Space Stories: SpaceX ISS Launch, Israeli Space Telescope, and Japanese Asteroid Results

Image (Credit): Artist’s rendering of Israel’s ULTRASAT space telescope. (Weizmann Institute of Science)

Here are some recent stories of interest.

Reuters News: “SpaceX Ready to Retry Launching NASA’s Next Space Station Crew

Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX was ready to try again at sending NASA’s next long-duration crew of the International Space Station to orbit on Thursday, about 72 hours after a first attempt was scrubbed due to a clogged filter in the launch system. Two NASA astronauts will be joined by a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates for a six-month science mission made up of experiments ranging from human cell growth in space to controlling combustible materials in microgravity.

NASA: “NASA to Launch Israel’s First Space Telescope

NASA will launch Israel’s first space telescope mission, the Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT). ULTRASAT, an ultraviolet observatory with a large field of view, will investigate the secrets of short-duration events in the universe, such as supernova explosions and mergers of neutron stars. Led by the Israel Space Agency and Weizmann Institute of Science, ULTRASAT is planned for launch into geostationary orbit around Earth in early 2026. In addition to providing the launch service, NASA will also participate in the mission’s science program.

Carnegie Science: “Organic Molecules Found on First Primitive Asteroid Sample Returned to Earth

Approximately 20,000 organic molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur were found in samples returned to Earth from the asteroid Ryugu by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa2 mission, according to  new work published in two Science papers from an international team that included Carnegie’s George Cody, Jens Barosch, and Larry Nittler. Named after a Japanese folktale, Ryugu is a near-Earth object, half a mile across, shaped kind of like a spinning top that orbits the Sun every 16 months. Hayabusa2 was the first mission to bring material back to Earth from a primitive asteroid, offering unique insight into the building blocks from which our Solar System was formed and the possible origin of organic material that contributed to Earth’s habitability.