Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 7th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Hull thrusters will fly on a deep space mission for the first time. Congress plans to move ahead with FY2022 appropriations bills regardless of when White House sends budget request.


Space Science

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity snaps 1st color photo on Red Planet (4/6): Waiting to take flight, potentially on Sunday, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has transmitted its first color image of Jezero Crater back to Earth. The image shows the crater and a portion of two wheels of the Perseverance rover. Ingenuity, which rode along Perseverance, is poised to become the first aircraft to take flight in the atmosphere of another planet. While the chopper doesn’t carry any science instruments, it will capture imagery during its flights.

NASA’s most metal mission will test new, higher-power electric thrusters
Coalition Member in the News – Maxar
Ars Technica (4/6): Hull thrusters use a simpler design than ion thrusters and are used in communications satellites in geostationary orbit. For the first time, Hull thrusters will be used in deep space by the mission to visit Psyche, a metal-rich asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter. Recently, Maxar delivered the Psyche spacecraft’s chassis to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The mission is set to launch in 2022.

Hubble telescope reveals a gorgeous, detailed new view of the Veil Nebula (4/7): A stunning photo of the Veil Nebula was snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope and it shows more details than ever before. New processing techniques were used to highlight delicate thread and filaments of ionized gas. The Veil Nebula is part of the Cygnus Loop, a remnant of a supernova created about 10,000 years ago by the death of a star 20 times the mass of our sun.

The James Webb Space Telescope’s first year of extraordinary science has been revealed
Scientific American (4/7): On March 30, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore revealed the proposals selected for the General Observer (GO) programs for the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) first year of operation, or Cycle 1. They constitute most of the observations JWST will perform during Cycle 1, encompassing everything from looking for atmospheres on nearby exoplanets to probing the universe’s earliest galaxies.


Other News

Brown: Congress will move FY 2022 appropriations bills regardless of when Biden sends request (4/6): U.S. Rep. Arthur Brown, whose district includes NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, predicted that Congress will move ahead with an appropriations process starting in June, whether or not the Biden Administration has presented lawmakers with a fiscal year 2022 budget request for discretionary spending. Brown, who spoke Tuesday before the Maryland Space Business Roundtable, anticipates continued bipartisan support for Moon and Mars exploration.

Guangzhou moves to establish Chinese commercial space cluster (4/6): Guangzhou is developing a major space cluster in the city by hosting new projects such as the new headquarters for the space business of Geely Technology Group, an automaker that owns Volvo Cars. Geely is developing a low Earth orbit constellation for navigation, connectivity, and communications needed for self-driving cars. The group recently gained approval to begin manufacturing satellites.

Satellite operators weigh strategies to compete against growing Starlink network (4/6): With the prospect of multiple constellations of low Earth orbit communications and internet connectivity satellites on the horizon, traditional satellite services providers are pondering how to remain competitive. SpaceX and its growing Starlink constellation seem to be front and center over the debate.

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