Today’s Deep Space Extra

July 7th, 2020

Listen Now to The Deep Space Podcast!
The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration is excited to announce the debut of our new podcast series, The Deep Space Podcast. This series focuses on topics and issues impacting space exploration and space science over the next 50 years, examining where we’ve come from, where we are now, and what we have to look forward to. This podcast will feature guests inside the industry and government, who will share ideas, viewpoints and provocative insights on how we can explore further together.

Today, we’ve debuted the series with two episodes of our Entrepreneurs in Space series featuring John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic and Andrew Rush, President of Made in Space. We are excited to share this new platform with you. Click here to listen to the podcast and learn more!


In Today’s Deep Space Extra… July looks to be potentially historic for Mars exploration, as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and NASA ready an assortment of orbiter, lander and rover missions for launch to Mars. NASA’s Perseverance Mars 2020 rover is slated to lift off July 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), ground teams are preparing to assemble a second Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) to support Space Launch System (SLS)/Orion missions with astronauts to the Moon and Mars.

Human Space Exploration

Second SLS Mobile Launcher preps for construction as hardware arrives at KSC (7/6): At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, preparations are underway to assemble a second Mobile Launch Platform for the launch of the Space Launch System and Orion crew capsule on Artemis missions to the Moon and other deep space destinations. ML-2 is intended to accommodate the SLS with a more powerful second stage, the Exploration Upper Stage. ML-1 is currently assigned to the first SLS launch with an uncrewed Orion capsule, the Artemis 1 test flight to the Moon, planned for late 2021.

Space Science

The 1st-ever Mars helicopter will start flying next year. Here’s how. (7/6): In addition to its ambitious primary mission to gather and cache samples of rock and soil for return to Earth in the future, NASA’s Perseverance Mars 2020 rover will carry with it a small helicopter, a first, when it launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, later this month. After landing in Jezero Crater on Mars in February 2021, Perseverance will prepare the flier named Ingenuity for test flights in the thin Martian atmosphere. Someday, human explorers might benefit from a helicopter scout.

The UAE’s first Mars mission is a robo-meteorologist (7/6): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) first planetary mission, Hope, is expected to launch to Mars next week from Japan. An orbiter, Hope was developed to orbit the red planet for studies of the Martian atmosphere and weather.  Deputy Project Manager and Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah Bint Yousif Al-Amiri knows how to build spacecraft, but she has never launched one to Mars – nor launched one in the midst of a global pandemic. 

China’s Mars Rover launches in late July
Universe Today (7/6):  China’s upcoming first Mars mission, an orbiter, lander and rover, appears headed for launch between July 20 and 25, according to the Xichang Launch Center, and in the lander and rover’s case, reach the surface of the red planet in February. The rover is designed for a 90-day exploration period. Equipped with ground penetrating radar, the rover will study the Martian subsurface and look for evidence of past life.

Mars month dawns: Remembering America’s ongoing work at the Red Planet (part 3) (7/7):  NASA’s Perseverance Mars 2020 rover is among a handful of U.S., Chinese and United Arab Emirates (UAE) missions expected to launch to Mars in July. NASA currently has five missions orbiting, roving and standing on the red planet, the oldest of them being the Mars Odyssey orbiter, launched in 2001, to image the surface.

Other News

It’s (small) rocket science, after all
The Space Review (7/6): Sunday’s Rocket Lab launch failure from New Zealand may serve as a reminder that establishing new space launch services, including the current drive to serve small satellite markets, is a technical challenge that will require some trial and error over time to address.

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