Today’s Deep Space Extra

April 28th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The core stage for the first mission in NASA’s Artemis program has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center. The Ingenuity helicopter takes an unprecedented aerial picture of the Perseverance rover.


Human Space Exploration

NASA’s Artemis rocket core stage arrives at Kennedy Space Center
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (4/27): The Space Launch System’s (SLS) core stage was transported on the Pegasus Barge to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida after successfully completing the Green Run test series at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The Pegasus floated into Port Canaveral around noon yesterday. Immediate next steps include offloading the stage and transferring it to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The core stage that just arrived at KSC will fly on Artemis I, the first integrated mission of the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft.


Space Science

Mars helicopter Ingenuity spots Perseverance rover from the air (photo) (4/28): The Ingenuity helicopter managed to take a picture of the Perseverance rover from the air on April 25 during its third flight, providing an unprecedented view of a robotic explorer on the surface of another world. Ingenuity is a technology demonstration designed to show that aerial exploration is possible on Mars. In the future, air scouts could accompany robotic and crewed missions to the Red Planet.

China will be first country after America to leave solar system (4/27): China would like to join the U.S. in becoming the only space powers to launch space probes that make it to interstellar space. The country plans to send two probes to study the distant solar system by 2029. Both of the spacecraft will speed close to Jupiter and one close to Neptune on the journey outward. A launch in three years is anticipated. NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2, which are now in interstellar space, were launched in 1977.


Other News

NASA adds ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket to launch lineup for future missions
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance (4/27): NASA has added the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) new Vulcan Centaur rocket to its catalogue of launch vehicles for future missions. In order to be added to the catalogue, potential contractors must be able to successfully launch and deliver, at minimum, a 551-lb. (250 kilograms) payload into a 124 miles (200 kilometers) circular orbit at an inclination of 28.5 degrees. The Vulcan Centaur will succeed the Atlas V and members of the Delta rocket family.

Recruiting in trying times: How Lockheed Martin Space hired thousands (plus 700 interns) in a pandemic
Coalition Member in the News – Lockheed Martin (4/24): Lockheed Martin addressed human distancing concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic, while still managing to recruit and hire 2,700 staff and engage 700 interns over 2020. The company did so with a combination of establishing effective virtual recruitment, interviewing and training processes, leveraging strategic partnerships with universities and two-year colleges, and keeping a focus on diversity.

Intuitive Machines’ first lunar lander mission slips to 2022 (4/28): Intuitive Machines had planned to launch its Nova-C lander in the fourth quarter of this year. However, the mission has been delayed to 2022 by its launch provider SpaceX. A spokesperson for Intuitive Machines said SpaceX informed the company that due to unique mission requirements the earliest available flight opportunity is in the first quarter of 2022. Intuitive Machine’s lander is carrying several payloads for NASA through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, including a laser retroreflector, a stereo camera system, and an autonomous navigation experiment.

Russia to select actress for Soyuz mission in May (4/27): According to the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian actress who will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) on the upcoming Soyuz MS-19 mission will be announced on May 15. The actress’ flight will be connected to the filming of the movie “Vyzov” (“The Challenge”), announced last November. The film is a partnership between Roscosmos and the Moscow-based First Channel TV station.

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