Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 9th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The James Webb Space Telescope’s launch has shifted to December 18. On Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover has just collected its second sample.


Space Science

JWST gets mid-December launch date
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (9/9): NASA and Arianespace have moved the planned launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) from October 31 to December 18. It’s been a long wait for the launch of the successor and companion to NASA’s 31-year-old Hubble Space Telescope. It now appears a concern over the Arianespace Ariane 5 payload shroud has been addressed, as evidenced with a July 30 launch of the rocket, according to the launch services provider. A second Ariane 5 launch with communications satellites planned for October 22 should provide additional assurance. Now at Northrop Grumman facilities in Redondo Beach, California, the observatory will be shipped to Kourou, French Guiana for launch. NASA-led, the JWST’s partners include the European and Canadian space agencies.

NASA’s Perseverance rover getting ready to snag 2nd Mars sample (9/8): Updated with a tweet from the rover’s account this morning: “Two for two: I have successfully processed and stored my second sample of Mars, thus bringing my total to two Martian rock cores in one week.” The first sample from Rochette was cored earlier this month, imaged, and then sealed in a titanium container over the Labor Day weekend. Watch updates from the mission’s team this Friday at noon.

ISRO Chandrayaan-2 detects presence of water ice on Moon’s polar regions
India Times (9/9): India’s Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter has detected further evidence of water ice in permanently shadowed regions of the Moon using Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar instrumentation, according to the head of the India Space Research Organization (ISRO). ISRO Chief K Sivan was a participant in a lunar science workshop this week. Permanently shadowed regions are most prominent in impact craters at the south and north poles of the Moon.


Other News

NASA IG faults NASA on management of infrastructure projects (9/8): Just a day prior to a scheduled U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee mark up of proposed spending included in the Biden Administration’s $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package, NASA’s inspector general (IG) has issued an audit that questions the effectiveness of the agency’s management of infrastructure upgrades that have been funded at about $359 million annually for the past five years. The committee is weighing an additional $4 billion from the infrastructure package to address NASA infrastructure needs in addition to the agency’s 2022 budget. The mark up is scheduled for today at 10 am EDT.

Lockheed, Northrop invest in a startup that wants to refuel satellites in space
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Defense News (9/7): Backed by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, San Francisco-based Orbit Fab is working to develop capabilities to refuel orbiting satellites and extend their operational lives. The company has drawn in more than $10 million during its most recent funding round thanks to Lockheed and Northrop, bringing total funding for the startup company to $17 million.

Pandemic, changing industry affecting satellite manufacturer supply chains
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (9/8): Shortage of certain electronics have had effects on the economy, affecting sectors from consumer electronics to automobiles. Space systems have also felt the effects of those supply chain disruptions, manufacturers said during a panel discussion at the Satellite 2021 conference. Companies say they’re working more closely with suppliers to ensure they will get the components they need on schedule and have also had to reconsider make-versus-buy decisions, in some cases moving more work in-house.

Study: Space Station drinking water is teeming with bacteria
Futurism (9/8): A study of water samples from the International Space Station (ISS) by Arizona State University (ASU) and gathered between 2008 and 2015 were found to host colonies of bacteria. Water aboard the orbital science lab is recycled to spare the expense of launching tens of thousands of pounds of water each year and to prepare for human missions to deep space, where the launch of resupply missions would cost even more. Uncertain from the findings is what the presence of the bacterial colonies could mean for astronaut health.

Russian film crew deemed medically fit for October 5 launch to Space Station (9/8): Look to October 5 for the launch of a Russian film director and actor to the International Space Station (ISS) to film portions of a film called “Challenge.” Director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild will be accompanied by Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov aboard the Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Shipkenko and Peresild are to spend about one and a half weeks aboard the ISS.

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