Moon Lander Odysseus Tipped Sideways On Lunar Surface But ‘Alive And Well’

The moon lander dubbed Odysseus is “alive and well” but resting on its side a day after its white-knuckle touchdown as the first private spacecraft ever to reach the lunar surface, and the first from the U.S. since 1972, the company behind the vehicle said on Friday.
Houston-based Intuitive Machines also revealed that human error led to a failure of the spacecraft’s laser-based range finders, how engineers detected the glitch by chance hours before landing time, and how they improvised an emergency fix that saved the mission from a probable crash.
Although the Odysseus made it to the surface intact on Thursday, analysis of data by flight engineers showed the six-legged craft apparently tripped over its own feet as it neared the end of its final descent, company officials said at a briefing the next day.

Read more at: Reuters

Putin Denies Plans To Deploy Nuclear Weapons In Space

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is “categorically against” the deployment of nuclear weapons in space.His remarks came during a televised meeting with his defence minister, who also denied Russia had any such plans.Last week US officials said Russia was developing a “troubling” new anti-satellite weapon which it was yet to deploy.US media reports said it was space-based and armed with a nuclear warhead.White House spokesman John Kirby said the US administration was taking the development “very seriously” and that President Joe Biden had already ordered “direct diplomatic engagement with Russia” over the threat.

Read more at: BBC


Massive Fireball Lights Up Night Sky Across Nearly A Dozen States

Residents across nearly a dozen states and Canada reported seeing a fireball in Wednesday night’s sky that some described as an event they’d never seen before. The American Meteor Society started receiving reports shortly after 6:45 p.m. of a glowing object that quickly transversed the sky. Based on the number of reports, the society said what was spotted is believed to be a fireball and triangulated its possible path as being over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Read more at: foxweather

Astroscale’s ADRAS-J Mission Starts Rendezvous Operations

After an excellent start to on-orbit operations, Astroscale Japan has begun the rendezvous operations phase of its ADRAS-J mission today, February 22 at approximately 11:00 am UTC. In this phase, the operations team based in Japan and the UK will use ADRAS-J’s propulsion system to start maneuvering towards the client orbit. This initial rendezvous phase requires careful planning of several orbit raising maneuvers to ensure accurate, precise and safe approach to the client.

Read more at: astroscale

Satellites Are Burning Up In The Upper Atmosphere – And We Still Don’t Know What Impact This Will Have On The Earth’s Climate

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has announced it will dispose of 100 Starlink satellites over the next six months, after it discovered a design flaw that may cause them to fail. Rather than risk posing a threat to other spacecraft, SpaceX will “de-orbit” these satellites to burn up in the atmosphere.

But atmospheric scientists are increasingly concerned that this sort of apparent fly-tipping by the space sector will cause further climate change down on Earth. One team recently, and unexpectedly, found potential ozone-depleting metals from spacecraft in the stratosphere, the atmospheric layer where the ozone layer is formed.

Read more at: conversation

NASA Warns As Huge Solar Flare Threatens Comms, Maybe Astronauts Too

NASA has warned of strong solar flares that have the potential to interrupt communications in space and down here on Earth.

The aerospace agency on Thursday posted news of a flare that peaked at 5:34 p.m. EST on Feb. 22, 2024 (10:34PM UTC) that it’s rated an X6.3 event.

Solar flares are rated in five categories: A, B, C, M, and X. A C-class flare is ten times more powerful than a B-class event, and an M-class event is ten times more powerful than a C-class event. Flares are also scored with a numerical value to indicate the magnitude of the event.

Read more at: theregister

Big, Doomed Satellite Seen From Space As It Tumbles Towards A Fiery Reentry On Feb. 21 (Photos)

Photographs taken in space show a big dead satellite as it tumbled towards a fiery end in Earth’s atmosphere.Australian commercial imaging company HEO Robotics was able to capture images of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ERS-2 Earth observation satellite on Feb. 14, 2024 as the satellite made an ungraceful fall towards our planet. ERS-2, or European Remote Sensing 2, launched in 1995 and spent 16 years observing our planet from space until its mission ended in 2011. Over a span of two months that year, ESA performed dozens of deorbiting maneuvers to begin bringing ERS-2 down for a safe demise in Earth’s atmosphere. That end is finally due to come this week.

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two grainy images of an H-shaped satellite appearing as a black silhouette against the background of a few dozen stars

European Space Agency Predicts Dead Satellite Likely To Return To Earth Wednesday

It went up, therefore it has to come down.

A defunct satellite is set to return to Earth tomorrow after completing its over-a-decade mission.

ERS-2, one of the European Space Agency’s first advanced Earth observing satellites, will make a “natural” re-entry after staying in space for 16 years. The agency predicts that the satellite will re-enter the atmosphere on Wednesday around 4 p.m. ET, as of Tuesday afternoon

Read more at: yahoo

Sun Releases Two Strong Flares

The Sun emitted two strong solar flares, the first one peaking at 6:07 p.m. EST on Feb. 21, 2024, and the second peaking at 1:32 a.m. EST on Feb. 22, 2024. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the Sun constantly, captured an image of the event.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy. Flares and solar eruptions can impact radio communications, electric power grids, navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts.

The first flare is classified as an X1.8 flare. The second flare is classified as an X1.7 flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength.

Read more at: NASA


First Commercial Moon Mission Marks New Era For Space Travel

The landing of a first commercial spacecraft on the Moon has sparked excitement about a new age of possibilities in the Solar System.

News of the touchdown of Odysseus near the lunar south pole was greeted with cheers by staff at American firm Intuitive Machines’ (IM) mission control in Houston, Texas, on Thursday.

It is the first time an American craft has successfully landed on the Moon since 1972 – and the first time ever that a private company has done so.

But the giant leap for commercial kind could also help future state missions to the lunar surface and perhaps even aid plans to set up a lunar – or Martian – base for humans.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of America’s most famous astrophysicists, believes missions of this kind “should have been happening decades ago”.

Read more at: BBC

Space Perspective Is Nearly Ready To Fly Tourists On Luxury Balloon Rides Near The Edge Of Space (Exclusive)

Ever wanted to see the cosmos, but not too keen on buckling-up for a rocket’s high-g, explosively-controlled ascent into space? You’re in luck: Space Perspective will bring you there in a balloon.

The Titusville, Florida-based company just completed assembly of their first pressure vessel, a test capsule of their Spaceship Neptune that Space Perspective will use as they begin a series of test flights of their trademarked “SpaceBalloon” ascent system. If everything goes smoothly during the vehicle’s shakedown flights, the company hopes to begin flying people to the edge of space as early as the end of this year.

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Science And Technology Projects Wanted For Potential UK Mission With Axiom Space

Two new funding calls – one for science and another for technology demonstrators – have opened, in preparation for an agreement being reached to fly a team of four British astronauts on a commercially-sponsored mission, potentially to the International Space Station.

While the commercial funding for projects is dependent on the mission proceeding, the UK Space Agency is giving scientists, innovators, and businesses the opportunity to submit proposals now to maximise the benefits of a mission in the near term.

Read more at: Gov UK

Blue Origin Has Emerged As The Likely Buyer For United Launch Alliance

Blue Origin, the rocket company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has emerged as the sole finalist to buy United Launch Alliance.

The sale is not official, and nothing has been formally announced. The co-owners of United Launch Alliance (ULA), Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have yet to comment publicly on the sale of the company, which, until the rise of SpaceX, was the sole major launch provider in the United States. They declined again on Wednesday.

Read more at: arstechnica

Rocket Lab Successfully Launches ‘World First’ Space Junk Mission

Rocket Lab has successfully deployed a satellite that will rendezvous in orbit with a derelict rocket, which it will monitor with cameras for six months.

It could prove the first step toward cleaning up a blizzard of space junk.

Japanese firm Astroscale ultimately wants to develop spacecraft that can dock with space debris then tug it into the atmosphere to burn on re-entry. Nasa says there are some 9000 tonnes of it across thousands of objects.

The “On Closer Inspection” mission launched from Pad B at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 at 3.52am this morning.

Read more at: newstalkzb


Space Station Crew Tests Out “Anti-Gravity” Suit

Blood tests, cardiac research, and scientific maintenance were the prime duties aboard the International Space Station on Thursday, February 22. The Expedition 70 crew also kept up its work on a variety of life support gear and exercise hardware throughout the day.NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara kicked off the day studying accelerated aging-like symptoms seen in astronauts’ arteries after a long-duration mission. The duo collected and processed blood samples for the Vascular Aging investigation to understand these space-caused mechanisms and physiological changes. Observations from the long-running experiment may help doctors improve cardiovascular health in space, as well as on Earth.

Read more at: scitech daily

Australia Seeks Public Help To Design Its 1st Moon Rover, Roo-Ver

Australia’s first lunar rover has a name — now, it needs a design.The Australian Space Agency is building a semi-autonomous rover, called “Roo-ver,” that will launch to the moon as early as 2026 in partnership with NASAs Artemis lunar program. The rover will collect samples of lunar “soil,” specifically known as regolith, from which NASA will attempt to extract oxygen — a key step toward establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon and producing rocket fuel to support future missions to Mars.

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Space Could Pose an Unexpected Threat to Our Gut Microbiome, Scientists Discover

For over a century, people have dreamed of the day when humanity (as a species) would venture into space. In recent decades, that dream has moved much closer to realization, thanks to the rise of the commercial space industry (NewSpace), renewed interest in space exploration, and long-term plans to establish habitats in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), on the lunar surface, and Mars.

Read more at: science alert

NASA’s New Horizons Discovered a Large Surprise in The Kuiper Belt

There may be a lot more than we thought to the belt of icy debris that circles the outer Solar System.

Data from the New Horizons probe as it sails serenely through the Kuiper Belt hints at unexpected levels of particles where dust ought to be thinning out, suggesting the donut-shaped field extends significantly farther from the Sun than previous estimates suggest.

Read more at: sciencealert


India Opens Space Sector To 100% Foreign Investment With New FDI Policy

Satellite-related activities under the space sector can get Foreign Direct Investment between 49-100 per cent as the Union Cabinet approved an amendment in FDI policy for the space sector on Wednesday.

According to a government statement, under the amended FDI policy, 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the space sector. Now, satellite manufacturing & operation, satellite data products and ground segment & user segment can get FDI up to 74 per cent under the automatic route, beyond which government route will be applicable.

read more at: hindu businessline

‘The Law Is Way Behind The Time’: Mining Asteroids And The Moon Remains A Huge Legal Gray Area

Mining the moon and asteroids could be worth trillions upon trillions of dollars, and several companies have popped up with that mission in mind.But is space mining technically legal? For asteroids, the answer is probably “yes,” but for the moon, it’s complicated, experts say.In 1967, 110 countries, including the U.S., Russia and China, signed a treaty stating that no “sovereigns” can claim ownership of the moon. However, this “Outer Space Treaty” (OST) does not explicitly prohibit companies or individuals from extracting and owning resources from space, Michelle Hanlon, a professor of space law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, told Live Science.

Read more at: livescience

Impending European Satellite Reentry Highlights Debris Mitigation Challenges

The impending reentry of a defunct European satellite serves as a reminder of the hazards posed by existing objects even as agencies work to mitigate the growth of orbital debris.

The European Space Agency’s European Remote Sensing (ERS) 2 satellite is expected to reenter on Feb. 21 after nearly two decades in orbit. The latest update by ESA Feb. 20 predicted the satellite will reenter at 11:32 a.m. Eastern, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.61 hours.

Read more at: spacenews

US Concerned NASA Will Be Overtaken By China’s Space Program

NASA could fall behind China when it comes to space research if it doesn’t have its private successors to the International Space Station (ISS) ready soon, industry leaders told lawmakers during a hearing on Wednesday, February 14.

During the hearing, the officials highlighted China’s space program and its recent advances with its Tiangong space station, as first reported by

Read more at: interesting engineering

SpaceX Seeks To Boost Starlink Speeds With Recent FCC Letter

Earlier this week, SpaceX filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking regulatory clearance to help boost Starlink speeds.

In its FCC letter, SpaceX requested for regulatory clearance to orbit some of its Starlink satellites closer to Earth. The Elon Musk-led company seeks to operate some of the second-generation Starlink satellites between 340-360 km closer to Earth. 

In 2022, the FCC cleared SpaceX to operate 7,500 second-get satellites in 525, 530, and 535 km altitudes or within the same region as the company’s first-ten satellites.

Read more at: teslarati

The 1st Private Moon Landing Just Happened. Is It Time For Lunar Law?

There was an electric moment on Feb. 22, when Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander, a rectangular prism built atop several slender metallic legs, touched down on the surface of the moon. Surely, moon landings are always a thrill. The descent of Japan’s SLIM probe (complications and all) was inspiring, India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission rippled voltaic moments of its own, capturing the hearts of many across the world, and filmmakers are still making movies about the Apollo years. But there’s something special about Odysseus.

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China Launches Classified Military Satellite Towards Geostationary Belt

China launched the TJS-11classified satellite early Friday as the country continues to build its geostationary capabilities.

A Long March 5 lifted off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan island at 6:30 a.m. Eastern (1130 UTC), Feb. 23.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., (CASC), announced launch success just under an hour after launch. The announcement also provided the first official statement on the payload: TJS-11 (Tongxin Jishu Shiyan-11).

Read more at: spacenews

USSF Ends Record-Breaking ‘Victus Nox,’ Plans Faster Satellite Launches

Five months after the Space Force made history by launching a satellite just 27 hours after receiving orders, the mission is over and the spacecraft is out of orbit, the service announced this week.

The effort, dubbed Victus Nox, broke records when the Space Force built, delivered, launched, and operationalized a satellite faster than ever before—part of the service’s push for tactically responsive space. Now, attention shifts to a follow-on mission, Victus Haze, with contracts for that demonstration expected in the next few weeks, according to a new press release.

Read more at: airandspace forces

Reports Of Russia Building Nuclear Space Weapons Have Alarmed Officials, But Security Experts Aren’t Panicked — Yet

Cryptic intelligence reports this week of Russia building an unspecified nuclear space weapon stoked fear among Americans who worried escalating nuclear threats could mean global catastrophe is near.

Experts on space security and the risks posed by nuclear weapons told Business Insider that rumors of Russia creating such a weapon are likely true but that it’s not time to panic just yet.

Read more at: business insider

The Race To Back Up Vulnerable GPS

For decades, the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation has reigned supreme as the world’s go-to navigation tool — guiding everything from aircraft carriers to Uber drivers.

But GPS is susceptible to jamming and spoofing. Malicious actors can deliberately disrupt or manipulate the signals, leading to inaccurate or misleading positioning information.

These vulnerabilities endanger critical infrastructure, emergency response and military operations, prompting increased interest in alternative PNT, or positioning, navigation and timing technologies that do not depend on GPS.

Read more at: spacenews

SpaceX May Be Withholding Satellite Internet in Taiwan, Congressman Contends

An influential congressman has suggested SpaceX is withholding satellite service in Taiwan potentially in violation of its obligations to the U.S. government, the latest geopolitical dust-up for the company’s leader, Elon Musk.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) said in a letter to Musk that multiple sources told a committee he leads that the satellite broadband provided through the company’s Starshield unit is inactive near and in Taiwan.

Read more at: WSJ


NASA Quit Painting Space Shuttles’ Fuel Tank Because It Added 600 Pounds?

In operation for 30 years, NASA’s space shuttle was described by the space agency as “the world’s first reusable spacecraft” and was “launched like a rocket, maneuvered in Earth orbit like a spacecraft and landed like an airplane.” The spacecraft’s external tank was also said, according to online claims, to have once been painted white before engineers realized the paint added roughly 600 pounds of weight.

Read more at: snopes

Boeing Recoverable Launch Booster Would Have Been the Beauty Queen of Space Rockets

Long cylinders are how most of today’s launch boosters are shaped. It’s an effective way of designing a critical component of our space exploration efforts, and many times we don’t even give them a second thought. But Boeing once did, and it came quite close to making boosters look and feel like beauty queens.

There was a time, long before SpaceX came along, when the U.S. was seriously considering going for reusable boosters. After all, reusing a crucial component of a launch system would have worked wonders on the budgets of those involved, something we can clearly see today, thanks to the many private space companies that eventually made this dream a reality.

Read more at: autoevolution

Bahamas Moves into Space Tourism

The Bahamas government on Tuesday said it had successfully negotiated and executed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation ( SpaceX) “marking a revolutionary leap for The Bahamas into the realm of space tourism”.

In a statement, the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation (MOTIA) said that the LOA establishes a strategic collaboration that positions the country as a global destination for witnessing booster landings.

Read more at: jamaica gleaner

Why It’s So Difficult To Land On The Moon, Even Five Decades After Apollo

Hundreds of thousands of miles beyond Earth, a phone booth-size spacecraft is en route to take on a challenge no vehicle launched from the United States has attempted in more than 50 years.

The lunar lander called Odysseus or IM-1, created by Houston-based company Intuitive Machines, is barreling toward the moon. The robotic explorer is preparing for the terrifying moments of uncertainty as it attempts to slow its speed by about 4,026 miles per hour (1,800 meters per second) in order to gently touch down on the moon’s surface. The spacecraft is on track to land near the lunar south pole at 4:24 p.m. ET Thursday, which was moved up from an earlier projection of 5:30 p.m. ET.

Read more at: CNN

A History of Nukes in Space

The chyrons on cable news and everyone’s x feeds were wall to wall this past week as House intelligence committee chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) went public with reports of a non-specific but massive national security threat that he was asking the Biden administration to make public so that the threat could be more effectively addressed.

Read more at: bowoftheseus