California Startup Accused of Launching Unauthorized Satellites Into Orbit: Report

The US Federal Communications Commission says Swarm Technologies—a communications startup run by Silicon Valley expats—launched four tiny internet satellites into space back in January. That’s a problem because the FCC never greenlighted the project, saying the experimental satellites are dangerous. If confirmed, it would mark the first known time in history that unauthorized satellites have been placed in space.

The launch happened on what was otherwise a historic day. On January 12, 2018, the state-owned Indian Space Agency (ISRO) launched its 100th satellite, along with 30 others. But as Mark Harris reports at IEEE Spectrum, four of these 31 satellites probably shouldn’t have been packed to the cargo hold of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

Read more at: Gizmodo

Commerce Department Pressing Ahead with Commercial Space Regulatory Reform

Backed by a set of recommendations endorsed by the National Space Council, the Secretary of Commerce says he is moving ahead with efforts to improve the regulatory environment for commercial space.

In an interview here shortly before the March 1 launch of the GOES-S weather satellite on an Atlas 5, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said he has support within his own department, and elsewhere in government, to start enacting reforms that would make the department a “one-stop shop” for most commercial space regulatory activities.

“What we’re trying to do is to make it easier for legitimate space activities to be conducted,” he said. “My slogan is, the rate of regulatory change must accelerate until it can match the rate of technological change.”

Read more at: Spacenews

China to Recruit Civilian Astronauts, Boost Crewed Missions

China will begin recruiting civilian astronauts for its military-backed space program and plans to increase the number of crewed missions to around two a year, a top official with the country’s space program said.

China’s third batch of astronaut trainees will include recruits from industry, research institutions and universities who will help build and crew China’s independent space station, Yang Liwei, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, told reporters on the sidelines of the annual session of China’s ceremonial parliament.

New astronauts will include maintenance engineers and payload specialists as well as pilots, Yang, who became China’s first man in space in 2003, said Saturday.

Read more at: ABC News

NASA Says ‘Fireball’ that Shook Washington Coast about the Size of Minivan

The fireball hundreds of people reported over the Washington coast Wednesday night was a meteor entering our atmosphere, NASA scientists told KCPQ.

Around 7:10 p.m., Washingtonians reported a bright light in the sky, a boom and shaking. Grays Harbor Emergency Management followed the incident, but were not immediately sure what it was.

“The WA State Duty Officer contacted the FAA and the Western Air Defense Sector and was told they had no problems,” Grays Harbor Emergency Management wrote. “There was NO earthquake. There are no reports of explosions or crashes on the ground. We will continue our investigation of the incident and will forward any information we receive.”

Read more at: Fox40

Tiangong-1 Reentry Window Refined to Around March 29 to April 9 by ESA

A new estimate for the orbital decay of China’s Tiangong-1 space lab has been released, indicating a narrowing window for atmospheric reentry. The latest estimate from the Space Debris Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) suggests a window for reentry of ~29 March to ~9 April.

The office, based at the ESOC mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, states that the estimate is highly variable due to the complexities of modelling the atmosphere, the dynamics of the reentering object and limitations in observing the spacecraft.

Tiangong-1 is currently orbiting with a perigee, or closest point to the Earth during orbit, of 235 km and apogee, or farthest point, of 257 km, according to USSTRATCOM’s Joint Space Operations Center, which detects, tracks and identifies all artificial objects in Earth orbit and provides daily updates.

Read more at: GB Times

SpaceX’s Plan to Beam Down Internet from Space Comes with a Big Debris Problem

The derelict Russian satellite Cosmos 2251 had been aimlessly spinning around Earth for nearly 15 years when, in 2009, it slammed into a functional Iridium telecommunication satellite at 26,000 miles per hour. This collision sprayed an estimated 200,000 centimeter-sized bits of debris into orbit around Earth. Another 3,200 broken pieces from the crash were much larger, at 10 centimeters or greater in size.

Each of these objects hurtling around Earth became instantly weaponized. They now threaten to pierce, damage, or destroy any other satellites unlucky enough to be in their way. This debris, fortunately, hasn’t yet collided with any other working satellites.

Read more at: Mashable

Spaceflight can be a Real Pain for Astronauts

Astronaut Chris Hadfield remembers the headaches in his five months of spaceflight on the International Space Station in 2012 and 2013. It was a constant pain in his sinuses, along with stuffiness. The Canadian astronaut blew his nose frequently to clear his head and used mild pain medication to help him keep up with his demanding spaceflight schedule.

“It gets better over time, but it never goes away,” Hadfield, the station’s Expedition 35 commander, recalled in an interview with Seeker. “It’s just a natural effect of weightlessness. You’re going to have a clogged head, which in a lot of people leads to a throbbing headache.”

Read more at: Seeker

NASA Team Outfits Orion for Abort Test with Lean Approach

With the arrival of the Orion crew module to be used in the Ascent Abort-2 test at Johnson Space Center in Houston, the team is already at work with a lean, iterative development approach to minimize cost and ensure the flight test stays on schedule.

The approach involves considering how to do things differently, finding ways to execute elements of the buildup more efficiently and pushing on the norms of doing business to see if there are areas where productivity can be enhanced.

Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia modified a previously built Orion test vehicle for the flight. Development hardware from the Pad Abort-1 test is being reused and components such as radio frequency transmitters have been repurposed to support characterization and integrated tests.

Read more at: Spacedaily

The World’s Largest Airplane may Launch a New Space Shuttle into Orbit

As Stratolaunch Systems Corp. has rolled its super-massive aircraft out of the hangar during the last year and performed some ground-based tests, there has been one big unanswered question—what is the purpose of building the largest airplane in the world?

Yes, the company had signed an agreement with Orbital ATK, a Dulles, Virginia-based company, for its aircraft to serve as the first stage for launching Pegasus XL rockets from the air. But these are relatively small rockets, with a diameter of just 1.27 meters—compared to the 117-meter wingspan of the Stratolaunch aircraft—and capable of hefting less than half a ton into low-Earth orbit. This is a bit like using a Falcon Heavy rocket to launch a few cubesats into space.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Soyuz ST-B Launcher Lofts O3B Quartet to Orbit

Arianespace successfully conducted its second launch this year on Friday, March 9 lofting four O3b communications satellites to orbit. The mission, designated VS18, employed a Russian-built Soyuz ST-B rocket which lifted off from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) at 16:37 GMT (11:37 a.m. EST) on Friday, March 9.

The Soyuz ST-B was rolled out to the launch pad a few days earlier, on March 2 as the VS18 mission was initially scheduled to be launched March 6. However, Arianespace decided to postpone the launch in order to “…enable additional checks as part of the resumption of launches from the Spaceport in French Guiana.”

The countdown campaign commenced approximately five hours ahead of the scheduled liftoff when it was decided that the launch vehicle was ready for fueling operations. The conclusive phase of the campaign started some five minutes before the launch, when the rocket’s Fregat upper stage was switched to onboard power.

Read more at: SpaceflightInsider

Moriba Jah, Texas Perspectives: We Ignore Growing Space Trash Problem at Our  Peril

This year marks 60 years since the United States started sending satellites into space, including one on March 5, 1958, when the United States attempted to launch its second satellite into space. During that span, we have led extraordinary scientific discovery across our solar system. But our space exploration has taken a toll on one particular thing: the orbital environment.

Simply put, a lot of debris is orbiting Earth. And if we don’t do anything about it, we’ll see an increase in collisions to the detriment of space operations, space commerce and space exploration.

Read more at: Waco Tribune

China Eyes for Deep Space with 500-ton Liquid Rocket Engine

China is expected to complete construction and fitting work on a prototype of its 500-ton liquid rocket engine within the year, progress toward China’s manned interstellar travel programs, Chinese experts said.

China is currently tackling problems on key technologies of three types of liquid rocket engines for its heavy-lift rockets:  the 500-ton engine fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene, 200-ton and 25-ton engines using liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel. The country has also completed thermal tests on core modules together with some sub-models for the engines.

Liu Zhirang, head of the No.6 Research Institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), who is also a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress, made the remarks on Sunday, China’s Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday.

Read more at: Global Times

Rocket to Launch Chinese Space Station Modules, Long March 5B, to have First Flight in June 2019

The rocket designed to launch large modules of the Chinese Space Station to low Earth orbit will have its first flight around June 2019, according to media reports from Beijing on Monday.

The Long March 5B, a 1.5 stage variant of the 2.5 stage Long March 5 developed for launches to geostationary transfer orbit, the Moon and Mars, will have its test flight in the middle of next year, according to a spokesperson for the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA). The following launch would then carry the first module of the Chinese Space Station (CSS), named Tianhe, to an orbit of around 390 kilometres above the Earth, around 2020, according to officials speaking today.

Read more at: GB Times

International Agencies Open Deep-space Operating Standards for Public Comment

On March 1, 2018, NASA, ESA, and the other partnering International Space Station (ISS) agencies opened their joint International Deep Space Interoperability Standards for public comment. The documents could further global cooperation on crewed space exploration efforts beyond Earth orbit by setting common standards for projects like NASA’s planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway.

The development of joint standards for deep space exploration began with practices established on the ISS. It is hoped that these initiatives could help ensure that companies and agencies design and build compatible hardware for Moon bases and other facilities. The activities covered by the standards include communication, life support, power, rendezvous, external robotics, and thermal systems. According to NASA, the goal of standardization is to support hardware commonality without dictating design features beyond those required for systems to operate with each other.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

NASA Sees Strong International Interest in Lunar Exploration Plans

There is significant interest in NASA’s new lunar exploration plans from potential international partners but the country can’t take its position of leadership for granted, an agency official said March 5.

In a talk at a Space Transportation Association luncheon here, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said both current International Space Station partners and emerging space nations showed an interest in cooperating with NASA on those plans during discussions at the Second International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF2) last week in Tokyo.

“It’s clear the U.S. is a leader throughout the international space community. That really came through our work with the space station,” he said. “As we look forward and do things around the moon, we’re going to have to keep a strong international presence.”

Read more at: Space News

Russia’s Space Agency Might Break Up with the U.S. to Get with China

Last month Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos State Corporation, began work on a contingency plan that would reshape its future in space exploration. The country could shift its human spaceflight cooperation from the U.S. to China, sources within Roscosmos told Popular Mechanics. One possible scenario includes Roscosmos exiting the International Space Station program early.

Russian experts were instructed to put forward ideas by March 15, including concepts for potential contributions to the planned Chinese space station along with a joint Russian-Chinese plans to send humans to the Moon.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

China is Developing a New Crewed Spacecraft for Moon and Deep Space Missions

A Chinese spacecraft maker is developing a new generation of spacecraft for future human spaceflight missions to the Moon and deep space exploration.

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) is undertaking early work on two versions of the next-gen spacecraft, which will be a successor to the country’s established Shenzhou crewed craft. Zhang Bainan, a chief engineer at CAST, told the Chinese language Science and Technology Daily on March 7 on the sidelines of the country’s annual parliamentary sessions that the spacecraft being developed will be reusable and versatile.

Read more at: GB Times

How Much Trash is on the Moon?

The moon has a lot of junk on it, including a gold olive branch, a flag kit, several lunar orbiters, and a hammer and a falcon feather — the components of a 1971 experiment used to demonstrate that objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass. There are dozens more pieces of lunar debris. But how much garbage, exactly, have humans left or sent to the moon?

It’s challenging to say, but the trash on the moon likely weighs upward of 400,000 lbs. (181,000 kilograms) on Earth. This weight is taken from Wikipedia, but it sounds about right considering that quite a few heavy artifacts, such as five moon rangers, are still there, said William Barry, NASA chief historian.

Read more at:

Vector to Conduct Dedicated Launch of Alba Orbital PocketQube Satellites on First Orbital Attempt

Vector, a nanosatellite launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced it will conduct a dedicated launch of two PocketQube satellites using an Alba Orbital deployer (AlbaPOD) on the Vector-R launch vehicle later this year from the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA) in Kodiak.

Alba Orbital, a manufacturer of PocketQube satellites, will launch the Unicorn-2a satellite platform and a satellite developed by Delft University of Technology, Delfi-PQ1. The launch itself marks a historic moment for both Vector and Alba Orbital as its first orbital launch attempt and the world’s first PocketQube dedicated launch.

Read more at: PR Newswire

China is Building a Spaceplane of its Own

China is reportedly developing a reusable spaceplane capable of delivering cargo to Earth orbit. The unnamed spacecraft appears similar to the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane and likely has the same missions. However, it does differ from its American cousin in some key respects—at least for now.

Chinese state television recently ran a segment describing a new spaceplane under development, comparing it to the American X-37B. Operated by the U.S. Air Force, the X-37B is something of an unmanned space truck, carrying classified payloads into low-earth orbit and staying there for up to 700 days at a time. The X-37B is lofted into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket using Russian-supplied RD-180 liquid fuel rocket boosters.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

NASA Looking at Ways to Commercialize International Space Station

In the not-too-distant future, NASA astronauts might conduct their video interviews from the International Space Station (ISS) while wearing Nike-supplied T-shirts, with a giant Toyota logo visible on the module wall behind them.

NASA is developing a commercial-use policy for the orbiting lab, to open up more opportunities for private companies, agency officials said.

“Today, there’s a number of activities that are prohibited. They can’t do advertising and marketing, and fly trinkets — things that are pure for-profit activities,” NASA ISS Deputy Director Robyn Gatens said Wednesday (Feb. 28) during a presentation with the agency’s Future In-Space Operations working group.

Read more at:

Bartolomeo: the New European Challenge for Boosting Commercial Activities on the International Space Station

After the recent successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which promises to open a new age in spaceflight, it is time for Europe to develop a new program to boost its capacities for commercial space activities.

The European Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space have signed a commercial public-private partnership (PPP) agreement for construction, launch, and operations of the commercial “Bartolomeo” platform. This new external payload hosting facility will be attached to the European Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS) in mid-2019.

Bartolomeo will offer 12 payloads slots on the exterior of the Columbus module. The growing number of commercial space users developing payloads in the 100-kilogram class is driving demand. The payloads do not require hands-on maintenance by astronauts and can be operated outside of the ISS.

Read more at: Space review

Mankind’s First Space Hotel is Coming in 2021 – Probably

So, where to for your next vacation? Somewhere exotic… far flung… remote, even? For the new few years you’ll have to be content with earthly offerings that tick these boxes, but come 2021 you should be able to look a little further afield. Or rather above, as 72-year-old billionaire hotel mogul Robert Bigelow has unveiled his plans for the first space hotel.

While that all sounds very sci-fi, Bigelow’s credentials are actually sound and with the commercial private sector space race heating up to surface-of-the-sun levels, it would be foolish to dispel such ideas as folly. Through his company Bigelow Aerospace, founded in 1999, the stargazer is creating a line of B330 ‘fully autonomous standalone space stations’. In answer to questions about that aggressive timeline, Bigelow has confirmed two stations, the B330-1 and B330-2, are already ‘very far along in fabrication’.

Read more at: Forbes

Heavy Rocket to Propel Chandler-Based Operation into New Market

Last month, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket made headlines as the first privately built heavy-lift rocket to enter space. Now, Orbital ATK’s Chandler-based Launch Vehicle Division plans to join them.

Adding a heavy lifter to its stable of small and medium commercial and defense rockets will enable Orbital to compete in a new market, one that handles higher orbiting communications satellites, heavier spy satellites and, potentially, human missions to space.

Employing 200 engineers and technicians in Arizona and Utah, the $200 million (and counting) program is in the design, testing and retooling phases. When finished, Orbital’s rocket will carry national security satellites for the U.S. Air Force in lieu of a red Tesla Roadster.

Read more at: Azpm

Spacewatch: Engine Fuelled by Air will Enable Low-flying Class of Satellites

The European Space Agency (ESA) has test-fired an engine that opens the path for a novel class of low-flying Earth-orbiting space missions. Called an air-breathing electric thruster, it is designed to work at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere. It sucks in the scarce air molecules and uses them as propellant. Low-flying satellites, those in orbits of about 200-300km altitude, are gradually pulled out of orbit by the drag of the residual atmosphere.

For example, ESA’s GOCE mission operated in this region of space. It flew for five years thanks to an electric thruster that used xenon fuel to counteract the atmospheric drag. When the 40kg of xenon ran out, however, the spacecraft fell to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere.

Read more at: Guardian

Congressmen Criticize Stalled NASA Administrator Nomination

Several members of the House Science Committee used a hearing on NASA’s latest budget proposal March 7 to criticize the Senate for not acting on the nomination of one of their colleagues to lead the agency.

Testifying before the House space subcommittee on NASA’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal was Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot, who has led the agency on an interim basis for more than 13 months. That is the longest NASA has been led by an acting administrator in the agency’s nearly 60-year history.

The White House nominated Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), who serves on the space subcommittee, in September to be administrator. The Senate Commerce Committee advanced his nomination to the full Senate on a party-line vote in November. That process was repeated in January when the Senate returned the nomination under its rules, and the administration resubmitted it.

Read more at: Space News

Gerstenmaier: US Leadership in Space is “Ours to Lose” if Direction Changes too Many Times

Bill Gerstenmaier, the head of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said today that the United States is the “partner of choice” for countries wanting to engage in international space cooperation, but that leadership is “ours to lose” if too many changes in direction drive partners away.

Gerstenmaier spoke to a Space Transportation Association (STA) luncheon today in the Senate.  The focus of his talk was what NASA will accomplish in human spaceflight this year — from operations of the International Space Station to the first commercial crew test flights to continued development of the Space Launch System and Orion.  He also briefly discussed the International Space Exploration Forum-2 (ISEF2) that was held this weekend in Tokyo where he and other U.S. officials interacted with representatives of 45 nations interested in international space cooperation.

Read more at: Space policy online

Trump Touts Private Space, Comments on ‘Amazing’ SpaceX Falcon Heavy Mission

Seated in front of replicas of American-made rockets in the White House’s Cabinet Room, President Donald Trump on Thursday praised the advances spearheaded by private space ventures and chronicled his awe at SpaceX’s recent launch of the three-core Falcon Heavy rocket.

“Before me are some rocket ships,” Trump said during a cabinet meeting that focused primarily on economic issues and school safety. “You haven’t seen that from this country in a long time.”

On the mahogany conference table before him were three separate rocket families: A previous-generation SpaceX Falcon 9 topped with a Dragon spacecraft; a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s Starliner capsule; and NASA’s next-generation vehicle, the Space Launch System, which is still under development.

Read more at: Florida Today

How Well Does Trump Understand NASA?

At the end of a meeting at the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump, flanked by members of his Cabinet, gestured to the table in front of them.

“Before me are some rocket ships,” the president said. “You haven’t seen that for this country in a long time.” On the table stood model replicas of three rocket-launch systems, two of which are in use today and one that is still in development. Trump launched into remarks full of praise for the spaceflight industry in the United States. He highlighted private spaceflight companies and the “rich guys” who run them.

Read more at: Atlantic

Female Astronaut Takes New Role of Legislator, Dreams of Being “Moon Goddess”

Astronaut Wang Yaping is in the spotlight again, but this time not for space travel. Instead, she debuted in a new role — lawmaker — at the annual session of China’s national legislature. With her signature ponytail, a neat military uniform and a wide smile, Wang, together with another nine deputies to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), met the press for the first “passage interview” arranged for the opening day of the annual political meeting on Monday.

On the path leading toward the main hall of the Great Hall of the People, Wang described her experience of giving a televised science lesson to Chinese students in 2013 as “an unforgettable moment.” Wang’s appearance at the political session has attracted extensive media coverage.

Read more at: Globaltimes

It’s Friday, Time for a Beer.. in Space?

It’s Friday afternoon and most Aussie’s are probably knocking back a few cheeky cold ones after a long week at work. For some, the work doesn’t stop with Vostok, a joint venture between Sydney-based brewery 4 Pines Brewing Company and space engineering company Saber Astronautics, working to give one person the opportunity to be part of their space beer research and development team. Their job, to test beer in zero gravity conditions.

The winner will float 32,000 feet above Earth on a Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) research flight, which recreates the weightlessness you feel in space and the conditions experienced in future commercial space flights.

Read more at: Tech AU

Why it’s a Bad Idea to Weaken the Moon Treaty

In two recent articles in The Space Review1, Vidvuds Beldavs argues that the Agreement Governing The Activities Of States On The Moon And Other Celestial Bodies, commonly called the Moon Treaty, must be revised so that investors in a future space economy can achieve a sustainable return on their investments. Although the creation of a sustainable economic model in outer space is essential for humanity’s future there, his proposed revisions throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Beldavs’ main concern, shared with many others, is that the declaration that outer space is the “common heritage of mankind” (CHM), made in both the Moon Treaty and the original Outer Space Treaty of 1967, precludes the establishment of property rights sufficient to establish and sustain a space economy

Read more at: Space review

Pentagon Gearing Up for Space Warfare

The Pentagon is preparing for war should China, Russia, or other adversaries attack vital American satellites and other space systems, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.

John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, testified before a House subcommittee that the Trump administration’s new defense policy calls for conducting military and other operations in response to space attacks, mainly by China and Russia. Rood said American space systems are essential for “our prosperity, security, and way of life.”

Read more at: freebeacon

Space-Based Sensors Needed for Missile Defense Vs. Hypersonics: MDA

The Missile Defense Agency needs sensors in orbit to track hypersonic threats, the MDA director said this week. Such satellites would use mature technology and could perform other surveillance missions to help justify their cost, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves told the McAleese/Credit Suisse conference Tuesday.

Last week, as we reported, the chief of Strategic Command, Gen. John Hyten, came out in favor of space-based sensors; Greaves provided some details. “A ballistic missile is pretty well behaved,” Greaves said, but hypersonics are unpredictable, so you have to keep a closer eye on them. IBCMs and other ballistic missiles follow a smooth ballistic path trajectory once launched — hence the name — Russia, China, and the US itself are now developing Mach 5-plus hypersonic weapons that can maneuver.

Read more at: Breaking defense

What will it take for the Air Force and Pentagon to Move Faster on Space?

The Department of Defense is, once again, exploring possible ways to reform its space acquisition system to shrink the time it takes to deliver new capabilities to space.

A DoD memo, first reported by Defense One and independently obtained by Defense News, proposes several changes, such as creating a combatant command for space and restructuring the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). The memo was delivered to Congress March 1.

Air Force SMC and the Rapid Capabilities Office currently manage about 90 percent of the Defense Space portfolio, including early missile warning satellites, position, navigation and timing assets and space launch systems. According to the document, Pentagon officials are concerned that the current product-aligned approach to space acquisition leads to truncated and stovepiped thinking that fails to consider the space system enterprise as a whole.

Read more at: Defense news

Gen. Hyten Wants More Allies to Fight Alongside U.S. in Space

The United States could use more allies in space, not only to help deter common enemies but also to share the financial burden of developing and launching systems into orbit, Air Force Gen. John Hyten told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Hyten is commander of U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space operations and missile defense. He testified alongside Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood at a hearing of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee.

Trying to fight alone in space would be a mistake, said Hyten, a longtime advocate of multinational efforts to secure space. The United States needs teammates that will share capabilities and information, he said. “Cost-sharing agreements, hosting U.S. national security payloads on foreign systems, and data-sharing arrangements to bolster shared space situation awareness are just a few of the opportunities that are our allies and partners provide.”

Read more at: Space News

18th SPCS Stands Guard Over Space

The Air Force relies on Airmen around the globe to monitor space, and maintain the Air Force presence in space.

“Space superiority isn’t a birthright. It must be secured and preserved,” Lt. Gen. David Buck, former 14th Air Force commander, said at the Air Force Research Laboratory space situational awareness conference Sept. 18, 2017. “This requires constant vigilance, strong partnerships and active participation,” he said. “To keep pace in this contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment, real-time orbit determination, change detection and custody are foundational.”

Part of keeping pace in that environment includes tracking the approximately 1,800 active satellites and myriad other man-made objects orbiting the Earth — a substantial task the Airmen at the 18th Space Control Squadron do not take lightly.

Read more at: AFSPC

Air Force Tries to Create a Warrior Culture in Space

Skills to fight off enemies in space will be essential in wars against the likes of China and Russia, military strategists warn. That presumption has put Air Force Space Command in the spotlight.

“We are at the war fighter table. We are not in the cheap seats anymore,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Guastella Jr., director of integrated air, space, cyberspace and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations at Air Force Space Command.

Guastella is a career fighter pilot who is now a “space operator.” At Space Command, leaders are trying to bridge the cultural divide between the air and space professions to create a more cohesive force of space combatants. “We are in a cultural shift to a war fighting mentality,” he said Friday at a Mitchell Institute breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill.

Read more at: Space News

Movements of Fire and Shadow: The X-23 PRIME Reentry Vehicle and American Satellite Reconnaissance

On April 19, 1967, a spacecraft that looked somewhat like a fat, winged dart reentered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. As it dipped into the upper reaches of the ionosphere it began to glow and was surrounded by a fiery plasma. But rather than traveling in a straight line as most reentering spacecraft did, the glowing craft began banking at hypersonic speeds, finally slowing and deploying a parachute at a point more than 1,100 kilometers off its orbital path. A JC-130 aircraft grabbed its parachute lines high above the Pacific and the crew winched it inside. The experimental spacecraft, known as the X-23 PRIME, was not a classified project. According to the US Air Force, it was intended to test the ability of a spacecraft to travel crossrange from its entry orbit, something that many years later would be incorporated into the design of NASA’s space shuttle.

Read more at: Space Review

Quality Assurance for Space Projects

26 – 29 June 2018 – Athlone, Ireland

The course is designed to provide the participant with an understanding of basic principles of Quality Management, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, as they are usually applied to space projects. You will find the full description of the course in the IAASS Professional Training Courses Catalog (download from the right bar on this page). Please register for attendance at the course by sending a completed Space Quality Assurance June 2018 – Booking Form to Catherine Lenehan by e-mail:

Read more at: IAASS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *