NASA, SpaceX Continue Planning for Next Crew Rotation Missions to International Space Station

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) — NASA and SpaceX are continuing plans to launch Crew-3 astronauts to the International Space Station as early as Sunday Oct. 31, and targeting the return home of Crew-2 astronauts in the early-to-mid November timeframe.

Crew-3 will be the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on an American rocket and spacecraft from the United States to the space station, and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight in 2020, Crew-1 mission in 2020-21, and the ongoing Crew-2 flight as part of the Expedition 65 crew.

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NASA Coverage of Rescheduled Spacewalk Preparing for New Solar Array

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough (left) and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet maneuver the first ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) into place on the space station’s port 6 truss structure during a spacewalk June 16, 2021. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk Sunday, Sept. 12.

NASA will provide details about the procedures scheduled for the upcoming spacewalk during a news conference at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 10, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Live coverage of the news conference and the spacewalk will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

This will be the first spacewalk, or extravehicular activity (EVA) conducted by two international partner astronauts out of the space station’s Quest airlock. U.S. EVA 77, originally scheduled to take place Tuesday, Aug. 24, will focus on attaching a support bracket in preparation for future installation of the orbiting laboratory’s third new solar array. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is recovering from a minor medical issue and will provide support for Pesquet and Hoshide from inside the space station.

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New Augmented Reality Applications Assist Astronaut Repairs to Space Station

NASA astronaut and Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Megan McArthur wears the specialized Sidekick headset and tests using augmented reality aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA)

by Leah Cheshier
International Space Station Program Research Office
NASA Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — Most often, communications delays between the International Space Station crew and ground are nearly unnoticeable as they are routed from one Tracking and Data Relay Satellite to another as the station orbits about 250 miles above Earth. As NASA prepares to explore the Moon, about 240,000 miles away, and eventually Mars, which averages about 245 million miles away, NASA is developing tools to increase astronaut autonomy to operate spacecraft or systems without assistance from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston because communication delays from Earth will last longer.

The T2 Augmented Reality (T2AR) project demonstrates how station crew members can inspect and maintain scientific and exercise equipment critical to maintaining crew health and achieving research goals without assistance from ground teams.

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Space BD Strengthening Relationship with the Australian Space Industry to Promote the Space Business in Australia

Two Australian academic satellites successfully launched on August 29

TOKYO — Space BD, a leading Japanese space startup, announces the launch of two Australian satellites through Space BD’s small satellite deployment service on August 29, 2021 at 3:14 a.m. (EDT). Space BD has been appointed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as the private partner for the small satellite deployment service from the International Space Station (ISS) Japanese Experiment Module Kibo since 2018. And it has led to the commercialization of Japanese space assets as a private sector.

This was the first satellite launch for the State of Western Australia, the first satellite launch for of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA), and the first overseas satellite launch for Space BD.

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ispace Unveils Next Generation Lunar Lander for its 3rd Lunar Mission Targeting 2024 Launch

ispace’s Series 2 lunar lander. (Credit: ispace)

The lander, larger in size and payload design capacity, is planned to be designed and manufactured in the US

Colorado Springs, Colo. (ispace PR) – Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) unveiled its next generation lunar lander, Series 2, which the company plans to first use for its third lunar mission (Mission 3), as well as subsequent future missions. Standing at approximately 9 ft tall and 14 ft wide (approx. 2.7 m tall by 4.2 m wide), including its legs, it is larger in both size and customer payload design capacity than ispace’s first-generation lander model, Series 1, which the company is developing for its first and second missions.

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JAXA and Synspective Launch Demonstration of Small SAR Satellite Constellation Technology for Disaster Situation Monitoring Services

Figure 1: purpose of the project and assignment. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Synspective Inc., (Head Office: Koto Ward, Tokyo, CEO: Dr. Motoyuki Arai) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (Headquarters Office: Chofu City, Tokyo; President: Hiroshi Yamakawa, hereinafter referred to as “JAXA”) have started co-creation activities under the “JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC)” for the “Social Implementation of Disaster Situation Monitoring Services Using a Small SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) Satellite Constellation.” In this program, we will demonstrate the improvement of analysis accuracy by using SAR constellation to analyze Saga torrential rain as a case study, and demonstrate the improvement of SAR onboard satellite performance.

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Nihon University College of Science and Technology and Space BD Partnering for Smallsat Demonstration

Flight will occur aboard a next generation space station resupply vehicle HTV-X1.

TOKYO and CHIBA, Japan (Space BD PR) – The Department of Aerospace Engineering, College of Science and Technology, Nihon University and Space BD announced that they have concluded a collaboration agreement on overall preparatory work, including various applications and safety review support for the satellite launch in the small satellite deployment mission of the new space station resupply vehicle HTV-X1 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

This is the first initiative since Space BD’s selection by JAXA in October 2020 as the sole official service provider for the smallsatellite deployment service to be performed by the HTV-X1.

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Two More Artemis I Deep Space CubeSats Prepare for Launch

Members of the EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) team prepare their CubeSat to be loaded in the Space Launch System’s Orion stage adapter for launch on the Artemis I mission. This CubeSat, developed jointly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo, will help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth called the plasmasphere. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Two additional secondary payloads that will travel to deep space on Artemis I, the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, are ready for launch.

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What You Need to Know About NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is secured atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on July 17, 2021. Starliner will launch on the Atlas V for Boeing’s second Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The spacecraft rolled out from Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center earlier in the day. (Credits: Boeing/John Grant)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and Boeing are taking another major step on the path to regular human spaceflight launches to the International Space Station on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil with the second uncrewed flight test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.  

NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is targeting launch of the Starliner spacecraft on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 2:53 p.m. EDT Friday, July 30, from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Starliner is expected to arrive at the space station for docking about 24 hours later with more than 400 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies.

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JAXA Tests Pulse Detonation Engine in Suborbital Flight

S-520-31 lifts off with pulse detonation engine aboard. (Credit: JAXA)

JAXA said that on Tuesday it tested a pulse detonation engine that uses shock waves powered by methane and other gases to create thrust. The Japanese space agency believes the project could produce smaller but powerful engines for use on deep-space exploration missions.

The engine was launched aboard on the S-520-31 sounding rocket from the Uchinoura Space Center. The Japan Times reported JAXA recovered a capsule with test data from the ocean.

Rocket Model/No.Launch Time
(JST)
Launch Vertical AngleMaximum Altitude ReachedLanding Time
S-520-3105:3080.0 degrees235 km/146 miles
(244 seconds after launch)
476 seconds after launch
Source: JAXA

“This experiment is the world’s first flight demonstration of rocket engine technology that safely and efficiently converts shock waves (explosive waves) generated when a mixed gas of fuel and oxygen reacts explosively into thrust,” JAXA said in a press release. “Technology of the detonation engine system (DES) combines a pulse detonation engine (PDE) that intermittently generates shock waves and a rotary detonation engine (RDE) that continuously rotates shock waves in a donut-shaped space.”

The Japan Times reported that JAXA is working the Nagoya University professor Jiro Kasahara to develop an engine that would be about one-tenth the size of ones currently used on deep space spacecraft. The engine, which could be ready for use in about five years, would be able to operate for extended periods of time.

ispace Begins Final Assembly of Lunar Lander Flight Model Ahead of First Mission

Hakuto-R spacecraft (Credit: ispace)

TOKYO (ispace PR) –- Today, ispace announced that it began the assembly of the flight model for its lunar lander, which is to be used in the company’s first mission scheduled to launch in 2022. This is a major engineering milestone in the development of the lander and part of the final stretch toward our first mission.

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Japanese CubeSats to Fly on NASA’s Artemis I Mission

Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft on Pad 39B. (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed to cooperate on the launch and data exchange for the two JAXA CubeSats on July 2, 2021. Dr. KUNINAKA Hitoshi, Vice President of JAXA/Director General of Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and Ms. Karen Feldstein, Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations of NASA signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

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Launch 2020: A Year of Transition for Japan

The United Arab Emirates’ Hope Probe took off at 2:58 p.m. PDT on July 19 from a launch site in Japan, headed for Mars to study its atmosphere. (Credit: MHI Launch Services via YouTube)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a typical year for Japan with four successful launches and no failures. Japan has averaged 3.8 launches annually over the past decade. Last year also saw a Japanese astronaut become the first foreigner to fly aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

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Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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QUT and MDA to Develop Robot for Space Application

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — QUT robotics researchers will join the push to take humanity back to the Moon in designing and demonstrating a logistics robot for space application.

Researchers from QUT’s Centre for Robotics will partner with Canadian-based space technology company MDA and Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth in designing a logistics robot prototype that may be used inside the International Space Station (ISS) or the Lunar Gateway.

The Lunar Gateway, a collaborative project involving NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will serve as a rendezvous point for astronauts on missions to the surface of the Moon and as a springboard for robotic and human expeditions on to Mars.

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