Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:
NASA’s DART spacecraft will intentionally crash into an asteroid to test if impacting an object is a viable way to deflect an asteroid, should a threat ever be discovered in the future. Watch as NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet demonstrate how DART’s mission will work. Spoiler alert: it’s like a pillow fight in microgravity. DART is a spacecraft designed to impact an asteroid as a test of technology. DART’s target asteroid is NOT a threat to Earth. This asteroid system is a perfect testing ground to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future.
** Russian Anti-Satellite Weapon Causes Emergency On Space Station – Scott Manley
Yesterday the Russian military tested a new Anti-Satellite missile on an old, dead Soviet satellite. The test was a success and now there are thousands of pieces of debris crossing the orbit of the Space Station. Space is big, and the chances of an impacts are low, but this particular satellite was relatively close to the altitude of the ISS, rather than low down like recent US and Indian tests meaning the debris will remain in orbit longer and have a long term cost for operations in Low Earth Orbit.
** How To Deorbit The International Space Station Safely – Scott Manley
The International Space Station may one day be forced to return to Earth, so that it safely burns up over the ocean, and this is actually a surprisingly complicated task given the huge mass of the station and the limited propulsion available. The plans aren’t final by any means, but this discusses the problems and one particular option using multiple progress spacecraft to augment the propulsion and propellent available for deorbiting this historic orbital facility….
** Why Commercial Space Stations Are The Future NASA Wants – Scott Manley
In the last month or so we’ve seen a couple of major private space station plans revealed to the world – Orbital Reef lead by Blue Origin and Starlab Lead by Nanoracks. These are likely just the tip of the iceberg as NASA is currently reviewing proposals for the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Destinations project.
** Announcing Orbital Reef – Your Address in Orbit – Blue Origin
Blue Origin and Sierra Space have announced plans for Orbital Reef, a commercially developed, owned, and operated space station to be built in low Earth orbit. The station will open the next chapter of human space exploration and development by facilitating the growth of a vibrant ecosystem and business model for the future. Orbital Reef is backed by space industry leaders and teammates including Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University. Designed to open multiple new markets in space, Orbital Reef will provide anyone with the opportunity to establish their own address on orbit. This unique destination will offer research, industrial, international, and commercial customers the cost competitive end-to-end services they need including space transportation and logistics, space habitation, equipment accommodation, and operations including onboard crew. The station will start operating in the second half of this decade. Learn more at OrbitalReef.com
** First spacewalk by a Chinese female astronaut during Shenzhou 13 crew space station mission – South China Morning Post
The crew of China’s Shenzhou 13 mission completed their first spacewalk of their mission on board the Tiangong space station on November 7, 2021. One of the crew members venturing outside was Wang Yaping who became China’s first female astronaut to complete a spacewalk. She joined Zhai Zhigang for what was the first planned activity of China’s longest space flight yet, a six-month mission during which the crew will focus on station expansion. Related story: China’s astronauts complete spacewalk at new Tiangong space station https://sc.mp/dhg5
- Sierra Space raises $1.4 billion – SpaceNews
- Blue Origin and Sierra Space developing commercial space station – Blue Origin
- Ax-1 ISS research mission opens private LEO era — Axiom Space
- NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement – National Space Society
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