Boeing Attempts Uncrewed Test Flight To ISS A Second Time

Boeing will be aiming to get its spaceflight program back on track Tuesday with an uncrewed flight of its Starliner capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), after its last such test in 2019 ended in failure.

The spaceship is due to launch on an Atlas V rocket built by the United Launch Alliance from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 1:20 pm Eastern time (1720 GMT).

A livestream of the mission, Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), will be up on NASA’s website.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Russia’s Pirs Module Discarded After 20 Years Of Service At Space Station

Wrapping up nearly 20 years of service as a docking port and airlock, Russia’s Pirs module departed the International Space Station Monday under tow from a Progress supply ship and headed for a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere, clearing the way for arrival of a larger science lab later this week.

Russia’s Progress MS-16 cargo freighter undocked from the space station at 6:55 a.m. EDT (1055 GMT) Monday as the outpost soared 260 miles (418 kilometers) over northern China.

Instead of departing the station alone, the Progress spacecraft backed away from the complex with Russia’s Pirs docking compartment, clearing a port on the Zvezda service module that has been occupied since 2001.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Europa Clipper Mission To Launch Atop A Falcon Heavy

After years of debating on a launch vehicle Europa Clipper spacecraft, NASA has selected SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy for the highly-anticipated mission to Jupiter’s icy moon. Originally mandated by the United States Congress to fly atop NASA’s Space Launch System, earlier in 2021, NASA got the go-ahead to select a commercial launch vehicle if an SLS wouldn’t be available or if there was a hardware compatibility issue. As it turns out, a spare SLS is unlikely to be available for non-Artemis missions. So in January, NASA issued a solicitation for options to launch the flagship mission.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

Russia Says ‘Software Failure’ Caused Thruster Misfire At Space Station

Yesterday’s unexpected tilting of the International Space Station was caused by a software glitch, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.

A new Russian module dubbed Nauka arrived at the space station Thursday morning (July 29). In development for more than a decade, Nauka is designed to host science experiments, anchor visiting vehicles and serve as a gateway for spacewalks.

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Ariane 5 Lofts Two Satellites In Important Lead-Up To James Webb Launch

Close to one year after its last flight, the Ariane 5 ECA has returned to service with its first launch of 2021, lifting off at 21:00 UTC on Friday, July 30. The sixth overall mission for Arianespace this year follows a rework of the payload fairing due to vibration issues that could have endangered payloads.

On board the mission, named VA254, were two communications satellites bound for geostationary transfer orbit. This flight is the first of two that precede the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope as early as this November.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight


Ball Aerospace Completes Preliminary Design Review Of NOAA’s Space Weather Satellite

Ball Aerospace successfully completed the preliminary design review (PDR) for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) spacecraft. With PDR complete, the spacecraft now moves into the critical design phase.

Ball was awarded the contract to design and build the SWFO-L1 spacecraft on June 25, 2020 by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on behalf of NOAA. SWFO-L1 is an operational mission that will collect solar wind data and coronal imagery to meet NOAA’s operational requirements to monitor and forecast solar storm activity.

Read more at: Spacedaily

How AI Is Helping Space Debris Removal Efforts

As the space race heats up, debris has become a burning issue. Since the beginning of the space age in the 1950s, thousands of satellites and rockets have been sent to space and are marooned there. The Union of Concerned Scientists Satellite database has listed more than 4,084 operational satellites currently orbiting the Earth. In 2010, this number was less than a thousand. In the distant future, this problem can extend to the lunar surface and the asteroid belt (the current count stands at 34,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 10 centimetres in size and millions of smaller pieces).

Anti satellite tests smash and shrapnelize existing satellites into hundreds of newer pieces that may take anywhere between weeks or years to disintegrate in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at: Analytics India

Western Leads Global Project Observing Rare Meteor Showers And Meteorite Falls

As billionaires battle it out in a space race that only a handful of the world’s richest persons can play, a highly inclusive international project is looking in the other direction – what’s flying towards Earth – and all are welcome.

Led by Western University’s Denis Vida, the Global Meteor Network (GMN) is a collection of more than 450 video meteor cameras hosted by amateur astronomers and professionals alike in 23 countries across the globe.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Inmarsat Unveils Multi-Orbit Orchestra Constellation

British operator Inmarsat plans to add at least 150 low-Earth-orbit satellites to its global fleet, stepping up competition against OneWeb and others developing megaconstellations for mobility markets.

The company is investing $100 million over the next five years to lay the groundwork for deploying 150-175 LEO spacecraft.

They aim to join satellites Inmarsat has in geostationary and highly elliptical orbits from 2026.

Inmarsat, which currently operates 14 satellites, is also on track to add five new GEO and two HEO spacecraft to its network over the next five years.

Read more at: Spacenews

Astroscale And Rocket Maker MHI Team Up To Develop Debris Removal Technology

Astroscale, an orbital debris removal and satellite servicing company based in Japan, announced July 27 that it will be working with rocket maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on technologies to help clean up space junk.

The collaboration between Astroscale and a launch provider is significant because it could help address the growing problem of rocket upper stages left behind in orbit, which the European Space Agency identified as the most dangerous pieces of orbital debris.

A major concern cited by ESA is the breakup of satellites and rocket bodies caused when batteries or propellant tanks explode.

Read more at: Spacenews


iRocket To Begin Rocket Engine Testing At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Reusable rocket startup iRocket has entered into a new partnership with NASA in its quest to reach commercialization in just two years.

The partnership will give iRocket access to testing facilities and engineering support, chiefly at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The company is hoping that it will conduct its first rocket engine test — an on-the-ground engine firing test — at the Huntsville site in September.

Read more at: Yahoo

Rocket Lab Returns Electron To Flight With Dedicated US Space Force Mission

Rocket Lab conducted the 21st flight of its Electron small satellite launch vehicle, a return to flight mission following a failure over two months ago. The launch carried a satellite for the United States Space Force on a dedicated trip.

Electron launched at the opening of the launch window at 06:00 UTC Thursday.

Electron lifted-off from Rocket Lab‘s LC-1A launch site on Mahia Peninsula, located on the Eastern Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, which has been the launch site for all of Electron‘s previous launches.

This mission was originally meant to mark the first Electron launch out of Rocket Lab’s second launch site, LC-2, located on Wallops Island in Virginia, although the mission was moved to New Zealand after Rocket Lab encountered delays in obtaining certification from NASA regarding Electron’s Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS).

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

NASA Starts Proposal Solicitation for Near-Earth Commercial Satcom Services

NASA has started its proposal solicitation effort to identity satellite communications companies that could work with the space agency to demonstrate the feasibility of near-Earth satcom operations by 2025.

Interested commercial providers have until Aug. 20 to submit proposals for NASA’s Communications Services Project, the agency said Wednesday.

A notice posted on states that the agency looks to procure communications services for future spacecraft that will orbit close to Earth rather than maintaining the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System fleet.

Read more at: executivebiz

AST SpaceMobile Announces Launch Services Agreement to Deploy 693-Square-Foot Phased Array Spacecraft for Direct-to-Cell Phone Connectivity Testing

AST SpaceMobile, Inc., the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, today announced an agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for the launch of its next prototype spacecraft, BlueWalker 3.

BlueWalker 3 is expected to launch aboard a SpaceX mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in March 2022. The spacecraft has an aperture of 693 square feet and is designed to communicate directly with cell phones via 3GPP standard frequencies.

Read more at: Business wire


First Uncrewed Gaganyaan Mission Not Possible in December 2021: ISRO

The launch of the first uncrewed mission planned in December, as part of the human spaceflight programme ‘Gaganyaan’, will be delayed due to the COVID-19-induced disruption in delivery of hardware elements for the ambitious venture, ISRO confirmed on Monday.

“Definitely it will not be possible in December. It’s delayed”, Chairman of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), K Sivan, told PTI here. “It will shift to next year”.

Read more at: Wire

Japan Successfully Tests Rocket Engine Propelled By New Technology

Japan on Tuesday successfully tested a rocket engine that was propelled by new technology using shock waves produced by burning a mixture of methane and oxygen gases, with the aim of applying the propulsion method to deep space exploration in the future, the country’s space agency said.

The No. 31 vehicle of the S-520 sounding rocket series, measuring 8 meters in length and 52 centimeters in diameter and carrying the engine, lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at around 5:30 a.m., according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Read more at: Japan times

Rocket Tanks Of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic Proven Possible

Future rockets could fly with tanks made of lightweight carbon fibre reinforced plastic thanks to ground-breaking research carried out within ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme.

Building on earlier studies, MT Aerospace in Germany has demonstrated a novel design of a small scale tank made of a unique carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) that is not only leak-proof with liquid hydrogen, but also compatible with liquid oxygen, without the use of a metal liner.

A tank made solely of CFRP is much lighter than metal, requires fewer parts and is therefore faster and cheaper to manufacture.

Read more at: Spacedaily

NASA To Build New Canberra Deep-Space Antenna At Tidbinbilla

The 34-metre antenna will be built at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Centre. Construction is set to begin in 2024, to come online in 2029.

The $81 million antenna will be used to communicate with spacecraft and missions in deep space – more than 100,000 kilometres away from Earth.

Read moer at: Canberra times

For Hackers, Space Is The Final Frontier

From offering joyrides for the ultra-rich to beaming the internet down to Earth, private space companies are very much open for business. But some cybersecurity experts say this emerging industry is a giant target for hackers. Amid the surge in commercial rocket launches and a recent spike in ransomware attacks, cyberattacks aimed at space systems could disrupt internet access, interfere with the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, and even turn satellites into weapons.

Read more at: Vox

Shanxi Company Helps Astronauts Keep Fit In Space

During a recent video sent from the core module of China’s space station Tianhe (Harmony of the Heavens), an exercise bike attracted lots of attention from viewers.

China launched its seventh manned space mission Shenzhou XII on June 17. Three astronauts are on board Tianhe during a three-month mission, during which they require regular exercise.

On June 23, astronaut Nie Haisheng opened a package containing an exercise bike and assembled it in five minutes.

Read more at: Spacedaily

High Radiation, Low Gravitation: The Perils Of A Trip To Mars

Back in May, SpaceX launched its Starship SN15 prototype to about the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner before landing it safely. The company claims future versions of the rocket will be able to take 100 passengers at a time to the moon, and even Mars.

But while it’s one thing to send a rocket to Mars, it’s another to send people there alive. And it’s yet another thing to make sure the people can be as healthy as they were when they left Earth.

Read more at: ABCnews


Russia To Stop Using ISS By 2028, Create Own National Space Station

Russia is planning to stop using the International Space Station by 2028 and create a national space station instead given risks posed by ISS worn-out equipment, state space agency Roscosmos said on Saturday.

The corporation’s Scientific and Technical Council held a meeting earlier in the day.

“After reviewing the current state of the Russian section of the ISS, the council of chief designers has noted that due to the significant part of the station’s equipment getting old, further use of the Russian section of the ISS after 2024 poses additional risks,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Lift Off For UK Spaceflight As Regulations Passed

Another step towards space exploration from UK soil has been unlocked, with the passing of the spaceflight regulations, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced today (29 July 2021).

The legislation provides the framework to regulate the UK space industry and enable launches to take place from British soil for the very first time. It will unlock a potential £4 billion of market opportunities over the next decade, creating thousands of jobs and benefiting communities right across the UK.

Read more at: UK gov

Modi Government Actively Considering Space Activities Bill: MoS Dr Jitendra Singh

On July 29, Jitendra Singh, Union Minister said that the Space Activities Bill is under active consideration by the government. The Space Activities Bill aims to regulate and promote private participation in the space sector. Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Department of Space wrote this in a written reply to a query in Rajya Sabha today. Jitendra Singh said that the government is in process of creating an ecosystem to encourage private participation in space and in the indigenous production of space technology, devices and services.

Read more at: republic world

Parikh Named Executive Secretary Of National Space Council

The White House has named a former director of space policy at the National Security Council as the new executive secretary of the National Space Council.

The White House announced Aug. 2 that Chirag Parikh will be executive secretary of the council, responsible for its day-to-day activities. The council is chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Parikh was director of space policy at the National Security Council from 2010 to 2016, a time when the space council was inactive. He joined the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2016, serving positions such as deputy director for counterproliferation.

Read more at: Spacenews


Hypersonic Missile Booster Rocket Fails To Ignite In Test

In a test of a hypersonic booster rocket, a test rocket was successfully released from a B-52H bomber but failed to ignite, the U.S. Air Force said this week.

The test of the rocket propelling the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon was its second, and occurred on Wednesday at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

An Air Force statement on Thursday said that the booster test rocket, identified as BTV-1b, was released over the Point Mugu Sea Range.

Read more at: Spacewar

The Joint Warfighting Concept Failed, Until It Focused On Space And Cyber

The central difference between the Pentagon’s new Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC) and the military’s past approach is the recognition that space and cyberspace must be both protected and utilized — or else the data crucial to winning on the ground, in the air and at sea will be unobtainable, says Gen. John Hyten, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “You have to be able to understand space and cyber” to achieve All Domain Operations, he told an audience at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) today, during a roll-out of the new NDIA Emerging Technologies Institute.

Read more at: Breaking defense

House Panel Wants Details On Space Force Plans To Upgrade Launch Infrastructure

The House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on strategic forces in its markup of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act raises concerns about the state of the U.S. space launch infrastructure and questions DoD’s procurement of commercial space data.

The subcommittee, led by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), released its proposed NDAA language July 27. The full committee will mark up the bill July 28.

The proposed language asks the U.S. Space Force for details on its plans to modernize space launch ranges “including legislative action needed to implement those proposals.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Australia Joins Star Wars

In the face of emerging space threats, the Australian government is looking for a new ground-based Space Electronic Warfare capability.

It will stop jamming or spoofing attacks on Australia’s space-based assets and, being electronic, will not create dangerous space debris. ‘Hard kill’ options such as physically knocking out a satellite are increasingly dangerous to all space users because of the space junk they leave behind, so ‘soft kill’ methods are the main focus for most countries.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

Biden Taps Aerospace Corp.’s John Plumb To Run Dod Space Policy

President Biden has nominated John Plumb to be assistant secretary of defense for space policy, a White House spokesman said July 29.

Plumb currently is the chief of government relations at the Aerospace Corp., a federally funded research and development center focused on national security space programs.  He is a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve with expertise in space, missile defense, nuclear deterrence and submarine warfare. Before assuming his current post at Aerospace, Plumb was a senior engineer at RAND Corp.

The assistant secretary of defense for space policy is a new post that Congress established in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Read more at: Spacenews

EXCLUSIVE: NRO Space ‘Civil Reserve’ Includes Shutter Control Option

The National Reconnaissance Office is proposing a “Civil Reserve Space Fleet” of commercial imagery satellites, Breaking Defense has learned — a first-of-its-kind construct akin to the Air Force’s Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) or the Maritime Administration’s National Defense Reserve Fleet.

The twist is that the spy sat agency is seeking the right to permanently commandeer imagery taken during the time when that “fleet” is called up — a contractual form of what is known as “shutter control,” something that long has been the subject of fierce policy debate.

Read more at: Breaking defense


How Do Scientists Calculate The Age Of A Star?

We know quite a lot about stars. After centuries of pointing telescopes at the night sky, astronomers and amateurs alike can figure out key attributes of any star, like its mass or its composition.

To calculate a star’s mass, just look it its orbital period and do a bit of algebra. To determine what it’s made of, look to the spectrum of light the star emits. But the one variable scientists haven’t quite cracked yet is time.

“The sun is the only star we know the age of,” says astronomer David Soderblom of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “Everything else is bootstrapped up from there.”

Read more at: Sciencenews

Jeff Bezos And Sir Richard Branson May Not Be Astronauts, US Says

New Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules say astronaut hopefuls must be part of the flight crew and make contributions to space flight safety.

That means Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson may not yet be astronauts in the eyes of the US government.

These are the first changes since the FAA wings programme began in 2004.

The Commercial Astronaut Wings programme updates were announced on Tuesday – the same day that Amazon’s Mr Bezos flew aboard a Blue Origin rocket to the edge of space.

Read more at: BBC

It Was His Day Off. Then The Space Station Went For A Spin.

The International Space Station, with a mass of more than 900,000 pounds and spanning an area as large as a football field, is not designed to do back flips like an Olympic gymnast. But when a newly attached Russian compartment suddenly fired its thrusters on Thursday, NASA said on Twitter that the station tipped by 45 degrees.

Actually, it was much more than 45 degrees.

“That’s been a little incorrectly reported,” said Zebulon Scoville, the flight director who was in charge at NASA’s mission control center in Houston during Thursday’s tumbling incident.

Read more at: Seattle times

Why Alan Shepard Carried a Dollar Bill on His Mercury Flight

Shortly before Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, officials at NASA and the U.S. National Aeronautic Association (NAA) found themselves in a quandary. In the three weeks since Yuri Gagarin’s April 12th first spaceflight, a tempest-in-a-teacup had erupted over how that historic event should be certified. The Soviet Union was vigorously seeking official recognition from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, a Paris-based organization that has validated global aeronautical records in cooperation with national organizations like the NAA since 1905.

Read more at: Airspace mag

50 Years Later, the Soviet Union’s Luna Program Might Get a Reboot

On August 23, 1976, a small probe streaked through Earth’s atmosphere, crash-landing in a remote region of Siberia, 124 miles southeast of Surgut. On board was precious cargo—soil from our planet’s only natural satellite. It had been scooped up by a robotic lander and launched homeward three days earlier. Now, with its priceless payload successfully delivered, Luna 24’s mission was over. It would prove to be the Soviet Union’s final trip to the moon.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

Did Static Electricity — Not Gus Grissom — Blow The Hatch Of The Liberty Bell 7 Spacecraft?

The myth that a pioneering astronaut lost his nerve at the end of his first journey to space 60 years ago — which led to the loss of his spacecraft and his near drowning — stains the history of U.S. human spaceflight.

On July 21, 1961, the U.S. launched its second human into space, advancing Project Mercury, America’s response to Soviet space domination. The 15-minute suborbital flight by astronaut Gus Grissom went off without a hitch. Grissom experienced about five minutes of weightlessness, tested an improved autopilot, peered through a large spacecraft window to make navigational observations, and eventually splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more at: astronomy

‘Clair de Lune’ Masterpiece Becomes First NFT Music in Space

Claude Debussy’s classic masterpiece ‘Clair de Lune’ (‘Moonlight) became the first NFT music to orbit Earth in a test of a space-based commercial media platform supporting a new era of music and entertainment industry connectivity to outer space.

Artemis Music Entertainment Inc., based in Cape Canaveral, Florida, successfully beamed a specially commissioned performance of the classical masterpiece to the International Space Station (ISS) on July 28th, 2021, in a test of its Artemis Space Network, a space-based globally accessible commercial platform for music and entertainment media that will enable partnerships with artists, producers, creators, and curators to connect musical and artistic works to the inspiration, perspective and opportunity of outer space.

Read more at: Spaceref

Commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center Retires

The commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, Lt. Gen. John Thompson, officially retired during a July 27 ceremony at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The change comes ahead of a major organizational shakeup for SMC, with the U.S. Space Force planning to replace SMC with a new field command called Space Systems Command. The new organization will take over SMC’s roughly $9 billion budget while restructuring its various enterprises.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Bulova Marks Apollo 15 50th With Golden Replica Of Moon-Worn Watch

Fifty years to the day after its chronograph became the first and only “unauthorized timepiece” to be worn by an astronaut on the surface of the moon, Bulova is launching a golden replica of its infamous watch. Bulova’s 50th Anniversary Lunar Pilot is styled after the prototype chronograph that Apollo 15 commander David Scott secretly flew and wore for his third and final moonwalk on Aug. 2, 1971. The design of the original watch was never put into production, but a replica was introduced in 2016, after Scott sold his moon-flown artifact for $1.6 million at auction.

Read more at: Collectspace

Apollo 15’s 50th Anniversary: Moon Landing Seen In Stunning Detail

New images released to Fox News depict the Apollo 15 moon landing in remarkable detail 50 years later.

The pictures, remastered by “Apollo Remastered” author Andy Saunders, show the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) as it was driven by astronauts Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin on the moon’s surface for the first time.

Read more at: foxnews