Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 14th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The Space Launch System core stage has joined the rocket’s boosters on the mobile launcher at KSC. NASA seeks more private astronaut mission proposals. The Senate Appropriations CJS Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tuesday regarding NASA’s FY2022 budget request.

Human Space Exploration

SLS: First view of NASA’s assembled ‘megarocket’
BBC News (6/13): Engineers at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) have finished lowering the Space Launch System’s (SLS) core stage onto the mobile launcher, where it joined the rocket’s twin boosters. The core will then be mated with the Orion spacecraft and interim cryogenic propulsion stage ahead of its first test flight around the Moon, or Artemis I.

NASA is seeking proposals for a further two private astronaut missions to the International Space Station
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space
Business Insider (6/12): NASA announced it is seeking proposals for two commercial astronaut missions to the International Space Station (ISS) between the fall of 2022 and mid-2023 and mid-2023 and the end of 2023. The deadline for submitting proposals is July 9. Earlier this year, NASA and Axiom Space agreed to fly the first private astronauts to the ISS as early as January 2022.

Russia’s future space station may serve as hub for spacecraft launch into deep space
TASS of Russia (6/11): Russia’s plans for a space station that succeeds the ISS could include facilities for the assembly and maintenance of spacecraft as well as for launching missions to deep space destinations. The outlook was provided last week by Aleksandr Sergeyev, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences. (Editor’s note: TASS is a Russian government-owned news source).


Space Science

Europe picks categories for three flagship space missions
Science Magazine (6/11): The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to focus on missions to the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, studies of the atmospheres of nearby exoplanets, and the formation of the earliest stars and galaxies. The three broad space themes of future priorities were unveiled by ESA on Friday.

China making plans for future space exploration: official (6/12): China’s future plans for space exploration include the return of samples from Mars as well as missions to Jupiter, an asteroid, and the polar regions of the Moon, a spokesperson for the China National Space Administration (CNSA) disclosed on Saturday. A joint asteroid sample return and comet exploration mission is planned for 2025. The Mars sample return and Jupiter missions could be launched around 2030. (Editor’s note: Xinhuanet is a Chinese state-owned news source).


Other News

Pegasus rocket successful in responsive launch demonstration
Coalition Members in the News – Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance (6/13): The Pegasus XL rocket and its TacRL-2 military space surveillance satellite were dropped from an L-1011 carrier jet for launch over the Pacific Ocean early Sunday. The mission’s objective was to demonstrate how the military can develop and launch satellites on faster timescales. The carrier jet took flight with the Pegasus rocket and an Odyssey satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

Seat on Bezos-backed space flight sells for $28 million at auction
The Hill (6/12): As the planned July 20 launch of the first Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital rocket with passengers aboard nears, the company has publicly auctioned off a seat for $28 million. Yet to be identified, the high bidder will accompany Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and his brother, Mark, and a fourth person that has not been selected. In all, nearly 7,600 people from 159 countries registered to participate in Saturday’s bidding. Proceeds will be donated to a Blue Origin charity with a STEM education theme.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of June 13-20, 2021 (6/13): The Senate Appropriations Committee has a Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Subcommittee hearing on NASA’s budget request on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. EDT; NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will testify. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will mark up the nominations of Pam Melroy to become Deputy Administrator of NASA and Rick Spinrad to be Administrator of NOAA on Wednesday. In St. Petersburg, Russia, the week-long International Astronautical Federation’s Global Space Exploration (GLEX) conference begins Monday. NASA’s Planetary Science Advisory Committee meets Monday. Separately, NASA will hold a briefing on Monday at 2:00 p.m. EDT, on plans for spacewalks on Wednesday and Sunday to equip the International Space Station (ISS) with Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSA). The briefing will be broadcast on NASA TV and streamed (

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.