Do Space Tourists Really Understand The Risk They’re Taking?

Space tourism vehicles just might be the only transportation technology out there with the potential to kill humans that doesn’t need to undergo independent safety certification. For now, aspiring space travelers seem okay with that, but is the fledgling industry playing a dangerous game?

The four private astronauts of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission —  the first-ever all-civilian flight to orbit — seemed relaxed a day before their Sept. 15 launch as they pondered the prospect of blasting off into nothingness sealed inside a space capsule, atop a rocket filled with explosive fuel.

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Panel: Orbital Debris Problem Is A Lot Like Trying To Fix Climate Change

A study just completed by NASA looked at what new roles the space agency — and the U.S. government more broadly — should play in mitigating the growth of orbital debris and promoting space sustainability. “And it is absolutely a complicated issue,” Bhavya Lal, senior advisor for budget and finance at NASA, said Sept. 28.

Speaking on a panel at the Space Sector Market Conference in Cambridge, Mass., Lal compared the debris challenge to the debate over how to address climate change.

“There’s international dimensions, regulatory dimensions, commercial dimensions,” she said.

Read more at: Spacenews


Virgin Galactic Cleared To Resume Space Flights

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company has been cleared to resume flights of its space plane, Unity. The vehicle was grounded while the US Federal Aviation Administration carried out an investigation into the mission that took the British entrepreneur above the atmosphere in July. Unity briefly stepped outside the airspace that had been reserved for it. The FAA says Virgin Galactic “has made the required changes” to its operations and can now return to flight.

Read more at: BBC

Starship Ship 20 Undergoes Cryogenic Proof Testing At Starbase

SpaceX’s Starship prototype Ship 20 underwent cryogenic proof testing, one of many tests and steps needed before the company can fly its first orbital Starship mission. Late in the evening Sept. 29, 2021, at SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, Ship 20 was loaded with super-cold liquid nitrogen in order to simulate the pressures and temperatures of its liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants.

“Proof was good!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the conclusion of the test. Detanking of the 165-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) Ship 20 took place just before midnight.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

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