launch later this year. Conceived more than 30 years ago as a successor of the then new Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb will be the largest observatory ever to be put in orbit. It is designed to use its infrared eyes to peer further into the universe’s history than ever before. With its 6.5-meter in diameter gold-plated mirror, the telescope will attempt to answer questions about the formation of first stars and galaxies out of the darkness of the early universe.

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China Working On Landing Astronauts On Moon

China’s Lunar Exploration Program, named after the Chinese moon goddess “Chang’e”, has so far deployed lunar orbiters, landers, rovers and sample return spacecraft to the moon. Now, the country is planning to put human beings on the moon—a feat not seen since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

According to a report by Space News citing an article by the Xiamen University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China has appointed Yang Lei as “Chief commander of the crewed lunar landing vehicle system”. The human lunar landing project has been dubbed as a “national strategy”. The plans are for a crewed moon landing that could take place around 2030 using a Long March 5 rocket.

Read more at: Week

‘A Shortfall Of Gravitas’ Returns With Its First Falcon 9 Catch

SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas made its way into Port Canaveral, Florida, after catching its first Falcon 9 stage just a couple days ago.

Just before 8 a.m. EDT (12:00 UTC) Aug. 31, the drone ship entered the port and began making its way to a wharf on the north side of the channel where on-shore cranes are set to lift the 155-foot (47-meter) tall booster off of the rocket-catching barge and onto a mount for inspections, as well as to fold up its four landing legs.

Read more at: Spaceflight insider


Space Agencies Support Space Traffic Management But Differ On How It Should Be Developed

Leaders of national space agencies agree that space traffic management (STM) should be a priority but have differing views on who should be responsible for it.

During a panel discussion at the 36th Space Symposium Aug. 25, the heads of space agencies in Europe and North America emphasized the importance of space traffic management given the growing amount of space objects in orbit and the threat they pose to space activities.

“Space traffic management is, from our point of view, a very important topic,” said Walther Pelzer, head of the German space agency DLR.

Read more at: Spacenews

Russian Tech Firm Develops New Radar For Safe Launch Of Satellites

The Scientific Research Institute for Long-Distance Radio Communications (NIIDAR, part of the RTI Systems Group) has developed a radar system of space measurements to ensure the safe launch and operation of satellites in orbit, the RTI Systems press office told TASS on Monday.

“The system automatically tracks a carrier rocket from its launch at a spaceport to the delivery of a satellite into the designated orbit. The radar selects objects in the near-the-Earth space, separating the rocket’s spent parts from orbited satellites for their further monitoring,” the press office said.

Read more at: TASS

Millennium Space In An Experiment De-Orbited A Satellite In Eight Months

Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems announced Aug. 23 it successfully demonstrated the use of a deployable tether to de-orbit a satellite after it completes its mission.

The company in November launched an experiment called Dragracer aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. Two identical cubesats were deployed. One had a 70-meter long drag tape made by Tethers Unlimited and the other did not. The satellite with the drag tape burned upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere after eight months. The satellite without tape will naturally de-orbit which is estimated to take at least seven years

Read more at: Spacenews

Scientists’ 1st-Ever View Of Sun’s Middle Corona Could Sharpen Space Weather Forecasts

Recent telescope views shed new light on the sun’s elusive middle corona that could prove beneficial to space weather forecasts. Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-17 satellite, researchers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) captured the first-ever images of the sun’s middle corona — also known as the sun’s outer atmosphere — and the dynamics that trigger solar wind and the big eruptions dubbed coronal mass ejections, according to a statement from the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

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What Goes Up Must Come Down: Helping Clean Up Space Junk With First-of-Its-Kind Mission Optimizer

Less than a year on from the UK Space Agency committing £1 million in funding to combat space debris, Fujitsu UK has successfully combined quantum-inspired computing and Artificial Intelligence to support the transformation of space debris removal.

Fujitsu’s prototype – created in collaboration with the The removal of space debris is key to sustainability in space, reducing, or even preventing, the risk of obsolete spacecraft colliding with new and existing satellites.

Read more at: Scitech daily

Spacecraft Deorbiting Device Developed at Purdue Ready for Firefly Alpha Launch on Thursday

A drag sail that a team at Purdue University developed to pull launch vehicles in space back to Earth is scheduled to undergo a test launch on Thursday (Sept. 2). The mission, set to take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, will evaluate how well the prototype helps its vehicle deorbit from space after mission completion. A livestream of the launch will be available through Everyday Astronaut. Faster deorbiting times may prevent spacecraft and launch vehicles from turning into hazardous space debris as they wait to deorbit naturally, a process that could take days, months or years without assistance. Abandoned, lost or post-mission space vehicles are part of the more than nine thousand tons of space debris currently traveling through Earth’s lower orbit at dangerous speeds.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Progress MS-17 Cargo Spacecraft To Be Dumped Late November

The cargo spacecraft Progress MS-17 will be detached from the International Space Station (ISS) and dumped at the end of autumn, Russian Space magazine (an official periodical of Roscosmos corporation) has said.

The separation from the ISS and dumping are scheduled for November 24.

During the Progress MS-17’s flight on June 2 some phases of one-orbit flight pattern of closing up and docking with the International Space Station were practiced.

Read more at: TASS


iSpace Unveils New Larger Lunar Lander

Japanese lunar space transportation company ispace is developing its design for a larger lunar lander that will be built in the United States.

The Tokyo-based company unveiled the design of the lander at the 36th Space Symposium Aug. 23. The lander, being developed by the company’s U.S. office in Denver, will fly as soon as 2024 on the company’s third mission to the moon.

A major difference in the new design, company officials said in interviews, is the payload capacity. While the lander ispace is building for its first two missions in 2022 and 2023 can carry 30 kilograms of payload to the lunar surface, the new lander will have a payload capacity of 500 kilograms to the surface or 2,000 kilograms of payloads to lunar orbit.

Read more at: Spacenews

First Commercial Rocket Due To Be Launched From Australia Later In 2021

Australia’s first commercial rocket launch will take place in South Australia this year, after receiving approval from the federal government.

Australian space company Southern Launch will send a Taiwanese rocket into space after being granted a launch permit, it was announced on Monday.

The Taiwanese company TiSPACE will conduct a test flight of its suborbital rocket Hapith I. The rocket will blast off from Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Read more at: Guardian

Blue Origin Flies Payloads On Latest New Shepard Flight

Blue Origin launched a New Shepard suborbital vehicle Aug. 25 on a mission carrying research and educational payloads as the company prepares for its next crewed flight.

New Shepard lifted off from the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 10:31 a.m. Eastern. The launch was delayed by nearly an hour because of two holds during the countdown, first for an unspecified vehicle issue and then a nearly half-hour hold for what the company called a “payload readiness issue.”

The crew capsule reached a peak altitude of 105.9 kilometers before landing under parachutes 10 minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff. The vehicle’s booster made a powered landing on a nearby pad a few minutes earlier.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX Starship: Photo Shows Impressive Heat Tiles Ahead Of Major Test

On Monday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared a photo of the under-development space rocket. It’s perhaps the most ambitious ongoing project for SpaceX, as it plans to use the Starship to send the first humans to Mars and beyond. Dorsey’s photo shows a prototype model ahead of the planned first orbital flight, representing a major milestone in the project’s development.

“Grateful for [SpaceX CEO] Elon Musk and SpaceX,” Dorsey wrote with the image. A reply from Musk suggested that Dorsey and record producer Rick Rubin visited the company’s Starbase facility in Texas.

Read more at: Inverse

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