back to article The Last J-Freighter: HTV-9 arrives at the ISS as ESA inks a deal for a third Moon-bound service module

Musk may be about to fire off a crewed missile and Virgin Orbit's first attempt to reach space might have fallen flat, but there was plenty of other fun to be had in the rocket-bothering world last week. The final HTV freighter has left the planet It was a bittersweet week for fans of the Japanese space programme as the last H …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    That first launch will not feature a crew. The second will, if all goes to plan, send astronauts into deep space.

    Hmm, not really deep space, orbiting the moon, is it?

    The second mission is supposed to be to establish the Deep Space Gateway, which will allow a jumping off point from lunar orbit, but it in itself isn't in deep space.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Space is big

      Not to be pedantic. Who am I kidding, to be completely pedantic.

      Not only is the Moon not deep space, neither is Mars. The two Pioneer probes are the only Earth made objects that have made it into deep space, Just barely. I appreciate the boffins working on this but not the marketers hyping it.

      As St. Adams said: “Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.”

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Space is big

        Absolutely. My personal interpretation of "deep space" is outside the solar system - i.e. beyond the orbit of the outermost known body which orbits the sun. However, this may not be the accepted definition.

        I believe the ITU defines it as more than 2 million kilometres from Earth's surface, which is quite a way beyond the Moon's orbit, but still within Mars' orbit.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Space is big

        I agree that 'deep space' should mean a long way away, but in fairness to NASA (and ESA), out by the moon is well outside the Earth's magnetosphere, with all the radiation problems that will entail. So functionally, it has most of the same engineering challenges as deep space.

      3. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Space is big

        Pioneer 10 and 11 may have left the solar system, but voyager 1 has overtaken them, and 2 has overtaken 11 and is catching 10 fast, New horizons will possibly pass them in the 22nd-23rd century

  2. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    £1m, what a bold move.

    1. Timbo

      "£1m, what a bold move."

      Indeed - that's just about enough to hold some post-lockdown, post social-distancing meetings in a few sun-drenched, far-off beach resorts, where a few buddies can sit around a pool, drinking some nice cocktails and enjoying the best of times, and come up with a hypothetical plan for capturing small pieces of former satellites and/or rockets, travelling at >20,000 mph.

      My betting is they will capture Musks old Tesla car and then drive around in various Earth orbits, armed with a butterfly net and a fishing rod with a magnet on the end. :-)

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Maybe a revival?

        Of Quark

        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077066/

        Or Salvage 1

        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078681/

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it have enough cup holders?

    I mean, if it's being build in Europe for the US market, they might not have realised how many are needed :-)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Joe Gurman

    The HTV-X....

    ....weighing in at precisely nothing on orbit.

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