China Says It Will Put Parachutes On Its Rocket Boosters Next Year And Here’s Why

China says it will test parachute landings of its Long March 3B rocket boosters in 2019 in order to limit the threat of space debris from launches from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.

The latest launch from Xichang on Monday saw two Beidou navigation satellites sent into medium Earth orbits, but also saw the used up boosters from the first stage land near a populated area downrange.

Fortunately there were no injuries, and precautions including notification and evacuation of areas within the calculated drop zones help to prevent tragedy. As it stands the dangerous, uncontrolled events are all-too-common.

Read more at: Gbtimes

Safety Panel Says Much Work Left To Do Before Commercial Crew Ships Fly

NASA safety advisors on Thursday lauded hardware milestones on Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew capsules, but said multiple technical issues, including problems with parachutes, must be resolved before the human-rated ships are ready to carry astronauts, adding that both companies continue to pursue schedules that appear to be unachievable.

Members of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said engineers at both companies, which work under contract to NASA, are examining their parachute designs after encountering failures during testing.

The chair of the safety panel also said Thursday that Boeing and SpaceX’s most recent schedules for orbital test flights of their commercial space taxis remain overly-ambitious. She added that, so far, safety remains a priority in NASA’s commercial crew program, but cautioned that schedule pressures could be exacerbated by Thursday’s emergency landing of two-man crew heading to the station on a Soyuz rocket, which threw the schedule for future Soyuz crew launches into question.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

What It Felt Like to Be Aboard the Failed Rocket Launch to the Space Station

Everything was going smoothly — until NASA astronaut Nick Hague felt a sudden tremor. “The first thing I really noticed was being shaken pretty violently side to side,” he said during his first publicly broadcast interviews since his Soyuz rocket failed shortly after liftoff on Oct. 11.

The rocket was meant to carry Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to the International Space Station in what would have been the American’s first trip to space. Instead, the pair’s emergency rescue system kicked into action after a problem during booster separation.

Their capsule separating from the troubled booster was the source of that shaking, and it was accompanied by an emergency light and alarm. Together, those signs told the two astronauts that their job description for the day had just been rewritten — instead of reaching the space station, it was now just to make it back to Earth safely.

Read more at: Space.com

Launch Abort Confirms Reliability Of Soyuz Emergency System — NASA Astronaut Hague

The aborted launch of Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft has demonstrated the reliability of the rocket and the spacecraft’s emergency systems, NASA astronaut Nick Hague told reporters during a televised media conference on Thursday.

On October 11, Hague and his crewmate, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, were scheduled to join the International Space Station’s crew, but their mission was aborted due to a malfunction in the booster of the Soyuz MS-10 rocket.

Starting from the 1960s there have been more than 160 unmanned and manned launches of the Soyuz spacecraft. The space rocket corporation Energia created the emergency rescue system in the 1960s alongside the manned Soyuz spacecraft.

Read more at: TASS

US Astronaut Hague ‘Amazed’ By Russian Rescue Team’s Work After Soyuz Failure

NASA astronaut Nick Hague told NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine that he was impressed by the teamwork of the rescue crew that helped him and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to get out of the rescue capsule after their recent emergency return to Earth over launch vehicle failure.

“They had three pararescue jumpers. As soon as they had found where we were at… they jumped in to get to us as quick as they could… In a handful of minutes, somebody was tapping on the window next to me, giving me the OK symbol, and I was answering back with a big smile, and then they had the hatch open,” Hague said on Wednesday, as broadcast by NASA.

The astronaut added that he was “amazed” at the quick response of the rescue crew.

Read more at: Spacedaily

NASA Chief Believes Human Mission To Mars Should Become International Project

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be unable to implement a program for sending a manned mission to Mars, its chief, Jim Bridenstine, told TASS in an interview. A little more than a week ago Bridenstine was in Moscow and the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan and for the first time met with his Russian counterpart, chief of the Roscosmos corporation Dmitry Rogozin.

“We want that to be an international collaborative project,” he said.

According to Bridenstine, the United States is developing “an architecture on the Moon, that same architecture when we think about launch providers and spacecraft and reusable command modules and landers and launch ascent vehicles, that could take off from the surface of the Moon.”

Read more at: TASS

US Wants Russia To Be Partner In Creating Lunar Orbital Outpost, Says NASA Chief

The United States would like to cooperate with Russia in implementing the project of creating the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told TASS on Friday.

More than a week ago, the NASA chief visited Moscow and the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and also met with Roscosmos Space Agency Chief Dmitry Rogozin for the first time.

“We have had some discussions about very specific contributions [about Russia’s participation in the project], but I don’t want to announce those. As Russia feels comfortable and as general director Rogozin feels comfortable, rather him will announce what they are interested in, rather than me talk about it,” the NASA chief said.

Read more at: TASS

Pegasus Rocket, NASA’s ICON Mission At Cape Canaveral For Launch Next Week

A $242 million NASA mission to study the upper atmosphere has arrived at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a rare air-launch off the coast next Friday.

Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 Stargazer jet departed Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday morning and touched down around 4:30 p.m. at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Skid Strip.

That’s where NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer mission, or ICON, will take off around 3 a.m. Oct. 26, weather permitting.

Soaring to 39,000 feet, the Stargazer will drop Northrop’s 57-foot Pegasus XL rocket carrying the 634-pound ICON satellite off the coast of Daytona Beach as early as 4:05 a.m., near the opening of a 90-minute launch window.

Read more at: Florida Today

So, You Want To Become A Cosmonaut? Inside The 2018 Cosmonaut Selection Process

For more than 50 years, Russia (and, previously, the Soviet Union) selected the majority of its cosmonauts from the ranks of Air Force pilots or engineering and scientific bureaus and agencies closely linked to the space program. There were exceptions, such as the four female parachutists (and one engineer) selected in 1962, but generally, this approach served the requirements of the Russian space effort.

This changed in 2012, when Roscosmos launched the first ever “open selection” for cosmonauts, to which any Russian citizen could apply, subject to having a higher education in certain specified fields, generally good health, and be under the age of 35.

Read more at: Space review

Want to be a Mars Astronaut? You’ll Need the Proper Mindset

Can we go to Mars without going crazy? In May 2001, Discover’s cover story asked exactly that, exploring unanswered questions about the psychological perils of humans crammed together and flung through space.

At the time, scientists didn’t have much data to predict how people would handle the six-month journey. Researchers realized interpersonal skills and camaraderie would be critical to success.

We’re still not sure how things would go. But growing interest in the mental risks of space travel — which NASA lists as one of the biggest threats to astronauts — has spawned a wave of new research and technology.

Read more at: Discover magazine

Spacewalk To Inspect Hole In Soyuz Spacecraft’s Hull Scheduled For December

A spacewalk to inspect a hole in the manned Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft’s hull delayed from mid-November over the abortive launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket is planned for December, Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Programs Sergei Krikalyov said on Wednesday.

“We are planning this during the crew changeover. [Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko] will arrive while [Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergei] Prokopyev [currently staying on the International Space Station] won’t leave yet. So, we will be planning for this moment, for December. There are no more specific dates so far,” Krikalyov said.

“It is understandable that this won’t take place on the first day after the crew’s arrival as it will be necessary to prepare spacesuits,” the Roscosmos official said.

Read more at: TASS

Russian Investigators Identify Responsible for Failed Soyuz Launch – Source

Members of Roscosmos commission and investigators have identified those who could be responsible in the damage to one of the sensing devices on board the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket, which could have led to the failed launch of the Soyuz MS-10 manned spacecraft, a source at the Baikonur space center told Sputnik on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, a source at the spaceport told Sputnik that the state commission investigating the incident tended to believe that an “unintentional error” occurred during the assembly of the carrier rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. However, the source added that it was still “an open question why the mistake had not been noticed by the inspectors.”

Read more at: Sputnik news

A Fraying Spaceflight Infrastructure

In comments Friday in Moscow, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine praised the concept of what he called “dissimilar redundancy” in spaceflight. “In other words, if there is a hiccup in one country’s system, there is another country’s system capable of maintaining the operations until the first country is ready to go again,” he explained.

That sounds good in theory, but NASA and other space agencies have not been able to consistently implement it. Cargo resupply of the International Space Station is one example where it does work: the failure of an individual supply vehicle does not jeopardize the station since other vehicles, developed by other agencies or companies and launched on other rockets, can pick up the slack—critical since Cygnus, Dragon, and Progress vehicles have all suffered launch failures in recent years.

Read more at: Space review

Vostochny Spaceport Prepared For Launches After Cavities Filled In Launch Pad’s Casing

The launch pad for Soyuz rockets has been prepared for launches after the uncovered cavities under the reinforced concrete of the mobile service tower were filled, the press office of the Center for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure said on Friday.

“A special solution was injected into the cavities under the launch pad’s casing. The condition of the launch pad’s casing along the track of the mobile tower’s movement has been restored to meet the requirements of the design documentation. Now the compound has been prepared for the launch campaign. The mobile tower will move along the rail track according to schedule,” the press office said.

Read more at: TASS

USSTRATCOM, Thailand Sign Agreement To Share Space Services, Data

United States Strategic Command and the Royal Thailand Air Force signed an agreement for space situational awareness (SSA) services and data. Agreements like these lay the foundation that allows the United States to share information with allies and partners.

Rear Adm. Richard Correll, director of plans and policy for USSTRATCOM, signed the agreement, which bolsters the United States’ and Thailand’s awareness in the space domain. The bilateral relationship between the United States and Thailand dates back to 1818, equating to 200 years of friendship.

“Formalizing this relationship with our oldest Southeast Asian partner is crucial as space becomes more contested,” said Adm. Correll. “Agreements like this one, between responsible nations, ensures safe and secure space operations.”

Read more at: afspc

PHOTOS: SpaceX Rocket Debris Found on North Carolina Beach

Debris from a SpaceX rocket was found late last week on a North Carolina beach. The large piece of sheet metal washed up along the Outer Banks, according to officials.

SpaceX confirmed that the “rocket hardware” belonged to it, Mike Barber with the National Park Service wrote in an email.

Janille Turner, of Ocracoke, North Carolina, said she found the debris Friday afternoon. Turner and two other people were on the beach, about 40 feet from the shore, when they came upon the object.

Read more at: Mynews13

Jeff Bezos Wants To Send Tourists Into Space In 2019

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos isn’t just focused on selling you everything you’ve ever wanted, or on winning another Emmy.

Bezos, who also runs Blue Origin, a rocket company he called the “most important thing I’m working on,” is also focused on sending people into space on what he called a “tourism mission.”

Bezos wants to launch this mission next year.

“I’m hopeful that that will happen in 2019,” Bezos said Monday when he spoke at the Wired Summit in San Francisco. “I was hopeful it would happen in 2018. I keep telling the team it’s not a race. I want this to be the safest space vehicle in the history of space vehicles.”

Read more at: Recode

China’s Space Program Is Coming for Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos

Billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson dominate the emerging industry of commercial spaceflight. They’re competing to put satellites, tourists, or both in space in their bids to become cheaper alternatives to NASA, the European Space Agency, and other government-run space programs. But like pioneers in the smartphone and artificial intelligence industries before them, they now face competition from a deep-pocketed upstart that threatens to disrupt their launchpads: China. President Xi Jinping has loosened the government’s monopoly on space launches, and that’s fueling the formation of small domestic companies with ambitions to challenge Musk’s SpaceX, Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Read more at: Bloomberg

How American Space Launch Left Europe in the Dust

The United States space industry is booming, and not everyone is excited about it. The Europeans, who dominated commercial spaceflight before the rise of American upstarts like SpaceX, are suddenly worried that the America’s effort “now represents a further strong challenge to European competitiveness and freedom to act in space.”

That hand-wringing comes from a new report by a leading European space advocacy group. ASD-Eurospace fears that Europe has not only lost its comfortable lead in commercial spaceflight, but also is falling far behind the curve and won’t have the launch hardware and spacecraft to keep up.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Spacex Competitor Vector Raises $70 Million To Build More Rockets

Space company Vector today announced it has raised a $70 million funding round to build the Vector R and Vector H rockets. Vector focuses on the use of smaller rockets to put microsatellites in orbit and make deliveries. Vector plans to launch its first rocket later this year in Kodiak, Alaska and complete 12 Vector R flights in 2019, cofounder Jim Cantrell told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

To accommodate more flights, Vector plans to expand its factory near Tucson, Arizona.

“It’s an ecosystem philosophy that once these inexpensive launches are more available, and available to service individually the needs, that there will be a stimulus to the demand of that service by more companies coming into being,” Cantrell said.

Read more at: Venturebeat

Highland Spaceport Put on Hold

Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE) has dampened speculation that launches are set to begin a year ahead of schedule. Public consultations have begun on the £17m project at Melness in Sutherland with a planning application expected to be lodged next year.

The new spaceport is expected to employ about 40 people directly and support about 400 jobs in the region.

But amid signs that a new space race is emerging in Europe, the first launch from the A’Mhòine peninsula was being earmarked for 2020, according to reports linked to Lockheed Martin, the US company that is developing the project.

Read more at: Press and journal

Seattle Space Leaders Make Their Pitch To Lawmakers For A New Rocket Test Facility

One of Congress’ leading Democrats, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, met with leaders of the Seattle area’s space community today to make a pitch for his “Make It in America” campaign. They pitched back with an idea of their own: “Test It in Washington State.”

The Puget Sound region is quickly becoming known as a hub for space ventures such as Blue Origin, founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos; and Stratolaunch Systems, created by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. SpaceX, Spaceflight Industries and LeoStella have a growing presence here as well.

Read more at: Geekwire

Airbus Leveraging Partnerships, Investments To Deliver Greater Ground Truth

In August, Airbus Intelligence, a key player in the global geospatial industry, announced its Zephyr high-altitude drone set a world record, remaining aloft for nearly 26 days while gathering high-resolution imagery of Arizona. Airbus is investing heavily in Zephyr and Pléiades Neo, a constellation of four high-resolution electro-optical satellites, to enhance its Earth imagery, data and applications portfolio.

François Lombard, who took the helm at Airbus Intelligence in early 2017, is encouraging this type of innovation and partnerships like the ones formed recently with Earth observation constellation operator Planet and Orbital Insight, a geospatial analytics company.

Read more at: Spacenews

What’s Next For Paul Allen’s Big Investments? It’s Not Clear

Prior to his death on Monday, billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen invested large sums in technology ventures, research projects and philanthropy, some of it eclectic and highly speculative. What happens to those commitments now?

Outside of bland assurances from his investment company, no one seems quite sure.

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his company Vulcan Inc. He was 65. He never married and had no children, and details of his estate aren’t known.

Read more at: Foxbusiness

Spaceport Camden: FAA Fails To Reveal Potential Hazards, Environmental Group SELC Contends

The Federal Aviation Authority has ignored a request for information about potential hazards related to rocket launches from a proposed spaceport in Camden County, along Georgia’s coast, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The hazards relate to shooting rockets over populated areas, Little Cumberland Island and the Cumberland Island National Seashore, according to SELC’s lawsuit.

The SELC has been trying since March to obtain environmental information related to the high-powered effort to build a commercial spaceport on Georgia’s coast. A host of the state’s leading civic and elected officials have endorsed the effort.

Read more at: saportareport

China’s Commercial Aerospace Companies Flourishing

Many new companies have entered the commercial aerospace industry in China, supported by the government. Most of the CEOs come from government aerospace agencies or national scientific institutions. These companies still have a long way to go to catch up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The aerospace industry used to be a battleground for superpowers. Space agencies were all sponsored by governments. However, commercial upstarts have joined the competition since the beginning of this century.

Now, commercial aerospace companies can produce cheap and market-friendly spaceflight products at a fast speed. As of the end of 2017, three-quarters of the global production value in the aerospace industry was from commercial aerospace companies.

Read more at: Space daily

China Wants to Replace Streetlights With a Trio of Artifical Moons

One moon is enough for most of us, but not for officials of the Chinese city Chengdu. They want four, and are willing to spend a good amount of money to make it happen.

The plan from Chinese leaders is to put three small, highly reflective satellites in orbit by around 2020. These satellites would reflect light at night and be be around 8 times brighter than the light from a full moon, enough to brighten the streets of Chengdu without spending any electricity on lighting. Such a plan, if it works, could save the city nearly $250 million in electricity costs per year, more than enough to justify the cost of the satellites.

Even though Chengdu wants three reflective satellites, they wouldn’t all operate at the same time. They’d work on a rotation, and only one would light up the city at a time. Each satellite would provide light in a circle between 6 and 25 miles wide, enough to guarantee coverage of at least the inner city, and sometimes enough to cover the entire metropolitan area.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Installing Life Support the Hands Free Way

Last week saw the installation of ESA’s next-generation life-support system on the International Space Station. The new facility recycles carbon dioxide in the air into water that can then be converted into oxygen reducing supplies sent from Earth by half.

Installing the life support rack in NASA’s Destiny laboratory is no easy task as the facility is larger than a human being and weighs over 650 kg on Earth. In addition many cables and pipes need to be connected to the Station’s infrastructure – including a pipe that vents waste methane from the recycling process directly into space.

Read more at: ESA

CASC Helps Nation Reach For The Stars

The success of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) in the global space arena during the past four decades is rich testimony to the success of China’s reform and opening-up policy since late 1978.

The Beijing-headquartered, State-owned space and defense giant now has more than 170,000 employees, eight large academies and a dozen listed companies. It was ranked 343rd in the Fortune Global 500 list in 2018, making it the fourth largest aerospace enterprise in the world by revenue after Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin.

Read more at: China daily

Painting a Mars Rover Is Even More Complicated Than You’d Think

Aesthetics aren’t exactly a priority for any Mars rover, but that doesn’t mean a paint job isn’t crucial to success. Beyond offering a clean, minimal look, white paint can create an important reflective surface for any space-bound object. The Mars 2020 rover recently got its paint job, and that process is a microcosm for the level of detail that’s required for each and every part. There are no paint shops on Mars, after all.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Standards Being Set for Chinese Space Station

A technical committee is being established for setting up standards for China’s planned space station, reports the China Manned Space Engineering Office on Sunday.

The technical committee will be responsible establishing national standards, as well as military standards, for the research and development of manned space technology, its applications and related services.

The committee, made up of 37 experts, will be headed by Zhou Jianping, chief engineer behind the Chinese space station.

Read more at: China.org

Details of Space Council’s Upcoming Space Force Meeting Emerge

The National Space Council released a few more details today about its upcoming meeting on October 23.  As Vice President Mike Pence tweeted last week, the focus is on progress made and next steps to implement President Trump’s intention to create a Space Force as a new military department.

The meeting will take place at Roosevelt Hall of the National War College, part of the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Washington, DC.

It will begin at 11:30 am ET, just two and a half hours after Pence participates in a Washington Post Live “Transformers” event across town.  He will be interviewed by Bob Costa, Washington Post national political reporter and host of PBS’s Washington Week.  That interview also is about the Space Force.

Read more at: Space policy online

Unlike The US, China Seeks To Cooperate With Other Nations In Space Exploration

Unlike the space race during the Cold War, nations are looking forward to working together to explore the moon and Mars.

As the US attempts to build a Space Force and develop Martian colonies on its own, European nations and Russia are likely to join hands with China in the field of space exploration, a field in which China is experiencing a golden age, analysts say.

“China has its own space program, and it moves at its own pace, but it’s also open to collaboration,” Pascale Ehrenfreund, who heads the German Aerospace Center (DLR), was quoted as saying by Germany’s broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Read more at: Global times

NASA Should Focus On Research Not Rockets

When President Kennedy stood before Rice Stadium in 1961 and declared that America would “go to the moon,” the U.S. was well behind the Soviet Union in rocket technology, and knew it. The humiliation of Sputnik was still fresh in the mind of the American public, doubled when the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 became the first probe to impact the moon in 1959. Only months earlier, the Vostok program had even beaten the American Project Mercury to put the first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space.

In a now-classic example of public-private partnership, the newly formed NASA, led by German scientists like Wernher von Braun, worked with American companies over the next ten years to develop rockets like the Saturn V — still the tallest, largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever deployed. Especially in a world where many people still remembered the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, this was the height of human achievement.

Read more at: Stanford daily

45th Space Wing Gears Up For Surge In Launch Activity

The launch early Wednesday of a U.S. Air Force $1.8 billion communications satellite will be Brig. Gen. Douglas Schiess’  first mission as launch decision authority.

Schiess was sworn in Aug. 23 as commander of the 45th Space Wing and director of the Eastern Range, headquartered at Patrick Air Force Base. Since then, SpaceX launched a commercial satellite from the range, but the Advanced EHF satellite known as AEHF-4 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will be his first national security mission as the commander of the world’s busiest spaceport. The wing is responsible to ensure public safety during every launch from Cape Canaveral or Kennedy Space Center.

Read more at: Spacenews

Would a Space Force Mean the End of NASA?

Space, that final frontier, is something that catches the attention of a country naturally inclined to believe in ideas like “Manifest Destiny” and American exceptionalism. But how well does a Space Force fit that bill? And would a Space Force reignite a military space race and fuel diplomatic tensions with China and Russia?

Growing up in Florida, I was lucky enough to watch space shuttle launches with something that resembled regularity. As I got older and first learned about the history of NASA, its exploits during the Space Race and then its challenges, I never lost the sense of wonder at what NASA could do. I also gained an appreciation for the difficulties it had to overcome in order to reach those achievements. I’ve turned this interest into an academic career studying the politics of space, science and medicine.

Read more at: Conversation

X-37B Military Space Plane Wings Past 400 Days on Latest Mystery Mission

The latest mystery mission of the U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane has now passed the 400-day mark .

This mission — known as Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-5) — was rocketed into Earth orbit on Sept. 7, 2017, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The uncrewed space plane is carrying out secretive duties during the X-37B program’s fifth flight.

Read more at: Space.com

The Next Battleground: What Do We Really Know About What Adversaries Do In Space?

As the Pentagon moves to stand up a U.S. Space Command and Congress debates whether it makes sense to create a Space Force, a central focus is to defend satellites from orbital weapons that would seek to damage or destroy U.S. assets in space.

Washington policymakers are gripped by the prospect of enemies shooting missiles or lasers at U.S. systems. But that is only a small piece of the puzzle, says Jeffrey Gossel, senior intelligence engineer at the Space and Missile Analysis Group of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Read more at: Spacenews

China’s Moon Missions Could Threaten US Satellites: Pentagon

China’s lunar probes may one day threatencritical U.S.satellites, said one of the military’s top experts on space threats.

“We’ve seen [reports] in open press…that say the Chinese have a relay satellite flying around…the flipside of the moon. That’s very telling to us,” Jeff Gossel, the senior intelligence engineer in the Space and Missile Analysis Group at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said at an Air Force Association event on Friday.

In May, China launched the Chang’e 4 lunar relay satellite on an unusual trajectory: a lunar swing-by that pulled the satellite in a wide arc before settling it into a “parking orbit” at Lagrangian 2 on the moon’s far side.

Read more at: Defense one

Dr. Michael Mineiro Joins HawkEye 360 Inc. as Vice President of Legal and Regulatory

HawkEye 360 Inc., the first commercial company to use formation flying small satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) called geoanalytics, today announced Dr. Michael Mineiro has joined the company as Vice President of Legal and Regulatory. Following an extensive career in the U.S. government, Dr. Mineiro will lead HawkEye 360’s governmental affairs strategy, intellectual property portfolio, and assume responsibility for regulatory licensing and compliance.

“We are excited and very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Mineiro’s caliber join our team,” said HawkEye 360 Chief Legal Officer Alison Alfers. “

Read more at: Pr newswire

Paul Allen, the Quiet Space Baron

Twenty years ago, a large business jet touched down on a desolate airstrip in the California desert. Burt Rutan, the founder of Scaled Composites and arguably the most innovative aerospace engineer of his time, stepped outside to greet his guest and potential investor, the billionaire Paul Allen. Rutan watched the plane park, and, as the author Julian Guthrie describes in her book “How to Make a Spaceship,” “Out flipped … an elegant air stair. Burt looked up at Paul Allen and thought, God is here.”

Allen, who died on Monday, at sixty-five, was a man of tremendous wealth, accomplishment, and philanthropy. In 1975, he and Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft, ushering in the personal-computing age and catalyzing perhaps the most technologically innovative period of human history.

Read more at: Newyorker

What It’s Like To Travel To Space, From A Tourist Who Spent $30 Million To Live There For 12 Days

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has had a lot of attention recently for announcing that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be its first customer for a private space flight around the moon.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin reportedly plans to start selling $200,000 to $300,000 tickets in 2019 to send tourists on 11-minute suborbital space flights. And Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has sold 650 tickets to space (at about $250,000 a pop) with its first “more than tantalizingly close,” according to Branson. But gaming titan Richard Garriott has already been to space as a tourist. He lived there for 12 days in 2008, and it cost him $30 million.

Read more at: CNBC

12 Years After Her Trip To Space, Anousheh Ansari Takes Over As The CEO Of XPRIZE

In 2004, Iranian-American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari helped fund the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight. In 2006, she traveled to the International Space Station, becoming the first Muslim woman to go into orbit. Now she’s playing a leading role in the XPRIZE saga once again as the California-based foundation’s CEO.

Ansari’s ascension to executive leadership was announced today during the annual XPRIZE Visioneering Summit in Los Angeles, where 10 teams are vying for a chance to have their ideas turned into multimillion-dollar technological challenges.

Read more at: Geekwire

So which is it? How do you pronounce Gemini?

In “First Man,” the new film about the Neil Armstrong and the moon landing, astronauts and NASA officials say “GEM-uh-knee.” But the first pronunciation in the Webster’s New World College Dictionary Fifth Edition, the standard work used by The New York Times to settle such matters, the first pronunciation is GEM-uh-neye,” which is the way many of us say it. Or, to use the precise dictionary typography, jem′ə nī΄ versus jem′ənē΄.

Really, though, which is right?

Read more at: NY times

Review: Above and Beyond

A challenge for any author, filmmaker, or other documentarian is condensing and summarizing historical events into a manageable volume, such as a 300-page book or a two-hour film. That’s true for NASA as well: telling the story of the agency’s first 60 years, including its triumphs and tragedies, is a difficult task in terms of figuring out what to emphasize and what to leave out.

Filmmaker Rory Kennedy, niece of the late president, offers her take on the agency’s past, and potential future, in Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow.

Read more at: Spacereview

Fisher Space Pen Celebrates 50 Years In Space With Apollo 7 Pen Set

Fifty years ago, Walt Cunningham became one of NASA’s first Apollo astronauts to fly into space and, aboard the same mission, one of the first people to use a Space Pen.

Cunningham, together with his Apollo 7 crewmates Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele, spent 11 days in Earth orbit checking out the Apollo command and service module systems. Launched atop a Saturn IB rocket on Oct. 11, 1968, the three astronauts confirmed that the spacecraft was ready to support subsequent crews on flights to the moon and back.

They also verified that a pen equipped with a pressurized ink cartridge was suited for writing in microgravity.

Read more at: Collect space

Here’s The Long-Lost 1975 TV Episode That Jeff Bezos Makes People Watch To Understand What His Space Company Is All About

It’s no secret Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has always looked to the stars.

After all, Amazon’s Alexa was designed with the intention of becoming like the all-knowing ship’s computer from “Star Trek.”

Now a new feature from Wired sheds even more light on Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company that Bezos has described as his most important venture, more so than Amazon or The Washington Post.

Indeed, Bezos sells $1 billion a year in Amazon stock just to fund Blue Origin’s operations.

Read more at: Business Insider

In Defense of Elon Musk

He is under attack. For tweeting the wrong thing, for not making enough cars, for appearing unstable. Some of the criticisms have merit. Much of it is myopic and small-brained, from sideline observers gleefully salivating at the opportunity to take him down a peg. But what have these stock analysts and pontificators done for humanity?

Elon Musk is an engineer at heart, a tinkerer, a problem-solver—the kind of person Popular Mechanics has always championed—and the problems he’s trying to solve are hard. Really hard. He could find better ways to spend his money, that’s for sure. And yet there he is, trying to build gasless cars and build reusable rockets and build tunnels that make traffic go away. For all his faults and unpredictability, we need him out there doing that. We need people who have ideas. We need people who take risks.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Elon Musk’s Extreme Micromanagement Has Wasted Time And Money At Tesla, Insiders Say

It was late 2016. Tesla CEO Elon Musk had confidently told investors that his company would be cranking out 500,000 electric cars a year by 2018.

To hit those mass-market volumes, the CEO ordered a team of engineers to figure out how to “automate everything” about Model 3 assembly. The Model 3 was the future of Tesla. At $35,000 for the base model, it was supposed to be an affordable electric car that would vault Tesla from a niche car maker for the wealthy to a company that could serve everyone.

Read more at: CNBC

“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