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Monday, July 26, 2021

Category: Space

A successful space tourism trip paves the way for Virgin Galactic flights next year

Billionaire Richard Branson and five Virgin Galactic employees took a major test flight into space on Sunday, bolstering the company’s plans to launch cruise flights next year.

The space plane landed above Earth in New Mexico at about 9:38 a.m. local time. Branson and the flight crew are expected to discuss the results of the flight at a news conference later on Sunday.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jonathan Newton.

Itinerary
The Virgin Galactic space plane carrying company founder Richard Branson and five employees as planned has separated from a carrier plane to begin its rocket flight.

The VVS Unity aircraft ignited its rocket engine after separating from the carrier aircraft at an altitude of about 45,000 feet (13,700 meters).

The crew planned to climb to about 290,000 feet, or 55 miles (89 kilometers) above ground, before returning to the New Mexico runway. The flight started at 8:40 am local time and the flight was expected to last more than an hour.

The suborbital flight establishes a historic month in the future of space tourism, as Branson looks to demonstrate the capabilities of Virgin Galactic nine days before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plans to fly into space on a rocket built by his Blue Origin space project.

Both companies strive to cater to wealthy tourists who are willing to pay top dollar for a short-term tour of weightlessness and unforgettable views of the earth and sky.

Branson, 70, and his fellow crew members experienced about four minutes of weightlessness. After reaching its highest altitude, the unit was designed to orbit and return to the US Aerospace Complex Airport in New Mexico.

The mission, which took about an hour, was the spacecraft’s 22nd test flight and the first with a large crew.

Virgin Galactic has dubbed the flight Unity 22, the first of two tests the company is planning this summer ahead of an astronaut training mission with Italian Air Force personnel later this year.

During the flight, Branson assesses the customer experience during the flights the company plans to launch, from the preparation process to the completion of the journey on the plane.

flight crew
Dave McKay “Mack”, Chief Airline Officer, is one of the first hires at Virgin Galactic. A former RAF test pilot and Boeing 747 pilot for Branson-backed Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, he grew up in a rural village in northern Scotland and became the first Scottish to fly into space.


Michael Masucci “Soch”, pilot. He is a retired US Air Force officer with more than 10,000 hours of experience flying U-2 and F-16 aircraft, along with dozens of other aircraft types. He joined Virgin in 2013 and traveled to space for the first time in 2019.
Sirisha Bandla, Virgin Vice President of Governmental Affairs. You will be doing “experimental research” during the flight with a plant experiment from the University of Florida. Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, in southern India, she will become the second Indian-American to travel in space.


Colin Bennett, Virgin Galactic engineer. It evaluates cabin procedures during the test flight. Bennett worked for Virgin Galactic as a process engineer for six years in California, according to his LinkedIn page, and previously worked as an engineer at Virgin Atlantic.
Pete Musa, Virgin’s chief astronaut trainer. That flight is her second into space after one in February 2019. With that flight, she will be the 571st Moses to travel into space, according to Virgin Galactic. She will be the test director on Sunday’s flight and cabin captain. Musa worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 24 years before joining the company. Her husband is Mike Moses, Virgin Galactic’s head of space missions and safety.

Musk buys a ticket for Branson spaceflight to secure a seat on Virgin Galactic

Tesla founder Elon Musk has bought a ticket on one of the future spaceflights by rival billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, according to a newspaper report.

Mr. Branson became the first in the billionaire’s space race between himself, Mr Musk, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to successfully touch the edge of space as he jumped aboard a Virgin Galactic flight earlier on Sunday.

Musk has paid a $10,000 deposit to secure a seat on a future Virgin Galactic trip, Branson told ‘The Sunday Times in an interview. However, the date has not been set, he told the newspaper outlet.

A ticket for a one-hour trip on Virgin Galactic’s space plane costs $250,000 – including the training and a spacesuit. Around 600 people from across 58 countries have already reserved a ticket on VVS Unity, including the celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga.

The Chinese probe begins its first steps on the surface of Mars

The Chinese remote-controlled Churong probe separated from a landing capsule and landed on Mars on Saturday, making China the first country to finish orbiting the red planet, and then land on its surface on its first mission to explore the planet.

The probe, named after the Chinese “god of fire” in ancient mythology, landed on Mars at 10:40 am Beijing Time (02:40 GMT).

The probe “Chorong” weighs 240 kilograms, and carries 6 scientific instruments, including a high-resolution camera to photograph the terrain, and will study the soil and atmosphere of the planet.

The solar-powered probe will search for signs of ancient life, such as groundwater and ice, using soil-penetrating radar, during a 90-day journey.

The unmanned Chinese spacecraft “Tianwen-1”, launched from the island of Hainan in southern China in July of last year, and after more than 6 months, the spacecraft reached the red planet last February, and it has remained in orbit since then.

On May 15th, the landing capsule carrying the probe detached from the “Tianwen-1” spacecraft and landed in a vast plain known as Utopia Planisha.

China became the second country after the United States to send a probe to land on Mars and maintain contact with it. The Soviet Union sent a vehicle that landed on Mars in 1971, but lost contact with it seconds later.

“Tianwin-1” is one of three vehicles that reached Mars last February. The American probe “Perseverance” landed on the 18th of last February in a huge depression called Jizero Crater, more than 2000 km from the Plain of Utopia Planica.

And the third is the Emirati “Hope” probe, which entered Mars orbit last February, and is currently collecting data on the planet’s climate and atmosphere.

The two spacecraft “Perseverance” and “Chorong” are among the three remote-controlled probes on the surface of Mars, and the third is the “Curiosity” probe of the US Aerospace and Space Administration “NASA”, which landed in 2012.

The worst solar storm threatens “NASA” mission to the moon

According to a new study published in the British journal “Solar Physics”, the US space agency “NASA” must speed up the work if it is to succeed in its “Artemis” mission, which aims to send astronauts to the moon.

According to their findings, the researchers indicated that postponing the mission from 2024 until the end of the current decade could make it vulnerable to “severe space weather,” noting that the mission must be carried out on time in order for NASA to avoid “one of the worst solar storms on Earth.” Launch. ”

The study, which is considered the most in-depth in the field of solar storm timing, provided very clear insights into the timing of solar storms over the next ten years, based on verifying space weather data and studying its patterns over the past 150 years.

Extreme event
The study indicates that the postponement of the planned launch of “Artemis” due to the repercussions of the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which caused the closure of 18 US agency facilities, could have disastrous and severe effects on the astronauts and the navigation systems of the shuttle that will transport them.

Extreme space weather is an extreme event that cannot usually be predicted accurately. During it, the sun diffuses hundreds of particles at the speed of light, which in turn disrupts magnetic systems and causes interference to electronic devices. It can also penetrate the bodies of astronauts, causing an imbalance in vital body functions.

The “OSIERS-Rex” probe begins its return to Earth carrying samples from the asteroid “Benno”

The US probe, “Oasis-Rex”, finally left the orbit of the asteroid “Benno”, from which it collected samples of dust last year, to begin its journey back to Earth.

The probe’s return journey is long, as it will not land in the Utah desert in the United States until September 24, 2023.

“The probe is now moving at a speed of more than 950 kilometers per hour from Benno on its way back to Earth,” mission chief Dante Loretta said, during a NASA video broadcast of the event.

The vehicle’s propellers were operated for 7 minutes, with the aim of giving the probe the propulsion needed to put it on the right track.

The “Oasis-Rex” carries 60 grams of grains of asteroid dust, which is the largest sample collected by “NASA” since the lunar rocks that were carried to Earth by the “Apollo” flights.

The probe reached this amount thanks to a high-risk operation carried out by the US Space Agency in October 2020, during which the probe touched the asteroid soil for a few seconds and caught the dust caused by the storming of Dante Loretta.

The entire process almost failed when it became apparent to the US Agency after days that the door of the room for storing samples was no longer locked, which led to some of them being blown into space.

But the probe eventually succeeded in storing samples in a safe way, as its arm took the load to a capsule in the middle, whose lid could be closed tightly.

After two and a half years, this capsule will be launched a few hours before it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, and its speed will be slowed by the parachute system in order to be able to land.

The agency stated that the samples will then be transferred to its Johnson Space Center in Houston, but 75% of them will be preserved without prejudice to “for future generations to study them with technologies not yet available.”

The researchers hope the samples will help provide a better understanding of the origins of the solar system and the evolution of Earth as a livable planet.

SpaceX and NASA are sending 4 astronauts to the International Space Station

The “Space X” company launched its rocket, Friday, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying four astronauts, including Frenchman Thomas Pescet, to the International Space Station.

The applause increased in the “Space X” control room upon take-off (at 09:49 GMT), and this is the third manned flight of the American special group founded by Elon Musk, which is carrying astronauts and “NASA” after nine years of US dependence on missiles. ” Soyuz “Russian.

The spacecraft is supposed to dock with the International Space Station in less than 24 hours, as this will represent another success for Elon Musk, founder of “Space X” and the “Tesla” car group.

The crew consists of the “Crew-2” mission, consisting of 4 personnel, namely Toma Pisque of the European Space Agency, and the American pioneers Shane Kimbero and Megan MacArthur, and the Japanese Akihiko Hoshide.

The crew said goodbye to their loved ones before boarding in three white Tesla cars, something that has become a tradition for “SpaceX”, which took them to the launch pad.

Shortly before that, Pisquet tweeted, as he would become the first European to fly in the “Crew Dragon” capsule: “It looks like the weather will be favorable, so we must try to take off tomorrow!”

“SpaceX” contracts with “NASA” to build a lander on the moon worth $ 2.9 billion

SpaceX, owned by American businessman Elon Musk, has won a contract worth $ 2.89 billion from NASA to build a spacecraft that will land astronauts on the surface of the moon, in one of the most prominent commercial space race awards.

On Friday, NASA chose the rocket company, SpaceX, as the sole contractor to build its next lunar probe, and to conduct one exploratory visit to the moon, most likely by 2024.

SpaceX, owned by American businessman Elon Musk, has won a contract worth $ 2.89 billion from NASA to build a spacecraft that will land astronauts on the surface of the moon, in one of the most prominent commercial space race awards.

On Friday, NASA chose the rocket company, SpaceX, as the sole contractor to build its next lunar probe, and to conduct one exploratory visit to the moon, most likely by 2024.

SpaceX has offered to build and operate its landing craft for $ 2.9 billion, which is “significantly” less than the bid of a competitor from Bezos Blue Origin missile company, affiliated with billionaire Jeff Bezos, according to the Financial Times, citing a document. NASA. ”

According to the newspaper, the selection of “NASA” as a sole contractor for the most important elements of its space program reflects the severe budgetary pressures under which the agency is working, as it is trying to return to the moon for the first time since 1972.

“We awarded the contract to SpaceX in view of what we believe are realistic budgets in the coming years,” said agency official Mark Kyrasisch.

Besides pioneering a new era of fixed-cost commercial space programs for NASA, SpaceX was the first to transport cargo to the International Space Station. And last year, human spaceflight returned to US soil for the first time since 2011, when it received “NASA” astronauts, to the International Space Station.

NASA officials said they are embarking on a review of how to maintain their competitiveness in light of the development of human landers, including a round of consultations with the rest of the commercial space industry, noting that the discussions are designed to lead to a “sustainable” series of visits to the moon. In the wake of SpaceX’s only test landing.

Although SpaceX plans to eventually use the spacecraft on a full flight between Earth and Mars, its role in the landing announced, Friday, will only be to transport two astronauts from orbit around the moon to the surface before returning them.

This mission is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which will use the giant SLS rocket, developed by Boeing, along with the Orion spacecraft from Lockheed Martin, to transport astronauts to and from a “gateway” in orbit. Around the moon.

The newspaper reported that “SpaceX” has suffered a number of accidents this year in its first efforts to prove its ability to land safely in spacecraft.

Mohammed bin Rashid announces the names of the second batch of Emirati astronauts, including the first Arab astronaut

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, “may God protect him”, announced the names of the two new Emirati astronauts within the Emirates Astronaut Program in its second session, and among them is the first Arab astronaut, in a step that translates the endeavor of the UAE Continuing towards global leadership in the field of space exploration, to continue the scientific achievement of the UAE in the Arab and international space sector within a national team of qualified astronauts who are able to fulfill the country’s aspirations in scientific exploration and participate in manned space exploration trips.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “We announce, with the grace of God, two new Emirati astronauts … between them are the first Arab astronaut … Noura Al Matrooshi and Mohammed Al Mulla … they were chosen from among more than 4000 applicants … and their training will begin.” Soon, within the NASA astronaut program, we congratulate the country on them … and count on them to raise the name of the UAE in the sky. ”

The first Arab astronaut, Nora Al Matroushi

The second batch of the Emirates Space Exploration Program includes the first Arab astronaut, Noura Al Matroushi, who obtained a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United Arab Emirates University in 2015, and has experience in the field of engineering .. Al-Matroushi excelled in fields of engineering and mathematics during her academic career, and achieved first place At the level of the Emirates in the International Mathematics Olympiad in 2011, she also represented the UAE youth in the Youth Conference at the United Nations in the summer of 2018 and winter of 2019.

The first signal from the DMSat 1 satellite was successfully received

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center announced that it had successfully received the first signal from the DMSat 1 satellite at 4:42 pm UAE time.

The DM Sat 1 satellite, the first environmental nanometric satellite for Dubai Municipality, was launched successfully at 10:07 am this morning UAE time, aboard the Russian launch missile (Soyuz 2.1E) from the Baikonur space base in Kazakhstan.

The “DMSat 1” satellite is a cooperation between Dubai Municipality and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center. “DMSat 1” aims to monitor, collect and analyze environmental data, measure air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and develop maps for the concentration and distribution of greenhouse gases in Dubai and the UAE in general, as well as As for studying and monitoring the seasonal changes of these gases, the moon carries 3 devices, one for imaging, and the other two sensing systems for greenhouse gas monitoring.

NASA: A huge asteroid that will pass near the Earth, and there are no dangers

The largest asteroid will pass near the globe in 2021, at a distance of more than two million kilometers, without any risk of collision with the planet, but the event will allow astronomers to study this asteroid, according to Agence France-Presse.

And the asteroid, which was named “2001 FO 32” and has a diameter of less than a kilometer, will pass at a speed of 124 thousand kilometers per hour, meaning “faster than most asteroids” that pass near the Earth, according to the US Space Agency (NASA).

The rocky body is scheduled to pass near the planet on Sunday, at 16:00 GMT.

And it will be at a distance of two million 16 thousand and 158 kilometers from the Earth, which is 5 times greater than the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

“There is no risk of collision with our planet,” said “NASA”, while experts at the Paris Observatory confirmed that its path “is known and disciplined enough” to allow any danger to be excluded.

However, the rocky body is classified as “somewhat dangerous”, like all asteroids whose orbit is less than 19.5 times the distance between the Earth and the moon, and more than 140 meters in diameter.

The French Observatory said that this category “is being monitored tirelessly by astronomers around the world, to put in the smallest possible details,” noting that the first and largest asteroid, “Ceres”, was discovered in 1801.

The asteroid “FO 32” was observed for the first time in 2001, and has been under close monitoring since then. It is part of the “Apollo” family of near-Earth asteroids that orbit the sun in at least one year and can cross the Earth’s orbit.

“Currently we do not know much about this object, so its passage will give us a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot about it,” said Lance Penner, an expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects of the Thrust Center stated that “it is assumed that amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes will be able to see the asteroid.”

Florent Delphi of the Paris Observatory said, “We will have to wait until dark and be equipped with a good telescope with a diameter of at least 20 centimeters,” explaining that “we should see a white point moving like a satellite.”

Its path is unlike that of meteors, which form a luminous line in the sky within tenths of a second.

“NASA” said that none of the large asteroids will hit Earth in the next century. But she added, “The more information we gather about these crimes, the better we can prepare to deport them in the event that one of them threatens the Earth.”

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