Japan’s Moon Lander Comes Back To Life

Japan’s moon lander has come back to life, the space agency said Monday, enabling the craft to proceed with its mission of investigating the lunar surface despite its rocky start.

The surprise announcement was a boost to Japan’s space program, nine days after the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) touched down at a wonky angle that left its solar panels facing the wrong way.

“Last evening we succeeded in establishing communication with SLIM, and resumed operations!” JAXA said on social media platform X, posting a grainy image of a lunar rock known as a “toy poodle”.

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Chinese Company’s Reusable Rocket Prototype Aces Launch-And-Landing Test (Photos)

A Chinese state-owned company has successfully pulled off a brief launch and landing test as it aims to build a reusable rocket.

The Kuaizhou reusable technology test rocket lifted off from a pad at test facilities on Jan. 26, hovering in the air for nine seconds before landing back at the takeoff area. The flight lasted 22 seconds.

The test was conducted by Expace, also called CASIC Rocket Technology Company, which operates under CASIC, a giant Chinese state-owned defense and space contractor. CASIC plays a role in China’s state space industry but is aiming to develop its own launch services, separate from its sister corporation CASC, which makes China’s Long March rockets.

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A Gadget Just Took Flight to Tackle Space’s Chaos. Its Mission Could Save Us All.

Sending satellites up into low-Earth orbit (LEO) is messy business. More than 7,500 satellites currently encircle Earth in this nearby orbit, and many more are coming. So many, in fact, that the European Space Agency is prepping the first ever clean-up mission—ClearSpace-1—to tackle Earth’s space junk problem.One of the biggest issues with regulating and maintaining satellites is that they tend to “tumble” at the end of their operational lives. Unless satellites are designed specifically to prevent tumbling, a burst fuel line, solar wind, or even drag from the upper limits of Earth’s atmosphere can send a satellite careening unpredictably.

Read more at: yahoo

Black-Hole ‘Particle Accelerators’ Are Causing Mysterious Cosmic Rays To Rain Down On Earth At Nearly The Speed Of Light

A small black hole is helping scientists understand how mysterious cosmic rays can barrel through the universe and hit Earth at nearly the speed of light.

High-energy cosmic rays are constantly raining down on us from space, but scientists don’t know that much about them. One long-standing mystery is how cosmic rays can reach our planet at such speeds.

For the first time, researchers looking at the black hole have spotted a naturally occurring particle accele

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ESA’s Vigil Space Weather Mission Balances Operational And Scientific Demands

Vigil, a European Space Agency mission scheduled to launch in 2030, seeks to balance operational demands with the needs of the scientific community.

“We have not forgotten our science colleagues. In fact, they are important partners for the mission,” Giuseppe Mandorlo, Vigil project manager, said Jan. 29 at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting here.

Vigil will provide space weather data from sun-Earth Lagrange point 5. Data gathered from L5 could provide notice of four to five days of solar winds streaming toward Earth.

Read more at: spacenews

NASA Issues Warning As Asteroid The Size Of A Football Pitch Approaches Earth

An asteroid the size of a football pitch will zoom past Earth on Friday, coming close enough for Nasa to issue a warning.

Asteroid 2008 OS7 is classified as “potentially hazardous” and is expected to come within 1.7 million miles of Earth – about seven times further out than the Moon – at a speed of around 11 miles per second.

Although that may seem like a long way off, it is close enough in space terms for Nasa to add it to its “asteroid watch”, and experts will be keeping a close eye on its approach.

Read more at: yahoo


Airbus Announces Purchase Of Eutelsat Oneweb’s Stake In Satellite Constellation Manufacturing Joint Venture

Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. announced  completion of a deal with Eutelsat OneWeb to purchase its 50% share of the Airbus OneWeb  Satellites (AOS) joint venture.

Airbus is now the sole owner of AOS and the satellite manufacturing facility in Merritt Island,  Florida.

The new structure is expected to provide maximum efficiency and increased competitiveness for commercial, institutional and national security space customers.

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Ground Delays Holding Back Eutelsat’s Global LEO Broadband Services

Eutelsat expects to take a 7% revenue hit as delays securing landing rights in India, Thailand, Turkey, and elsewhere prevent the OneWeb broadband constellation it finished launching nearly a year ago from providing global coverage before the second half of 2024.

The company had planned to start providing the service worldwide in early 2024 after deploying 633 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), including in-orbit spares.

Read more at: spacenews

Rocket Lab Is Getting Closer to Achieving Rocket Reusability

Rocket Lab kicked off the year with the launch and recovery of its Electron rocket as part of the company’s continued efforts to reuse its small launch vehicle’s first stage.

Electron lifted off on Wednesday at 1:34 a.m. ET from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, carrying the first four Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites for NorthStar. The rocket deployed the satellites to a 329 mile (530 kilometer) circular Earth orbit, from which they are designed to keep track of objects in space and deliver collision avoidance, navigation, and proximity alert.

Read more at: gizmodo

Sierra Space Unveils Fully Integrated Dream Chaser Spaceplane Amid Testing Campaign

An orbital-class spaceplane is one step closer to returning to the International Space Station. As part of an on-going test campaign, Sierra Space mated its Dream Chaser spaceplane to its Shooting Star module for the first time at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio.

The spaceplane will be the third and final cargo spacecraft contracted by NASA to shuttle supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contact. In 2016, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Space and SpaceX were awarded several flights each under the agreement that had a maximum value of $14 billion.

Read more at: spaceflight now


Scientists Find Organic Matter in Sample From Distant Asteroid

Researchers have discovered “cometary organic matter” while studying samples from Ryugu, a near-Earth asteroid that was visited by Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft in 2018. The mission returned samples to Earth in December 2020, giving scientists potentially invaluable insights into the origins of life on Earth, which some researchers now believe may have been seeded by ancient asteroid impacts.

Read more at: spacenews

The European Space Agency will Test 3D Printing Metal on the ISS

The first metal 3D printer that will be used in space is on its way to the International Space Station. The Cygnus NG-20 supply mission, which is carrying the 180kg (397 lbs) printer, launched on Tuesday and is set to arrive at the ISS on Thursday.Astronaut Andreas Mogensen will install the printer, which Airbus developed for the European Space Agency. The machine will then be controlled and monitored from Earth.Polymer-based 3D printers have been employed on the ISS in the past, but metal 3D printing in orbit is said to pose a trickier challenge. The machine will use a form of stainless steel that’s often used for water treatment and medical implants because of how well it resists corrosion.

Read more at: engadget

Nuclear Power On The Moon: NASA Wraps Up 1st Phase Of Ambitious Reactor Project

NASA is wrapping up the design phase of a project to develop concepts for a small, electricity-generating nuclear fission reactor for use on the moon.

The Fission Surface Power Project aims to develop safe, clean and reliable energy sources on the moon, where each nighttime lasts around 14.5 Earth days. Such a system could play a big role in the agency’s Artemis program for lunar exploration.

NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy announced contracts to three companies — Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture of Intuitive Machines and X-Energy) — for the initial phase back in 2022.

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It turns out NASA’s Mars helicopter was much more revolutionary than we knew

Much has been written about the plucky exploits of NASA’s small Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. And all of the accolades are deserved. “The little mission that could” did, flying 72 sorties across the red planet and pushing out the frontier of exploration into the unknown.

Yet as impressive as Ingenuity‘s exploits were over the last three years, and though its carbon fiber blades will spin no more, its work has only just begun.

Read more at: arstechnica


Why Space Agencies Are Racing To Conquer The Moon?

In the history of space exploration, December 1972 marked humanity’s last stroll on the Moon. Now, over five decades later, a renewed interest in lunar exploration has gripped space agencies worldwide, with India actively participating in this celestial endeavor.

The Moon’s appeal lies in its abundant resources, encompassing water and essential elements like oxygen, iron, silicon, hydrogen, and titanium. These resources not only make it an enticing hub but also a strategic launchpad for future interplanetary missions.

Read more at: economic times

PLD Space Wins Spanish Government Funding For Miura 5 Launch Vehicle

PLD Space has secured 40.5 million euros ($43.8 million) from the Spanish government after completing a preliminary design review of its Miura 5 launch vehicle.

The company announced Jan. 27 that it received the funding through the government’s PERTA Aerospace initiative to support development of the country’s aerospace industry. PERTE is the Spanish acronym for Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation, a broader post-pandemic recovery effort.

Read more at: spacenews

Space Force Seeks To Clear Up Confusion Over Selection Of Northrop Grumman’s Refueling Tech

Following Northrop Grumman’s recent announcement that its satellite refueling port was selected as the preferred standard for military satellites, a Space Systems Command official said the company’s statement has been misinterpreted as making Northrop the sole provider.

A Northrop Grumman-designed refueling nozzle for satellites, known as the Passive Refueling Module, underwent a review by the Space Systems Command’s Space Systems Integration Office and was approved for use on high-value national security assets — but this does not represent a downselect, Col. Joyce Bulson, director of servicing, mobility and logistics, told reporters Jan. 31.

Read more at: spacenews


Space Force Needs More Money, People To Secure Cislunar Space: Mitchell Institute

The Space Force needs to begin now to establish a strategy and develop technology to secure cislunar space and the moon to block a Chinese takeover — and additional investment and personnel to do so, asserts a new paper by the Mitchell Institute.

The Mitchell Institute paper, “Securing Cislunar Space and the First Island Off the Coast of Earth, advocates that from now on, Congress bolster the Space Force’s budget by “about” $250 million annually and “increase end strength by approximately 200 personnel for the new responsibilities associated with emerging national interests on the moon and the cislunar region.”

Read more at: breaking defense

Northrop Grumman’s Orbital Refueling Port Selected For U.S. Military Satellites

A satellite refueling nozzle developed by Northrop Grumman is the first to be selected as a preferred standard for U.S. military satellites, the company announced Jan. 29.

In a move that could shape the in-orbit satellite servicing market, the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command designated Northrop Grumman’s Passive Refueling Module (PRM) as a favored interface to enable future in-space refueling of military satellites. The PRM has a docking mechanism to allow a refueling vehicle in orbit to transfer propellant to another satellite to extend its useful life.

Read more at: spacenews

Russia’s GPS Jamming ‘Testing’ NATO Ahead of Potential War: Official

Russia is disrupting satellite systems in the Baltic region in preparation for conflict with NATO, an Estonian military commander has said, as the head of a GPS security group called for the alliance to act to protect the system used by airlines, smartphones and weapons systems.

In January, jamming was detected in eastern and southeastern parts of NATO’s newest member Finland amid reports from an open-source intelligence researcher that a “Baltic jammer” in Kaliningrad, Russia’s Baltic Sea enclave, was responsible. Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry and NATO for comment.

Read more at: newsweek

Firefly To Continue Responsive Launch Operations For Future Alpha Missions

Firefly Aerospace plans to make the responsive launch operations it demonstrated for the U.S. Space Force last year the norm for upcoming launches of its Alpha rocket.

Firefly launched the Victus Nox mission for the Space Force Sept. 14, successfully placing a satellite built by Millennium Space into orbit. The launch took place 27 hours after the Space Force gave Firefly formal notice to carry out the launch.

Read more at: spacenews


Axiom Space Tests Lunar Spacesuit at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency is working to land astronauts on the lunar surface during Artemis III, laying the groundwork for a long-term human presence at the Moon for the benefit of all. When the Artemis astronauts take their first steps near the South Pole of the Moon, they will be wearing a spacesuit developed by Axiom Space. In the time since NASA selected the company to provide the spacesuit and supporting systems for Artemis III, Axiom Space has continued to progress with spacesuit design and testing.

Read more at: NASA

Space, The Final (Construction) Frontier

The commercial real estate construction landscape today is an uncertain one. The post-pandemic return to in-person work has slowed, leaving cities with vast, unoccupied office spaces. The retail sector, meanwhile, continues to grapple with a prolonged lack of new construction and even industrial construction — a corner of the industry that was red-hot for several years — is experiencing a reported slowdown as developers contend with high interest rates and dwindling warehouse leasing activity. Though some reports predict a rebound for those willing to take the long view of commercial real estate, the industry should in the meantime look seriously to a new horizon for the next construction boom: space.

Read more at: spacenews

For The First Time NASA Has Asked Industry About Private Missions To Mars

NASA is starting to take its first steps toward opening a commercial pathway to Mars.

This week, the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory issued a new solicitation to the industry titled “Exploring Mars Together: Commercial Services Studies.” This is a request for proposals from the US space industry to tell NASA how they would complete one of four private missions to Mars, including delivering small satellites into orbit or providing imaging services around the red planet.

Read more at: Arstechnica

‘It’s Getting Closer And Closer For Sure.’ How SETI Is Expanding Its Search For Alien Intelligence (Exclusive)

To spot potential intelligent life out there in the great beyond, first you must cast a net wide by using an array of techniques and technologies.Any “fishing expedition” for E.T. includes close-in studies of life in extreme environments right here on Earth, to help us recognize any signatures we might find on Mars or deep diving through the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The search can also blend in the use of space-based telescopes to inspect Earth-like planets circling their home stars. Then there’s cupping a proverbial ear to the cosmos using radio telescopes to pick up any bustling interstellar civilization or perhaps look for far-off laser-pulsed communiquĂ©s from extraterrestrial homebodies.

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Rocket Report: SpaceX at the Service of a Rival; Endeavour Goes Vertical

Welcome to Edition 6.29 of the Rocket Report! Right now, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is the only US launch vehicle offering crew or cargo service to the International Space Station. The previous version of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket retired last year, forcing that company to sign a contract with SpaceX to launch its Cygnus supply ships to the ISS. And we’re still waiting on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V (no fault of ULA) to begin launching astronauts on Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to the ISS. Basically, it’s SpaceX or bust. It’s a good thing that the Falcon 9 has proven to be the most reliable rocket in history.

Read more at: arstechnica

Nearby Super-Earth Discovered Comfortably Inside A Star’s True Habitable Zone

A planet with a radius 55 percent larger than Earth’s has been found in the habitable zone of a relatively nearby star. A second planet, closer in size to the Earth, is suspected to also lie within the habitable zone of the same system – which would make it the smallest habitable zone planet yet found by the TESS spacecraft.

Finding planets beyond our solar system was once so rare as to make each new announcement exciting, but by now the drip has become a stream. A planet needs something special to stand out. TOI-715b, and its possible sibling TOI-715c, have that through a combination of size and location.

Read more at: iflscience

A Discovery Near the Dawn of the Time Has Revealed Something Fundamental About the Universe

An international team of researchers has uncovered first-of-its-kind evidence from near the beginning of the universe that helps resolve a fundamental question about the cosmos.

The researchers reported collecting the first evidence that an outpouring of gas from some of the brightest and most powerful objects in the universe can curb new stars from forming. The finding adds to our fundamental understanding of how stars and galaxies came into being in the celestial moments after the dawn of time.

Read more at: vice

Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko Sets World Record For Most Time Spent In Space

A Russian cosmonaut has set a world record for the most time spent in space on Sunday, after logging more than 878 days or nearly two-and-a-half years.

As of 0830 GMT, Oleg Kononenko overtook the record set by his compatriot Gennady Padalka, according to Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos. Padalka logged 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 48 seconds during five space flights before retiring in 2017.

Read more at: guardian