New Water Map of Mars will Prove Invaluable for Future Exploration

Mars global map of hydrated minerals. [Credit: ESA/Mars Express (OMEGA) and NASA/Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (CRISM)]

PARIS (ESA PR) — A new map of Mars is changing the way we think about the planet’s watery past, and showing where we should land in the future.

The map shows mineral deposits across the planet and has been painstakingly created over the last decade using data from ESA’s Mars Express Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activité (OMEGA) instrument and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument.

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Artemis I Carries the Future of NASA with It

The Space Launch System rocket fairing with ESA and NASA logos on the launchpad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The new ESA logo and NASA’s ‘worm’ logo will be along for the ride on the first full mission of the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Of the six launches known to be scheduled to close out August, there’s only one – Artemis I — that truly matters in any real sense. The others will be duly recorded but little remembered in what could be the busiest launch year in human history.

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The Upcoming Week in Launches: Artemis I and Some Other Ones

Artemis I rocket rolls out to the launch pad for a wet dress rehearsal on June 6, 2022. (Credit: NASA)

The Wikipedia orbital launch page lists six launches to close out August. The big one, of course, is NASA’s Artemis I mission next Monday. The others, not so momentous but still worth listing.

Disclaimer: This schedule is subject to change without notice. Parabolic Arc takes no responsibility for delays, changes, additions or what have you. And, as always, no wagering.

Tuesday, August 23

Launch Vehicle: Long March 11
Launch Site: Xichang Satellite Launch Center
Launch Company: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)
Payload: TBA

Wednesday, August 24

Launch Vehicle: Long March 2D 
Launch Site: Taiyuan Xichang Satellite Launch Center
Launch Company: CASC
Payload: TBA

Saturday, August 27

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Vandenberg Space Force Base
Launch Company: SpaceX
Payloads: 46 Starlink broadband satellites
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Sunday, August 28

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Launch Company: SpaceX
Payloads: 53 Starlink broadband satellites
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Monday, August 29

Launch Vehicle: Space Launch System Block 1
Launch Site: Kennedy LC-39B
Launch Window: 8:33-10:33 a.m. EDT (12:33-14:33 UTC)
Launching Agency: NASA
Payloads: Orion spacecraft and 10 secondary payloads
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Artemis I Secondary Payloads

SatelliteOrganizationOrbitPurpose
ArgoMoonItalian Space AgencyHeliocentricSpacecraft will demonstrate capacity of CubeSats to conduct precise maneuvers in deep space by providing detailed images of the SLS’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage 
BioSentinelNASAHeliocentricSpacecraft will use budding yeast to detect, measure, and compare the impact of deep space radiation on DNA repair
CuSP NASAHeliocentricSpace weather measurements
EQUULEUSUniversity of TokyoEarth-moon L26U CubeSat will measure the distribution of plasma around Earth
LunaH-MapNASASelenocentricLunar polar orbiter will search for evidence of frozen water deposits
Lunar IceCubeNASASelenocentricLunar orbiter will search for frozen water deposits
LunIRLockheed Martin SpaceHeliocentricDemonstration technology to collect surface spectroscopy and thermography
Near-Earth Asteroid ScoutNASAHeliocentricTechnology demonstration of solar sail to rendezvous with asteroid
OMOTENASHIJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)SelenocentricSmallest vehicle to attempt lunar lander
Team MilesFluid and Reason, LLCHeliocentricTechnology demonstration of plasma thrusters

Late August       

Launch Vehicle: Kuaizhou 1A
Launch Site: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Launch Company: ExPace
Payloads: Centispace-1 S3 and Centispace-1 S4 navigation satellites

New Roscosmos GD Says Russia to Leave ISS Program After 2024

Russian Orbital Service Station (Credit: Roscosmos)

The new head of Roscosmos says that Russia will leave the International Space Station program after 2024. The Associated Press reports:

Yuri Borisov, appointed this month to lead the state space agency, Roscosmos, said during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that Russia will fulfill its obligations to its partners before it leaves.

“The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made,” Borisov said, adding: “I think that by that time we will start forming a Russian orbiting station.”

Borisov’s statement reaffirmed previous declarations by Russian space officials about Moscow’s intention to leave the space station after 2024 when the current international arrangements for its operation end.

Roscosmos previously announced that it would build the Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS) after it leaves ISS.

Russia keeps the station supplied with crews and cargo via Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, respectively. Progress resupply ships raise the station’s orbit and maneuvers the facility to avoid space debris. The Russian section of ISS is about one quarter of the orbiting laboratory.

The United States wants to keep the station operating until 2030. It wants U.S. industry to develop private space stations later in the 2020’s on which the space agency could become a tenant.

ISS is a partnership of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The four space agencies are partners in the NASA-led Artemis program that plans to return astronauts to the surface of the moon later in this decade.

NASA ISS Program Director Robyn Gatens said the space agency has received no formal notice about Russia withdrawing from the program during an appearance at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

JAXA & Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance to Cooperate on Developing Space Travel Insurance Business

TOKYO (JAXA/Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. PR) –– Sumitomo Mitsui Marine Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. (President: Shinichiro Funabuchi) of MS & AD Insurance Group and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA, Chairman: Hiroshi Yamakawa) aim to create space-related businesses with new ideas. Under the framework of “JAXA Space Innovation Partnership (J-SPARC)”, we started co-creation activities related to “Space Travel Insurance Business” in July 2022.

Details of co-creation activities

Currently, insurance for space travel is not yet in full swing. The reason is none other than the small number of space travelers. Under such circumstances, 2021 was called the “first year of space travel,” and for the first time in history, the number of space travelers exceeded the number of professional astronauts. Now that space travel by various means has been realized or proposed, space travel insurance that meets the needs is required. Sumitomo Mitsui Marine and JAXA are co-creating activities related to “product development of space travel insurance” and “support for expanding the space travel market”, and by creating and disseminating the “space travel insurance” that is now needed. It adds peace of mind to space travel and contributes to the expansion of humankind’s economic sphere.

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Fujitsu Conducts Successful Large-scale Electromagnetic Wave Simulations for Space industry, Urban Transport Use Cases with Solution for HPC Cloud

Figure 1 XRISM Satellite and radio intensity calculation results. (Credit: Fujitsu)

Field trials including Japan’s national space agency JAXA and communications in an urban traffic context leverage the power of the supercomputer Fugaku

TOKYO, July 21, 2022 (Fujitsu PR) — Fujitsu today announced that it conducted successful large-scale electromagnetic wave simulations for a series of use cases in different industries using a cloud-based application for the supercomputer Fugaku(1).

Fujitsu envisions that this new analysis solution will help address issues related to electromagnetic interference between electronic components and communications equipment for customers in the space and urban transportation fields. To demonstrate its capabilities, Fujitsu conducted simulations for use cases in these two fields from January to March 2022 and confirmed the effectiveness of the analysis solution as a cloud service between April and July 2022.

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77 Launches Conducted During First Half of 2022 as Access to Orbit Expanded

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites while the Dragon that will carry Crew-4 to the International space Station awaits its turn. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.

A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

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NASA, Roscosmos Complete Seat Swap on Flights to ISS

The space station is viewed from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon during its automated approach before docking. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — To ensure continued safe operations of the International Space Station (station), protect the lives of astronauts, and ensure continuous U.S. presence in space, NASA will resume integrated crews on U.S. crew spacecraft and the Russian Soyuz with the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos.

Flying integrated crews ensures there are appropriately trained crew members on board the station for essential maintenance and spacewalks. It also protects against contingencies such as a problem with any crew spacecraft, serious crew medical issues, or an emergency aboard the station that requires a crew and the vehicle they are assigned to return to Earth sooner than planned.

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Franco-Japanese Space Cooperation Focused on Exploration, Earth Observation and Next-gen Launchers

Simulation of the MMX Rover on Phobos. (Credit: DLR)

PARIS (CNES PR) — The week of June 27, 2022, on the occasion of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the French space agency at the French Embassy in Japan, the President and CEO of CNES, Philippe Baptiste, met with Takayuki Kobayashi, Minister of Economic Security, in charge of Japan’s space policy, and Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA. This visit contributed to confirming Japan as one of CNES’s leading international partners, allowing discussions on current projects and cooperation prospects.

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JAXA & Dentsu Group Start Co-creation of Supply and Demand Business Utilizing Artificial Satellite Data

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Dentsu Group, Inc. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Hiroshi Igarashi, hereafter Dentsu Group) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Headquarters: Chofu City, Tokyo, Chairman: Hiroshi Yamakawa, hereafter JAXA) Under the Innovation Partnership (J-SPARC) (*1), we have started co-creation activities to create demand and optimize supply and demand through the sophistication of advertising by utilizing artificial satellite data.

Artificial satellite data has been used to increase the yield of agricultural products and predict the harvest time in the agricultural field, but there was a problem that the data was lost due to the influence of the weather and it was difficult to analyze. This initiative conducts technical research to solve the problem, and uses that information to adjust the timing of advertising placement according to the sales time of agricultural products and related products, in real time for sales and advertising measures. By reflecting this, we aim to actively create demand and optimize supply and demand. This new use case is expected to further expand the use of satellite data.

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JAXA Narrows Down Astronaut Candidates

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has conducted the 0th selection test on 2,266 people who have passed the document selection of astronaut candidates, and as a result, the successful candidates have been determined as follows.

Number of successful applicants for the 0th selection: 205

(reference)

  • 188 males (91.7%), 17 females (8.3%)
  • Number of people who passed the English test in the 0th selection 1,407
    Male 1,113 (79.1%), Female 292 (20.8%), 2 selected others (0.1%)

○ Future plans

  • First selection: July 18th (Monday / holiday) – August 9th (Tuesday), 2022
     * Scheduled to be distributed in Japan (including online implementation)
  • Second selection: Late October to early November 2022
     * Scheduled to be held in Japan (JAXA Tsukuba Space Center, JAXA Tokyo Office, etc.)

Please see the application guidelines for the details of the selection process.

Breakdown of astronaut candidates by age group who passed the 0th selection

Successful applicants for the 0th selection(Reference) Successful applicants for document selection(Reference) Applicants
Total number2052,2664,127
20s or younger61 (29.8%)483 (21.3%)811 (19.7%)
30s107 (52.2%)1,084 (47.8%)1,850 (44.8%)
Forties31 (15.1%)513 (22.6%)973 (23.6%)
50s6 (2.9%)163 (7.2%)424 (10.3%)
60s and over0 (0.0%)23 (1.0%)69 (1.7%)

* Since the composition ratio is rounded to the first decimal place, the total is not necessarily 100.

Asteroid Ryugu May Have Originated From a Comet Nucleus that Contained Amino Acids Needed for Life on Earth

Asteroid Ryugu with north polar boulder (Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Sample analysis of material returned from asteroid Ryugu through the efforts of the Hayabusa2 Project Team are being carried out by the Hayabusa2 Initial Analysis Team, which consists of 6 sub-teams, and two Phase-2 curation institutions, Okayama University and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research. This paper summarises research results from the Okayama University Phase-2 curation that was published in the Proceedings of the Japan Academy on June 10, 2022.

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Comet Chaser Mission Moves From Blueprint to Reality

Artist’s impression of Comet Interceptor mission. (Credit: Geraint Jones, UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory)

MADRID, Spain (ESA PR) — A new European Space Agency science mission, proposed by the UK, to 3D-map a comet for the first time has reached a major milestone.

The Comet Interceptor mission was formally adopted by the European Space Agency (ESA) at a meeting in Madrid today (Wednesday, 8 June 2022), moving from the design phase to implementation, with the next step to select a contractor to build the spacecraft and a robotic probe.

Due for launch in 2029, it will see one main spacecraft and two robotic probes – the other built by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) – travel to an as-yet unidentified comet and map it in three dimensions.

Caroline Harper, Head of Space Science at the UK Space Agency, said:

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New Company Established: Sony Space Communications Corporation

Will conduct space optical communications business

Graphic representation of the difference in data rates between radio and laser communications. (Credits: NASA)

NEW YORK (Sony PR) — Sony Group Corporation (“Sony Group”) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America (“SCA”), has formed a new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (“SSC”), to conduct space optical communications.

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President Biden: NASA to Welcome Japanese Astronaut Aboard Gateway

Artemis Gateway orbiting the moon. (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (NASA PR) — President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Tokyo Monday where they announced progress on collaboration for human and robotic lunar missions. They confirmed their commitment to include a Japanese astronaut aboard the lunar Gateway outpost and their shared ambition to see a future Japanese astronaut land on the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. 

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