Starship Human Landing System on the Lunar surface render.

Weekly Dose of Space (1/10-8/10)


Welcome to our very first "Dose of Space!" In this weekly newsletter, we cover all of the main aerospace and astronomy news, from the past week. We also look ahead to next week, and cover what you should expect!

We know the world of Aerospace and Astronomy can be quite hectic, so we hope we can give you an all inclusive, weekly "dose" of space, to help you stay up to date!

SPACEX

Starbase is as busy as always! To kick off the first day of October, Starship 25 was restacked onto Booster 9. But only four days later, on the 5th, Starship 25 was de-stacked, due to stormy weather approaching the Starbase site. There is yet to be any word on when IFT-2, Starship's second flight, will take place.

During the International Astronautical Congress, in Azerbaijan, Elon made an appearance and answered some questions. Below are a some of the key takeaways from that event:

Key takeaways from Elon's interview at IAC 

LAUNCHES THIS WEEK

October 5th - Long March 2D with Yaogan 39 Group 03

China kicked off this week's launches with the launch of a Yaogan remote-sensing satellite atop of a Long March 2D rocket. Remote-sensing satellites are for observing, surveying, and measuring objects on the planet below however other countries believe the Yaogan satellites are for military purposes. This was the forty-sixth launch from China this year and the four hundred and ninetieth launch for the Long March series of Rockets.

SpaceX predictably launched a Starlink mission atop of the reliable Falcon 9 rocket. This launch carried twenty-two satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The booster for this mission was B1076 making its eighth launch and landing successfully on the drone ship 'Just Read The Instructions'.

October 6th - SpaceShipTwo for Galactic 04

Virgin Galactic launched another commercial suborbital spaceflight with three paying customers on board of VSS Unity. The passengers of Galactic 04 were; Ron Rosano from the USA, Trevor Beattie from the UK, and Namira Salim from Pakistan. Namira Salim is the first person from Pakistan to go to space. This was also the fifth flight for Virgin Galactic in five months.

October 6th - Atlas V 501 with Project Kuiper Protoflight

United Launch Alliance launched its second Atlas V of the year for Amazon's Project Kuiper Protoflight. The launch had two Project Kuiper prototype satellites placed into a five-hundred-kilometer orbit of Earth. Rather confusingly the launch was only streamed up until separation of the Centaur upper stage from the booster, this is either due to request from Amazon or another payload from the United States military was onboard.

October 7th - Miura 1 for SN1 Test Flight

PLD a Spanish Aerospace startup located in Elche, Spain, had their first successful suborbital rocket launch on Saturday! Their Miura 1 rocket didn't reach its target altitude, however there was plenty to celebrate for. Miura 1 planned to reach an altitude of 80 kilometers (5o miles) however their first rocket only reached an apogee of 46 kilometers (28.6 miles). Despite this the PLD team was nothing but ecstatic and declared their first launch as a success! Onboard the test flight was a microgravity experiment supplied by the German Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity. To mark the special moment, photos of the PLD team were also on board!

October 7th - Vega with THEOS-2, TRITON, and CubeSats (SCRUB)

IN OTHER SPACE NEWS

Chang'e 8 is available for foreign lunar payloads

Artist depection of Chang'e 8 Lunar Lander ©CNSA

Wang Qiong, deputy head designer of the Chang'e 8 mission, said at the 74th International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Azerbaijan, that there will be two hundred kilograms of payload capacity for 'piggyback' missions on the spacecraft.

The China National Space Administration has set a deadline of December 31st 2023 for letters of intent with preliminary and final selections to be done by April and September 2024. The delivery date on the 'piggyback' payloads is set for August 2027.

The Chang'e 8 mission will consist of a lander and a rover and is currently set to land at the lunar south pole around 2028. The lander aims to carry out investigations of the environment and mineral composition of the landing site and test technologies for in-situ resource utilization, which will be necessary for long stays on the surface.

JWST spots something never seen before

Five JuMBOs can be seen in this close up image of the Trapezium Cluster ©ESA/NASA/JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) spotted a Binary pair of rouge planets while looking at the Orion Nebula. Astronomers, Samuel G. Pearson and Mark J. McCaughrean, were studying short wave length images of the Trapezium Cluster, a young star-forming region, that’s about 1 million years old and filled to the brim with thousands of new stars.

While the pair of astronomers examined the image they noticed two objects, around half the size and thirteen times the size of Jupiter. The astronomers called them "Jupiter Mass Binary Objects" or JuMBOs. These two celestial bodies defy some fundamental astrophysics principals. Rouge planets aren't anything new, but a pair of them defies the idea that a rouge planet, used to orbit a star, before being ejected. But a pair of planets, defy that, as it is unlikely they both would be ejected and stay relatively close to one another. The two astronomers saw multiple of these JuMBO systems.

China says their "Xuntian" telescope will outdo Hubble

Artist depection of the Xuntian Space Telescope ©NAOC

The Xuntian Space Telescope is a Orbital telescope being built by the Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and it is being led by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Xuntian is expected to make breakthroughs in cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, star formations and exoplanets. Xuntian is set to launch into orbit next year, ontop of a Long March 5B rocket.

ISRO sets a target for their first human rated capsule

Gaganyaan Capsule, Indias first crew rated capsule ©ISRO

the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to do an inflight abort test for their crewed space capsule, Gaganyaan. This test will hopefully be conducted on the 26th of October. Gaganyaan will be put on top of ISRO's LVM3 rocket and flown to an altitude of around 17km before the in flight abort is initiated. These unmanned hardware tests are crucial, as we near the 2025 first crewed mission target set by ISRO.

Stoke Space bears good news

Stoke Space's fully reusable Nova rocket ©StokeSpace

Stoke Space has released some good news! They recently closed their "B" investment period, and raised 100 million! This raises their total amount raised to 175 million. This funding will directly support the testing of their fully reusable rocket, that after some 3 years, has finally been given a name, Nova!

WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT WEEK

SpaceX will launch more Starlink satellites next week predictably, Group 6-22 will be launched atop of B1067 for its fourteenth flight.

From the other side of America, another Falcon 9 is expected to fly Group 7-4 atop of B1063 also for its fourteenth flight.

October 12th - Psyche on Flacon Heavy from LC-39A KSC

The long awaited Psyche mission will launch atop of SpaceX's most powerful operational rocket from LC-39A with boosters B1064 and B1065 on their fourth flights with the center core booster, B1079, being expended on its first flight.

October 8th to 14th - Potential Long March launch from China

There is the potential for a Long March rocket to launch from China during next week too which is not currently known about currently as a majority of launches from China give under 72 hours of notice until launch.

Starbase

Work at Starbase should continue as normal. Throughout the week there will be at least one, potentially 2 road closures. This means a SN26 or SN29 static fire could be possible, so keep an eye out for that as well!

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