Japanese Satellite Company Synspective Signs Launch Agreement with Germany’s Exolaunch to Launch the third SAR Satellite StriX-1 on Soyuz-2

Synthetic aperture radar satellite (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO and BERLIN (Exolaunch PR) – Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and analytic solution provider, announced a new Launch Agreement with a small satellite launch services provider, Exolaunch, to launch Synspective’s third demonstration SAR satellite “StriX-1” on a Soyuz-2 launch vehicle in mid-2022. The companies extended their collaboration after signing a launch agreement for the second Synspective’s demonstration SAR satellite “StriX-beta”, which is currently under the final preparations for launch later this year. 

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NOAA Issues RFI on Space Weather Instruments

Space weather affects the Earth’s magnetic field. (Credit: NASA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On September 13, 2021, NOAA released a Solar Coronagraph Development and Related Capabilities request for information (RFI) seeking industry interest and capabilities to produce space-based coronagraphs which would be deployed on satellites in near-Earth and deep space orbits on the Sun-Earth line, and off-Sun-Earth line.

This RFI supports NOAA’s continuing efforts to partner with the commercial sector in innovative ways in support of its operational space-based space weather mission.

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Inspiration4 Crew Makes Evening Splashdown, Completing World’s First All-Civilian Orbital Mission to Space

Crew Dragon splashes down with Inspiration4 crew. (Credit: Inspiration4)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 18, 2021 (Inspiration4 PR) – After three days orbiting Earth, the astronauts of Inspiration4  flying aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 7:06 p.m. EDT. The return marks the completion of the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit, which launched on a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.

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India’s Bellatrix Aerospace Opens Private Propulsion Laboratory

ISRO Chairman K Sivan cuts the ribbon on Bellaxtrix Aerospace’s propulsion laboratory. (Credit: ISRO)

Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO/ Secretary, DOS inaugurated the spacecraft research laboratory at M/s Bellatrix Aerospace, the startup company inside IISc, Bangalore. This privately funded propulsion lab has in-house facilities for development and testing of electric and green chemical propulsion technologies.

Dr Sivan appreciated the young team for establishing the state-of-the art facility which houses equipment such as integrated thermal high vacuum test facilities, catalytic reactors, propellant preparation facilities, specialized high temperature coating facilities, etc. Chairman, ISRO also witnessed the firing of Hall Thruster at the facility.

Crew of Russian Commercial Mission to ISS Answers Questions in Preflight News Conference

Soyuz ISS-66 crew members: actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and film director Klim Shipenko. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — A pre-flight press conference of the main and backup crews of the ISS-66 Expedition took place at the Cosmonaut Training Center. Journalists, bloggers, social media users from all over the world sent many questions to them. The event was held online in cooperation with TASS, Roscosmos State Corporation, Channel One and the Yu.A. Gagarin.

Recall that the main crew of ISS-66: Hero of the Russian Federation, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko, and actress Yulia Peresild. Their understudies are Hero of the Russian Federation, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev, cameraman Alexei Dudin, and actress Alena Mordovina.

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NASA Empowers Workforce to Advance Deep Space Technologies

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 10 proposals led by early-career employees across the agency for two-year projects that will support the development of new capabilities for deep space human exploration.

These proposals were selected under Project Polaris, a new initiative to support the NASA workforce in efforts to meet the challenges of sending humans to the Moon and Mars. Project Polaris seeks to fill high-priority capability gaps on deep space missions like those planned under Artemis and introduce new technologies into human exploration flight programs. The project also aims to create opportunities for early-career employees across NASA centers to gain experience building and testing flight hardware while developing technologies and reducing risk for future human exploration missions.

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Gateway Vehicle Systems Management Demonstration Completed

Illustration of NASA’s lunar-orbiting Gateway and a human landing system in orbit around the Moon. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — The Advanced Exploration Systems’ (AES) Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) team, including members from NASA Ames’ Intelligent Systems Division, developed and demonstrated new technologies designed to automate the operation of Gateway, a key element of the Artemis mission. (Gateway will be an outpost orbiting the Moon that provides vital support for a long-term human return to the lunar surface, as well as a staging point for deep space exploration.)

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NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green to Retire in 2022

Jim Green, NASA’s Chief Science Officer—shown here speaking at a public event on Aug. 6, 2013, at NASA Headquarters observing the first anniversary of the Curiosity rover’s landing on Mars—will retire in 2022. He has worked at NASA since 1980. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Chief Scientist Jim Green has announced that he will retire in early 2022 after more than 40 years of service at NASA.

“I feel tremendously proud about the activities I’ve done at NASA,” said Green. “In many ways, NASA is not a job. It’s a way of life. We’re always looking for ways to do the impossible. The fact that we continue to succeed and do those things is a tremendous excitement for everyone, and really is important not just for NASA, but for the nation.”

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Meanwhile, the Next Billionaire to Go to Space Continues Training

The Japanese billionaire and his assistant are heading to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz ship in December. Maezawa has also booked a trip around the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle for himself a group of people he’s taking with him.

Inspiration4 Mission Announces Splashdown Time to Return from Orbit

Inspiration4 crew in orbit. (Credit: Inspiration4)

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL, September 17, 2021 (Inspiration4 PR) – Tonight Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight mission to orbit, shared the crew would return tomorrow, September 18, with a targeted splashdown at 7:06 p.m. EDT in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. To prepare for this return, Dragon completed two burns tonight to reduce the spacecraft’s altitude to approximately 365km and line up the ground track with the landing site. A timeline of activities for Dragon’s return to Earth and splashdown is available on SpaceX’s website.

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Draft Environmental Assessment Recommends Starship/Super Heavy Launches From Boca Chica

Super Heavy/Starship system in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

The draft document, available for download as a PDF here, says the FAA’s proposed action “is to issue one or more experimental permits and/or a vehicle operator license to SpaceX that would allow SpaceX to launch, which can include landing, Starship/Super Heavy. SpaceX’s goal is to use Starship/Super Heavy for low Earth orbit, sun-synchronous orbit, geostationary transfer orbit, and interplanetary missions for cargo and humans.”

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FAA Invites Public to Comment on Draft Environmental Review of SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Program

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today invited the public to provide its input on the draft environmental review for the proposed  SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy program in Boca Chica, Texas. 

The draft document, formally called a Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), evaluates the potential environmental impacts of SpaceX’s initial mission profile for the program, including launch and reentry. It also reviews debris recovery, the integration tower and other launch-related construction, and local road closures in Boca Chica, among other issues. 

The FAA plans to hold virtual public hearings on Oct. 6 and 7 as part of the 30-day public comment period that ends on Oct. 18, 2021.

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