An Astronaut Got a Blood Clot in Space. Here’s How Doctors on Earth Fixed It.

An unidentified astronaut aboard the International Space Station had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — or blood clot — in the jugular vein of their neck, according to a new case study.

The astronaut’s identity and exactly when the incident took place are being kept secret for privacy reasons, so identifying information was omitted from the case study. The astronaut was two months into a six-month stay at the International Space Station (ISS) when the DVT was discovered.

This was the first time a blood clot was discovered in an astronaut in space, and NASA had no established method for treating the condition in a “zero gravity” environment.

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Indian Astronauts to Begin Training in Russia, Chandrayaan-3 Approved

Four astronauts from India will begin training in Russia this month according to the head of India’s space agency.  India has not officially said when the first crewed mission will take place, but India’s Prime Minister set a goal of 2022 and an uncrewed test flight is planned this year.  India also has approved sending another lander/rover to the Moon to complete the tasks unfilled by Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.

K. Sivan, Chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), laid out those and other plans for 2020 and beyond during a press conference on New Year’s Day.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Starliner In Good Shape After Shortened Test Flight

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle that flew an abbreviated test flight this month appears to be in good condition as an investigation into the timer problem that shortened the flight continues.

In a Dec. 28 update, Boeing said technicians are continuing processing of the Starliner vehicle that landed Dec. 22 at White Sands Missile Range after a two-day uncrewed test flight. The spacecraft, christened “Calypso” by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams after landing, will be transported back to Boeing’s facilities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after the first of the year.

Read more at: Spacenews

Long March 5 Conducts Critical Return To Flight mission

In what will prove to be its most critical flight to date, China’s Chang Zheng 5 (or Long March 5, as it is known outside of China) rocket has conducted its third mission after two less-than-perfect previous flights.

Should Friday’s flight be confirmed as successful, it would pave the way for three critical launches in 2020: a lunar flight, a Mars mission, and a human spacecraft test flight.

The Chang Zheng 5 lifted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan, People’s Republic of China at 07:45 EST (12:45 UTC) on Friday, 27 December 2019 with the Shijian-20 test satellite bound for Geostationary Orbit.

Read more at: NASAspaceflight

SpaceX Reaches Parachute Testing Milestone

SpaceX said Dec. 23 that it completed the tenth successful consecutive test of the new parachute design for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, a milestone that NASA previously said was critical before the agency would allow astronauts to fly on the vehicle.

The company said in a tweet that the successful test took place Dec. 22, making the tenth consecutive multi-parachute test of the design the company calls Mark 3. That test, the company said, brings it “one step closer to safely launching and landing NASA astronauts.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Human Space Missions Pose Challenges: Air Commodore

Is a reliable rocket also a safe one? Designing a safe environment for astronauts to travel to space, spend days there and return safely to earth can pose extremely complex and difficult challenges, according to Air Commodore Anupam Agarwal, Commandant, Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), Bengaluru, who on Friday outlined the problem of the human factor in manned space missions.

A premier institute of the Indian Air Force (IAF), IAM is collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in preparing astronauts for the manned Gaganyaan mission.

Read more at: Hindu


Russia’s Meteor-M Satellite Hit By Micrometeorite

One of Russia’s Meteor-M satellites has become uncontrollable following an external impact, presumably a micrometeorite strike, Russia’s Roscosmos state space corporation said on its website on Tuesday.

“On December 18, 2019, an emergency situation caused by external influence (presumably, a micrometeorite) was reported on board Meteor-M (identification number 2-2) spacecraft,” the space agency said. “As a result, the parameters of the spacecraft’s orbit were changed, and it entered the non-directed flight mode with high angular velocity.”

After that, the spacecraft switched to energy-saving mode.

Read more at: TASS

Iridium Would Pay To Deorbit Its 30 Defunct Satellites — For The Right Price

Iridium Communications completed disposal of the last of its 65 working legacy satellites Dec. 28, while leaving open the possibility of paying an active-debris-removal company to deorbit 30 that failed in the decades since the operator deployed its first-generation constellation.

McLean, Virginia-based Iridium started deorbiting its first constellation, built by Motorola and Lockheed Martin, in 2017, as it replaced them with second-generation satellites from Thales Alenia Space. 

Read more at: Spacenews

The Year of the Satellite Megaconstellation

2019 will be remembered for many accomplishments in spaceflight. The first all-female spacewalk, conducted by Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, was a long-overdue milestone. Private spaceflight companies made strides as well, from Blue Origin’s moon lander to SpaceX’s Starhopper test to small satellite launcher Rocket Lab’s plan to recover its rockets, which would make spaceflight even more sustainable.

On the human spaceflight front, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing while also asking serious questions about the feasibility of Artemis, NASA’s plan to return to the moon’s surface by 2024. This year will also be remembered as a dance of slow progress and setbacks for Boeing and SpaceX.

Read more at: Slate

Galactic Cosmic Ray Model Works Without Physics, And That Is Bad

Way back when the world was young and I still attended physics conferences, I got very excited by galactic cosmic rays. There seemed to be more cosmic rays than expected coming from the center of our galaxy. Those excess cosmic rays might be evidence for dark matter, which would be a big breakthrough if confirmed. Later modeling of cosmic ray sources showed that the extra cosmic rays were probably not coming from the annihilation of dark matter. But, now it seems we are back to square one, because that model may not have been accurate.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Lasers Learn To Accurately Spot Space Junk

Chinese researchers have improved the accuracy in detecting space junk in earth’s orbit, providing a more effective way to plot safe routes for spacecraft maneuvers.

“The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to one!” exclaimed C-3PO as Han Solo directed the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid field in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” Earth’s orbit is nowhere near as dangerous, but after more than half a century of space activity, collisions between jettisoned engines and disintegrated spacecraft have formed a planetary scrapheap that spacecraft need to evade.

Read more at: Eurekalert


Audacy Defaulted On Debt, Shut Doors In 2019

Silicon Valley startup Audacy failed to attract the funding necessary to build an inter-satellite communications relay network and closed up shop in 2019.

Prior to the firm’s demise, customers signed memoranda of understanding to spend more than $100 million annually on Audacy’s network and the firm obtained a Federal Communications Commission license to provide fixed and inter-satellite communications services from a constellation of medium Earth orbit satellites.

Audacy’s name was a nod to the ambitious nature of the undertaking. After learning of the plan to create a commercial version of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay network, someone called the effort “audacious.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Spaceport Vision Falls Back To Earth

Controversial proposals to create Britain’s first vertical launch spaceport have gone back to the drawing board.

Part of the scheme – which has split the community in Sutherland where it is planned – is to be re-designed after feedback from concerned locals and statutory consultees.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is heading up the Space Hub Sutherland project and had been holding a series of consultation meetings with local communities , which ended last month in Melness, the closest area to the site.

Read more at: Herladscotland

Commercial Suborbital Carrier Rocket Launched In China

A commercial suborbital carrier rocket developed by a private Chinese company was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 4:50 p.m. Wednesday (Beijing Time).The rocket, Tansuo-1, was developed by Space Trek. It completed the whole maneuver flight and fairing separation at high dynamic pressure during the flight.The rocket can serve purposes of meteorological observation, microgravity testing as well as satellite payload experiments.It was the maiden flight of the first rocket developed by the company.

Read more at: Xinhuanet


U.S. Tests Ways To Sweep Space Clean Of Radiation After Nuclear Attack

The U.S. military thought it had cleared the decks when, on 9 July 1962, it heaved a 1.4-megaton nuclear bomb some 400 kilometers into space: Orbiting satellites were safely out of range of the blast. But in the months that followed the test, called Starfish Prime, satellites began to wink out one by one, including the world’s first communications satellite, Telstar. There was an unexpected aftereffect: High-energy electrons, shed by radioactive debris and trapped by Earth’s magnetic field, were fritzing out the satellites’ electronics and solar panels.

Read more at: Sciencemag

‘Crucial Gaps In Isro’s Plans To Use More Indian Products’: House Panel Chief

The chairman of a key parliamentary panel has pointed out “crucial gaps” in the national space agency’s plan to use more Indian products, and called for eminent facilities located in southern India to develop partnerships with national institutions elsewhere in the country for cutting-edge scientific research.

Jairam Ramesh, chairman of the House panel on science, technology, environment, forests & climate change, made these observations in a letter to Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu after the committee visited 15 top-notch national institutes, including the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and the Indian Institute of Space Science & Technology over five days.

Read more at: Hindustan times

NASA Will Try Out An Instrument Designed To Make Oxygen On Mars

The next Mars mission will have an instrument that can make oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere. It will be crucial for keeping astronauts alive and for fueling rockets.If astronauts are going to walk on Mars someday, they will, of course, need to breathe, so they’ll either need to bring oxygen or make it there. On NASA’s next robotic mission, they plan to bring an instrument that can do that – that can make oxygen. 

Read more at: NPR

Solar Sail In Earth Orbit Is Big Breakthrough For China

The Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA) announced on Thursday that China’s first solar sail, SIASAIL-I, has successfully verified a number of key technologies in orbit, a big breakthrough in China’s solar sail development.

The solar sail developed by the institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences based in Northeast China’s Liaoning province is a spacecraft powered by the reflected light pressure of the sun on the spacecraft’s membrane. Because it does not consume additional chemical fuel, a solar sail is considered to be the one and only spacecraft that may reach outside the solar system. It can be applied to a wide range of fields, including asteroid exploration, geomagnetic storm monitoring, solar polar exploration and space debris removal.

Read more at: Chinadaily

New Engine Tech That Could Get Us To Mars Faster

Because of the orbital paths Mars and Earth take around the Sun, the distance between them varies between 54.6 million km and 401 million km.

Missions to Mars are launched when the two planets make a close approach. During one of these approaches, it takes nine months to get to Mars using chemical rockets – the form of propulsion in widespread use.

That’s a long time for anyone to spend travelling. But engineers, including those at the US space agency (Nasa), are working with industrial partners to develop faster methods of getting us there.

Read more at: BBC

Scientists Present Best Images Yet of Ionosphere From Space

Fresh findings about the edge of Earth’s atmosphere are puzzling scientists affiliated with two missions that launched this year, and then some.

This zone, at an altitude of roughly 50 to 400 miles (80 to 645 kilometers), is full of strange physical phenomena that scientists are only beginning to understand. In the ionosphere, charged particles released by the sun interact with gases at the top of Earth’s atmosphere in intriguing ways.

Take, for example, the “aurora seashell.” During a NASA internship, Jennifer Briggs spotted images of an Arctic aurora, or northern lights, that had a strange spiral. This whirlpool suggested a large disturbance in the magnetosphere, which is the zone bordering the ionosphere. Weirder still, the sun did not release any eruptions before the disturbance.

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Catastrophic Ohio Methane Leak Stayed Hidden Until a Satellite Found It

A little-noticed 2018 methane leak at an Exxon Mobil site in Ohio was one of the worst in recent memory, outpacing the methane emissions from the entire oil and gas industries of many countries.

That’s according to a paper published Dec. 16 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and first reported in the The New York Times. When the natural gas well in Belmont County, Ohio, blew in February, it was a significant local event, prompting the evacuation of about 100 residents within a 1-mile (1.6 kilometers) radius, the Times reported. But it wasn’t clear how large the leak was until researchers in the new paper, studying data from a new European Space Agency (ESA) methane-monitoring satellite, spotted the plume.

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A ‘Wild Environment’: Uncertain Safety Rules Await Space Tourists

When buckling up for a road trip, passengers can be confident the vehicle has met a range of federal and state safety regulations — from the durability of the car’s frame to reliability of the brakes and performance of the seat belts.

But when the first space tourists strap in for their maiden voyage to space in 2020, they’ll have no such guarantees.

No federal regulator will have certified whether the spacecraft is safe — and only a patchwork of authorities exists to investigate a private space disaster, a POLITICO investigation found.

Read more at: Politico

China And The United States Will Compete For Launch Supremacy In 2020

For the second year in a row, China dominated the global rankings in terms of orbital launches. The communist country finished 2019 with 34 orbital launch attempts and 32 successes.

Russia ranked second, with 25 attempts and successes, followed by the United States with 21 out of 21 successful launches. New Zealand, Europe, and India all tied for fourth place overall, with six successful launches. (These rankings are determined by where the rocket’s primary stage is manufactured.)

The coming year should see this global competition tighten. China has declared its intention to launch 40 or more orbital missions in 2020. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation will conduct the majority of missions with its Long March fleet of rockets, including notable missions such as China’s first Mars spacecraft as well as the Chang’e-5 lunar probe, which is intended to bring Moon samples back to Earth.

Read more at: Arstechnica

US And Japan In Talks To Boost Space Ties, Send Japanese Astronauts To Moon In 2020s

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine proposed to the Japanese government during a visit in September 2019 that it join the U.S. in a plan to put Japanese astronauts on the surface of the moon in the latter half of the 2020s, multiple sources familiar with the matter said.

If this were to be realized, it would be Japan’s first moon landing, and it could possibly make the country only the second in history, after the U.S., to put a person on the astronomical body. The U.S. believes the moon is set to become a strategic point in the near future both in terms of economics and security, and its moves to strengthen ties with Japan are apparently part of an aim to check China’s rise to interstellar prominence.

Read more at: Mainichi

Russia, US to Discuss Lunar Gateway Station ‘Closer to Spring’ – Head of Roscosmos

Russia and the United States will have their next meeting, where Russia’s participation in Lunar Gateway Station will be discussed, “closer to spring,” the head of space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said.

“[It will happen] closer to the spring, I think. We looked at all the pros and cons based on the interest in maintaining station and its non-stop work,” Rogozin said, when asked about possible talks between NASA and Roscosmos.

Read more at: Sputniknews


CSIS Bad Idea: Giving Space Command An AOR

After a 17-year hiatus, the United States Space Command was re-established in 2019 as a new combatant command focused on operations, doctrine, and plans in the space domain. However, unlike its predecessor Space Command from 1985 to 2002, the newly re-established Space Command was deemed a geographic command.

Within the Department of Defense, combatant commands are separated into two categories: geographic and functional. Each command is charged with deploying and operating in their geographic or functional area.

Read more at: Breaking defense

New US Space Force Hub Renamed ‘SPOC’

The 14th Air Force, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, has been renamed. It will now live long and prosper as Space Operations Command, or SPOC, according to a recent service announcement.

The change was made in accordance with the transition from Air Force Space Command to the U.S. Space Force, effective Dec. 20 when President Donald Trump signed the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), establishing Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. military.

Read more at: Military

Is It Terminal? Mess Threatens DoD SATCOM & Multi-Domain

The third GPS III satellite sporting the jam-proof, spoof-proof military signal called M-Code is due to be launched next month. Sadly, troops won’t be able to use that encrypted signal until at least 2021 (if then, given the program’s history of delays) because there aren’t any receivers for it yet fielded.

Even though satellite communications are critical to future multi-domain operations (MDO), the Pentagon seems incapable of fixing long-standing problems with ground terminals and mobile receivers that stop users in the field and weapons platforms from communicating efficiently.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Beijing Attacks US For ‘Weaponization’ of Outer Space

Beijing warned Monday that the US was turning the cosmos into a “battlefield,” after Washington announced a new military arm called the Space Force.

Following concerns that China and Russia are challenging its position in space, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act on Friday — which created a new branch of the U.S. military.

Beijing responded by accusing the US of “pursuing the weaponiZation of outer space”.

Read more at: VOAnews


Jury Convicts Former NASA Contractor Of Providing False Documentation In Connection To Orion Project

A 32-year-old former NASA contractor faces up to 10 years in federal prison after he was convicted of providing false documentation to a federal agency in connection with a deep-space rocket program at the Kennedy Space Center.

Investigators said the contractor, who worked as a project manager with the California-based CBOL Corporation, falsely certified steel tubing from China despite contractual stipulations with the space agency requiring such material comes from the United States. 

Read more at: Florida today

The Decade in Spaceflight: NASA Shuttles Retired as Private Spaceships Took Flight in the 2010s

As not only 2019 but the whole 2010s come to a close, it’s time to review some of the biggest space science stories of the decade.

From, the space shuttle’s retirement to the rise of space startups, the past 10 years have seen some incredible spaceflights. Here are the top stories of the decade.

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Monaco’s own Space Program Aims Skywards with High Tech NanoSatellites

Two vast frontiers stretch almost beyond our reach, the oceans and outer space. Prince Albert I was instrumental in bringing science to bear on the oceans, pioneering environmental projects in advance of today’s scientists and on which they can now benefit. During Prince Albert II’s reign, Monaco is currently venturing in the exploration of the last and arguably the most exciting frontier – space. Monaco is already the leading European country to engage with NASA via Axiom, an organisation partnering NASA on Space travel.

Read more at: Hellomonaco

Boeing CEO Out; Systemic Problems May Remain

Beleaguered Boeing Co. has pushed out CEO Dennis Muilenburg in an attempt to recover from a string of high-profile program failures. But it is unclear if a change at the top will fix what some close observers of the company say are the root causes of the company string of problems.

Richard Aboulafia, long-time aviation business analyst at Teal Group, says Boeing seems to be suffering from a systemic failure: a dysfunctional relationship between the management and engineering sides of the house that affect both military and civil programs.

Read mroe at: Breaking defense

Since Boeing’s 737 Max jet was grounded in March, after two crashes killed 346 people, a question has loomed for the company: Would passengers be too scared to fly on the plane once it returned to the air?

It turns out that even as Boeing continues to work on technical fixes to the plane that are needed for regulatory approval, it has repeatedly surveyed thousands of passengers around the world to try to find out the answer. The latest results, from this month, found that 40 percent of regular fliers said they would be unwilling to fly on the Max.

Read more at: NYtimes

11th IAASS conference