Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 5th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… “The Challenge” movie crew launches to the International Space Station. NGA renews Maxar contract for satellite imagery.


Human Space Flight

Russia’s segment of ISS loses one docking port due to cracks in Zvezda module
TASS of Russia (10/4): Roscosmos is eliminating the use of an International Space Station (ISS) Russian segment docking port due to structural cracks in a segment of the Zvezda service module, according to a presentation by Vladimir Solovyov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Rassvet and Nauka docking ports remain active. Some 80 percent of the ISS’s Russian segment has surpassed its service life, Solovyov said. Editor’s note: TASS is a Russian government-owned news source

Soyuz MS-19 to launch film crew to Station amid tightened Russian space reporting regulations (10/4): Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday at 4:55 a.m. EDT with Russian actress Yulia Peresild, film director Klim Shipenko, and veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. The actress and director will spend 12 days aboard the ISS to film scenes for “The Challenge”, a drama about a space medical emergency. The mission launches amid new rules enacted last week by the Russian Federal Security Service, which restrict Russian citizens from reporting on the space program outside of Russia. Violators of the regulations will be classified as “foreign agents”.

Another actor heads to space – this time it’s Captain Kirk (10/4): As rumored, William Shatner, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, will join three others for a suborbital launch aboard a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, planned for October 12. He will join Blue Origin’s Audrey Powers, the company’s vice president of mission and flight operations; Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet; and Glen de Vries, co-founder of the life sciences company Medidata Solutions, for the 10-minute flight. At 90, Shatner is in line to become the oldest person to cross the boundary into space, breaking the record set by Wally Funk, who launched aboard a New Shepard on July 20 at the age of 82.


Space Science

UAE to launch probe targeting asteroid between Mars, Jupiter
Associated Press via ABC News (10/5): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday announced plans to send a probe to land on an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to collect data on the origins of the universe. The project targets a 2028 launch with a landing in 2033. The UAE’s space agency plans to partner with the Laboratory for Atmospheric Science and Physics at the University of Colorado.

After 3.5-million-year hiatus, the largest comet ever discovered is headed our way (10/3): Bernardinelli-Bernstein, or C/2014 UN271, is a very large comet, one at least 62 miles across, which is equals about 1,000 times more mass than a typical comet. Discovered in June, the comet is making its way toward the sun without posing an impact threat to the Earth. Closest approach is predicted to come just outside the orbit of Saturn in 2031, too far to be visible without a telescope.


Other News

World View to start flying passengers on stratospheric balloon rides in 2024
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (10/4): World View Enterprises’ high-altitude balloon is ready for space tourists. Initial commercial flights to altitudes of at least 100,000 feet, where tourists can look out at the curvature of the Earth, are planned for 2024. The eight seats on the Explorer passenger cabin will sell for $50,000, significantly less than a space flight participant rocket launch. “We’re redefining space tourism for participants by spending hours at apogee [a flight’s highest point], building memories around some of Earth’s most magnificent wonders,” according to World View CEO Ryan Hartman.

NGA renews Maxar contract for satellite imagery
Coalition Member in the News – Maxar (10/4): Maxar won a $44 million contract option from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to continue to provide to the U.S. Defense Department, the intelligence community, and other government agencies with access to unclassified high-resolution commercial imagery from the company. 

Space Force intelligence organization established at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (10/4): The Space Force Intelligence Activity has been initiated with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as an interim organization before the Space Force stands up a separate National Space Intelligence Center at Wright Patterson. NASIC is the Pentagon’s primary source for intelligence on threats that affect air and space operations.

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