Today’s Deep Space Extra

March 5th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Activities ramp up to increase the lift capabilities of the Space Launch System with the Exploration Upper Stage. President Biden offered NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory special praise for its success in reaching Mars with the Perseverance rover.


Human Space Exploration

NASA, Boeing looking to begin SLS Exploration Upper Stage manufacturing in 2021
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, United Launch Alliance (3/4): At NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, Boeing and NASA are initiating work on the Exploration Upper Stage, a high performance addition to the Space Launch System (SLS) to enable the launch of heavier payloads for deep space exploration. The start of assembly of an Exploration Upper Stage test article this year will be followed by a ground test phase planned for 2023.

Mining water and metal from the Moon at the same time
Universe Today (3/4): Working with the University of Texas at El Paso, NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts is assessing mining strategies that would enable the retrieval of not only water ice from the Moon, but also the extra materials that might be picked up as part of the water mining process. The approach is called ablative arc mining.


Space Science

President Biden congratulates NASA Mars Perseverance landing team
CSPAN (3/4): In a call to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Thursday, President Joe Biden heaped praise on the employees for their efforts to bring the Perseverance rover to a safe landing on the Red Planet at Jezero Crater on February 18. Followed across the globe, their efforts have “restored a dose of confidence in the American people,” the president told them.

Northrop Grumman to build propulsion system for Mars Ascent Vehicle
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
New Atlas (3/4): As NASA’s Perseverance rover begins its mission, the agency has awarded the Mars Ascent Propulsion System (MAPS) contract to Northrop Grumman to provide propulsion support for the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. A collaboration between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) the mission will bring back to Earth samples collected by Perseverance for further study.

Newfound exoplanet could be ‘Rosetta Stone’ for studies of alien atmospheres (3/4): Gliese 486 b, a recently discovered exoplanet, orbits a dim red dwarf star 26 light-years from Earth. The planet is about 1.3 times larger and 2.8 times more massive than the Earth, according to observations using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and ground based observatories. Studies suggest Gliese 486 b has a density and a composition comparable to the Earth’s.


Other News

NASA hikes prices for commercial ISS users
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, Nanoracks (3/4): NASA on February 24 introduced cost increases in cargo and other resources being made available to commercial users of the International Space Station (ISS). The cost of transporting one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of payload, for instance, has risen from $3,000 to $20,000. NASA said in a statement that the decision to higher the prices was based on “discussions with stakeholders, the current market growth, and in anticipation of future commercial entities capable of providing similar services.”

New name and busy launch year ahead for Vandenberg Air Force Base
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
Noozhawk of California (3/4): The space launch cadence from California’s Pacific coast is forecast to accelerate in 2021 after an abnormally slow year in 2020 that featured just four. Also, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, will undergo a change in name to Vandenberg Space Force Base. The installation has a $2.6 billion economic impact on surrounding communities.

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