Astroscale Closes Its Largest Funding Round to Date, Bringing Total Capital Raised to U.S. $300 Million

Additional U.S. $109 million in capital will accelerate on-orbit services technology development, facility expansion and global hiring.

TOKYO, Nov. 25, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it closed its Series F round with additional funding of U.S. $109 million from a group of new investors led by THE FUND Limited Partnership in Japan, with participation from international investors including Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc (“Seraphim Space”) in the United Kingdom and DNCA Invest Beyond Global Leaders, a sub-fund of the umbrella structured fund “DNCA Invest” incorporated under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, managed by DNCA Finance, a Limited Partnership in France. This is the largest funding round in the company’s history and brings the total amount raised to U.S. $300 million, affirming investors’ confidence in the rapidly expanding on-orbit servicing market.

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JAXA to Recruit New Astronauts

Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide poses for a photo after undergoing a generic blood draw in the European Laboratory/Columbus Orbital Facility (COF). (Credits: NASA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that the activities of Japanese astronauts will be expanded to the International Space Station (ISS), the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo”, the lunar orbiting manned base “Gateway”, and the surface of the moon. Assuming, we are looking for new astronaut candidates as follows.

We are waiting for applications from various people who want to contribute to humankind and society through the important role of astronauts who create the future.

Application acceptance periodFrom December 20, 2021 (Monday) to March 4, 2022 (Friday)
Number of hiresMultiple
Application RequirementsPosted on the special site for recruiting astronaut candidates
https://astro-mission.jaxa.jp/astro_selection/item/Application.pdf
Selection result announcementThe final selection results will be announced around February 2023.

Epsilon Launches 9 Japanese Technology Demonstration Satellites

Epsilon launch (Credit: JAXA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched nine technology demonstration satellites on Tuesday, Nov. 9, aboard an Epsilon booster from the Uchinoura Space Center.

The payloads include a small satellite named RApid Innovative payload demonstration SatellitE-2 (RAISE-2), four microsatellites and four CubeSats that will demonstrate 14 technologies. The flight was done under JAXA’s Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program.

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Crew-2 Returns to Earth After Six Months on Space Station

Crew Dragon Endeavour under parachutes on Nov. 8, 2021. (Credit: NASA webcast)

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts splashed down at 10:33 p.m. EST in the Gulf of Mexico after 200 days in space.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) flew home aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. They launched to the International Space Station on April 23 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Endeavour completed its second trip to space. The spacecraft flew NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the space station on a demonstration mission in May 2020. The astronauts returned to Earth on Aug. 2, 2020 after a mission lasting 64 days.

SpaceX will launch the Crew-3 mission on Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and ESA astronaut Matthias Mauer will fly to ISS aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon. The launch is scheduled for 9:03 EST.

Crew-2 Return Delayed to Monday Due to Weather

The members of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station. Picture from left are NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission now is targeting a return to Earth no earlier than 10:33 p.m. EST Monday, Nov. 8, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 2:05 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, to begin the journey home. Mission teams decided to adjust the Sunday, Nov. 7, undocking following a planned weather review showing high winds unfavorable for recovery near the splashdown zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA will provide coverage of the mission on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Return to Earth on Sunday

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission now is targeting a return to Earth no earlier than 7:14 a.m. EST Monday, Nov. 8, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, to begin the journey home.

NASA will preview the mission on Saturday, Nov. 6 and provide coverage Sunday of the mission on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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NASA, SpaceX Reviewing Commercial Crew Rotation Plans

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON, November 4, 2021 (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX continue to review launch and return opportunities for the upcoming crew rotation flights to and from the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Mission teams now are considering whether to return the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission from the space station ahead of launching the next crew rotation due to the associated weather considerations for both launch and recovery operations. 

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CNES, JAXA Sign New Cooperation Agreement on Martian Moons Sample Return Mission

Martian Moons mission approaches Deimos. (Credit: JAXA/NHK)

PARIS (CNES PR) — CNES and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have signed an implementation arrangement covering cooperation activities in the field of flight dynamics and geodetic research as well as the French instrument MIRS (an infrared imaging spectrometer) as part of the Japanese MMX (Martian Moons eXploration) mission scheduled for launch in 2024.

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Crew Dragon Launch Delayed Due to Minor Medical Issue with Crew Member

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is delaying the upcoming launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission due to a minor medical issue involving one of its crew members. The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19. The launch to the International Space Station was planned for Wednesday, Nov. 3.

The agency takes every effort to protect the crew prior to its launch through a health stabilization plan. Crew-3 astronauts will remain in quarantine at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida while preparing for their launch.

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NASA Updates Coverage for SpaceX Crew-3 Launch to ISS

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA is updating its coverage of the upcoming launch and docking activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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Weather Delays Crew-3 Flight to Station to Nov. 3

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 1:10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Nov. 3, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station due to a large storm system meandering across the Ohio Valley and through northeastern United States this weekend, elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt.

Weather conditions along the ascent corridor are expected to improve for a Nov. 3 launch attempt, and the 45th Weather Squadron forecast predicts an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch site.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled for a long-duration science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew.

Launch Nov. 3 would have Crew-3 arriving at the space station later the same day about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, for a short handover with the astronauts that flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet are currently targeting return in early November. Crew-3 astronauts are set to return in late April 2022.

NASA, SpaceX Adjust Next Crew Launch Date to Space Station

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station to allow additional time for spacecraft processing. The backup launch time and date is 1:10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The international crew entered their official quarantine Oct. 16, and will travel to Kennedy in the coming days for final training and preparations prior to launch.

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled for a long-duration science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew. Launch on Oct. 31 would have Crew-3 arriving at the space station early on the morning of Monday, Nov. 1, for a short handover with the astronauts who flew to the station in April as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

With the Crew-3 launch date adjustment, return of Crew-2 with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, currently is planned for early November with splashdown of Crew Dragon Endeavour at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida.

JAXA Teams with NASA & Boeing to Validate Design of X-59 Low-boom Supersonic Demonstrator

Illustration of the completed X-59 QueSST landing on a runway. (Credits: Lockheed Martin)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has teamed up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Boeing Company (Boeing) on joint research to validate the low sonic-boom design of X-59, NASA’s low boom flight demonstrator.

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Updates on the Russian Challenge Mission to the Space Station

Credit: Roscosmos

Roscosmos Mission Updates

Challenge Mission Day 8
October 13

October 13, 2021, the International Space Station Russian segment is a major day: preparations for the return to Earth of the ‘Challenge’ scientific educational project crew. Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy continues preparations and training together with spaceflight participants for the upcoming landing of the Soyuz MS-18 Yuri Gagarin spacecraft.

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NASA Sets Landing Coverage for Russian Cosmonaut, Actress, Producer

Actress Yulia, Peresild, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, director Klim Shipenko and and backup crew member Alena Mordovina. (Credit: Roscosmos)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide complete coverage as three space travelers living aboard the International Space Station, including a Russian actress and her producer-director, return to Earth just after midnight on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos will be at the controls of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, flanked by Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko, for the spacecraft’s undocking from the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module Saturday, Oct. 16. The trio will make a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan a little more than three hours later, at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, Oct. 17.

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