Today’s Deep Space Extra

March 3rd, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… A growing interest in private spaceflight opportunities. March’s night sky shows Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.


Human Space Exploration
Earth orbit too tame? Here’s a chance to fly around the Moon
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (3/2): It was 2018 when Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed his plan to purchase a week-long SpaceX Starship voyage around the Moon in 2023 and open eight seats for the bold journey. On Tuesday, he opened the flight opportunity for proposals that must be submitted by March 14 for respondents to receive further instructions on how to apply. The venture is an indication of a growing interest in private spaceflight opportunities and not only to Earth orbit.


Space Science
A ‘space hurricane’ hovered above the North Pole for about 8 hours, study says
USA Today (3/2): A team of researchers unveiled the results of a study that highlights the first observation of a space hurricane in the Earth’s atmosphere, after analyzing a swirling mass of plasma spotted above the North Pole. The space hurricane was raining electrons instead of water. Events such as this one could be expected to lead important space weather effects and disruption to GPS systems, scientists found.



Once upon a time on Mars
New York Times (3/2): NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission may help to answer a long running question: Did life arise somewhere else than on Earth? Surface samples of Mars collected by Perseverance are set to be returned to Earth for study. While past generations carried out the great endeavor of launching spacecraft into the solar system, “it could be the destiny of this generation to carry out the next great reconnaissance, to discover if we have or ever had any neighbors on these worlds” says Dennis Overbye in a new article.


Other News

Space Development Agency experiment to fly on Northrop Grumman’s capsule to space station
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (3/1): Northrop Grumman’s next Cygnus cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled to launch in July, will carry a Space Development Agency payload to collect data for the development of missile-tracking sensors. The experiment is set to run throughout the three-month Cygnus resupply mission, starting shortly after the spacecraft docks with the ISS.

Falling foam insulation caused Chinese commercial rocket failure (3/2): iSpace, the new Chinese commercial space launch company, disclosed earlier this week that it was a foam insulation loss that was responsible for the failure of its Hyperbola-1 rocket on February 1. Though intended to fall away, the foam fragment fell and struck a first stage grid fin, triggering a change in vehicle attitude that led to the rocket’s breakup. A number of small satellites are believed to have been lost.



Night sky, March 2021: What you can see this month [maps] (3/1): Knowing when and where to look this month with guidance from’s Night Sky March 2021 can help amateur sky watchers pick out Mars, the minor planet Vesta, Saturn, Jupiter, and track the phases of the Moon, all made possible with binoculars or a small telescope, if not the naked eye.

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