SpaceX Starship Launch, NASA Moon Roundtrip, Europe’s Reusable Rocket & China’s New Space Station!

2021 is going to be an exciting year for
human spaceflight and space exploration. Let’s have an overlook of all the interesting things that are going to
happen this year, from SpaceX’s Starship to NASA’s Artemis program,to robotic exploration of Mars, and so much more. And at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility meanwhile,Starship SN9 is indeed already preparing for a high altitude
test flight,the second one ever with a Starship prototype. And the SLS core stage of Artemis-1 is being prepared for the
final greenrun test, namely actually firing up the engines. A lot is happening in spaceflight, so stay tuned !So now that 2020 is finally over, the young year 2021
wants to prove that it can even surpass 2020. However luckily in spaceflight matters, 2021 is
going to surpass 2020, but in a positive way. But let’s first start with current developments. At SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, south Texas, the big event
was the successful static fire test of the SN9 prototype. On the 6th of January, the three Raptor engines
fired up for a static fire test. While the test looked good, it turns out that this static fire test was
noticeably shorter than the previous ones, for example with SN8. Labpadre made an excellent video comparing the three SN8 static
fire tests with the SN9 static fire test from January 6th. So why was the SN9 static fire with 1. 5
to 2seconds of duration cut so short?Well it could have been a post ignition abort or it could have been shortened
intentionally in order to avoid damaging the launch pad’s concretesurface, as ChrisB from NASASpaceflight
speculated in this tweet here. Whatever the cause, the next static fire
test with SN9 is already scheduled,and there is a very good chance that it has already occured
by the time we release this video here on January 9th. If so, then you can see some awesome
static fire footage right now. If not, then we are sure it is
going to happen any time now. Either way, another successful static fire is a
prerequisite for the upcoming SN9 test flight. In the latest NOTAM, the flight date currently being targeted
is January 10th from 1400 UTC until 2359 UTC. With SN8 we faced quite a few delays, but we are optimisitic
that the SN9 flight won’t see so many delays. And the flight itself will be an exact copy of the SN8 flight, but
hopefully this time with a landing that doesn’t end in a fireball. And of course 2021 will be an even more
exciting year at Boca Chica than 2020. So what can we expect in 2021 then?Well, first, many more Starship test-flights,
maybe even test flights in tandem,as this interesting exchange between RGVAerial
Photography and Elon hinted at. But of course, the first Super Heavy prototypes will be assembled
in 2021, with a testing campaign for the booster prototypes,similar to how we saw them for
the Starship prototypes. And then with any luck, we might see a first orbital launch attempt
in late 2021, complete with Super Heavy and Starship. At NASA meanwhile, preparations are ongoing to
complete the tests of the SLS core stage,which is the very same core stage to
be used for the Artemis-1 mission. This will be the unmanned tesflight of the complete SLS system together
with the Orion spacecraft on a roundtrip flight around the Moon,currently scheduled for November 2021. But you know how it is with dates regarding SLS. Let’s formulate it like this: Compared to SLS time, Elon time appears
like an ultra precise and perfect estimate for future events. On December 20th, a wet dress rehearsel
test of SLS was conducted,where the core stage was fully loaded up with
liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant. This was the first time that the propellant
tanks were filled with cryogenic fluids. Engineers detected no leaks
during the multi-hour test,but the simulated countdown was automatically stopped
with four minutes left until the planned hold point. NASA said in a later statement that the countdown was halted
due to “timing on a valve closure. ” Julie Bassler,SLS Stages manager at Marshall Spaceflight said: “During our wet dress
rehearsal Green Run test, the core stage, the stage controller,and the Green Run software
all performed flawlessly,and there were no leaks when the tanks were fully loaded
and replenished for approximately two hours. Data from all the tests to date has given us the confidence to
proceed with the hot fire. ” So the green run hotfire test,where the rocket will be fully loaded and all engines
will be fired up for a longer duration,complete with every step as in the real lift-off procedure,
can start, and is currently scheduled for mid January. And please subscribe to our channel, if you want the latest
news on spaceflight in a non white-washed way. And you can also find our videos over on Odysee. Odysee is a new video site that was created to recapture some
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can control the publication of videos, as in the case of youtube. Just click the link in video description
to follow us over on Odysee. Talking of SLS and the Artemis program, some
other cool stuff is going to happen in 2021. Of course Artemis 1 which we mentioned before, but regarding the human
landing system, NASA will make a choice in March this year,which contender or contenders will continue to work together with NASA
in building the next Moon lander that will actually land astronauts onthe surface of the Moon. So the Apollo
Lunar Module 2. 0 if you will. Currently we have Dynetics, which have in our opinion
an excellent Moon lander called Alpaca. Not only is it almost one stage, except for the fuel tanks, which are
spent during the landing procedure, then it is really spacious,almost like a habitat module,
then it is modular in design,thus allowing it to be transformed into a pressurized rover
or to build a small moonbase with a few such modules,and it is really low lying so that astronauts
can exit and enter the module very easily. The next one we like to call the Lobby lander,
because it’s from the National Team,consisting of the oldschool aerospace
players like Lockheed and Northrop. But with the new entrant Blue Origin, who decided that lobbying is better
than innovation, so they chose to side with these companies. This lander is our least favorite, as it is very complicated
with a three stage design, has a smaller habitat volume,and a gigantic ladder that doesn’t
look really safe to us. And the last one is of course the lunar version of SpaceX’s Starship,
which is together with the Dynetics Alpaca our favorite. It has the largest interior living volume by far,
and also by far the largest payload capability. Let’s hope NASA will choose the human landing
system wisely, and not poorly. “You chose poorly. ” NASA might not be so efficient any more
regarding human spaceflight as compared to the Apollo era,but regarding robotic exploration of the
solar system, they are still king. And lots of robotic explorers will
arrive at Mars this year. First, the UAEs Mars Hope orbiter will
arrive at Mars on February 9th. The orbiter is going to study the planet’s atmosphere in order
to better understand martian climate and weather phenomena. Then later in February, the chinese probe
Tianwen-1 is also expected to arrive. It will orbit the planet for a few months, until the
lander will descend to the Utopia Planitia region. The Chinese lander also sports a rover, so if successful, China will
be the second nation after the US to manage to land a rover on Mars. And talking of rovers, NASA’s Perseverance rover is
also scheduled to arrive at Mars on February 18th. February will be an excellent
month for Mars exploration. We talked about the Perseverance rover
already a few times on this channel. It’s very similar in size, weight and
architecture to the Curiosity rover,but it has some additional science instruments allowing it to better
scan for signs of life, and carries a small flying drone with it. This will be the first time ever that flight
will be performend on another planet. So Mars wise, 2021 will be an
incredibly interesting year. And then on October 31st, the James Webb Space Telescope
will finally launch on an Ariane V rocket. This is the successor to the Hubble Space telescope,
and with its 6. 5 meter diameter mirror,will have over seven times the light capture capacity
than Hubble with its 2. 4 meter diameter mirror. It’s spectrometer will be sensitive enough to detect gases in exoplanet
atmospheres, planets in other starsystems many lightyears away from us. Possibly even allowing us to detect biosignature gases,
which can only exist due to the presence of life,or with luck even techno-signature gases, which can only be created
artificially through processes involving technology. So 2021 will also be an exciting year
for astronomy and astrobiology. Then having just mentioned Ariane V, the Europeans very well
know that if they want to play any role in the future,they will also have to go fully reusable. To that end, 2021 will see efforts for ESA’s Themis project,
that is how their first reusable rocket will be called. We have already a few renderings of the Themis rocket, and the
engine, codenamed Prometheus, is already under development. So 2021 will see ongoing efforts towards reusability, and not only in
Europe, but also in Russia at Roscosmos with their Amur project,and of course in China with the companies ISpace and LinkSpace
being most far ahead regarding reusability. And we must go reusable, not only to drive down costs for
spaceflight, but also to solve the space debris problem. With full reusability, no new space debris
will hopefully be created one day,thus the number of debris objects in space
will also start declining again. Regarding China, in 2021,we will see the first module of their space station being launched
on a Long March 5B rocket sometime in the first half of 2021. This main module named Tianhe will be the
main habitat module of the station. Two experiment modules will follow in 2022. Then we’ll also see two more flights with Astronauts
to the ISS on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon this year,while Boeing’s Starliner will try to fly their
Starliner without crew, in late 2021. Let’s see how that will go. Maybe they will
manage to have fewere bugs this time. Oh, and the commercial lunar era begins in 2021. Intuitive machines for example plans to fly their Nova-C lander to the
Moon on a Falcon 9 rocket slated to launch around October this year. It will delover six NASA and six commercial scientific payloads
to the Oceanus Procellarum region of the Moon. Oh, and India will launch the Chandrayaan 3 mission later this year, in order
to make up for the lost Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan 2 mission. Chandrayaan 3 will thus consist only of a lander,
and we hope they will succeed this time. If you think commercial payloads to the Moon are
nice but you would prefer to have a moonbase,then we have a video where we talked about the Chinese plans
to build a moonbase which you can watch right here. So thanks for watching the JS Space report
and I would say on 2 the future!

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