ISS Crew Trying to Repair Air Conditioning System – Source

There has been a malfunction in the air conditioning system of the International Space Station (ISS)’s Russian segment, a source in the rocket and space industry told Interfax.

“A problem with the Freon pressure in the compressor of the Zvezda module’s air conditioner occurred in late March. The first and second systems broke down one after another,” the source said. Russian cosmonauts are trying to repair the air conditioner with consultative support from the Mission Control Center. They have not succeeded so far.

Should they be unable to fix the problem for long, the Sun may raise the temperature inside the module. “The indoor temperature is normal for now,” the source said. In the opinion of Ivan Moiseyev, a leading expert of the Russian rocket and space industry, this is not a threatening situation.

Read more at: Interfax

‘Tunguska’-Size Asteroid Makes Surprise Flyby of Earth

An asteroid similar in size to one that exploded more than 100 years ago in Russia’s Tunguska region in Siberia gave Earth a close shave on Sunday (April 15), just one day after astronomers discovered the object.

The asteroid, designated 2018 GE3, made its closest approach to Earth at around 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT), whizzing by at a distance of 119,400 miles (192,000 kilometers), or about half the average distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies(CNEOS).

NASA estimated that this asteroid measures 157 to 360 feet (48 to110 meters) wide, making the space rock up to 3.6 times the size of the one that leveled 500,000 acres (2,000 square kilometers) of Siberian forest when it exploded over Tunguska in 1908.

Read more at: Space.com

The US Government Logged 308,984 Potential Space-junk Collisions in 2017 — and the Problem Could Get Much Worse

China’s Tiangong-1 space station fell to Earth on April 2, raining debris over a patch of Pacific Ocean some 2,500 miles south of Hawaii. But Tiangong-1 is just the tip of the space-junk iceberg.

There are about 23,000 satellites, rocket bodies, and other human-made objects larger than a softball in orbit. There may also be some 650,000 softball-to-fingernail-size objects and 170 million bits of debris smaller than the tip of a pen — stuff like flecks of paint and fragments of explosive bolts.

There’s a real risk that something may smash into something else up there, and it often does. Each piece of junk is screaming around our planet at roughly 17,500 mph, or 10 times faster than a bullet. Jack Bacon, a senior scientist at NASA in 2010, told Wired that a hit by a 10-centimeter sphere of aluminum would be akin to detonating 7 kilograms of TNT.

Read more at: Business Insider

Power System Failure Cost Isro GSAT-6A: VSSC Chief

A failure in the power system could have led to the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) losing contact with the recently launched GSAT-6A communication satellite, a senior official of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) said on Wednesday. “We have already analysed and understood what could have gone wrong. The power system comprises the solar panel, battery and circuit. We assume a short has happened in the electrical circuit,” VSSC director S Somanath said, adding that the protection circuits might not have become functional on time, leading to the damaging of wires.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Isro pavilion at the Thrissur Pooram exhibition. Ruling out a possible sabotage, Somanath said that all systems were tested at various stages. He added that the scientists were still trying to control the satellite.

Read more at: Times of India

NASA’s Lunar Space Station is Almost Here

NASA’s goal of returning to the moon should see a major push in early 2019, when the agency awards its first contract for the lunar “Gateway” program.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is NASA’s planned “staging” area intended for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. Eventually, it will function as a way station for astronauts traveling to and from Mars.

NASA’s first spending for the platform will be for power and propulsion elements early next year, followed by habitation components, Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier said Thursday at the Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They will probably be launched moonward, in that order, starting in 2022.

Read more at: Bloomberg

China’s Astronauts Step Up Chinese Space Station Preparations

China’s astronauts are stepping up training in preparation for the establishment of a modular Chinese Space Station, with construction to begin in low Earth orbit around 2020.

China began its human spaceflight programme in 1992 and sent its first astronaut into space in 2003. After launching Tiangong space labs in 2011 in 2016, the country is preparing the launch of the first component of the Chinese Space Station, the Tianhe core module.

“The human space programme has entered the space station era, which means that the astronauts will stay in space for a longer time with more tasks to be performed,” Chen Dong, who flew to space on the Shenzhou-11 mission in 2016, told CGTN earlier this month on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia.

Read more at: gbtimes

‘Flames in Space’ Might Help Clean Earth’s Air

Studying how flames burn in microgravity is helping scientists understand the process of combustion. The insights learned could help reduce pollution here on Earth, according to a video released by NASA.

Flames burn differently aboard the International Space Station than on Earth. Down here, hot air from a fire rises, bringing in cool air full of oxygen at the fire’s base to replace it. Not only does this feed the reaction, but it results in the flickering, tapered candle flame familiar to people the world over.

Unfortunately, this turbulence also makes the process difficult to study. However, combustion proceeds more slowly and uniformly when it is freed from the effects of gravity. Without the distinction between up and down, there’s less convection of oxygenated air replacing the flame’s heated exhaust. The result is a steady, spherical flame.

Read more at: Space.com

How Elon Musk Could Recover Rockets with Balloons — Just Not the Party ind

On Sunday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk warned his Twitter followers that he had an idea that was “gonna sound crazy:” his company might use a “giant party balloon” to recover the upper stage of its Falcon 9 rocket from orbit.

How could a party balloon help SpaceX bring back a rocket that’s traveling thousands of miles per hour through space? Well, Musk has made bizarre SpaceX decrees before, which have later become reality: The company did launch his Tesla into deep space, after all.

And this balloon concept does have a history: for decades, NASA and other researchers have studied how to use inflatable structures to slow down spacecraft leaving orbit. Balloons are a lightweight tool that can change the shape and density of a spacecraft quickly, altering how that vehicle tumbles to Earth. A balloon can act like a big space brake and provide shielding from the enormous amount of heat a spacecraft experiences when plunging through the atmosphere.

Read more at: Verge

NASA’s Got a Plan for a ‘Galactic Positioning System’ to Save Astronauts Lost in Space

Outer space glows with a bright fog of X-ray light, coming from everywhere at once. But peer carefully into that fog, and faint, regular blips become visible. These are millisecond pulsars, city-sized neutron stars rotating incredibly quickly, and firing X-rays into the universe with more regularity than even the most precise atomic clocks. And NASA wants to use them to navigate probes and crewed ships through deep space.

A telescope mounted on the International Space Station (ISS), the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), has been used to develop a brand new technology with near-term, practical applications: a galactic positioning system, NASA scientist Zaven Arzoumanian told physicists Sunday (April 15) at the April meeting of the American Physical Society.

Read more at: Space.com

Fuzzy Space Law is Forcing the US to Update its Orbital Regulations

The US government is promising space companies it will make it easier for them to get into space by boosting its long moribund “Office of Space Commerce.”

After US regulators belatedly forced SpaceX to shut off video cameras on its rocket during a March launch despite years of such broadcasts, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said it was time to update the 25-year-old rules about space cameras. Ross supervises the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees US companies that observe Earth from space.

“This is silly and it will stop,” Ross told an audience of space industry executives, policymakers and military officers at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, backing the view of SpaceX and other rocket companies that the cameras on its rockets aren’t the equivalent of satellites dedicated to Earth views.

Read more at: QZ

Sierra Nevada Weighing Options for Launching Future Dream Chaser Missions

As Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) prepares its Dream Chaser cargo vehicle for a first launch on an Atlas 5 in late 2020, the company expects to make a decision by the end of this year on the rocket that will launch later missions.

At a briefing during the 34th Space Symposium here April 18, company officials said development of the cargo version of Dream Chaser is on schedule for a first launch in the fourth quarter of 2020. That mission, the first of at least six missions to the International Space Station under a NASA Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract awarded in January 2016, will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5.

“It is a very well proven rocket. We have a long relationship with United Launch Alliance,” said Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president for SNC Space Systems. “We think it is a good way to start.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Commerce Department Ready to Add Space Traffic Management to Growing Space Role

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says his department is gearing up to add space traffic management to its growing portfolio of commercial space responsibilities.

Speaking at the 34th Space Symposium here April 17, Ross said the Commerce Department was taking several steps to implement a draft space traffic management (STM) policy, announced by Vice President Mike Pence a day earlier, that would assign the department the responsibility for providing some space situational awareness services.

“The department stands ready to work with other executive branch agencies, and the private sector, to develop an STM strategy that creates benchmark standards for the entire world,” he said.

Read more at: Spacenews

VP Pence: Commerce Department will Oversee New Space Debris Policy

Vice President Mike Pence announced Monday the latest set of recommendations on space policy, this time looking to tackle the persistent problem of space debris in orbit around the Earth.

“The National Space Council has developed the first comprehensive space traffic management policy, which we will soon be sending to the President’s desk for his approval,” Vice President Mike Pence at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “This new policy directs the Department of Commerce to provide a basic level of space situational awareness, for public and private use, based on the space catalog compiled by the Department of Defense,” Pence said.

The vice president referenced the more than 23,000 objects in space around the Earth that the U.S. military is already tracking. However, these public catalogs account for only 4 percent of the objects in space, according to AGI, a company which provides software to commercial and government entities to analyze and track objects.

Read more at: CNBC

New ‘Space Fence’ will Spot Space Junk, Small Sats, and Orbital Weapons

There’s a well-deserved complaint that military technology takes so long to develop that it’s obsolete by the time it’s fielded. But that gripe can’t be made against the U.S. Air Force’s “Space Fence,” a new radar system being built to monitor action in Earth’s orbit.

Later this year the Air Fore is scheduled to take possession of a powerful, electronically steered, phased array radar located on the remote Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin says the facility is the solution to some pressing issues in civil and military spaceflight, including the proliferation of space junk, militarization in orbit, and the shrinking size of satellites.

This Space Fence would spot an object in orbit, plot its projected orbit, and predict a future collision. The system can also detect changes to what it expects to be routine operations and then alert personnel. With that warning, a satellite could maneuver space junk and detect impacts that could a cascade of collisions.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Environmental Study on Spaceport Negligent

Environmental impact statements are required under federal law for major actions which significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The intent is to facilitate informed decision making by federal agencies and the citizens affected by these decisions. At recent Federal Aviation Administration hearings on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the controversial Spaceport Camden, concerned citizens rightly expressed grave doubts about the quality of the analysis.

The DEIS is negligently incomplete and misleading. It contains flagrant omissions and biases, which lead to completely unfounded conclusions.

Read more at: brunswick news

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Lays Out his Plan to Streamline Space Regulations

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross today pledged to make outer space more business-friendly as part of his drive to turn his department into the “one-stop shop for space commerce.”

During his speech to the 34th Space Symposium here, he pointed to last month’s early cutoff of video from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch as an issue he’s addressing. “This is a perfect example of how commercial activity in space is outpacing government regulation,” he said. “No more.”

Ross said giving the space industry freer rein will become more important as commercial space ventures proliferate. Commercial space is on track to become a trillion-dollar industry “sooner than most people realize,” he said.

Read more at: Geekwire

Mars Colonists will Get Blasted with Radiation Levels 8 Times Higher than Government Limits — Here’s What They’re Up Against

Space may look like a vast and empty void. But the cosmos teems with invisible, high-energy radiation – particles traveling near light-speed that can pummel human travelers and the surfaces of worlds like tiny bullets.

Addressing the threats posed by space radiation is growing all the more necessary: Elon Musk is dedicating thousands of SpaceX employees and multiple facilities to the task of colonizing Mars with 1 million people, while NASA pushes to set up an outpost at the red planet.

NASA recently signed on to test a new polymer-based radiation-blocking vest for astronauts, called AstroRad, on its next mission around the moon. Musk, meanwhile, has said his new Big Falcon Rocket will use water to block radiation, though only during emergencies.

Read more at: Business Insider

Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch Aims to Put the World’s Biggest Plane in the air this Summer

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch space company says it’s on track to conduct the first test flight of its mammoth airplane this summer, and use it to send rockets into orbit as early as 2020.

The status check came today during a background briefing here at the 34th Space Symposium, conducted under background-only conditions that precluded quoting sources by name.

Stratolaunch was founded by Allen in 2011, with the goal of building a giant plane that could be used as a platform for sending payloads into space. Scaled Composites built the plane for Stratolaunch inside a giant hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Its wingspan is the widest in the world, measuring 385 feet. That’s almost twice as wide as a Boeing 747’s wings.

Read more at: Geekwire

What Happens When You Get Peckish in Space?

It’s relatively common knowledge at this point that space ice cream—the freeze-dried kind that remains a staple in museum gift shops and comes in a crumbly, tri-colored block—is a bit of a misnomer. Every so often, an article appears with a headline along the lines of “Everything You Know About Space Ice Cream Is Wrong,” and Vox thoroughly debunked the myth in a 2016 interview with the last remaining member of the Apollo 7 mission—the only mission that was rumored to harbor the chalky confection.

“We never had that stuff,” lunar module pilot Walt Cunningham said, taking the shine off of fond childhood memories with the rough cloth of reality.

Read more at: Slate

Jeff Bezos’ Space Company Blue Origin Could Send Tourists to Space this Year

The CEO of Jeff Bezos’ space company says there is a chance that tourists will be able to travel to space with Blue Origin in 2018.

Bob Smith spoke with CNBC’s Morgan Brennan at the 34th Space Symposium at Colorado Springs, Colorado, Tuesday and Brennan asked Smith: “Are you going to be sending space tourists up to the edge of space before this year is out?”

“We hope so,” said a cautiously optimistic Smith. “We think we still have that possibility of getting that done this year,” he said. Still, Smith emphasized, “the thing we always want to make sure that we do every time, whether we’re talking about step-by-step development or actually operations as well, we’re going to go when we’re ready — and we want to make sure it’s completely safe for our passengers,” he said.

Read more at: CNBC

When will Regular People be Able to Go to Space?

By successfully launching the agency’s TESS satellite this week, SpaceX is now helping its longtime partner NASA search for planets beyond our solar system. As far as we know, the long game for Elon Musk’s space company is still helping Earthlings see what’s out there, too.

However, in that regard, SpaceX might need to be patient, says The Verge’s science reporter Loren Grush — at least until next year. On the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Grush told Recode’s Kara Swisher that the historically nimble company will have to ease on the brakes if it wants to launch more than just cargo and satellites; while it originally planned to take people up in 2017, it probably won’t be flying people to space in any capacity until 2019 at the earliest, she said.

Read more at: Recode

Kneeling Before a Sovereign

A few weeks ago, Bigelow Aerospace made an announcement about establishing a commercial space operations company. The company’s founder, Robert Bigelow, participated in a teleconference for the media where he talked not only about his new plans, but about why some of his company’s prior plans did not come to fruition. Bigelow’s comments shed some light on the subject of “sovereign customers,” foreign governments that could potentially buy goods and services from American aerospace companies. Last decade, and for a few years into the current one, sovereign customers were touted by some aerospace companies as an emerging market in human spaceflight. That did not happen, and it fits a long pattern of predicted space markets that never materialized.

Read more at: Space review

Is Space Tourism Really Just Around the Corner?

The announcement of the first “space hotel” in low Earth orbit has fired up the imaginations of would be space tourists. The Aurora Station, planned for launch by space startup Orion Span, is planned for launch in 2021 for a 2022 open, offering 12 days at 320 km above Earth for the low, low price of $US9.5 million.

Despite this exciting announcement, how close are we really to the human dream of room service in zero G?

A lifetime of watching Skywalkers and Kirks and so forth zip about in space has give us the impression that space travel is about as risky as getting on a bus. However, there are risks inherent to space with which the industry is only now starting to grapple – especially their lawyers and insurers.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

Re-Entry: Iridium 94

Iridium 94 re-entered the atmosphere on April 18, 2018 after over 16 years in orbit as part of the original Iridium Communications Constellation, a low-orbiting satellite system for global communications including voice and point-to-point data services via 66 active satellites in six orbital planes. The original constellation satellites – 95 of which launched between 1997 and 2002 – were build by Motorola and Lockheed Martin based on the LM-700 satellite platform, communicating with ground terminals in L-Band and using space-to-space Ka-Band links for inter-satellite communications to route packets to their destination.

Read more at: Spaceflight 101

Re-Entry: Iridium 19

Iridium 19 re-entered the atmosphere on April 7, 2018 after over 20 years in orbit as part of the original Iridium Communications Constellation, a low-orbiting satellite system for global communications including voice and point-to-point data services via 66 active satellites in six orbital planes. The original constellation satellites – 95 of which launched between 1997 and 2002 – were build by Motorola and Lockheed Martin based on the LM-700 satellite platform, communicating with ground terminals in L-Band and using space-to-space Ka-Band links for inter-satellite communications to route packets to their destination.

Read more at: Spaceflight 101

Trump’s NASA Nominee is Confirmed After Senate Drama

It was another dramatic hour — and history was made — in the Senate on Thursday.

The lawmakers narrowly confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine to be the next NASA administrator after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, who held his vote back for several minutes while he huddled with GOP leaders on the floor, finally voted yes.

The vote was 50-49. Republicans control 51 seats in the chamber, but Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain has been in Arizona recovering from cancer treatment, meaning that there were 99 senators voting. While Vice President Mike Pence has the ability to break a tie, he wouldn’t have been able to overrule Flake’s would-be no vote in this instance.

Read more at: CNN

Bridenstine Confirmed as NASA Administrator on Party-Line Vote

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) was confirmed by the Senate this afternoon to be the next Administrator of NASA.  The vote was along party lines: 50-49.   Bridenstine is taking over the agency as Robert Lightfoot retires.  A career NASA civil servant, Lightfoot has been serving as Acting Administrator since the Trump Administration began in January 2017.

Bridenstine was nominated by President Trump in September 2017, but his nomination was controversial. Like the vote today, he was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee twice — in November 2017 and January 2018 — on party-line votes. (Under Senate rules, the nomination had to be resubmitted in January at the beginning of the second session of the 115th Congress.)

Read more at: Space policy online

Who is Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s New Administrator?

Congressman. Museum owner. Climate change denier. That’s a sample of the terms used to describe Jim Bridenstine, who was confirmed Thursday as the 13th NASA administrator. He is the first member of Congress to hold the position.

Bridenstine, an Oklahoma Congressman and a former Navy pilot, has faced turbulence on his journey to lead America’s space agency. Here’s what you need to know: How we got here: NASA has sought an administrator for nearly 15 months, since former astronaut Charles Bolden stepped down on the day of Trump’s inauguration. It’s the longest vacancy ever for the position in the space agency’s 59-year history.

Read more at: PBS

Statements on Jim Bridenstine’s Senate Confirmation as NASA Administrator

The following are statements from Rep. Jim Bridenstine and acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on Thursday’s U.S. Senate confirmation of Bridenstine as the 13th Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration:

“It is an honor to be confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as NASA Administrator,” said Bridenstine. “I am humbled by this opportunity, and I once again thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their confidence. I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the President’s vision for American leadership in space.”

Read more at: NASA

SpaceX Gets Approval to Develop its BFR Rocket and Spaceship at Port of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to approve a permit that allows SpaceX to build and operate a facility at the Port of L.A. to develop its BFR rocket and spaceship system.

The formal approval came days after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that SpaceX would build its massive, next-generation rocket and spacecraft at the 19-acre site at the former Southwest Marine Shipyard at Berth 240.

Bruce McHugh, director of construction and real estate at SpaceX, estimated that production and fabrication of the rocket would begin in about two or three years.

Read more at: LA Times

China Strengthens International Space Cooperation

China will continue to strengthen international cooperation in peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space, said Li Guoping, a spokesman of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), Thursday.

So far, China has signed 121 cooperation agreements with 37 countries and four international organizations, Li said at a press conference about the Space Day of China, which will come on April 24, marking the day the country’s first satellite was sent into space in 1970.

He raised the example of the 30-year-long cooperation between China and Brazil in the development of earth resources satellites. Currently, the two countries are jointly developing a fourth satellite, which is progressing well.

Read more at: Xinhuanet

US Strategic Command Observed Russia, China Operating Hypersonic Missiles

The States United has observed Russia and China operating hypersonic missiles, US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander Gen. John Hyten told reporters.

“We observed Russia and China operating hypersonic missiles,” Hyten said on Tuesday. “We have observed both Russia and China testing hypersonic capabilities.” Earlier, Gen. John Hyten in his testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee admitted that there is nothing in the US arsenal that could stop Russia’s new hypersonic weapons.

According to local media, President Trump voiced concerns in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his Russian counterpart’s speech about creation and deployment of ultra-long cruise missiles and nuclear torpedoes capable of overpowering all US strategic defense systems.

Read more at: Spacewar

US Air Force Awards Nearly $1 bn for Hypersonic Missile

The US Air Force is awarding almost $1 billion to Lockheed Martin to design and develop a hypersonic missile that can be launched from a warplane.

The contract follows repeated warnings from senior defense officials about rapid advances by China and Russia in the field of hypersonic weaponry, where missiles can fly at many times the speed of sound and dodge missile-defense systems.

In a statement late Wednesday, the Pentagon said Lockheed will receive up to $928 million to build the new, non-nuclear missile it is calling the “hypersonic conventional strike weapon.”

Read more at: Space daily

A Year Later, a New Political Reality for Military Space

It was one the big headlines at the 2017 National Space Symposium: The Air Force was standing up a new three-star vice chief of staff for space operations known as A-11. This was hailed as a major muscle move by the service to show critics in Congress it was taking the space mission seriously.

That was only a year ago, but it might as well have been a lifetime.

Over the course of the past 12 months, not only did Congress pass a law that disbanded the A-11 position but it also stripped the secretary of the Air Force of her role as principal space adviser to the secretary of defense. And it has set in motion a possible massive reorganization of the Air Force. An independent review is now under way to look at how the military’s space missions might be spun off into a separate service.

Read more at: Spacenews

Here’s Why Putting a Missile Defense System in Space Could be a Bad Idea

A beefed-up missile defense system might seem like a good idea in a time of heightened nuclear tensions. But such enhancements could have dangerous consequences.

The current U.S. missile defense system isn’t all it was cracked up to be, performing unreliably in tests, physicist and missile defense expert Laura Grego argued April 14 at a meeting of the American Physical Society. Enhancing the system’s power, however, by building missile defense in space, for example, might put the world on a slippery slope to space warfare, she warned.

The worries come against the backdrop of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile tests and an upcoming missile defense review from the U.S. Department of Defense, expected in May. That review could accelerate efforts to revamp the current system, including schemes to strike at missiles from space.

Read more at: Science news

China Satellite SJ-17, Friendly Wanderer?

When China published its description of SJ-17, the folks at AGI who track satellites for a living raised their eyebrows.

The Chinese said it was an experimental satellite. But “the way they phrased it piqued our interest,” says Bob Hall, standing a dozen feet from AGI’s infamous ice cream stand here.

Our colleagues at SpaceFlight101.com offered a full description in December 2016 roughly a month after the satellite lofted into space atop the most powerful rocket China had ever launched:

Read more at: Breaking defense

The US Military will Award $10 Million to the Company that can Launch Satellites on Short Notice

US military leaders are bullish about small satellites as tools to spy on adversaries and provide secure communications, but there’s just one problem: There isn’t a good way to get them into space, on demand.

Inspired by NASA’s partnerships with rocket makers like SpaceX, the Pentagon is turning to private industry, as half a dozen companies, most backed by venture capitalists, are working to launch small satellites more cheaply than ever to meet the demands of a growing number of small-satellite startups.

“There’s already a lot of commercial money going into development for these boosters,” Todd Master, a program manager at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency told Quartz at the Space Symposium, a conference bringing together space companies and government officials in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Read more at: QZ

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Goldfein: Every Airman, Beyond the Space Specialty, Must Understand the Business of Space Superiority

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein emphasized the essential role Airmen have when it comes to space superiority during the 34th Space Symposium April 17, 2018, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Our space specialists must be world-class experts in their domain,” said Goldfein. “But, every Airman, beyond the space specialty, must understand the business of space superiority. And, we must also have a working knowledge of ground maneuver and maritime operations if we are to integrate air, space and cyber operations in a truly seamless joint campaign.”

Space is in the Air Force’s DNA, said Goldfein. The service has been the leader of the space domain since 1954 and will remain passionate and unyielding as the service continues into the future, he added.

Read more at: af.mil

Space Architect is Back! As Wilson Unveils Space Reforms

It’s one of the coolest titles in the US military — space architect!

For a long time, the US military has not had a designated space architect, someone whose main job is to consider our warfighting and intelligence needs and recommend all the satellites and capabilities that are needed. The National Security Space Architect was folded into the National Security Space Office (NSSO) back in 2004, and the NSSO was abolished eight years ago. It was sort of replaced by joint and contractor assignments assigned to the Executive Agent for Space.

But Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced Tuesday night there will again be a space architect, one detail among many in a spate of space reforms she announced here.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Army Enlisting ‘Nano-satellites’ to Fight Wars in Space

Breadbox-sized satellites that can be launched on a moment’s notice are part of Army plans to win a war on the ground even as battles rage in space.

Because satellites are so necessary for communication, navigation and intelligence in battle, the Army is now the military’s most space-dependent service branch. As American rivals hone their abilities to tackle America’s advantage in orbit, leaders are devising new ways to protect their eyes and ears in space, and “nano-satellites” could be a key weapon.

Read more at: Gazette

Air Force Opens Space Training to Allies, Accelerates Space Acquisition

Citing the National Defense Strategy, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced that beginning in 2019 the Air Force is opening its space training to allies during her keynote speech at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. April 17, 2018.

“It’s time to build on years of collaboration to deepen our relationships with our allies and partners in space,” Wilson said. “We will strengthen our alliances and attract new partners not just by sharing data from monitoring, but by training and working closely with each other in space operations.”

The Air Force will add two new courses to its National Security Space Institute located at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, including one on space situational awareness, for U.S. partners and allies to learn more about collision avoidance, de-orbits and reentries. The service will also open more of its advanced courses on national security space to military members of allied countries.

Read more at: AFSPC

Tour the Space Station in VR with This Amazing 3D, 360-Degree Video

The National Geographic Channel has revealed the first 3D, 360-degree video of space as a part of its new documentary series “One Strange Rock.” We took a virtual tour with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station while hearing their thoughts on the enormity of space, and it left us speechless.

A special delivery arrived at the space station last November: a state-of-the-art Vuze VR camera. European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli brought the camera with him during his daily routine on the station. Nespoli received unique training on the device from series filmmaker Darren Aronofsky himself, who gave the Italian astronaut a crash course in VR filming via Skype. To experience the full impact of the video, watch it on your smartphone while wearing your favorite VR headset.

Read more at: Space.com