What’s up? (In space!) Summer 2020

After the recent excitement of the first Space X crewed launch to the ISS, you’d probably be forgiven for thinking that everything would be quiet on the space front over the summer. But no! There’s still plenty of space news happening with some real treats coming up. Here are a few of my favorites.

July 1 – today! – watch Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken (fresh off his SpaceX trip) in action as they take their second spacewalk outside the ISS in order to complete some vital power upgrades. You can settle in and watch the rest of the live broadcast, which began at 7:20 eastern this morning. Optional: grab a beer and snacks and celebrate Canada Day at the same time! (Hint: You don’t even have to be Canadian!)

Mars madness
Mars is hot, hot, hot right now (in every sense) and attracting interest from so many countries it’s starting to look like the Martian equivalent of Grand Central Station. One of the latest groups to join in the fun is the United Arab Emirates, which will launch its first Mars orbiter on July 14, from a Japanese rocket in Japan. The Hope Mars Mission (also known as the Emirates Mars Mission) was announced in 2014, and is the first time we’ve seen an Arab-Islamic country pursuing this sort of work.

July also sees the launch of NASA’s Perseverance Mars 2020 rover from Cape Canaveral and will also see China send its “questions to heaven” with the launch of an orbiter and small rover in the Tianwen 1 mission.

All I want to know is, when do I get my ticket? 🙂

The Dragon returns
To round out the summer, SpaceX will hit the headlines once more when it launches its very first operational Crew Dragon mission to the ISS. On board: NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker  plus Soichi Noguchi from Japan.

Oh, Canada!
No Canadian astronauts in this round-up, but we did just get the news that the Canadian government has awarded the contract for building Canadarm 3, which will be an essential part of the Lunar Gateway project.

Which space events are you most excited for this summer? Let me know in the comments, and have a safe and happy Canada Day!

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