Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 17th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Northrop Grumman-led team proposes a rover for Artemis astronauts. The Perseverance rover collects another sample. Russia’s anti-satellite test continues to draw condemnation.


Human Space Exploration

Northrop-led team proposes Artemis lunar rover
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman (11/16): Northrop Grumman is leading a team for the development of a proposed Lunar Terrain Vehicle for NASA astronaut crews assigned to explore the Moon as part of the Artemis program. Northrop’s partners include Intuitive Machines, which will develop an upgraded version of its Nova-C lander to deliver the rover to the lunar surface. Lunar Outpost, a company developing a small robotic rover called MAPP that will go to the Moon on a Nova-C lander in 2022, will apply its experience developing that rover to this project. AVL, a company that works on development, simulation and testing of vehicles, will provide expertise in working on electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology. Michelin, the tire manufacturer, will provide an airless tire solution for the rover.

Orion spacecraft production continues for Artemis 2 and 3
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (11/16): Lockheed Martin is processing Orion hardware for Artemis II and Artemis III as a part of their Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) in the Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at KSC. As they process the Artemis II Orion Crew and Service Modules to be mated next year, the ATLO team also received the next Crew Module (CM) pressure vessel and is also simultaneously beginning build-up of the Crew Module and Crew Module Adapter (CMA) structures for Artemis III.


Space Science

NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars just collected its 3rd sample of the Red Planet (11/17): NASA’s Perseverance rover has collected another Martian sample. The car-sized rover drilled a core sample on November 15, filling a titanium tube with Red Planet rock for the third time ever. The announcement was made on the rover’s official Twitter account: “Another little piece of Mars to carry with me. My latest sample is from a rock loaded with the greenish mineral olivine, and there are several ideas among my science team about how it got there. Hypotheses are flying! Science rules.”


Other News

Nelson and Rogozin talk about ASAT test
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, United Launch Alliance (11/16): NASA Administrator Bill Nelson spoke with his Russian counterpart about the recent Russian antisatellite test, as others in the Russian government dismissed the threat to space sustainability the test created. “Spoke with Roscosmos DG @Rogozin expressing dismay over the danger our astronauts and cosmonauts continue to face on the International Space Station,” Nelson tweeted. “It’s critical that we ensure the safety of our people and assets in space – now and into the future.” Condemnations of the test continued to come from governments, companies, and organizations. “The intentional destruction of objects in orbit is irresponsible and threatens our common future in space, endangering human lives and the stability and sustainability of the space environment,” said Axiom Space. At the ASCEND conference, ULA CEO Tory Bruno said, “this is a global commons. You don’t shoot down a satellite. All you do is turn it into small pieces of debris that stay dangerously in orbit, far faster than the speed of a bullet, zinging around for potentially long periods of time.”

European space industry alarmed by Russian ASAT test (11/16): European space industry officials are expressing alarm over the hazards generated by an anti-satellite test conducted by Russia on Monday. The probability of a collision with another spacecraft has increased by 5 percent, according to Philippe Baptiste, head of CNES, the French space agency, who participated in the opening plenary session at the Space Tech Expo Europe 2021 event in Bremen, Germany.

China silent, South Korea ‘concerned’ over debris created by Russia’s anti-satellite missile test (11/17): South Korea’s foreign ministry expressed concern over the “numerous pieces of debris” created in low Earth orbit when Russia destroyed a Soviet-era satellite with a missile strike. In a November 17 text message sent to reporters, the ministry said, “we are concerned about the anti-satellite weapon test that took place November 15 and in particular numerous pieces of debris created in space as a result of the test.” China has yet to make an official statement on the issue. Asked to comment on the matter during a press conference, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “We noted relevant reports and that Russia has yet to respond. I think it is too early to make any comment.”

UAE to help refurbish world’s oldest spaceport in Baikonur of the United Arab Emirates (11/16): The UAE will join with Russia and Kazakhstan in an upgrade of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The world’s oldest spaceport, Baikonur was host to the first launch of a human into space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961, and currently serves as the launch site for Russian cosmonauts and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), a role it will continue to play with the upgrade.

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