By Kendall Murphy NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
GREENBELT, Md. — NASA uses lasers to send information to and from Earth, employing invisible beams to traverse the skies, sending terabytes of data – pictures and videos – to increase our knowledge of the universe. This capability is known as laser, or optical, communications, even though these eye-safe, infrared beams can’t be seen by human eyes.
The first half of 2022 saw more commercial travelers — 16 — launch into space than the 10 professional astronauts who work for government-run space agencies. However, those numbers come with an asterisk or two.
Four of the 14 astronauts who launched into orbit flew on Axiom Space’s privately funded and operated crew flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Blue Origin launched 12 individuals into space on two flights of the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle.
The other 10 astronauts who launched to ISS and the Tiangong space station worked fulltime for NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), China Manned Space Agency, or Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation. SpaceX flew American and European astronauts to ISS on the company-owned Crew Dragon spacecraft under a NASA contract. The Russians and Chinese flew aboard government-owned and operated spacecraft.
It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.
A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft carrying more than 5,800 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo is on its way to the International Space Station after launching at 8:44 p.m. EDT Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 25th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. It is scheduled to autonomously dock at the space station about 11:20 a.m. Saturday, July 16, and remain there for about a month. Coverage of arrival will begin at 10 a.m. on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) – A wide variety of research and technology development payloads sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory will soon launch to the orbiting laboratory. These payloads are among the more than 4,700 pounds of cargo onboard SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission (contracted by NASA), launching no earlier than 8:44 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 14, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than Wednesday, July 14, for launch of the CRS-25 commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The new target launch date supports ongoing Dragon spacecraft inspections as well as repair and replacement of any components that could have degraded by exposure to mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) vapor found during testing in early June. In order to allow a more detailed off-vehicle inspection of the parachutes, the SpaceX team made the decision to replace the main parachutes on this spacecraft.
The new date also allows for launch of the uncrewed cargo mission for the earliest possible rendezvous opportunity with the International Space Station following the upcoming high-beta angle period when the sun angle with space station’s orbital plane causes problems with thermal and power generation at the microgravity laboratory in the planned docking attitude for visiting spacecraft.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX are standing down from this week’s Falcon 9 launch of the CRS-25 cargo mission to the International Space Station. Officials from NASA and SpaceX met today to discuss an issue identified over the weekend and the best path forward.
Cedars-Sinai Scientists Will Test Whether it is Possible to Produce Large Batches of Stem Cells in a Low Gravity Environment
LOS ANGELES (Cedars-Sinai PR) — Cedars-Sinai and Space Tango are launching pilot-scale systems for the in-space production of stem cells to see if they can elevate the next generation of stem cell and gene therapies by harnessing the near-zero gravity conditions of spaceflight .Cedars-Sinai SpaceX CRS-25 Mission Patch.This mission, funded by a NASA Research Announcement award, will help researchers explore the effects of microgravity on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The work can potentially lead to better ways to manufacture large numbers of cells in the absence of gravity.
Microgravity has become of great interest to stem cell scientists due to unique properties it grants to biological tissues and processes that could potentially help mass-produce cells or other products in a way that is not possible to do on Earth.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Social media users are invited to register to take part in another global virtual NASA Social for the next SpaceX delivery of NASA science investigations, supplies, and equipment to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission is targeted to launch on Friday, June 10 at 10:22 a.m. EDT on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station has spent more than two decades in low-Earth orbit serving as Earth’s orbiting laboratory. Groundbreaking research aboard the station in its unique microgravity environment has led to benefits back on the ground and paved the way for future deep space missions.
The Chinese government-owned CGTN website has an interview with Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin. With relations severely damaged with the West due to sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Roscosmos is increasingly focused on deepening cooperation with China’s surging space program. The partnership already includes jointly developing a crewed base on the moon in the 2030s.
On the suspended ExoMars mission with Europe, Rogozin said:
“In the construction of ExoMars, the main element is the landing module. The Mars research rover is not the essential element. I think we can make this mission happen with another partner like China or someone else.”
Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said Russia will no longer sell rocket engines to U.S. companies, dealing a potentially fatal blow to Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket. The decision was made in retaliation for U.S. sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week.
The former Manager of Additive Manufacturing at SpaceX will lead Launcher’s Additive and Machining capabilities and build world-class Production and Integration systems for Launcher’s products.
HAWTHORNE, Calif., February 15, 2022 (Launcher PR) – Launcher (launcherspace.com), an industry-leading developer of highly efficient rockets and transfer vehicles, has appointed Tim Berry as its Head of Manufacturing.
NASA said it is investigating the lagging deployment of one of four main parachutes on two recent SpaceX Dragon flights, but the space agency does not believe the problem poses a safety threat to astronauts.