Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 6th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra…  NASA is targeting the final test in the Space Launch System (SLS) Green Run campaign, the hot fire, for as early as January 17.  Watch the Cygnus spacecraft depart the International Space Station (ISS); live coverage begins at 9:45 a.m. ET on NASA TV.


Human Space Exploration

NASA sets January 17 for SLS hot fire
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance (1/5): NASA announced yesterday it is targeting as early as January 17 for an eight minute, full duration ground test firing of the SLS core stage’s four RS-25 engines. The hot fire test is the eighth and last step in the Green Run campaign. After this final test, the core stage will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, where it will be mated to the other elements of the SLS and to the Orion spacecraft. The first integrated flight of SLS and Orion is planned for November 2021.

GAO: NASA needs to improve Artemis management as new schedule delays likely
Parabolicarc (1/4): In a December report, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) urges NASA to strengthen its management oversight of the Artemis initiative for returning humans to the surface of the Moon in 2024. The auditors expressed concern that NASA scheduling, which includes an uncrewed test flight of SLS and Orion, Artemis I, planned for November 2021, does not account for workplace issues related to the coronavirus. The GAO report largely focuses on planned upgrades to SLS and Orion after the Artemis I mission.


Space Science

New photos reveal massive canyon on Mars, the largest in the solar system, NASA says
USA Today (1/5): New images gathered by the HiRISE imager aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reveal the massive and dramatic nature of the red planet’s 2,500 mile long, seven mile deep Valles Marineris canyon. How the feature formed is still unclear. Launched in August 2005, the MRO reached Mars in March 2006.


Other News

How to watch Cygnus spacecraft depart International Space Station on Wednesday
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (1/3): NASA is broadcasting ( the departure today of Northrop Grumman’s 14th Cygnus capsule, named after the late NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla, from the International Space Station (ISS). Today’s unberthing marks the start of a three-week free flight for the capsule. During its extended mission, the capsule will support a NASA fire in space investigation and a Northrop Grumman technology development effort to upgrade Ka band communications technologies. Live NASA coverage begins at 9:45 a.m. ET.

NASA Plum Brook test facility renamed for astronaut Neil Armstrong (1/5): NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio is a test facility overseen by the Glenn Research Center, which is named for John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth as a Mercury astronaut and a four-term U.S. senator representing his native Ohio. Now Plum Brook has been renamed in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon and also an Ohio native. The name change was signed into law on December 30.

Lockheed Martin gets $4.9 billion contract to build three missile-warning satellites for U.S. Space Force
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman (1/4): The contract awarded by the U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center covers the assembly and delivery of satellites to geosynchronous orbits by May 2028 and perhaps as soon as 2025. The new Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites will succeed existing Space Based Infrared System satellites, also made by Lockheed Martin.

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