Top senator Matviyenko says Russia favors deepening space cooperation with all countries

Russia favors maintaining and deepening of cooperation in space with foreign countries, including Western nations, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said.

“Today, when global politics and economy are unstable, I would like to note that particularly space remains one of few platforms where Russia’s cooperation with other countries, including Western ones, continues. Our country favors maintaining and deepening it, because this cooperation unites forward-thinking people,” she wrote on her blog published on the upper house’s website on the occasion of Cosmonautics Day on Wednesday.

Read more at: TASS

Vast New Stores of Water Reported on the Moon

Stay up late sometime when the moon is past full and look at the large dark oval near its western edge. Renaissance astronomers called it the Ocean of Storms, Oceanus Procellarum, not knowing it was a hundred times drier than the most arid desert on Earth. But there is water there. And two new studies—one Chinese, the other American—suggest that lunar soil may have a good deal more water in it than modern space scientists previously believed.

Read more at: IEEE spectrum

SpaceX Cleared by FAA to Launch First Orbital Starship Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a Starship launch license to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a crucial final regulatory step that clears the company to attempt an orbital launch of its towering rocket for the first time.

“After a comprehensive license evaluation process, the FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy, payload, airspace integration and financial responsibility requirements. The license is valid for five years,” FAA said in a statement.

SpaceX, with the FAA license now in hand, aims to launch Starship as soon as Monday from its private facility in Texas along the Gulf Coast.

Read more at: CNBC

Debut Launch of ULA’s Vulcan Rocket Likely in Jeopardy After Dramatic Explosion at Test Stand

A highly-anticipated heavy-lift rocket was getting prepped for its inaugural flight when a spark triggered a fiery explosion at NASA’s Alabama launch facility, potentially threatening next month’s rocket debut.

On Thursday, United Launch Alliance chief executive Tory Bruno shared a closer look at the explosion that took place on March 29 at the test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. “[Hydrogen] accumulated inside the stand. Found an ignition source. Burned fast,” Bruno tersely wrote on Twitter. “Over pressure caved in our forward dome and damaged the rig.”

Read more at: gizmodo


Fireball, Silver Object Spotted By Dozens Across N.B.

Social media lit up Saturday afternoon when dozens of New Brunswickers say they saw a fireball or shiny object falling out of the sky.

Some claimed on Facebook that they saw a fast-moving ball of fire with a tail, or silver object and others saying they heard or felt a loud boom.

It was spotted in Upper Kingsclear, McAdam, Stanley, Fredericton and even in the Saint John area.

Read more at: CBC

NASA Confirms First Radar-Observed Meteor Fall Seen In Maine

We hear of meteor showers, but what about the lone meteors that fall? Just before noon on Saturday, eyewitnesses reported seeing a bright fireball in the sky. Shortly after the sighting, folks reported a loud sonic boom near Calais. NASA reviewed the the radar for that time frame, and discovered the first radar-observed meteor fall seen in Maine. So far, there has been no report of finding any actual meteors or pieces on the ground. But if anyone in the area spots and suspects any rocks found, the Astronomy Center can point you in the right direction.

Read more at: Wabi

A Fireball Landed In The US Last Week, And Now There’s A Reward To Find It

Meteorite hunters, get ready to head into the woods. A museum in Maine is offering $25,000 for the remains of a space rock that streaked across the sky last week before landing near the border between the United States and Canada. The fireball, which was visible in broad daylight and created a sonic boom, was detected by radar, allowing NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Lab to calculate the “strewn field” — where fragments of the meteor might be found — near Calais, Maine.

Read more at: CNN

Inmarsat and MediaTek Expand Direct-to-device Partnership

Inmarsat and Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek announced plans April 12 to jointly develop technologies needed to enable more mass market devices to connect directly to the British satellite operator’s network.

The companies said they are significantly expanding a three-year partnership that culminated in February with the release of Android smartphones from ruggedized handset maker Bullitt, which is offering satellite-enabled text messages with their technology via service provider Skylo.

Read more at: spacenews

Elon Musk Says SpaceX’s Starship Spacecraft Is Ready To Launch Soon

Last week, SpaceX announced it’s poised to launch the fully stacked Starship spacecraft for a first orbital flight test following a launch rehearsal this week and pending regulatory approval. Now SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is confirming it’s ready, with launch “trending towards near the end of third week of April,” Musk wrote in a tweet on Monday. Starship is SpaceX’s long-awaited flagship spacecraft that’s designed to take astronauts and payloads to deep space — including the Moon and, of course, Mars. Most importantly, the parts are designed to be reusable, and it is paired with a massive booster known as the Super Heavy to get it off the Earth’s surface.

Read more at: Verge

Lockheed Martin Makes A Big Bet On Commercial Space And The Moon

For several years NASA has made it clear to the space industry that, wherever possible, it would like to move toward a services model of buying things.

When he was administrator, Jim Bridenstine was fond of saying that NASA wanted to be “one of many customers” for companies that were building products and services for spaceflight. And with the success of the commercial cargo and crew programs for the International Space Station, the space agency has been aiming to extend this approach. It has done so in various forms, including for small and large lunar landers, as well as spacesuits for both the space station and surface of the Moon.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Relativity Space Shelves Terran 1 Rocket, Focuses On Bigger, Reusable Terran R

The first-ever 3D-printed rocket is being retired after a single flight. That vehicle, Relativity Space’s Terran 1, launched on its debut test flight on March 22. The rocket performed well initially, surviving Max-Q, the part of flight during which the structural loads are highest on a vehicle. But something went wrong shortly after the Terran 1’s two stages separated, and the rocket failed to reach orbit.

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Virgin Orbit Seeking Expedited Bankruptcy Sale

Virgin Orbit is proposing a rapid sale of the company or its assets in bankruptcy, hoping to conclude the process before the end of May. In a motion filed with federal bankruptcy court in Delaware April 7, Virgin Orbit provided a schedule for an “expedited” sale of the launch company through a bidding process that would solicit bids in early May, concluding with an auction on May 18. Virgin Orbit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 4 after failing to raise money needed to continue operations. The company had, days earlier, laid off about 85% of its workforce as its cash reserves dwindled.

Read more at: spacenews

ESCAPADE Confident In Planned 2024 New Glenn Launch

The head of a NASA Mars mission flying on Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket says he is confident the vehicle will be ready in time for a launch next year. NASA announced Feb. 9 that it selected Blue Origin to launch the agency’s two Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) spacecraft to Mars in 2024 to study the planet’s magnetosphere. NASA did not announce the value of the task order, awarded through the Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR), but procurement databases later showed it was worth $20 million.

Read more at: spacenews

Kepler Communications Raises $92 Million For Optical Data Relay Network

Canadian small satellite operator Kepler Communications said April 13 it has raised $92 million to start deploying an optical data-relay constellation next year.

Early-stage investor IA Ventures led the Series C round, which brings the total amount Kepler has raised by selling equity to more than $200 million.

The company currently operates 19 satellites in sun-synchronous orbits that provide low-data-rate connectivity for devices out of range of terrestrial networks. Two more are onboard a D-Orbit orbital transfer vehicle awaiting a Falcon 9 ride-share launch SpaceX has scheduled for April 14.

Read more at: spacenews


Canada Proposes To Develop Robotic Lunar Rover For Artemis

As Canada celebrates its first astronaut to go to the moon, it is starting a new project that could eventually enable a Canadian to walk on the lunar surface.

Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen is among the members of the Artemis 2 crew announced April 3. Hansen, who will be making his first spaceflight, is slated to be the first non-American to travel to the vicinity of the moon when the mission launches as soon as late 2024.

Read more at: spacenews

Federal Executive Authorities Study Moon Program Draft — Roscosmos Chief

A draft of Russia’s Moon program is currently being considered by federal executive bodies of power, Roscosmos CEO Yury Borisov told TASS in an interview.

“For taking a cosmonaut to the surface of the Moon it is necessary to have a program for building a super-heavy class space rocket complex. Currently, a draft of such a program, as well as the development and approval of the Moon program, are being coordinated with the federal executive authorities,” Borisov said.

Read more at: TASS


NASA Upgrades Powerful SLS Rocket Engines – Production Restarted for Next Era of Space Exploration

As NASA prepares for the first crewed Artemis missions to the Moon, agency propulsion and test teams are setting their sights on future Space Launch System (SLS) flights and working to improve one of the world’s most powerful and reliable rocket engines for missions beginning with Artemis V. A series of hot fire certification tests is in progress at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for a redesigned RS-25 engine to support production of additional engines for future SLS flights after NASA’s current inventory of the engine is expended.

Read more at: scitechdaily

History As Kenya Launches First Operational Satellite

Founded in the early 1960s, the Luigi Broglio Space Centre served as a spaceport for launching Italian and international satellites from 1967-88.

With the launch of San Marco 2 satellite in 1967, Kenya became the first African country behind the then USSR and the USA to launch a satellite into space.

The centre ceased launching satellites but is still dedicated to receiving satellite data, telemetry and tracking launches.

Read more at: star

China Claims Its Space Station Has Achieved 100% Oxygen Regeneration In Orbit

China’s Space Station has allegedly achieved 100% regeneration of its oxygen supply using its onboard oxygen regeneration system.

The Space Station, which is currently operated by the Shenzhou-15 crew, can produce all of its own oxygen, according to an official speaking at a space technology symposium in Harbin City on Friday.

“At present, the six systems are in stable operation, with 100 percent of the oxygen resources regenerated and 95 percent of the water resources recycled,” said Bian Qiang, director of the environmental control and life-support engineering office under the Astronaut Center of China.

Read more at: interesting engineering

European Space Agency: Blast Off For Jupiter Icy Moons Mission

Europe’s mission to the icy moons of Jupiter has blasted away from Earth. The Juice satellite was sent skyward on an Ariane-5 rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. There was joy, relief and lots of hugs when the watching scientists, officials and VIPs were told the flight to orbit had been successful. It is second time lucky for the European Space Agency (Esa) project after Thursday’s launch attempt had to be stood down because of the weather.

Read more at: BBC

Report Recommends Allowing “Learning Period” For Commercial Human Spaceflight Safety Regulations To Expire

A new report recommends that current restrictions on the Federal Aviation Administration’s ability to regulate safety for people flying on commercial spacecraft be allowed to expire later this year.

The report by the RAND Corporation, prepared for Congress and released April 3, concluded that despite limited progress on establishing voluntary industry safety standards, the FAA and industry were now ready to start the process of developing formal safety standards for those participating in commercial spaceflight.

Read more at: spacenews

3 More Countries Pledge Not To Conduct Destructive Anti-Satellite Tests

Three more nations have followed the United States’ lead, pledging not to perform destructive, debris-spawning anti-satellite (ASAT) tests. The U.S. made that commitment in April 2022 and soon called for others to do the same, introducing a resolution to that effect at the United Nations General Assembly in September. The resolution passed overwhelmingly in December. Before the end of the year, nine other nations had signed on to the pledge: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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Space Debris Problem Spurs A Bold Change In US Government Regulations

The fast-growing space debris issue is top of mind at a new space-focused division of the U.S. government. “Satellite and orbital debris rules” will be one of the primary responsibilities of the newly created Space Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The regulator announced (opens in new tab) the new bureau on Tuesday (April 11). The FCC is trying to pivot quickly amid a fast-changing space environment; more satellites launching and an increasing collision risk are among the challenges it faces. For example, SpaceNews reports (opens in new tab) that the regulator has an application backlog representing 60,000 new satellites targeting low Earth orbit.

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Cosmic ‘Highway Code’ Could Help Combat The Space Junk Threat

A coalition of space experts is urging governments across the globe and space sector operators to adopt a new set of guidelines that are aimed at tackling the risk of space junk. The Space Safety Coalition (opens in new tab) lays out best practices for the sustainability of space operations in light of a burgeoning number of satellites being launched into space. Among the recommendations is a “rules of the road”-style guidebook for maneuvering spacecraft to avoid space junk-generating collisions. The guidelines were signed by 27 parties, including Inmarsat, a satellite communications company with four decades of experience.

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Elon Musk and SpaceX Face a Big Obstacle on Their Way to Mars

Elon Musk is a man in a hurry to leave his mark on the world. Some will say that he has already done so by pushing the entire automotive industry, via the disruption initiated by Tesla to see electric vehicles as the future. His recent victory on this front, and not the least, is to see Toyota, the world’s automotive leader in terms of sales, tacitly admit that it made a strategic mistake by opting for hybrid vehicles.

Read more at: thestreet

What Do We Know About India’s New Space Policy?

On April 6, the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security approved India’s space policy. The Indian Space Policy 2023, as it is titled, clarifies the role and responsibilities of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), as well as that of the private players in the Indian space sector. The government is yet to issue the text of the policy, but Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh’s interactions with media, as well as media reports, detail the various provisions in the policy. 

Read more at: diplomat

Op-Ed | Practical Applications Of A Space Mission Authorization Framework

The National Space Council recently completed three public listening sessions on the issue of In-Space Authorization and Supervision, often described broadly as mission authorization. These terms seem vague and bureaucratic, and mainly the purview of regulators and lawyers. However, given the importance that mission authorization plays in encouraging innovation in a rapidly growing space economy, it’s too important to be left to those folks alone.

Let’s demystify the concept and explain some of the practical aspects that we expect to happen as exciting new space activities come to market.

Read more at: spacenews


Israel’s Newest Spy Satellite Sends Back Its First Pictures

Israel’s newest spy satellite has begun beaming back its first pictures, nearly two weeks after it was launched into orbit, the Defense Ministry says.

“About two weeks after the satellite’s successful launch into space, engineering teams… activated the Ofek 13 satellite’s synthetic-aperture radar for the first time last night,” the ministry says.

“The first satellite images received at the IAI control station were of excellent quality,” it adds.

Read more at: TimesofIsrael

Space Systems Command’s Tetra-1 Begins Mission Operations

Millennium Space Systems announced the handoff April 13 of the Tetra-1 small satellite to the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command for the start of mission operations.

The experimental satellite designed to perform a variety of missions launched in November on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Since then, all satellite components and subsystems have been checked out in a high geostationary orbit called super GEO.

Read more at: spacenews

The Next Battle For U.S. Military Launch Contracts Is About To Begin

In the fiercely competitive space launch industry, United Launch Alliance and SpaceX have established themselves as the reigning providers of U.S. national security launch services, leaving little room for potential rivals to challenge their dominance.

However, with the Space Force’s latest strategy to procure future launch services, new doors of opportunity may finally open for up-and-coming contenders.

Read more at: spacenews

Aerojet Gets $215 Million To Boost Production Of Solid Rocket Motors Used In Weapons For Ukraine

The Defense Department has agreed to provide Aerojet Rocketdyne $215.6 million to expand its rocket propulsion manufacturing facilities in order to speed up production of missiles for Ukraine, the Pentagon announced April 14.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, headquartered in El Segundo, California, makes rocket engines and propulsion systems for space vehicles, ballistic missiles and military tactical weapons. 

The agreement was announced by DoD’s Office of Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP), which manages the department’s strategic investments in industrial base capabilities under the Defense Production Act. 

Read more at: spacenews

Leaked Pentagon Docs Show The Shot-Down Chinese Spy Balloon May Have Had A Feature Known As ‘Synthetic Aperture Radar’ That Can See Through Certain Materials, Wapo Reports

In February, a high-altitude balloon with surveillance capabilities connected to China flew over the continental US before being shot down over the Atlantic. At the time, much about the balloon wasn’t known publicly, but a new trove of Pentagon documents leaked on Discord show it — and up to four other previously unknown spy balloons like it — could have had a feature known as “synthetic aperture radar” that can see through certain objects, the Washington Post reported. Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old US National Guard airman, was arrested Thursday in connection to the leaks.

Read more at: yahoo


After Modelling Himself On US Billionaires Reaching For The Stars, RUTH SUNDERLAND Reveals How The Collapse Of Virgin Orbit Means Richard Branson’s Space Dreams Have Crashed To Earth

Many stories are told in the City of London about Sir Richard Branson, the tycoon who has stamped his Virgin brand on everything from banking to expensive gym memberships.

One tale has it that, some years ago, a group of City advisers arrived for a morning meeting at Branson’s former mansion in London’s Holland Park to discuss financing for his labyrinthine commercial empire.

Not only was the bearded mogul still in his dressing gown as he greeted the impeccably suited bankers but, to their bemusement, he evinced no interest whatever in their proposals and insisted instead on talking about rockets and space travel.

Read more at: dailymail

Connecting The Dots | European Space Investments Get Serious

A series of large fundraising deals in Europe since the start of the year is raising hopes that the region could be turning a corner for early-stage space investments.

European venture capital activity has lagged far behind the United States, where tech investors around a decade ago helped spawn a “newspace” movement that has flooded the industry with entrepreneurial startups.

Young companies have long grumbled about how few sizable space-focused venture capital funds are in Europe compared with the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more at: spacenews

To Improve Security, Consider How The Aviation World Stopped Blaming Pilots

To improve security, the cybersecurity industry needs to follow the aviation industry’s shift from a blame culture to a “just” culture, according to ISACA director Serge Christiaans. Speaking at Singapore’s Smart Cybersecurity Summit this week, Christiaans explained that until around 1990, the number of fatal commercial jet accidents was growing alongside a steady increase of commercial flights. But around the turn of the decade, the number of flights continued to rise while the number of fatalities began to drop.

Read more at: register

China To Ban Vessels From Area Near Taiwan Over Rocket Debris

China will ban vessels from an area near Taiwan on Sunday because of the possibility of falling rocket debris, its maritime safety agency said on Thursday, which Taiwan’s Central News Agency said would be from a weather satellite launch.

The disruption comes during tension in the region over Chinese military exercises around Taiwan, a show of force in response to a meeting last week in Los Angeles between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Read more at: Yahoo

Boeing Unveils WGS-11 Design With New Military Payload

A new version of the U.S. military’s Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite unveiled by Boeing on April 13 has a new payload that the company designed under a U.S. Space Force contract. 

Boeing in 2019 received a $605 million contract to build the WGS-11, the 11th satellite in the WGS geostationary constellation that provides communications services to the U.S. military and allies. 

Read more at: spacenews

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Completes 50th Flight

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has completed its 50th flight on Mars. The first aircraft on another world reached the half-century mark on April 13, traveling over 1,057.09 feet (322.2 meters) in 145.7 seconds. The helicopter also achieved a new altitude record of 59 feet (18 meters) before alighting near the half-mile-wide (800-meter-wide) “Belva Crater.”

With Flight 50 in the mission logbook, the helicopter team plans to perform another repositioning flight before exploring the “Fall River Pass” region of Jezero Crater.

Read more at: JPL

No Asteroid Impacts Needed: Newborn Earth Made Its Own Water, Study Suggests

Contrary to a popular theory that icy comets or asteroids delivered water to a dry newborn Earth, the planet itself may have produced its earliest water supply, a new study suggests.

This water would have stemmed from chemical interactions between an atmosphere rich in hydrogen, which researchers think enveloped the young Earth, and massive oceans of magma on the planet’s surface.

In these conditions, “water forms as a natural byproduct of all the chemistry that takes place,” study co-author Anat Shahar, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington D.C., told

Read more at:

China Could Start Building A Moon Base With Lunar-Soil Bricks In 5 Years, Amid NASA Fears Of A Moon Territory Dispute

China wants to begin building a base on the moon with the help of lunar soil within five years, Chinese media reported. The news comes just months after NASA administrator Bill Nelson warned that China may want to claim resource-rich areas of the moon for itself. At the first conference on the topic, more than 100 scientists from domestic universities gathered to discuss plans for the country’s crewed moon base at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan on Saturday, according to reporting by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), an English-language newspaper based in Hong Kong.

Read more at: business insider

How ESA Made Solar Panels That Work In Deep Space

Juice — the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer project of the European Space Agency — needs electrical power to perform its scientific mission. That’s a problem, because Jupiter — at 778 million kilometers (466 million miles) from the sun — receives only 3% as much solar energy as does the Earth. The ambient temperature in the part of the solar system occupied by Jupiter is just 30º C above absolute zero. To make the Juice mission possible, ESA had to invent solar panels that could operate effectively in the cold and dark environment that surrounds Jupiter.

Read more at: cleantechnica

After Stints At SpaceX, Three Brothers Want To Build Spacecraft Powered By Moon Water

A new startup founded by a trio of SpaceX veterans — who happen to be brothers — aims to build an in-space transportation network, using reusable spacecraft propelled by water harvested from the moon.

Argo Space Corporation, founded by Robert Carlisle, Ryan Carlisle and Kirby Carlisle, is betting that lunar propellant will untether space activities from Earth — and unlock a bustling economy beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).

Read more at: techcrunch

What’s A Martian Home Look Like? NASA Unveils 3D-Printed Habitat For Future Mars Mission

Read more at: USA today