Today

This week the Space Explored team unpack’s NASA’s unexpected SLS Green Run hot fire test ending, the latest status update on SpaceX’s Starship SN9 flight plans, this week in Space Coast launches, and much more.

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January 21

Yes, you read that title correctly; Biden does indeed have a moon rock in the Oval Office. As pointed out by The Washington Post, the moon rock is sitting on a bookshelf and is “intended to remind Americans of the ambition and accompaniments of earlier generations.”

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Consuming food aboard the International Space Station (ISS) can be a rather tricky task, but luckily, NASA can regularly send more food up. However, when future missions begin calling for astronauts to travel farther out into space, that won’t be an option. Enter the “Deep Space Food Challenge.”

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After the SLS Core Stage hot fire test that aborted just over a minute into the test, it was uncertain what objectives were met and if they would need to do a second test fire. During the second press conference Tuesday afternoon, concerns arose about the Core Stage reaching its cryo-cycling limit before the launch but today NASA shares the Core Stage and Artemis 1 timeline may be in better shape than first thought.

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Still in the afterglow of Blue Origin’s 14th flight of its New Shepard rocket, Jeff Bezos’ space tourism venture is planning another suborbital rocket launch to keep the momentum going in 2021. According to reports, these next missions could be some of the biggest in the company’s history.

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Friday morning SpaceX plans to launch their first dedicated ridesharing mission. Ahead of the launch, one of the Sentinel-2 Earth-observing satellites conveniently passed over the landing zone for the mission while showing SpaceX’s fleet ready to perform their rocket-catching duties.

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January 20

Rocket Lab kicked off their 2021 mission schedule with a dedicated launch of a communication satellite for OHB Group into a polar orbit. The Electron rocket lifted off early Wednesday, January 20, from their launch complex in New Zealand.

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On December 15, the US Air Force used artificial intelligence (AI) to control a Lockheed U-2 spy plane’s radar and sensor systems. This marked the first time that AI was given control of any US military system.

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FAA clears path for Dream Chaser landing with Space Florida reentry approval at NASA shuttle site

This week the FAA gave approval to Space Florida to be able to operate space reentry operations at NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Kennedy Space Center. This will allow for commercial operations to take place at the runway for commercial companies.

NASA released a statement this week detailing information about some of the findings that contributed to the early shutdown of the Artemis 1 Core Stage during the Green Run Hot Fire test on Saturday. The test was originally supposed to last about 8 minutes, but ended up only lasting 67.2 seconds, far short of the minimum amount of time needed to certify the core.

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