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Japan Air Self Defense Force awards contract to LeoLabs

Space mapping startup LeoLabs announced a multimillion-dollar contract May 24 to provide space domain awareness data, services and training to the Japan Air Self Dense Force. “We are honored to be working with the Japan Ministry of Defense,” Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs CEO and co-founder, told SpaceNews. “This is actually the first allied ministry of defense that is using our commercial services in a big way. It sets a good precedent.”


NASA shows off early plans to send astronauts to Mars for 30 days

We have a glimpse now of NASA’s latest vision for its first crewed Mars mission. The agency released (opens in new tab) its top objectives for a 30-day, two-person Mars surface mission on Tuesday (May 17) and asked the public to provide feedback on how the planning is going. Submissions were initially due on May 31, but that deadline was recently extended to June 3.


Ice giants and icy moons: The planetary science decadal survey looks beyond Mars to the outer solar system

The last time the planetary science community came together to conduct a decadal survey, Mars was ascendant. NASA had flown a series of Mars missions and was working on its most ambitious rover yet, Curiosity. The decadal survey endorsed continuing that Mars exploration strategy by backing a mission to collect samples as the first step to returning those samples to Earth.


NASA plans early June rollout of SLS for next countdown test

NASA said May 20 it expects to roll out the SLS from the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center to Launch Complex 39B in early June for the next attempt at a wet dress rehearsal (WDR), where the vehicle is filled with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants and goes through a countdown that stops just before ignition of the core stage’s four RS-25 engines.


NASA confirms impending end for InSight

At a briefing about the mission, which has been on the surface of Mars since November 2018, project leaders said science operations will likely end in July as the output of the spacecraft’s two solar panels, coated with dust, drops below critical levels. Increasing dust levels in the atmosphere from seasonal changes are exacerbating the power decline.