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Week of NASA woes: Why first Mars sample failed, Boeing Starliner launch delayed indefinitely – Yahoo News

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NASA has had better weeks.

In a recent report, NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) said that its target of landing humans on the moon by 2024 as part of its Artemis program is “not feasible.”

On Friday, agency and Boeing officials said that the highly-anticipated Boeing Starliner test flight would be delayed for months – possibly until 2022.

NASA’S PERSEVERANCE MARS ROVER RUNS INTO PUZZLING SAMPLING CONUNDRUM

The culprit was a valve issue and Starliner’s capsule is slated to be removed and returned to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center hangar for repairs.

Nine of the 13 valves in which moisture had somehow infiltrated have been fixed, while four require more work. There are dozens of valves linked to thrusters that are needed for the mission.

The Starliner was scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) last week, carrying mannequin “Rosie the Rocketeer.”

In a release, Boeing said it would “destack its CST-100 Starliner from the Atlas V rocket and return the spacecraft to the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) for deeper-level troubleshooting of four propulsion system valves that remain closed after last Tuesday’s scrubbed launch.”

The relocation of the spacecraft, the aerospace company wrote, would require Boeing, NASA and United Launch Alliance to pick a new launch date once the issue is resolved.

“Mission success in human spaceflight depends on thousands of factors coming together at the right time,” said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program said in a statement. “We’ll continue to work the issue from the Starliner factory and have decided to stand down for this launch window to make way for other national priority missions.”

US ASTRONAUT MOON LANDING ‘NOT FEASIBLE’ BY 2024: NASA INSPECTOR GENERAL

“We’re obviously disappointed,” Vollmer told reporters on Friday. “We will fly this test when we’re ready to fly it and it’s safe to do so.”

Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said the situation was “another example of why these demo missions are so very important to us … to make sure we have the system wrung out before we put our crews on.”

A similar capsule saw software issues in 2019 that prevented it from reaching the ISS.

“Probably too early to say whether it’s this year or not,” Vollmer said.

At the beginning of the week, the Perseverance Rover Mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was working to determine what went wrong with their first attempt at sampling Martian rock and regolith.

The initial belief, according to Perseverance project manager Jennifer Trosper, was that the rock target had not reacted the way it was expected to during coring.

At the beginning of the week, the researchers said both of their science and engineering teams believed that the rock was to blame.

“Both the science and engineering teams believe that the uniqueness of this rock and its material properties are the dominant [contributors’ to the difficulty in extracting a core from it,” JPL Chief Engineer for Sample and Caching Louise Jandura wrote in an August 11 blog post.

With one attempt under their belt, the team has decided to move on to the South Séítah region of the red planet’s Jezero Crater.

“Based on rover and helicopter imaging to date, we will likely encounter sedimentary rocks there that we anticipate will align better with our Earth-based test experience,” Jandura wrote.

The next sampling attempt is set for early September.

“The hardware performed as commanded but the rock did not cooperate this time. It reminds me yet again of the nature of exploration. A specific result is never guaranteed no matter how much you prepare,” she said. “Despite this result, science and engineering have progressed. We achieved the first complete autonomous sequence of our sampling system on Mars within the time constraints of a single Sol. This bodes well for the pace of our remaining science campaign. We are looking forward to the next sampling attempt in South Seitah, anticipated in early September.”

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SpaceX tourists chatted with Tom Cruise from space – Vaughan Today

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space tourists fly Currently orbiting the Earth aboard the SpaceX spacecraft discussed with Famous actor Tom Cruise From space, the mission’s account announced Friday.

It will also be streamed live on Youtube at approximately 9 PM GMT (5 PM on the US East Coast), for ” Evaluate their multi-day trip SpaceX announced in a tweet.

Tom Cruise soon in space?

« Rook, Nova, Hanks, and Leo spoke to Tom Cruise today The official Inspiration4 mission account tweeted earlier, using the nicknames of the first four special passengers to fly. with SpaceX.

The tweet said they “shared their experience from space” with the actor. ” Maverick, you can be our ward whenever you want. Maverick is the name of the elite pilot that he embodies Tom Cruise in the movie Best.

Last year, former NASA administrator under Donald Trump, Jim Bridenstine, announced a lightweight film project, starring Tom Cruise, On board the International Space Station.

However, no details have been provided at the moment about the project, which should be done in cooperation with SpaceX.

The four Inspiration4 passengers – billionaire Jared Isaacman and three other Americans – took off Wednesday night from Florida. They are currently flying farther from the International Space Station, and the mission is scheduled to last three days in total.

“Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate.”

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Three astronauts land safely after China’s longest crewed space mission to date – Digital Trends

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Three Chinese astronauts have returned safely from space following a three-month stay at the new Tiangong space station which is currently under construction. Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng, and Liu Boming landed on Friday, September 18. This marks the longest ever crewed space mission for China at 92 days, far exceeding the previous record of the Shenzhou 11 mission in 2016 which lasted for 33 days.

The astronauts are safe and well and in good physical condition, according to the China Manned Space Agency, which described the mission overall as “a complete success.” Having landed at the Dongfeng landing site, the astronauts have since been transferred to Beijing where they arrived by plane on Friday night.

Astronauts Nie Haisheng (C), Liu Boming (R) and Tang Hongbo are out of the return capsule of the Shenzhou-12 spaceship at the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sept. 17, 2021. Three Chinese astronauts, the first sent to orbit for space station construction, have completed their three-month mission and returned to Earth safely on Friday. Xinhua/Lian Zhen

“Three Chinese astronauts, the first sent to orbit for space station construction, have completed their three-month mission and returned to Earth safely on Friday,” Chinese state news agency Xinhua wrote in a brief statement. “The return capsule of the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship, carrying astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo, touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).”

The astronauts spent three months in space under the Shenzhou-12 mission, working on China’s new space station. The first module of the new Tiangong space station was launched in April this year, weighing 22 tons and coming in at around the size of a five-story building. A first cargo mission to the new station was completed in May, in preparation for the first astronauts arriving there.

The three astronauts then launched in June, marking China’s first crewed space mission in five years. During their time on the station, they performed two spacewalks to install equipment on the outside of the structure and carried out scientific experiments.

This was the first of four planned crewed missions to the station during its construction period, with aims to have it completed by 2022.

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SpaceX capsule with world's first all-civilian orbital crew returns safely – Financial Post

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The quartet of newly minted citizen astronauts comprising the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission safely splashed down in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast on Saturday, completing a three-day flight of the first all-civilian crew ever sent into Earth orbit.

The successful launch and return of the mission, the latest in a recent string of rocket-powered expeditions bankrolled by their billionaire passengers, marked another milestone in the fledgling industry of commercial astro-tourism, 60 years after the dawn of human spaceflight.

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“Welcome to the second space age,” Todd “Leif” Ericson, mission director for the Inspiration4 venture, told reporters on a conference call after the crew returned.

SpaceX, the private rocketry company founded by Tesla Inc electric automaker CEO Elon Musk, supplied the spacecraft, launched it, controlled its flight and handled the splashdown recovery operation.

The three-day mission ended as the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience, parachuted into calm seas around 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT), shortly before sunset, following an automated reentry descent, as shown during a live SpaceX webcast on its YouTube channel.

Within an hour the four smiling crew members were seen emerging one by one from the capsule’s side hatch after the vehicle, visibly scorched on its exterior, was hoisted from the ocean to the deck of a SpaceX recovery vessel.

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Each of the four https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/profiles-first-all-civilian-space-crew-headed-orbit-2021-09-15 stood on the deck for a few moments in front of the capsule to wave and give thumbs-up before being escorted to a medical station on board for checkups at sea. Afterward they were flown by helicopter back to Cape Canaveral for reunions with loved ones.

SEARING REENTRY

The return from orbit followed a plunge through Earth’s atmosphere generating frictional heat that sent temperatures surrounding the outside of the capsule soaring to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,900 degrees Celsius). The astronauts’ flight suits, fitted to special ventilation systems, were designed to keep them cool if the cabin heated up.

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Applause was heard from the SpaceX flight control center in suburban Los Angeles as the first parachutes were seen deploying, slowing the capsule’s descent to about 15 miles per hour (25 kph) before splashdown, with another round of cheers as the craft hit the water.

The astronauts were cheered again as they stepped onto the deck of the recovery ship.

First out was Hayely Arceneaux, 29, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Center in Tennessee, a childhood bone cancer survivor herself who became the youngest person ever reach Earth orbit on the Inspiration4 mission.

She was followed in rapid succession by geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate Sian Proctor, 51, aerospace data engineer and Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski, 42, and finally the crew’s billionaire benefactor and “mission commander” Jared Isaacman, 38.

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“That was a heck of a ride for us,” Isaacman, chief executive of the e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments Inc, radioed from inside the capsule moments after splashdown. “We’re just getting started.”

He had paid an undisclosed sum – put by Time magazine at roughly $200 million – to fellow billionaire Musk for all four seats aboard the Crew Dragon.

The Inspiration4 team blasted off on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop one of SpaceX’s two-stage reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

HIGHEST ORBIT SINCE APOLLO

Within three hours the crew capsule had reached a cruising orbital altitude of 585 km, or just over 363 miles – higher than the International Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope, and the farthest any human has flown from Earth since NASA’s Apollo moon program ended in 1972.

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It also marked the debut flight of Musk’s new space tourism business and a leap ahead of competitors likewise offering rides on rocket ships to well-heeled customers willing to pay a small fortune to experience the exhilaration of spaceflight and earn amateur astronaut wings.

Musk’s company already ranks as the best-established player in the burgeoning constellation of commercial rocket ventures, having launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to the space station for NASA.

Two rival operators, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc and Blue Origin, inaugurated their own space tourism services in recent months, with their respective founding executives, billionaires Richard Branson and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, each going along for the ride.

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Those suborbital flights, lasting a matter of minutes, were short hops compared with Inspiration4’s three days in orbit.

Isaacman conceived of Inspiration4 primarily to raise awareness and donations for St. Jude, one of his favorite causes, where Arceneaux now works. Ericson said the flight had so far raised $160 million for the cancer institute, including $100 million donated by Isaacman at the outset.

The Inspiration4 crew had no part to play in flying the spacecraft, which was controlled by ground-based flight teams and onboard guidance systems, although Isaacman and Proctor are both licensed pilots.

But Ericson insisted the crew had “the same training and the same control and authority that NASA astronauts have” to intervene in the Crew Dragon’s operation in the event of an emergency.

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SpaceX’s human-spaceflight chief, Benji Reed, marveled at how little went wrong during the flight, citing just two problems he described as minor and easily resolved – a malfunctioning fan in the crew’s toilet system and a faulty temperature sensor on one of the spacecraft’s engines.

The level of “space adaption syndrome” experienced by the crew – vertigo and motion sickness while acclimating to a microgravity environment – was “pretty much on target with what NASA astronauts do,” Ericson said.

All four had appeared relaxed and energetic during a number of live video appearances they made for Earth-bound audiences during their flight, from performing zero-G somersaults in the cabin to strumming a ukulele https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/all-civilian-inspiration4-crew-shows-off-zero-gravity-orbit-2021-09-18.

(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis, David Gregorio and William Mallard)

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