Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 9th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA astronaut, Russian cosmonauts launched to the International Space Station early Friday as celebrations of human spaceflight’s 60th anniversary ramp up.


Human Space Exploration

Soyuz MS-18 launch marks 60 years of human spaceflight (4/8): Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 launched early Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to deliver astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch came three days before the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight when he became the first human to reach space. Celebrations marked the occasion, as does the name given to the Soyuz spacecraft that launched earlier today, a rare event for the Russian space program which usually doesn’t give individual names to their rockets.

Yuri’s Night 2021: Celebrate human spaceflight’s 60th anniversary with Bill Nye, astronauts, OK Go and more (4/8): Monday, April 12 marks two major space anniversaries: 60 years since the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space and 40 years since the first space shuttle flight. Yuri’s Night, an annual event that celebrates human spaceflight, will also be celebrating its 20th anniversary with this year’s Global Livestream event. As it’s a virtual event, Yuri’s Night 2021 will be available for all around the world to attend online. You can watch the event live on and on YouTube and find more information about the event at the Yuri’s Night website.

We could live in caves on the Moon. What would that be like?
Coalition Member in the News – Purdue University
Popular Science (4/5): In a cave, astronauts would have built-in protection from some hazards such as constant bombardment by small meteoroids. In a lava tube, since there is a layer of rock that acts as a ceiling, there would be a shield from space rocks and ionizing space rays. A cave would also offer some protection from constant shifting of sunlight and shadows.


Space Science

Ingenuity first Mars flight: NASA teases date, time, and how to watch
Inverse (4/7): The Ingenuity helicopter is expected to fly on Mars on Sunday, April 11. NASA will hold a live stream on Monday, April 12 at 3:30 a.m. EDT to confirm whether the flight took off and it was a success. The agency will hold a press conference on Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Here’s the info on how to come along for Ingenuity’s ride.

Space-based solar power getting key test aboard U.S. military’s mysterious X-37B space plane
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Northrop Grumman (4/8): The latest mission of the U.S. Space Force’s X-37B uncrewed space plane surpassed 300 days in Earth orbit in mid-March. While the space plane’s mission is largely classified, one set of activities is known to be focused on how best to gather and beam solar energy from orbit, a U.S. Naval Laboratory research activity.


Other News

First White House budget proposal to preview Biden’s goals
Reuters (4/9): Known as a “skinny” budget, Biden’s proposal on Friday will provide only cursory figures on programs and departments where Congress has flexibility to decide what it wants to spend for the fiscal year starting in October. A full budget proposal is set to be announced later this spring. The discretionary budget figures that will be out today include agencies such as NASA.

U.S. intelligence report predicts heightened space competition between U.S. and China (4/8): By 2040, China will be the most significant rival on the space front for the U.S., according to an assessment released Thursday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The rivalry will stretch across commercial as well as civil and national security activities.

New ESA director general outlines priorities (4/8): The European Space Agency’s (ESA) new Director General Josef Aschbacher this week outlined the agency’s highest priorities that touch on strategic, commercial, and inspirational themes. A priority is improving relations with the European Union, which have become strained in recent years as the EU expands its space ambitions.

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