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Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 1st, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Continuing resolution prevents government shutdown and provides disaster relief for NASA and other agencies. Another company intends to enter the small satellite launch business.

President signs CR keeps government operating and funds disaster relief
Spacepolicyonline.com (9/30): President Biden on Thursday signed a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep federal agencies functioning until December 3. Federal agencies, including NASA, will continue to spend at 2021 appropriation levels, avoiding a shutdown and a worker furlough for about two months. Action Thursday also provided $28.6 billion for disaster relief stemming from hurricanes and wildfires. NASA received $321.4 million in disaster relief funds to address damage from Hurricanes Ida and Zeta.

Blue Origin under fire
Spacepolicyonline.com (9/30): An essay published yesterday by 21 current and former Blue Origin employees accuse top company officials of sexual harassment and a lax safety culture. “Many of this essay’s authors say they would not fly on a Blue Origin vehicle,” says the document. Blue Origin countered the allegations saying, “We stand by our safety record and believe that New Shepard is the safest space vehicle ever designed or built.” In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that “The FAA takes every safety allegation seriously, and the agency is reviewing the information.”

DoD trying to keep China from accessing critical U.S. space technology
SpaceNews.com (9/30): Colin Supko, director of the Defense Department’s trusted capital program, expressed concern this week before the Space Sector Market Conference over China’s ability to access the military’s industrial base through its investments in U.S. space startups and the use of Chinese software. The Pentagon has the discretion to determine whether certain sources of capital are acceptable or adversarial and therefore prevent a potential competitor who could pose national security concerns from seeking a military contract, according to Supko.

Japan’s Epsilon scrubs attempt to launch RAISE-2 and eight secondary satellites
NASASpaceflight.com (9/30): Japan would have conducted its first orbital launch in ten months last night, using its small satellite launcher Epsilon to deliver nine satellites to space. However, just seconds before the planned liftoff from the Uchinoura Space Center at 00:51 UTC, an abort was called due to a ground station malfunction. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) RAISE-2 is the primary payload aboard the Epsilon rocket for this launch. It is joined by eight small satellites, four microsatellites and four CubeSats. When these satellites reach orbit, they will carry out an array of scientific and technology demonstration missions.

Honda to enter satellite launch business by 2030
Asia.nikkei.com (9/30): Carmaker Honda plans to enter the small satellite launch business with the use of combustion-engine and other automotive technologies. A test launch of a Honda rocket is planned by 2030, with a goal of cutting launch costs through reusable launch vehicles.

CRS-23 Dragon returns home following ISS supply run
NASASpaceflight.com (9/30): The 23rd Dragon resupply mission departed the International Space Station (ISS) early Thursday for a late-night splashdown in the Atlantic waters off the coast of Florida. The capsule returned a 4,600-pound cargo, including time-sensitive science experiments which were to be offloaded for transport by helicopter to researchers at the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

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