Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 23rd, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA and Roscosmos took action Tuesday evening to maneuver the International Space Station (ISS) away from a piece of orbital debris. NASA and the U.S. Space Force sign MOU for future collaboration. Russia says it intends to be the first to produce a feature film in space.


Human Space Exploration

‘Unknown’ space debris almost flew within 1 mile of the International Space Station. As junk builds up in orbit, the danger of collisions is growingBusiness Insider (9/22): Late Tuesday afternoon, International Space Station (ISS) commander Chris Cassidy and his crew mates interrupted their work schedule as NASA and Russian ground controllers commanded a maneuver of the orbiting science laboratory to avoid a possible impact with an unidentified piece of space debris. The debris passed within 1.4 kilometers, or 4,600 feet at 6:21 p.m., EDT.

The elusive peril of space junkCoalition Members in the News – Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Nanoracks
New Yorker (9/21): As yesterday’s event demonstrated, space debris is an ongoing problem.  Several agencies and companies are now trying to address the danger to orbital facilities such as the International Space Station (ISS) as well as to future launches and missions in low Earth orbit. 

Blue Origin’s next new Shepard launch will test key technologies with NASA for returning to the Moon
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Satellite Evolution (9/22): Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-13) is currently targeting liftoff for Thursday, September 24, at 10:00 a.m. CDT / 11:00 a.m. EDT. Current weather conditions are favorable. This will be the 13th New Shepard mission and the 7th consecutive flight for this particular vehicle (a record), demonstrating its operational reusability.


Space Science

School bus-size asteroid to safely zoom past Earth
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (9/22): The Near Earth Object 2020 SW was discovered just days ago. About the size of a school bus, the asteroid is on a course to pass 13,000 miles from the Earth on Thursday. On average, one to two objects of similar size plunge into the Earth’s atmosphere each year, producing a fireball.

If dark matter is a particle, it should get inside red giant stars and change the way they behaveUniverse Today (9/22): Though we can’t see it, the mass of dark matter makes up a significant portion of the universe, maybe 80 percent, according to estimates. Recent research suggests that red giant stars may hold some clues as to what dark matter is and where it originated.



Space had not been a sanctuary for decadesWar on the Rocks (9/16): In the Cold War, space became a sanctuary, a place where the U.S. and the former Soviet Union could ultimately look to put their significant differences aside. That appears to have begun to change with a 2007 incident in which China elected to test an anti-satellite weapon that smashed a satellite of its own into thousands of debris fragments. Space, it seems, was no longer a sanctuary.


Other News

NASA, Space Force sign MOU for future collaboration (9/22): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Space Force Chief of Space Operations (CSO) Gen. Jay Raymond joined Tuesday to unveil a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines some common interests shared by the two organizations, among them planetary defense and protecting safe and productive activities throughout cis-lunar space from harm.

Blue Origin considers entering commercial space station businessCoalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, Nanoracks (9/22): Blue Origin disclosed Tuesday that it plans to develop commercial low Earth orbit space stations. The company’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has long envisioned space as a place where thousands will one day live, work and prosper.

Russia wants to be the first to shoot a movie in (9/22): Russia’s space agency Roscosmos declared Tuesday that it intends to become the first to produce a movie made in space. The plot would feature a Soyuz crew mission to the International Space Station (ISS) planned for launch in the autumn of 2021. Earlier this year, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that Hollywood was preparing to shoot a space movie at the Space Station featuring actor Tom Cruise.

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