Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 19th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… South Korea is in negotiations with the United States to join NASA’s Artemis program. A ULA Atlas V rocket successfully launches a Space Based Infrared System and two rideshare cubesats.


Human Space Exploration

South Korea to join NASA’s Artemis project (5/18): A news report from South Korea suggests the country is close to formally joining with NASA under the Artemis Accords to support the human exploration of deep space. The agreement appears to be coming together before President Biden meets with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, later this week.

Discovery adventure TV show to launch winning contestant to the Space Station
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space
CNBC (5/18): Discovery announced a competitive adventure TV show called “Who Wants To Be An Astronaut?” that will launch the winning contestant to the International Space Station (ISS). The eight-part series is scheduled for 2022, with the winner expected to get a seat on Axiom Space’s AX-2 mission. Discovery’s TV show is open to the public, with an online application asking for a video and answers to a number of questions.


Space Science

NASA to delay next New Frontiers competition (5/18): NASA has opted to delay from October 2021 a call for proposals for the next New Frontiers planetary science mission until late 2023. The final version of the call for proposals however will not be issued until October 2024. The change provides budgetary security for NASA’s Dragonfly mission, a plan to launch a rotorcraft explorer to Saturn’s moon Titan.

Scientists ponder how to get samples from Saturn’s weird moon Titan (5/18): At NASA’s Glenn Research Center an engineering team is taking an initial look at a sample return mission to Saturn’s large moon Titan, a destination believed to be rich in organics. Titan’s liquid methane, an organic substance, could be a resource for the propellant needed to launch surface samples back to Earth. Currently, NASA is working on Dragonfly, a mission to launch to Titan in 2027 with a helicopter engineered to fly in the moon’s thick nitrogen atmosphere.

One of NASA’s Solar Orbiter tools caught its first video of a coronal mass ejection
The Verge (5/18): The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA’s Solar Orbiter caught sight of its first coronal mass ejection (CME), though the spacecraft’s main mission doesn’t kick off until November. When the mission was being planned, the team wasn’t expecting to be able to record any data this early. CME’s are bursts of plasma that send geomagnetic shockwaves across the solar system. The big ones that cross paths with Earth can wreak havoc on satellites in space, potentially disrupting radio transmissions or knocking power grids offline. Solar Orbiter’s main mission is to study the Sun up-close, helping scientists understand the causes of solar wind and how it affects Earth.


Other News

ULA launches U.S. Space Force missile-warning satellite, two rideshare cubesats
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance (5/18): A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) military reconnaissance satellite and two small payloads lifted off May 18 at 1:37 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. SBIRS GEO satellites are made by Lockheed Martin. The Atlas V for this mission had a four-meter in diameter fairing, and two side-mounted solid rocket boosters. The Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 C-1-1 engine.

Private sector seeks bigger role in NASA Earth Science program (5/19): During a U.S. House hearing yesterday, companies and organizations advocated for a larger role of non-government capabilities in supplementing NASA Earth science objectives, such as monitoring climate change. Witnesses advocated for changes in procurement strategies for commercial capabilities and for Congress to put into statute the Commercial SmallSat Data Acquisition Program through which NASA purchases imagery and other data from commercial spacecraft. A witness from NASA said she supports greater partnerships with commercial providers.

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