November: What's New in Space Exploration This Month?
It’s a November to remember in space. Here are some exciting space exploration highlights to look forward too!
1. SpaceX will launch another satellite for the U.S. Space Force
On November 5, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is set to launch a fourth third-generation navigation satellite known as GPS 3 SV04 for a Global Positioning System in connection with Space Force. It will blast off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
2. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission scheduled to launch this month
The assigned NASA astronauts for SpaceX’s first operational crewed mission are Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker along with mission specialist Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). These four astronauts are currently scheduled to launch on November 15 in a brand-new Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for a six month stay aboard the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, and Cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who arrived to the ISS on October 14, plan to welcome the four space explorers on November 16 when they dock with the station in their Crew Dragon capsule, Resilience.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts participate in crew equipment interface testing at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Sept. 24, 2020.
3. A $23 million-dollar space toilet aboard the ISS awaits remaining crew members
Last month, NASA launched an expensive Universal Waste Management System to the International Space Station. The crew of Expedition 63 installed the compact and self-contained white cylinder in anticipation for the seven crew members of Expedition 64. It is said to be a better experience for female astronauts who need to use the loo. NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker will be the judge of its improved design.
4. Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins is joining the U.S. Space Force
It has been announced that a swearing-in ceremony may happen in orbit as NASA astronaut and U.S. Air Force colonel, Michael Hopkins, is set to become the first active astronaut member in the newly formed military branch of Space Force. Space Force was established within the Air Force on December 20, 2019, under the United States Space Force Act.
5. Virgin Galactic welcomes two more pilots as it readies for commercial spaceflight
Jameel Janjua and Patrick Moran are joining six others for training at Spaceport America to possibly become the world’s first commercial suborbital spaceship pilots. Both test pilots have military and commercial flight experience.