Russia Says It Would Be Ready To Extend Spaceflight Sharing Deal With U.S.

Russia would be ready to extend a deal with the United States to share flights to the International Space Station beyond 2024 if the first three flights are successful, the executive director of Russia’s space agency said on Friday.

NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos signed an agreement in July allowing Russian cosmonauts to fly on U.S.-made spacecraft in exchange for American astronauts being able to ride on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

Read more at: Yahoo news

The Space Launch System is Yesterday’s Rocket

On december 14th 1972 Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, took a last look around the Taurus-Littrow valley, climbed his lunar module’s ladder and blasted off for home. His were the final footprints so far pressed into the Moon’s surface. Indeed, no human being since then has ventured more than a few hundred kilometres from Earth.

Nor will that change on August 29th, the current scheduled lift off, from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, of the first flight of nasa’s Space Launch System (sls), heir to the mighty Saturn Vs that carried the Apollo project to the Moon, and putative workhorse of the Artemis programme, Apollo’s tardy follow-up, which has its eyes first on the Moon and then on Mars.

Read more at: Yahoo

China’s Official View Of NASA’s Artemis Program Appears To Be Dismissive

NASA’s imminent launch of the Artemis I mission to the Moon—the US space agency’s first in a series of missions to return humans to deep space—will garner widespread attention in the United States and abroad.

No humans have launched beyond low Earth orbit for nearly five decades, and although this mission will have no astronauts on board, the Artemis II mission in a few years will. Moreover, unlike the all-American Apollo program in the 1960s, the Artemis program will include a rich vein of international cooperation.

Read more at: Arstechnica

China Claims Progress On Rockets For Crewed Lunar Landings And Moon Base

China is progressing with the development of two super heavy-lift rockets for crewed missions and infrastructure launches to the moon, according to officials.

The new launchers are designed to allow China to conduct short-term lunar landings before 2030 and send large pieces of infrastructure to the moon in the 2030s respectively.

Though China’s government has not formally approved a crewed lunar landing, work on the necessary elements of such a program is underway and the country’s space actors and state media are openly talking of its lunar ambitions.

Read more at: Spacenews


How Many Meteorites Hit Earth Every Year?

Every year, millions of rocky shards from outer space burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, many briefly flaring and appearing in the sky as “shooting stars.” But how many survive their high-speed plunges to strike the ground? Rocks from space that land on Earth are known as meteorites. Giant impacts, such as the one that likely ended the reign of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, caused by an asteroid or comet measuring about 6 miles (10 kilometers) across, are extraordinarily rare. Instead, most rocks that fall to Earth are very small, and relatively few survive their fiery plummet through Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at: Livescience

Protecting Artemis And Lunar Explorers From Space Radiation

The Artemis I mission, set to launch on 29 August, will mark a significant step in humankind’s return to the Moon. While there are no human passengers on board this test flight, future missions will once again cast space explorers beyond the protective environments of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field and into the realm of unimpeded space radiation.

Read more at: ESA

Could A Solar Storm Ever Destroy Earth?

All life on Earth owes its existence to the sun’s radiant heat. But what happens when that radiation surges out of control, and billions of tons of charged solar material suddenly barrel our way at thousands of miles a second? What happens when Earth takes a direct hit from a solar flare — and could a strong enough one ever destroy life on our planet as we know it?

The answers are complicated, but most scientists agree on one thing: Earth’s magnetic field and insulating atmosphere keep us extremely well protected from even the most powerful solar outbursts.

Read more at: Livescience

Sensors Ready For Radiation Ride To The Moon

Radiation sensors called ESA Active Dosimeters or EADs, were integrated into the Orion crew capsule this month. The state-of-the-art devices, each about the size of a deck of cards, are equipped with multiple sensors that will record data on the radiation environment inside the spacecraft during the trajectory to the Moon and back.

These little instruments are fixed on panels, dotted around the capsule in different locations. The technology will allow scientists to see how the radiation fluctuates during the mission, as well as showing total levels of ionising energies the spacecraft will travel through, from as far as almost half a million kilometres from our planet.

Read more at: ESA

Space Junk Fell From Sky and Crashed Onto Cattle Farm

A piece of rocket debris hit the ground on a farm in Australia, making it the fourth in a series of space junk impacts in the region.

The most recent chunk was found by cattle farmer Jordan Hobbs on August 13 while feeding his cows on his farm near Tumbarumba, around 100 miles southwest of the Australian capital city Canberra.

“I thought it was rubbish and I was going to throw it in the bin,” he told ABC South East NSW. “We made a bit of a joke that it could have been space junk.”

Read more at: Newsweek


Intelsat Loses Command of Galaxy 15 Satellite 

Intelsat has lost the ability to command its Galaxy 15 satellite after an anomaly caused by a space weather event. The anomaly caused the loss of commanding links, which is the signal used to fly the satellite and to receive telemetry data, an Intelsat spokeswoman told Via Satelite.

“Intelsat, working with the satellite manufacturer, has concluded that the anomaly is likely due to a lock up of both baseband electronics units triggered by space weather, i.e., solar eruptions of plasma and magnetic fields that can disrupt electronics,” the spokeswoman said. 

Read more at: satellite today

Booster 7 Prepares For Additional Static Fires As Future Plans Evolve

Booster 7 – following two single-engine static fire tests on the Orbital Launch Mount (OLM) – has rolled back to the launch site after residing in the Mega Bay for further engine installation in preparation for continued static fire tests later this month.

Starship continues to press towards an orbital launch attempt, possibly this year, while SpaceX is already deep into future planning with its vehicles and launch sites, such as at the Kennedy Space Center’s 39A. Starship also won a launch contract, with Superbird-9 assigned to a 2024 launch.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

Orbital Reef Passes NASA review

A proposed commercial space station has passed a key early NASA review, allowing it to move into the next phase of its design.

Blue Origin and Sierra Space, the lead partners on the Orbital Reef station, said Aug. 22 that the station passed a system definition review (SDR) with NASA. The review is part of a Commercial Low Earth Orbit Destinations, or CLD, award they received from the agency last December to mature the design of Orbital Reef.

Read more at: Spacenews

How Scientist Facilitated The Development Of LEO Mega Constellations

The rapid development of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega constellations has significantly contributed to several aspects of human scientific progress, such as communication, navigation, and remote sensing. However, unrestrained deployment of constellations has also strained orbital resources and increased spacecraft congestion in LEO, which seriously affects the safety of in-orbit operations of many space assets.

For the long-term and sustainable development of space activities in LEO regions, space environment stability must be maintained using more rational surveillance and governance mechanisms.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Rocket Lab CEO Reflects On Company’s Humble Beginnings As A Drainpipe

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck spoke at the SmallSat 2022 conference and offered up words of wisdom for anyone pondering an entry into the lighter end of the launch market.

After apologizing for his virtual presence – Beck had sensed an imminent propulsive emission of his own before boarding and wisely swapped a 20-hour flight for a camera and microphone – the CEO last week gave viewers an insight into how he and his company had gone from a childhood dream to something capable of launching spacecraft to the Moon and eventually Mars and Venus.

Read more at: Register


China Makes Progress In Reusability With Secretive Second Flight Of Suborbital Spaceplane

China has performed its first repeated use of a suborbital spaceplane as part of efforts to develop a fully reusable space transportation system.

The suborbital vehicle launched vertically from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on Friday, Aug. 26 Beijing time (Aug. 25 Eastern), according to CASC, China’s main space contractor.

The suborbital spaceplane later landed at Alxa Right Banner airport in Inner Mongolia. The short statement provided neither images of the craft nor information such as time, duration or apogee of the launch. 

Read more at: Spacenews

Biomedical Research in Space Today Benefits Astronauts and Earthlings

International Space Station studies about wound healing and cardiology kicked off the week for the Expedition 67 crew following last week’s departure of a U.S. resupply ship. A variety of other space research, spacesuit cleaning, and maintenance rounded out the day for the seven orbital residents. Four astronauts spent the majority of the day on Monday exploring surgical techniques to heal wounds in microgravity.

Read more at: NASA

Starship Uncrewed Lunar Lander Test A “Skeleton” Of Crewed Lander

A SpaceX Starship that will land on the moon an on uncrewed test flight may only be a “skeleton” of the version of that will carry people on the Artemis 3 mission, NASA says.

In a presentation at the annual meeting of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) here Aug. 23, Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager of the Human Landing System (HLS) program, said the Starship that performs that uncrewed landing demo mission won’t necessarily be identical to the vehicle that is used to transport astronauts to and from the surface of the moon on Artemis 3 as soon as 2025.

Read more at: Spacenews

How Weak Will Astronauts Feel When They First set Foot on Mars After Months in Space?

In the coming decade, in 2033, NASA and China intend to send astronauts to Mars for the first time in history. This presents numerous challenges, ranging from logistical and technical issues to ensuring that astronauts can deal with waste and have enough food and water for the months-long transit to and from Mars. But of course, there’s also the health and safety of the astronauts, who will be spending months traveling through space where they’ll be exposed to cosmic radiation and microgravity. There are even concerns that after months of exposure to microgravity, astronauts will have trouble adapting to Martian gravity.

Read more at: Universe today

China’s Long March Rockets Set Record For Consecutive Successful Launches

A Long March-2D rocket sent a satellite group into space on Saturday morning, marking 103 consecutive successful launches by the Chinese carrier rocket series.

The previous record for consecutive Long March rocket launches was 102, set from 1996 to 2011.

Since May 5, 2020, the Chinese carrier rocket series has achieved 103 consecutive victories in just 27 months, transporting more than 200 spacecraft into orbit, including space station modules, a lunar probe, a Mars probe and manned spaceships, said China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the country’s major space contractor.

Read more at: CN news

New Water Map Of Mars Will Prove Invaluable For Future Exploration

A new map of Mars is changing the way we think about the planet’s watery past, and showing where we should land in the future.

The map shows mineral deposits across the planet and has been painstakingly created over the last decade using data from ESA’s Mars Express Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activité (OMEGA) instrument and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument.

Specifically, the map shows the locations and abundances of aqueous minerals. These are from rocks that have been chemically altered by the action of water in the past, and have typically been transformed into clays and salts.

Read more at: ESA


‘State Of The Space Industrial Base’ Report Calls For National Plan To Compete With China

For four consecutive years, the “State of the Space Industrial Base” report has called out what it sees as outdated thinking in the U.S. government on the use of commercial technologies in space programs. 

The 2022 edition of the report, subtitled “Winning the New Space Race for Sustainability, Prosperity and the Planet,” was written by military and civilian officials from the U.S. Space Force, the Defense Innovation Unit, the Department of the Air Force and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Read more at: Spacenews

Artemis Accords: Why The International Moon Exploration Framework Matters

Next week’s moon launch is just the beginning. As the world counts down to the planned Aug. 29 liftoff of the Artemis 1 mission, which will use a Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket to send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft around the moon, NASA and its international partners are already planning for the future. More than 20 nations have signed on to the NASA-led Artemis Accords, a set of agreements that lay out a framework for responsible exploration of the moon.

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Outer Space Is Not The ‘Wild West’: There Are Clear Rules For Peace And War

The release of the first images taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will inspire generations with the infinite possibilities that outer space holds. Clearly, we have a responsibility to ensure that only peaceful, safe, sustainable, lawful and legitimate uses of space are undertaken for the benefit of humanity and future generations.

In pursuit of this, over the past six years McGill University and a host of collaborating institutions around the world have been involved in the drafting of the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space.

Read more at:

Space Council to Focus on Updating Commercial Space Regs

Vice President Kamala Harris said today the National Space Council is going to focus on updating rules for the commercial space industry to ensure it remains a world leader. The next Council meeting will take place in September to begin developing a new rules framework to ensure the clarity and consistency needed to attract investors.

After meeting with commercial space industry leaders at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA, Harris stressed how much has changed for the U.S. space industry since regulations were first written in the 20th Century.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online


Report: Industry Has To Face Reality That Commercial Satellites Will Be Targets In War

Experts have labeled the Ukraine conflict the first commercial space war due to the extensive use of private-sector satellites for imagery and for communications, with companies like SpaceX and Viasat becoming targets of electronic and cyber attacks.

Commercial satellites have crossed the Rubicon and companies need to figure out how they will cope with the prospect of intentional or accidental attacks during international conflicts, says a new report by Aerospace Corp.  

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA Invites Media to Witness World’s First Planetary Defense Test

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, will impact its target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth—at 7:14 p.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 26.

Among other activities, NASA will host a televised briefing beginning at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. APL is the builder and manager of the DART spacecraft for NASA.

This test will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes. DART will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.

Read more at: NASA

U.S. Army Signs Agreement To Test Space Data From Hawkeye 360 Satellites

The U.S. Army has signed an agreement to evaluate the use of space data from HawkEye 360, an Earth observation company that operates satellites to monitor radio-frequency signals emitted by electronic devices.

HawkEye 360 announced Aug. 25 it signed a two-year cooperative research and development agreement, known as a CRADA, with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

The agreement is for the company to demonstrate applications of RF data and analytics for surveillance operations in support of troops in the field. 

Read more at: Spacenews

Scout Space And University Labs Win Contracts For On-Orbit Servicing Project

Scout Space, a startup developing technologies for in-space services, won two U.S. Space Force contracts in support of the debris-cleanup project known as Orbital Prime. Each contract is worth $250,000. The company announced Aug. 24 its partners for the project are Stanford University’s Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB) and the Florida Institute of Technology’s Orion Lab. Orbital Prime is run by SpaceWERX, the technology arm of the U.S. Space Force. In May it selected 125 industry teams for the initial phase of the program, intended to promote commercial development of technologies for orbital debris cleanup and other space services.

Read more at: Spacenews

Schiess Takes Over U.S. Space Command’s Coalition Forces Component

Space Force Maj. Gen. Douglas Schiess on Aug. 22 assumed command of U.S. Space Command’s Combined Force Space Component Command at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

The CFSCC, with more than 700 personnel, oversees U.S. and allied space operations, and coordinates space traffic management. It also ensures space capabilities such as GPS navigation and satellite-based communications are available to U.S. commanders and allied nations.

Read more at: Spacenews


The Big Bang No Longer Means What It Used To

If there’s one hallmark inherent to science, it’s that our understanding of how the Universe works is always open to revision in the face of new evidence. Whenever our prevailing picture of reality — including the rules it plays by, the physical contents of a system, and how it evolved from its initial conditions to the present time — gets challenged by new experimental or observational data, we must open our minds to changing our conceptual picture of the cosmos. This has happened many times since the dawn of the 20th century, and the words we use to describe our Universe have shifted in meaning as our understanding has evolved.

Read more at: Bigthink

Britain Gets Closer to the Historic Vertical Rocket Launch From Its Own Soil

Back in 1971, the UK launched the Black Arrow, its first and only successful orbital launch. But it was done from Australian soil. Now, the country is moving into an era where not only will it launch rockets regularly, but it will do so from British soil.

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit might win this particular space race if it does launch this year from Cornwall. It will then become UK’s first rocket launched from British soil. But this would be a horizontal launch, meaning that the rocket will be launched from an aircraft.

Read more at: auto evolution

The SLS Rocket Is The Worst Thing To Happen To NASA—But Maybe Also The Best?

President Eisenhower signed the law establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on July 29, 1958. At the time, the United States had put about 30 kg of small satellites into orbit. Less than 11 years later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon.

President Obama signed a NASA Authorization Act on October 11, 2010. Among its provisions, the law called on NASA to create the Space Launch System rocket and have it ready for launch in 2016. It seemed reasonable. At the time, NASA had been launching rockets, including very large ones, for half a century. And in some sense, this new SLS rocket was already built.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Artemis 1 Cubesats: The 10 Tiny Satellites Hitching A NASA Ride To The Moon

As part of the Artemis 1 mission, set to launch on Aug. 29, 2022,  the Space Launch System (SLS)  —  the most powerful rocket ever built  —  is about to catapult the Orion spacecraft further into space than any human-built vehicle intended to carry astronauts has ventured before.

The mission will serve as a test before future Artemis missions send humans to the moon and beyond, in the process delivering milestones like the first woman and person of color to walk on the lunar surface, and the first human to step foot on Mars.

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NASA’s Artemis 1 Moon Mission Is ‘Go’ For Aug. 29 Launch

NASA’s first Artemis mission to the moon is “go” for launch. The space agency on Monday (Aug. 22) cleared its Artemis 1 mission to launch an uncrewed test flight around the moon next week. Liftoff is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29, during a two-hour window that opens at 8:33 a.m. EDT (1233 GMT). The historic mission, the first of NASA’s Artemis program that aims to return astronauts to the moon, will lift off from Pad 36B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be the first flight of Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, NASA’s most powerful rocket ever, and a critical test of its Orion spacecraft.

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The Latest Webb Observations Don’t Disprove The Big Bang, But They Are Interesting

Okay, so let’s start with the obvious. The big bang is not dead. Recent observations by the James Webb Space Telescope have not disproven the big bang, despite certain popular articles claiming otherwise. If that’s all you needed to hear, then have a great day. That said, the latest Webb observations do reveal some strange and unexpected things about the universe, and if you’d like to know more, keep reading.

Let’s start with the rumors. What about the new Webb data would suggest the big bang is wrong? The same type of data Hubble gave us years ago. We generally think of evidence for the big bang being centered around two facts: first, that more distant galaxies have a higher redshift than closer ones, and second, that the universe is filled with a cosmic background of microwave radiation.

Read more at: Universe today