Soyuz MS-16 Returns Space Station Trio to Earth

The three international crew members of the Soyuz MS-16 mission have safely returned to Earth following the undocking of their Soyuz spacecraft from the International Space Station at 19:32 EDT (23:32 UTC).

A parachute and retro-rocket assisted landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan followed at 22:55 EDT on Wednesday, 21 October (02:55 UTC on Thursday, 22 October) after a 196 day mission covering 133.5 million kilometers (83 million miles) over 3,136 orbits of Earth.

Prior to undocking, NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy handed over command of the Station to Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, who along with Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Kathleen Rubins arrived on the Station on 14 October on the Soyuz MS-17 flight.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

NASA Asteroid Probe Is Overflowing With Space-Rock Samples

NASA’s first-ever asteroid-sampling operation apparently went a little too well.

The agency’s OSIRIS-REx probe snagged so much dirt and rock from the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Bennu on Tuesday (Oct. 20) that the spacecraft’s sampling mechanism didn’t close properly, allowing some of the collected material to escape into space, mission team members announced Friday (Oct. 23).

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From Astronauts: 5 Ways Of Coping With Anxiety, Loneliness

It’s called the third-quarter effect: a slump in productivity, morale and health felt around the halfway point of a prolonged period of isolation.

It’s normal, and predictable, according to Dorit Donoviel, director of the NASA-funded Translational Research Institute for Space Health and professor of space medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“It’s not you,” Donoviel said.

Read more at: USA today

Only Collaboration Will Get Humans To The Moon And Mars Rock To Earth, Space Leaders Say

Space agencies are at a crucial pivot point as international consortiums embark on ambitious endeavors like returning samples from Mars and sending human missions to the moon, according to a recent panel discussion.

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine and Jan Woerner, director-general of the European Space Agency, starred in a panel at the online International Astronautical Congress on Oct. 14 that also included a broader discussion about where the two agencies will go next.

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For The First Time, A Starship Prototype Roars To Life With Three Engines

SpaceX engineers achieved another milestone early Tuesday morning when the company’s Starship vehicle roared to life for the first time with multiple Raptor engines.

At 3:13am local time in South Texas, a Starship prototype dubbed SN8, or Serial Number 8, fired three Raptor engines for several seconds during a static fire test. Although there was no immediate confirmation from the company, the test at the company’s Boca Chica launch site appeared to be successful.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Rocket Builder Firefly Aerospace Aims For First Launch From California In Late December, CEO Says

Firefly Aerospace currently plans for its maiden Alpha rocket launch to happen as early as Dec. 22, co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic told CNBC, as his company prepares for the next major milestone in its plan to offer a variety of space transportation services.

Markusic is confident in the launch date because of the “rigid” requirements of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where Firefly is finishing up work to prepare the launchpad at SLC-2.

Read more at: CNBC


Why We Don’t Know Exactly What Happened During A Near-Collision In Space

Space traffic experts tracked two pieces of orbital garbage that appeared to be careening toward each other on Thursday night: a defunct Soviet satellite and a discarded Chinese rocket booster. Ultimately, the two objects narrowly missed each other, according to private space-tracking company LeoLabs.

LeoLabs, which uses its own ground-based radars to track spaceborne objects, put the odds of collision at 10% or greater. That’s high, but not uncommon, LeoLabs CEO Daniel Ceperley told CNN Business on Thursday.

Read more at: CNN

The Strange Story Of 2020 SO: How An Asteroid Turned Into Rocket Junk And The NASA Scientist Who Figured It Out

As soon as he saw the data, Paul Chodas knew something was strange about the near-Earth object that had been designated 2020 SO.

It should have been just another of the tens of thousands of space rocks that astronomers have spotted breezing through our neighborhood in space. This solar system rubble is mostly harmless, but scientists identify and track all they can in case an object appears to be on a collision course with Earth.

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Swirling Fragments of Past Space Endeavors: Threatening Our Future in Space

Swirling fragments of past space endeavors are trapped in orbit around Earth, threatening our future in space. Over time, the number, mass, and area of these debris objects grow steadily, boosting the risk to functioning satellites.

ESA’s Space Debris Office constantly monitors this ever-evolving debris situation, and every year publishes a report on the current state of the debris environment.

Read more at: scitech daily

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