Crew Smells Smoke And Burning In Russian Part Of International Space Station

A smoke alarm sounded Thursday in Russia’s segment of the International Space Station (ISS) and astronauts smelled “burning” on board, Russia’s space agency and NASA said.

The incident, which the Russian space agency Roscosmos said happened at 1:55 a.m. GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday) ahead of a scheduled spacewalk, is the latest in a string of problems to spur safety concerns over conditions on the Russian segment.

“A smoke detector was triggered in the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station during automatic battery charging, and an alarm went off,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

Read more at: CBSnews

Firefly Says Early Engine Shutdown Led To Launch Failure

Firefly Aerospace says the premature shutdown of one of its Alpha rocket’s four main engines, apparently triggered by an electrical issue, caused the launcher to lose control as it reached supersonic speed during a test flight over California last week.

In a statement Sept. 5, the company released preliminary information from the investigation into the launch accident, and emphasized lessons learned from the mission will boost chances the next test flight will reach orbit.

The first test flight of Firefly’s Alpha launcher Sept. 2 ended in a dramatic orange fireball high above Vandenberg Space Force Base, a military facility on California’s Central Coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Russian Cosmonauts Conduct Spacewalk Despite Smoke, Alarm On Space Station

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov conducted their second spacewalk in less than a week as they continue configurations for the new Nauka module for operations on the International Space Station. The spacewalk began Thursday at 10:51 a.m. and ended at 6:16 p.m. ET, lasting for seven hours and 25 minutes. The spacewalk continued as scheduled despite the fact that the space station crew was awakened by a fire alarm around 10 p.m. ET Wednesday night. The alarm sounded for a minute after sensors detected smoke in the Russian Zvezda module. The smoke and burning plastic smell was also present in the US parts of the space station.

Read more at: CNN

Russian Cosmonauts Find New Cracks In ISS Module

Russian cosmonauts have discovered new cracks in a segment of the International Space Station that could widen, a senior space official said on Monday, the latest in a series of setbacks.

“Superficial fissures have been found in some places on the Zarya module,” Vladimir Solovyov, chief engineer of rocket and space corporation Energia, told RIA news agency. “This is bad and suggests that the fissures will begin to spread over time.”

He did not say if the cracks had caused any air to leak.

Read more at: Reuters

No Damage On Progress MS-17 Spacecraft Antennas Found During Spacewalk

Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov found no damage on the Kurs docking navigation system antennas on the Progress MS-17 spacecraft during his spacewalk.

“I see no heavy damage to the reflectors and the antenna,” Dubrov reported.

Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitsky commenced their spacewalk operation at 17:55 Moscow time in order to integrate the Nauka science module to the ISS. The main operation is planned to take 6 hours and 26 minutes. Should the operation proceed ahead of schedule, three more groups of operations were planned that may last about three hours.

Read more at: TASS

NASA’s Hopes Waning For SLS Test Flight This Year

The earliest NASA’s first Space Launch System moon rocket could roll out from the Vehicle Assembly Building to its seaside launch complex in Florida is in late November, officials told Spaceflight Now, leaving little time to conduct a critical fueling test, roll the rocket back into the VAB for final closeouts, then return to the pad for liftoff before the end of the year.

Stacking and testing of the SLS heavy-lift rocket has taken longer than NASA’s best-case projections earlier this year. But that’s not unexpected for the first time teams have assembled the powerful new launch vehicle inside the VAB at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

FAA Grounds SpaceShipTwo After Problem On July Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration will not allow Virgin Galactic to resume flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane until it completes an investigation into a problem on the vehicle’s previous flight in July.

In a Sept. 2 statement, the FAA said it is overseeing a Virgin Galactic mishap investigation into the July 11 flight of SpaceShipTwo, called “Unity 22” by the company, which appeared to go as planned but in fact suffered a problem that caused it to stray from its restricted airspace.

“Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the FAA approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety,” the agency stated.

Read more at: Spacenews


An ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Could Ride To Earth With The Next Solar Storm, New Research Warns

The sun is always showering Earth with a mist of magnetized particles known as solar wind. For the most part, our planet’s magnetic shield blocks this electric wind from doing any real damage to Earth or its inhabitants, instead sending those particles skittering toward the poles and leaving behind a pleasant aurora in their wake. But sometimes, every century or so, that wind escalates into a full-blown solar storm — and, as new research presented at the SIGCOMM 2021 data communication conference warns, the results of such extreme space weather could be catastrophic to our modern way of life.

Read more at:

Amazon, Fighting Spacex’s Starlink Plans, Says Elon Musk’s Companies Don’t Care About Rules

Amazon slammed Elon Musk’s SpaceX as a serial rule-breaker on Wednesday amid an enduring fight over the two companies’ plans to build rivaling satellite networks. The conflict, waged within lengthy filings to the Federal Communications Commission, is nothing new. But this time, Amazon sent FCC officials a laundry list of Musk’s past troubles with other regulators, mounting its most aggressive attempt yet to push back on SpaceX’s speedy timeline for deploying its broadband satellites.

“Try to hold a Musk-led company to flight rules? You’re ‘fundamentally broken,’” Amazon wrote in its filing, referring to the time Musk complained that the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulatory structure slowed down SpaceX’s operations. “Try to hold a Musk-led company to health and safety rules? You’re ‘unelected & ignorant,’” it added, referring to Musk’s beef with officials who sought to keep factories closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more at: Verge

Man-Made ‘Space Junk’ Is Already Making It More Difficult To Explore The Final Frontier

WHEN AMATEUR IRISH astronomer John Flannery first took an interest in the hobby as a child, space was a much cleaner place than it is in 2021.

Thanks to human activity, there are now hundreds of thousands of man-made objects ranging from satellites — some ‘live’ and some ‘dead’ — to tiny fragments of obsolete equipment floating around in low Earth orbit at last count.

It means that the incidence of defunct ‘space junk’ has increased at least seven-fold since the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Read more at: Journal

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

Spacecraft Deorbiting Device Developed At Purdue Ready For Upcoming Test Launch

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: Purdue


SpaceX Lifts Giant Super Heavy Rocket Onto Launch Stand Again (Photos)

SpaceX’s first true Super Heavy rocket is back on the launch stand.

Technicians lifted the 29-engine Super Heavy vehicle known as Booster 4 onto the orbital launch mount at SpaceX’s Starbase site in South Texas on Wednesday (Sept. 8), photos by observers in the area show.

The move came just over a month after the 230-foot-tall (70 meters) Booster 4 was first hoisted onto the pad, then topped with a prototype spacecraft called SN20 (short for “Serial No. 20”) in the first-ever stacking of a full-size Starship vehicle. The duo was quickly de-stacked, however, so that further work could be performed on both elements.

Read more at:

Small Launch Vehicles Grow Up

For years after Boeing and Lockheed Martin combined their launch vehicle businesses into a joint venture, United Launch Alliance had a lock on the medium- to heavy-lift launch market in the United States. SpaceX would eventually challenge that, but it would take years of effort, including a lawsuit, for that company to win national security launch business. That created a SpaceX/ULA duopoly that survived competition from Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman to win National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contracts last year.

The next time around, SpaceX and ULA may face even more competition. Besides the prospect of Blue Origin and perhaps Northrop Grumman bidding on future contracts, startups that originally focused on small launch vehicles are looking to move into larger markets.

Read more at: Spacenews

German Startup Rocket Factory Augsburg Successfully Performs Critical Tests Ahead Of 2022 Debut

The German startup Rocket Factory Augsburg, or RFA, has concluded another test of their RFA One rocket. In the test, the company performed a destructive cryogenic pressure test of their first stage prototype. The company has shown a video in which the prototype stage broke apart after it was fueled with cryogenic nitrogen to test the quality of the welds and determine the pressure at which the structure fails.

The milestone is the latest for the company which is aiming to develop a reusable launch vehicle for small payloads. The first flight of RFA One is currently slated for late 2022, following more testing and development.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Report: Branson’s Flight into Space Experienced Serious Anomaly; Company Fired Flight Test Director

By all appearances, Richard Branson’s 17-years-in-the-making flight to the edge of space went exactly as planned on July 11. Or at least that was the impression left by Virgin Galactic’s webcast of SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity’s flight test from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

But, for the second time in four suborbital flights, VSS Unity experienced a serious anomaly. The ship with its hybrid engine firing wasn’t rising steeply enough as it soared toward space, Nicholas Schmidle reports in The New Yorker.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Firefly Alpha Explodes During First Launch

Firefly Aerospace’s first launch of its Alpha rocket ended in failure when the rocket exploded two and a half minutes after liftoff Sept. 2

The Alpha rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 2 here at 9:59 p.m. Eastern. A first launch attempt at 9 p.m. Eastern was aborted in the final seconds of the countdown for unspecified technical reasons, but launch controllers reset the countdown for a second launch attempt.

About two and a half minutes after liftoff, the rocket appeared to tumble and then explode. “Alpha experienced an anomaly during first stage ascent that resulted in the loss of the vehicle,” Firefly tweeted.

Read more at: Spacenews

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