Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 10th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Watch and hear NASA’s Ingenuity copter zip around Mars. OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s first ever asteroid sample return mission, is set to begin a two-year journey back to Earth on Monday.


Human Space Exploration

NASA increases prices for ISS private astronaut missions
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (5/8): NASA is substantially increasing the cost of private astronaut missions to the International Space Station (ISS) to bring them in line with actual costs. The change will not impact the only mission in line so far, Axiom Space’s AX-I, which is to launch four people to the ISS in early 2022.


Space Science

Watch and hear NASA’s Ingenuity copter zip around on Mars
The Verge (5/7): On Friday, NASA released recorded audio, as well as video, of the Ingenuity helicopter as it flew for a fourth time on the Martian surface at Jezero Crater on April 30.

NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands at new airfield after 5th flight (5/8): NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter took flight for a fifth time on Mars last Friday. Unlike previous test flights, Ingenuity traveled 423 feet at an altitude of 16 1/2 feet, rose twice as high for a photo shoot, then settled to the surface rather than returning to its take off point close to NASA’s Perseverance rover. The initial four test flight tests went so well that Ingenuity has now become an exploration scout for Perseverance, which is to collect and cache samples of Martian rock for return to Earth.

Surprise meteor shower! ‘Finlay-id’ ‘shooting stars’ will appear for the first time in 2021 (5/10): A never-before-seen meteor shower will sprinkle tiny pieces of comet dust above Earth’s southernmost regions for a brief time later this year. Predictions indicate that the Finlay-ids may begin around the end of September and peak on October 7.


Other News

Mission Extension Vehicles succeed as Northrop Grumman works on future servicing/debris clean-up craft
Coalition Members in the News – Airbus, Maxar, Northrop Grumman (5/7): Northrop Grumman is using lessons learned from its Mission Extension Vehicle 1 and 2 (MEV-1, MEV-2) missions for satellite servicing in geosynchronous orbit to develop a third generation of the spacecraft. The new generation will have refueling capabilities and be equipped with robot arms potentially capable of making internal and external repairs including removing and installing solar arrays to extend the operational lives of customer satellites.

NASA criticizes China’s handling of rocket re-entry as debris lands near Maldives
CNN (5/8): NASA Administrator Bill Nelson issued a critical statement of China on Sunday, following the uncontrolled deorbit of the Long March 5B rocket first stage into the Indian Ocean late Saturday. “Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” said Nelson.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of May 9-15, 2021
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, Northrop Grumman (5/9): On Monday, OSIRIS-Rex (O-Rex), NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, begins its journey back to Earth from the asteroid Bennu. Join NASA-TV or, at 4 p.m., EDT, for the latest on the return maneuver. The journey back is to lead to the drop off of a sample return capsule onto the U.S. Army Test and Training Range in Utah on September 24, 2023. On Tuesday, NASA will join Northrop Grumman for a discussion on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is undergoing preparations for an October 31 launch. The U.S. House and Senate are in session.

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