Ukraine may become part of the European Space Agency, and Rogozin threatens the Mask: News Digest

Selection of space news for breakfast: Astronomers have revealed the secret of the Martian frost, and SpaceX is confident that people will land on Mars before the end of the decade. Meanwhile, NASA wants to close the SOFIA Stratospheric Observatory.

Ukraine poised to join ESA and REPLACE ‘excluded’ Russia in space missions

Our country has a lot to offer Europe in the field of space industry — the country has created a ground infrastructure and has long been a major manufacturer of rockets, launch vehicles and other space equipment.

The coordinator of EOS Data Analytics space projects, Dr. Natalia Borotkanych, stated: “Space is becoming a political arena, and Europe is striving to gain space autonomy and become a leading player in the space industry. As one of the space states and with a significant history, Ukraine can help Europe ensure its security with the help of space technologies. This is especially true when you consider that Russia was excluded from international programs, and Ukraine could replace Russia in some efforts”.

Ingenuity in contact with Perseverance after communications dropout

Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory received confirmation that the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter had re-established communications with the Perseverance rover. Earlier, the rotorcraft had missed a planned communications session with the rover – for the first time in over a year of operations on the Mars surface.

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Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson soars in zero gravity during the launch of Unity 22 on SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity on July 11, 2021. (Source: Virgin Galactic)

Telesat to order 100 fewer satellites for LEO constellation

Increasing costs and delays have forced Telesat to downsize plans for 298 low Earth orbit satellites by a third to keep within its USD 5 billion budget. The Canadian satellite operator plans to order just 188 satellites plus 10 in-orbit spares from Thales Alenia Space, Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg said during the company’s May 6 earnings call.

Virgin Galactic pushes 1st planned commercial passenger flight to 2023

Aspiring space tourists will need to wait a little longer before soaring into suborbital space with Virgin Galactic.  Virgin Galactic announced that commercial passenger service will be pushed back a quarter to the first three months of 2023, “due to supply chain and labor constraints.”

China prepares to launch Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft

The combination of the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft and a Long March-7 Y5 carrier rocket has been transferred to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said Saturday. TheBeijing said the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft will be launched in the near future at an appropriate time.

Momentus receives approvals for first tug launch

In-space transportation company Momentus has secured all the regulatory approvals for its first mission, set to launch later this month.

Momentus announced it passed a payload review by the Federal Aviation Administration required for the commercial launch of its orbital transfer vehicle on SpaceX’s Transporter-5 mission, scheduled for launch in late May from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Japanese radar constellation iQPS selects Virgin Orbit for 2023 launch

Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), a leading satellite launch provider, reports the signing of a launch services agreement with Japanese earth observation constellation operator Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (“iQPS”). The satellite is expected to join Virgin Orbit’s manifest for early 2023.


SOFIA Stratospheric Observatory. Source: NASA

NASA defends decision to shut down SOFIA

NASA officials say they believe the latest effort to shut down an airborne observatory is more likely to be successful. The Aerospace Agency’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal called for shutting down the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a Boeing 747 with a 2.7-meter infrared telescope mounted in its fuselage.

Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin apparently threatens Elon Musk

Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin has apparently threatened Elon Musk for supplying Starlink stations to the Ukrainian marines and “militants of the Nazi Azov battalion”. But the SpaceX founder and CEO doesn’t seem too bothered. “If I die under mysterious circumstances, it’s been nice knowin ya,” he wrote on Twitter, hinting at the realization of the threat. On the statement about the “Nazi Azov battalion” Musk replied that the word “Nazi” does not mean what Rogozin thinks.

SpaceX president says humans will make it to Mars this decade

Gwynne Shotwell told on Saturday that humanity will touch the ground on the Red Planet before the end of the 2020s. In her opinion, people will get to Mars aboard the SpaceX spacecraft. Starship is designed to be the first reusable spacecraft that will be able to take crew and cargo to the Moon and Mars before returning to Earth and it is so advanced that it supposedly has got the competition worried.

Mars Odyssey Reveals the Mystery of Frost Hiding on Mars

A new study based on data from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft may explain why Martian frost may be invisible to the naked eye, as well as the mechanism of dust avalanches.Having studied the images of the THEMIS camera, which is installed on board the Mars Odyssey and regularly takes thermal images of the Martian surface, astronomers noticed a discrepancy. In the photo, the Martian frost occupies a much larger area than in the images taken in the visible range. Frost often covers even those areas where nothing is visible in other photos at all. After a thorough study of the data, scientists have suggested that the device observes a “dirty frost”: a mixture of dry ice and small dust particles that darken it in visible light, but not in the infrared range.

Read also: American satellites are not afraid of Russian weapons, and James Webb exceeded all expectations: News Digest

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