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What's Happening in Space Policy October 24-31, 2021 – SpacePolicyOnline.com – SpacePolicyOnline.com

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Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week plus a day of October 24-31, 2021 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

NASA is getting ready for a crew change-over on the International Space Station (ISS). Crew-3 is scheduled for launch next Sunday, October 31, on a SpaceX Crew Dragon and there are briefings every day this week leading up to that.

It begins with the post-Flight Readiness Review briefing tomorrow (Monday) evening. The crew — NASA’s Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron and ESA’s Matthias Maurer — arrives at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday and there is an arrival ceremony that afternoon and a “media engagement” from their crew quarters on Wednesday morning. A teleconference to discuss the science experiments they’ll conduct is on Thursday. On Friday, there’s a briefing with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other top NASA and ESA officials at noon and then the pre-launch news conference at 10:00 pm ET or no earlier than one hour after the Launch Readiness Review is completed. NASA TV launch coverage begins 24 hours later at 10:00 pm ET Saturday night for a 2:21 am ET launch Sunday morning, October 31. NASA TV will provide continuous coverage through docking on Monday, November 1, at 12:10 am ET and the welcoming ceremony about two hours later assuming launch takes place as scheduled.

SpaceX Crew-3: NASA astronauts (L-R): Raja Chari (NASA),Thomas Marshburn (NASA), Matthias Maurer (ESA), and Kayla Barron (NASA).  Photo Credit: Robert Markowitz

The Crew-2 crew that has been on the ISS since April — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA’s Aki Hoshide, and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet — will return home soon after Crew-3 arrives. ISS has three other crew members at the moment: NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov who arrived on Soyuz MS-18 in April and Roscosmos’ Anton Shkaplerov who just got there on Soyuz MS-19. The three of them are staying until March.

Russia will launch another cargo mission to the ISS this week (Wednesday) to keep the supplies coming. ISS is a busy, busy place. Another Russian “tourist” mission will be there next month and a U.S. tourist mission is coming up in February. As last week’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing illustrated, decisions really do need to be made pretty soon about the future of ISS and whatever will replace it.

Down here on Earth, the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is taking place in Dubai, UAE and the 17th European Space Weather Week in Glasgow, Scotland all week.  Some of the IAC sessions will be available virtually for registered attendees. Remember that Dubai is 8 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. NASA’s Heliophysics Advisory Committee meets virtually on Wednesday and the National Academies’ Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (CESAS) will meet for the first day of a two-day meeting that spans this week and next (October 28, November 1).

Boeing will hold its third quarter 2021 financal results telecon on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see if they have anything to say about any additional costs the company will have to absorb because of the Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) troubleshooting and launch delay. Boeing has a fixed-price contract with NASA for Starliner development so it must pay all the costs for OFT-2. It already took a pre-tax charge of $410 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Space-wise, things are pretty quiet on Capitol Hill. The only potential news there this week is that Democrats reportedly are getting close to a deal on those infrastructure bills. The version of the Build Back Better bill the House is working on had $4.4 billion for NASA in it at one point, but they are scaling the entire package down from $3.5 trillion to about $2 trillion to win enough Democratic support to get it passed (no Republicans support this bill). What that bodes for NASA is unclear. Stay tuned.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning are shown below. Check back throughout the week for others we learn about later and add to our Calendar or changes to these.

Monday, October 25

Monday-Friday, October 25-29

Tuesday, October 26

Wednesday, October 27

Thursday, October 28

Friday, October 29

Saturday, October 30

Sunday, October 31

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New Russian module docks with International Space Station – CGTN

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A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress cargo spacecraft and the Prichal node module lifts off from a launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, November 24, 2021. /CFP

A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress cargo spacecraft and the Prichal node module lifts off from a launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, November 24, 2021. /CFP

A Russian cargo craft carrying a new docking module successfully hooked up with the International Space Station Friday after a two-day space journey.

The new spherical module, named Prichal (Pier), docked with the orbiting outpost at 6:19 p.m. Moscow time (1519 GMT). It has six docking ports and will allow potential future expansion of the Russian segment of the station.

The module has moored to the docking port of the new Russian Nauka (Science) laboratory module.

On Wednesday, a Soyuz rocket took off from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, carrying the Progress cargo ship with Prichal attached to it. After entering space, the cargo ship with the module went into orbit.

Progress is also delivering 700 kilograms of various cargoes to the space station and is expected to undock from the station on December 22.

The first Soyuz spacecraft is expected to dock at the new module on March 18, 2022, with a crew of three cosmonauts: Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergei Korsakov.

Earlier this week, the Russian crew on the station started training for the module’s arrival, simulating the use of manual controls in case the automatic docking system failed.

The space outpost is currently operated by NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Mark Vande Hei; Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov; and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency.

Source(s): AP

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Stargazer in Italy spots NASA's DART asteroid impact probe in night sky after launch – Space.com

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An Italian telescope captured NASA’s asteroid-smashing mission shortly after its launch into space this week. 

A new image and video, taken by the Elena telescope located in Ceccano, Italy, shows NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, also known as DART, separated from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket which launched the spacecraft from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Tuesday (Nov. 23 PST, or early Nov. 24 EST) . The mission sent DART on a 10-month-long journey to a binary asteroid system called Didymos

Both DART and the booster can be seen in this image (above), which was taken remotely with a single 30-second exposure, astronomer Gianluca Masi said in a statement. Masi runs the Virtual Telescope Project 2.0, which includes the Elena telescope.

The image was taken remotely 10 hours after DART lifted off, Masi said.

Related: NASA’s DART asteroid-impact mission explained in pictures

NASA’s DART spacecraft and a Falcon 9 second stage booster that launched it can be seen as two small dots at the center of this image capture a few hours after the mission’s launch. (Image credit: The Virtual Telescope Project)

The robotic Elena telescope automatically tracked DART and the booster, both of which are visible at the center of the image as bright dots. The short white lines surrounding those two dots are stars in the background. When the image was taken, DART was about 93,000 miles (150,000 kilometers) from Earth, about half the distance between our planet and the moon, Masi said. 

In addition to the static image, the telescope also captured a short video sequence, which shows the separated second-stage booster blinking. This blinking, Masi said, is caused by the booster spinning. 

The pioneering DART mission will conduct a first-of-its-kind test that will show if and how a spacecraft can change the path of an asteroid by smashing into it. In September of next year, the spacecraft will ram into a 525-foot-wide (160 meters) asteroid “moonlet” known as Dimorphos, which orbits the larger space rock Didymos. The goal of the experiment is to alter Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos, shortening it by several minutes, to prove that such an intervention could divert the trajectory of a large asteroid if, in the future, one were to be on a path that threatened planet Earth.

Related stories:

DART also carries a small cubesat called LICIACube, from Italy’s space agency, which will be released 10 days ahead of DART’s self-destructive impact and film the aftermath of the crash. 

In 2024, the European Space Agency (ESA) will also send a larger surveyor spacecraft called Hera to the asteroid system that will analyze the crater and gather data about Didymos’ and Dimorphos’ physical structure and chemical composition. By then, astronomers will have known whether DART deflected Dimorphos, thanks to ground-based observations. 

Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

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Russia’s new module on ISS to offer docking opportunity for foreign spacecraft in future – TASS

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KOROLYOV /Moscow Region/, November 26. /TASS/. NASA and Roscosmos have begun talks on harmonizing technical standards of Crew Dragon spaceships with the Russian module and Russian spacecraft with the US segment on the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said at the Flight Control Center on Friday.

“NASA and Roscosmos have launched talks on harmonizing technical standards that will allow not only Crew Dragon or Russian spaceships to dock with the American segment but, in general, this docking is possible and will require an adapter,” Rogozin said, replying to a question about whether US spacecraft would be able to dock to Russia’s new Prichal nodal module.

The Prichal module’s docking completed the formation of the ISS Russian segment, the Roscosmos chief said.

The Prichal nodal module will also serve as a prototype for similar modules for the future Russian Orbital Service Station (ROSS) that will be the ‘joints’ of its space body, Rogozin said.

“This is one of the most important prototypes for creating the ROSS whose architecture will differ from the ISS. It should employ the principle of eternal service life: modules that use up their potential will be detached from the station and it will be augmented in a different direction with the help of such nodal modules that will serve as some joints of a new and large metal design engineering body,” Rogozin said.

A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Progress M-UM space freighter and the Prichal nodal module blasted off from Launch Pad No. 31 (‘Vostok’) of the Baikonur spaceport to the orbital outpost at 16:06 Moscow time on November 24. The flight to the orbital outpost took two days. The Prichal module docked with the Russian Nauka research lab on November 26.

The new module will boost the capabilities of Russian spaceships, including the latest Oryol spacecraft, to dock with the ISS. Overall, the new module will have five docking ports. The first docking of a manned spacecraft with the Prichal module is scheduled for March 18.

The spacecraft-module also delivered about 700 kg of various cargo to the ISS, including equipment and consumables, water purification, medical control including sanitary and hygienic supplies, maintenance and repair tools, as well as standard food rations for the 66th Main Expedition crew.

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