Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 2nd, 2022

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Axiom Space astronaut talks about his experience in space. Veterans of mission control honored with new monuments. NASA and Boeing host a virtual news briefing tomorrow on the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) for the CST-100 Starliner.


Human Space Exploration

Private astronaut just back from Space Station describes interactions with Russian cosmonauts
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (4/29): In an interview, Ohio businessman and Axiom Space-1 (Ax-1) private astronaut Larry Connor praised the International Space Station’s (ISS) U.S., Russian, and European crew for their cooperation in making the 15-day, four person, private astronaut mission during April a success. The visitors accomplished a rigorous research agenda, while sharing meals with their hosts and a toilet. “I’m happy to be back on Earth,” Connor said. “But it was an extraordinary mission.”


Space Science

Strange Mars rock type points to extremely violent volcanic eruptions (5/1): An Arizona State University research effort has found volcanic similarities between two rocks examined on Mars by NASA’s Perseverance rover at Jezero Crater and Spirit rover at Gusev crater. The textures of the two rocks also appear to match a volcanic rock found on the Earth, ignimbrite, which is created from the ash, pumice, and pyroclastic flows of powerful volcanic eruptions. In order to verify the apparent similarities, the researchers are eager for the return of Perseverance-gathered rock samples to Earth for laboratory analysis. The ASU study will be published in the journal Icarus.


Other News

Kelly plays down Russian ASAT threat (5/2): At a panel discussion on April 30, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), former NASA astronaut and chair of the emerging threats subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he did not consider Anti-Satellite, or ASAT, tests a threat to satellites in the near term, even during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “They did an antisatellite test recently, but that test was just very well-choreographed and produced to get a certain outcome,” he said, referencing Russia’s November 2021 ASAT test that destroyed the Cosmos 1408 satellite. The panel took place amid renewed claims that Russia was planning to leave the International Space Station (ISS). An April 30th Bloomberg article, citing Russian state media, stated that Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, had said Russia had made a decision about its future on the ISS but would not publicly disclose it. However, one Russian-language article from the TASS news service, which reported on Rogozin’s comments, said Rogozin stated that Russia would continue to participate on the ISS until at least 2024.

NASA dedicates new benches of honor to veterans of Mission Control (4/28): In a tribute to the women and men of NASA’s Mission Control who’ve watched over NASA missions from Gemini through the space shuttle, members of the Manned Spaceflight Operations Association donated three black granite benches to the walkway outside the Christopher C. Kraft Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston last Thursday. The benches join a 2019 restoration of one Mission Control facility to match its appearance during the Apollo era. “I would like those who come to sit here to think about how we got people to the Moon. We did it, and it can be done, but what’s the plan to get back?” said Gerry Griffin, an Apollo-era NASA flight director who was present for the tribute. “And then they’ll want to know more about Artemis.” The walkway tribute leaves room for a future bench commemorating those in Mission Control who are in a third decade of supporting the International Space Station (ISS).

First Dream Chaser vehicle takes shape
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (4/29): Tenacity is Sierra Space’s first winged Dream Chaser, a reusable spacecraft. Sierra Space is under contract with NASA to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) using the spacecraft. The Dream Chaser is also to conduct passenger launches and national security missions. The first version has completed structural testing and is moving into final integration, and will soon undergo thermal vacuum testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio. The crewed version could launch as soon as 2026.

Chang Zheng 11 sea-launches five Earth observation satellites (4/30): The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp’s CZ-11 solid fueled, small satellite launch vehicle, placed five Earth observation satellites into sun synchronous orbits from an offshore launch platform on Saturday.

The brightest planets in May’s night sky: How and when to see them (5/1): The darkened morning sky in May will provide opportunities to view Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and a faint Mars. Distant Neptune may also be observed with binoculars or a telescope on May 18. In the evening sky, small Mercury will be visible just after sunset when looking to the northwest.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of May 1-7, 2022
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (5/1): NASA’s Crew-3 mission astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Matthias Maurer are preparing for their return to Earth this week, ending an expedition aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that began with a November 10 liftoff. The Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee will host a hearing on NASA’s 2023 budget request on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Also on Tuesday at 11 a.m. EDT, NASA and Boeing will host a virtual news briefing on the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) for the CST-100 Starliner, which is planned for launch on May 19. The briefing will air on NASA Advisory Council’s Science Committee hosts a two-day session beginning Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. EDT. NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana will provide a keynote address at the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium meeting in Laurel, Maryland, planned for Wednesday at 11 a.m. EDT. That’s to be followed at 12 p.m. EDT by remarks from NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy at the Science Objectives for Human Exploration of Mars workshop in Denver, Colorado. While the U.S. Senate is in session this week, the House is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

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