Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 11th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Orion recovery team is certified for Artemis I. U.S. and France agree to expand cooperation on space issues.


Human Space Exploration

NASA’s Orion recovery team is certified for Artemis I
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (11/20): Out in the Pacific Ocean, a team of NASA and Department of Defense (DoD) personnel has been certified for the recovery of the uncrewed Orion crew capsule assigned to Artemis I, the first joint test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and the spacecraft. Orion will soar past the Moon and maneuver back to Earth for a parachute assisted descent and splash down in the Pacific. Artemis I is being prepared to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) no earlier than February 12. Once Orion is in the ocean waters, a team of divers, engineers, and technicians are expected to take small boats to reach the capsule in order to secure it and tow it to the back of a ship.

Crew-3 up and away (11/10): NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) launched Wednesday night from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Liftoff had been delayed by weather and a minor medical issue afflicting one of the crew members. The flight is taking NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Matthias Maurer to the ISS. While Marshburn is a veteran of two previous flights, this is the first launch for Chari, Barron and Maurer. Soon after orbit insertion, the spacecraft began the first of five maneuvers, leading to a planned docking with the ISS on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. EST to begin six months of scientific research and technology development and ISS maintenance and upgrades.

ISS forced to dodge debris from Chinese anti-satellite weapon
Futurism (11/20): Several hours ahead of Wednesday’s launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station, the orbital lab maneuvered to avoid orbital debris created by a Chinese 2007 anti-satellite test. Working together with NASA, Russia fired thrusters on the ISS’s Zvezda module to raise the altitude of the ISS by just under a mile. On board at the time were NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov. Updated information in this New York Times story (the New York Times is behind a paywall after several articles).


Space Science

Astronomers spot small black hole beyond the Milky Way in milestone discovery (11/11): Astronomers have found a black hole in a cluster just outside the Milky Way, making it the first black hole ever spotted beyond our own galaxy with a technique that measures the gravity influence of the hole over objects around it. The astronomers made the discovery using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), which is perched atop a desert mountain in northern Chile. The research will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Now, the researchers think the same technique can help find other black holes in other dark corners of the universe, helping to understand how these objects age and develop.


Other News

U.S. and France agree to expand cooperation on space issues (11/10): The U.S. and France will expand their cooperation in space, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Wednesday. Areas of cooperative focus will include climate change; expanding the space frontier; enhancing the quality of and access to space science, technology, engineering and STEM education; consultation on space norms, guidelines and principles and rules to support space sustainability and security; and enabling a sustainable space economy. As part of the agreement, the U.S. is expected to join the Space Climate Observatory, a consortium of 33 space agencies and international organizations formed in 2019 to sponsor projects that help make data from space more accessible to organizations to inform decisions and measures to mitigate and respond to climate change.

Northrop Grumman’s missile-tracking satellite passes critical design review
Coalition Members in the News – L3Harris, Northrop Grumman (11/10): The satellite designed by Northrop Grumman to track hypersonic and ballistic missiles has passed a key review milestone, allowing the company to proceed with development of the $153 million Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor spacecraft with L3Harris. Following delivery in 2023, the heat sensing spacecraft will be prepared for an on-orbit test of its ability to track hypersonic threats, process sensor data, and hand off the information to command centers so the missile can be intercepted.

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