samedi 24 septembre 2022

Apollo 16 - John W. Young’s Lunar Salute


NASA - Apollo 16 Mission patch.

Sep 24, 2022

Astronaut John W. Young, commander of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, leaps from the Moon's surface as he salutes the United States flag at the Descartes landing site during the first Apollo 16 spacewalk. Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, took this picture on April 21, 1972. The Lunar Module Orion is on the left and beside it is the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Behind Young, in the shadow of Orion, is the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph.

Young and Duke conducted three surface excursions totaling more than 20 hours, using the Lunar Roving Vehicle for transportation. They deployed an experiment package, collected 209 pounds of rock and soil samples, and set up the first telescope on the Moon.

Related links:

Apollo 16:

Earth's Moon:

NASA History:

Image Credit: NASA/Text Credits: NASA/Monika Luabeya.

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Artemis I Managers Wave Off Sept. 27 Launch, Preparing for Rollback


NASA - ARTEMIS 1 Mission patch.

Sept. 24, 2022

NASA is foregoing a launch opportunity Tuesday, Sept. 27, and preparing for rollback, while continuing to watch the weather forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian. During a meeting Saturday morning, teams decided to stand down on preparing for the Tuesday launch date to allow them to configure systems for rolling back the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Engineers deferred a final decision about the roll to Sunday, Sept. 25, to allow for additional data gathering and analysis. If Artemis I managers elect to roll back, it would begin late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Artemis 1 rollback to VAB. Image Credit: NASA

The agency is taking a step-wise approach to its decision making process to allow the agency to protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families while also protecting for the option to press ahead with another launch opportunity in the current window if weather predictions improve. NASA continues to rely on the most up to date information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Space Force, and the National Hurricane Center.

Artemis I Mission Availability

Related articles:

Artemis Cryogenic Demonstration Test Concludes, All Objectives Met

Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test on Track for Wednesday

NASA Adjusts Dates for Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test and Launch; Progress at Pad Continues

Repair Work Underway, Preparations Continue for Next Launch Opportunity

ARTEMIS 1 - Teams Continue to Review Options for Next Attempt, Prepare to Replace Seal

NASA to Stand Down on Artemis I Launch Attempts in Early September, Reviewing Options

Artemis I Launch Attempt Scrubbed (Again)

Second try for the Artemis I Moon flight

Engineers Assess Data After Scrub, Mission Managers to Meet Tuesday Afternoon

ARTEMIS 1 - Launch Attempt Scrubbed

Related links:

Artemis I:

Space Launch System (SLS):

Orion spacecraft:

European Service Module (ESM):

Image (mentioned), Text, Credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Rachel Kraft.


vendredi 23 septembre 2022

New Crew Adjusts to Life on Station as Maintenance, Research Continue


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

September 23, 2022

Three International Space Station crew members are getting used to life on orbit as another set of crewmates gets ready to return to Earth after a six-month mission in space. In the meantime, orbital maintenance to ensure the station remains in tip-top shape and microgravity research to improve life for humans on and off the Earth are continuously ongoing.

The newest crew members aboard the orbiting lab, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, are starting their station orientation and familiarization activities. The trio will be reviewing a host of station systems, lab hardware, and safety procedures over the next few days to adjust to living and working in weightlessness over 250 miles above the Earth.

Image above: The Soyuz MS-22 crew ship was photographed from the space station ascending into orbit with three crew members during a sunset 263 miles above Asia. Image Credit: NASA.

They are replacing current Expedition 67 crew members Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov, who have been aboard the station since March 18. The outgoing crew will complete their mission at the end of the month when they board the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship, undock from the Prichal module, reenter Earth’s atmosphere, and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.

Artemyev, the station commander, will hand over leadership responsibilities to ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti before he departs. The traditional Change of Command ceremony will be seen live on NASA TV, the agency’s app, and its website beginning at 9:35 a.m. on Sept. 28.

Image above: From bottom to top, the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship is docked to the Prichal docking module, which is also attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. The International Space Station was orbiting 266 miles above the Indian Ocean west of Australia at the time this photograph was taken on May 16, 2022. Image Credit: NASA.

Cristoforetti began the last day of the workweek checking food inventory and moving food packs from the Unity module to the Permanent Multipurpose Module. She later worked on U.S. spacesuit pressure relief valves before assisting Rubio with his space adaptation tasks. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren also helped Rubio adjust to life on the station during the morning. Lindgren then checked spacewalk tool batteries, organized cargo in the Kibo laboratory module, and finally inspected the ventilation system inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

Human research and space physics wrapped up the science schedule for a pair of astronauts going into the weekend. NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines strapped sensors to himself Friday morning and pedaled on an exercise cycle to monitor how microgravity affects his aerobic capacity. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins continued her physics research peering at foam microstructures not possible in Earth’s gravity through the KERMIT microscope to improve space research and down-to-Earth commercial opportunities.

Related article:

NASA to Provide Live Coverage of Space Station Crew Activities

Related links:


Expedition 67:

Prichal module:

Unity module:

Permanent Multipurpose Module:

Kibo laboratory module:

U.S. Destiny laboratory module:

Exercise cycle:

Aerobic capacity:

Foam microstructures:

KERMIT microscope:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards,

What You Need to Know about NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission


SpaceX - Dragon Crew-5 Mission patch.

Sep 23, 2022

NASA and SpaceX once again are gearing up to launch crew on an American rocket and spacecraft to the International Space Station to perform science, technology demonstrations, and maintenance activities aboard the microgravity laboratory.

Image above: From left are crew members of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission – Anna Kikina, mission specialist; Josh Cassada, pilot; Nicole Mann, spacecraft commander; and Koichi Wakata, mission specialist – shown inside the crew access arm at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Image Credit: SpaceX.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 will launch astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, astronaut Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and cosmonaut Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The international crew of four will fly aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft and will launch on a new Falcon 9 booster to the orbiting laboratory to spend up to six months at the space station before returning to Earth.

The flight is the fifth crew rotation mission with SpaceX to station, and the sixth flight of Dragon with people as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Crew

This will be Mann’s first spaceflight since becoming an astronaut in 2013. As mission commander, she will be responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. She will serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer aboard the station.

Mann was born in Petaluma, California, and will be the first indigenous woman from NASA in space. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from Stanford University. She is a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet.

This will also be Cassada’s first flight since his selection as an astronaut in 2013. As pilot, he will be responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Aboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer.

Cassada grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and is a physicist and U.S. Navy test pilot. Prior to becoming a naval aviator, Cassada earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Albion College and a doctorate at the University of Rochester, conducting experimental high energy physics research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Wakata will be making his fifth trip to space and as a mission specialist he will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. Once aboard the station, he will be a flight engineer for Expedition 68. With Crew-5’s launch, Dragon will be the third different type of spacecraft that Wakata has flown to space.

Kikina will be making her first trip to space, and will serve as a mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She will be a flight engineer for Expedition 68.

Mission Overview

Lifting off from Launch Pad 39A on a Falcon 9 rocket, Dragon Endurance will accelerate its four passengers to approximately 17,500 mph, putting it on an intercept course with the International Space Station.

Once in orbit, the crew and SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, will monitor a series of automatic maneuvers that will guide Crew-5 to the forward end of the station’s Harmony module. After several maneuvers to gradually raise its orbit, Endurance will be in position to rendezvous and dock with its new home in orbit. The spacecraft is designed to dock autonomously, but the crew can take control and pilot manually, if necessary.

After docking, Crew-5 will be welcomed inside the station by the seven-member crew of Expedition 68. The astronauts of NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 mission will undock from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida several days after Crew-5's arrival.

SpaceX Crew Dragon docking to International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: SpaceX

Crew-5 will conduct new and exciting scientific research in areas including cardiac to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.

Experiments will include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon, and better understanding heart disease. These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.

- The BioFabrication Facility (BFF) is a steppingstone in a long-term plan to manufacture whole human organs in space. In 2019, it arrived at the space station, where it successfully printed a partial human knee meniscus and a large volume of human heart cells. It returned to Earth in 2020 for maintenance and upgrades, including new temperature-controlled printheads that will allow the use of bioink formulations that were not possible in the previous BFF configuration. The BFF will return to the space station in the fall of 2022, and will continue testing the in-orbit manufacture of cardiac and orthopedic tissue and start a new program aimed at testing the manufacturing of vasculature in space.

- As we design space systems such as lunar rovers, life support systems, and fuel tanks to support future exploration missions, it is critical to understand and be able to predict how liquids behave in low gravity environments. The Liquid Behavior investigation will study how liquids move in a container in simulated lunar gravity to generate data that can be used to improve lunar rover designs.

- Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Heart stem cells could provide a sustainable source of cells to treat heart disease, and to act as a cell source for drug discovery and safety testing back on Earth. Microgravity may hold the key to increasing stem cell production, improving cell viability, and accelerating the maturation of heart stem cells. The Project EAGLE investigation will study how spaceflight affects properties of heart muscle cells derived from stem cells in an aim to establish a functional heart tissue model that mimics heart disease and can be used to test new drugs.

During their stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, Crew-5 will see the arrival of cargo spacecraft including the SpaceX Dragon and the Northrop Grumman Cygnus in the fall.

At the conclusion of the mission, Dragon Endurance will autonomously undock with the four crew members aboard, depart the space station and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. After splashdown just off Florida’s coast, a SpaceX recovery vessel will pick up the crew and bring it back to shore.

Commercial crew missions enable NASA to maximize use of the International Space Station, where astronauts have lived and worked continuously for more than 21 years testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to operate future commercial destinations in low-Earth orbit and explore farther from Earth. With Artemis, NASA will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future human exploration of Mars. Inspiring the next generation of explorers – the Artemis Generation – ensures America will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.

Related links:

Commercial Crew:

Expedition 68:

BioFabrication Facility (BFF):

Liquid Behavior:

Project EAGLE:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/James Cawley.


Smartphone chips flown in orbit for space weather monitoring


ESA - RadCube Mission patch.

Sept. 23, 2022

Magnetic technology more typically found in your smartphone or computer hard drive has been flight-tested aboard a shoebox-sized satellite, employed to help monitor space weather in Earth orbit. The ‘magnetoresistive’ magnetometer design proven by ESA’s RadCube mission will now be flown on the Gateway station, set to orbit around the Moon.

RadCube reaches out

“We flew a pair of three-axis sensors employing magnetoresistive chips aboard RadCube, one in the body of the nanosatellite and one at the end of an 80-cm boom developed by Astronika in Poland, which allows it to escape any magnetic noise from RadCube itself,” explains Jonathan Eastwood from Imperial College London in the UK.

RadCube CubeSat

“Known as MAGIC, these sensors are an order of magnitude smaller than the traditional science magnetometers that our team produces for ESA’s planetary missions such as Solar Orbiter and the Juice mission to Jupiter, but they have still proven capable of reaching the ESA-set performance standards for space weather monitoring. The outboard sensor operated for the first six months of RadCube’s orbital life while the inboard sensor is still returning data to this day.”

RadCube boom deployment test

Magnetic chips made ready for space

Magnetoresistive chips are small, solid state, circuits that are mass produced for terrestrial markets, whose electrical resistance depends on the local magnetic field. They are commonplace inside smartphones for instance, used to identify magnetic north to help the phone to fix its orientation, and within the heads of hard drives, from where they read magnetically-etched computer memory.

MAGIC sensor

Dr Eastwood adds: “The classical ‘fluxgate’ magnetometer instruments we manufacture for large-scale ESA missions are rings of magnetically sensitive material wrapped in wire, analog in nature, but capable of exquisite magnetic measurements. However these magnetometers have set minimum size, mass and power levels, and the electronics box that controls them is almost as big as the entire RadCube nanosatellite.

“The MAGIC sensor by contrast is based on magnetoresistive chips we simply bought over the counter, and then boosted their performance for space. What we did was screen the samples to make sure we selected the very best chips for the sensor, while also designing bespoke control electronics to maximise their operating performance. The result is a miniature, low cost sensor that can be flown on many different platforms, such as a small satellite constellation monitoring space weather, or mini-landers onto planets or asteroids.

In-orbit demonstration

“The final step was to actually test MAGIC’s performance in space, which was made possible via the ‘Fly’ element of ESA’s General Support Technology Programme, supporting a wide variety of small satellites and CubeSats to give the European space sector plentiful opportunities for early in-orbit demonstration of new space technology.”

RadCube during ground testing

CubeSats are satellites assembled from standardised 10-cm boxes. RadCube is a ‘3-unit’ CubeSat, launched in August 2021 on ESA’s Vega launcher. Tasked with demonstrating miniaturised payloads for space weather monitoring, its development was led for ESA by C3S in Hungary who also provided their new CubeSat platform, along with the country’s Centre for Energy Research contributing its payload controller and a radiation telescope. An ESA team contributed the latest in the Chimera family of payloads, testing commercial-off-the-shelf computer components for space.

Dr Eastwood notes: “We realised MAGIC was a good fit for the RadCube mission, and the UK Space Agency agreed to fund us via GSTP. The energetic particles that the rest of the RadCube payload measures spiral around and along the Earth’s magnetic field lines to the CubeSat’s orbit, so having magnetic field measurements puts these radiation measurements in context, giving a much better overall picture of what is going on.”

Testing for Space Safety

ESA’s Space Safety programme is leading the development of operational space weather monitoring, because solar-wind-driven perturbations in Earth’s magnetic field can have a variety of effects on Earth and space infrastructure, including satellites in orbit and communications and power lines on the ground. In 1989, famously, the Canadian province of Quebec suffered an extended blackout after elements of its power grid were affected by induced currents.

Planetary-scale space weather

“We took the ESA standard for space weather observations and used that to set our operating requirements, and the good news is that MAGIC met them,” comments Dr Eastwood. “We also had the opportunity to compare MAGIC data with those of one of our traditional fluxgate magnetometers when ESA’s Solar Orbiter came back to Earth’s vicinity during a flyby, helping it on its way towards the inner Solar System.

Solar Orbiter flyby of Earth

“We have also been cross-comparing with ESA’s magnetic-field-measuring Swarm satellites, and looking into how magnetoresistive sensors in the future might be used to extend the reach of Swarm measurements.”

Orbital extremes

The outboard sensor ceased functioning earlier this year, probably due to the wide temperature extremes experienced on the end of the boom throughout  RadCube’s polar low-Earth orbit, with daytime to nighttime shifts every 90 minutes involving thermal cycling of up to 100°C. Knowledge of the failure is guiding the design of future MAGIC iterations. The inboard sensor remains operational, although its measurements are dominated by the magnetic environment of RadCube itself, when artificial sources of magnetic field such as the reaction wheels of the attitude control system are operating.

RadCube launch

“We’re increasingly confident that the inboard sensor can meaningfully measure external geomagnetic events,” adds Dr Eastwood. “RadCube operations have been adapted to fly the satellite in as magnetically quiet a state as possible when the magnetometer is operated to minimize the noise, and also it might be possible to apply machine learning to clean its data to get to the external variations we’re most interested in.”

Roger Walker, overseeing ESA’s technology CubeSats, adds: “It is a real advantage of in-orbit demonstrations aboard comparatively quick and cheap missions using CubeSat platforms that researchers get to experiment with new technologies before they might be used operationally on a big flagship mission, where risk is kept as low as possible.”

Magnetic Moon exploration

Now that MAGIC has been proven in low-Earth orbit, the same sensor will be headed for cislunar space as part of the European Radiation Sensors Array, an ESA-supported ‘space weather station’ for the Gateway station in lunar orbit.


Jonathan Eastwood explains: “The Gateway itself will be a magnetically noisy environment, but we should be able to detect the weaker magnetic signature of the solar wind and the deep ‘magnetotail’ of Earth’s magnetic field, through which the station will pass once per month, helping assess the safety of the orbital environment for its human crews."

General Support Technology Programme

ESA’s optional GSTP works with European industry to progress new technologies to the stage where they are ready for space and the open market. At ESA’s Council of Ministers this November, CM22, the Agency will propose the extension of GSTP in support of European competitiveness and autonomy.

Related links:


Imperial College London:

Solar Orbiter:

Juice mission to Jupiter:

ESA’s General Support Technology Programme:


Centre for Energy Research:

UK Space Agency:

ESA’s Space Safety programme:

ESA’s technology CubeSats:

ESA-supported ‘space weather station’:

Gateway station:


Images, Animations, Video, Text, Credits: ESA/C3S LLC/Imperial College London/CNES/Arianespace/JM Guillon.


Space Station Science Highlights: Week of September 19, 2022


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

Sep 23, 2022

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations during the week of Sept. 19 that included testing automation of spacecraft maintenance and repair functions as well as demonstration of two technologies for controlling small spacecraft and robots.

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place aboard the orbiting lab:

Automating spacecraft maintenance

AMO-EXPRESS 2.5 tests using decision support software to automate some spacecraft maintenance and repair activities. On future space exploration such as a mission to Mars, significant time delays in communications between space and ground mean that crew members must perform many tasks without assistance from mission control. Automation and decision support software to guide astronauts through complex activities could not only address this issue, but also reduce the time it takes to perform tasks. This technology is in widespread use on Earth and demonstrating its use in space could lead to improvements for ground-based applications. Crew members performed a session that simulated commanding of one of the station’s EXPRESS racks during the week.

Image above: NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins look out from a window on the space station’s cupola. Crew members use the seven-windowed cupola to monitor the arrival of spaceships at the orbiting lab and view the Earth below. Image Credit: NASA.

Guiding robots

Two investigations under way aboard the space station advance robotic technology for future space exploration as well as applications on Earth. Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor (SVGS) demonstrates the use of a vision-based sensor for guidance, navigation, and control of a small spacecraft. Developed by NASA, the sensor computes the position and orientation of a target relative to the coordinates of a camera in the host platform, in this case the space station’s Astrobee robots. SVGS technology offers small size, low power consumption, and relatively simple deployment, all desirable qualities for small satellite operations and human exploration missions where crewed vehicles dock with a variety of platforms. This technology also has significant potential for operation of autonomous systems on Earth, such as precision landing of drones and handling cooperative robot systems. During the week, crew members conducted several sessions for the investigation.

An investigation from ESA (European Space Agency), Surface Avatar evaluates a system for control of multiple autonomous robots from the ground. Telerobotic systems that explore the surface other planets and develop infrastructure there, reducing the time spent by crew members on potentially risky extravehicular activities, are expected to be integral to the lunar Gateway mission. This investigation could support development of effective orbit-to-ground operations as well as provide insight into the most suitable control regimes for future sample return missions from Mars and asteroids. The technology also has potential applications on the ground where robots serve as assistants in industry, health, and home settings. Crew members performed activities for the investigation during the week.

Image above: This image, taken from the space station as it orbits 259 miles above the Atlantic Ocean, shows Kennedy Space Center's launch pads, 39A and 39B, on Merritt Island in Florida. Launch Pad 39A (bottom) is leased by SpaceX and Launch Pad 39B hosts the Space Launch System designed to carry the Artemis I uncrewed test mission to the Moon. Image Credit: NASA.

Other investigations involving the crew:

- Foams and Emulsions examines the properties and performance of these dispersions in liquids, including using particles of various shapes and degrees of surface roughness to stabilize them. Results could provide insight into manufacturing stabilizing particles from eco-friendly materials and guide engineering designs that use as little material as possible.

- XROOTS uses the Veggie facility to test hydroponic (liquid-based) and aeroponic (air-based) techniques to grow plants without soil or other traditional growth media, which could enable production of crops on a larger scale for future space exploration.

- EarthKAM allows students to remotely control a digital camera mounted on the space station to take photographs of coastlines, mountain ranges, and other interesting features and phenomena on Earth. The EarthKAM team posts the images online, where they are available to the public and participating classrooms.

- Ring Sheared Drop examines formation of amyloid fibrils, which create a waxy plaque in the brain and may be involved in development of some neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Investigation results may contribute to a better understanding of these diseases and development of potential treatments.

- Behavioral Core Measures collects a suite of measurements that quantify the abilities of crew members to complete telerobotic operations within the first 24 hours after landing. This information could help determine what tasks a crewmember can perform when landing on the surface of Mars after months in weightlessness, for example.

- Acoustic Diagnostics, an ESA investigation, explores possible adverse effects on astronaut hearing from equipment noise and microgravity. Results could help researchers better understand the sound environment on the space station and support development of ways to protect crew hearing.

Space to Ground: Flying Turtles: 09/23/2022

The space station, a robust microgravity laboratory with a multitude of specialized research facilities and tools, has supported many scientific breakthroughs from investigations spanning every major scientific discipline. The ISS Benefits for Humanity 2022 publication details the expanding universe of results realized from more than 20 years of experiments conducted on the station.

Related links:

Expedition 67:



Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor (SVGS):


Surface Avatar:


ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Carrie Gilder/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 67.

Best regards,

Artemis Cryogenic Demonstration Test Concludes, All Objectives Met


NASA - ARTEMIS 1 Mission patch.

Sept.23, 2022

The launch director has confirmed all objectives have been met for the cryogenic demonstration test, and teams are now proceeding with critical safing activities and preparations for draining the rocket’s tanks. After encountering a hydrogen leak early in the loading process, engineers were able to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the planned activities.

Artemis 1 Cryogenic Demonstration Test

The four main objectives for the demonstration included assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak identified on the previous launch attempt, loading propellants into the rocket’s tanks using new procedures, conducting the kick-start bleed, and performing a pre-pressurization test. The new cryogenic loading procedures and ground automation were designed to transition temperature and pressures slowly during tanking to reduce the likelihood of leaks that could be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure. After encountering the leak early in the operation, teams further reduced loading pressures to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the demonstration test. The pre-pressurization test enabled engineers to calibrate the settings used for conditioning the engines during the terminal count and validate timelines before launch day to reduce schedule risk during the countdown on launch day.

Artemis I Pre-Pressurization Test Complete

Teams will evaluate the data from the test, along with weather and other factors, before confirming readiness to proceed into the next launch opportunity. The rocket remains in a safe configuration as teams assess next steps.

Artemis I Mission Availability

Related articles:

Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test on Track for Wednesday

NASA Adjusts Dates for Artemis I Cryogenic Demonstration Test and Launch; Progress at Pad Continues

Repair Work Underway, Preparations Continue for Next Launch Opportunity

ARTEMIS 1 - Teams Continue to Review Options for Next Attempt, Prepare to Replace Seal

NASA to Stand Down on Artemis I Launch Attempts in Early September, Reviewing Options

Artemis I Launch Attempt Scrubbed (Again)

Second try for the Artemis I Moon flight

Engineers Assess Data After Scrub, Mission Managers to Meet Tuesday Afternoon

ARTEMIS 1 - Launch Attempt Scrubbed

Related links:

Artemis I:

Space Launch System (SLS):

Orion spacecraft:

European Service Module (ESM):

Image, Video, Text, Credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/NASA TV/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Susie Reusable Launcher, intended for manned flights, boosts European space ambitions


Arianespace - ArianeGroup logo.

Sept. 23, 2022


Between 1975 and 1992, the European Space Agency developed a manned space vehicle: Hermes. The vehicle was first designed with an appearance close to an American space shuttle, Shuttle, but smaller. It moved away from it as it was conceived. Hermes ends up looking more like the principle of Boeing's X-20 Dyna Soar. It was to transport 3 passengers into orbit thanks to the Ariane 4 then Ariane 5 launchers. Hermes was to allow crews to be sent on board a European space station, Colombus.

Image above: Project (1992 version) of the Hermes space shuttle, docked to the Columbus station. Image Credits: ArianeGroup/Airbus.

However, during the internationalization of the American space station project Alpha, becoming ISS (International Space Station), the European space station project Columbus was transformed into a series of modules on board the ISS. The Hermes space plane project was losing interest since the ISS was going to be visited regularly by the American space shuttle. NASA therefore proposed to Europe to use its Shuttle to embark European astronauts on board the space station. Europe chose to cancel the Hermes project in 1992.

Reusable, intended for human spaceflight... With its Susie launcher, ArianeGroup wants to boost European space ambitions

At the opening of the major space conference of the IAC (International Astronautical Congress) being held in Paris, ArianeGroup struck a blow. The industrialist has unveiled a reusable floor project capable of transporting up to five astronauts. Enough to reposition Europe at the heart of the space challenges of the next decade.

Image above: With Susie, ArianeGroup unveiled a reusable launcher stage project capable of carrying up to five astronauts. Image Credit: ArianeGroup.

ArianeGroup struck a blow on the opening day of the IAC (International Astronautical Congress), the major annual space conference being held this year in Paris from September 18 to 22. The manufacturer has unveiled nothing less than a launcher stage project with such capabilities that it would put Europe back in the space race, alongside the United States and Russia! ArianeGroup has unveiled Susie (Smart Upperstage for Innovative Exploration), a fully reusable floor project. “Susie is a fully reusable stage project replacing the launcher fairing, which allows you to go into space, carry out many types of missions, whether automatic or piloted, and return to land on Earth”, specifies the company.

Better still, this new stage would eventually be able to carry a crew of five astronauts, allowing Europe to establish itself as a new player in the field of manned flight. With Susie, ArianeGroup would therefore kill two birds with one stone: accelerate reusability in the field of heavy launchers, and offer manned flight capacity to Europe in space. It was time. The European group has already accumulated a significant delay vis-à-vis SpaceX, which has been firing at a hellish rate, thanks to its reusable rockets, and which has been transporting astronauts to the international space station for almost two years.

Image above: Susie in orbit, separation of the second stage of the Ariane 6 rocket. Image Credit: ArianeGroup.

A new spatial deal

ArianeGroup does not want to waste time. The group announces that this new stage (for the automatic cargo version) would already be compatible with the Ariane 6 rocket in its version equipped with four boosters (ie Ariane 64) to replace its fairing. However, this stage could also fly with a next-generation heavy launcher and accomplish the entire spectrum of missions up to manned flight. Ariane 6 is due to make its first flight in 2023, according to a schedule that remains to be specified by the ESA (European Space Agency). The European rocket has accumulated more than two years of delay due to the Covid pandemic and the difficulties of technical development of certain equipment.

Ariane 6 rocket with SUSIE liftoff. Image Credit: ArianeGroup

Europe space and ArianeGroup have long wondered about the relevance of reusable technologies. This technology is if the operator has a sufficient rate of fire. This is the case of SpaceX, which reuses the same floor up to 14 times after having refurbished it. On the occasion of the space conference of the WSBW (World Satellite Business Week), which was held in Paris from September 12 to 16, its vice-president in charge of sales, Tom Ochinero, spoke on this subject. . “We launch on average every five days. We have made 42 launches since the beginning of the year,” he said.

At this rate, the company led by Elon Musk should have made more than 60 shots by the end of the year, almost double that of 2021! Blue Origin, the space company created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is also banking on this technology. Its heavy launcher, the New Glenn, has a first stage that can be reused up to 25 times.

ArianeGroup SUSIE reusable crewed lifting body upper stage spacecraft

Will Ariane 6 have enough cadence to justify the reusable technology? Until now, Arianespace and the ESA mentioned a rate of about ten shots per year. This seems very insufficient to justify reusability. However, the space market is experiencing profound upheavals, in particular with the rise of telecommunications satellite constellations, the Artemis lunar program, the acceleration of military space programs... In April, Arianespace won the largest contract in its history from from Amazon. To deploy its Kuiper constellation, the e-commerce giant has ordered 18 Ariane 6 to be launched from the European spaceport of Kouro, over a period of three years.

New outlets for a European rocket

In addition, Arianespace could find new outlets with the American lunar program Artemis. NASA could entrust it with missions to transport equipment to the Moon or the future station in lunar orbit, the Lunar gateway. Finally, manned flight would also be a new outlet for Ariane 6, whether to bring crews to the International Space Station (ISS) or to the future station in lunar orbit.

Image above: Susie in orbit, inspecting and upgrading a satellite. Image Credit: ArianeGroup.

And that's not all. According to ArianeGroup, Susie could fulfill the new so-called in-orbit service missions for the benefit of the entire space community: manufacturers and operators of satellites, space agencies, air and space forces… “Among the missions rendered possible by Susie include towing, inspecting and upgrading satellites and other payloads, supplying space stations with fuel, food and equipment. It will also be able to allow crew changes and human work in orbit”, specifies the industrialist.

By proposing Susie on the occasion of the major IAC conference, ArianeGroup pulled the trigger at the right time. Space Europe is at a turning point. The war in Ukraine and the unilateral decision of the Russian Space Agency to cease its cooperation with its European counterpart (stopping of the Exomars mission, end of Soyuz activity in Kourou, etc.) revealed the dependencies and fragility of the space sector European. Europe must redefine its ambition in November, on the occasion of the major conference which will bring together the ministers of the European Space Agency (ESA) Member States in charge of space. ESA President Josef Aschbacher has set the bar very high. He expects member countries to agree to an astronomical budget of around 18.7 billion euros for the next three years, an increase of around 30% compared to the previous period. If her call is heard, and if Susie is selected and then funded, this new stage project could be much more than a rocket... but the means for Europe to get its new space ambitions off the ground.

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Amazon signs multibillion-dollar Project Kuiper launch contracts

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ArianeGoup Unveils SUSIE at IAC:


Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: ArianeGroup/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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jeudi 22 septembre 2022

New Trio Adapting to Station Life Before Next Crew Goes Home


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

September 22, 2022

Ten people are now living aboard the International Space Station with the arrival of three new crewmates inside a Soyuz crew ship on Wednesday. The new crew members from NASA and Roscosmos will spend the next several days getting up to speed with living and working in space.

New flight engineers Frank Rubio from NASA and Dmitri Petelin from Roscosmos are beginning their first space mission with veteran cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, who is on his second space station mission. The trio blasted off at 9:54 a.m. EDT on Wednesday to the orbiting lab inside the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft from Kazakhstan. The threesome docked to the Rassvet module less than three-and-a-half hours later. They waited a couple of more hours after leak and pressure checks before opening the spacecraft hatch and entering the station to begin lab familiarization activities ahead of a six-month mission.

Image above: The station’s newest crew members, (from left) Frank Rubio of NASA and Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos, pose for a portrait during a training session in Kazakhstan. Image Credits: ROSCOSMOS/NASA.

Late next week, three cosmonauts who have been residing on the space station since March 18, will end their mission and return to Earth. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov will board the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship, undock from the Prichal module, reenter Earth’s atmosphere, and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will take over as station commander from Artemyev before he departs during the traditional Change of Command ceremony next week. The leadership change will be seen live on NASA TV, the agency’s app, and its website at 9:35 a.m. on Sept. 28.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: ESA

Meanwhile, as the two Soyuz crews begin handover procedures, the station’s four astronauts who have been orbiting Earth since April 27 stayed focused on advanced microgravity research.

Cristoforetti joined Expedition 67 Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren from NASA who each wore a microphone attached to their shoulder to measure the space station’s acoustic environment and how it affects a crew member’s hearing. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins was back on foam research looking through the KERMIT microscope observing microstructures not possible in Earth’s gravity to gain insights into future research and commercial opportunities. NASA astronaut Bob Hines serviced components on the Cell Biology Experiment Facility, a research incubator, before documenting his daily meals for a space nutrition study.

Related Articles:

New Crew Enters Station and Begins Six-Month Mission

Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin join the Expedition 67 crew

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Expedition 67:

Rassvet module:

Prichal module:

Acoustic environment:

Foam research:

KERMIT microscope:

Cell Biology Experiment Facility:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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NASA’s Juno Will Perform Close Flyby of Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa


NASA - JUNO Mission logo.

Sep 22, 2022

As the spacecraft makes a close approach of the moon, it is expected to provide valuable science – and remarkable imagery – for NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission.

Image above: This image of Jupiter’s moon Europa was taken by the JunoCam imager aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft on Oct. 16, 2021, from a distance of about 51,000 miles (82,000 kilometers). Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing: Andrea Luck CC BY.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, at 2:36 a.m. PDT (5:36 a.m. EDT), NASA’s Juno spacecraft will come within 222 miles (358 kilometers) of the surface of Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa. The solar-powered spacecraft is expected to obtain some of the highest-resolution images ever taken of portions of Europa’s surface, as well as collect valuable data on the moon’s interior, surface composition, and ionosphere, along with its interaction with Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Such information could benefit future missions, including the agency’s Europa Clipper, which is set to launch in 2024 to study the icy moon. “Europa is such an intriguing Jovian moon, it is the focus of its own future NASA mission,” said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “We’re happy to provide data that may help the Europa Clipper team with mission planning, as well as provide new scientific insights into this icy world.”

Image above: Juno’s extended mission includes flybys of the moons Ganymede, Europa, and Io. This graphic depicts the spacecraft’s orbits of Jupiter – labeled “PJ” for perijove, or point of closest approach to the planet – from its prime mission in gray to the 42 orbits of its extended mission in shades of blue and purple. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI.

With an equatorial diameter of 1,940 miles (3,100 kilometers), Europa is about 90% the size of Earth’s Moon. Scientists think a salty ocean lies below a miles-thick ice shell, sparking questions about potential conditions capable of supporting life underneath Europa’s surface.

The close flyby will modify Juno’s trajectory, reducing the time it takes to orbit Jupiter from 43 to 38 days. It will be the closest a NASA spacecraft has approached Europa since Galileo came within 218 miles (351 kilometers) on Jan. 3, 2000. In addition, this flyby marks the second encounter with a Galilean moon during Juno’s extended mission. The mission explored Ganymede in June 2021 and plans to make close approaches of Io in 2023 and 2024.

Data collection will begin an hour prior to closest approach, when the spacecraft is 51,820 miles (83,397 kilometers) from Europa.

“The relative velocity between spacecraft and moon will be 14.7 miles per second (23.6 kilometers per second), so we are screaming by pretty fast,” said John Bordi, Juno deputy mission manager at JPL. “All steps have to go like clockwork to successfully acquire our planned data, because soon after the flyby is complete, the spacecraft needs to be reoriented for our upcoming close approach of Jupiter, which happens only 7 ½ hours later.”

The spacecraft’s full suite of instruments and sensors will be activated for the Europa encounter. Juno’s Jupiter Energetic-Particle Detector Instrument (JEDI) and its medium-gain (X-band) radio antenna will collect data on Europa’s ionosphere. Its Waves, Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE), and Magnetometer (MAG) experiments will measure plasma in the moon’s wake as Juno explores Europa’s interaction with Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

MAG and Waves will also search for possible water plumes above Europa’s surface. “We have the right equipment to do the job, but to capture a plume will require a lot of luck,” said Bolton. “We have to be at the right place at just the right time, but if we are so fortunate, it’s a home run for sure.”

Inside and Out

Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR) will peer into Europa’s water-ice crust, obtaining data on its composition and temperature. This is the first time such data will have been collected to study the moon’s icy shell.

In addition, the mission expects to take four visible-light images of the moon with JunoCam (a public-engagement camera) during the flyby. The Juno science team will compare them to images from previous missions, looking for changes in Europa’s surface features that might have occurred over the past two decades. These visible-light images will have an expected resolution better than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) per pixel.

Image above: The Juno spacecraft will get a close-up view of Europa. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Although Juno will be in Europa’s shadow when closest to the moon, Jupiter’s atmosphere will reflect enough sunlight for Juno’s visible-light imagers to collect data. Designed to take images of star fields and search for bright stars with known positions to help Juno get its bearings, the mission’s star camera (called the Stellar Reference Unit) will take a high-resolution black-and-white image of Europa’s surface. Meanwhile, the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) will attempt to collect infrared images of its surface.

Juno’s closeup views and data from its MWR instrument will inform the Europa Clipper mission, which will perform nearly 50 flybys after it arrives at Europa in 2030. Europa Clipper will gather data on the moon’s atmosphere, surface, and interior – information that scientists will use to better understand Europa’s global subsurface ocean, the thickness of its ice crust, and possible plumes that may be venting subsurface water into space.

More About the Mission

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott J. Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built and operates the spacecraft.

More information about Juno is available at: and

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/Karen Fox/Alana Johnson/Southwest Research Institute/Deb Schmid/JPL/DC Agle.

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