Space Junk and Crew Dragon
If you follow space news at all you most likely have heard about the growing issue of space junk. Space junk can be a variety of things from "dead" satellites to rocket pieces among other human-made things that we launched into space. Space experts have been raising the alarm about the growing issues of launching people into space with this junk possibly hitting and damaging spacecraft.
While space junk has not caused damage to a spacecraft yet the issue is very real. The catastrophic failure during Challenger's reentry showed us what even minor damage can do to a space vehicle returning to Earth. During the Crew-2 accent to the International Space Station, alarms were sounded about a possible incident with space junk.
The crew was preparing to go to bed but was instructed to fully suit up and even to put down their visors and turn on their suit fans. These steps were taken in case of depressurization that could be caused by space junk impacting the Dragon. Luckily it turns out if was just a false alarm but SpaceX engineers had taken control of the capsule down on Earth to navigate it away from any possible impact.
Blue Origin Protest NASA Lunar Lander Contract
When NASA selected SpaceX as the lunar lander supplier I was pretty confused. The initial contract competition stated that two of the final three companies would be selected. Instead, NASA selected just one of the 3, SpaceX.
Bezos' company has accused the government or NASA of moving the goal post at the last minute and that NASA negotiated a proposed price with SpaceX and not Blue Origin. A key point to note is that NASA did classify SpaceX's design as high risk so its selection is a little odd since they did previously state that. In total Blue Origin filed a 50 page protest to the selection of SpaceX.
Elon Musk's Comments on Mars and Response to Blue Origins Protest
When Elon Musk was interviewed during his Carbon Capture prize announcement he caught the attention of some people with his comments about the first people to go to Mars. While it is known that space travel is dangerous and that the first people to travel to another world permenatly be it either the Moon or Mars will deal with harsh realities Musk took it a step further. During the interview he clearly stated that those who think that its just the rich trying to escape Earth were very wrong. He plainly stated that its going to be a long journey that a lot of things on the planet itself will be difficult and the first people will probably die there. His spin on this dangerous endevor was it is going to be a glorious adventure.... not exactly the upbeat thing I personally would like to hear but those were his words.
When news also broke about Blue Origin's protest of the lunar contract in true Elon fashion he made a comment. Musks response was straight to the point and quite funny in my opinion!
While this tends to get Elon in trouble I cannot help but get a chuckle out of it I mean he isn't wrong but people seem to have pretty thin skin how adays.
Delayed Crew-1 Return
NASA's Crew-1 astronauts were supposed to splash down off the coast of Flordia tomorrow April 28. Initially launched on November 15 last year and with Crew-2 docking, yesterday with the ISS Crew-1 was cleared to return. Due to high winds, however, in the landing area, they have postponed the splashdown to Saturday, May 1st.
Saturdays return will also have the ability to land at one of 7 sites all of the coast of Flordia but some in the Gulf and some on the Atlantic side. The exact site has yet to be chosen as NASA follows the weather to figure out the safest place for landing. NASA requires the capsule to be recovered pretty quickly once it splashes down as the astronauts do not exit the capsule until the capsule is pulled out of the water and onto the deck of the recovery ship.
FCC Approves SpaceX's Constellation Plan
In big news for the Starlink Constellation as the FCC has approved a change that SpaceX asked for that would allow some of the Starlink satellites to be deployed at a lower altitude than previously agreed to. This lower deployment will help with space safety and improve interference environment and improve customer experience.
2,824 satellites are going to be in this lower orbit so it is quite a large amount of them. This will really help reduce the possibility of these satellites crashing into each other creating even more space junk then is currently in orbit. This then will help SpaceX with future crew launches. This could end up causing issues with Amazons Kuiper Systems satellite project but still the FCC approved it!