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.
The countdown is on for NASA’s first attempt to deflect an asteroid — a test that could prove vital in the future should one pose a major threat to the Earth.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Mission (DART) mission is 48 days away from its collision with asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26. Edward Reynolds, DART program manager at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, gave a preview of the mission and the role a Cubesat will play in it during the Small Satellite 2022 conference in Logan, Utah.
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have commissioned an independent review to examine project and institutional issues that led to the Psyche mission missing its planned 2022 launch opportunity, and to review the mission’s path forward. The 15-member review board will be chaired by retired NASA official Tom Young and is slated to begin work on July 19.
The review will study factors of workforce environment, culture, communication, schedule, and both technical and programmatic risks. Results of this study will help inform a continuation/ termination review for the mission, as well as provide NASA and JPL with actionable information to reduce risk for other missions. The board is expected to brief their findings to NASA and JPL leadership in late September.
TUCSON, Ariz. (University of Arizona PR) — Asteroid Bennu, the target of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, led by the University of Arizona, kept surprising the mission team while the spacecraft studied the asteroid from a distance. The biggest surprise, however, came when OSIRIS-REx swooped in to grab a sample of material from Bennu and encountered not a solid surface but one that gave way so easily the sampler arm sank 1 1/2 feet into it within seconds.
From May 6 to June 16, NASA’s Lucy mission team carried out a multi-stage effort intended to further deploy the spacecraft’s unlatched solar array. The team commanded the spacecraft to operate the array’s deployment motor for limited periods of time, allowing them to closely monitor the response of the spacecraft. As a result of this effort, the mission succeeded in further deploying the array and now estimates that the solar array is between 353 degrees and 357 degrees open (out of 360 total degrees for a fully deployed array). Additionally, the array is under substantially more tension, giving it significantly more stabilization. The mission team is increasingly confident the solar array will successfully meet the mission’s needs in its current tensioned and stabilized state.
Further deployment attempts will be paused as the Lucy spacecraft enters a planned period of limited communications. Due to thermal constraints caused by the relative positions of the Earth, spacecraft, and Sun, the spacecraft will be unable to communicate with the Earth via its high-gain antenna for several months. Throughout this period, the spacecraft will remain in contact with Lucy’s ground team via its low-gain antenna. The spacecraft will emerge from this partial communications blackout after its Earth gravity assist maneuver on Oct 16. At that time, the mission team will have more opportunities to attempt further deployment efforts if deemed necessary.
On June 21, the spacecraft successfully carried out a trajectory correction maneuver, which is the second in a series of maneuvers to prepare the spacecraft for its Earth flyby.
From Director and MagellanTV Co-Founder Thomas Lucas, the New Feature’s Debut Lands on International Asteroid Day (June 30); Streamer Making Film Available to All for Limited Window
On Thursday, June 30, premium documentary streaming service MagellanTV will host the world premiere of Killer Asteroid: Defending Earth – a MagellanTV Original that investigates the history and probability of a catastrophic asteroid collision with Earth, and the pursuit of technological developments designed to defend our planet.
The new feature documentary’s June 30 premiere lands on International Asteroid Day, the United Nations-sanctioned day of public awareness on the risks of asteroid impacts. MagellanTV will also make Killer Asteroid available to non-subscribers for a limited window, beginning on Asteroid Day and ending on Sunday, July 3.
Killer Asteroid follows efforts by scientists to hunt, track, visit and project the future trajectories of near-earth asteroids, as well as new and continued developments in methods of deflecting or destroying incoming threats from neighboring celestial bodies. The documentary also chronicles our solar system’s most significant collision events, from the origin of the planets and their moons, to the impact that caused the greatest mass extinction event in Earth’s history.
Killer Asteroid was written and directed by MagellanTV Co-Founder Thomas Lucas and produced by Lucas alongside James Arthurs. The film is narrated by Matt Baker.
MagellanTV is an ad-free streaming service dedicated to premium documentary programming. Globally available, the service offers one of the deepest collections of factual content anywhere, with features and series encompassing science, history, true crime, biography, nature, the arts and a growing slate of 4k content. MagellanTV is available anytime, anywhere on your television, laptop, or mobile device. For more info, visit www.magellantv.com/featured.
LUXEMBOURG, 21 June 2021 (Asteroid Foundation PR) – The Asteroid Foundation’s annual Asteroid Day LIVE programme returns in person Thursday 30 June 2022 at 11:00 CET [5 a.m. EDT/09:00 UTC]. After two years as a digital event, astronauts, experts and science communicators from across the world will again converge on Luxembourg to discuss the importance of asteroid research, missions, and advances in space-based technologies. The four-hour-long programme will vividly bring the solar system’s smallest worlds to life for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Asteroid Day LIVE 2022 will be built around seven panel discussions that will tell the full story of asteroids; from the formation of the Solar System, 4.6 billion years ago, to the scientific work taking place today, and our future prospects as we begin to imagine ways to utilise the resources asteroids contain.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announced Friday the Psyche asteroid mission, the agency’s first mission designed to study a metal-rich asteroid, will not make its planned 2022 launch attempt.
Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft’s flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on Oct. 11. The mission team needs more time to ensure that the software will function properly in flight.
The nanosatellite will support the European Space Agency’s Hera Mission
TURIN, Italy (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) — Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries, today announced its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tyvak International SRL, has together with its partners, achieved full Critical Design Review of the Milani spacecraft. A critical component of the Hera planetary defense mission, Milani will be the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first deep-space nanosatellite. Milani will also be the first nanosatellite ever to orbit an asteroid. Tyvak International is responsible for Milani’s design, build, and mission operations. In this exploration, Tyvak International is joined by an excellent consortium of European industries and research centers from Finland, Czech Republic, and Italy.
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.
A joint-letter in Support of NEO Surveyor National Space Society The Planetary Society
As part of our ongoing support for the asteroid-hunting space telescope NEO Surveyor, The Planetary Society recently partnered with the National Space Society to urge Congress to reject cuts to this critical mission.
The project is facing a $130 million cut from its planned FY 2023 budget, which would seriously delay and disrupt the mission.
This letter to Congress reflects the high regard for NEO Surveyor shared by the two largest member-supported space organizations in the world.
PARIS (ESA PR) — A key element of ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence has left the facilities of its manufacturer OHB in Bremen – a major step in preparation for its eventual odyssey to the Didymos asteroid system.
The mission’s Propulsion Module flight model, seen here, has been delivered to Avio, southeast of Rome, where propellant tanks, thrusters and associated pipes and valves will be integrated with it. The fully equipped Propulsion Module is what will take Hera on its 26-month trek through deep space to the main Didymos asteroid and its smaller Dimorphos companion.
On 26 September this year Dimorphos will become the very first Solar System body to have its orbit altered by human action in a measurable way, when NASA’s DART spacecraft impacts with it. When Hera arrives at the asteroid in December 2026 the spacecraft will perform a detailed post-crash investigation, assessing the mass and make-up of Dimorphos and measuring the crater left by DART’s impact, helping to validate kinetic impact as a workable planetary defence method.
Meanwhile Hera’s other half, the Core Module, is also taking shape at OHB in Bremen. The Core Module will carry all the mission’s scientific instruments as well as on-board computer and other subsystems. The spacecraft will be completed when these two halves are eventually joined together, ahead of Hera’s planned launch in October 2024.