Space Stories: Hungarians in Space, A Constantly Manned Chinese Space Station, and Lunar Water

Here are some recent stories of interest. “Hungary to spend $100 million on private astronaut mission to ISS

The Hungarian government plans to spend $100 million to send an astronaut to the International Space Station in two years through a deal with Axiom Space. In a presentation at the European Space Agency’s ministerial council meeting Nov. 22, Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian foreign minister, said the country was in the middle of a process to select an astronaut to fly on a month-long mission to the ISS in late 2024 or early 2025. Axiom Space announced in July it signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Hungary regarding that country’s Hungarian to Orbit (HUNOR) program, which would fly a Hungarian astronaut to space on a future Axiom Space mission. That announcement, though, provided few details about when that person would fly.

Associated Press: “Chinese Spaceship with 3 Aboard Docks with Space Station

Three Chinese astronauts docked early Wednesday with their country’s space station, where they will overlap for several days with the three-member crew already onboard and expand the facility to its maximum size. Docking with the Tiangong station came at 5:42 a.m. Wednesday, about 6 1/2 hours after the Shenzhou-15 spaceship blasted off atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center...The station’s third and final module docked earlier this month, one of the last steps in China’s effort to maintain a constant crewed presence in orbit. “Tiny Cubesat Will Shine an Infrared ‘Flashlight’ Into the Moon’s Shadowed Craters, Searching for Water Ice

A tiny spacecraft is ready to head out for a big job: shining a light on water ice at the Moon’s south pole. Lunar Flashlight is a cubesat about the size of a briefcase, set to launch on December 1 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, sharing a ride with the Hakuto-R Mission to the Moon. The tiny 14 kg (30 lb) spacecraft will use near-infrared lasers and an onboard spectrometer to map the permanently shadowed regions near the Moon’s south pole, where there could be reservoirs of water ice.