BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosomos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, tightness tests of the Prichal nodal module in the vacuum chamber of the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 have been completed.
In accordance with the work schedule, specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation and the Yuzhny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities) performed a cycle of pneumatic vacuum tests of the Prichal module, which lasted from September 21, 2021. The module is currently installed in its workplace and connected to ground test equipment to continue prelaunch preparation.
The Prichal universal nodal module designed and manufactured by RSC Energia named after S.P. Korolev is designed to expand the technical and operational capabilities of the Russian segment of the ISS. The launch of the Prichal into a near-earth orbit and its docking with the nadir node of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are planned for November 2021.
TEL AVIV (Rakia Mission PR) — In early 2022, the Rakia Mission is scheduled to launch into space, and onboard will be Eytan Stibbe, Israel’s second man in space and the first to fly to the International Space Station (ISS).
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Even the most highly trained and experienced person sometimes needs a hand. For astronauts aboard the International Space Station, that helping hand comes from other crew members, experts on the ground, and increasingly, in the form of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three residents of the International Space Station will take a short ride aboard a Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft Tuesday, Sept. 28, relocating the spacecraft to prepare for the arrival of the next set of station crew members.
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — September 19 saw the first preflight training session of the Soyuz MS-19 crewed spacecraft prime and backup crews under the program of the 66th long-term expedition to the International Space Station.
The Russian government has allocated $60.6 million (4.4 billion rubles) to the Roscosmos subsidiary Glavkosmos to produce a Soyuz 2.1a rocket and Soyuz MS spacecraft for a space tourism flight scheduled for 2024, according toSpace Daily.
Glavkosmos head Dmitry Loskutov said in May that the company was already in talks with potential space tourists and was simultaneously working on putting together a reserve of Soyuz spaceships to make the first tourist flight possible in late 2023.
Now that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is carrying astronauts to the station, Russia has restarted spaceflights for paying customers. On Oct. 5, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko to the International Space Station (ISS). Peresild and Shipenko will shoot scenes for a movie titled, “Challenge,” during a spaceflight lasting 12 days.
On Dec. 8, the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and Maezawa’s assistant Yozo Hirano to ISS on a 12-day spaceflight.
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.
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.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two International Space Station crew members have had their stay onboard the orbiting lab extended to nearly a year. Meanwhile, space biology and life support maintenance kept the Expedition 65 crew busy on Tuesday.
With the plans for Russian spaceflight participants to visit the space station as part of the Soyuz MS-19 crew in October 2021, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov will remain aboard the station until March 2022. Upon return to Earth, Vande Hei will hold the record for longest single spaceflight for an American. [Editor’s Note: The Russians are sending an actress and director to shoot a movied named “Challenge.”]
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.
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.
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.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — For centuries, humans have mined materials to build the tools we use every day, from batteries and cell phones to airplanes and refrigerators. While the process of obtaining these important minerals used to rely entirely on heavy machinery, fire, and human labor, scientists have learned how to harness the natural power of microbes to do some of the work.
This process, called biomining, has become common as a cost efficient and environmentally friendly way to obtain the metals around us in nature. As humans plan expeditions deeper into space, biomining offers a way to obtain needed materials for use on other planetary bodies rather than transporting them from Earth.
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.