Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 7th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The Juno spacecraft will get a close look at Jupiter’s moon Ganymede today. The Senate is scheduled to vote on S.1260, or the “Endless Frontier Act,” which includes the 2021 NASA Authorization Act, on Tuesday.


Human Space Exploration

Roscosmos chief hopes NASA administrator visits Russia this year
TASS of Russia (6/5): Dmitry Rogozin, chief of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, is hopeful NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will make a personal visit to Russia before 2021 comes to a close. The visit, including a closeup look at Russia’s space industry, could help to strengthen ties between the two space powers, Rogozin said during remarks to the news media during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) over the weekend. Nelson and Rogozin held a call on Friday about continued cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in space. (Editor’s note: TASS is a Russian government-owned news source).

NASA’s new, $23 million space commode system is more than just a toilet
UPI (6/7): NASA’s new International Space Station (ISS) toilet was developed for improved comfort, better water recycling, and a greater reliability like that required for long-running missions to deep space destinations where obtaining replacement parts will be difficult. NASA considers the new technology, or Universal Waste Management System, to be a demonstration that will provide data to advance the recycling of waste in space.


Space Science

Mars Ascent Vehicle from Northrop Grumman takes shape for Mars Sample Return mission
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (6/4): Northrop Grumman is developing the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) that is planned to launch from the surface of the Red Planet with samples of material gathered by the Perseverance rover. The mission to deliver the ascent vehicle will take about three years, a challenge for ensuring the propellant that lifts the ascent vehicle with the samples for a return to Earth is well preserved. Northrop Grumman successfully provided similar capabilities for the previous Mars landers Spirit, Opportunity, and Pathfinder/Sojourner.

NASA’s Juno to make the closest visit to Jupiter’s biggest moon Ganymede in 20 years (6/6): NASA’s Juno mission spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since July 4, 2016, will make a close flyby of the Jovian moon Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, on Monday. The 1:35 p.m. EDT encounter will provide the closest look at Ganymede since NASA’s Galileo probe swept past in 2000. Ganymede is the only known moon to host a magnetic field.


Other news

Lockheed Martin gets $1 billion contract for operations of SBIRS ground systems
Coalition Members in the News – Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance (6/5): Lockheed Martin received a contract to operate and maintain the ground control systems of the U.S. military’s Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geostationary satellites, the U.S. Space Force announced last week. SBIRS is part of the Defense Department’s missile warning network. It includes a combination of two infrared sensors in highly elliptical orbit and five satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit. Lockheed Martin has been the SBIRS prime contractor since the mid-1990s. The fifth satellite launched May 18 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket.

Bezos to go on first crewed New Shepard flight (6/7): Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, announced June 7 that he will go on the first crewed flight of the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle next month. In an Instagram post, Bezos said that he and his brother Mark will go on the flight, which is scheduled for July 20 from West Texas.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of June 6-12, 2021 (6/6): The Senate will vote Tuesday on S.1260, that includes the NASA Authorization Act and the SPACE Act. Although amendments to the NASA section have been introduced, none has been adopted, so the text remains the same as when the bill was brought up for consideration by the full Senate. NASA’s Small Bodies Assessment Group meets Monday and Tuesday and it’s anticipated that Lindley Johnson, who heads NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, will present updates on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is set to launch later this year, and NEOcam, a future mission to search for asteroids that could pose an impact threat to the Earth.

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