Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 5th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Ingenuity closer to its first attempt at flying on Mars after being deployed onto the Martian surface by Perseverance. The White House might release the discretionary portion of its 2022 budget proposal, which includes NASA, this week.


Human Space Exploration

Dragon Resilience performs port relocation to clear way for future vehicles
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (4/5): In a first for NASA’s Commercial Crew program, the SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon Resilience was relocated to a new docking port on the International Space Station (ISS) to make way for future crew and cargo vehicles. The spacecraft’s relocation began at 6:30 a.m. EDT today. The immediate purpose was to clear the PMA-2/IDA-2 port for the arrival of the Crew-2 Dragon Endeavour capsule, which is set to launch on April 22. This will be followed on April 28 by the return to Earth of the Dragon Resilience, which will vacate the PMA-3/IDA-3 port clearing the way for the docking of the CRS-22 Cargo Dragon in June, the ultimate purpose of Resilience’s relocation.

More potential air leak locations found at International Space Station, source says
Sputnik News of Russia (4/3): Cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) continue to seek out and patch small air leaks in the orbiting lab’s Zvezda service module. Three were patched on Friday and Saturday. Russia says the leaks, first detected in September 2019, are small and pose no threat to the cosmonauts. (Editor’s note: Sputnik News of Russia is a Russian state-owned news source).


Space Science

Mars rover deploys Ingenuity helicopter for historic flight
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance (4/4): On Saturday, NASA’s Perseverance rover placed the Ingenuity helicopter on the Martian surface. Soon, Ingenuity will attempt the first flight of a powered vehicle on another planet. A series of test flights could determine whether drones could act as flying scouts on future missions of human exploration.

What’s up with this weird green rock on Mars? The Perseverance rover is trying to find out (4/2): While the Ingenuity helicopter has grabbed the world’s attention, the recent discovery by the Perseverance rover of a greenish rock also has the interest of mission scientists. They expect to unravel its composition using the rover’s rock zapping, SuperCam laser.


It’s time to declare space systems as critical infrastructure
POLITICO (4/2): The federal government has designated 16 sectors, including financial services, energy, agriculture and the defense industrial base, as “critical infrastructure.” The designation means that incapacitation of such sectors would have a damaging effect on security, the economy, and public health or safety. In a new opinion piece, Edward Swallow, senior vice president for civil systems at the Aerospace Corporation, and Samuel Visner, a technical fellow and former director of national cybersecurity at the MITRE Corporation argue that “designating space systems as critical infrastructure would galvanize the policy and stakeholder attention and resources needed to secure these systems.”


Other News

Russia continues discussions with China on lunar exploration cooperation (4/4): The Russian space agency Roscosmos anticipates additional negotiations with China in June to build on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on lunar exploration announced in February. The agreement announced the intent of China and Russia to develop an “International Lunar Research Station,” but the countries have provided little detail about the facility or how it will be developed. The details of the MoU are still being worked out, according to a Roscosmos official.

Russia backs extending space cooperation deal with U.S. to 2030 – agencies
Reuters (4/3): Meanwhile, on Saturday, Russia’s government approved an extension for cooperating in space with the U.S. through 2030, stating, “The agreement… on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes will be in place until December 31, 2030.” At the same time, the Biden Administration is exploring possible sanctions against Russia for meddling in U.S. politics.

Opposition grows to putting Space Command HQ in Alabama
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
The Huntsville Times of Alabama (4/2): Senators from four states, California, New Mexico, Nebraska and Colorado have joined to question the Pentagon’s decision in January to locate the headquarters for the Space Command in Huntsville, Alabama, rather than its startup site in Colorado. Some believe the decision was politically motivated.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of April 4-10, 2021 (4/4): Possibly, the Biden Administration will release the discretionary portion of its 2022 budget proposal this week, which includes NASA’s spending plan, this week. The International Academy of Astronautics convenes in Moscow on Monday through Wednesday. On Tuesday, NASA will host a virtual viewing on NASA TV of an Orion spacecraft drop test beginning at 1:45 p.m. EDT. On Friday, Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 is to launch and dock with two cosmonauts and NASA’s Mark Vande Hei, the first members of the orbiting lab’s Expedition 65 crew of U.S. European, Japanese and Russian crew members. Meanwhile, in Washington the U.S. House and Senate are in recess, with the exception of pro forma sessions.

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