Europe Weeks Away From Finalizing Sovereign Broadband Proposal

European space giants are putting the final touches on a proposal for a sovereign broadband constellation they say is inspired by Starlink but will not be a copy of SpaceX’s network from across the Atlantic.

Executives from Airbus Defence and Space, Thales Alenia Space, and Arianespace — part of a group of companies developing the Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite (IRIS²) constellation, discussed the project Jan. 23 at the European Space Conference in Brussels.

Read more at: spacenews

Japan’s Slim Moon Lander Overcomes Power Crisis To Start Scientific Operations

Japan’s Moon lander has resumed operations, the country’s space agency said on Monday, indicating that power had been restored after it was left upside down during a slightly haphazard landing.

The probe, nicknamed the “moon sniper”, had tumbled down a crater slope during its landing on 20 January, leaving its solar batteries facing in the wrong direction and unable to generate electricity.

Jaxa, Japan’s space agency, prioritised transmitting landing data before the battery ran out on the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (Slim), but said there was a chance the probe would be able to recharge once the west side of the moon starts receiving sunlight in the coming days.

Read more at: Guardian


5 Asteroids, Including One The Size Of A Sports Stadium, Expected To Pass Near Earth

An asteroid the size of a sports stadium was hurdling towards the Earth this week and will be joined by four other celestial near-misses, with the largest expected to pass within less than 2 million miles of the Blue Planet on Friday.

Asteroid 2008 OS7 is approximately 890 feet in diameter, according to NASA, and will make its closest Earth approach on Feb. 2, when the space rock, first discovered in 2008, is expected to miss us by 1.77 million miles.

Read more at: NYpost

Watch The Sun Spew Out A Giant Eruption Of Plasma In Incredible Footage (Video)

On Feb. 22, 2022, a gigantic solar prominence formed on the surface of the sun, blasting a large coronal mass ejection (CME) into space.

Solar prominences, or filaments, are large loops of plasma flowing along twisted magnetic fields that extend outward from the sun’s surface. They are attached to the sun’s photosphere, or visible outer layer of its atmosphere, and while they can form in just a day, they can last for months. Some prominences can extend for thousands of miles into space. Solar scientists still aren’t exactly sure how they form.

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Satellites Are Getting a Constellation of Traffic Cops

Earth’s orbit will be monitored by a watchful set of robotic eyes, the first commercial constellation of satellites with the ability to keep track of objects in space to avoid collisions between spacecraft.

Canadian startup NorthStar is getting ready to launch the first four of its Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites equipped with advanced optical devices for detecting space objects and star trackers for accurate positioning. The satellites will launch on board Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket on Sunday during a launch window that opens at 1:15 a.m. ET

Read more at: gizmodo

Geomagnetic Storm Watch Issued; Northern Lights Could Come To These States

A geomagnetic storm watch has been issued for Monday and Tuesday this week after an eruption of solar material was detected early Sunday morning.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) warned about the eruption, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) in a post to X. While “the general public does not need to be concerned,” the agency notes the CME could lead to the northern lights being visible across a handful of states in the coming days.

Read more at: thehill

NASA System Predicts Impact of a Very Small Asteroid Over Germany

A small asteroid about 3 feet (1 meter) in size disintegrated harmlessly over Germany on Sunday, Jan. 21, at 1:32 a.m. local time (CET). At 95 minutes before it impacted Earth’s atmosphere, NASA’s Scout impact hazard assessment system, which monitors data on potential asteroid discoveries, gave advance warning as to where and when the asteroid would impact. This is the eighth time in history that a small Earth-bound asteroid has been detected while still in space, before entering and disintegrating in our atmosphere.

Read more at: NASA


A Handful Of Space Companies Are Running Out Of Cash And Time. Here Are Three At Risk

The space sector’s on the tail end of a boom-and-bust cycle. While many companies battened down the hatches to survive, a few publicly-traded names are running on fumes.

A flurry of about a dozen space companies went public over the last few years. Although each have had fairly dismal stock performances since their debuts, the majority are still moving forward and look to build momentum in the year ahead, with some closing in on coveted profitability milestones.

But a trio of names appear likely to go the way of Virgin Orbit, which flamed out last year. Here’s who’s most at risk of delisting, acquisition or even bankruptcy.

Read more at: CNBC

ALDORIA Closes €10M Series A Funding

ALDORIA (formerly Share My Space), a leading pioneer in the field of Space Situational Awareness (SSA), announces the close of its Serie A funding round, securing €10M in equity investments from a strong syndicate, bringing the total amount of investment in the company to €22M to date. The consortium includes Starquest Capital, the European Innovation Council Fund, the French State, through its “Deeptech 2030” fund managed by Bpifrance, Expansion Ventures, Space Founders France, and Wind Capital. To support this new stage of development, the company is strengthening its brand. Effective today, Share My Space becomes ALDORIA, a former name of the Pleiades nebula.

Read more at: aldoria

ESA Sees Strong Interest In Commercial Cargo Program

The European Space Agency sees strong interest from industry in a new initiative to support development of commercial cargo vehicles, a step towards a European human spaceflight capability.

ESA released a call for proposals, which the agency calls an invitation to tender (ITT), Dec. 20 for its LEO Cargo Return Service program. The program, announced by the agency in November after a Space Summit meeting in Seville, Spain, is patterned on NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program that led to the development of SpaceX’s Dragon and Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

Read more at: spacenews

Google Wants to Take On SpaceX and Starlink in Space

Google is joining the space race.

The tech giant has thrown its financial support behind Starlink competitor, AST SpaceMobile, to help the company with product development, testing, and implementation.

Google is the latest Big Tech player drawn into the area of delivering space-based internet and phone service. SpaceX’s Starlink is working with T-Mobile on tests to make calls from space, while Amazon has launched test satellites to trial its own service, expected to launch next year.

Read more at: cordcuttersnews

SpaceX Wants To Expand Starship Launch Site With A Texas Land Swap

SpaceX wants to do a land swap in Texas to “expand its operational footprint around its launch facilities” for its giant new Starship rocket, according to the state.

SpaceX plans to give 477 acres (193 hectares) to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department near the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge a little north of Boca Chica in coastal South Texas, according to state documentation. The town of Boca Chica is near where the company conducts Starship launches and testing. In exchange, the department would grant SpaceX 43 acres (17.4 hectares) from Boca Chica State Park, closer to the Starship area.

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Virgin Galactic Launches Four Private Astronauts As It Prepares To End Unity Flights

Virgin Galactic conducted its first suborbital mission of 2024 on Jan. 26 as the company prepares end flights of its current spaceplane.

The VSS Unity spaceplane, attached the VMS Eve mothership aircraft, took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 12 p.m. Eastern. Unity separated about 45 minutes later, igniting its hybrid rocket engine. The vehicle reached a peak altitude of 88.8 kilometers before gliding back to a runway landing at the spaceport at 12:56 p.m. Eastern, according to data provided by the company

Read more at: spacenews


Astronomers Make Unprecedented Discovery In Search For Water In Space

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have detected water molecules in the atmosphere of a small, blazing-hot exoplanet 97 light-years from Earth.

The planet, named GJ 9827d, is about twice Earth’s diameter, and it’s the smallest exoplanet found to have water vapor in its atmosphere, according to a new study.

Water is essential for life as we know it, but the planet is unlikely to host any type of life due to searing temperatures that would turn a water-rich atmosphere into scorching steam.

Read more at: CNN

Scientists Just Discovered a New Type of Magnetism

All the magnets you have ever interacted with, such as the tchotchkes stuck to your refrigerator door, are magnetic for the same reason. But what if there were another, stranger way to make a material magnetic?

In 1966, the Japanese physicist Yosuke Nagaoka conceived of a type of magnetism produced by a seemingly unnatural dance of electrons within a hypothetical material. Now, a team of physicists has spotted a version of Nagaoka’s predictions playing out within an engineered material only six atoms thick.

Read more at: Wired

A Robot Surgeon Is Headed To The ISS To Dissect Simulated Astronaut Tissue

Very soon, a robot surgeon may begin its orbit around our planet — and though it won’t quite be a metallic, humanoid machine wearing a white coat and holding a scalpel, its mission is fascinating nonetheless.

On Tuesday (Jan. 30), scientists will be sending a slew of innovative experiments to the International Space Station via Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. It’s scheduled to launch no earlier than 12:07 p.m. ET (1707 GMT) and, if all goes to plan, arrive at the ISS a few days later on Feb. 1.

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Zeno To Recycle Decades-Old Radioactive Material To Fuel Its Radioisotope Power Systems

Zeno Power Systems announced Jan. 26 it is working with the U.S. Department of Energy to recycle decades-old radioactive material to produce radioisotope power sources.

Under the agreement with DOE, Zeno will have access to a large supply of strontium-90, a radioisotope created as a byproduct in nuclear fission reactors. The company will use the material to build radioisotope power sources, or RPS systems. These are compact devices that convert heat from isotopes into electricity.

Read more at: spacenews

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Confirms Presence Of Ancient Lake On Mars And It May Hold Clues To Past Life

Evidence of ancient lake sediments at the base of Mars’ Jezero Crater offer new hope for finding traces of life in samples collected by NASA’s Perseverance rover.Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18, 2021 inside the Red Planet’s 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater, which is believed to have once hosted a large lake and river delta. The rover has been scouring the crater in search of signs of past life and collecting and caching dozens of samples along the way for a possible future return to Earth.

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China, Russia Disguise Attack Threats Posed by Their Satellites, US Says

China and Russia have launched satellites that are meant to inspect and repair other spacecraft but could be used to attack US assets, according to a new report from the US Space Force.

The dual-use nature of some spacecraft, such as the Chinese satellites Shijian 17 and 21, “makes counterspace tests or hostile activity difficult to detect, attribute or mitigate,” the Space Force said in its first public assessment of threats since the service began operation in December 2019.

Read more at: Bloomberg

Europe Sets Up Space Finance Taskforce

The European Commission is joining forces with the European Space Agency and Europe’s investment arm to help more space companies get financing, including from a largely untapped multi-billion-dollar fund for strategic investments.

The tripartite agreement, signed Jan. 24 between the EC, ESA, and European Investment Bank (EIB), aims to streamline access to the variety of financial resources the region has on offer to grow its space ecosystem.

Read more at: spacenews

Space Wars: Europe’s Master Plan To Counter Elon Musk’s Starlink

The EU wants to curb the supremacy of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system — worried about the need to rely on U.S.-based SpaceX in the event of a national security crisis.

The European Union aims to sign contracts worth billions by the end of March to build and operate a new constellation of communication satellites dubbed IRIS², able to provide the kind of military-grade secure comms and internet provided by Starlink.

It’s a key technology that supplies high-speed internet by using thousands of low orbit satellites, and also has a strategic dimension — Ukrainian troops depend on it.

Read more at: Politico

ESA and EU Collaborate on Launch Initiative

The European Space Agency and European Commission have selected five launch companies to participate in a new program to provide flight opportunities for new technologies, a sign of a greater role the European Union seeks to play in launch.

In a ceremony during the European Space Conference in Brussels Jan. 23, ESA and European Commission officials announced the launch companies that will participate in the European Flight Ticket Initiative. The effort, announced last fall, is intended to stimulate demand for European launch services by allowing them to compete for missions in the EU’s In-Orbit Demonstration and Validation technology program.

Read more at: spacenews

Internet From Space: U.S. Air Force Bets On Commercial Networks

The U.S. Air Force is funding a new round of experiments with satellite internet providers in an effort to bring connectivity to military aircraft and ground vehicles.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in 2023 awarded $250 million worth of contracts to commercial satellite operators and defense contractors for various experiments. These projects are part of the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet, or DEUCSI, an AFRL program launched in 2017 to explore the capabilities of commercial space internet constellations — in geosynchronous, medium and low Earth orbits — to connect military platforms with user terminals that can talk to multiple space broadband providers.

Read more at: spacenews

Belgium Signs Artemis Accords

Belgium has signed the Artemis Accords outlining best practices for responsible behavior in space exploration, becoming the latest major European space power to join.

In a ceremony on the sidelines of the European Space Conference in Brussels Jan. 23, Hadja Lahbib, Belgium’s minister of foreign affairs, and Thomas Dermine, secretary of state for science policy, signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of the Belgian government. Belgium is the 34th country overall, and first so far in 2024, to sign the document.

Read more at: spacenews


Space Force Selects Vendors For Suborbital Launch Services

The Space Force’s Space Systems Command announced Jan. 26 that additional vendors have been selected for the Sounding Rocket Program-4. This is a multiyear contract where companies compete for orders to launch small rockets used to carry scientific instruments and experiments into suborbital space.

Kratos Space & Missile Defense Systems, L3Harris’ Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace, and Corvid Technologies were awarded indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts for Sounding Rocket Program-4.

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Freedom Space’s Ground Network Software Selected For U.S. Space Force Program

Freedom Space Technologies announced it is partnering with defense contractor Omni Federal to develop a next-generation ground system for U.S. Space Force missile-warning satellites.

A subsidiary of Atlas Space Operations, Freedom Space provides a cloud-based software platform used to manage satellite ground systems.

Omni Federal was one of four companies that won $9.7 million contracts from the U.S. Space Force to develop competing ground systems for a project known as FORGE C2 — or Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution Command and Control.

Read more at: spacenews

Russia Really Wants To Stop Ukraine Using Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellites

Russia is trying to cut off Ukraine’s access to Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, according to space-warfare analysts. Since the start of the war, Russia has been using jamming systems to try to deny Ukrainian forces access to commercial satellites. It has attached jammers to its tanks to interfere with satellite signals and disrupt exploding drones, jammed Ukraine’s GPS-guided bombs, and jammed Ukrainian drones, forcing Ukrainian operators to move closer to their targets on the front lines.

Read more at: business insider

Firefly Cleared To Compete For National Reconnaissance Office Launch Missions

Firefly Aerospace announced Jan. 25 it will compete for launch services contracts from the National Reconnaissance Office under a new program set up by the agency to procure rides for its small satellites.

The company will be allowed to bid for task orders to launch NRO small satellites on Firefly’s Alpha rocket from both Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, and from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Read more at: spacenews

Eyes In The Sky: The Increasing Importance Of Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) For National Security

The war in Ukraine spotlighted the power of satellite imagery in new ways, and has already changed the way the military uses orbital reconnaissance tactically and to shift public perception. As an example, when Russia was initially staging to invade Ukraine, the United States government purchased more commercial satellite imagery to provide a flow of information to the public and Ukraine at unprecedented levels, leaving no room for question of Russia’s intent.

Read more at: spacenews

Satellites And The Specter Of IoT Attacks

In the vast expanse of space, satellites orbit silently, serving as the connected backbone of our modern world. A fast-proliferating network of satellites forms the critical infrastructure that supports global communication, navigation, weather forecasting, defensive operations and more. Today’s global space economy is huge, forecasted to total more than $600 billion annually in 2024.

Internet of Things (IoT) components are integral to next-generation satellites. Designed to optimize efficiency and enhance functionality, IoT satellite devices and systems provide better communication, data transmission, onboard data processing, power management and more.

Read more at: spacenews


The Moon Is Shrinking And It Could Have Major Impact On Future Space Missions

Scientists have revealed the impact the moon shrinking could have on future space missions. So far, there have been six successful space missions which have landed humans on the moon, and there are certainly many more yet to come. However, the moon shrinking in circumference poses increasing risks for astronauts.

Read more at: unilad

New Effort Seeks To Study Health Issues For Private Astronauts

Medical researchers and commercial spaceflight advocates are working to begin a new effort to study the health issues and risks that space travel poses to a more diverse population of private astronauts.

Virgin Galactic is scheduled to perform the latest flight of its VSS Unity suborbital spaceplane Jan. 26 from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The Galactic 06 mission will carry four customers along with two pilots, a change from earlier flights that flew three customers and one astronaut trainer. The company has not disclosed the identities of those customers.

Read more at: spacenews

Photo Shows Japanese Moon Lander Is Upside Down on Lunar Surface

In an extremely unfortunate twist, Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) appears to have landed on its nose, meaning it’s now upside down on the lunar surface.

An image snapped by its much smaller companion robot called SORA-Q, which was successfully ejected before the lander touched down last week, shows the tragic scene.

Read more at: futurism

13 Things You Didn’t Know About the International Space Station

The International Space Station is so hot right now, with no less than two movies out featuring the orbital lab, namely I.S.S. and Constellation. Indeed, the ISS is an absolute icon and a fixture of popular culture. But beyond its well-known status as a pioneering space laboratory, it harbors a wealth of lesser-known facts and features.The ISS spins around Earth once every 90 minutes, and it’s done so continuously for the past quarter century. It’s the space lab that just keeps on ticking, despite the odd toilet malfunction, air leak, or impromptu backflip. From its unique fire safety measures tailored for microgravity environments to the intricacies of its water recycling system, the ISS is a marvel of engineering and human ingenuity.

Read more at: gizmodo

Landing On Mars: A Tricky Feat!

The Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter landed in Mars’s Jezero crater on February 18, 2021, NASA’s latest mission to explore the red planet. Landing on Mars is an incredibly difficult feat that has challenged engineers for decades: while missions like Curiosity have succeeded, its surface is littered with the wreckage of many failures as well. Why is landing on Mars so difficult?

Mars presents a unique problem to potential landers as it possesses a relatively large mass and a thin, but not insubstantial, atmosphere. The atmosphere is thick enough that spacecraft are stuffed inside a streamlined aeroshell sporting a protective heat shield to prevent burning up upon entry – but that same atmosphere is not thick enough to rely on parachutes alone for a safe landing, since they can’t catch sufficient air to slow down quickly enough.

Read more at: NASA