SpaceX Launches 2nd Crew, Regular Station Crew Flights Begin

SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station on Sunday on the first full-fledged taxi flight for NASA by a private company.

Read more at: ABC news

SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule Docks At Space Station With Its 1st Crew Of 4

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has successfully delivered a crew of four astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time.

After a 27-hour orbital chase, the Crew-1 mission arrived at the space station Monday night (Nov. 16) with four Expedition 64 crewmembers — NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA. Also on board was a small “Baby Yoda” plush, which serves as a “zero-g indicator” during the ride.

Read more at:

Air Leakage From Russian Module Of ISS Remains

The crack in the previously isolated intermediate chamber of the module Zvezda remains, cosmonaut Sergei Ryzhikov told the Mission Control.

Earlier, the crew locked the hatches into the intermediate chamber. The Mission Control asked whether the crew had measured the pressure before the hatch into that chamber was opened. The crew reported that the pressure went down considerably in the smaller part of the compartment while it remained isolated from the rest of the station by an airtight hatch.

Read more at: TASS

Human Error Blamed For Vega Launch Failure

Arianespace executives said Nov. 17 that the failure of a Vega launch the previous day was caused when the rocket’s upper stage tumbled out of control due to incorrectly installed cables in a control system.

In a call with reporters, Roland Lagier, chief technical officer of Arianespace, said the first three stages of the Vega rocket performed normally after liftoff from Kourou, French Guiana, at 8:52 p.m. Eastern Nov. 16. The Avum upper stage then separated and ignited its engine.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Hazards and STM

Commerce Department Drafting Space Traffic Management Concepts As It Awaits Funding

The transfer of space traffic management responsibilities from the military to a civilian agency in the Commerce Department is moving ahead even though Congress has yet to provide funding and authorities. A “memorandum of understanding” between Commerce and DoD could be signed soon, said Mark Daley, deputy for operations at the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce.

“We developed an initial concept on what the architectural layout would actually be, with inputs from DoD and NASA,” Daley said Nov. 17 at a virtual conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Read more at: Spacenews

Okapi:Orbits Releases Its First Collision Avoidance Product

Since Germany startup Okapi:Orbits released its first space traffic management product for satellite operators, the response has been overwhelming, Kristina Nikolaus, Okapi:Orbits co-founder and managing director told SpaceNews.

In late October, Okapi began offering publicly an automated collision avoidance service that relies on artificial intelligence to help satellite operators evaluate the risk of collisions and maneuver to avoid other satellites and debris.

Read more at: Spacenews

Senate Committee Approves SPACE Act, But Without a Bureau of Space Commerce

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved the Space Preservation and Conjunction Emergency (SPACE) Act today, but with significant changes from the version introduced last month. Chief among them is the omission of language elevating NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce to a new Bureau of Space Commerce reporting directly to the Secretary of Commerce.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Astroscale Announces March 2021 Launch Date for Debris Removal Demonstration

Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, has announced that its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission will launch on a Soyuz rocket operated by GK Launch Services from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in March 2021.

“We now have the launch in our sights,” says Seita Iizuka, ELSA-d Project Manager. “Publicly announcing this significant milestone is possible thanks to years of teamwork. The ELSA-d program demonstrates complex and innovative capabilities that will support satellite operators in realizing options for their post-mission disposal strategies and establish Astroscale as a global leader in the on-orbit servicing market.”

Read more at: Spacedaily

MDA Receives Commercial Contracts For On-Orbit Servicing Technologies

The OSAM-1 mission, formerly known as Restore-L, will demonstrate robotic servicing technologies in orbit, including satellite refueling, assembly and in-space manufacturing. The SPIDER payload’s lightweight 16-foot (5-metre) robotic arm will assemble multiple antenna reflector elements to form a single, functional 9-foot (3-metre) communications Ka-band antenna.

MDA has announced that it has signed multiple contracts with Maxar Technologies to provide advanced space robotics technologies for the Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER), a technology demonstration on NASA’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) mission.

Read more at: Spacedaily


Virgin Galactic Delays Spaceshiptwo Test Flight Because Of Pandemic

Virgin Galactic is postponing a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle that was scheduled for this week after the state of New Mexico reinstated a stay-at-home order in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Virgin Galactic had planned to perform a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico between Nov. 19 and 23. The flight would have been the first powered test flight of the vehicle since February 2019 and the first ever from Spaceport America, where the company will commercially operate the vehicle.

Read more at: Spacenews

First Dream Chaser Mission Slips to 2022

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) says the first flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft to the International Space Station is now planned for 2022 after development delays caused by the pandemic.

During a media briefing Nov. 17, SNC executives said that despite the near-term delays in assembly of the lifting-body cargo spacecraft, they were still focused on a long-term plan that includes using cargo and crew versions of Dream Chaser to support a commercial space station by the end of the decade.

Read more at: Spacenews

Will Small Rockets Finally Lift Off?

The boom in demand for placing small satellites into orbit has boosted interest in small rockets, but industry players do not think the niche will become a business segment of its own.

“This time last year, we were able to count over 120 startups for microlaunchers, small rockets that would carry a single small satellite. As we look today, there is a significantly smaller number of those,” said Tory Bruno, CEO of Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance (ULA), said at a recent industry gathering.

Read more at: Japan today

Rocket Lab Launches 30 Satellites, Recovers Booster In Reusability Milestone

Rocket Lab just delivered a passel of satellites to orbit and took a big step toward booster reusability.

Rocket Lab’s two-stage Electron booster lifted off from the company’s New Zealand launch site today (Nov. 19) at 9:20 p.m. EST (0220 GMT on Nov. 20), carrying 30 spacecraft to low Earth orbit on a mission called “Return to Sender.”

Read more at:

SpaceX Made 6 Major Changes To Its Spaceship And Rocket To Be Ready To Launch Its First Full Crew Of NASA Astronauts

SpaceX is ready to send its first full astronaut crew into space for NASA, on a launch system newly certified for human spaceflight. The Falcon 9 rocket is upright on the launchpad, a Crew Dragon spaceship secured firmly to its nose. The engines have been test fired. Four astronauts are anxiously waiting for the countdown — launch is scheduled for Sunday at 7:27 p.m. ET.

Since SpaceX’s first human launch, a demonstration that rocketed NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS), the company has ironed out several wrinkles with its system.

Read more at: Business insider

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