In a bid to aid urban planning, agriculture, forest surveys, and disaster monitoring and assessment China intends to promote the sharing of satellite data with member states of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO).

On Wednesday, secretary-general of APSCO, Li Xinjun, spoke at a forum commemorating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the organization stating that they will build the Data Sharing Service Cloud Platforms by using existing and potential co-developed satellites to serve this goal.

APSCO’s headquarters are located in Beijing, and the organization has eight members: China, Bangladesh, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand and Turkey. Indonesia is a signatory, while Mexico is an observer, and Egypt is an associate member.

Moreover, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K Sivan, revealed that the ISRO had set a target for India’s first ever crewed mission to space by 2021, and another, uncrewed mission happening before 'Gaganyaan' for December 2020. 

The plans were announced at a press conference that came after the launch of communication satellite GSAT 29 on the GSLV-MkIII rocket on November 14th.

What's more, during his Independence Day address, Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi revealed that India would make an effort to send astronauts to space on a spacecraft dubbed the ‘Gaganyaan’ by 2022. If all goes according to plan, India would only be the fourth nation in the world to accomplish that feat.

In other news, in 2021, The European Space Agency (ESA) believes they will perform the qualification flight of the Space Rider spaceplane followed by multiple demonstration missions before the program is handed over to industry, as reported by Lucia Linares, the head of ESA space transportation strategy and policy.

Space Rider, a continuation of ESA’s Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV), which flew in space in 2015, is capable of holding up to 800 kilograms of payload for orbital missions with a duration as long as two months. The platform would enable payload to be exposed to microgravity and the space environment for a more extended period, after which it would be sent back to Earth. 

As per Linares, they intend to have many demonstration missions to show a range of capabilities, from in-orbit demonstration and validation to defence and security applications and, obviously, commercial opportunities.

And are you excited for NASA’s Mars InSight lander?  

The lander is slated to land on the Red Planet around 3 p.m. EST on Nov. 26th, and the public is invited to watch.

This will be the first Mars landing since 2012’s Curiosity rover, and the event will be broadcast live on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and social media platforms.

As per the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, InSight will be the first mission to examine what lies deep beneath the Martian surface, inspecting the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.

Will you be watching the live coverage of NASA's InSight lander? If so, will you watch it online or at one of the in person events?

Let us know in the comments below!