Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 4th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… As 2020 came to a close, the White House issued a new strategy for planetary protection. And take a look at the space missions set to take place this year.


Human Space Exploration

Roscosmos head reveals likely cause of crack in ISS hull
TASS of Russia (1/1): The crack discovered and patched last October in the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) might have been caused by a micrometeorite impact, Dimitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s Space Agency, said in an interview. (Editor’s note: TASS is a Russian state-owned news agency.)

China to launch core module of space station in first half of 2021
Xinhuanet of China (12/25): China on Christmas Day reaffirmed plans to launch the core module of its space station in the first half of 2021. Assembly complete is planned for 2022. (Editor’s Note: Xinhuanet is the official state-run press agency of the Chinese government.)

NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne plan busy RS-25 test schedule for 2021
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell (12/31): Hot-fire tests of new RS-25 engine components will resume in 2021 to certify a new manufacturing process during production.


Space Science

White House releases planetary protection strategy (12/30): The White House released a national strategy for planetary protection last week outlining new assessments to prevent terrestrial contamination of other worlds and vice versa. The strategy is designed to implement a portion of the updated National Space Policy, released December 9, that calls for the development of new planetary protection guidelines.


Other News

Space In 2021: These are the most exciting stories to look out for next year
Coalition Members in the News – Astrobotic, Boeing, United Launch Alliance (12/29): Major space events for 2021 include the arrival at Mars of U.S., China, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) missions. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is being prepped for a late October launch. Boeing plans test flights of the CST-100 Starliner to qualify the spacecraft for the regular transportation of astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA’s Artemis I test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule on a multi-week, uncrewed test flight around the Moon and back to Earth is planned by year’s end. Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines plan the launch of NASA-contracted lunar lander missions with science and technology payloads.

Partnership to help diversify NASA (VIDEO)
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
Bloomberg (12/23): A partnership between Boeing and Southern University and A&M College, a historically Black university, aims to bring diversity to NASA and the space sector. (Video)

2021: Florida’s rapid rocket launch cadence is likely here to stay
Coalition Members in the News – Astrobotic, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance
Florida Today (1/1): The Sunshine State’s Space Coast broke a 54-year record in 2020 with 30 successful orbital launches, two with astronauts onboard bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on commercial rockets for the first time. The new year looks promising to break the latest record.

Pace steps down from National Space Council (1/4): Scott Pace announced last week he was resigning as executive secretary of the National Space Council. The council’s future in coordinating space policy remains uncertain as a new Administration establishes its own space strategy.

President signs law protecting lunar heritage sites (1/1): Among legislation signed into law by President Trump on New Year’s Eve was a measure intended to protect sites of historical value on the surface of the Moon, such as the Apollo 11 landing site.

Voyager Space Holdings to acquire majority stake in commercial space leader Nanoracks
Coalition Member in the News – Nanoracks
Techcrunch (12/23): Voyager Space Holdings is acquiring a majority stake in X.O. Markets, the parent company of Nanoracks. Nanoracks has provided commercial space services for years now, and most recently provided the Bishop Airlock that was installed on the International Space Station (ISS).


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for January 3-9, 2021
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (1/3): A new Congress, the 117th, was seated in Washington on Sunday with a leadership and makeup that will influence space policy moving ahead. Northrop Grumman’s 14th NASA contracted Cygnus resupply capsule is scheduled to depart the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday. During post-ISS orbital operations, the uncrewed capsule will host the latest round of NASA studies of how fires ignite and spread in space and how best to prevent them aboard future spacecraft. 

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