Starliner Orbital Flight Test Independent Review Team Update

The joint NASA and Boeing Independent Review Team formed following the anomalies during the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program has completed its initial investigation.

The team was tasked with reviewing three primary anomalies experienced during the mission: two software coding errors and unanticipated loss of space-to-ground communication capability. During the investigation, the team identified several technical and organizational issues related to Boeing’s work. Separate from the independent team, NASA reviewed its role in the flight test and identified several areas where the agency can improve its level of participation and involvement into company’s processes.

Read more at: Spaceref

SpaceX’s Latest Starship Prototype Passes Big Tank Pressure Test

SpaceX’s newest prototype of its Starship Mars-colonizing vehicle just passed a crucial pressure test, potentially paving the way for more ambitious trials in the near future.

Starship version SN2 survived a cryogenic pressure test late Sunday (March 8) at SpaceX’s South Texas facilities, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said. You can see a video timelapse of the test from Starship watcher Mary “BocaChicaGal here for

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Getting Sick In Space: How Would NASA Handle An Astronaut Disease Outbreak?

As coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, it’s interesting to ponder what would happen if such a virus were to spread in space.

On rare occasions throughout spaceflight history, astronauts have fallen ill while in space. While floating off-Earth, astronauts have endured upper respiratory infections (URI) or colds, urinary tract infections and skin infections, Jonathan Clark, a former (six-time) crew surgeon for NASA’s Space Shuttle program and current associate professor of neurology and space medicine at the Center for Space Medicine at the Baylor College Of Medicine, told

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Coronavirus Restrictions The Final Straw For ESA’s Mars Mission

On Thursday, the European Space Agency and its Russian partners announced that they would be delaying their planned rover/lander mission to Mars. As we reported earlier this year, the project was facing a number of technical hurdles, and time was running short to sort them out before a convenient launch window for Mars closed. Now, travel restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus have ensured that they won’t be handled in time.

The project, termed ExoMars, is an ambitious one, intended to help determine if life might ever have existed on the red planet.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Tory Bruno Outlines ULA Transition to Vulcan and National Security Launches

Speaking to media at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, DC, CEO Tory Bruno previewed the end of United Launch Alliance’s current Atlas and Delta launch vehicles in favor of the new Vulcan rocket. While preparations are underway to launch the first mission for the United States Space Force, ULA is preparing for the next generation of national security missions and beyond.

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) 6 mission, recently delayed to replace a valve on the Atlas V rocket, will be the first American military payload to launch to orbit since the Space Force became an independent service at the end of 2019.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

CRS-20 – Final Dragon 1 Arrives at the ISS

Following its ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, the company’s CRS-20 Dragon cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on Monday. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida occurred at 11:50 pm Eastern time (04:50 UTC), prior to berthing at the ISS early on Monday.

This launch began the month-long CRS-20 mission, which will see the Dragon spacecraft deliver more than 4,300 pounds (1,950 kilograms) of supplies and science to the space station before returning to Earth with the results of multiple scientific experiments conducted, along with some surplus hardware.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight


Near-Earth Space is Becoming an Orbital Landfill

It’s mind-boggling to think about anything in terms of infinity.

Space spans all directions and has been expanding since the dawn of the universe. However, even though it’s boundless, space as a resource is not as infinite as it’s been made out to be.

Near-Earth space is becoming cluttered with objects, whether that be probes sent by different governments vying for dominance, or test equipment launched by a growing number of commercial companies. Within the next five years, U.S. companies alone are planning to send 15,000 satellites into space.

Read more at: scitech daily

SATELLITE 2020 NEWS: Commerce Department Tackles Space Congestion with Air Force

The Commerce Department, which has been tasked with managing the swell of U.S. space systems and orbiting space junk, has co-led wargaming experiments with the Air Force to expand its debris mitigation efforts, a department official said May 11.

“Since SPD-3 has been launched we’ve built a strong relationship with DoD and the U.S. Air Force both at the senior levels as well as the working levels,” said Mark Daley, deputy of operations for the Commerce Department’s office of space commerce.

Read more at: National defense

Assure Space Won’t Cover Collision Risk In Low Earth Orbit

Since the beginning of the year, space insurance underwriter Assure Space is no longer offering policies covering collision risk for satellites operating in low Earth orbit, Richard Parker, Assure Space managing director, said at the Satellite 2020 conference.

Assure Space continues to insure launches, satellites operating in geostationary orbit, satellites raising their orbit through low Earth orbit and missions to the international space station.

Read more at: Spacenews


Spaceflight To Launch Startups: Stop Focusing On Cool Tech

If launch startups want to win business from Spaceflight, they should focus on schedule, reliability and price, not how interesting their technology is, a company representative said March 10.

The Seattle-based rideshare organizer is not afraid to launch smallsats on new rockets, having secured rides for its customers on India’s new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle and Relativity Space’s Terran 1, neither of which have flown.

Speaking at the Satellite 2020 conference here, Elizabeth Driscoll, business development director at Spaceflight, said the company is constantly in need of more launch options, but won’t rush to new vehicles without confidence they will deliver.

Read more at: Spacenews


Self-Replicating, Self-Repairing Homes on the Moon and Mars Made of Fungi

Science fiction often imagines our future on Mars and other planets as run by machines, with metallic cities and flying cars rising above dunes of red sand. But the reality may be even stranger – and “greener.” Instead of habitats made of metal and glass, NASA is exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi to become our future homes in the stars, and perhaps lead to more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well.

Read more at: Scitech daily

Iodine As Alternative Propellant For Electric Propulsion

iFACT (iodine Fed Advanced Cusp field Thruster) project was successfully launched in Friedrichshafen, Germany in January 2020. Funded by the European Commission as part of its Horizon 2020 Programme, the 2M euro project will run for 24 months.

iFACT aims to further develop iodine as alternative propellant for electric propulsion by creating a European ground test infrastructure, further development of the Advanced Cusp Field Thruster (ACFT) principle, and generating a detailed iodine – material compatibility library.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Docking, Rendezvous And Newton’s Third Law – The Challenge Of Servicing Satellites In Space

If you want to build or fix something in space, you might think you’d need a human to do it. But what if you didn’t? What if robotic spacecraft could be used to refuel satellites in orbit, add new instruments to outdated machinery and even build entire structures while in space?

This idea of in-space servicing has long been dreamt of, but it is now becoming a reality. Just last month a satellite from the US defence company Northrop Grumman docked with another satellite in orbit, prolonging its life for several more years and heralding an exciting new era for robotic missions in orbit.

Read more at: Technology

Spacex’s Starship Will Soon Be Made Of Different Stuff

SpaceX is about to make a bone-deep tweak to its Starship Mars-colonizing spacecraft. The California-based company built its first few Starship prototypes out of a stainless-steel alloy known as 301. But aerospace engineers have been using that particular metallic blend since the middle of the last century, and it’s time for SpaceX to make a change, Elon Musk said.

“We should be able to do better in the 2020s than they did in, like, the ’50s, you know?” Musk said Monday (March 9) during a keynote conversation at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, D.C. “So, I think we’ll start switching away from 301 maybe in the next month or two.”

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Millions Of Data Points Gathered Over Decades Underpin Some Amazing NASA Simulations

Pop quiz: At 2 p.m. EST, a planetary rover pops out of a rocket 1,000 miles above Mars and travels toward the planet at 11,000 mph. It hits a peak speed of 13,000 mph before reaching the top of Mars’ atmosphere, at which point it uses a combination of its heat shield and supersonic parachute to slow down to 175 mph by the time it reaches 1 mile above the surface. Ditching its back shell, the spacecraft’s hydrazine thrusters lower it to just above the landing site, slowing descent all the way to 1.7 mph, where finally sky crane lowers the rover to a safe touchdown 25 feet below. What time will that rover land on Mars?

Read more at: Technology

How Did Life Begin? New Study Reveals Life in the Universe Could Be Common

To help answer one of the great existential questions — how did life begin? — a new study combines biological and cosmological models. Professor Tomonori Totani from the Department of Astronomy looked at how life’s building blocks could spontaneously form in the universe — a process known as abiogenesis.

If there’s one thing in the universe that is certain, it’s that life exists. It must have begun at some point in time, somewhere. But despite all we know from biology and physics, the exact details about how and when life began, and also whether it began elsewhere, are largely speculative.

Read more at: Scitechdaily

This Machine Turns Pee Into Water…in Space

In space, hydration is at a premium. That’s why astronauts living onboard the International Space Station (ISS) go through some extreme measures to drink the doctor’s recommended amount of H20 everyday—they recycle it from pee.

For years, NASA relied on a complex hardware system—in personal EVA suits and aboard the ISS itself—to recycle moisture, like sweat, condensation, and urine. Now, this system is getting a big upgrade. Launched March 6 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Read more at: Popular mechanics


White House Might Consider Space Policies On Cybersecurity, Supply Chain, Nuclear Power

The National Space Council is weighing a new policy directive that would call for the space industry to voluntarily adopt cybersecurity standards to help protect data and companies’ intellectual property. The White House focus over the past year with regard to space policy has been on “supply chain hygiene,” said Mir Sadat, who served on the National Security Council until last month.

There is a growing push in the Trump administration to raise awareness about hackers trying to target satellite networks and industrial spies stealing U.S. space technology, Sadat said March 9 during a panel at the Satellite 2020 symposium.

Read more at: Spacenews

Japan’s Space Program Aims At The Moons Of Mars

Several years ago, after the return of Japan’s Hayabusa space probe from the asteroid Itokawa but before the launch of Hayabusa2 in December 2014, I was discussing Japanese technology with a Silicon Valley executive.

When I started to talk about JAXA (The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) he said: I didn’t know Japan had a space program.”

Read more at: Asiatimes

India Faces Big Budget Cut For New Human Spaceflight Program

As India prepares to launch its first astronauts into space, the program will proceed under tighter funding than hoped, at least for the time being.

The human spaceflight program of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), called  Gaganyaan, received only about 30% of the funds sought by the  according to the Times of India. ISRO said it will find a way around the low budget, but details were not provided in the news report.

Gaganyaan is designed to send three crew members into space for five to seven days in a small spacecraft, roughly 10 feet by 11 feet (3 meters by 3.4 m) in diameter.

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Barrett Points To Recent Activities As A Clear Example For Why The US Space Force Is Needed

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett asserted March 10 that a Russian satellite “actively maneuvering suspiciously near” a U.S. “security satellite” is the clearest sign of space’s changing nature and why creating the U.S. Space Force is necessary.

“Space is no longer dominated by two actors, nor is it so benevolent,” Barrett said in remarks delivered to the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies on Capitol Hill. Unlike the Cold War, when space was primarily the sole province of the United States and the Soviet Union, today “many European nations plus Japan, China and India and more than 40 countries are spacefaring with satellites, probes and sometimes human travelers,” she said.

Read more at: AF mil

Space Force Legislative Plan Delayed

Space Force officials say it’s taking longer than expected to finalize a list of suggested language that lawmakers could add to the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill, indicating that certain proposals for the new service are sure to cause heated disagreement across the federal government.

Air Force Magazine reported Feb. 27 the Space Force was within days of delivering a legislative proposal with some unorthodox requests to Capitol Hill. Lt. Gen. David Thompson, the service’s vice commander, said March 10 the document should go to lawmakers “soon.”

Read more at: Airforce mag

The Space Force Will Need Space Intelligence

The military will have to beef up its space intelligence as it stands up the United States Space Force says the new service’s vice commander.

“What we really need most is elements of a war fighting domain and military service that have been lacking over the years. We need our own core intelligence capability,” said Space Force Vice Commander Lt. Gen. David Thompson.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Aerojet Rocketdyne To Open New Facility To Develop Solid Rocket Motors

Aerojet Rocketdyne announced it has installed a steel casting bell at its new facility in Camden, Arkansas, where it will develop and produce large solid rocket motors.

The company said March 12 it expects the 17,000 square-foot facility to open for business later this spring. Aerojet Rocketdyne broke ground in spring 2019 and estimates the plant cost more than $15 million to build.

Read more at: Spacenews

U.S. Space Force Awards $655M Ground Systems Contract To SAIC Following Legal Battle

SAIC was re-awarded a $655 million contract for satellite ground systems services that it originally won in January 2019 and was successfully protested by Peraton.

The contract awarded by the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center is for the program known as EDIS (engineering, development, integration and sustainment). The contractor will modernize satellite ground systems at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Read more at: Spacenews

US-Brazil Defense Cooperation Could Help Counter China’s Space Ambitions, General Says

A new defense research agreement with Brazil can help the U.S. military counter China’s space infrastructure ambitions in the Western Hemisphere, the U.S. Southern Command commander told Congress on Wednesday, March 11.

“Beijing sees immense value in South America’s strategic location for space activity and is actively pursuing additional access to regional space infrastructure,” SOCOM Commander Admiral Craig Faller said in written testimony.

Read more at: Defense post

Space Force: The Tragic Weaponization Of Space

The United States has a new sixth branch of the military, Space Force, created by Donald Trump in December, 2019. Space Force is a tragic idea, exemplifying America’s inability to shed its knee-jerk militaristic responses to complex global dilemmas. However, the usual objections—”typical Pentagon fantasy”, “defense industry boondoggle”, “Trump playing with toys at his desk”, “US militarism run amok”, etc.—while valid, are by themselves too glib and dismissive to identify the real dangers involved.

Space is already militarized. It is being contested by the three superpowers: China, Russia, and the US.

Read more at: nationofchange


69-Year-Old Russian Daredevil Will Balloon Into the Stratosphere

World-famous adventurer Fedor Konyukhov just turned 69, and he’s planning to balloon into almost-space next month before crossing the Pacific Ocean on a solar-powered catamaran. This is all basically normal stuff for a guy who’s ballooned around the world, sailed the entire way around Antarctica, and set all kinds of records in the process. But even for someone who’s climbed Mt. Everest, the stratosphere is a whole new high mark of adventure and danger.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

Space Symposium Postponed, No Future Dates Set

On Friday, The Space Foundation announced that the Space Symposium has been postponed. This was set for March 30- April 2, 2020.

In a statement, they said, “The Space Foundation is working with its partners, The Broadmoor, the City of Colorado Springs, and its members and other key stakeholders to identify future dates and details that will assemble the world’s space community again in Colorado.”

The postponement comes amidst concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read more at: kktv

Pioneer To Pariah: Russia’s First Woman In Space Criticized Over Amendment To Extend Putin’s Power

Valentina Tereshkova was hailed as a hero when she became the first woman in space in 1963.

Now 83, she has became a hate figure for some Russians after putting forward a constitutional amendment that could allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036.

The lower house, the State Duma, on Wednesday gave its final approval to the move as part of a package of Putin-backed constitutional amendments.

Read more at: Japan times

NASA Ames Employee Tests Postive For Coronavirus; Employees Told To Work Remotely

An employee at NASA’s Ames Research Center tested positive for coronavirus and the whole center has been put on a mandatory telework status until further notice, NASA officials said Sunday. (3-8-2020)

Read more at: cbslocal

Jonny Kim — A 35-Year-Old NASA Astronaut, Doctor, Navy SEAL, And Combat Veteran — Reveals What He Learned From His Greatest Mistake

The path to success is sometimes riddled with hardship. For combat veterans especially, those moments can be exceedingly cutting and difficult to talk about with those who’ve never served.But brand-new NASA astronaut Jonny Kim, age 35 – who in his previous life earned a math degree, became a medical doctor, and participated in 100 combat missions as a Navy SEAL (and who makes US senators feel “horribly, horribly inadequate”) – recently opened up in an interview with Business Insider about what he said was perhaps his greatest mistake.

Read more at: Business insider

Elon Musk Told Workers They’re More Likely To Die In A Car Crash Than From Coronavirus

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk told SpaceX employees that they have a higher risk of being killed in a car crash than dying from the coronavirus in a company-wide email on Friday.

The email, which was sent in the early hours of Friday morning and seen by BuzzFeed News, followed the same line of thinking that Musk has publicly expressed on Twitter, where he said last week that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.” In the note to employees of the rocket manufacturer, the SpaceX chief noted that all the evidence he had seen about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, “suggests that this is *not* within the top 100 health risks in the United States.”

Read more at: Buzzfeed news

This Stunning 4K Video Re-Creates Apollo 13’s Perilous Trip Around Moon

Astronauts aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft had survived an explosion and reduced oxygen before their next tricky venture, on April 14, 1970: a 25-minute pass by the far side of the moon, out of communication with Earth.

Now, you can see a portion of the Apollo 13 astronauts’ view of the moon’s far side, thanks to a new video courtesy of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

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11th IAASS Conference: Manging Risk in Space,
Thursday, September 17 – Saturday, September 19 2020
Osaka, Japan

The 11th IAASS Conference “Managing Risk in Space”, organized in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is an invitation to reflect and exchange information on a number of space safety and sustainability topics of national and international interest.

The 11th IAASS Conference will in addition to normal sessions dedicate a set of panel sessions to the discussion of four topics which need to get better attention in space programs: Space Debris Reentry Safety, Space Traffic Management, Safety Regulations of Commercial Human Spaceflight, and Human Performance and Safety on Long Duration missions.

Read more at: Spacenews