Audit Concludes Use of European Union Space Services Needs an Extra Boost

Galileo constellation (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

LUXEMBOURG (European Court of Auditors PR) — The European Union has not done enough to harness the full potential of its space programmes, according to a special report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). While the satellite-based programmes Galileo and Copernicus in particular provide valuable services and data, more efforts are needed to capitalise on the significant investment made (around €18 billion so far) and to optimise the benefits they bring to citizens and the economy. The auditors call for a comprehensive strategy, more targeted actions and better use of the regulatory framework for efficiently supporting the uptake of services.

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NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Extracts First Oxygen from Red Planet

Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory lower the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) instrument into the belly of the Perseverance rover. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The growing list of “firsts” for Perseverance, NASA’s newest six-wheeled robot on the Martian surface, includes converting some of the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen. A toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. The test took place April 20, the 60th Martian day, or sol, since the mission landed Feb. 18.

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NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins, Crewmates Return Safely to Earth

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is helped out of the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft just minutes after she, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov returned after 185 days in space having served as Expedition 63-64 crew members aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, returned to Earth on Saturday, following six months living and working aboard the  International Space Station.

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NASA Approves Crew-2 Launch for April 22

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Friday, April 16, for their flight to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners.

Thales Alenia Space Wins New Contract for Second Gen Galileo Satellites

(Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

Boosting the positioning performance and real-time operability of the system

CANNES, April 15, 2021 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), as prime contractor for Galileo First Generation’s Ground Mission Segment, has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 Satellite Navigation Program (HSNAV), to develop the Advanced Orbit Determination and Time Synchronisation (ODTS) Algorithms Test Platform (A-OATP). This new contract will support the implementation and experimentation of the navigation algorithms that will be used for Galileo Second Generation.

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ESA’s Agenda 2025 Focuses on Improved EU Cooperation, Commercial Markets, Green Tech and Space Security

ESA has published Agenda 2025, a strategy that focuses on making the space agency more agile by assisting commercial ventures, developing green technologies, ensuring space security and working more closely with the European Union in devising new flagship programs to benefit the continent’s 500 million citizens.

The plan also includes negotiating with NASA to place the first European astronaut on the moon by the end of the decade as part of the U.S. space agency’s Artemis program.

Agenda 2025 Full Report | Agenda 2025 Executive Summary

A summary of ESA Agenda 20215 follows.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. The flight follows certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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NASA’s Odyssey Orbiter Marks 20 Historic Years of Mapping Mars

Mars Odyssey spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

For two decades, the longest-lived spacecraft at the Red Planet has helped locate water ice, assess landing sites, and study the planet’s mysterious moons.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft launched 20 years ago on April 7, making it the oldest spacecraft still working at the Red Planet. The orbiter, which takes its name from Arthur C. Clarke’s classic sci-fi novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Clarke blessed its use before launch), was sent to map the composition of the Martian surface, providing a window to the past so scientists could piece together how the planet evolved.

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SpaceX Crew Ship Moves to New Station Port

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Crew Dragon Resilience with NASA astronauts  Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have re-docked to the International Space Station, another first for a commercial crew spacecraft.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:08 a.m.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut  Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet  are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following a short handover, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Hopkins, Glover and Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Noguchi, plan to return home off the coast of Florida about five days after the Crew-2 arrival to the space station as long as mission priorities and weather cooperate.

ESA Invites Ideas to Open Up In-orbit Servicing Market

Clean Space has broadened the concept of an active debris removal to a multi-purpose Space Servicing Vehicle that would include debris removal as one of its aims. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is seeking to open the way to a new era of in-space activities such as refuelling, refurbishment, assembly, manufacturing, and recycling. The Agency is now soliciting ideas for In-Orbit Servicing activities from European industry and academia.

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NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station on Nov. 15, 2020, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is targeted for no earlier than Thursday, April 22, at 6:11 a.m. EDT. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

By Emily McLeod Sulkes
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA invites the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Liftoff of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts is targeted for no earlier than 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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NASA TV to Air First US Commercial Crew Port Relocation on Space Station

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts aboard the International Space Station will mark another first for commercial spaceflight Monday, April 5, when the four astronauts will relocate the Crew Dragon spacecraft to prepare for the arrival of new crew members in late April and the upcoming delivery of new solar arrays this summer.

Live coverage will begin at 6 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Space Telescope Delivers the Goods: 2,200 Possible Planets

A newly published catalog reveals a fascinating variety of possible exoplanets detected by TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

By Pat Brennan
NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program

The news is out of this world: NASA’s TESS space telescope has captured evidence of more than 2,200 candidate planets orbiting bright, nearby stars, including hundreds of “smaller” planets – many possibly rocky worlds in some ways similar to Earth.

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ESA Funds Research into Lunar Cave Explorer

DAEDALUS robot (Credit: Julius-Maximilians-University)

WURZBURG, Germany (ESA PR) — What might look like a dangling hamster ball is actually a robotic sphere to explore the depths of lunar caves.

Designed by a team coordinated by Germany’s Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU), the Descent And Exploration in Deep Autonomy of Lunar Underground Structures, DAEDALUS, robot is being evaluated by ESA’s Concurrent Design Facility, as part of a larger study of lunar cave mission concepts.

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