Independent Experts Urge European Space Agency To Start Human Space Exploration Project

The European Space Agency (ESA), which is not an agency of the European Union, has been urged by a panel of independent experts to develop a full-spectrum crewed spaceflight capability. Known as the High Level Advisory Group (HLAG), the 12-strong panel, composed of leading figures in European industry, academia, government and civil society and led by former Danish Prime Minister and former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, presented its report, “Revolution Space: Europe’s Mission for Space Exploration”, to the 315th session of the ESA Council, in Paris, France, last week.

Read more at: engineering news

NASA Adopts SFMTA Decision-Making Model for Lunar Mission

NASA engineers, impressed with SFMTA’s outreach and community meeting program, have decided that the engineering of its next moon launch, including choice of propulsion, rocket design, and other factors, will be based on public comments.

“We have a long history of not listening to the public before just launching a rocket,” said Jeffrey Smuvlin, chief of NASA propulsions systems. “That’s got to change. And SFMTA has shown us the way.”

Read more at: sf streetsblog

After Endless Delays, Will Boeing’s $4.3 Billion Starliner Get Astronauts To Space?

The first crewed mission was scheduled to launch in April but will now likely take place sometime this summer.

In a tweet on March 23, Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for space operations, said that Starliner’s Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission had been delayed to some time after the launch of Axiom Space’s Ax-2 private astronaut mission to the International Space Station in early May, reports SpaceNews.

Be that as it may, Boeing’s Starliner launch was originally scheduled for February then later moved to late April, and now likely will not happen until the summer.

Read more at: digital journal


Virgin Orbit Extends Unpaid Pause As Brown Deal Collapses, ‘Dynamic’ Talks Continue

Virgin Orbit is again extending its unpaid pause in operations to continue pursuing a lifeline investment, CEO Dan Hart told employees in a company-wide email.

Some of the company’s late-stage deal talks, including with private investor Matthew Brown, collapsed over the weekend, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.

Hart previously planned to update employees on the company’s operational status at an all-hands meeting at 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon, according to an email sent to employees Sunday night. At the last minute, that meeting was rescheduled “for no later than Thursday,” Hart said in the employee memo Monday.

Read more at: CNBC

‘Hole’ In The Sun And Powerful X1.2 Solar Flare Threaten Space Weather Mayhem

A powerful solar flare knocked out radio communications on Earth last night in what space weather forecasters fear might be the beginning of a spell of rough space weather in the coming days. The solar flare was the most powerful X-class on the 5-grade scale for rating the force of these powerful light flashes and emerged from the largest and most complex sunspot group that space weather forecasters currently observe in the southwestern part of the sun’s disk.

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Now We Know How a Solar Storm Took Out a Fleet of Starlinks

On March 23rd, sky observers marveled at a gorgeous display of northern and southern lights. It was reminder that when our Sun gets active, it can spark a phenomenon called “space weather.” Aurorae are among the most benign effects of this phenomenon.

At the other end of the space weather spectrum are solar storms that can knock out satellites. The folks at Starlink found that out the hard way in February 2022. On January 29th that year, the Sun belched out a class M 1.1 flare and related coronal mass ejection. Material from the Sun traveled out on the solar wind and arrived at Earth a few days later. On February 3, Starlink launched a group of 49 satellites to an altitude only 130 miles above Earth’s surface. They didn’t last long, and now solar physicists know why.

Read more at: universe today

Airplanes Face a Growing Risk of Being Hit by Uncontrolled Incoming Rockets

On May 11, 2020 a deadly threat flew from Los Angeles to New York City in under nine minutes. It was a 20-tonne Chinese Long March 5B rocket body passing around 60 miles overhead. Just 15 minutes later, the rocket body re-entered the atmosphere and broke into pieces, including a 12-metre-long pipe that crashed into a village in the Ivory Coast.

The rocket body had completed its mission and been abandoned in orbit, left to return to the surface in an uncontrolled way. It posed an indiscriminate threat to people across the globe — on the ground, at sea, and in aircraft in flight. The probability of a lethal impact was very small, but the consequences could have been severe.

Read more at: Yahoo

Burning Rocket Debris Leave Epic Streak Across Florida Sky

Floridians on early Thursday morning were stunned by an epic display of what appeared to be fireballs streaking across the night sky. The American Meteor Society received 18 reports from different eyewitnesses, almost all within Florida. “It appeared to me that it was something breaking up in our atmosphere,” one witness reported, noting that there were small dots leading the “elongated orange streaks.”

Read more at: futurism


Firefly Aerospace Completes Risk Reduction Testing for Critical Miranda Engine Components

Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, recently completed risk reduction testing for critical Miranda engine components ahead of the first hot fire scheduled this summer. As a larger, scaled-up version of the company’s Reaver engines, Miranda will power the Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV) Firefly is co-developing with Northrop Grumman.

“We are making significant progress in the development of our Miranda engines that started less than a year ago,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “By leveraging our flight-proven engine architecture and our team’s propulsion expertise, we are conducting a hot fire test in just a few months.”

Read more at: Firefly space

Is Rocket Lab the SpaceX Competitor We’ve Been Waiting For?

SpaceX’s partially reusable Falcon 9 is currently in a class by itself, but rival companies are hoping to end the rocket’s near-monopolistic hold on the spaceflight industry. One such company is Rocket Lab, with its chief financial officer now taking direct aim at the Elon Musk-owned firm.

Speaking at a Bank of America event on March 21, Rocket Lab CFO Adam Spice said, “We are positioning Neutron to compete directly with the Falcon 9,” CNBC reported. The projected cost of flying with Neutron, a fully reusable medium-lift rocket that could perform its first launch next year, is slated at $50 million, Spice said. SpaceX currently charges around $67 million per flight, according to CNBC.

Read more at: Gizmodo

Sierra Space Just Blew Up A Space Station Module To Test Orbital Reef

Sierra Space, the company developing the Orbital Reef “space business park” alongside Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin, just blew up a prototype space station module.

The deliberate explosion was the fourth of four explosions the company performed as part of a test campaign aimed at verifying the inflatable habitat for its International Space Station (ISS) successor. You can watch the dramatic footage in the video below.

Read more at: interesting engineering

Maxar Unveils 30-Centimeter Global Basemap

Maxar Technologies unveiled an updated version March 28 of its popular global basemap.

Maxar’s Vivid Standard, the new basemap, includes global imagery with a resolution of 30-centimeters per pixel. In contrast, Maxar’s previous basemap, which underpins many mapping applications, offers 50-centimeter resolution worldwide and 30-centimeter resolution for select cities.

Read more at: spacenews

Oneweb Completes Constellation Deployment For Global Broadband

OneWeb is turning its attention to finalizing ground stations after launching a final batch of satellites needed to provide broadband services globally, executive chair Sunil Mittal said March 27.

Mittal said the British operator has rolled out “most of the critical ground stations” required to launch commercially across all markets it has permission to serve.

More ground stations are due to come online in the several months it will take OneWeb’s latest batch of satellites to enter service after their launch March 25.

Read more at: spacenews

Astrolab To Send Rover To The Moon On SpaceX’s Starship

Lunar rover developer Astrolab has signed an agreement with SpaceX to transport its first rover to the moon on a future Starship flight.

Astrolab said it has arranged to fly the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover it is developing as a payload on a Starship lunar lander mission scheduled for as soon as mid-2026. The companies did not disclose the value of the agreement, which Astrolab says is the first commercial contract SpaceX has signed for lunar cargo delivery.

Read more at: spacenews

Private Japanese Moon Lander Sends Home Stunning Image From Lunar Orbit

A private Japanese lander has returned a stunning fresh image of the moon. 

The Hakuto-R spacecraft snapped the image of a sunlit section of the moon following its arrival in lunar orbit on March 20. The image was taken by a lander-mounted camera and shared by the Twitter account of Japanese company ispace, which developed the spacecraft. 

The image shows a range of brightly lit impact craters on the lunar surface against the dark backdrop of space. It also shows partially shadowed craters on the lunar limb, or edge of the moon’s visible disc. 

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Does The Future Of Medicine Lie In Space?

In a small lab, squeezed into the corner of a skyscraper in downtown Tel Aviv, Israeli entrepreneur Yossi Yamin is proudly holding what he calls “a little James Bond-style suitcase factory, powered by the sun”.

As with many of 007’s finest contraptions, initial impressions are inauspicious. But in the past four years, these little metal boxes, coated in solar panels, have repeatedly blasted into orbit on the back of a SpaceX rocket, bringing groundbreaking new insights back to Earth for things ranging from the behaviour of leukaemia cells to the best ways of generating lab-grown steak.

Read more at: guardian

More Water Found on Moon, Locked in Tiny Glass Beads

The moon’s surface contains a new source of water found embedded in microscopic glass beads, which might one day help future astronauts produce drinking water, breathable air and even rocket fuel, scientists say. The findings come from a Chinese rover that spent two weeks on the moon in 2020. The Chang’e 5 rover drilled several feet into the lunar surface and returned 3.7 pounds of material, among which were the glass beads from an impact crater, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Read more at: wsj

Next-Generation Space Superfood Inspired By Japan’s Aging Population

With NASA, SpaceX, and others looking to take human space exploration to the next level, new solutions are required to help future astronauts survive for months and even years in harsh space environments.

Dietary requirements will be a particularly challenging aspect of long missions to Mars and other parts of the solar system. With current technologies, it would take humans roughly nine months to reach the red planet, meaning they would need to do everything in their power to stay as healthy and active as possible.

Read more at: interesting engineering

Breakthrough Engine Could Enable Human Travel at Near Light Speed

When it comes to space, there’s a problem with our human drive to go all the places and see all the things. A big problem. It’s, well, space. It’s way too big. Even travelling at the maximum speed the Universe allows, it would take us years to reach our nearest neighbouring star.

But another human drive is finding solutions to big problems. And that’s what NASA engineer David Burns has been doing in his spare time. He’s produced an engine concept that, he says, could theoretically accelerate to 99 percent of the speed of light – all without using propellant.

Read more at: brighterside

Microgravity In Space Can Alter Human Cells. We Now Know How

Scientists have discovered how living cells may respond and adapt to the near weightlessness experienced in space. The discovery could help protect astronauts from the adverse health risks associated with long-term space missions.

While space isn’t completely free of the effect of gravity, especially immediately around Earth, this fundamental force is much weaker in orbit than on the surface of our planet. For instance, the effect of gravity at the International Space Station (ISS), just 220 miles (354 km) above Earth’s surface, is 90% weaker than on terra firma.

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ISRO Successfully Conducts the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission

ISRO successfully conducted the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX). The test was conducted at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka in the early hours on April 2, 2023.

The RLV took off at 7:10 am IST by a Chinook Helicopter of the Indian Air Force as an underslung load and flew to a height of 4.5 km (above MSL). Once the predetermined pillbox parameters were attained, based on the RLV’s Mission Management Computer command, the RLV was released in mid-air, at a down range of 4.6 km. Release conditions included 10 parameters covering position, velocity, altitude and body rates, etc. The release of RLV was autonomous.

Read more at: Times of India


China Loses UAE As Partner For Chang’e-7 Lunar South Pole Mission

An agreement for a United Arab Emirates’ rover to fly on China’s Chang’e-7 lunar mission has apparently been hit by U.S. export control rules.

China and the UAE signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2022 for the Rashid II rover to fly on lander of the multi-spacecraft Chang’e-7 mission. 

However, that agreement has fallen foul of the U.S. government’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), according to a report from the South China Morning Post, citing anonymous sources. 

Read more at: spacenews

Making Space More Sustainable, One Rating At A Time

Space is vast, but with humankind sending more and more spacecraft into orbit each year, it is starting to get uncomfortably crowded. The Space Sustainability Rating is a new non-profit association helping to shine a light on behaviours in space, one rating at a time.

Last year humanity broke an impressive record: worldwide, space operators successfully launched a whopping 180 rockets into space. A big chunk of these sent up objects to orbit our planet in a low-Earth orbit, what we call LEO. These objects stay at an altitude of less than 2000 km and help us with tasks like Earth observation and telecommunications. But because lower orbits are so useful, they can get quite crowded.

Read more at: ESA

Why the Space Industry Needs the FCC’s New Anti-Debris Regulations

The Federal Communications Commission approved in September a new regulation where all non-functional Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites have to be deorbited no later than five years after their decommission. Prior to that new rule, deorbiting out-of-duty satellites was a task that could take up to 25 years. A stricter modification on deorbiting was expected by the space industry, and seemingly inevitable due to the imminent deployment of several satellite networks, which could exponentially increase the risk of collisions if future units are not removed from their orbits.

Read more at: satellite today

Space Policy: Why A Step-By-Step Plan Matters

We want to go to space! Escape Earth’s gravity, get to orbit, and then travel to cislunar space, establish a presence on the Moon, and utilize the Moon as our eighth continent before we venture out into our solar system. It appears as a dark void, and yet the unknown does call to us. Earth itself is a spaceship, which for now, is the only habitable planet in our solar system. We may discover Earth-like planets that might sustain life in other solar systems, but even if we do, we might not be able to ever know or visit them given the enormous distances.

Read more at: space review

Ovzon Gets Deadline Extension For Debut Satellite

Mobile satcom services provider Ovzon said March 28 it has secured a deadline extension enabling it to keep priority spectrum rights for its first broadband satellite, as long as it launches early enough in a July-September window SpaceX has set for the mission.

International regulators gave the Swedish company until the end of the year to start providing services in geostationary orbit from Ovzon 3, which was originally slated to launch in 2021 before manufacturing delays at Maxar Technologies.

Once launched, it would take Ovzon 3 several months to reach its orbital slot at 59.7 degrees East using onboard electric propulsion.

Read more at: spacenews

Spain Establishes Its Own Space Agency

Spain now has its own space agency.

The country’s Council of Ministers voted to allow the Spanish Space Agency, or Agencia Espacial Española (AEE), to commence operations on March 7. Plans for the agency were officially announced (opens in new tab) back in May 2021.

The agency will be based in Seville and serve to “guarantee Spain’s strategic action in the field of space, both from the point of view of its technological development and the use of space in areas such as security, Earth observation, geolocation and telecommunications,” according to a statement (opens in new tab) from Spain’s  Ministry of Science and Innovation, via machine translation.

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Seized Property At Baikonur Threatens Soyuz-5 Program

In early March 2023, reports began to circulate that Kazakhstan had seized the property of Roscosmos at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This has raised questions regarding launch operations from the spaceport, including important crew and cargo logistics flights for the International Space Station (ISS).

However, it is likely that the development of the Soyuz-5 rocket, as well as liquid oxygen and nitrogen production, are larger concerns as a result of the recent legal action.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight


Israel Launches Ofek Spy Satellite

Israel launched the latest in a series of Ofek reconnaissance satellites March 28 on the country’s Shavit rocket.

The solid-fueled rocket lifted off from Israel’s Palmachim Airbase on the Mediterranean coast at 7:10 p.m. Eastern and placed the Ofek-13 satellite into orbit. Israel’s defense ministry said the spacecraft carries a synthetic aperture radar payload with “advanced capabilities.” The ministry said the launch was successful, and Ofek-13 had completed initial tests after entering orbit.

Read more at: spacenews

U.S. Space Force Ramps Up Cybersecurity Spending

The head of the U.S. Space Force told lawmakers March 28 that the service is investing heavily in cybersecurity for satellite ground systems in response to increasing threats. 

The need for greater protection has intensified since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which saw satellite systems targeted in cyberattacks, Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations, said during a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.

Read more at: spacenews

Chinese Defense Contractor To Begin Launching VLEO Satellites

A major Chinese state-owned defense contractor is preparing to launch the first satellite for a very low Earth orbit constellation. 

The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) told Chinese state media in early March that its first satellite for a constellation of very-low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellites will launch in September.

VLEO satellites orbit at altitudes of between 150 to 300 kilometers, much lower than most satellites. These lower altitudes require propulsion to counter the relatively rapid decay of a satellite’s orbit due to much higher atmospheric drag, but offer cost and performance incentives in the form of reduced power needs for data transmission, lower-latency data transfer, lower solar power-generation requirements, and higher resolution observation.

Read more at: spacenews

US Space Force Requests $700M for Cybersecurity Blast Off

US Space Force top brass have requested a $700 million investment in cybersecurity as part of the military branch’s overall $30 billion 2024 budget.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing war has laid bare the national interest in defending critical networks, explained Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations, at a recent House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

The $30 million investment in Space Force cybersecurity will “enhance the cyber defense of our critical networks associated with space operations,” Saltzman said, according to reports on the hearing. “There’s no question that space is going to be central to effective operations in the future.”

Read more at: darkreading

SpaceX Launches 10 Satellites for U.S. Space Development Agency

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off April 2 at 10:29 a.m. Eastern from Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, carrying 10 military satellites, including two built by SpaceX. 

The mission to low Earth orbit is the first launch of a new military communications and missile tracking constellation built by the Space Development Agency (SDA), a U.S. Space Force organization created to accelerate the use of commercial space technologies in military systems.

Read more at: spacenews


A Controversial Rocket Technology Could Challenge a Basic Law of Physics

One of the most exciting aspects of the current era of space exploration (Space Age 2.0) is how time-honored ideas are finally being realized.

Some of the more well-known examples include retrievable and reusable rockets, retrieval at sea, mid-air retrieval, single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) rockets, and kinetic launch systems.

In addition, there are also efforts to develop propulsion systems that do not rely on conventional propellants. This technology offers many advantages, including lower mass and improved energy efficiency, ultimately lowering costs.

Read more at: inverse

Has The Science On NASA’s International Space Station Been Worth The Money?

The political question of whether the International Space Station (ISS) was worth the money was answered when an amendment to kill the orbiting space lab failed by one vote in the House of Representatives in 1993. Ironically, the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, provided the deciding vote, even though he had never expressed much interest in space policy.

Thirty years later, one might ask if the science on the ISS has been worth the $100 billion and more that NASA and its international partners have paid for it?

Read more at: Hill

Jean-Jacques Favier, First French Scientist To Fly Into Space, Dies At 73

Jean-Jacques Favier, who in 1996 became the sixth astronaut and first scientist from France to launch into space, has died at the age of 73.

Favier’s death on Sunday (March 19) was confirmed by CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales or National Centre for Space Studies), France’s space agency.

“The passing of astronaut Jean-Jacques Favier leaves a great void in the space world: CNES has lost one of its own,” said Philippe Baptiste, president of CNES, in a statement issued on Friday. “As the first French scientist to go into space, I know he will leave his mark on future generations and inspire many of us.”

Read more at: collectspace

Damaged Soyuz MS-22 Craft Returns Home Uncrewed

The Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, which launched Expedition 68 crewmembers Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin, and NASA’s Frank Rubio on Sept. 21, 2022, returned to Earth in automated mode after suffering a leak in a coolant loop last December.

Cosmonauts Prokopyev and Petelin were preparing to conduct an EVA on the Russian segment of the International Space Station on Dec. 15 when controllers noticed a leak in the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft’s service module. Flakes coming from the area of the coolant loop were noticed on live camera feeds pointing toward the spacecraft, and as a result, the EVA was canceled.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

Inflation, High Demand Driving Up Launch Prices

A tight launch market, coupled with high inflation, has driven up launch prices in the last year, putting a squeeze on customers.

At the recent Satellite 2023 conference, industry officials said they saw evidence of growing prices in the last year. Growing demand along with a constrained near-term supply that some have dubbed a “global shortage” is a factor, they say, along with inflation that has remained historically high for more than a year.

Read more at: spacenews

Changes Ahead as NASA’s Human Spaceflight Head Plans Retirement

Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, announced Monday she will retire from the agency at the end of April. Lueders’ current deputy and astronaut, Ken Bowersox, will become the new head of Space Operations, effective Monday, May 1.

“Kathy is a tremendous public servant and a trailblazer, not only serving as the first woman to head space operations for NASA and the first woman to manage our human spaceflight program, but also championing a new way of doing business in low Earth orbit. The public-private commercial model Kathy and her team helped pioneer will return humanity to the Moon and prepare us for our next giant leap: the first crewed missions to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Read more at: NASA

China To Begin Constructing Its Own Megaconstellation Later This Year

China is preparing to launch its first satellites for a national low Earth orbit broadband megaconstellation to challenge SpaceX’s Starlink.

A Long March 5B rocket will be equipped with a Yuanzheng-2 second stage for the first time and launched from the coastal Wenchang spaceport in the second half of the year. 

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main space contractor, stated in early March that the new Long March 5B and upper stage configuration would be used to launch satellites for a LEO satellite network.

Read more at: spacenews

How Space Exploration Is Fueling The Fourth Industrial Revolution

In 2022, the first images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) James Webb Space Telescope were released, capturing the world’s attention with breathtaking vistas of thousands of stars, planets, and galaxies, including the most distant galaxies ever detected. These discoveries only scratch the surface of what will come from the telescope, thanks to decades of investment and partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and continuous advancements in science, which are the backbone of this unprecedented discovery. Beyond the Webb Telescope, further discoveries in space are rapidly accelerating, creating an exciting new paradigm for space that includes new players, trends, opportunities, and challenges, all propped up by the convergence of advanced technologies that are a part of the ongoing, broader Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Read more at: brookings

Don’t Be Fooled: The Hidden Detail NASA Didn’t Show in New Spacesuits

NASA revealed a new prototype of the spacesuit destined to adorn the next astronauts on the Moon. But the look is a little misleading. In an event on March 15, NASA and its new spacesuit contractor, Axiom Space, walked out their first iteration of the uniform for the Artemis generation of lunar astronauts. Called the “AxEMY Next Generation,” it’s the spacesuit that will protect the first astronauts to walk on the lunar surface since 1972 – including the first woman and the first person of color to set foot on the Moon, as soon as 2025, according to NASA’s plans.

Read more at: science alert

College Students Are About to Put a Robot on the Moon Before NASA

The US was the first and only country to put humans on the moon, but NASA has been noticeably absent from the international competition to put robots there. The USSR landed the first lunar robotic rovers in the 1970s; India tried and failed to land one in 2019. The only lunar rover in operation is China’s Yutu-2, a 300-pound machine that’s spent the past four years prowling almost two-thirds of a mile across the moon’s far side, sending back images of rocks. Greece, Japan and the United Arab Emirates are among those working on their own lunar rover programs.

Read more at: bloomberg

NASA Delays Flight Of Boeing’s Starliner Again, This Time For Parachutes

NASA and Boeing announced Wednesday that the first crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft will now take place no earlier than July 21. This moves the vehicle’s flight, carrying NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore, from the previously announced timeframe of April.

The manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, Steve Stich, said the delay was attributable to the extra time needed to close out the pre-flight review process of Starliner and also due to traffic from other vehicles visiting the space station in June and the first half of July.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Space Official Calls For China To Seize Crucial Opportunity To Establish Lunar Infrastructure

A top Chinese space official has called for the country to speed up its plans to develop lunar infrastructure or miss out on a never-to-be-repeated opportunity.

Yang Mengfei of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main space contractor, proposed in early March that China seize the opportunity to build lunar infrastructure using capabilities the countries already possess.

“Now is the critical time for space infrastructure to expand to the Earth-moon system,” Yang said, according to a CASC statement.

Read more at: spacenews

How John Glenn’s $40 Camera Forced NASA to Rethink Space Missions

We’re about to take a trip back in time to the early 1960s and learn how a $40 drugstore camera forced NASA to rethink its space missions. Yes, it’s true. A simple camera purchased at the local drugstore played a pivotal role in shaping the future of space exploration and set the stage for space photography in a non-scientific domain.

Let’s set the scene: It’s 1962, and NASA is focused on one primary goal, getting a human into space and back to Earth safely. It was, after all, the Cold War, and America was losing the space race to Russia. Photography was the last thing on NASA’s mind. Heck, they weren’t even planning on putting windows in their space vehicles at the time! Can you imagine?

Read more at: petapixel