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Today’s Deep Space Extra - Explore Deep Space
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Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 13th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… International Space Station astronauts performed a seven-hour spacewalk for third Roll Out Solar Array upgrade. Mars surface sample analysis highlights potential ancient water bubbles.

 

Human Space Exploration

Spacewalking astronauts continue solar array upgrade work
Spaceflightnow.com/CBS News (9/12): Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet conducted a seven-hour spacewalk to prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for the third of six planned Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) upgrades. The astronauts also replaced a sensor that monitors the electrical field around the orbital laboratory. Once planned for August 24, the spacewalk was delayed so that Pesquet could replace NASA’s Mark Vande Hei, who suffered a pinched nerve in his neck. High definition, 3-D imagery of the spacewalk will be delivered back to Earth to become part of a commercial documentary “The ISS Experience.”  

NASA’s Gateway Moon-orbiting space station explained in pictures
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Maxar, Northrop Grumman
Space.com (9/10): NASA’s next crewed space station will be near the Moon. The planned lunar Gateway space station will house crews for periods of time so they can perform a series of ambitious jobs: to conduct science experiments further away from Earth; to support missions on the surface; and perhaps to even do far-out engineering work such as telerobotics. The gallery details some of the main history and components of Gateway, as well as what it may be used for in the future.

Humans to Mars Summit 2021 launches next week: How to watch it live online
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Paragon Space Development Corp., Northrop Grumman
Space.com (9/11): Explore Mars is hosting the annual Humans to Mars Summit, a three-day event beginning Monday. The summit’s program explores every facet of preparing and carrying out Red Planet exploration. The programming starts at 9:40 a.m. EDT each day and continues into the evening on Monday and late afternoon on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Space Science

Analysis of Mars surface samples highlight potential ancient water bubbles
NASAspaceflight.com (9/11): Two samples of a rock called Rochette in the Citadelle region of Jezero Crater on Mars that were acquired between September 1 and 8 could be of ancient volcanic lava origin and potentially contain bubbles of ancient water, according to NASA’s mission science team. Perseverance teams are already planning Perseverance’s next sample attempt, with an eye on a ridge named South Séítah located 656ft from the rover’s current location. 

 

Other News

Potential component defect to delay next Virgin Galactic flight
SpaceNews.com (9/12): Virgin Galactic is further delaying its next SpaceShipTwo suborbital flight to check a potential issue the company says is unrelated to an ongoing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation of an airspace violation during the company’s flight on July 11. Virgin Galactic said a third-party supplier notified the company of a potential manufacturing defect in a flight control actuation system component. The company said the earliest it would perform the next SpaceShipTwo mission is the middle of October. The mission had previously been scheduled for late September or early October.

DoD looking for commercially available nuclear propulsion for small spacecraft
SpaceNews.com (9/11): The Defense Innovation Unit last week issued a call for bids to provide small nuclear propulsion systems for spacecraft carrying sensors and communications payloads that travel beyond Earth orbit. Proposals are due September 23. The innovation unit is seeking systems that can be assembled and prepared for launch with a minimal radiation exposure.

Inspiration4 private crewed mission nears launch
SpaceNews.com (9/10): Launch of Inspiration4, the first all civilian orbital space mission, is planned for launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) no earlier than Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT. The crew, Jared Isaacman, Chris Sembroski, Hayley Arceneaux and Sian Proctor are to spend three days in orbit as part of a St. Jude Hospital fundraising effort. The crew has spent five months training for the journey, which is to conclude with a splashdown and recovery in the Atlantic waters off the Florida coast.

 

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of September 12-18, 2021
Spacepolicyonline.com (9/12): The Human to Mars Summit runs from Monday through Wednesday. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will speak on Tuesday as part of the virtual event. China’s Shenzhou-12 space station crew might return to Earth this week as well. In Washington, the U.S. House and Senate are meeting during the early part of the week, though with nothing obvious regarding NASA on the agendas. Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s human spaceflight program will present the John Glenn Lecture in Space History for the National Air and Space Museum Tuesday evening.

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