Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 5th, 2022

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Amazon’s Alexa to be tested on the first Artemis mission. NASA’s Psyche mission to begin environmental testing ahead of August 2022 launch. James Webb Space Telescope sunshield fully deploys.


Human Space Exploration

Amazon’s Alexa to be tested on Artemis 1
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (1/5): Lockheed Martin announced January 5 that it has been working with Amazon and Cisco on a project called Callisto that will be flown on the Artemis I mission launching this year. Callisto is a demonstration to see how a voice recognition technology widely available to consumers today could be used to assist astronauts on future missions. Callisto would allow astronauts to use voice commands to access data, adjust spacecraft controls, and interact with teams on the ground.

Russian ASAT debris imperils DoD, NRO sats, while ISS risks increase: COMSPOC
Breaking Defense (1/4): U.S. reconnaissance and military weather satellites as well as the International Space Station (ISS) will continue to be endangered from the debris generated by a November 15, 2021, Russian anti-satellite test, according to an analysis conducted by COMSPOC. “The COMSPOC analysis also shows that the Russian government claims that the debris would not harm the ISS are blatantly not true. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case,” Breaking Defense reports. Approximately 1,500 fragments from the impact are large enough to be tracked and are expected to deorbit over a three-year time span.


Space Science

Psyche to begin environmental testing ahead of August 2022 launch
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Maxar, United Launch Alliance (1/4): Planned for launch in August, NASA’s Psyche mission will head for a main asteroid belt object, which could provide scientific insights into the structure and composition of planetary cores. The spacecraft has been undergoing pre-launch testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). With a successful launch, Psyche will employ a suite of high technologies to reach its target destination in early 2026 to begin a multiyear reconnaissance with seven science instruments.

JWST sunshield fully deployed
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
Space News (1/4): The post December 25 launch phase of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) logged a major milestone on Tuesday as ground control teams completed the commanding of the deployment of the five-layer sunshield that will help to ensure a thermal environment for future science observations. The final two layers of the Kapton shielding reached the desired configuration just before 12 p.m. EST. However, there is more to come as the JWST continues to make its way to the L2 Sun/Earth Lagrange point where it is to conduct its scientific observations.

With James Webb Space Telescope’s huge sunshield in place, focus shifts to big mirrors (1/4): With the five-layer sunshield in place, the next milestones for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are the deployments of the secondary and primary light gathering mirrors. Deployment of the smaller secondary mirror was slated to get underway on Wednesday.

First results from Hayabusa’s Ryugu asteroid sample
Cosmos Magazine (1/5): A small but scientifically significant sample of material from the primitive asteroid Ryugu was returned to Earth in Australia in December 2020 by Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission. Initial analysis shows the 4.5-billion-year-old Ryugu to be rocky and rich in carbon and water. Scientists believe that the small meteorites that now rain down on the Earth daily may be of a similar origin. One surprise though is that the density of the asteroid material is much lower than the meteorites that fall to Earth. Scientists hope to determine if objects like Ryugu delivered water and organics, the building blocks for life, to Earth. Findings were initially published in the journal Nature Astronomy.


Other News

Upper stage from failed Russian rocket to make uncontrolled re-entry
Ars Technica (1/4): The Persei upper stage of Russia’s under development  Angara A5 rocket failed to perform as hoped following a December 27 test flight launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Now in a low orbit, the Persei is expected to make an uncontrolled deorbit, possibly on Wednesday.

Last astronauts to visit Hubble Space Telescope sign coins for AMF (1/2): The Astronaut Memorial Foundation (AMF) is commemorating the seven members of the final NASA shuttle mission to maintain and upgrade the now nearly 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope. The mission’s seven astronauts are commemorated with $1 coins featuring Hubble and struck by the U.S. mint along with crew autographs that are being offered for sale through the foundation, which is based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

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