Japan’s Moon Lander Survives Two-Week Lunar Night After Wonky Landing

Japan’s moon lander has responded to a signal from Earth, suggesting it survived the two-week lunar night, the country’s space agency has said.

The unmanned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (Slim) touched down last month at a wonky angle that left its solar panels facing the wrong way. But as the sun’s angle shifted, it powered up for two days and carried out scientific observations of a crater with a hi-spec camera.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) said the lander went to sleep again as darkness returned and, since it was “not designed for the harsh lunar nights”, it was unclear whether it would reawaken.

Read more at: guardian

Japan becomes fifth country to put spacecraft on moon as lander reaches lunar surface – video

Russian Satellite Narrowly Avoids Collision With US Spacecraft, And NASA Could Do Nothing To Stop It

An active NASA spacecraft has survived a near-miss with a defunct Russian satellite in low Earth orbit. NASA’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission spacecraft and Russia’s Cosmos 2221 satellite were due to closely pass each other at around 1:30 am EST on Feb. 28, at an altitude of about 373 miles (600 kilometers), according to a statement released by NASA just an hour before the near-miss.

Read more at: livescience


Germany Had 90 Minutes To Prepare For A Beach Ball-Sized Meteorite Impact

Earth is being pummeled by meteorites daily, but most of its residents aren’t even aware. According to NASA’s planetary defense system Scout, nearly 50 tons of meteoritic matter hit the planet daily. Most small pieces are never found, but occasionally a celestial fireball pushes through the atmosphere and lands on the ground. And on January 21 outside of Berlin, Germany, that’s just what happened. A meteorite on a wayward journey from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter shattered into dozens of pieces—and meteor hunters from around the world mobilized to begin their search.

Read more at: bigthink

Cruise Ship Navigates Through Space Debris Warning Zone

In an unusual announcement aboard Princess Cruises’ Island Princess, Captain Marco Cataldi informed guests of a navigational warning tied to space debris that entered the Earth’s atmosphere today.

Amidst the tranquil blue Indian Ocean, a message from the captain has added an unexpected twist to Princess Cruises’ Island Princess’ current World Cruise. In a briefing delivered to passengers on February 26, 2024, Captain Cataldi conveyed the details of a navigational warning received from the National Hydrographic Office the day prior.

Read more at: cruisehive

What a Major Solar Storm Could Do to Our Planet

Ken Tegnell’s first home was on Alcatraz. At the time—this was in the nineteen-fifties—there was, in addition to the federal penitentiary, a preschool, a post office, and housing for prison employees and their family members. That included Tegnell, who lived with his mother and grandfather, a guard, while his father was stationed in Korea. The whole of Alcatraz Island is less than a tenth of a square mile, so, despite all the security measures and “DO NOT ENTER” signs, the inmates and civilians were never very far apart. Yet even given the proximity to the likes of Whitey Bulger, it was a peaceful place to live. The view was spectacular, almost none of the non-incarcerated residents locked their doors, and almost all of them knew one another and shared the camaraderie of an unusual identity. “We were an odd group of people,” Tegnell jokes, “and that’s why I’m strange the way I am.”

Read more at: newyorker

Fusion Startup Plans To Shoot Space Junk With Lasers

A Japanese startup plans to point the lasers it is developing for nuclear fusion at the sky to see if they can knock space junk out of orbit.Space debris 101: Millions of pieces of space junk — hardware humans sent into space and didn’t retrieve — are orbiting Earth, and because this space debris travels up to 18,000 miles per hour, a collision can seriously damage operational spacecraft.

Read more at: freethink

Sun Fires Off Largest Flare Of Current Solar Cycle

A highly active region of the Sun has released three of the strongest type of solar flare (X-class) and many smaller flares in the last 36 hours.The latest, an ‘X6.3’ flare released at 23:43 CET last night was the strongest solar flare observed during the current solar cycle.This flare was not associated with ‘Energetic Solar Particles’ (ESP) or a ‘Coronal Mass Ejection’ (CME).As the flare took place close to midnight in Europe, there was no impact on satellite navigation or communication in Europe. Solar flares alone do not directly impact ground-based infrastructure.

Read more at: ESA

What Happens On Mars, Stays On Mars? NASA Helicopter’s Mysterious Damage Uncovered In Hi-Res

The mission of Ingenuity – NASA’s technology demonstrator, which landed on Mars in 2021 onboard the rover Perseverance – had officially ended in late January after an incident that caused the blades of two rotors to suffer serious damage.

The damage was indirectly visible from Ingenuity’s onboard cameras. However, to see the full extent of the damage, we needed the photographs from a third-person point of view. And this Sunday, we have finally got them.

As caught on X (Twitter) by Simeon Schmauß, a German student of GeoVisual design at Hochschule München, rover Perseverance captured high-resolution images of Ingenuity using the SuperCam RMI instrument. The imagery is much more telling than previous photographs taken by the rover’s lower-resolution Mastcam-Z.

Read more at: neowin


Elon Musk And Starlink Satellites Are Now Disrupting The Farming Industry. Here’s How.

It takes more than grit for today’s farmers to drive tractors, till soil and harvest crops. They need a reliable Wi-Fi connection, and about 30% of farmland in the U.S. lacks sufficient connectivity, according to John Deere (DE). That’s where Elon Musk’s SpaceX company and Starlink satellites come in.

In January SpaceX and its Starlink Satellites hitched their proverbial wagon to John Deere, the world’s biggest manufacturer of farm machinery.

Read more at: investors

SpaceX Details Starship’s Feisty Mid-Flight Explosion After FAA Closed Mishap Investigation

The second integrated test flight of the biggest space rocket that mankind ever built, SpaceX’s Starship, was a huge success. The future moon landing system lifted off from Texas’ Boca Chica in mid-November, successfully separated its two stages, and reached space for the first time in its short history.

And even though both stages independently experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly – a fancy space term for blowing up – the mission named Orbital Test Flight 2 (OTF-2) was still undoubtedly a success.

Read more at: neowin

Rocket Lab Has ‘Misrepresented’ Neutron Launch Readiness, Congressional Memo Says

An internal congressional memo viewed by TechCrunch casts strong doubt on Rocket Lab’s claim that its Neutron rocket will be ready for launch in time to meet a crucial contract deadline from the Space Force.

“In light of public reporting and media pressure, Rocket Lab has escalated their campaign to misrepresent their launch readiness in an effort to gain competitive advantage over incumbents and other new entrants by on-boarding into NSSL Phase 3 Lane 1 at the first opportunity in 2024,” the memo, viewed by TechCrunch, says. “Public records and information available to staff confirm that Neutron has no credible path to launch by 12/15/2024.”

Read more at: techcrunch

Virgin Galactic Expects No Delay To Next Suborbital Flight

Virgin Galactic says it does not expect an investigation into an issue on its most recent suborbital launch to delay its next one as it turns its focus to a new generation of vehicles.

In an earnings call Feb. 27, company executives said they still expected to fly the Galactic 07 mission by its VSS Unity suborbital spaceplane in the second quarter of the year despite an incident on the Galactic 06 flight Jan. 26 where an alignment pin fell from the VMS Eve carrier aircraft after deploying Unity. The company said Feb. 5 it had notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the incident.

Read more at: spacenews

Eve and Unity


Asteroid Is A ‘Very Different Body’ After Being Hit By NASA Spacecraft, Scientists Say

When NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft intentionally slammed into the asteroid Dimorphos in September 2022, the impact may have caused “global deformation” of the space rock, according to new research.

The goal of the DART mission was to carry out a full-scale test of asteroid deflection technology on behalf of planetary defense and to see whether a kinetic impact — like crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid at 13,645 miles per hour (6.1 kilometers per second) — would be enough to change the motion of a celestial object in space.

Read more at: CNN

‘Air-Breathing’ Propulsion Tech Could Unlock Unlimited Propellant For Satellites

Earth’s orbit is so populated that the space industry is now developing technologies to remove space debris caused by satellites from an over-crowded low Earth orbit (LEO).One untapped orbit above Earth does exist, though. The so-called very low Earth orbit (VLEO) would allow satellites to fly in a less crowded space closer to home and take more detailed pictures of our planet.The reason satellite operators have largely ignored VLEO to date is that working at an altitude with air would require more force to propel the satellite and keep it from falling back down to Earth.

Read more at: interesting engineering

Russia Acknowledges Continuing Air Leak From Its Segment Of Space Station

Russian space officials have acknowledged a continuing air leak from the Russian segment of the International Space Station, but said it poses no danger to its crew.

The Roscosmos state corporation said that specialists were monitoring the leak and the crew “regularly conducts work to locate and fix possible spots of the leak”.

“There is no threat to the crew or the station itself,” it said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Read more at: guardian

NASA Cancels OSAM-1 Satellite Servicing Technology Mission

NASA has canceled a multibillion-dollar project to demonstrate satellite servicing technologies that had suffered extensive delays and cost overruns.

In a brief statement March 1, NASA announced it was ending the On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM) 1 mission. OSAM-1 was being developed to refuel the Landsat 7 spacecraft and then perform the in-orbit assembly of a Ka-band satellite antenna.

Read more at: spacenews

Top 5: Space For Your Health

Space has led to technological innovations with wide-ranging applications in healthcare. Beyond consumer gadgets, such as wireless headsets and scratch-resistant lenses, space exploration is a catalyst for understanding the human body and advancing scientific results that benefit people worldwide. Here are Europe’s top 5 stories in space for your health.

Read more at: ESA


FAA Closes Investigation Into Explosive 2nd Flight Of Spacex’s Starship Megarocket

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has closed the investigation into the second flight of SpaceX’s huge Starship vehicle, the agency announced this afternoon (Feb. 26).That test mission, which launched from SpaceX’s Starbase site in South Texas on Nov. 18, ended with a bang. Two bangs, actually: Both of Starship’s stages exploded high above Earth, around 3.5 minutes and eight minutes after liftoff, respectively.Ever since, SpaceX has been prepping for Starship flight number 3, in keeping with the company’s fast-paced “build, fly and iterate” philosophy. But today’s news does not constitute clearance to launch, the FAA stressed.

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China’s 2024 Space Plans Include 100 Launches And Moon Sample Return Mission

China is planning a national record 100 orbital launches in 2024, according to the country’s main space contractor.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) plans around 70 launches to send more than 290 spacecraft into orbit. The remaining launches will be performed by China’s growing commercial launch sector.

The plans are outlined in CASC’s annual “blue book,” released Feb. 26. The document does not provide a full launch manifest nor a detailed schedule, but offers an overview of planned activities.

Read more at: spacenews

Ultimately, Congress Is Responsible For Mess At FAA, Boeing, Spirit, et al

There’s no getting around the culpability of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing, and Spirit AeroSystems in the current 737 MAX mess. Nor was there any doubt about the culpability of the FAA and Boeing in the first MAX crisis in 2018-2019.

But let’s face it: Ultimately, Congress is where the buck stops. Because Congress for decades failed to appropriate the bucks needed for the FAA to do its job without overreliance on Boeing or Spirit.

Read more at: leehamnews

Russia’s Space Agency Forced to Sell Off Assets as Sanctions Take Toll

Russia’s Roscosmos space agency plans to sell off assets worth more than 11.4 billion rubles ($124 million) as sanctions imposed by the West over President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine continue to take a toll, local media has reported.

A representative of the company told Russian news outlet RBC that the decision was made after Roscosmos lost almost 80 percent of its export income after losing orders and key partners due to the war in Ukraine. This year, it intends to sell its “non-core” assets—more than 150 items including boarding houses and former sanatoriums, land and property complexes, and recreation centers.

Read more at: newsweek


A New Space Race Has Begun – If We Don’t Act Now, It Could Trigger A War Worse Than WWII

For millennia, the Moon has been an object of wondrous speculation: deified as a goddess, hymned in poetry and blamed for madness…

Read more at: Telegraph

Space Force Bucks Fixed-Price Trend For Nuclear Command Satellites 

In a departure from recent guidance, the Space Force will use cost-plus contracts for its high-priority strategic communications satellite program.

Space Force acquisition executive Frank Calvelli said Feb. 23 that the service has decided to not use fixed-price contracts for the Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications System (ESS), a critical component of the U.S. military’s nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) network that provides nuclear-survivable communications.

Read more at: spacenews

Space Force Top Buyer Keenly Watching ULA And Blue Origin: ‘They Need To Scale’

Frank Calvelli, the assistant secretary of the Air Force in charge of Space Force acquisitions, said a top concern for his office this year is the launch tempo of United Launch Alliance.

“I think it’s going to be really important for us to watch two amazing companies: ULA and Blue Origin,” Calvelli said Feb. 27. “They need to scale.”

Speaking at the National Security Space Association’s Defense and Intelligence Space Conference, Calvelli applauded the successful inaugural launch last month of ULA’s new Vulcan rocket and emphasized the need for the company to adapt swiftly to a faster-paced launch schedule.

Read more at: spacenews

The U.S. Space Force’s Urgent Push For Orbital Refueling

In the years leading up to World War II, U.S. Navy legends Adm. Chester Nimitz and Adm. William Leahy, among others, recognized a growing logistical problem: keeping ships fueled while at sea. They championed strategies to tackle the issue and broadened the service’s reach during the war.

Now the young U.S. Space Force faces a similar logistical issue at a higher altitude: how to refuel, resupply and service satellites ahead of a potential conflict.

Read more at: aviationweek


Chinese Astronauts Take A Walk To Fix Damaged Solar Panel On Tiangong Space Station

Astronauts Tang Hongbo and Jiang Xinlin left the station and used a robotic arm mounted on the outside of the facility to repair the panels on the Tianhe core module, the China Manned Space Agency said.

Read more at: SCMP

20 Most Valuable Space Companies in the World

In this piece, we will take a look at the 20 most valuable space companies in the world. If you want to skip our introduction to the global space industry and all the latest news, then you can take a look at the 5 Most Valuable Space Companies in the World.

Just as high technology industries such as genetic engineering and artificial intelligence have rapidly grown at levels that would have been thought unimaginable at the turn of this century, space exploration is another sector that has rapidly captured the public imagination.

Read more at: yahoo

Movement Detected On The Moon Appears To Be Coming From The Apollo 17 Lander

In the 1970s, astronauts placed three seismometers on the lunar surface, to collect data between October 1976 and May 1977. A new study has looked at this seismograph data, discovering that some of the repeating tremors appear to be coming from the Apollo 17 lander.

When earthquakes occur on Earth, waves of energy are sent out in all directions. By measuring the tremors from several locations at the surface, scientists can create a map of the Earth’s interior. Since rocks and liquids within the Earth are of different densities, the waves move through them at different speeds, allowing geologists to figure out what type of material the waves are going through. This is known as seismic tomography.

Read more at: IFLscience

Space Accident Means Tardigrades May Have Contaminated The Moon

Just over five years ago, on 22 February 2019, an unmanned space probe was placed in orbit around the Moon.

Named Beresheet and built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, it was intended to be the first private spacecraft to perform a soft landing. Among the probe’s payload were tardigrades, renowed for their ability to survive in even the harshest climates.

Read more at: science alert

Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Annual Report

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP or Panel) was established by Congress in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator and Congress on safety matters. The Panel holds quarterly fact-finding and public meetings and makes insight visits to NASA Field Centers or other related sites. It reviews safety studies and operations plans and advises on hazards related to proposed or existing facilities and operations, safety standards and reporting, safety and mission assurance aspects of ongoing and proposed programs, and NASA management and culture issues related to safety. Although the Panel may perform other duties and tasks as requested by either the NASA Administrator or Congress, the ASAP members normally do not engage in specialized studies or detailed technical analyses.

Read more at: aerospace safety advisory panel

Even Outer Space Now Succumbs To Human Pollution

All throughout the history of humanity, we’ve had to reckon with the need to extract resources from our environment — food, water, materials for tools and shelter, etc. — while simultaneously avoiding polluting it to such an extent that we could no longer live there: a fate that many living organisms suffer from. The sizes of societies were limited, historically, by the ability to bring in sufficiently large stores of fresh water (until the development of technologies such as the aqueduct), and then by the ability to remove the waste products produced by the humans that inhabited them (until the development of sewers). In more recent times, we’ve had to concern ourselves with:

Read more at: bigthink

An image of a starry sky with numerous lines, depicting the concept of space pollution.