Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 11th, 2022

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Airbus Crisa to develop power management and distribution system for the Northrop Grumman-built Gateway HALO. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy makes its case for continued operations.


Human Space Exploration

NASA’s new astronaut candidates report to Houston to begin training (1/11): Just over a month ago, NASA introduced the 10 members of its latest class of astronaut selections. On Monday, they reported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) to begin their two years of astronaut candidate training. The four women and six men were selected from among more than 12,000 applicants. They can expect to prepare for missions to the Moon as well as the International Space Station (ISS) and potentially Mars.

Airbus to develop the power management and distribution system for key lunar Gateway module
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
Satellite Evolution (1/11): Airbus Crisa, an affiliate company of Airbus, has signed a contract for the development of the Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) system for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) with Northrop Grumman. “This contract worth more than US$50 million reflects our ability to deliver highly specialized space equipment to global manufacturers and is our first contribution to the Moon-orbiting Gateway, which is part of NASA’s Artemis program to return to the Moon,” said Fernando Gómez-Carpintero, CEO of Airbus Crisa.


Space Science

SOFIA makes case for continued operations (1/10): Operators of the NASA/German Space Agency’s airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) urged continued operations of the telescope during a virtual town hall on Monday. SOFIA operations have faced potential cancellation by NASA and questions over its merits raised in the Astro2020 decadal survey published in November. Margaret Meixner, director of science mission operations for SOFIA, told the town hall that observations have grown more productive, and that SOFIA is serving as a “steppingstone” for future space science.

What is the Arecibo message?
Universe Today (1/10): Messier 13, a star cluster 25,000 light years from Earth, was the selected destination for a message broadcast from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in 1974 that included clues to life on Earth, mathematics, the solar system, DNA and Arecibo itself. The “Arecibo Message” was humanity’s first attempt to communicate with possible extraterrestrial life. The milestone remains a focal point of discussion over the ethics of such a shout out.

All hail the Ariane 5 rocket, which doubled the Webb telescope’s lifetime
Ars Technica (1/10): As NASA marked the successful completion of major deployments of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) over the past weekend, it was also able to extend the estimate of the hydrazine fuel and dinitrogen tetroxide oxidizer propellants available for observations to 20 years due to the performance and accuracy of the Ariane 5 rocket launch. That’s twice the initial estimate.


Other News

Launch ranges lack spare parts to support growing demand (1/11): A report released recently by the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General found that the Eastern Range at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and the Western Range at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California rely on aging equipment to support launches that, in some cases, have pushed the service to turn to marketplaces like eBay to find spare parts. The review found that 28% of the various range items like radars, antennas and command destruct systems needed to support launches lacked spare parts because those items were obsolete and no longer manufactured, sometimes from defunct companies.

Breakup of China’s Yunhai-1 (02) satellite linked to space debris collision (1/11): U.S. space tracking has linked the breakup of Chinese satellite Yunhai-1 (02) to a collision with a small piece of debris from a Russian satellite launch. The Yunhai-1 (02) satellite launched in September 2019 into a Sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of around 783 kilometers. It suffered a breakup event in March 2021, creating debris. The 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) of the U.S. Space Force has identified the breakup of the Yunhai 1-02 meteorological spacecraft (2019-063A) last year to be an accidental collision with a small, mission-related debris object (1996-051Q) associated with the Zenit-2 launch vehicle for the deployment of the Russian Cosmos 2333 military signals intelligence satellite in 1996, according to the December 2021 edition of Orbital Debris Quarterly News, a publication of NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office.

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