The core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket – which launched the Tianhe space station module – plummeted into the Indian Ocean on May 8, 2021. In a statement issued that day, new NASA administrator Bill Nelson criticized China’s handling of the re-entry.
In and around Florida, at least, no more “finders keepers” once a new bill becomes law on July 1. The Spaceflight Assets bill affirmed by the Florida legislature in late April 2021 requires that anyone who finds “reasonably identifiable” spacecraft parts make a “reasonable effort” to notify the hardware’s owner.
Northrop Grumman said last week that its Mission Extension Vehicle 2 – a robot spacecraft designed to help prolong the life of satellites in space – successfully docked to a commercial communications satellite. “We are now the only provider of life extension services for satellites,” a company spokesperson said.