Op-Ed | Despite Tech Reset, The Space Economy Is Here To Stay

The global space industry is expected to eclipse $1 trillion over the next few decades. And while casual onlookers sometimes express skepticism of this rapid growth — often due to their disdain for the billionaires in the captain’s chair of the industry’s most prominent players — the venture industry is clearly enticed by how space technologies can power the global economy. In that sense, the Kármán line has never been more illustrious for space entrepreneurs and investors.

The space economy’s growth journey has been anything but smooth. It’s been impacted by macroeconomic conditions, causing deal activity to slow down.

Read more at: spacenews

Safety Design for Space Systems

2nd Edition – June 1, 2023

Editors: Tommaso Sgobba, Gary Musgrave, Gary Johnson, Michael Kezirian

Safety Design for Space Systems, Second Edition presents an essential educational resource and reference tool for engineers and managers working on space projects. The book provides substantial updates on chapters from the previous edition, including new content on battery safety, life support systems, robotic systems safety, and fire safety. It also features new chapters on crew survivability design and nuclear space systems safety.

Read more at: Elsevier

After A Historic First Mission, What Does The Future Hold For This Controversial Rocket?

In the fervor-filled days leading up to the November 16 launch of the long-awaited Artemis I mission, an uncrewed trip around the moon, some industry insiders admitted to having conflicting emotions about the event.

On one hand, there was the thrill of watching NASA take its first steps toward eventually getting humans back to the lunar surface; on the other, a shadow cast by the long and costly process it took to get there.

“I have mixed feelings, though I hope that we have a successful mission,” former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao said in an opinion roundtable interview with The New York Times.

Read more at: CNN


We Finally Know Why Mysterious Waves Appear To Survive The Journey Through Earth’s Turbulent ‘Shock’ Region

Waves that are created as solar winds pummel Earth’s magnetic field appear to escape the turbulent region around our planet, but how they do so has remained a mystery. 

Now, a research team has discovered how these waves seem to survive: They continue past the leading “foreshock” region to an area called the “shock” and then create “clone” waves with identical qualities, thus explaining how they appear to cross this region in near-Earth space. So, what astronomers had been observing for decades was not the waves created by the solar winds but rather the waves’ newly produced “clones.”

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Solar Storm To Graze Earth With Effects Visible From Tomorrow

On January 14, the magnetic field lines around AR3182, one of the several sunspots presently on the Sun, erupted releasing a coronal mass ejection (CME). High-speed plasma from the Sun is currently racing across the inner Solar System toward Earth. The bulk of it will miss our planet but the wave of particles will graze our planet over the next few days.

Read more at: IFL science

Viewers Report Fireball Sighting Over Oklahoma Sky

Reports of a bright fireball and a loud boom over parts of northeast Oklahoma are rolling in on Friday morning. Viewers across Oklahoma have shared their accounts and video of the fireball that passed over the state. A video shared by Cheri Patton shows a reflection of the bright light illuminating the night sky in Broken Arrow around 3:30 a.m. A video shared by viewer Patricia Patton from Broken Arrow also shows the bright fireball crossing the sky.

Read more at: newson6

“Lightning Bolt” Of Plasma 500,000 Kilometers Long Shoots Through The Sun’s Atmosphere

The longest lightning bolts on Earth can extend for hundreds of kilometers, but even the longest produced by our planet’s clouds are dwarfed by the kind of discharges the Sun can produce. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has caught a plasma discharge 500,000 kilometers long (which could wrap around the equator 12 and a half times) in the shape of a lightning bolt shooting through the Sun’s atmosphere. 

Read more at: IFLscience

NASA Astronaut And 2 Cosmonauts May Stay On Space Station For A Full Year After Soyuz Leak

Three astronauts are apparently going to be away from their home planet for twice as long as originally planned.

NASA’s Frank Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin launched toward the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 21, 2022. 

The trio was supposed to come home in March on that same Soyuz. But the vehicle, known as MS-22, lost all of its coolant after an apparent micrometeoroid strike last month, rendering it unfit to carry astronauts except in the event of an emergency.

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Orion Manikins Return from Artemis I Mission

After a 25-day flight beyond the Moon and back inside the Artemis I Orion crew module, two manikins undergo post-flight payload inspections inside the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 11, 2023. As part of the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) investigation, the two female manikins – Helga and Zohar – were equipped with radiation detectors. Zohar also wore a radiation protection vest, to determine the radiation risk during the Artemis I mission and potentially reduce exposure during future missions with astronauts. The detectors will be removed at Kennedy and the torsos will return to teams at the German Space Agency for further analysis.

Read more at: NASA


Astroscale Japan Appoints Eddie Kato as President and Managing Director

Astroscale Japan Inc. (“Astroscale Japan”), a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, announces Eddie Kato as President and Managing Director, effective February 1, 2023. 

“I am pleased to announce that Eddie has joined us as President and Managing Director of Astroscale Japan,” said Nobu Okada, Founder and CEO of Astroscale.

Read more at: astroscale

Rocket Lab Cautiously Optimistic About Neutron’s Future In National Security Launch

Rocket Lab sees the U.S. military as a potential customer of the company’s future medium-lift rocket, Neutron. But unless the Defense Department changes its requirements for launch providers, new entrants like Rocket Lab will be unable to compete for contracts, the company’s CEO Peter Beck said Jan. 17.

Speaking on a webcast hosted by the investment banking firm Canaccord Genuity, Beck said Rocket Lab is on an aggressive schedule to complete the development of Neutron for a 2024 debut. The reusable rocket’s main target customers will be commercial operators building large constellations but the company also hopes to compete for national security missions.

Read more at: spacenews

Botched Virgin Orbit Launch Went Ahead DESPITE Staff Fears And Chance Of Success At 50/50

Questions were last night being asked about why the UK’s first-ever space launch went ahead despite warnings that the project was not ready, can exclusively reveal. The botched Virgin Orbit launch at Spaceport Cornwall on January 9 only had a “50/50” chance of success and ended up as a multi-million-pound write-off.

MPs are demanding to know if Government pressure was applied to Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall to create “a good news story” as the country faced so many challenges.

Read more at: Express UK

ClearSpace Raises $29 Million Ahead Of First Debris Removal Mission

Swiss startup ClearSpace said Jan. 19 it has raised about $29 million to support its first space debris removal mission in 2026.

Europe-focused early-stage investor OTB Ventures led the Series A financing round along with Swisscom Ventures, the investment arm of Switzerland-based telco Swisscom.

The government-backed Luxembourg Future Fund (LFF) also participated in the round, and ClearSpace said it is establishing an operational presence in Luxembourg as a result.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA, Space Station Partners Approve Next Axiom Private Mission Crew

NASA and its international partners have approved the crew for Axiom Space’s second private astronaut mission to the International Space Station, Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2).

Axiom Space’s Director of Human Spaceflight and former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will command the privately funded mission. Aviator John Shoffner of Knoxville, Tennessee, will serve as pilot. The two mission specialists will be announced later.

Read more at: NASA

‘Unwanted Fire’ May Have Caused ABL Space Systems’ Launch Failure

ABL Space Systems may have figured out what went wrong on its on first-ever liftoff.

The company’s two-stage RS1 rocket crashed to Earth shortly after launching from Alaska’s Pacific Spaceport Complex on Jan. 10, bringing a premature and fiery end to its debut orbital mission.

ABL quickly initiated a failure investigation in concert with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. A week later, that detective work has already made considerable progress, even homing in on a possible cause — a fire in the RS1’s avionics system.

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Arctic Space Station Races To Launch First Satellite From Europe

In northern Sweden, 200 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, lies the Esrange Space Center. Since the late 1960s, it has been a rocket range and scientific research base. 

Within an uninhabited expanse of 5,200 kilometres, the site was initially founded for the study of auroras, or polar lights. Now it is locked in a race with other space stations to be the first to launch satellites from mainland Europe.

“Satellite launches will start to take place from here next year,” said the site’s project manager, Philip Påhlsson, and he added: “there has been a huge market increase in the last couple of years when it comes to the demand for launch services.”

Read more at: Euronews

One Step Closer to Deeper Explorations Into Space – Improved Performance of Plasma Thrusters

A researcher at Tohoku University has made significant improvements to a high-power electrodeless These advancements in electric propulsion technology have the potential to revolutionize the space industry in the same way that innovations in terrestrial transportation, such as cars, trains, and aircraft, have transformed their respective industries.

Read more at: scitechdaily

Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe: Researchers Use High-Powered Lasers to Study Magnetic Reconnection

Scientists employed twelve high-powered laser beams to simulate miniature solar flares in order to investigate the underlying mechanisms of magnetic reconnection, a fundamental astronomical phenomenon.

Contrary to popular belief, the universe is not empty. Despite the phrase “the vast emptiness of space,” the universe is full of various substances such as charged particles, gases, and cosmic rays. While celestial objects may appear to be scarce, the universe is teeming with activity.

Read more at: scitechdaily

ESA Tested The Antenna Of The Hera Spacecraft

The European Space Agency (ESA) has published a picture taken inside the ESTEC test chamber. The image shows the antenna that will be installed on the interplanetary probe Hera.

The main target of the Hera mission will be the asteroid Dimorphos, which is a satellite of the larger asteroid Didymos. On September 22, 2022, the DART probe built by NASA crashed into Dimorphos. The impact knocked out at least a thousand tons of matter from its surface, which led to a change in the orbital period of the small body by 32 minutes.

Read more at: universemagazine

New Nuclear Rocket Design to Send Missions to Mars in Just 45 Days

We live in an era of renewed space exploration, where multiple agencies are planning to send astronauts to the Moon in the coming years. This will be followed in the next decade with crewed missions to Mars by NASA and China, who may be joined by other nations before long. These and other missions that will take astronauts beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and the Earth-Moon system require new technologies, ranging from life support and radiation shielding to power and propulsion. And when it comes to the latter, Nuclear Thermal and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NTP/NEP) is a top contender!

Read more at: universetoday

Crew Ready for Spacewalk and Conducts Biology, Physics Research

The first spacewalk of 2023 will begin on Friday to continue upgrading the International Space Station’s power generation system. The Expedition 68 crew members finalized preparations today for the excursion while continuing advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance. Astronauts Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nicole Mann of NASA are due to spend about six-and-a-half hours working outside the station during a spacewalk on Friday.

Read more at: NASA

Chinese Startups Conduct Hot Fire Tests For Mini Version Of SpaceX’s Starship

A Chinese launch startup has performed hot fire tests as part of development of a planned reusable stainless-steel rocket apparently inspired by SpaceX’s Starship.

Space Epoch recently performed a series of tests of a 4.2-meter-diameter stainless steel propellant tank combined with a Longyun-70 methane-liquid oxygen engine developed by engine maker Jiuzhou Yunjian. The tests took place at Jiuzhou Yunjian’s test site in Anhui Province.

The tests are part of Beijing-based Space Epoch earlier revealed plans to develop a 64-meter-tall stainless steel launcher capable of lifting 6.5 tons to a 1,100-kilometer-altitude sun-synchronous orbit. The launcher will be able to be reused up to 20 times.

Read more at: Spacenews


UK SAIA & US FAA To Oversee Virgin Orbit Investigation

The United Kingdom’s Space Accident Investigation Authority (SAIA) and the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will together oversee the investigation into the system anomaly that occurred during the firing of the Virgin Orbit rocket’s second-stage engine on January 9th.

There was plenty of excitement heading into Monday night amid the historic aerospace Start Me Up event in Southwest England. Spaceport Cornwall was to host the first satellite launch from UK soil and the first international launch by Virgin Orbit.

Read more at: simpleflying

ESA Seeks Global Adoption Of “Zero Debris” Policy

The head of the European Space agency says he hopes to have a “zero debris” policy for European spacecraft in place in the next few years, an approach he says he would like to see expanded globally.

Speaking during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 19, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said he was in discussions with the agency’s member states about a policy that would require satellites to be deorbited immediately after the end of their missions.

Read more at: spacenews

Connecting The Dots | Space Insurers Toast Another Profitable Year

The space insurance market managed to make a profit for 2022 despite a devastating Vega C rocket failure at the end of the year that ruined two Airbus imaging satellites.

The Vega rocket that malfunctioned shortly after lifting off Dec. 20 was insured for around $210 million, according to industry sources.

That accounted for more than two-thirds of the $294 million loss underwriters at AXA XL recorded for the space insurance market for the whole of 2022.

Read more at: spacenews

Canadian Government To Establish Commercial Launch Licensing Regulations

The Canadian government announced plans Jan. 20 to set up a regulatory framework to allow commercial launches from the country as part of an effort to expand Canada’s space industry.

In a briefing at the headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) outside Montréal, officials with Transport Canada, CSA and Canadian industry announced a two-phase approach to licensing commercial launches in the country,

Read more at: spacenews


Space Force Weighing New Approach For Selecting National Security Launch Providers

The U.S. Space Force is likely to change how it selects providers of national security launch services and how it awards contracts, a program official told SpaceNews.

The changes would affect the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 3 procurement. United Launch Alliance and SpaceX won the Phase 2 competition in 2020, and their current contracts will be re-competed in 2024.

NSSL acquires launch services for heavy and medium lift class national security satellites.

Read more at: Spacenews

U.S. Space Force Chief Calls For Greater Collaboration With Allies 

Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force, in a memo outlining his priorities said the service should pursue stronger partnerships with allies.

“To do this, we will eliminate barriers to collaboration,” he wrote in the memo released Jan. 18.

Partnerships are one of three main priorities Saltzman identified. The others are to deploy “combat-ready forces” and to “amplify the guardian spirit.”

Read more at: spacenews

Hawkeye 360 Satellites To Provide Data For U.S. Space Force Threat-Detection System

HawkEye 360 will provide data collected by its radio-frequency mapping satellites to Slingshot Aerospace for a threat-detection system the company is developing for the U.S. Space Force.

Under the agreement announced Jan. 19, Slingshot will use data from HawkEye 360’s satellites to identify potential jamming attacks or other threats that would interfere with GPS signals. Radio frequency interference has been a long-time problem for the military, exacerbated by the proliferation of electronic devices designed to disrupt GPS and other satellite signals. 

Read more at: spacenews

With Starshield, SpaceX Readies For Battle

Now that SpaceX has established itself as a leading provider of U.S. national security launches, it is seeking a bigger share of the defense market with a new product line called Starshield. SpaceX quietly unveiled Starshield last month offering defense and intelligence agencies custom-built spacecraft, sensors, and secure communications services leveraging SpaceX’s investment in its Starlink network of broadband satellites.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Force Procurement Chief Looking For Big Wins In 2023

As Frank Calvelli nears his first year as head of military space acquisitions, he is optimistic that his push for speed and agility in procurement programs is starting to resonate. In addition to long-term reforms, there are more pressing concerns on his mind, including upcoming satellite launches and the release of a new procurement strategy for national security launch services, Calvelli said Jan. 18.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Fifth GPS Satellite For U.S. Space Force

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Jan. 18 lifted off at 7:24 a.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, carrying a U.S. Space Force GPS satellite.

The Falcon 9 launched the Lockheed Martin-built GPS 3 SV-06 — the 6th of the newest version of the satellite known as GPS 3. The GPS constellation of 31 satellites operated by the U.S. Space Force provides positioning, navigation and timing signals to military and civilian users. GPS satellites operate in medium Earth orbit at an altitude of 12,550 miles. 

Read more at: Spacenews


One Day There Could be a Pipeline of Oxygen Flowing From the Moon’s South Pole

The Artemis program intends to put humans on the Moon for the first time since NASA’s Apollo missions. But Artemis has a larger scope than just landing people there, setting up some science experiments, gathering Moon rocks, playing a little golf, then leaving. The intent is to establish a consistent presence.

That will require resources, and one of those critical resources is oxygen.

Dr. Peter A. Curreri has been a NASA scientist for decades and has been a strong proponent of human spaceflight. Since 2021, Curreri’s been the Chief Science Officer for Lunar Resources, Inc. Lunar Resources is proposing a novel concept for Artemis: an oxygen pipeline.

Read more at: Universe today

Ex-Amazon Drone Manager Says He Was Fired For Raising Safety Concerns

When Cheddi Skeete joined Amazon’s delivery drone project, it didn’t take long before he noticed some things were awry.

There wasn’t an onboarding process for new employees, he said. There wasn’t a bathroom at one of the field sites, leaving the outdoors as the only option during shifts. And there were crashes. Lots of them.

Skeete lasted less than two years. He said he was denied promotions and ultimately fired in March after sharing concerns about the program and its crashes internally.

Read more at: seattletimes

Can Humanity’s New Giant Leap Into Space Succeed?

There is a new order emerging in space – a race between America and China. But with the demands of space exploration, even these great superpowers won’t be able to do it alone.

Hugely technically challenging and costly goals have been touted, not least the aim of people living and working on other worlds, possibly within ten years – but in a divided world where international good will is scarce, are they realistic?

Read more at: BBC

Artemis III: NASA’s First Human Mission to the Lunar South Pole

Humans have always been drawn to explore, discover, and learn as much as we can about the world—and worlds—around us. This isn’t always easy, but it’s in our nature. For the benefit of all humanity, NASA and its partners will land the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon with Artemis.

Following two Artemis test missions, Artemis III, currently planned for 2025, will mark humanity’s first return to the lunar surface in more than 50 years. NASA will make history by sending the first humans to explore the region near the lunar South Pole.

Read more at: NASA

There’s No Planet B

At the start of the 22nd century, humanity left Earth for the stars. The enormous ecological and climatic devastation that had characterised the last 100 years had led to a world barren and inhospitable; we had used up Earth entirely. Rapid melting of ice caused the seas to rise, swallowing cities whole. Deforestation ravaged forests around the globe, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. All the while, we continued to burn the fossil fuels we knew to be poisoning us, and thus created a world no longer fit for our survival. And so we set our sights beyond Earth’s horizons to a new world, a place to begin again on a planet as yet untouched. But where are we going?

Read more at: Aeon

China Launch Plans More Than 70 Launches In 2023

China’s state-owned and commercial space sector actors are planning a total of more than 70 launches across 2023 as the country’s space activities continue to expand.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main space contractor and maker of the Long March rocket series, will again aim for more than 50 launches this year, according to an announcement from an early January meeting.

Read more at: spacenews

It Looks Like NASA Will Finally Have An Astronaut Live In Space For A Full Year

Amid much fanfare, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned from space nearly seven years ago, landing on a barren, frozen steppe of Kazakhstan inside a hardy little Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA made much of this flight, billing it as the agency’s first year-long mission. PBS was among the broadcast television stations that did extended features on Kelly’s mission, its multi-episode series was titled “A year in space.” But the dirty little secret is that, due to the inevitable shuffling of schedules in spaceflight, Kelly and a Russia colleague, Mikhail Kornienko, spent 340 days in space rather than a full year of 365.25 days.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Nation’s Space Industry Hits New Heights

China’s space industry had a busy year in 2022, the highlight of which was completion of one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated orbiting infrastructures, the Tiangong space station.

After traveling for 15 months in low orbit, about 400 kilometers above the Earth, Tianhe, the space station’s core module, received its first long-term companion — the Wentian lab module — in late July.

Wentian lifted off on a Long March 5B heavy-duty rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province to become Tiangong’s first scientific component.

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SpaceX Dragon Capsule To Be 5-Person ‘Lifeboat’ In Event Of ISS Emergency

A SpaceX Dragon capsule is being modified on orbit to carry an extra astronaut home to Earth if need be.

On Wednesday (Jan. 18), NASA plans to start moving agency astronaut Frank Rubio’s seat liner from a Russian Soyuz spacecraft over to Endurance, the Dragon spacecraft that’s flying SpaceX’s ongoing Crew-5 mission for NASA.

Both vehicles are docked to the International Space Station (ISS). The Soyuz, known as MS-22, lost its coolant last month after suffering an apparent micrometeoroid or debris strike and has been deemed unfit to return astronauts to Earth except in case of emergency.

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China To Launch Relay Satellite Next Year To Support Moon Landing Missions

China will launch its Queqiao-2 communications relay satellite in 2024 to support upcoming robotic landing missions at the lunar south pole and far side of the moon.

Wang Qiong of the Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center under the China National Space Administration (CNSA) told press Jan. 17 that Queqiao-2 would launch in early 2024, ahead of the Chang’e-6 mission which is currently scheduled to launch in late 2024 or early 2025.

Read more at: spacenews

Oman Is Building The Middle East’s First Spaceport

Oman plans to build the Middle East’s first space rocket launch centre this year. Located in the port town of Duqm, the Etlaq Space Launch Complex, a project by the National Aerospace Services Company, could see its first rocket launch early next year. However, it will take three years to fully complete the centre. “We have two main goals with the Duqm launch land: to build a launch centre for commercial, professional and educational rocket users to assemble, test and launch from,” Nascom said.

Read more at: national news

Africa Will Get A New $1 Billion Spaceport In Djibouti

Africa could soon get a new spaceport after Djibouti signed a partnership deal with Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to build a facility to launch satellites and rockets in the northern Obock region.

According to the preliminary deal, the Djibouti government will “provide the necessary land (minimum 10 sq km and with a term of not less than 35 years) and all the necessary assistance to build and operate the Djiboutian Spaceport.”

Read more at: QZ

Spacewalking Astronauts Hit Snags Installing New Solar Array Mount Outside Space Station

A “sticky” foothold and a stubborn strut caused problems for two spacewalking astronauts as they worked to prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for the addition of two more upgraded solar arrays.

Expedition 68 crewmates Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducted the 7 hour and 21 minute extravehicular activity (EVA) on Friday (Jan. 20). The two astronauts took their spacesuits to battery power and exited the station’s U.S. Quest airlock to begin the spacewalk at 8:14 a.m. EST (1314 GMT).

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It’s Not Sci-Fi—NASA Is Funding These Mind-Blowing Projects

Mike LaPointe has the envious job of figuring out how to get space exploration to the science fiction future.

He and his colleagues fund high-risk, high-reward projects as part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, or NIAC, which last week announced grants to 14 teams exploring fantastical ideas. Many of them won’t pan out. But some—perhaps the lunar oxygen pipeline or the space telescope mirror that’s actually built in space—could become game changers.

Read more at: Wired

First Recovered US Rocket Stage Returned To Its Launch Site For Display

The first U.S. rocket stage to be recovered after its launch has landed a new home not far from where it lifted off almost 60 years ago.

The Cape Canaveral Space Force Museum on Thursday (Jan. 19) took delivery of the booster segment that helped launch NASA astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles “Pete” Conrad on the Gemini-Titan 5 (GT-5) mission on Aug. 21, 1965. The 27-foot-long (8-meter) section of the Titan II rocket first stage had been at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Read more at: Collect space