Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 24th, 2021

Deep Space Extra will not run over the Thanksgiving holiday. We will return on Monday, November 29. Happy Thanksgiving from the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration.


In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Japan to recruit astronauts to support the Artemis program. NASA’s DART mission has launched. Laser demo aims to increase in-space communications bandwidth.


Human Space Exploration

Saber Astronautics to work with Axiom to bring Australian astronauts to Space Station
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (11/23): Australia’s Saber Astronautics has signed an agreement with Axiom Space to enable the launch of Australian astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in order to build domestic interest in human spaceflight and space research. Axiom is in the process of developing a commercial space station, with the first elements attaching to the ISS in 2024. The company is also set to transport its first private astronauts to the ISS in February.

Japan to recruit first new astronauts in 13 years to support Artemis program (11/23): As part of its intent to partner with NASA for the Artemis human lunar exploration initiative, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will recruit new astronauts for the first time in 13 years. JAXA announced the recruitment plan on November 19 saying successful candidates would be assigned to work long-term at the International Space Station (ISS), the Japanese experiment module “Kibo” attached to ISS, or NASA’s Gateway. JAXA intends to build several capabilities for the Gateway’s International Habitation module (I-Hab), which will provide the heart of Gateway life support capabilities and additional space for the crew. JAXA intends to encourage applications from women.

Russia launches new docking node to Space Station (11/24): Russia launched the Prichal nodal module to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket this morning. The module will add five docking ports to the Russian segment of the ISS. Prichal is to link to the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module, which arrived at the ISS in late July, on Friday. NASA is televising and live streaming the launch and docking on NASA TV and (


Space Science

NASA aims DART at a double asteroid expecting a cataclysmic ending
Coalition Member in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne (11/24): NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission launched successfully from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, on Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST. The mission seeks to demonstrate whether an impact by the spacecraft could change the course of an asteroid enough to prevent similar planetary bodies from colliding with the Earth in the future. The DART spacecraft possesses an experimental ion propulsion system, NEXT-C (NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial) developed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Aerojet Rocketdyne.


Other News

Laser demo aims to increase in-space communications bandwidth
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance (11/23): NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is planned for launch as soon as December 4 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket. LCRD is to demonstrate the potential to step up the communication data rate currently available with radio communications. Using optical frequencies, LCRD is designed to provide 100 times the data per second than its radio frequency predecessors.

Blue Origin to fly six suborbital space travelers next month, including pioneer astronaut’s daughter (11/23): Blue Origin on Tuesday announced the names of those who will launch on the 19th New Shepard suborbital launch from West Texas on December 9. The lineup includes Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of the late Alan Shepard, the first American in space and the rocket’s namesake. The others include Lane Bess, founder of Bess Ventures, and his son, Cameron; investor Evan Dick; ABC’s Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan; and Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space.

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