It Took Teamwork to Make It to 20 Years

NASA astronauts (left to right) Christina Koch and Jessica Meir harvested Mizuna mustard greens on Thanksgiving day in 2019 inside the ESA (European Space Agency) laboratory module’s VEGGIE facility. (Credits: NASA)

By Danielle Sempsrott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Building the Team

For 20 consecutive years, NASA has been sending humans to low-Earth orbit to live and work aboard the International Space Station, a unique microgravity laboratory that’s making new discoveries to this day. The technology used for LASIK eye surgery, air purifiers, and robotic arms that assist in medical surgeries are just a few of the things we benefit from here on Earth thanks to science performed on the orbiting laboratory. However, getting the space station into orbit and maintaining it is one of humanity’s biggest challenges – one that required people from all over the world working together to make it possible.

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Japan Begins Astronaut Recruitment

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. (Credit: NASA)

For the sixth tine in its history, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be recruiting astronauts as it gears up to support America’s plan to return people to the moon in 2024.

“We are preparing to recruit new astronauts around the fall of next year. We hope that many of you will apply to become astronauts who can also play an active role in lunar exploration,” said JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata in an announcement posted on the space agency’s website.

JAXA has hired 11 astronauts in five recruitment cycles dating back to 1985. The most recent round was in 2009 when three astronaut candidates were hired.

A total of 12 Japanese citizens have flown in space. Television journalist Toyohiro Akiyama became the first from his nation to reach orbit when he flew to the Soviet space station Mir aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in 1990. Akiyama, who spent nearly 8 days in space, was not part of the Japan’s official astronaut corps.

Video: Why Hasn’t Space Tourism Taken Off?

Video Caption: Listening to Richard Branson over the past 20 years, you’d be forgiven for assuming that space was by now being frequented by lots of tourists. However, despite the Virgin Galactic chief’s optimism, the space tourism industry has yet to take off. Up to now there have been only seven self-funded citizens in space. And with billionaires such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in the space race, why are there still no tourists in space?

New Crew Arrives Safely at International Space Station

(Front row from left) Expedition 64 crew members Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov join Expedition 63 crew members (back row from left) Ivan Vagner, Anatoly Ivanishin and Chris Cassidy inside the space station’s Zvezda service module. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos joined Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner aboard the International Space Station when the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 7:07 a.m. EDT.

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NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, left, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, center, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, right, of Roscosmos take a moment during the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft fit check to pose for a photograph, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A trio of space travelers is poised to launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Oct. 14. NASA Television will provide comprehensive coverage of launch and docking.

Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:45 a.m. EDT (10:45 a.m. Kazakhstan time) on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module for the start of a six-month mission on the orbital outpost.

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Contract Signed for Development of Amur Launch Vehicle Complex

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — State Corporation Roscosmos and Rocket and Space Center Progress (part of the State Corporation Roscosmos) on October 5, 2020 signed a state contract for preliminary design on the topic “Creation of a space rocket complex with a medium-class carrier rocket Amur at liquefied natural gas ”.

The aim of this work will be to design a new commercially oriented space rocket complex with a booster rocket operating on liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen. The new rocket will have a reversible first stage and reusable liquid engines. Their development has already been underway at the Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (part of the NPO Energomash integrated structure of the Roscosmos State Corporation, Voronezh) since 2016.

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Exolaunch Delivers 15 Small Satellites into Orbit on a Soyuz Rideshare Mission, Deploys 100th Payload into Space

BERLIN, GERMANY (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, the leader in rideshare launch and deployment services for the New Space industry, announced a successful launch of 15 commercial, governmental and scientific satellites for its customers from Europe, Canada, the UAE and the U.S. The Mission dubbed “Wanderlust,” Desire to Travel, lifted off on September 28 at 11:20 UTC on a Soyuz-2 rocket, marking over 100 satellites deployed by the company.

On this mission, Exolaunch provided comprehensive launch, deployment, mission management and integration services to Kepler Communications, Spire Global, the UAE Space Agency, Technische Universität Berlin, Würzburg Center for Telematics and two unnamed commercial customers.

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Machine-learning Nanosats to Inform Global Trade

Spire’s machine-learning capable nanosat (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The latest batch of tiny satellites to monitor trade on Earth from space have launched.

The Glaswegian-built nanosatellites join a fleet of about 100 objects in low Earth orbit that help to predict the movement of the world’s resources, so that businesses and governments can make informed decisions.

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China, Russia Launch Communications & Environmental Satellites

China and Russia conducted launches on Sunday and Monday, placing five primary payloads and a group of rideshare satellites into orbit.

A Chinese Long March 4B booster lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center early Sunday morning. The three-stage rocket carried the Huanjing 2A and 2B environmental monitoring satellites into orbit.

Chinese media said the satellites will collect data for environmental protection, water conservancy, natural resources monitoring, agriculture and forestry. They will replace the Huanjing 1A and 1B environmental satellites launched in 2008.

On Monday, a Russian Soyuz rocket launched three Gonets M military communications satellites from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The rocket also included a group of international rideshare payloads.

Five Launches Scheduled Over Three Days

Falcon 9 payload shroud. (Credit: SpaceX)

Things are about to get very busy, with four American launches and a Russian one planned over a three-day period beginning on Sunday, Sept. 27.

Here’s the schedule as it stands now. Schedule subject to change without notice. Wagering strictly under penalty of law.

Sunday, September 27

Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy
Payload: NROL-44 reconnaissance satellite
Time: 12:10 a.m. EDT (1610 GMT)
Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: 60 Starlink satellite broadband spacecraft
Time: 10:43 a.m. EDT (1443 GMT)
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Monday, September 28

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payloads: 3 Gonets M communications satellites plus rideshares
Time: 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT)
Location:
Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

Tuesday, September 29

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: GPS 3 SV04 navigation satellite
Time: 9:55 p.m. (0155 GMT)
Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Launch Vehicle: Antares
Payload: NG-14 — Cygnus International Space Station resupply ship
Time: 10:27 p.m. EDT (0227 GMT on Sept. 30)
Location:
Wallops Island, Va.
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Momentus Announces Service Agreement for GP Advanced Projects FEES satellites

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

SANTA CLARA, Calif., September 22nd, 2020 (Momentus PR) – Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a commercial space company providing in-space satellite transportation and infrastructure services, and GP Advanced Projects, an Italian startup helping non-space companies to enter the space sector, today announced a launch service agreement for GP Advanced Projects FEES2 Picosatellite to fly on Vigoride’s second demo mission in April 2021.

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OneWeb to Begin Launching Satellites Again as Early as December

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and OneWeb will resume launch operations to continue the deployment of the OneWeb constellation.

The next Soyuz launch is planned as soon as December 2020 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Pursuant to an amended launch contract with OneWeb, the London-based communications company, Arianespace will perform 16 more Soyuz launches from three spaceports (Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny) beginning in late 2020 and continuing through 2022. These launches will enable OneWeb to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites by the end of 2022.

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UK-built Nanosatellites Ready for Launch

Four shoebox-sized, British-funded satellites will join a global fleet in orbit in the next two months

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Government-backed ‘nanosatellites’ – built in Glasgow – will launch later this month, joining a fleet of more than 100 objects in low Earth orbit that predict global trade movements.

Two of four nanosatellites, made by Spire Global UK and backed by over £6 million of Government investment, will take off on the Russian Soyuz launcher on 24 September. The other two nanosatellites will be aboard an Indian PSLV launcher, due for launch on 1 November.

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