Breaking News: Russian ISS Module Experiences Air Leak, NASA Confirms Crew Safety

russia space flight leaks (1)

NASA wants to assure everyone that there is no need to panic. During a recent press briefing, Joel Mantalbano, NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) Program Manager, addressed the issue of a leak in the Russian module of the space station. He mentioned that the leak is located at the aft end of the module, where the Progress spacecraft from Russia dock. Mantalbano emphasized that this leak does not pose any immediate threat to the crew or the operations of the spacecraft. However, NASA is working closely with their Russian counterparts to determine the next steps in resolving the issue.


It’s important to note that this leak will not affect the upcoming Crew-8 mission, which is scheduled to launch soon. The mission is set to take off on Friday, courtesy of NASA. Mantalbano also mentioned that the leak started to increase in volume about a week before the launch of a Progress resupply vessel to the space station. This is not the first time that leaks in this part of the Russian module have occurred, and repairs have been made in the past.In recent months, the ISS has experienced multiple leaks from Russian hardware. 


In December 2022, a Soyuz spacecraft began venting coolant into space, leading to the cancellation of a scheduled Russian spacewalk. To address the situation, the Russian space agency sent an empty replacement Soyuz spacecraft, called MS-23, and brought the leaky spacecraft back to Earth for analysis. As a result, three astronauts had to spend 12 months on the ISS instead of the planned six. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio even set a new American record for the longest continuous spaceflight, spending 371 days on the lab due to the leak and delays in sending a replacement.

In February 2023, a Russian cargo spacecraft named Progress 82 experienced an ammonia leak while connected to the space station. Seven months later, another leak occurred in the Russian Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module. It has been noted by experts that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had a negative impact on the collaboration in space between Russia and its global partners. Following the invasion, Russia has expressed its intention to build its own space station in low Earth orbit and eventually depart from the ISS by 2028.

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SpaceX Successfully Deploys Starlink Satellites on Leap Day

spaceX deployed sattellite const

In a remarkable Leap Day launch, SpaceX successfully sent another group of Starlink internet satellites into orbit from Florida’s Space Coast. The Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 23 Starlink satellites, took off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 10:30 a.m. EST. This mission, known as Starlink 6-40, was initiated after the postponement of the company’s first astronaut launch of the year.


Earlier today, SpaceX swiftly transitioned into launch operations for Starlink 6-40, following the cancellation of their plans to send four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA’s Crew-8 mission. Originally scheduled for a midnight launch on Friday, Crew-8 was rescheduled due to concerns about rough offshore weather that could impact launch abort scenarios. The new launch window is set for Saturday night.

Today’s Starlink launch was particularly significant as it marked the 11th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage involved. This stage has previously played a crucial role in launching five Starlink missions, four commercial satellite flights, and an uncrewed NASA cargo run to the ISS. 


After a successful liftoff, the booster returned to Earth, landing on the drone ship Just Read The Instructions in the sea. It will now be transported back to port for future use. SpaceX’s commitment to launching Starlink satellites is part of their ambitious plan to establish a vast megaconstellation in low Earth orbit (LEO), enabling global, high-speed internet access directly from space. With aspirations of deploying up to 42,000 satellites in LEO, the company is steadily progressing towards its goal. Just a few days ago, on February 25, SpaceX launched its most recent Starlink mission.The satellites deployed during today’s mission were SpaceX’s Starlink Version 2 Mini satellites. Each launch brings us closer to a future where reliable internet connectivity is available to everyone, no matter where they are on the planet.

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First Images Sent by IM-1 Lander Shows Earth Gleaming like a Precious Jewel

earth shines like jewel

The Intuitive Machines spacecraft, part of NASA’s CLPS initiative and launched by SpaceX, has captured breathtaking images of Earth from space during its inaugural journey to the Moon.

These stunning pictures were taken as the Nova-C lander, also known as Odysseus, separated from the second stage of the SpaceX rocket. The mission aims to achieve the first US lunar touchdown in over 50 years and is a significant step towards NASA’s goal of returning astronauts to the moon.

The Intuitive Machines spacecraft, affectionately named Odysseus, took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket. If all goes according to plan, the Nova-C lander will touch down on the moon’s surface on February 22, carrying experiments for both NASA and commercial customers as part of a $118 million contract with SpaceX.

During its IM-1 flight, the spacecraft is equipped with six NASA payloads designed to gather valuable data about the lunar environment. This information will be crucial for NASA’s future missions to the moon, as they plan to send astronauts back to our celestial neighbor in the coming years.

If successful, this mission will mark the first controlled descent to the lunar surface by a US spacecraft since the final Apollo mission in 1972. It will also be a significant milestone for the private space industry, as it represents the first journey to the moon under NASA’s Artemis program.

As the United States races against China to return astronauts to the moon, this achievement will showcase the country’s commitment to exploring and understanding Earth’s natural satellite. The Intuitive Machines spacecraft has truly captured the beauty of our planet from space, reminding us of the wonders that lie beyond our atmosphere.

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India’s Upcoming Mars Mission to Feature a Helicopter: A Giant Leap for Space Exploration

india on mars

India’s upcoming Mars mission is set to take inspiration from NASA’s Ingenuity drone by including a helicopter in its plans. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is currently developing this concept, with the aim of launching it alongside an Indian Mars lander in the early 2030s.

India’s first mission to Mars, known as the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or “Mangalyaan,” successfully entered orbit around the Red Planet in September 2014, following its launch in November 2013. The spacecraft conducted scientific research in Mars’ orbit for eight years until contact with Earth was lost in 2022.

ISRO’s upcoming Mars mission is expected to be even more ambitious. Jayadev Pradeep, a scientist from the Space Physics Laboratory at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, revealed during a recent webinar that the mission will feature a helicopter designed for Mars landings. This helicopter will carry a range of scientific instruments for aerial exploration of the planet, as reported by India Today.

The planned scientific payloads for the drone include sensors to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed, electric fields, as well as trace species and dust distribution in the Martian atmosphere. The helicopter will be capable of flying up to 328 feet (100 meters) above the Martian surface, allowing for detailed profiling of the planet’s atmosphere. In comparison, NASA’s Ingenuity drone reached altitudes of up to 79 feet (24 meters) during its flights and covered a horizontal distance of 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) over its impressive operational period.

Ingenuity made history by successfully landing on Mars’ Jezero Crater alongside NASA’s Perseverance rover in February 2021. It not only demonstrated the possibility of flight in the thin Martian atmosphere but also exceeded all expectations. Initially planned for five technology-demonstrating flights, this 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) chopper completed a remarkable 72 sorties on Mars before concluding its mission.

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Breaking Boundaries: Pratt & Whitney Unveils Game-Changing Digital Capability Centre in Bengaluru

Pratt & Whitney has recently unveiled its India Digital Capability Center (IDCC) in Bengaluru to expedite innovation and drive digital and business transformation across its global operations. The facility in Bengaluru will foster collaborations with other RTX businesses in India, such as Collins Aerospace and RTX Enterprise Services. With a vision of having 300 employees by 2027, Pratt & Whitney’s IDCC in Bengaluru will focus on digital technology advancements to support the company’s transformation efforts. Rahul Dharni, the Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer of Pratt & Whitney, expressed his excitement about the expansion and the opportunity to tap into India’s talented aviation and technology workforce. 


Ashmita Sethi, the President and Country Head of Pratt & Whitney India, further emphasized the company’s commitment by highlighting the significant investments made in engineering and supply chain operation centers, as well as in the IDCC. Pratt & Whitney has been actively investing in the Bengaluru region, including partnerships with prestigious institutes like the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Engineering Centre. As part of the larger RTX corporation, which operates through multiple divisions, Pratt & Whitney alone employs over 5,000 professionals in India, further solidifying its presence and contribution to the country’s aerospace ecosystem.

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Breaking Barriers: Private US Moon Lander Launches into History

A moon lander crafted by Intuitive Machines, an aerospace company based in Houston, took off from Florida on Thursday for its mission to carry out the United States’ first lunar touchdown in over fifty years. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, led by Elon Musk, successfully carried the company’s Nova-C lander, known as Odysseus, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Cheers rang out as the rocket soared into the sky, leaving a trail of fiery exhaust behind. Shortly after launch, at around 139 miles above Earth, the lander was detached from Falcon 9’s upper stage and gently floated away towards the moon. “IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander separation confirmed,” a mission controller proclaimed. Meanwhile, in Houston, mission operations teams eagerly awaited the first signals from the lander, signaling that it had safely powered up its systems and aligned itself in space. This particular mission, although led by Intuitive Machines, includes six NASA payloads meant to collect valuable data about the lunar environment in preparation for NASA’s upcoming manned lunar missions. Just a month prior, Astrobotic Technology’s lunar lander experienced a propulsion system leak on its way to the moon. This recent achievement stands in stark contrast to the setbacks faced by other private companies attempting lunar landings, with previous attempts from companies in Israel and Japan falling short of a “soft landing” on the lunar surface.


NASA’s reliance on the commercial sector for its spaceflight goals has been highlighted by recent mishaps. These incidents serve as a reminder of the risks involved in leaning heavily on private companies. However, despite these challenges, NASA remains determined to push forward with its plans.

One such plan involves the Odysseus spacecraft, which is set to make a weeklong journey to the moon’s south pole, with a planned landing on February 22nd at crater Malapert A. If successful, this mission will mark the first controlled descent to the lunar surface by a U.S. spacecraft since the Apollo missions in 1972, and it will also be the first time a private company achieves this feat.

This milestone will not only be a significant achievement for the private sector but also a crucial step in NASA’s Artemis moon program. With China also aiming to land its own crewed spacecraft on the moon, there is a race to return astronauts to Earth’s natural satellite. NASA’s strategy of partnering with private companies to reduce costs is being put to the test with missions like Odysseus.

In the past, NASA would purchase rockets and technology from the private sector but would own and operate them itself. However, the Artemis missions are taking a different approach by utilizing spacecraft built and owned by private companies. This shift in strategy is aimed at slashing costs and paving the way for future human exploration of Mars.

While NASA has recently announced a delay in its target date for a crewed Artemis moon landing, pushing it to late 2026, China has set its sights on 2030. In the meantime, smaller landers like Nova-C will be deployed to survey the lunar landscape, its resources, and potential hazards. Odysseus, on the other hand, will focus on studying space weather interactions, radio astronomy, precision landing technologies, and navigation.

The lunar south pole will see more activity in the coming years, with Intuitive Machine’s IM-2 mission scheduled for 2024, followed by an IM-3 mission later in the same year, which will include several small rovers. Other countries have also made their mark on the moon, with Japan achieving a precise landing with its SLIM probe last month, becoming the fifth nation to do so. India, too, joined the ranks last year, while Russia faced a failed attempt. As NASA continues to navigate the challenges and risks associated with relying on the commercial sector, the future of space exploration holds great promise.

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ISRO Achieves Yet Another Milestone with Successful INSAT-3DS Launch​

insat 3ds launch

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted four flight trials of the High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) ‘ABHYAS’ at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha. These trials, which took place from January 30 to February 2, validated various parameters including endurance, speed, manoeuvrability, altitude, and range. Compared to imported equivalents, ‘ABHYAS’ is cost-effective and requires minimal logistics.

The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO designed the flights to provide a realistic threat scenario for practicing weapon systems. The autopilot, developed indigenously by ADE, enables autonomous flying. The trials utilized a single booster designed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad, which provided reduced launch acceleration. The objectives, such as safe booster release, launcher clearance, and achieving the required end-of-launch velocity, were successfully accomplished.

‘ABHYAS’ is equipped with a radar cross-section, visual and Infrared augmentation system, and a laptop-based Ground Control System. This system facilitates aircraft integration, pre-flight checks, data recording during the flight, replay after the flight, and post-flight analysis. The manufacturing units of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Defence were involved in the realization of the recently tested systems.

With its export potential for friendly countries, ‘ABHYAS’ is now ready for production.

The main goals of the mission are to monitor the Earth’s surface, conduct oceanic observations, and study the environment using different spectral channels that are important for meteorology. Additionally, it aims to provide valuable data on various meteorological parameters of the atmosphere, collect and disseminate data from Data Collection Platforms, and offer satellite-aided search and rescue services. The INSAT-3DS Satellite is a continuation of the Third Generation Meteorological Satellite and operates from a geostationary orbit. It is specifically designed to enhance meteorological observations, monitor land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting, and issue disaster warnings. This satellite will work in conjunction with the already operational INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR satellites, thereby strengthening meteorological services. The Indian Industries have played a significant role in the development of this satellite. Various departments of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, including the India Meteorology Department, National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services, and other agencies and institutes, will utilize the data from the INSAT-3DS Satellite to provide improved weather forecasts and meteorological services. The GSLV, a three-stage launch vehicle measuring 51.7 meters in length and weighing 420 tonnes at liftoff, will be used for this mission. The first stage (GS1) consists of a solid propellant motor with 139 tonnes of propellant, along with four earth-storable propellant stages (L40) strapons, each carrying 40 tonnes of liquid propellant. The second stage (GS2) is also an earth-storable propellant stage with 40 tonnes of propellant. The third stage (GS3) is a cryogenic stage with a propellant loading of 15 tonnes of liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2). The GSLV is capable of launching various types of spacecraft for communication, navigation, earth resource surveys, and other specific missions.

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Pushing Boundaries: Exploring the Fascinating World of Self-Eating Rocket Prototype Engines that Go BOOM!

A groundbreaking autophage rocket engine has been developed by a team of researchers from the University of Glasgow. This innovative design utilizes waste heat from combustion to melt its plastic fuselage and use it as fuel. The concept, which was patented in 1938, aims to create an infinitely staged rocket that is highly efficient in reaching orbit.

According to Patrick Harkness, the professor of exploration technology at the University of Glasgow who spearheaded the project, the idea of an autophage rocket has been around for decades. However, due to its complexity and the lack of a business case for small payloads, it has not been widely explored until now.

The engine operates by burning high-density polyethylene plastic tubing along with liquid propane and gaseous oxygen, which serve as the main propellants. As the rocket ascends to orbit, it gradually consumes the plastic tubing, which is fed into the combustion chamber. This unique feature allows the rocket to carry larger payloads compared to other vehicles of similar mass, as it requires less propellant from Earth.

Named Ouroborous-3 after the ancient Egyptian symbol of a serpent eating its own tail, the rocket represents the concept of self-destruction and rebirth. The researchers successfully test-fired the prototype rocket engine at the MachLab facility, located at Machrihanish Airbase. These controlled experiments demonstrated a thrust of 100 newtons.

This groundbreaking development in rocket technology opens up new possibilities for more efficient space exploration and payload delivery. The autophage rocket engine showcases the potential of utilizing waste materials as a source of fuel, paving the way for future advancements in the field.

In 2018, the initial test was conducted. Through the latest test, the researchers have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing more powerful liquid propellants for the engine. Additionally, they have proven that the plastic fuselage can endure the necessary forces to propel it into the engine.

Furthermore, the tests have revealed the rocket’s ability to control, regulate, restart, and pulse its burn in an alternating pattern. Moving forward, the researchers are focused on developing a prototype of a lightweight engine for flight and incorporating liquid oxidizers.

“Our objective is to increase the scale by approximately two orders of magnitude, while remaining within the boundaries of our specialization in nanolaunchers,” stated Harkness. This rocket has the potential to directly transport minuscule nanosatellites into orbit, eliminating the need for expensive missions on conventionally fueled rockets.

Another significant advantage of this rocket is its self-consumption before reaching orbit, preventing it from becoming additional space debris. This addresses the growing concern of space clutter and its potential hazards.

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IIT Kanpur’s Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility Bolsters India’s Scientific Advancements​

iit kanpur hypervelocity wind tu (1)

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) has achieved a significant milestone by successfully establishing and testing India’s first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility. This accomplishment places India among a select group of countries with advanced hypersonic testing capabilities. Named S2 and affectionately called ‘Jigarthanda’, this 24-meter-long facility is located at IIT Kanpur’s Hypersonic Experimental Aerodynamics Laboratory (HEAL) within the Department of Aerospace Engineering. Over a span of three years, the S2 was meticulously designed and developed with the support and funding from the Aeronautical Research and Development Board (ARDB), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and IIT Kanpur.

The S2 facility is capable of generating flight speeds ranging from 3 to 10 km/s, effectively simulating the hypersonic conditions experienced during atmospheric entry of vehicles, asteroid entry, scramjet flights, and ballistic missiles. This makes it an invaluable test facility for ongoing missions of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), including Gaganyaan, Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), and hypersonic cruise missiles.

Professor S. Ganesh, the Director of IIT Kanpur, expressed his pride in the successful establishment of S2, stating that it is a historic milestone for both the institute and India’s scientific capabilities. He commended Professor Mohammed Ibrahim Sugarno and his team for their exceptional work in designing and fabricating this state-of-the-art hypersonic research infrastructure. Professor Sugarno, an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Centre for Lasers & Photonics at IIT Kanpur, highlighted the immense challenges faced during the construction of S2, which required a deep understanding of physics and precision engineering.

The establishment of the S2 facility marks a significant advancement for India’s space and defense organizations, providing them with domestic hypersonic testing capabilities for critical projects and missions. This achievement showcases the expertise and dedication of the Indian scientific community in pushing the boundaries of technological innovation.

The development of the ‘free piston driver’ system, which involves propelling a piston at high pressure through a compression tube at speeds of 150-200 m/s and bringing it to a controlled stop, was the most critical and challenging aspect of this project. However, our team’s expertise allowed us to overcome this obstacle successfully. We take great pride in having designed, constructed, and tested this unique facility, which solidifies India’s position in the esteemed global hypersonic research community,” he stated.

Professor Tarun Gupta, the Dean of Research and Development at IIT Kanpur, emphasized that S2 showcases the institute’s research excellence and establishes it as a leader in innovative research, paving the way for groundbreaking advancements in aerospace technology. He expressed his gratitude for the crucial support received from ARDB and DST.

Professor G. M. Kamath, the Head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Kanpur, highlighted that S2 expands the institute’s research horizons, inspiring a new generation of aerospace enthusiasts and fostering innovation and exploration in this exciting field. By being the first in India to develop such a facility, they have set a new benchmark for hypervelocity research not only in India but also globally.

S2 is a remarkable achievement for IIT Kanpur and a significant boost to India’s space and defense sectors. With the availability of advanced hypervelocity testing capabilities within the country, India is now better positioned to develop cutting-edge hypersonic technologies and systems.

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The ‘Flying Ginsu’ missile obliterates Iraqi militia leader in daring strike

Bagdhad missile

The Pentagon recently utilized a modified Hellfire missile, known as the “flying Ginsu,” to target a senior member of Kataib Hezbollah in Baghdad. This unique weapon, equipped with six blades, was employed as a response to the group’s involvement in attacks against US forces in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan.

Although not commonly acknowledged by official defense sources, the ‘Ginsu’ missile is specifically designed for precise strikes, particularly against high-value targets in densely populated areas. Its purpose is to minimize collateral damage by utilizing blades instead of explosives, ensuring the destruction of the intended target while reducing risks to nearby civilians and infrastructure.

The utilization of the ‘Ginsu’ missile highlights a strategic shift in US counterterrorism tactics, emphasizing precision and the protection of civilians. Similar weapons have been employed in previous strikes against prominent targets, including leaders of al-Qaida and the Islamic State. This approach reflects the US’s endeavor to navigate complex political landscapes, such as Iraq, where the safety of civilians is of utmost importance.

While the ‘Ginsu’ missile aims to minimize collateral damage, concerns persist regarding its legality under international law. Human rights experts caution that such strikes must be based on accurate intelligence to ensure compliance with legal standards. Iraq’s military has condemned the strike, labeling it as an assassination and a violation of sovereignty.

The use of the ‘Ginsu’ missile indicates a potential reconfiguration of US military involvement in the region. As tensions escalate, the US’s approach to security concerns and counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East may continue to evolve, underscoring the complexity of the region’s geopolitical landscape.     

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