Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 4th, 2022

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA is targeting Monday to complete the Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal at the Kennedy Space Center after an interrupted countdown simulation on Sunday. Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin continues to warn the agency could end its International Space Station partnership.


Human Space Exploration

Ground system problem halts Artemis I countdown dress rehearsal
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing (4/3): NASA plans to proceed on Monday with the final hours of the Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The conclusion of the planned two-day launch countdown simulation was halted, or “scrubbed,” on Sunday afternoon when primary and backup fans that are associated with the mobile launcher ceased working. The fans’ function is to blow air into the mobile launcher to ensure hazardous gases don’t build up during tanking, reducing the risk of a fire or other emergency. With overnight troubleshooting, the final hours of the rehearsal, including the loading of liquid hydrogen and oxygen propellants aboard the SLS rocket could happen today. If the plan is successful, the rehearsal should conclude in the afternoon.

Launch of first civilian commercial crew to Space Station slips to Friday
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (4/3): Axiom-1, the first all-private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is targeting no earlier than Friday for the launch of four people to the ISS from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The target date was pushed back from Wednesday in response to NASA’s Artemis I delay in the completion of the agency’s Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule from Sunday to Monday on a neighboring launch pad. The AX-1 Crew Dragon capsule is set to spend 10 days in space, eight of them docked to the ISS. Led by Mike Lopez-Alegria, an Axiom Space vice president and retired NASA astronaut, the crew includes Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe, who plan science activities on behalf of organizations from the U.S., Canada, and Israel.

This Israeli startup’s sci-fi ‘headset’ will map brain changes in space on private AX-1 mission
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (4/1): Israeli startup Brain.Space’s headset will launch aboard Axiom Space’s AX-1 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) with four private astronauts. The headset will examine the human brain’s response to microgravity and cognitive performance during spaceflight. The experimental equipment is part of a larger set of experiments flying with AX-1 Israeli participant Eytan Stibbe.

Rogozin again calls for lifting sanctions to preserve ISS partnership (4/3): Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin resumed threats last week to withdraw Russia’s participation in the International Space Station (ISS) partnership if the U.S. and other partners do not lift sanctions imposed earlier this year because of Russia’s military intrusion into Ukraine. NASA, though, continues to say that the partnership, which is composed of the European, Japanese, and Canadian space agencies as well as Roscosmos and NASA, are making progress on a plan to extend operations from 2024 to 2030. Rogozin’s public comments have been communicated using the Twitter social media platform. Initially, he set March 31 as the deadline for a lifting of the sanctions. His date then slipped to Saturday, when he re-asserted his intention to soon make recommendations to Russian leadership about the ISS’s future.


Other News

Lockheed Martin releases open-source satellite interface for on-orbit docking
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (4/4): Lockheed Martin on April 4 released the technical specifications of a docking adapter that could be used by manufacturers to make satellites interoperable and easier to update on orbit with new technology. The technical data for the Mission Augmentation Port (MAP) can be used by designers to develop their own docking adapters, said the company.

A solar power station in space? Here’s how it would work and the benefits it could bring (4/3): U.K. governance is looking to new technologies to help make it possible to establish a space-based solar power station. The large solar panel generation system could gather sunlight constantly for transmission to Earth using high frequency radio waves. A ground antenna called a rectenna would convert the waves to electricity that could be delivered to a power grid for distribution to customers. There are challenges including the large size of the orbiting power stations, their vulnerability to space debris, and the cost of launching and assembling the components.

Why landing a spaceship on the Moon is still so challenging (4/2): As NASA moves closer to resuming human exploration of the Moon after a more than 50-year break, all must realize the challenge of the venture has not disappeared. There’s no atmosphere to help slow a lander down as it approaches the surface nor keep lunar dust from layering everything. GPS? Not yet. The lunar south pole, the destination NASA and its partners have chosen as the site for a base, was not explored by the Apollo astronauts.

See Venus, Saturn and Mars shine close before sunrise this week (4/3): Early Tuesday, the planets Venus, Saturn, and Mars will be clustered in a triangle to the southeast in the pre-dawn skies of the U.S., or at about 5:50 a.m. EDT. Saturn then begins to move away from Mars in the early morning of the days that follow.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of April 3-9, 2022
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (4/3): The 37th Space Symposium, which convenes in Colorado Springs on Monday and runs through Thursday, will host a number of civil and national security space policy presentations. NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy is to address the symposium on Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. EDT. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who returned to Earth after a U.S. record-setting 355-day spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 30 is to participate in a virtual news conference on Wednesday that will be broadcast on NASA-TV and streamed on starting at 10 a.m. EDT.

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