Multiple Spacecraft Launch to Mars
NASA’s Mars 2020 spacecraft carrying the Perseverance rover was launched on July 30. The Perseverance rover’s will seek out signs of past life on Mars as well as demonstrating technologies like the MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) instrument which is designed to prove if it is possible to convert Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen. China’s Tianwen-1 and the United Arab Emirates’ Hope Probe also launched last week. However, the European and Russian Space Agencies have delayed the launch of their ExoMars rover citing concerns over the coronavirus and spacecraft component readiness. The joint agency mission is now intended to launch between August and October 2022.
SpaceX's sixth full scale testing prototype successfully completed a key static fire test of its Raptor engines. The next test planned for the SN5 Starship prototype will be a 150m short duration flight test. The final version of Starship will feature six Raptor engines and will be capable of carrying up to 100 people. If testing is successful SpaceX could carry out the first Starship missions as early as 2021. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic has unveiled a new cabin design for its SpaceShipTwo vehicle as the company moves closer to obtaining its commercial operating license.
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