JESSICA WATKINS TO BE FIRST BLACK WOMAN ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CREW - When NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins launches to the International Space Station next year, her debut spaceflight will make history.
Watkins is set to become the first Black woman to join the space station crew, and live and work in space on a long-duration mission on the orbiting outpost. The agency announced Tuesday that Watkins will fly to the space station in April 2022, alongside NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines and astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. More
(Source: NBC News - Nov 18)
FRENCH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SATELLITES LAUNCH ON VEGA ROCKET - A European Vega rocket fired into space from French Guiana Tuesday and deployed three French military satellites to locate sources of radio and radar transmissions around the world, clearing the way for final modifications on the Vega launch pad for an uprated version of the booster set to debut next year.
The 98-foot-tall (30-meter) launcher ignited its solid-fueled booster stage and climbed off its launch pad at 4:27:55 a.m. EST (0927:55 GMT), rapidly rising above four lightning protection towers and heading north-northeast from the European-run spaceport on the northern coast of South America. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 17)
RUSSIAN ANTI-SATELLITE TEST ADDS TO WORSENING PROBLEM OF SPACE DEBRIS - Russia has carried out a missile test, destroying one of its own satellites. The action has caused international outrage because the debris could threaten the International Space Station (ISS) and satellites in low-Earth orbit.
Russia's test of an anti-satellite (A-Sat) missile system is not the first of its kind.
Back in 2007, China tested its own missile system against one of its own weather satellites in orbit. The explosion created more than 3,000 pieces of debris the size of a golf ball or larger - and more than 100,000 much smaller pieces. More
(Source: BBC News - Nov 17)
RUSSIAN DIRECT-ASCENT ANTI-SATELLITE MISSILE TEST CREATES SIGNIFICANT, LONG-LASTING SPACE DEBRIS - Russia tested a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile on Nov. 15, 2021, Moscow Standard Time, that struck a Russian satellite [COSMOS 1408] and created a debris field in low-Earth orbit. The test so far has generated more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris.
“Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability, and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations,” said U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander. More
(Source: USSPACECOM - Nov 16)
SPACE DEBRIS FORCES ASTRONAUTS ON SPACE STATION TO TAKE SHELTER IN RETURN SHIPS - Seven astronauts on the International Space Station were forced to take shelter in their transport spacecraft early Monday (Nov. 15) when the station passed uncomfortably closed to orbital debris, according to reports.
The space junk passes began in the pre-dawn hours of Monday and the International Space Station has continued to make close passes to the debris every 90 minutes or so, according to experts monitoring the situation. Russia's space agency Roscosmos confirmed the space junk encounter with Space.com, though NASA has not yet commented on the situation either publicly or to Space.com. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 15)
SPACE COMPANIES FORGE ALLIANCE TO REDUCE IN-ORBIT DEBRIS BY 2030 - Ten companies and organizations from across the space industry have vowed to devise concrete measures for reducing the amount of in-orbit debris by 2030.
French satellite fleet operator Eutelsat, launch service provider Arianespace and U.S.-based Earth imagery venture Planet are among signatories of the Net Zero Space charter, which was launched Nov. 12 during the Paris Peace Forum in France. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Nov 15)
THE MIRROR OF THE JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE: LOOKING INTO THE PAST - When the joint NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope launches atop an Ariane 5 rocket this December, it will carry with it one of the largest telescopic mirrors ever developed. Considerably larger than the Hubble Space Telescope’s 2.4 m mirror, James Webb’s mirror will be a massive 6.5 diameter mirror, made up of 18 hexagonal, gold-plated beryllium mirror segments.
Furthermore, the mirror of James Webb will be one of the most complex spacecraft systems ever launched, and — to no surprise — it takes an expert team, lots of development, and a plethora of testing to prepare the mirror of James Webb for launch and operation at Lagrange Point 2 (L2). More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Nov 15)
ROCKET LAB DELAYS RETURN TO ACTION, DUAL SATELLITE LAUNCH, AND BOOSTER RECOVERY ATTEMPT - Following a hiatus of several months, Rocket Lab is preparing to return to launch operations with its 22nd overall mission on Thursday. An Electron rocket was to lift off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand at 04:25 UTC (17:25 local time) on November 11, but will now attempt a launch no earlier than November 16 in order to evaluate an out-of-family ground sensor.
Named “Love at First Insight,” the mission aims to loft two satellites for geospatial intelligence company BlackSky, as well as complete the third ocean splashdown of an Electron first stage as Rocket Lab continues to work towards reusability. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Nov 14)
SPACEX LAUNCH STARTS DEPLOYMENT OF NEW STARLINK ORBITAL SHELL - SpaceX shot 53 Starlink internet satellites into orbit on top of a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday from foggy Cape Canaveral, commencing a new phase of deploying the global broadband network with the first launch into a new “shell” some 335 miles above Earth.
The mission was the 31st Falcon 9 launch in two-and-a-half years dedicated to carrying satellites for the Starlink internet network, bringing the total number of Starlink spacecraft launched to 1,844. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 13)