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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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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Inspiration4 Mission Launches into Orbit

Falcon 9 launches the privately-funded Inspiration4 mission into orbit. (Credit: Inspiration4)

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL, September 15, 2021 (Inspiration4 PR) – On September 15 the crew of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight mission to orbit, officially ushered in a new era of space exploration at 8:02:56 PM EDT as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lifted off from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. 

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NASA Enables Commercial Crew, Private Astronaut Missions

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)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — When SpaceX launches its Inspiration4 mission with four crew members to space, it will be the company’s first fully private launch with astronauts to orbit. Although not a NASA mission, the flight embodies the agency’s vision and work to foster a strong space economy, with private companies providing commercial transportation to space for people and cargo as well as creating future commercial destinations in space.

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Satellogic Joins The International Disasters Charter

Through partnership, Satellogic will provide high-resolution, high-frequency satellite data to aid in disaster decision making and management

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Satellogic PR)–Satellogic, a leader in sub-meter resolution satellite imagery collection, is now providing satellite imaging data from its constellation to the  International Charter Space and Major Disasters for use in monitoring and response activities. Satellogic provides images and full-motion video at no cost to the Charter’s Authorized Users to enable access to timely information for disaster events worldwide.

The International Disasters Charter provides Earth observation data for use in monitoring and response activities, acquired by the satellites of its members, contributing partners, and data contributors, to support disaster response worldwide. The Charter Board Members unanimously approved Satellogic’s application to be a data contributor to the Charter in May 2021.

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NASA Selects Five U.S. Companies to Mature Artemis Lander Concepts

Artist concept of the Blue Origin National Team crewed lander on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: Blue Origin)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected five U.S. companies to help the agency enable a steady pace of crewed trips to the lunar surface under the agency’s Artemis program. These companies will make advancements toward sustainable human landing system concepts, conduct risk-reduction activities, and provide feedback on NASA’s requirements to cultivate industry capabilities for crewed lunar landing missions.

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ASI and Qascom to Bring Italy and Galileo Navigation System to the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

ROME (ASI PR) — Finding the best route for lunar orbit and easy parking on the Moon is the goal of NEIL (Navigation Early Investigation on Lunar surface) GNSS receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology. The creation of NEIL, named in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first man to touch the lunar soil, is at the center of an agreement between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA linked to the CLPS 19-D mission (NASA missions with contributions commercial and private of an experimental nature) with which the American space agency has planned to land with a lander in the Mare Crisium basin in 2023. [Editor’s Note: This is Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lander mission.]

NEIL, subject of the contract signed between ASI and the company Qascom SRL, is the on-board payload that will be an integral part of the experiment called Lunar GNSS Receiver Experiment  (LuGRE), defined in the ASI/NASA agreement, which aims to develop an activity in a lunar and cislunar environment.

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SpaceX Launches 51 Laser-equipped Starlink Satellites From Vandenberg

Falcon 9 with 51 Starlink satellites aboard streaks across the sky over the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with 51 Starlink advanced broadband satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Monday night. The booster launched at 8:55 p.m. PDT, streaking southward across the nighttime sky.

The Starlink satellites are the first to be equipped with laser links to speed communications for SpaceX’s broadband service.

The booster’s first stage, which flew for the 10th time, landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship in the Pacific Ocean. The stage had previously flown on the Telstar 18 VANTAGE, Iridium-8, and seven Starlink missions.

One half of Falcon 9’s fairing halves previously supported NROL-108 and the other previously flew on GPS III-3 and Turksat-5A.

South Korea to Boost Military and Civil Space Spending, Transfer Satellite and Launch Vehicle Technology to Private Sector

Test model of the Nuri (KSLV-II) booster. (Credit: Ministry of Science and ICT)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

South Korea plans to invest more than $14.25 billion over the next decade to improve its military and civil space capabilities. The Republic of Korea will transfer satellite and launch vehicle technology to the private sector to boost the nation’s domestic capabilities and improve its international competitiveness. The nation is also deepening defense and civil space cooperation with the United States.

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Inspiration4 Reveals Mission Payload Highlights, Including the First-ever Minted NFT song to Go into Space

The Kings of Leon (Credit: Inspiration4)

Song from Grammy award-winning rock band Kings of Leon one of several items to be auctioned beginning Sept. 9 to support $200 million fundraising effort for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2021) – Astronauts have long brought interesting items into space, dating back to the very first Mercury mission in 1961. But with Inspiration4, the first all-civilian mission to orbit, the crew will be taking not just personal mementos but things that didn’t exist even a year ago, much less 60 years ago. Indeed, their payload will include the first-ever minted NFT song to be played in orbit, created by the Grammy Award-winning rock band Kings of Leon.

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