Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 26th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… An industry group including Blue Origin, Sierra Space, and Boeing announces plan to develop a commercial space station. Listen to the otherworldly sounds of Mars with a new interactive resource.


Human Space Exploration

Blue Origin and Sierra Space announce plans for commercial space station
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Nanoracks (10/25): The opening day of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Dubai on Monday featured an announcement from Blue Origin and Sierra Space of plans to develop a modular commercial space station, called Orbital Reef. The development effort would materialize over the latter half of the 2020s with the goal of providing a successor to the International Space Station (ISS). Joining with Blue Origin and Sierra Space is Boeing, which plans to provide a science module and its CST-100 Starliner crew transportation vehicle, while handling station operations, maintenance, and engineering. Redwire Space will oversee microgravity research and manufacturing, payload operations, and deployable structures. Genesis Engineering Solutions will provide a “Single Person Spacecraft” pod currently in development. Arizona State University will lead a university consortium handling research and outreach.

NASA clears next SpaceX crew mission for launch, pending review of toilet system (10/25): A Flight Readiness Review for the Crew-3 Dragon launch to the International Space Station (ISS) planned for Sunday at 2:21 a.m. EDT, turned up some concerns over the spacecraft’s toilet as well as the toilet aboard the Crew-2 Dragon that has been docked to the ISS since late April. The concerns originated with a leak in a urine flow tube discovery aboard the Inspiration4 mission Dragon toilet.

Rogozin says Crew Dragon safe for Russian cosmonauts (10/26): Dimitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said the SpaceX Crew Dragon safe enough for the launch of cosmonauts. NASA has proposed that each Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (ISS) include a NASA astronaut in exchange for a cosmonaut launching on each NASA Commercial Crew mission launching to the orbital science lab. The exchange is to ensure that there is always a NASA astronaut and cosmonaut aboard the ISS. NASA is seeking a no cost seat exchange. If worked out, the launch exchange could begin in the latter half of 2022. Rogozin spoke on the opening day of the 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Dubai.


Space Science

Astronomers discover youngest planet ever observed
Futurism (10/25): Planet 2M0437b resides in a “stellar nursery” about 450 light-years from the Earth. Larger than Jupiter, the young planet was discovered by a University of Hawaii-led international team of scientists. First observed in 2018, the large planet is believed to be a few million years of age. The research team hopes 2M0437b can be studied further with the powerful James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is scheduled to launch in December.

BepiColombo completes first Mercury flyby, science provides insight into planet’s unique environment (10/24): On October 1, 2021, the joint European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) BepiColombo spacecraft successfully performed its first flyby of the solar system’s innermost planet, Mercury. The flyby is the first in a set of six. The pictures taken by the spacecraft while flying by Mercury will allow scientists to identify certain surface craters on the planet. The flyby marked the start of the spacecraft’s scientific objectives at Mercury, as some regions around it will not be accessible once the spacecraft enters orbit.

Listen to the otherworldly sound of Martian wind
NPR News (10/23): NASA has launched an interactive resource that allows listeners to hear recordings taken millions of miles away on the surface of the Red Planet. Two microphones aboard the Perseverance Rover have recorded nearly five hours of Martian wind gusts, rover wheels crunching over gravel, and motors whirring as the spacecraft moves its arm.


Other News

Japan launches H-IIA with QZS-1R satellite (10/25): A Japanese H-IIA rocket placed the QZS-1R, an addition to the country’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, a navigation satellite constellation, in orbit following launch on Monday, U.S. time. The first of the satellites launched in September 2010.

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