UAE Picks First Female Astronaut

Credit: UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has selected its first female astronaut as emirates doubles its astronaut corps to four.

Nora Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla were selected to begin training. They join Hazza Al Mansouri, who became the first Emirati to journey into space during a trip to the International Space Station in 2019, and Sultan Al Neyadi, who was the backup astronaut for that mission.

Al Matrooshi is a 27-year old mechanical engineer who is employed by the National Petroleum Construction Company. She is a native of Abu Dhabi.

Born in 1988, Al Mulla is a pilot and head of the training department at Air Wing Centre. He became the youngest pilot in the Dubai Police at the age of 19, and received a bravery medal from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president and ruler of Dubai.

Al Matrooshi and Al Mulla were selected from among 4,305 applicants, including 1,400 women. The will begin training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at the end of this year.

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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Watch Next Space Station Crew Launch Live on Friday on NASA TV, NASA App

Expedition 65 crew members Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, left, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, center, and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, pose for a photo during qualification exams, Saturday, March 20, 2021, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia, in advance of their scheduled launch April 9 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three space travelers, including NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, are poised to launch Friday, April 9, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide comprehensive prelaunch and launch-to-docking coverage.

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Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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COVID-19 Delays to Cost NASA $3 Billion

High-resolution illustration of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope against a starry background. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will cost NASA an estimated $3 billion due to program delays, according to a report from the space agency’s Office of Inspector General.

The report focused on the pandemic’s impact on 30 major programs and project with life-cycle costs of at least $250 million.

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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.

NASA Names Robyn Gatens Director for International Space Station

Robyn Gatens (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has named Robyn Gatens as director of the International Space Station for the agency following about seven months of her serving as acting director of the program. Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, made the official appointment, effective March 28.

“Robyn’s leadership, experience and strategic vision for the International Space Station have been clearly demonstrated as she’s worked closely with the station team as deputy and acting director,” said Lueders. “I’m confident she will continue our efforts of maximizing the space station for science, research and technology development, including enabling a robust low-Earth orbit economy.”

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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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DLR Laser Terminal in Space Makes Contact with Japanese Ground Station

The flying laptop satellite of the University of Stuttgart. (Credit: University of Stuttgart)
  • For the first time, a signal from the DLR terminal OSIRISv1 was received on a NICT ground station in Japan.
  • OSIRISv1 was developed by the DLR Institute for Communication and Navigation and launched in 2017 on the “Flying Laptop” satellite in cooperation with the Institute for Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart.
  • Optical communication systems that use laser beams for data transmission make it possible to significantly increase the data rates between satellites and ground stations.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The resolution of cameras and other sensors on earth observation satellites is increasing steadily. This leads to ever-increasing amounts of data that are still transmitted to earth using radio systems today. The data connection between the satellite and the earth limits the capabilities of the systems.  With optical communication systems that use laser beams for data transmission, a significant increase in data rates is possible. Numerous images can be transmitted with high resolution. 

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Video: VP Kamala Harris Calls Astronauts Shannon Walker & Kate Rubins on ISS

Video Caption: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris placed a special phone call to Shannon Walker and Kate Rubins aboard the International Space Station to find out what it’s like to do science in space.

During the month of March, NASA celebrates and pays tribute to the many women who have played an essential role in shaping the history of the agency.

Learn more about Shannon Walker by visiting: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biogr…

Learn more about Kate Rubins by visiting: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biogr…

Russia Names Next Soyuz Transport After Yuri Gagarin as 60th Anniversary of History Flight Approaches

Yuri Gagarin

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Soyuz MS-18 manned transport spacecraft, which is currently undergoing prelaunch preparation under the program for the delivery of members of the 65th main expedition to the International Space Station, received its own name Yuri A. Gagarin.

In accordance with the work schedule, the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with the Soyuz MS-18 manned spacecraft is scheduled for April 9, 2021, three days before the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. According to the established tradition, the space mission closest to this significant date is dedicated to the first cosmonaut of the planet Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin, whose name already adorns the surface of the screen-vacuum thermal insulation of the ship’s household compartment. In addition, the official symbols of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight in space will be placed on the launch vehicle’s nose cone.

The previous launch of the Yuri Gagarin spacecraft of the Soyuz-TMA series, which took place on April 5, 2011, was timed to coincide with the half-century anniversary of the beginning of the practical development of manned astronautics.

CASIS Releases Two ISS National Lab Research Announcements For In-Space Production Applications

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., March 22, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), manager of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, today released two separate research announcements that will solicit proposals within the area of in-space production applications.

Applied research and development concepts in this area seek to demonstrate space-based manufacturing and production activities that enable new business growth and capital investment, represent scalable and sustainable market opportunities, and produce reoccurring value with the potential to generate demand for and revenue from access to space. These two in-space production applications research announcements are in the focus areas of: 1) Advanced Manufacturing and Materials and 2) Tissue Engineering and Biomanufacturing.

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NASA to Host Virtual Symposium Exploring Rise of Commercial Space

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — From activities in low-Earth orbit to NASA’s Artemis  program, the commercial space industry has emerged as an innovator in areas of space access, commerce, and exploration. In an effort to address the growth of commercial space over the past decades and inform the relationship between government and industry for the future, NASA will host a virtual event Wednesday, March 17, through Friday, March 19, with a final session Thursday, March 25.

NASA and the Rise of Commercial Space: A Symposium Examining the Definition(s) and Context(s) of Commercial Space will address such topics as legal and entrepreneurial frameworks, advancements during the space shuttle era, and new trajectories, while examining the historical context surrounding questions such as “How will humanity explore the Moon and Mars?” and, more fundamentally, how to define commercial space.

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NASA Astronauts Complete Year’s Fifth Spacewalk at Station

NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins conducted their third spacewalk together on Saturday, March 13, 2021. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins concluded their spacewalk at 3:01 p.m. EST, after 6 hours and 47 minutes. In the fifth spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts successfully completed tasks to service the station’s cooling system and communications gear.

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Space Station Hardware Developers, Payload Support Teams Celebrate Two Decades of Success, Prepare for Third

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson conducts a science experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox during Expedition 51 in 2017. The glovebox is one of 15 space station science hardware facilities managed for the agency by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (Credits: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Ask International Space Station facility engineers and payload operations teams at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, what makes them proudest as they look back on two decades of developing and testing science hardware and providing real-time support for experiments on orbit. Many will instinctively glance upward, as if the source of that pride might be passing overhead at that moment, 250 miles up.

Just as often though, they look to one another.

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