Issue No. 195

The Orbital Index

Issue No. 195 | Nov 23, 2022

🚀 🌍 🛰

Artemis I CubeSat update. Of the 10 small, secondary payloads deployed from the top of Artemis I’s ICPS upper stage, at least 6 are operational: ArgoMoon (fly-along proximity ops and photo documentation of the ICPS—it has returned photos of the Earth and Moon already), BioSentinel (taking biology—yeast—further into space than ever before to study radiation’s effects), CuSP (solar flare and radiation monitoring), EQUULEUS (space environment research at the Earth-Moon L2), LunaH-Map (lunar ice mapping via a hydrogen neutron detector), and Lunar IceCube (lunar ice hunting spectrometer). LunIR (infrared mapping and imaging) also seems to be working but has a weaker signal than expected. Unfortunately, OMOTENASHI (the world’s smallest Moon lander, from Japan) is struggling, and without reliable communications, or attitude control could not be commanded to attempt its landing. And sadly, Team Miles (citizen science deep space plasma thruster demonstration) and NEA Scout (solar sailing, Asteroid 2020 GE-visiting explorer) both have yet to phone home. 😟

The Moon, as seen by a cubesat. Credit: ArgoMoon/ASI/NASA


The Orbital Index is made possible through generous sponsorship by:


Webb keeps pumping out quality. The L2-orbiting space telescope continues to pour forth beautiful pictures and new science to the delight of all space enthusiasts. We thought we’d do a quick round-up of a few recent releases.

News in brief. Orion performed a two-and-a-half minute perilune engine burn just 130 km above the lunar surface—track its current status hereChina launched five satellites on a commercial Ceres-1 Y4 and a Yaogan-34 remote sensing/military sat on a Long March 4CGravitics, a startup designing next-gen space station modules, raised $20MSpacewalks occurred at both the ISS and TiangongEutelsat’s board approved a merger with OneWeb—the deal is now pending regulatory approvalAdvanced Space won a $72M AFRL contract for cislunar space situational awarenessClearSpace is collaborating with Intelsat on GEO sat life extension—their ClearSpace-1 debris removal mission is NET 2025Canada announced the country’s first lunar rover, with $43M CAD in funding, to be launched in 2026—it will explore shadowed polar regions and is designed to survive the 14-day-long lunar nightSpaceX will receive $1.15B from NASA for a second lunar lander mission, probably Artemis IV (this is a big deal, Artemis IV wasn’t originally planned as a landing)Prometheus, ESA’s next generation engine focused on price and reusability, conducted a first test fire 🔥 Skyroot launched the first private Indian rocket to reach space, reaching a suborbital altitude of 89.5 km (video)NASA & JAXA will expand collaboration on Gateway, including SLS flying a Japanese crew member and JAXA providing life support systems, batteries, and their HTV-X(G) spacecraft for resupply missionsOverstory, an EO company providing vegetation intelligence, raised a $5.2m seed roundGood Night Oppy, a documentary about Opportunity, is scheduled to be released today.
“We all remember those famous first words spoken by an astronaut on the surface of Mars: ‘That's one small step fo- HOLY SHIT LOOK OUT IT'S GOT SOME KIND OF DRILL! Get back to the ... [unintelligible] ... [signal lost]’” XKCD #1504
The plucky craft’s final image.
(And here's a video compilation of images from LightSail 2’s time in space.)

© 2024 The Orbital Index. All rights reserved.

Powered by Hydejack v8.4.0