Archive for April, 2023

The Atlas of Space Rocket Launch Sites by Brian Harvey with Gurbir Singh, Edited by Paul Meuser, Cartography by Katrin Soschinski; DOM Publishers; (2022); 272 pages; Hardcover: € 98.00  incl. MwSt., excl. shipping costs.

This is a seminal work, a unique and fascinating overview of all major launch sites on the globe. All 25 major global launch sites – from Eurasia, Asia-Pacific and the Americas – even several rocket departure points you may not have heard about previously.

Loaded with some 500 images, this volume features 100 exclusive maps to pinpoint the world of launch sites that operate in weather conditions from cold arctic conditions to hot desert and equatorial jungle.

As editor Meuser explains: “With most places hidden away in jungles, deserts, or amid the Central Asian steppes, these places exist for the most part out of the eye of the general public.”

Some information on the book’s marvelous-detailed launch sites was easy to access, while some sites have been forgotten or are still shrouded in secrecy, Meuser adds.

This comprehensive Atlas comes with descriptions of each site that include an outline of the history of the site in question, why and how it came to be situated in its location, its current use and future prospects, and its distinctive features.

Author Brian Harvey and co-author Gurbir Singh spotlight the steps of space travel in an unprecedented way; a richly documented text offers insights that have never been previously presented.

“The purpose of this book is to tell the architecture of launch sites in an accessible way,” writes Harvey. The book situates launch sites in their context, history, evolution, development, changing use, and future prospects, he adds.

To that end, this volume fits the task and provides far more, particularly given its selection of specially captioned and distinctive photos.

The reader will treasure this book that portrays the rich legacy of well-known and not-so-familiar launch sites, and appreciate more than ever how humankind has echoed rocket countdowns around the planet to open up outer space for an array of purposes.

For more information on this book, go to:

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China’s space station will receive the uncrewed Tianzhou-6 cargo craft in the first half of May.

Prior to the supply ship’s arrival, the currently docked Tianzhou-5 will depart from the station, opening up the docking hatch to receive the new cargo ship.

Tianzhou-5 is scheduled to be deorbited, taking a destructive plunge into Earth’s atmosphere.

Image credit: CCTV Video News Agency/CMSA/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Steady progress

The Shenzhou-15 crew members have made steady progress in various scientific experiments and space station maintenance work since they entered orbit on Nov. 30, 2022.

The trio’s six-month journey is scheduled to conclude around the end of May. At that time the Shenzhou-16 crew will take over station operations, supported by ground teams.

Monday marks completion of the fifth month of stay in orbit by the Shenzhou-15 crew: Fei Junlong, Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu.

Image credit: Shujianyang Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

The crew members are currently busy with the maintenance work of environmental control and life support systems onboard the space station and continuing with different space experiments, according to the given plan.

Greatly enlarged

The Shenzhou-15 crew is sorting out the remaining supplies brought by the Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft last year. “Some consumables will be placed inside the spacecraft and will be burnt up together with the spacecraft during its descent toward the Earth,” reports China Central Television (CCTV).

The Tianzhou-6 is now being readied for launch at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province.

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

CCTV reports that the cargo craft is nearly 35 feet (10.6 meters) long and has a liftoff weight of 13.5 tons, consisting of a propulsion section in the lower part and a cargo cabin in the upper half. It can transport up to 7.4 tons of supplies.

“There was an unsealed section for equipment in the cargo cabin but now the equipment was transferred to the propulsion cabin. Therefore, the transport space inside the cargo cabin has been greatly enlarged, with the effective loading capacity rising from 18.1 cubic meters to 22.5 cubic meters, equivalent to an increase of 20 percent,” Wang Ran, chief designer of the cargo spacecraft system under the China Academy of Space Technology told CCTV.

More fruit!

The vehicle will carry 1.75 tons of propellants, including 1,543 pounds (700 kilograms) for the space station, clothing, food, drinking water and fresh fruits for the crewed Shenzhou-15 and 16 missions. The fresh fruits weigh approximately 70 kg, twice as much as that of the Tianzhou-5.

Image credit: CGTN/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“In the past, due to lack of experience, we were not sure how long the fruits can be kept in space. But now, we have the condition and ability to deliver more fruits to the space station after summarizing our experience of using fresh fruits in space for the past six months and a year,” said Wang.

In addition, the cargo list adds a set of xenon cylinders as fuel propellant backup for the space station, according to the China Global Television Network (CGTN). They can help maintain the station in orbit or adjust its position, slowing down the consumption of the propellant.

China’s Tiangong orbital outpost currently consists of three major components – a core module and two science lab modules – and is connected with two visiting craft – the Shenzhou-15 crew ship and the Tianzhou-5 cargo ship.

For informative videos on the upcoming cargo spacecraft launch, go to:

Taking the fall. Space hardware dives into Earth’s atmosphere with some fragments making their way to the ground.
Image credit: ESA/D.Ducros

Russia, China, and the United States should step up cooperation in the space sector for the sake of common progress, and one of those steps is de-cluttering the global space commons.

Earlier this week, according to a report in Russia’s TASS news agency, Wang Guoyu, the founder of Beijing Shiyu Outer Space Consulting, broached the multi-country action idea at an event dedicated to the International Day of Intellectual Property held in Beijing.

Credit: The Aerospace Corporation’s Space Safety Institute

“We propose a novel approach to remediate the most dangerous debris in low Earth orbit – massive derelicts owned by Russia, the U.S. and China. These objects are in imminent danger of colliding, after which the cost and risk of operating in space will increase for everyone,” said Chuck Dickey, co-leader of Three Country-Trusted Broker (TCTB) in Houston, Texas.

TCTB was created and is led by Dickey (United States), Valentin Uvarov (Russia) and Guoyu Wang (China).

Image credit: TCTB

Principles of cooperation

Dickey told Inside Outer Space that TCTB sees cooperation among these governments, perhaps achieved by using a neutral, transparent, international non-governmental organization to shape a plan for space junk remediation.

TCTB would act like a mediator to facilitate cooperative planning, and also act as the prime contractor to manage the work.

“Planning would help reach consensus on necessary principles of cooperation,” Dickey added, “including cost, risk and information sharing, legal consent, object selection methodology, a procurement plan, dispute resolution mechanisms, and protection of sovereign prerogatives.

UN recognition

“We are currently seeking recognition from the UN (Consultative Status) in order to facilitate cooperation,” Dickey said, through the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the UN’s Office of Outer Space Affairs. A vote on this recognition is currently scheduled in New York during May 15-23, he said.

In an opinion piece, “Orbital Debris Threatens Your Future – Here’s the Remedy” provided to Inside Outer Space, Dickey and colleagues from Russia and China, underscore that there is risk today from high mass debris in high and low Earth orbit.

In-orbit explosions can be related to the mixing of residual fuel that remain in tanks or fuel lines once a rocket stage or satellite is discarded in Earth orbit. The resulting explosion can destroy the object and spread its mass across numerous fragments with a wide spectrum of masses and imparted speeds.
Credit: ESA

“Like cross-border environmental pollution or genocide,” that risk is “another ‘problem from hell’” – requiring cooperation among sovereign governments to avoid a tragedy, “but also because the risk it portends is based on statistical probabilities.”

Derelict space hardware

According to the TCTB’s website, there are roughly two thousand mostly intact derelict rocket bodies and spacecraft left in space by Russia, the U.S., China, France, the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan and India, before the commercial space era began.

“These government-owned objects, each weighing between one and ten tons, share similarities which make them amenable to consideration for remediation purposes as a single class or ‘market,’ distinguishing them from other types of orbital debris or cross-border terrestrial pollution on Earth.”

For more information on Three Country-Trusted Broker, go to:

CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab


China space officials have outlined step-by-step plans for planting Chinese footprints onto the surface of the Moon before 2030.

The country’s lunar exploration initiatives are being detailed during Space Day presentations this week, held in Hefei, the capital of east China’s Anhui Province.

Lunar relay constellation

China plans to launch Queqiao-2, or Magpie Bridge-2, a relay satellite for communications between the far side of the Moon and Earth in 2024, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

That relay satellite would support the fourth phase of China’s lunar exploration program, providing communications services for the now in place Chang’e-4 far side rover/lander, then Chang’e-6, Chang’e-7, and Chang’e-8 missions.

The Queqiao-2 relay mission also involves release of two experimental satellites — Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2 — for communication and navigation, developed by China’s Deep Space Exploration Lab. This twosome would conduct technological experiments and provide a reference for the design of the future Queqiao constellation.

International Lunar Research Station. Image credit: CNSA

Lunar research station

According to China Central Television (CCTV), Chang’e-6 is poised to collect samples from the far side of the Moon around 2024.

Chang’e-7 involves landing on the lunar south pole and searching for water. It is expected to be launched in 2026 and to land in the South Pole-Aitken Basin area of the Moon. According to the CNSA, the Chang’e-7 mission to the Moon will include an orbiter, a lander and a “flyer” – a hopper to move between sites to search for water in permanently darkened craters.

China’s Chang’e-7 lander launches hopper craft to search for lunar ice.
Image credit: CCTV/CNSA/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Chang’e-8, launched around 2028, is to conduct a survey of lunar materials at the Moon’s south pole, which scientists hope will be used to build houses by using 3D printing technology, CCTV reports.

Through these three missions, China aims to complete the building of the basic model of the international lunar research station on the south pole of the moon by 2030.

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Moon-centered internet

Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, said in a CCTV interview: “We are building a satellite constellation around the Moon, a system that can provide communication, navigation, and remote sensing services. After that, we can carry out future deep space exploration.”

The Moon-centered deep space internet can be extended to a broader scope in the solar system. With the internet, the Moon will have access to TV programs, games and a WiFi network. “And astronauts will never get bored on the Moon,” Wu added.

Large-scale exploration

Wu emphasized that by 2030, “the Chinese people will definitely be able to set foot on the Moon. That’s not a problem.” As for whether China can build a house, make bricks and have access to communication services on the Moon, “they are expected to be verified by sufficient Chang’e-8 experiments, which will provide a guarantee for large-scale lunar scientific exploration in future,” he said.

China formally established its lunar exploration “Project Chang’e” in 2004.

In December 2020, the Chang’e-5 lunar probe brought back 1,731 grams of samples from the Moon, marking the completion of the three-step lunar exploration program of orbiting, landing and return.

To watch informative videos on China’s Moon exploration plans, go to:

Newly created Crescent subsidiary of Lockheed Martin initially calls for a two satellite system of data relay spacecraft circuiting the Moon in 2025.
Image Credit: Lockheed Martin




The future of Moon exploration for lunar science and long-term development is advancing private plans for communicating from and navigating across the crater-pocked lunar terrain.

NASA’s Artemis program to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon will require extensive communications and relaying of data back to Earth.
Image credit: NASA





A newly formed deep space infrastructure company is putting in place a common infrastructure around the Moon, offering it as an inventive commercial network service for future outposts and other assets that will soon dot that distant landscape.


For more information, go to my Multiverse Media SpaceRef story:

Crescent: Giving the Moon the Business

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3810 duties.

“We have cleared the canyon,” reports Catherine O’Connell-Cooper, a planetary geologist at the University of New Brunswick; Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

There were a lot of tricky rocks the robot had to climb over.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Free-wheeling territory

“We don’t exactly have free-wheeling territory up ahead in our drive direction, but it is a little flatter. This hopefully will give us better views of the path ahead and reduce slippage as we drive, so that we can drive for longer than we have been recently,” O’Connell-Cooper adds.

Rover planners outlined a recent plan that had Curiosity taking an over 80 feet (25 meter) drive, much more ambitious than recent wheeled adventures.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We also will hopefully have a higher rate of passing our “SRAP” test (this stands for Stability Risk Assessment Process and is the way we evaluate rover stability) up here than we did last week as we climbed the canyon,” O’Connell-Cooper points out.

Failing SRAP, Mars scientists cannot use robotic arm-mounted instruments, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).

Curiosity Mast Camera Right photo taken of Dust Removal Tool action on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Solid workspace

“Fortunately, our weekend drive was successful – it took us where we had planned to go, ending with some solid workspace and safely parked to allow us to take the arm out for contact science,” O’Connell-Cooper adds.

Rover viewed bedrock has strong laminations apparent along its side and a flat top. The flat top is smooth enough for brushing, so use of the Dust Removal Tool “Anortosito Repartimento” is on tap before taking MAHLI images, analyzing with APXS and getting a Mastcam multispectral image, all centered on the same spot for maximum science return.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The robot’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) will use its Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument to look at an interesting fracture face, which looks like an upturned smile in a recently taken workspace image. “Galeras” is centered on the far right corner of the fracture, where the fracture is thickest.

Detail from great distance

Curiosity’s ChemCam will also take a long distance image via the rover’s Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) much further afield to “Gediz Vallis ridge.”

These long distance RMI photos can acquire a lot of detail from a great distance, “helping to inform discussions about future science campaigns and potential drive directions,” O’Connell-Cooper observes.

Mastcam will take two mosaics close to the rover, a smaller mosaic looking at a laminated target (“Vichada”) to the right of the workspace, and a larger mosaic covering the main block in Curiosity’s workspace (including the ChemCam and APXS/MAHLI targets) and the way that sand has gathered in a trough feature around the block.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Right B image acquired on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Wind scour patterns

“Further afield, Mastcam will get an observation of the stratigraphy of the Chenapau butte and some interesting wind scour patterns,” just beyond the rover’s recent workspace.

O’Connell-Cooper concludes the report by noting that the robot is continuing to monitor environmental conditions in Gale.

In addition to routine Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) and Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) measurements, Mastcam will acquire three tau measurements, which help to constrain the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Navcam will take a “dust devil” movie, in the hopes of catching a wind vortex in action.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3808, April 23, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image credit: Barbara David


Europe is establishing an ambitious space agenda, one designed to accelerate a broad portfolio of objectives while catching up in launchers, as well as robotic and human exploration beyond Earth orbit.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is outward looking, across a number of space fronts, some of them evolutionary…some revolutionary.

Go to my exclusive Multiverse Media’s SpaceRef interview with Josef Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency at:

Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will oversee a “mishap investigation” of last week’s Starship/Super Heavy test mission.

According to an FAA statement provided to Inside Outer Space, “an anomaly occurred during the ascent and prior to stage separation resulting in a loss of the vehicle.  No injuries or public property damage have been reported.”

Image credit: SpaceX

A return to flight of the Starship/Super Heavy vehicle, the statement adds, “is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety. This is standard practice for all mishap investigations.”

The FAA is responsible for protecting the public during commercial space transportation launch and reentry operations.

For a technical dive into the Starship flight, go to: “SpaceX’s Massive Rocket Explodes Due to Rapid Unscheduled Digging by Scott Manley at:

Also, go to: “4K – Witnessing the most powerful rocket launch in history (with HQ AUDIO!)” by Trevor Mahlmann at:

Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Failure modes

Meanwhile, Launchspace, an educational and training organization for space professionals, has posted “Potential Failure Modes of SpaceX’s Starship.”

Launchspace notes that on April 20 the SpaceX’s new Starship system lifted off from the company’s southeast Texas spaceport.

“This was an historic event because the Starship is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built. The ship ascended smoothly for the first several minutes, but as the vehicle approached the moment of stage separation an anomaly occurred that resulted in a massive disintegration and a fireball before falling into the Gulf of Mexico.”

Not without risk

The Starship system is still in the development phase, Launchspace adds, “with several potential failure modes that could impact its success,” citing important potential failure modes of the system:

1. Engine Failure: One of the most critical components of the Starship is its rocket engines. The Starship uses Raptor engines, which are powered by liquid methane and liquid oxygen. These engines are designed to provide the necessary thrust to reach orbit and beyond. However, engine failure can occur due to a variety of reasons, including malfunctioning valves, leaks or issues with the fuel supply. An engine failure during takeoff or landing could result in a catastrophic failure.

Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

2. Heat Shield Failure: The Starship must withstand extreme temperatures during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. To protect the spacecraft and its crew, the Starship is equipped with a heat shield made of ceramic tiles. If the heat shield fails, the spacecraft could burn up during re-entry or suffer significant damage, potentially resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its crew.

3. Structural Failure: The Starship is a complex vehicle with many structural components that must work together seamlessly. Any failure in the structure could lead to a catastrophic failure. Structural failure could occur due to manufacturing defects, corrosion or unexpected loads during flight.

4. Software Failure: The Starship relies heavily on software to control its flight and operations. Software failure could occur due to bugs, unexpected inputs or hardware malfunctions. A software failure could lead to a loss of control, potentially resulting in a crash or collision with other objects in space.

5. Communications Failure: Communications are essential for any space vehicle, and the Starship is no exception. Flight systems must communicate with ground control to receive commands and relay critical information back to Earth. A communications failure could occur due to hardware or software issues, interference or other factors. If communications are lost, the vehicle may be unable to complete its mission or return safely to Earth.

Image credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

6. Propellant Tank Failure: The Starship uses liquid methane and liquid oxygen as fuel. These fuels are highly volatile and require careful handling and storage. A tank failure could occur due to leaks, over-pressurization, or other issues. Such a failure could result in an explosion, causing significant damage to the vehicle and potentially harming its crew.

7. Environmental Hazards: Space is a harsh environment, and the Starship must be able to withstand a range of hazards, including radiation, micrometeoroids and extreme temperatures. If the vehicle is unable to withstand these hazards, it could suffer significant damage or failure.

8. Human Error: Despite the advanced technology of the Starship, human error is always a potential failure mode. Mistakes in design, testing or operations could result in the loss of the vehicle and its crew. To minimize the risk of human error, SpaceX has implemented rigorous testing and safety protocols.

In conclusion, LaunchSpace explains, “the potential failure modes of SpaceX’s Starship are numerous and complex. While the Starship represents a significant advancement in space exploration technology, it is not without risk. To mitigate these risks, SpaceX has invested heavily in testing and safety protocols, but the success of the Starship ultimately depends on its ability to withstand the many hazards of space and its ability to operate reliably in a variety of environments.”

Curiosity’s location as of Sol 3805. Distance driven to that Sol: 18.58 miles/29.9 kilometers.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3807 duties.

The robot’s recent drive has been spotlighted by Lucy Thompson, a planetary geologist at the University of New Brunswick; Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3806, April 21, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“It has been tricky for our intrepid Mars explorer as we have tried to pick our way through this small canyon as we exit marker band valley,” Thompson reports. “There are abundant large blocks that we are trying to avoid and sand patches that are potential slip hazards for the rover.”

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3806, April 21, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



Blocks and sand

Unluckily, as Curiosity attempted to back up from the previous parking spot before driving forward, rover controllers encountered some of these blocks and sand such that the planned drive did not execute any further, Thompson adds.

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3806, April 21, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“An unforeseen bonus of driving backwards is that we had freshly scuffed sand and rock in our workspace,” Thompson notes. “As a geologist, any time I am in the field here on Earth looking at rocks, one of the first things I do is to use my hammer to expose fresh surfaces, which often reveal different colors and textures than on a weathered surface.”

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3806, April 21, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Tricky terrain

At Gale crater, the only time researchers can investigate a freshly exposed rock surface is when the Mars machinery scuffs or breaks a rock from driving over it, “and then it is often behind us, so we are lucky to have the fresh surfaces in our workspace today,” Thompson points out.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image acquired on Sol 3806, April 21, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Unfortunately, because of the tricky terrain, Curiosity was not on stable enough ground to safely unstow the arm.


There was disappointment in that the rover science team could not get an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) compositional measurement and close up Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of the fresh rock, which would require arm movement.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image acquired on Sol 3805, April 20, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Workspace science

Instead, a recent plan calls for utilization of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam to investigate the chemistry and textures of the fresh rock and sand in the workspace.

“Paramaca” and “Pepejoe” are examples of the freshly exposed/scuffed bedrock, Thompson points out, “and we will also capture the wheel tracks in the sand with Mastcam. Looking further afield, researchers are also acquiring Mastcam and ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) imaging of a possible channel feature (“Owentiek”) and a large boulder within the Gediz Vallis channel (“Ratunde”) respectively.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image acquired on Sol 3805, April 20, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Curiosity will hopefully then weave her way through the sand and blocks, taking many steps forward to our next workspace,” Thompson adds.


Bedrock target

After the drive has completed, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) is slated to image the new terrain beneath the rover, and ChemCam will acquire an Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) compositional measurement from a bedrock target in the new workspace.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image acquired on Sol 3805, April 20, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

AEGIS is a software suite that permits the rover to autonomously detect and prioritize targets.

“Not to be left out, the environmental science team have also planned a full set of activities to continue monitoring the atmosphere. These include a Mastcam basic tau observation, as well as a Navcam 360 sky survey, line of sight image, large dust devil survey and suprahorizon movie,” Thompson reports.

Meanwhile, standard Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN), and Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) activities were to round out the plan.

Image credit: IBMP, Sirius-19 mission


Meet a space veteran of the first-things-first department of analog missions.

Analog trial-runs here on Earth can help train individuals primed and pumped for travel to the nearby Moon and distant Mars – with a majority of those taking part having hopes for later achieving the genuine thing.

Mission experiences

Anastasia Stepanova is a PhD student in space resources at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

Image credit: IBMP, Dry Immersion experiment

As the first female test subject, Stepanova carried out a “dry immersion” microgravity experiment orchestrated by the famed Institute of Biomedical Problems based in Moscow, Russia.

Stepanova also took part in the “Mars-160” analog mission organized by the Mars Society in the Utah desert, a two-part 14-day and 80-day long duration affair in 2014 and 2016. That was followed the next year by a 30-day long isolation experiment at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, also operated by the Mars Society.

Image credit: Mars Society Flashline station in Arctic

In 2019, Stepanova participated in the four-month “SIRIUS-19” lunar flight simulation experiment organized jointly by Russia’s famed Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) and NASA’s human research program.

Space journalism

But for good measure, toss into the mix her passion for space journalism – a keen ability to describe for the public her analog voyages.

In the early 2010s, Stepanova faced skepticism and mockery when she pursued her diploma in space journalism. She now holds a masters degree in journalism from the Moscow State University. She spent four years at the School of Space Journalism with Russian cosmonaut Yuriy Baturin. Together with two other journalists she co-wrote the book about cosmonautics called “I wish you a good flight.”

Book: I Wish You a Good Flight
Image courtesy: Anastasia Stepanova

In stick-to-itness fashion, she successfully highlighted the significance of space reporting and persuaded space organizations to grant journalists access to space experiments as part of the crew.

Public awareness

Moreover, her coverage and in-depth analysis have provided valuable insights and increased public awareness regarding the intricacies of her on-earth analog missions.

Through Stepanova’s keen eye and on-the-scene journalist reports, her reports on Mars 160, Sirius19, and the dry immersion undertakings resulted in significant contributions to the field.

For example, go to “Moon diaries: What is the lunar orbital home in Moscow like?” at:

Also, go to this video at:

For more information, go to this story – “Mars on Earth: What months of simulated astronaut missions taught this scientist” – at: