17 Jun 2024

Space news: Artemis Accords, Boeing Starliner, James Webb Telescope and Voyager 1 latest

Voyager-1 Spacecraft. Credit: NASA JPL

June has been a busy month for the global space industry. Two new countries have signed up to the Artemis Accords, the Boeing Starliner Mission launched its first manned crew flight, NASA’s famous Voyager 1 spacecraft is back in action, and the James Webb Telescope has released images of the universe’s most distant known galaxy.

Read on for further details, in the first of our regular monthly space industry news round-ups, keeping you up to date with all things space.

Armenia and Peru sign Artemis Accords

For those unaware, the Artemis Accords is a series of agreements between the United States and other nations “that elaborates on the norms expected to be followed in outer space”. In simple terms, it’s a commitment to safe and sustainable space exploration.

June saw two new signatories in Armenia and Peru, who became the 42nd and 43rd to take the pledge respectively. First launched in 2020 by the United States and seven other nations, the Artemis Accords continue to grow in number.

Catch up on the full stories here:

NASA Welcomes Peru as Signatory to Artemis Accords
Armenia Becomes 43rd Signatory to the Artemis Accords

New tenants at the International Space Station

In other news, The Boeing Starliner Mission has launched its first manned crewed flight. Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are on their way to the International Space Station, where the Boeing Starliner will dock for about a week.

After blasting off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, Butch and Suni marked the significant next step in space exploration as the Starliner moves closer to being certified for repeated use.

Catch up on the full story here:

Starliner Mission Launches NASA Astronauts to the ISS

James Webb Telescope spots a galaxy far, far away

With its images first released to the public in July 2022, the James Webb Telescope captivated the world with stunning, high-quality images of outer space. The very first image released, Webb’s First Deep Field, contains thousands of galaxies, some as old as 13 billion years.

More recently, the team at the James Webb Telescope found a record-breaking galaxy observed only 290 million years after the Big Bang. It is the latest example of the team using the telescope to explore what astronomers refer to as the Cosmic Dawn, which is the period of when the universe was very young in relative terms. The galaxy is the new record-holder for the most distant known galaxy.

Catch up on the full story here:

Webb Discovers the Universe’s Most Distant Galaxy

NASA’s Voyager 1 returns after months out of action

First launched all the way back in November 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 is one of the space agency’s most famous spacecraft. Its mission is to study the outer Solar System and the interstellar space beyond the Sun’s heliosphere. To do that, it has to be very far away, which of course, presents its fair share of challenges.

Back in November 2023, a technical issue arose which prevented Voyager 1 from sending back any usable scientific data. More than 15 billion miles away from Earth, the challenge of getting the craft back operational was a tall order. However, just over six months later, the Voyager 1 is up and running once more, with all four of its science instruments operating as normal.

Catch up on the full story here:

Voyager 1 Returning Science Data From All Four Instruments