Issue No. 21

The Orbital Index

Issue No. 21 | Jul 16, 2019

On July 20th, 1969, enabled by the work of over 400,000 people, and watched live by more than 600 million worldwide (1/7th of all humans in existence at the time), Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and said, to paraphrase: 

As we’re sure you already know, this Saturday is the 50th anniversary of that seminal achievement. We commemorate it in this special issue № 21 of The Orbital Index.

Lots of parties. We’ve put together a big list of local anniversary celebrations and events, and NASA has one as well. A favorite: Apollo 50: Go for the Moon on the National Mall in Washington D.C., where the Saturn V will be full-motion projection mapped on to the Washington Monument along with a 40-foot-wide recreation of the original Kennedy Space Center countdown clock.

Watch and Listen.


Other news in brief. SpaceX released a report on the April Crew Dragon anomaly citing a nitrogen tetroxide leak during propulsion system pressurization which led to the high-pressure failure of a titanium check-valve and ignition of the titanium—no updated mission schedule has been announced; Hayabusa2 touched down on Ryugu for a second time, collecting pristine samples from the blast crater it made in April (Hayabusa2 will head back to Earth in late 2019); last Wednesday, Arianespace’s 15th Vega launch suffered the rocket’s first failure, resulting in the loss of its payload, a UAE Earth observation satellite; Virgin Orbit performed its first drop test of a dummy rocket from their Boeing 747 carrier plane on Thursday; ISRO scrubbed the Chandrayaan-2 launch at T-56 minutes on Sunday; a circumplanetary disk has been observed for the first time around a planet orbiting a young star 370 light-years away; and, Made In Space received $73M from NASA for Archinaut One, a smallsat that can 3D print large structures in LEO, in this case, two 10 m beams which will deploy solar arrays.

…and a few more not-Apollo things.

“Another thing that is a bad problem is if you're flying toward space and the parts start to fall off your space car in the wrong order. If that happens, it means you won't go to space today, or maybe ever.”

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