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Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 8th, 2022

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The first all-private astronaut mission to the International Space Station is set to launch at 11:17 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA’s livestream begins at 10:15 a.m. EDT on www.nasa.gov/nasalive.

 

Human Space Exploration

Historic Ax-1 mission primed for Friday launch, Saturday ISS docking
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space
AmericaSpace.com (4.7): Axiom Space’s Ax-1, first all private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), was cleared Thursday for launch. A liftoff planned for Friday at 11:17 a m. EDT will lead to a planned docking with the orbital science laboratory on Saturday at 6:45 a.m. EDT. The four Ax-1 private astronauts are prepared for eight days of research and technology aboard the ISS before their return to Earth to end a 10-day mission. Mike Lopez-Alegria, Axiom’s vice president for business development and a retired NASA astronaut, leads the Ax-1 crew, which includes American Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy, and Israeli Eytan Stibbe.

4 astronauts will help scientists learn how space travel affects the human body
NPR (4/8): Set to launch Friday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), the Ax-1 private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) includes an ambitious science agenda. The four fliers are participating in medical experiments intended to help researchers learn more about how spaceflight affects a wider range of humans than those selected to launch as professional astronauts. The diverse group of research sponsors include the Mayo and Cleveland clinics, the University of California, San Diego, and the Israeli Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Baylor College of Medicine, and MIT.

NASA IG criticizes NASA’s management of VIPER and multi-mission programs
Spacepolicyonline.com (4/7): NASA’s Inspector General (IG) released two reports this week that address management of the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), and how the agency manages big initiatives that have more than one component. The VIPER mission will be delivered to the surface of the Moon on a Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission to search for water on the Moon. While the IG found that the rover and the commercial lander appear to be on track to meet their November 2023 launch date, there is concern about the lack of transparency about cost. The other report expresses concern that NASA does not manage Artemis as a single program, and that different pieces of the initiative have their own cost estimate for different, limited periods of time.

 

Space Science

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter makes its 24th flight on Mars
Space.com (4/8): Ingenuity continued its journey towards the river delta this weekend with Flight 24. This flight took place Sunday, April 3, and the data arrived back later that evening. The flight was the fourth of five sorties Ingenuity will make to cross the “Séítah” region of Jezero Crater and arrive in the vicinity of its delta. This multiflight shortcut across Séítah is being done to keep ahead of the Perseverance rover, which is currently making great time on a lengthier route to the same area.

Asteroid the size of a house flies by Earth, creating ‘precious’ opportunity for scientists
CNN.com (4/7): An asteroid the size of a house flew within 79,000 miles of the Earth Tuesday evening. Considered small, 2022 GN1 was traveling at nearly 35,000 miles per hour and was reminiscent of the Chelyabinsk Meteor that entered the Earth’s atmosphere and detonated in the atmosphere near Chelyabinsk, Russia in February 2013. The blast unleashed enough acoustic energy to injure more than 1,000 people. Launched in November, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will test whether asteroids on a course to strike the Earth could be diverted with an impact.

 

Other News

‘The Flies’: NASA’s latest astronaut candidates gets their nickname
Collectspace.com (4/7): NASA’s latest class of astronaut candidates have chosen a name, The Flies. It’s a tradition. NASA selected its 23rd class of astronaut candidates, four women and six men, in December for two years of training. They reported in January. Past classes have chosen names such as The Sardines and The Turtles. The very first class, NASA’s Mercury astronauts, were designated “The Original Seven.”

Soyuz launches Russian intelligence satellite from Plesetsk
NASAspaceflight.com (4/7): Russia has launched a military signals intelligence satellite in orbit aboard a Soyuz 2/1b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

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