Space Station Leak All Patched Up Now, NASA Says

The repair job astronauts conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday (Aug. 30) appears to be complete. Ground controllers noticed a slight dip in ISS cabin pressure on Wednesday night (Aug. 29). Yesterday, crewmembers traced the leak to a 2-millimeter-wide hole in one of the two Russian Soyuz spacecraft that’s currently docked to the orbiting lab.

Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, the Soyuz commander, patched the hole with epoxy yesterday, and this on-orbit fix is still holding: Cabin pressure remains steady, NASA officials wrote in an update today (Aug. 31). Flight controllers in Moscow and at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston continue to monitor pressure levels, NASA added.

Read more at: space.com

ISS Leak Highlights Concerns About Orbital Debris And Station Operations

As the crew of the International Space Station worked Aug. 30 to fix, at least temporarily, a minor air leak, the incident illustrated the growing orbital debris risk to the outpost and strains in American and Russian approaches to ISS operations.

NASA, in a statement early Aug. 30, said that controllers first noticed a minor drop in air pressure within the station at around 7 p.m. Eastern Aug. 29. Flight controllers allowed the crew to continue sleeping since the pressure drop did not pose an immediate risk to the crew, who were notified of the problem when they woke up at their regular time.

The station’s crew traced the drop in air pressure to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the orbital module of the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft docked to the station. They covered the hole with a piece of Kapton tape to slow the rate of the leak temporarily.

Read more at: Spacenews

Ted Cruz Warns against Privatizing the International Space Station

NASA’s plan to commercialize the International Space Station (ISS) while ending direct government funding for the program by 2025 would cost jobs, waste billions of dollars, and create gaps in U.S. capabilities for China and Russia to exploit. It is also, by many measures, simply infeasible.

In fact, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine acknowledged in a June interview with the Washington Post that he does not have a specific plan for transitioning the ISS to private management. That may be because his agency’s own inspector general has expressed skepticism toward the idea of privatizing the Space Station, which currently costs NASA anywhere from $3 billion to $4 billion annually, according to government figures.

Read more at: National review

Russia to End U.S. Space Station Rides in April, Pressuring NASA

Russia’s contract to supply Soyuz ferry rides for NASA astronauts to the International Space Station ends in April, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters on Friday.

The expiration piles additional pressure on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to restore its own capability to shuttle U.S. crew members back and forth to the orbiting lab. The space agency is contracting with Boeing Co. and SpaceX to develop new vehicles to transport astronauts, but the work has been plagued by delays.

NASA has relied on Russia since retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 ended U.S.-controlled access to the space station. Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration have touted the commercial program’s importance to ending that reliance, especially as diplomatic relations between the nations have deteriorated.

Read more at: Bloomberg

NASA Sets a Grim Deadline for Saving a Beloved Mars Rover

For weeks, Michael Staab has slept with his cell phone on his nightstand, its ringer set to the highest volume, waiting for a call from Mars.

Staab, an engineer at nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in California, is leading the recovery effort for one of the agency’s Mars rovers, Opportunity. The nearly 15-year-old rover went silent in mid-June as a record-breaking dust storm swept across the planet. As the atmosphere swelled with dust, sunlight couldn’t reach the rocky valley in Mars’s southern hemisphere where Opportunity resides. The solar-powered rover couldn’t charge its batteries in the stormy darkness, so it slipped into a quiet sleep.

Read more at: Atlantic

Virgin Orbit Nears First Test Flights with Air-launched Rocket

The attachment of a mounting bracket for Virgin Orbit’s smallsat launcher under the wing of a modified passenger jetliner portends the start of a series of captive carry tests with a full-scale model of the rocket, culminating in a drop of the vehicle before the first orbital launch attempt.

Virgin Orbit is developing the LauncherOne rocket, which is set to become the first liquid-fueled orbital-class rocket to be dropped from from a carrier aircraft. The company says the first launch could happen by the end of this year, but officials have not set a target date for LauncherOne’s maiden orbital test flight.

But the addition of a new pylon under the left wing of Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747 carrier jet, named “Cosmic Girl,” signals testing of the LauncherOne system is about to enter a new phase, beginning with a series of captive-carry flights of an inert launch vehicle.

Read more at: Spaceflight now

Air-Launched Pegasus Returning To Cape Canaveral For NASA Mission

A rocket strapped to the belly of a jet will arrive at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this month to prepare for a rare launch from the skies of a NASA science mission.

“Working an airborne launch pad is always fun and challenging,” said Omar Baez, the mission’s NASA launch director. “We kind of enjoy the launch pad moving at 500 mph and 39,000 feet.”

NASA this week set Oct. 6 as the target launch date for its Ionospheric Connection Explorer mission, or ICON, which will study the region where Earth’s atmosphere meets space. In late September, Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 “Stargazer” aircraft is expected to fly cross-country to the Cape’s Skid Strip, carrying ICON aboard a Northrop (formerly Orbital ATK) Pegasus XL rocket.

Read more at: Florida today

IAF To Select Astronauts For Manned Spaceflight

India’s first manned spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan will take off to space in December 2021, with three Indians selected by the Indian Air Force (IAF). This timeframe, announced here on Wednesday by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman, K Sivan, will allow the space agency to stick to the 2022 deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Isro has already commenced informal discussions with IAF on the selection process. “IAF has the experience of training for manned missions twice, including Rakesh Sharma. Whoever they select, we will go with it. Their process is multi-pronged, combining mental, psychological and physical aspects,” Sivan told mediapersons here.

Read more at: Deccanherald

Russian Space Medics Chose UAE Nationals Ready for ISS Flight – Source

The medical board of Russia’s Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center chose on Tuesday the United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals whose physical and emotional condition allows them to fly to the International Space Station (ISS), a source in the aerospace sphere told Sputnik

On June 20, Russia’s Roscosmos state space corporation announced that the flight with the participation of an UAE astronaut would be held in April 2019. In July, nine UAE candidates arrived in Russia for medical tests.

After the screening process, the candidates will return to the UAE, where an astronaut and a backup astronaut will be selected at the national level. Only one of them will actually participate in the flight to the ISS.

Read more at: Sputnik news

NASA Astronauts Could Fly to Moon-Orbiting Station by 2024, Pence Says

In a speech full of commendation but without much concrete substance, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence discussed the future of the country’s space policy and highlighted the importance of a moon-orbiting space station that could host U.S. astronauts by 2024.

The vice president spoke today (Aug. 23) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston after touring the facilities with Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt, who traveled on the country’s last crewed mission to the moon, in 1972.

“While our sights are once again set on our lunar neighbor, this time we’re not content with just leaving behind footprints — or even to leave at all,” Pence told the crowd of NASA employees.

Read more at: Scientific American

Why Airworthiness Certification Is Necessary For Commercial Human Spaceflight

America’s national spacefaring enterprise is changing at a pace that has not been seen since the 1960s when space was first accessed on a routine basis. President Trump’s plans for a US Space Force, others calling for a US Space Guard, a renewed focus on reusability in space launch and on American human space exploration and commercial human spaceflight, and Congressional interest in space-based ballistic missile and satellite defense, are all putting America’s spacefaring future in the public spotlight.

America will not effectively become a true human spacefaring nation without the ability to achieve “aircraft-like access to space.” In this article, I focus on what “aircraft-like access to space” means and why achieving airworthiness certification for commercial passenger spaceflight is necessary to enable aircraft-like access to space to be safely and ethically achieved. (A US Space Force and a US Space Guard will need a comparable capability for any crewed operations they might conduct in space.)

Read more at: Space review

Japanese Startup Aims For Commercial Space Travel in 2023

Japanese startup PD AeroSpace Ltd. is developing a reusable spacecraft shaped like an airplane to carry ticket-buying customers into space by 2023.

The Nagoya-based company plans space flights to an altitude of 110 kilometers by the spacecraft, capable of carrying six passengers and two pilots, at a price of 17 million yen ($153,000) per person.

Currently, 11 workers at a plant in Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture, are working to fly an unmanned test vehicle to an altitude of 100 km. “We would like to open a new space era (with the spacecraft),” said Shuji Ogawa, the 48-year-old president of PD AeroSpace.

Read more at: Kyodonews

World View Exec Taber Maccallum Will Chair Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation says Taber MacCallum, co-founder and chief technology officer of Arizona-based World View Enterprises, will serve as its new chairman of the board. MacCallum takes the reins from Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and principal investigator for NASA’s New Horizons mission. The federation serves as a trade association for more than 80 members involved in the commercial spaceflight industry. Among the officers at large voted onto the board during this week’s biannual meeting in Denver are Blue Origin’s Bretton Alexander, SpaceX’s Tim Hughes and Todd Lindner of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority in Florida.

Read more at: Geekwire

Gerstenmaier Confident About Meeting Pence’s 2024 Goal

Bill Gerstenmaier, the head of NASA’s human spaceflight program, expressed confidence that NASA will meet Vice President Mike Pence’s goal of putting humans aboard the lunar-orbiting Gateway, which is still in development, by 2024.  Most of the presentations at the meeting of a NASA advisory committee Monday shied away from specific dates, but he projected certainty on this point even though some committee members were skeptical.  The meeting continues today (Tuesday) with a focus on science and exploration missions in “cis-lunar” space on and around the Moon.

NASA continues to update its human exploration timelines in the wake of the Trump Administration’s decision to restore human lunar landings to the plan.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Fireball Lights Up Sky Over Western Australia (Videos)

A fireball lit up the sky over the Australian city of Perth late Tuesday (Aug. 28), reportedly generating a powerful shockwave that rattled houses in the area — and some observers caught the dramatic event on video.

Perth’s fire and emergency department started receiving calls about the meteor today at 7:40 p.m. local time (7:40 a.m. EDT and 1140 GMT), according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Several people captured fireball videos with CCTV cameras and dash cams and sent the footage to the Perth Observatory.

“We heard the boom; we saw the light. We just thought it was lightning to start with, but the boom that came after it was definitely not thunder,” Robyn Garratt, a resident of York — which lies about 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Perth, the capital of the state of Western Australia — said in an interview with ABC Radio.

Read more at: Space.com

European Researchers Develop A New Technique To Forecast Geomagnetic Storms

The Earth’s magnetic field extends from pole to pole and is strongly affected by solar wind from the sun. This “wind” is a stream of charged particles constantly ejected from the sun’s surface. Occasional sudden flashes of brightness known as solar flares release even more particles into the wind. Sometimes, the flares are followed by coronal mass ejections that send plasma into space.

The resulting flux of charged particles travels millions of miles from the sun to the Earth. When they arrive here, the particles wreak havoc on the Earth’s magnetic field. The result can be beautiful but also destructive: auroras and geomagnetic storms.

Read more at: Eurekalert

As Debris Piles Up, Americans Are Skeptical Enough Will Be Done To Limit Space Junk

Private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are becoming increasingly important players in space exploration. Many Americans are confident these companies will be profitable, but they’re more skeptical they will keep space clean of debris, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Over the past 60 years, more than 5,250 space launches have spawned an orbital junkyard consisting of around 23,000 objects large enough to be detected, with a combined (Earth) weight of over 8,000 tons. While that’s a small amount compared with the more than 3.5 million tons of garbage the world produces every single day, it’s enough to pose a growing hazard to satellites and space stations.

Read more at: pew research

Europe’s Space Trash Chief: Situation Getting Worse

The trash situation in outer space caused by launches and defunct satellites is “getting worse” and risks making space off-limits for future generations, according to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) chief space debris expert.

“We are adding more than the atmosphere can remove,” Holger Krag, head of ESA’s Space Debris Office, told EUobserver in an interview.

“There have been several attempts to provide an international space law that has … requirements in there but this wasn’t successful so far,” he said, almost a decade after the European Union began an attempt to establish international rules on space debris.

Read more at: Euobserver

Fragments Of Russia’s Progress MS-08 Space Freighter Splash Down In Pacific

Fragments of Russia’s Progress MS-08 cargo spacecraft, which was deorbited on Thursday following a weeklong experiment, splashed down in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean, a Russian Mission Control Center official said.

“Unburied fragments of the Progress MS-08 spacecraft have landed in a non-navigational region of the Pacific Ocean,” the source said.

In accordance with the flight program, the Progress MS-08 undocked from the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) on August 23, 2018. During the seven days that followed, it was used in a scientific experiment.

Read more at: TASS

The Edge of Space Just Crept 12 Miles Closer to Earth

Did you feel that? Does it suddenly feel a little bit stuffier in here to you? Does it feel like, I don’t know… outer space just got 12 miles (20 kilometers) closer?

Nothing actually moved, of course (unless you count the constant and increasing expansion of the universe). But according to a new study published online this week, it might be high time Earthlings shifted our mental and mathematical ideas about where, exactly, Earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins.

If astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell’s calculations are correct, the cosmic boundary where the laws of airspace suddenly give way to the laws of orbital space might be a lot closer than we think — a full 12 miles closer than previous estimates suggest.

Read more at: Live science

Forget “Manned” Missions—Females May Be More Mentally Resilient in Deep Space

Just past the confines of Earth’s geomagnetic field, deep space gets downright nasty. There, cosmic radiation from solar flares, supernovae, supermassive black holes and other powerful astrophysical phenomena could spark cancer, vision loss and impaired thinking in future astronauts voyaging to the moon, Mars or beyond.

But a new NASA-funded study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity makes a bold claim: When exposed to cosmic radiation, women may have an innate biological capacity to stave off associated cognitive declines. A team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, (U.C.S.F.) and at Brookhaven National Laboratory found female mice somehow kept clear heads after dangerous doses of radiation whereas males developed obvious cognitive impairment.

Read more at: Scientific American

Systima Wins A Contract To Supply Hatch Mechanisms For NASA’s Orion Spaceship

Systima Technologies says it’s been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin Space Systems to provide pyrotechnically actuated hatch mechanisms for NASA’s Orion deep-space crew capsule.

The mechanisms will be part of a side hatch latch release system that would come into play in the event of an emergency landing condition after splashdown, the Kirkland, Wash.-based company said in a news release.

The Orion is currently in the midst of development, leading up to Exploration Mission-1, an uncrewed test flight beyond the moon and back that’s planned for the 2020 time frame. That would be followed by the first crewed flight, known as Exploration Mission-2, currently scheduled for as early as 2022. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the multibillion-dollar Orion development program.

Read more at: Geekwire

Why We Need Active Experiments in Space (Op-Ed)

Fifty-six years ago, a nuclear device called Starfish Prime was detonated 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth. With a yield of approximately 1.4 megatons, the explosion released massive amounts of energetic fission debris into space. One of the outcomes was the creation of an artificial radiation belt, much more intense than that typical of the natural Van Allen belts, which lasted for years.

Radiation is not only dangerous to humans, it is dangerous to our space infrastructure as well. Within a few months of the test, seven satellites in orbit stopped working, including a big communications satellite, Telstar 1, launched a day after the Starfish Prime detonation. Higher-than-expected radiation levels hammering the solar panels and satellite electronics were to blame.

Read more at: Space.com

The Strength Of Gravity Has Been Measured To New Precision

We now have the most precise estimates for the strength of gravity yet.

Two experiments measuring the tiny gravitational attraction between objects in a lab have measured Newton’s gravitational constant, or Big G, with an uncertainty of only about 0.00116 percent. Until now, the smallest margin of uncertainty for any G measurement has been 0.00137 percent.

The new set of G values, reported in the Aug. 30 Nature, is not the final word on G. The two values disagree slightly, and they don’t explain why previous G-measuring experiments have produced such a wide spread of estimates (SN Online: 4/30/15). Still, researchers may be able to use the new values, along with other estimates of G, to discover why measurements for this key fundamental constant are so finicky — and perhaps pin down the strength of gravity once and for all.

Read more at: Science news

First Patents Filed From Commercial Research On Space Station, Crew Readies For Busy Period

For the first time, two companies that have conducted manufacturing research aboard the International Space Station have filed patents with the US government for the manufacturing of specific materials and supplies in space.  Procter & Gamble is responsible for three of the patents, with Made In Space responsible for the fourth.

Meanwhile, the crew aboard the International Space Station is prepping for a busy period in September with the arrival of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s HTV-7 resupply craft which will deliver new experiment Racks as well as batteries for the International Space Station.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

Why Does the Earth Rotate?

Every day, the Earth spins once around its axis, making sunrises and sunsets a daily feature of life on the planet. It has done so since it formed 4.6 billion years ago, and it will continue to do so until the world ends — likely when the sun swells into a red giant star and swallows the planet. But why does it rotate at all?

The Earth formed out of a disk of gas and dust that swirled around the newborn sun. In this spinning disk, bits of dust and rock stuck together to form the Earth, according to Space.com, a sister site of Live Science. As it grew, space rocks continued colliding with the nascent planet, exerting forces that sent it spinning, explained Smadar Naoz, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Because all the debris in the early solar system was rotating around the sun in roughly the same direction, the collisions also spun the Earth — and most everything else in the solar system — in that direction.

Read more at: Space.com

Missing Tape Discovery Solves 40-Year Lunar Mystery

When Apollo astronauts returned from the moon in the 1970s, they left behind two pairs of temperature probes drilled into the surface. The sensors measured how easily the soil radiated heat, in the hope of learning how much radioactive heating the moon produced and details about its recent geological activity.

The nuclear-powered lunar heat flow probes broadcast data back to Earth, where they were stored on tapes, until 1977. But the experiments’ principal investigator Marcus Langseth studied it only through December 1974. The remaining tapes were thought to be lost because sloppy paperwork failed to document their location. But over the past decade an effort to scour attics, garages and government facilities for information led to the recovery of a handful of the missing tapes.

Read more at: Scientific American

China Tests Propulsion System Of Space Station’s Lab Capsules

Engineers have successfully tested the propulsion system of China’s planned space station lab capsules, a key step in its space station program.

Weighing 66 tonnes, the space station will comprise a core module and two lab capsules. The propulsion system will determine whether lab capsules can move in space.

Engineers designed 36 engines for the propulsion system with four to adjust the capsules’ operation orbit and 32 to adjust flight attitude. Each engine is designed to work for at least 15 years, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main manufacturer of the space station.

Read more at: Space daily

NASA Competition Aims To Convert Carbon Dioxide On Mars Into Useful Products

When astronauts begin exploring Mars, they’ll need to use local resources, freeing up launch cargo space for other mission-critical supplies. Carbon dioxide is one resource readily abundant within the Martian atmosphere.

NASA’s new CO2 Conversion Challenge, conducted under the Centennial Challenges program, is a public competition seeking novel ways to convert carbon dioxide into useful compounds. Such technologies will allow us to manufacture products using local, indigenous resources on Mars, and can also be implemented on Earth by using both waste and atmospheric carbon dioxide as a resource.

Read more at: Space daily

Ironing Out The Difficulties Of Moving Fluids In Space

Fluid flows downhill – at least it does on Earth. Fluid movement becomes much more complicated in space, and that creates challenges for systems that rely on pumping fluids around for thermal control, engine propellants and other functions.

An investigation aboard the International Space Station studies moving fluids with the power of magnets instead of using pumps with mechanical moving parts. Ferrofluids contain small iron-oxide particles that can be magnetized. For the PAPELL experiment, researchers use an electromagnetic field to manipulate and move these ferrofluids in a variety of different conditions. Cameras and sensors monitor the movement of the fluids across grids of electromagnets and through pipes.

Read more at: Space daily

How Scientists Discovered Helium, the First Alien Element, 150 Years Ago

“I have obtained one of the finest and least expected results—Spectra of the stars!—and beautiful spectra with colors and magnificent lines. Just one more step and the chemical composition of the universe will be revealed,” wrote astrophysicist Pierre Jules César Janssen to his wife from an observatory in Italy in December 1862. Armed with the latest technology of the day and observations made by other Western astrophysicists, Janssen was determined to pry open the secrets of the galaxy.

On August 18, 1868, Janssen managed to do just that. He became the first person to observe helium, an element never before seen on Earth, in the solar spectrum. At the time, though, Janssen didn’t know what he’d seen—just that it was something new.

Read more at: Smithsonian

The Change Agents Bringing Tradition-Bound NASA Into The Future

The rap on NASA is that it’s risk-averse, stuck in the old ways of doing things, stymied by a big 60-year-old bureaucracy that was chastened by two fatal space shuttle disasters.

That was the mind-set that seemed to greet SpaceX’s controversial fueling plan. Instead of filling the rocket with propellant before the astronauts board, the company proposed doing it after.

Loading a combustible mix of propellants underneath NASA’s finest set off alarms inside some parts of the agency and among safety experts, who warned that it was contrary to decades of spaceflight procedure. One watchdog group called it a “potential safety risk” — a spark during fueling could set off an explosion, many in NASA feared. That’s what happened when a SpaceX rocket blew up while being fueled in 2016.

Read more at: Washington post

Lift-Off For China’s Controversial Corporate Colossus

Sitting on top of the pyramid with one eye on the stars, this corporate colossus casts a huge shadow in the land of the giants. But like the majority of state-owned enterprises in the country, the monolithic China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is shrouded in an aura of secrecy. With 170,000 employees and annual revenue hovering around the US$34 billion-mark, CASC is one of the ‘big beasts’ of the SOE sector. Ranked in the Fortune Global 500 list, its core business revolves around the nation’s space program and missile development. Yet its tentacles extend beyond that through a labyrinth of affiliates, which are at the heart of President Xi Jinping’s “Made in China 2025” policy.

Behind the scenes, the group is involved in an array of projects from devastating ‘wave-riders’ to nuclear-powered space shuttles and micro rockets.

Apart for its heavenly pursuits, China Aerospace is also grounded in strategic and tactical missile systems. Hardly surprising then, that the company is on Washington’s radar as the trade brawl with Beijing enters a distinctly Cold War phase.

Read more at: Atimes

Soyuz-5 Will Restore Russia’s Status Of Leading Space Power, Deputy PM Says

Creation of the Soyuz-5 space rocket will enhance Russia’s status of a leading space power, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on Friday.

“We are to cope with a unique and technically complicated task, but once we’ve done that, Russia will regain and enhance its status of a leading world space power,” he told a conference on manned space programs at the space rocket corporation Energia’s office on Friday.

Borisov said the task on the agenda was to lay the basis of manned programs for exploring deep space. Under the presidential decree Energia was named the main architect of a super-heavy space rocket of the future.

Read more at: TASS

War In Space ‘Inevitable’ Because There’s So Much Money To Be Made, Expert Warns

Professor Melissa de Zwart, the Dean of Law at the University of Adelaide, says growing commercial interest in the mining of precious minerals on asteroids and planets has heightened the danger.

“I think you have to be a realist about that,” she said. “Where you have resources, where you have competition for those resources, where you have investment of money in the extraction of those resources … there will be an expectation of security around that investment.”

While full-scale mining is yet to be tried, there is significant international interest. Japanese aerospace agency Jaxa has already successfully landed a robotic craft on an asteroid and taken samples. It currently has another probe hovering over an asteroid named Ryugu.

Read more at: ABC

Donald Trump’s Plan For New Space Force Is Wrong Response To US Concerns About China And Russia

Like so many things, US President Donald Trump’s proposal to create a new branch of the American military – a Space Force – began as something of a joke. It was widely derided among the US national security cognoscenti until, like so many things, it snowballed into something with legs. Even if we still don’t know what exactly the proposed Space Force will be, it has turned into a cri de coeur for Trump and many of his supporters.

Read more at: scmp

Repudiating the Global Commons: Trump’s Militarization of Space

In international law, a category regarded by certain legal philosophers as non-existent (there being no overarching sovereign to police it), aspirations reign like obstinate fantasies. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty is one such example, decorated by such expressions as outer space being the “province of all mankind” (Art. 1), with the “common interest of all mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes” being its animating principle.

Mightily presumptuous: the whole realm of the celestial heavens a province for all mankind; that it be explored and be exploited, garnished by such utopian hopes as “peaceful purposes.” But humankind was still bloodied from the savages of a world conflict that had taken the lives of tens of millions. It was popular, even in the shadow of the mushroom cloud, to dream.

Read more at: int policy digest

Advanced Space Operations School Re-designated 319th CTS

Air Force Space Command re-designated the Advanced Space Operations School as the 319th Combat Training Squadron during a ceremony held at the Moorman Space Education and Training Center Aug. 28.

The re-designation as a CTS normalizes the squadron with the Air Force’s 16 other combat training squadrons that have similar training missions. As a CTS, this unit will refocus the advanced training to prepare space professionals for exercises such as SPACE FLAG more importantly, for real-world operations in an increasingly contested space domain.

“We will stay ahead of our foes via unending evolution by exploiting our intellectual capital and innovative nature, and the 319th Combat Training Squadron is the heart of that,” said Brig. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt, AFSPC director of operations and communications. Burt continued by stressing the importance of the 319th to keep us on the path of space superiority.

Read more at: afspc

Trump is Right to Prepare For a War in Space

A mysterious fireball hurtled towards earth a month ago and thumped into the ground close to a base that serves as the eyes and ears of America. Scientists reckon it was a meteorite that narrowly missed the Thule early warning base in Greenland but it has certainly got the Pentagon nervous. It could, after all, have been a hostile incoming missile. There is nothing the US military fears more than being blinded, suddenly vulnerable to a first strike and being, as they say in the jargon, “Pearl-harboured”.

Read more at: Times

Space Launch Training Cooperation

The 30th Space Wing and 45th Space Wing launch training teams recently came together to gain further understanding of each other’s training programs.

The main focus of the Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Base collaboration was to discuss ways to synergize and standardize training for both coasts as well as introduce new training tools.

“One of these new tools included a Virtual Reality training capability. The 45th SW has been developing this VR tool for our Mission Assurance teams.” said Maj. Joseph Hoatam, 45th Launch Support Squadron Operations Support Flight commander.

The VR tool potentially enables Air Force Responsible Engineers (AFREs) and Mission Assurance Technicians (MATs) to increase the flexibility, quality, responsiveness and agility of their training. The tool enables AFREs and MATs to familiarize themselves with operations and perform anomaly resolution at the launch site.

Read more at: afspc

How Elon Musk’s Cold Calls To Rocket Scientists Helped Kickstart SpaceX

Seventeen years ago, Elon Musk knew little about rockets, Mars or space technology. But he did have passion, curiosity and a cell phone. So, he made some cold calls.

These calls didn’t just help him understand the business opportunity few could see. They also helped him build the expertise and network he’d need to later found and run SpaceX. This combination of fearlessness and curiosity is an example to anyone looking to build something new.

In 2001, a 30-year-old Musk had already made his fortune twice over, founding and selling companies such as Zip2 and X.Com (which became PayPal) for hundreds of millions. He felt called to something more meaningful than just running another Internet business and decided he would put his money toward saving humanity, and specifically, through life on Mars.

Read more at: CNBC

The Case Against Mars Colonisation

Earlier this month, a group of 60 prominent scientists and engineers met behind closed doors at the University of Colorado Boulder. Their agenda: Mars colonisation.

Organised by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and attended by members of Nasa’s Mars exploration programme, the goal of this inaugural “Mars workshop” was to begin formulating concrete plans for landing, building and sustaining a human colony on Mars within the next 40 to 100 years.

This workshop signals the growing momentum and reality behind plans to actually send humans to Mars. But while SpaceX and partners ask whether we could live there, others still ask whether we should.

Read more at: Guardian

Soviet Female Cosmonaut Group’s Veteran Dies In Moscow Aged 77

Tatiana Kuznetsova, a veteran of the group of Soviet women selected to train for the first female flight into space, has died in Moscow at the age of 77, the press service of the Cosmonauts Training Center said on Wednesday.

Kuznetsova, a retired colonel of the Soviet Air Force, died on Tuesday.

In 1961, as a 20-year-old senior laboratory assistant at a research institute reporting to the Ministry of Radio and Electronic Industries, she became the youngest-ever person selected for the Soviet human spaceflight program. Her selection was predestined in many ways by remarkable achievements in parachuting, which she engaged in since 1958.

Read more at: TASS

Commercial Branding On Spacecraft? Five Key Points In NASA’s Evolving Space Vision

Why can’t commercials be filmed on the International Space Station? How about astronaut endorsements of energy drinks or tennis shoes? And instead of saying “The Eagle has landed,” why not get paid for saying “Here’s your orbital Pizza Hut delivery”?

The final frontier is edging farther into the commercial frontier: That’s one of the top takeaways from this week’s meetings of the NASA Advisory Council at Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other officials and advisers provided a preview of the trends we’re likely to be seeing in the months and years to come.

Read more at: Geekwire

Kennedy Family’s Space Legacy Continues

President John F. Kennedy would be “deeply concerned” by President Donald Trump’s push to expand the military’s mission in space, said the former president’s niece, Rory Kennedy, a documentary filmmaker whose latest project trains the lens on the history of NASA and the space program.

JFK, whose speech at Rice University in 1962 set the goal of landing an astronaut on the moon within a decade, galvanized the nation around the idea that “space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.”

Read more at: Politico

Mad Musk: Tesla CEO Angrily Headbutted Car After Safety Sensor Paused Assembly Line

During a tour this spring at Tesla Inc.’s electric-car factory in Fremont, Calif., Elon Musk asked why the assembly line had stopped. Managers said automatic safety sensors halted the line whenever people got in the way.

Mr. Musk became angry, according to people familiar with what happened. His high-profile gamble on mass-producing electric cars had lagged behind since production began, and here was one more frustration. The billionaire entrepreneur began head-butting the front end of a car on the assembly line.

Read more at: boinboing

‘First Man’ Director Damien Chazelle & Neil Armstrong’s Family On Flag Flap: It’s Not A Political Statement

Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man received good marks this week when it landed for its world premiere as the opening-night film at the Venice Film Festival. But not all saw it that way, with a small backlash brewing over the lack of a scene showing Armstrong’s planting of the American flag on the moon’s surface during his legendary 1969 moon landing.

The flag appears several times during the movie, which stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, but not having the iconic flag-plant has riled many online who believe the omission may have been deliberate. Sen. Marco Rubio was among those who noted it:

Read more at: deadline

“Safe Passage to Mars” Design Challenge

“Safe Passage to Mars” is a design challenge for undergraduate students. Enabling safe space exploration of Moon, Mars and beyond requires the application of the concepts of Engineering Psychology to design and build hardware (tools, devices, or equipment) which can mitigate critical human performance issues associated with long-duration spaceflight.

Read more at: ISSF

10th IAASS Conference

15 – 17 May 2019 – Los Angeles, USA

The tenth IAASS Conference “Making Safety Happen” is an invitation to reflect and exchange information on a number of topics in space safety and sustainability of national and international interest. The conference is also a forum to promote mutual understanding, trust, and the widest possible international cooperation in such matters. The once exclusive “club” of nations with autonomous space access capabilities is becoming crowded with fresh, and ambitious new entrants. New commercial spaceports and near-spaceports are in operations and others are being built.

Read more at: IAASS Conference