Cable Trouble Dogs Spacewalkers In European Lab Upgrades

Spacewalking astronauts encountered cable trouble Wednesday while attempting to make improvements to the International Space Station’s European lab.

Only one of the two lab upgrades was completely successful.

NASA’s Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover installed a new antenna on Columbus, one of three high-tech labs at the orbiting outpost. It took a few tries by scientists in Europe to get it turned on properly. No longer needed, the boxy antenna cover was thrown overboard.

Read more at: ABC news

NASA’s Past Tragedies Remind Workforce Of Human Spaceflight Risk

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center hosted a day of remembrance Thursday honoring people who died while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery.

The annual memorial pays tribute to those astronauts who died including three Apollo 1 astronauts, the seven crew members of Space Shuttle Challenger and seven astronauts of Columbia.

As Kennedy Space Center returns to hosting human space launches, NASA leaders said remembering the tragedies of the past serves as a reminder of the risk of spaceflight.

Read more at: WMFE


Space Command To Expand Network Of Allies That Help Monitor Orbital Traffic

To get intelligence about what is happening in orbit, U.S. Space Command works with a close-knit group of allies and private companies.

The command is now looking to expand its network of data-sharing partners as activities in space grow and the Pentagon worries about Chinese weapons targeting U.S. satellites.

“How do we create the space picture? How do we know who’s in the domain and operating there?” asked Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, who commands the multinational space operations arm of U.S. Space Command.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA’s Efforts to Mitigate the Risks Posed by Orbital Debris

The Office of Inspector General evaluated NASA’s efforts to mitigate the risks posed by orbital debris—human-made objects in space no longer serving a useful purpose—as well as the Agency’s coordination with international and commercial organizations to address the issue.

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Axiom Announces Crew For First Private ISS Mission

A commercial Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station early next year chartered by Axiom Space will carry four private astronauts — but not a superstar actor.

Axiom Space revealed Jan. 26 the crew of its first mission to the ISS, called Ax-1 and scheduled for launch no earlier than January 2022. The flight is the first in a series planned by the company, which seeks to later add commercial modules to the ISS as a precursor to a stand-alone space station.

Read more at: Spacenews


Phase Four Launches First Plasma Propulsion Systems

Electric propulsion company Phase Four flew its first plasma thrusters on two spacecraft that were part of a SpaceX dedicated rideshare launch Jan. 24.

Phase Four said its Maxwell plasma propulsion systems were on two of the 143 spacecraft launched on the Transporter-1 mission. The company declined to name the satellites at the request of its customer, which is flying an operational mission but is also testing other new designs on those spacecraft.

Read more at: Spacenews

JAXA Ships New H3 Rocket To Tanegashima Space Center For Testing

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is moving ahead with testing of its new H3 rocket as it seeks to replace its aging flagship H-IIA launch vehicle.

The first stage of the 5.2-meter-diameter H3 launcher was unveiled to press at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Tobishima plant in Aichi Prefecture Jan. 24.

The core stage is being transported to Tanegashima Space center for a series of tests beginning in February as part of preparations for eventual launch.

Read more at: Spacenews

Electron Launch Demonstrated Enhanced Kick Stage

Rocket Lab stretched the performance of the kick stage of its Electron rocket on its most recent launch, the first in a series of milestones the company has set out for this year.

During the Jan. 20 launch, Electron’s kick stage placed its payload, a satellite built by German company OHB Group, into a circular orbit at an altitude of 1,200 kilometers. The kick stage fired again to lower the perigee of its orbit by 740 kilometers to accelerate its eventual reentry.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA To Conduct 2nd ‘Hot Fire’ Test With SLS Megarocket In February

NASA will conduct a second critical engine test for its first Space Launch System megarocket in February after the first attempt ended earlier than planned this month.


“NASA plans to conduct a second green run hot fire test as early as the fourth week in February with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage that will launch the Artemis 1 mission to the moon,” NASA officials said in a statement Friday (Jan. 29). 

Artemis 1 is the first uncrewed test flight of the SLS rocket for NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2024. The mission was slated to launch to the moon later this year.

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What Happens to the Space Force Now?

The headquarters of the United States Space Command was supposed to be based in Colorado. Since then-President Donald Trump revived the command in 2018, the state had been its temporary home, and last February, when the search for a permanent location was still on, he had teased that the current arrangement could win out. “I will be making a big decision on the future of the Space Force as to where it is going to be located, and I know you want it,” Trump said at a rally in Colorado Springs last February. “You are being very strongly considered for the space command, very strongly.”

Read more at: Atlantic

What’s Really Going on With Elon Musk, the FAA, and Starship?

There were moments of high drama on Thursday afternoon, and again Friday morning, in South Texas. For two days in a row, SpaceX evacuated the handful of residents remaining in Boca Chica Village. Sheriff’s deputies cleared beaches and closed roads. And at the company’s launch site, a Starship rocket prototype underwent preparations for launch.

The vehicle was ready, with ground equipment venting away. The winds were light. And then—nothing. As the hours ticked by, the rocket remained on the ground. Unfortunately for SpaceX, the Federal Aviation Administration had not given its final approval to launch. It all made for quite a South Texas Showdown.

Read more at: Arstechnica


U.S. Space Force Acquisitions To Get Fresh Look, Lawmaker Wants Hearings

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a leading proponent of establishing the U.S. Space Force, said he wants the Biden administration to put pressure on the service to clean up its procurement act.

Cooper chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee that wrote language in 2017 to establish a Space Corps, which ultimately became the Space Force.

A dysfunctional procurement process for military satellites was the “primary motivation” that convinced many members of Congress that space should be managed by a separate service branch under the Department of the Air Force, Cooper said Jan. 27 on a Politico live webcast. 

Read more at: Spacenews

SPACECOM’s New Vision Targets ‘Space Superiority’

In his new Commander’s Vision, the head of Space Command says leading the fight to prevent adversaries from disabling or destroying US space assets is his new focus.

“The intended audience is both internal and external,” Army Gen. James Dickinson told me in an interview yesterday. “Internally, the objective is to set the stage for SPACECOM personnel to develop and sustain a warfighting mindset necessary for our mission challenges in this new warfighting domain.”

Read more at: breaking defense


Elon Musk Blasted The FAA For Canceling Spacex’s Starship Flight Following A Reported Launch License Violation

SpaceX was ready to launch its latest prototype of its Starship rocket about six miles into the air on Thursday.

That is, until the Federal Aviation Administration stepped in — and possibly because of a rocket launch-license violation, Joey Roulette of The Verge reported.

The rocket sat on the launchpad at the company’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, ready for workers to remotely load propellant into its fuel tanks. Local officials closed roads in case of any explosions, and SpaceX even posted an announcement about the flight on its website. All the company needed was the FAA’s approval to fly.

Read more at: Business Insider

SpaceX Launches A Record 143 Satellites On One Rocket, Aces Landing

SpaceX successfully launched an ambitious rideshare mission as one of its veteran boosters hoisted 143 small satellites — a new record for a single rocket — into space before nailing a landing at sea.


The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Sunday morning (Jan. 24), soaring into a blue sky dotted with clouds at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station here in Florida. 

Perched atop the veteran launcher is a stack of 143 satellites as part of SpaceX’s first dedicated rideshare mission, called Transporter-1. The flight allowed SpaceX to flex its ridesharing muscles in a carefully choreographed orbital ballet as its flagship rocket ferried its largest number of payloads yet. 

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