Today marks the end of World Space Week. This week SpaceX reached a $100 billion valuation, NASA released a climate action plan, Sally Ride will be featured on a US quarter and more!
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World Space Week
World Space Week began on October 4 and runs until today, October 10. These dates were chosen as October 4 marks the day in 1957 when Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, was launched into orbit. October 10, meanwhile, marks the day in 1967 that the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space went into effect. This international agreement marks space and the Moon as a place for science and exploration, unclaimed by individual countries, rather than another battlefield for war and weapons of mass destruction.
Women in Space
The theme for this year’s World Space Week was Celebrating Women in Space. Women, even as they were excluded from being astronauts for many years, have always been in vital roles at NASA. On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Now she is being recognized on a US quarter. Her launch took place over 20 years after the Soviets launched the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, on June 16, 1963.
Women have roles as astronauts and behind the scenes. NASA took some time this week to celebrate the women at NASA the help make history every day. To this day, there have only been four African American women to fly in space. With the Artemis program, NASA is going to change that. The Artemis program will land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon. NASA’s new graphic novel shows the fictional journey of that first woman. Vice President Kamala Harris teamed up with Astronaut Shane Kimbrough to inspire kids to explore the stars in a new video.
The European Space Agency also joined in for World Space Week. A Barbie Doll version of Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti flew in a zero-G plane for World Space Week and has now been released for sale as a part of Babie’s role models collection. Barbie is far from the only brand to help celebrate World Space Week. Crayola released educational materials and craft ideas alongside a discount on STEAM kits and toys. Meanwhile, Unistellar teamed up with SETI to inspire a million girls to discover space.
NASA publishes Climate Action Plan
On Thursday, October 7, NASA and 20 other agencies released their climate action plans. The plan comes as a result of Biden’s executive order directing federal agencies to describe climate-related vulnerabilities and the actions the agency plans to take to help combat climate change and reduce waste. The climate action plan needs to be reviewed to ensure it meets the directives of the executive order before implementing it into operations.
This plan comes as NASA is in the midst of hosting an Alliance for Climate Action series with FEMA this month.
SpaceX crosses $100 billion valuation
On October 8, CNBC revealed that SpaceX had reached a valuation of $100.3 billion. This valuation is up from its previous $74 billion valuation and comes as a result of a secondary share sale at an increased price. This makes SpaceX the second-largest private company.
While SpaceX will remain private, Starlink is more likely to go public. SpaceX’s satellite internet service needs to have a predictable cash flow, but then the SpaceX subsidiary may go public. Just this month the service is exiting its Beta.
Starliner crew reassigned to SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission
NASA announced on Wednesday two astronauts who will be flying on SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission. The astronauts, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, were previously set to fly on Boeing’s first two crewed missions of Starliner.
Crew-5 is currently scheduled for the fall of 2022. This news comes as Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule faces further delays. The OFT-2 mission, which should have launched earlier this year, is now happening in the first half of 2022. That uncrewed flight test is a redo, after the first Orbital Flight Test of Starliner failed to dock with the ISS due to myriad software issues. OFT-2 was delayed and destacked after issues with 13 valves were found. Crews were unable to unstick the valves at the pad, so the spacecraft was returned to the processing facility, where it still has a stuck valve.
Film crew arrives at ISS with MS-19
On the morning of October 5, a Russian Soyuz capsule docked with the International Space Station carrying three crew members on board. There were issues with the automated software, requiring the commander to take manual control of the capsule. Onboard was commander Anton Shkaplerov, and he was joined by director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Pereslid. They are visiting the ISS for a short time, in order to film a movie, before returning with MS-18.
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