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MSA - Update 3

Posted 03-21-2017 at 07:45 AM by IronRain

MER-C lost*
MER-C is now officially lost. The rover, a copy of MER-A and MER-B, was supposed to perform a MCC Burn, but engineers lost contact a couple of days prior to the burn, so they were not able to send the required commands to the spacecraft. It was soon evident that reaching Mars was not an option anymore.
A full scale investigation is already underway. At this time it's believed to be faulty software, delivered by NASA.

Preparing to return to MSS*
After 9 months of human absence, teams are working on a return to the MSS.
The station was deliberately abandoned in June last year. The MSS-7 crew did a great job closing the station, the MSS-8 crew will re-open the station for business. The mission wil be carried out in partnership with the CNSA. The Long March rocket and Shenzhou spacecraft are already undergoing final launch preparations.

Selecting final design for Lunar Communications Network
The MSA will spend the next couple of weeks selecting the final satellite bus for its Lunar Communications Network. Once selected, the MSA will discus the choice with its international partners before signing the sub-contract with the satellite builder. The first launches are expected to occur later this year. The JLEO platform, consisting of 3 satellites launched in 2015 and 2016, have verified that the designed software is working as expected, with only a few tweaks needed. The 4th and final JLEO platform is expected to be launched next month to orbit the moon for final validation.

MSA signs contract with SpaceX for Venus Orbiter launch
The MSA has selected SpaceX to launch the Venus Orbiter.
The launch is set to take place next year, with the launch vehicle being a Falcon Heavy.
Venus Orbiter itself is nearing completion and will soon be shipped to Cape Canaveral for final launch testing / preparations.

MSA to reveal next step in its existence soon
MSA has told various news agencies that it will soon reveal some of their next projects that they are working on. Details are not known yet, but some rumors are claiming that the MSA is planning to launch a new station. If this is true, and whether if will replace the MSS or not is not yet known.

* Due to real-life commitments (i.e. changing job), I was not able spend much time on the MSA stuff. Since I already expected this, I planned to leave the MSS unmanned for some months. However, as time wooshed away, I missed some the MSS burns for the MER-C rover, so that's how it got lost.
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