Almost Ready: Spacex Has Work To Do Before Dragon Is Ready To Carry Crew

Among the thousands of spectators who watched the Falcon 9 launch of the first Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in the early morning hours of March 2, few had greater interest in the mission than Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The two veteran NASA astronauts, with four shuttle flights between them, have for the last few years been part of the commercial crew program, working with Boeing and SpaceX on the design and operations of their vehicles.

The two were particularly interested in this Demo-1 launch since they will be the crew of the next Crew Dragon mission, Demo-2, scheduled to take place as soon as July. The two followed the launch from a refurbished Apollo-era launch control center at KSC and then, 24 hours later, were at SpaceX’s mission control at its Hawthorne, California, headquarters to watch as the spacecraft approached, and docked with, the International Space Station.

Read more at: Spacenews

Novel Coating Kyboshes ISS Bacteria

A novel antimicrobial coating deployed in the International Space Station could be the solution to the presence of most, but not all, bacterial colonies on board the craft.

The presence of bacteria inside the ISS has been the subject of a lot of research and considerable concern.

Where humans go, microbes always follow, and the ISS is no exception. However, the uniquely harsh microgravitational environment inside the station – and the presence of unfettered cosmic rays outside it – have prompted fears that usually benign species of onboard bacteria could potentially mutate into something more pathogenic.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

Boeing Pushes Back Test Flights For NASA Human Spaceflight Program Till Later This Year

Boeing is delaying the first uncrewed test flight of the CST-100 Starliner, the vehicle that was contracted to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

The first uncrewed test flight of the Starliner was originally scheduled to happen in April. New reports, however, revealed that the launch will be pushed back for at least three months. The crewed test flight was also moved from August to November 2019.

A NASA spokesperson seemingly confirmed the changes to Reuters and told the publication that the new launch schedule will be posted sometime next week.

Read more at: Techtimes

NASA Reshuffles Spacewalk Lineup, With All-Female Outing Ruled Out Due To Suit Size

History’s first all-female spacewalk will have to wait for another time after NASA switched the lineup for two upcoming extravehicular outings at the International Space Station.

NASA had planned to have astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch go out together on Friday to upgrade a set of batteries for the station’s solar arrays. But today the space agency said it was assigning Koch and crewmate Nick Hague to that spacewalk. McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques are tentatively scheduled to perform a follow-up spacewalk on April 8.

The reason has to do with spacesuit sizes: During her first-ever spacewalk on March 22, McClain learned that a medium-size hard upper torso was the best fit for her. But only one medium-size torso could be made ready for Friday’s outing, and NASA decided that Koch should wear it.

Read more at: Geekwire

Spaceflight Reactivates Herpes Virus In Astronauts

The stress of executing space missions could cause dormant viruses to reactivate within astronauts, suggests a new study led by NASA.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology on February 7, analyzed samples of saliva, blood, and urine obtained from astronauts before, during, and after 10- to 16-day space flights and long-term missions aboard the International Space Station.

“To date, 47 out of 89 (53 percent) astronauts on short space shuttle flights, and 14 out of 23 (61 percent) on longer ISS missions shed herpes viruses in their saliva or urine samples,” said lead study author Dr. Satish K. Mehta at Johnson Space Center. “These frequencies — as well as the quantity — of viral shedding are markedly higher than in samples from before or after flight, or from matched healthy controls.”

Read more at: Bigthink

Public, Environment Will Be Safe Even If Rocket Launch Fails, Says Company

The president of the company behind a proposed rocket-launching facility near Canso, N.S., says even in the worst-case scenarios of explosions, fires or spills, the public and environment will be safe.

Steve Matier of Maritime Launch Services (MLS) made the comments after the company filed a new report saying a launch failure could blow a crater 10 metres deep into the granite at the site.

“We firmly believe we have the knowledge, skills and best practices to safely operate our facility and protect the public and environment,” he wrote in an email to CBC News. Matier declined to be interviewed.

Read more at: CBC

Dream Chaser Clears Another NASA Review for Inaugural 2021 Launch

America’s next ‘spaceplane’ recently cleared another key NASA review towards flight, checking off the next milestone on Sierra Nevada Corp’s (SNC) journey to launching their first Dream Chaser atop a ULA Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in 2021.

The orbital vehicle for that first mission is now under construction, and the latest review, known as Integrated Review Milestone 5 (IR5), analyzed SNC’s performance of a variety of ground and flight operations, including development of the vehicle’s flight computers and software, mission simulator and Mission Control Center.

SNC also performed cargo demonstrations using high fidelity mock-ups of the vehicle and its cargo module, showing loading and unloading time and efficiency, and when all was said and done NASA declared the SNC team is on track to operate Dream Chaser in advance of the first mission.

Read more at: America space

Space Council Seeks Urgency In NASA Exploration Plans

The National Space Council will likely press NASA at its upcoming meeting to speed up its plans to return humans to the moon as the agency continues to study alternative approaches for the next flight of its Orion spacecraft.

Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, said March 21 the need for urgency in NASA’s return to the moon will be a theme of the council’s next meeting March 26 in Huntsville, Alabama. That meeting, announced March 20, will include two panels of experts who will weigh in on the status of those plans.

Read more at: Spacenews

Spot Failed Soviet Venus Probe Kosmos 482 In Earth Orbit

A ghost from the old Soviet space program may return to Earth in the coming years. Mimicking a campy episode of the ’70s series The Six Million Dollar Man, a Soviet Venus lander stranded in Earth orbit will eventually reenter the atmosphere, perhaps as early as late 2019. Fortunately, this isn’t the “Venus death probe” that the bionic man Steve Austin had to defeat, but Kosmos 482 is part of a fascinating forgotten era of the Space Age, and one you can track down in the night sky, with a little skill and patience.

The story starts with the launch of a Molniya 8K78M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome early on the morning of March 31, 1972. Part of the Soviet Venus exploration campaign of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the launch payload made it into parking orbit around the Earth. In those days, Russian launches were shrouded in secrecy, and often only announced after a successful launch, confirmation by western radar, or sightings made by volunteer satellite observers.

Read more at:

Op-Ed | Protecting Low Earth Orbit From Becoming The New Wild West

Assuring national and economic security is an urgent responsibility, especially as low Earth orbit (LEO) is opening to many new players.

Private companies of all kinds are sending up payloads for research, technological, commercial and educational gains. Space tourists are lining up to buy tickets, entrepreneurs and high school students are putting up cubesats, and commercial satellites are providing everything from worldwide internet access to tracking a retailer’s fleet of trucks, or monitoring fishing and land development.

It’s the stuff of sci-fi—and economic — dreams. And it’s mostly a very good thing. The United States government actively supports space commercialization. At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Space Summit in December, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross suggested that with adequate support it could become a $1 trillion-plus industry worldwide within 10 to 15 years.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX Claims to Have Redesigned Its Starlink Satellites to Eliminate Casualty Risks

SpaceX has promised to redesign its upcoming megaconstellation of Internet satellites so that they cannot hurt anyone on Earth.

In a meeting with the FCC last week, SpaceX said that the vast majority of its Starlink satellites will no longer contain dense metallic components that could survive reentry and endanger people on the ground. “No components of…the satellite will survive atmospheric reentry, reducing casualty risk to zero,” SpaceX wrote in a letter to the FCC after that meeting.

In December, IEEE Spectrum reported that while each individual Starlink satellite had only a tiny chance of hitting someone after falling back to Earth, the aggregate risk of one of SpaceX’s nearly 12,000 satellites causing an injury or death was 45 percent every six years.

Read more at: IEEE Spectrum

NASA Shares IMAGES Of Meteor As Powerful As Hiroshima Bomb That No One Spotted

NASA published satellite photos of a mysterious and powerful meteor which appeared in the sky in December and released 10 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb, but somehow wasn’t seen by anybody at the time.

The elusive meteor released about 173 kilotons of energy as it smashed through the Earth’s atmosphere at about 115,200kph (71,600mph). It’s the most powerful meteor to hit Earth since 2013, when the Chelyabinsk meteor struck in Russia. Images taken minutes after the December 2018 meteor hit show the shadow of the fireball’s trail in the sky, where it appeared over the Bering Sea off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and turned the clouds orange.

Read more at: RT

Why Dangerous Asteroids Heading To Earth Are So Hard To Detect

Earth is often in the firing line of fragments of asteroids and comets, most of which burn up tens of kilometres above our heads. But occasionally, something larger gets through.

That’s what happened off Russia’s east coast on December 18 last year. A giant explosion occurred above the Bering Sea when an asteroid some ten metres across detonated with an explosive energy ten times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

So why didn’t we see this asteroid coming? And why are we only hearing about its explosive arrival now?

Read more at:

Huge Meteor Explosion a Wake-Up Call for Planetary Defense

Back in late 2018 Earth dodged a bullet. Well, almost—a hefty space rock streaked through the upper atmosphere, detonating with the power of a nuclear bomb over an isolated stretch of the Bering Sea, between Russia and Alaska.

The blast occurred roughly 16 miles above the ocean, creating a high-altitude airburst with perhaps 40 percent of the energy released by the destructive February 2013 meteor over Chelyabinsk, Russia.

This late-breaking bombshell was unveiled here by Kelly Fast, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations program manager, during a media briefing on the agency’s planetary defense programs prior to the start of this week’s 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Read more at: Scientific American

Air Force, Education and Industry Partners Work Together to Gather Space Radiation Data

Iridium Communications launched its last cluster of communication satellites to finish the new Iridium NEXT constellation, Jan 11. Also aboard the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the U.S. Air Force completed a set of space radiation sensors: the Responsive Environmental Assessment Commercially Hosted constellation, known as REACH.

Consisting of 32 hosted sensors on the Iridium NEXT constellation, REACH is a partnership between the U.S. Air Force, The Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Iridium Communications and Harris Corporation.

The program, managed by SMC’s Advanced Systems and Development Directorate, provides an unprecedented capability to monitor Earth’s radiation environment in low Earth orbit. REACH represents an innovative, low-cost and rapid fielding of space radiation sensing technology to provide resilient detection and characterization of space weather hazards.

Read more at: AFSPC

Here’s the Right Way to Nuke an Asteroid (Sorry, Bruce Willis)

If you want to use a nuclear weapon to save the world from an asteroid, don’t try to do it the way Bruce Willis did in “Armageddon,” NASA’s planetary defense office would like to remind you.

“If you’ve seen those movies, they’re completely bogus,” Lindley Johnson, the planetary defense officer at NASA headquarters, said during a media session on asteroids and the art of protecting Earth from them held at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference taking place here this week. “That’s not how we would use a nuclear explosive device to do this at all.”

But nuclear weapons are one of three techniques planetary defense experts have their eye on for nudging an asteroid off course if its orbit seems to be carrying it too close to Earth for comfort.

Read more at:

Super Fast Travel Using Outer Space Could Be $20 Billion Market, Disrupting Airlines, UBS Predicts

UBS believes there will be very lucrative ramifications from the space flight efforts currently led by Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Blue Origin.

A lengthy UBS report published on Sunday found that, in a decade, high speed travel via outer space will represent an annual market of at least $20 billion and compete with long-distance airline flights. Space tourism will be a $3 billion market by 2030, UBS estimates.

“While space tourism is still at a nascent phase, we think that as technology becomes proven, and the cost falls due to technology and competition, space tourism will become more mainstream,” UBS analysts Jarrod Castle and Myles Walton wrote in the note. “Space tourism could be the stepping stone for the development of long-haul travel on earth serviced by space.”

Read more at: CNBC

The Saga of a Stranded Space Station Supercomputer

Last week, astronauts on the International Space Station performed some routine surgery on an onboard computer by replacing a power inverter. But as is the case with nearly everything in space, there’s a backstory to this mundane activity that tells us something about how hard it is to live off-world.

There are two servers in space that are part of something called the Spaceborne Computer,an experiment designed to see how a commercial device can handle the rigors of the space environment. The supercomputer, made by Hewlett Packard, is blazing a trail for subsequent spacefaring computers.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Super-Powerful Long March 9 Said To Begin Missions Around 2030

Chinese scientists are designing what is expected to be the world’s most powerful rocket, according to a senior researcher.

Li Hong, deputy general manager at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, said the Long March 9 super heavy-lift carrier rocket will be capable of lifting 140 metric tons of payload into a low-Earth orbit, or a 50-ton spacecraft to a lunar transfer orbit. The giant rocket will also be able to ferry a 44-ton payload to a Mars transfer orbit, he added.

He made the remarks on Saturday on the sidelines of the ongoing second session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing. The researcher is a member of the national political advisory body.

Read more at: Space daily

DARPA Continues Work On Satellite Servicing Program As It Seeks New Ride

Nearly two months after Maxar dropped out of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program to demonstrate satellite servicing, the agency is continuing to develop the servicing technology as it examines options to get it into space.

Maxar’s Space Systems Loral business unit had been working with DARPA on the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program under a public-private partnership finalized in 2017. Under that agreement, DARPA, working with the Naval Research Laboratory, would provide the satellite servicing payload, which Maxar would integrate on one of its satellite buses. After an in-space demonstration, Maxar would then be free to use the RSGS technology for commercial applications.

Read more at: Spacenews

Acucela Signs Agreement to Develop a Compact OCT for NASA’s Deep Space Missions

Acucela Inc. (“Acucela”), a clinical-stage ophthalmology company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. (Tokyo 4596), announced today that the company signed the agreement with the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) to develop a compact OCT*1 device for NASA’s Deep Space mission

Approximately 63% of long-duration spaceflight crewmembers present with one or more signs of Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS), including optic disc edema, globe flattening, choroidal folds, cotton wool spots, and refractive shifts. OCT has become a mainstay of crew testing for SANS because it allows accurate measurement of retinal thickness and cross-sectional imagery of the retina and optic disc. This in combination with other tests provides the necessary data to diagnose, monitor, and eventually treat SANS.

Read more at: Business wire

Meet The Veteran Astronaut Who’ll Be On The First Launch Of Boeing’s Starliner

Both Boeing and SpaceX plan to send humans to the International Space Station from US soil this year for the first time since 2011. On board those missions will be five astronauts—Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, and Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, and Edward Michael Fincke on Boeing’s Starliner. But that wasn’t always the roster. Fincke found out in January he would be substituting for fellow astronaut Eric Boe on the planned August launch. Boe was pulled from the mission for medical reasons.

While he is new to this mission, Fincke is no stranger to flying. Back in 2011 he broke the record for most time in space by a US astronaut (he has since been passed by Scott Kelly during his year in space and Peggy Whitson), and he has completed nine spacewalks. At MIT’s Apollo 50th anniversary event during MIT Space Week, I pulled him aside to talk about his upcoming mission.

Read more at: Technology review

Germany Begins Reusability Study To Capture Rockets In Midair And Land Them With A Plane

The Germany space agency DLR is beginning a study this month on a reusable launcher concept that would use a winged first-stage booster captured on descent by an aircraft and towed back to land.

DLR said March 20 that the three-year study seeks to develop a “rocket catcher” with an international team that will build on previous DLR simulations and flight experiments.

The project is called FALCon, or the “Formation flight for in-Air Launcher 1st stage Capturing demonstration.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Testing the Value of Artifical Gravity for Astronaut Health

est subjects in Cologne, Germany will take to their beds for 60 days from 25 March as part of a groundbreaking study, funded by European Space Agency ESA and US space agency NASA, into how artificial gravity could help astronauts stay healthy in space.

Carried out at the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) :envihab facility, the long-term bedrest study is the first of its kind to be conducted in partnership between the two agencies. It is also the first to employ DLR’s short-arm centrifuge as a way of recreating gravity for participants.

But just how easy is it to stay in bed for 60 days and what is the relevance of adding artificial gravity for space researchers? We pull back the covers on this unique investigation as preparations get underway.

Read more at: ESA

SpaceX’s Hexagon Tiles for Starship Heat Shield Pass Fiery Test

SpaceX is turning up the heat on its Starship spacecraft project, according to CEO Elon Musk. Literally.

In a series of posts on Twitter this week, Musk unveiled a tantalizing glimpse at a SpaceX test of the hexagonal heat shield tiles that will protect its Starship vehicle as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. SpaceX is developing Starship and its Super Heavy booster for deep-space trips to the moon and Mars.

“Testing Starship heatshield hex tiles,” Musk wrote in a post Sunday (March 17). He also posted a short video of nine hex tiles being bombarded by flames.

Read more at:

Blue Origin Studying Repurposing Of New Glenn Upper Stages

Blue Origin has studied repurposing upper stages of its future New Glenn launch vehicle to serve as habitats or for other applications as part of a series of NASA-funded commercialization studies.

Brett Alexander, vice president of government sales and strategy at Blue Origin, said the company looked at ways it could make use of the second stage of New Glenn rather than simply deorbiting the stage at the end of each launch, but emphasized the company currently had no firm plans to reuse those stages at this time.

That study was part of a series of study contracts awarded by NASA last August to study future concepts to support commercial human spaceflight in low Earth orbit.

Read more at: Spacenews

Radioactive Material Detected Remotely Using Laser-Induced Electron Avalanche Breakdown

Physicists at the University of Maryland have developed a powerful new method to detect radioactive material. By using an infrared laser beam to induce a phenomenon known as an electron avalanche breakdown near the material, the new technique is able to detect shielded material from a distance. The method improves upon current technologies that require close proximity to the radioactive material.

With additional engineering advancements, the method could be scaled up and used to scan trucks and shipping containers at ports of entry, providing a powerful new tool to detect concealed, dangerous radioactive material. The researchers described their proof-of-concept experiments in a research paper published March 22, 2019 in the journal Science Advances.

Read more at: Space daily

House Transportation And Infrastructure Committee To Play Bigger Space Role Under New Chairman

Until now, much of the civilian space debate in the House occurred in the Science, Space and Technology Committee. But Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, wants to change all that.

The Oregon Democrat, whose committee oversees the Federal Aviation Administration, said he hopes to delve into a number of space topics on the panel, including how airplanes and space rockets share national airspace.

“I’m not going to inconvenience hundreds of thousands of people so some rich person who can pay $250,000 to be weightless for six minutes can have a fun day. They can go at 3 o’clock in the morning from a remote area,” said DeFazio, who previously served as the committee’s ranking member.

Read more at: Politico

Brazil’s Launch Site Is In A Great Location, But Will US Rocket Companies Want To Use It?

On Tuesday, the Trump administration signed a preliminary agreement with Brazil that could one day lead to US rockets launching from the South American country’s coastal spaceport. President Trump praised the idea of using the site, arguing that “because of the location, tremendous amounts of money would be saved.” But while the launch site offers up a few key benefits to US launch providers, it’s possible that these advantages may not be enough to draw all major rocket companies to the area.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration signed a preliminary agreement with Brazil that could one day lead to US rockets launching from the South American country’s coastal spaceport. President Trump praised the idea of using the site, arguing that “because of the location, tremendous amounts of money would be saved.” But while the launch site offers up a few key benefits to US launch providers, it’s possible that these advantages may not be enough to draw all major rocket companies to the area.

Read more at: Verge

Can the U.S. Save Alcantara, Brazil’s Cursed Spaceport?

This week, new Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro signed a deal that would open his country’s national spaceport to U.S. satellite launches. The move has been seen mostly as a way for the new leader to ingratiate himself to the Trump administration. But behind the politics, the deal is also the latest attempt to salvage Brazil’s once-promising space program, which has languished amid failed launches and fruitless international partnerships.

Representatives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin are known to have toured the spaceport recently, which is a sure sign of interest from the aerospace bigs. Small launch companies may be even more interested, attracted by an equatorial spin that produces 30 percent fuel savings. That means more small sats launched more cheaply at time when many emerging companies are jockeying for customers.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

The Original Sin of Space

There has been a lot of talk in the news these past several months about the current American administration’s interest in the creation of a new ‘Space Force,’ both in serious terms and in comedic light. This perhaps has distracted people from realizing just how much ‘space’ has been an important and expansive part of American national security and is increasingly crucial to 21st century global security across many different countries.

A brief history of this domain shows that a military element has always been part of the American conceptualization of space and its usefulness. After all, there were satellites even before there was a NASA. In fact, DARPA (the secretive and to most Americans mysterious Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was created FIRST.

Read more at: Modern diplomacy

Trump’s Space Force Gets the Final Frontier All Wrong

Just before Valentine’s Day last month, NASA made one final call to Opportunity, the little Mars rover that had been trekking across the red planet since it arrived in 2004. The space agency lost contact with the robotic explorer in June 2018 during a massive planetary dust storm and had been attempting to reconnect with it ever since. To no avail: “With a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude,” NASA officials declared on February 13 that Opportunity was dead and its mission was over.

Americans from former President Barack Obama on down bid a fond farewell to what Wired called “the hardest-working robot in the solar system.” Indeed, it had lasted almost 15 years despite being designed to have a life span of just three months. Opportunity is survived on Mars by two other American robotic explorers: fellow rover Curiosity and the recently arrived InSight lander.

Read more at: Foreign policy

PM Interview: The Guardians of Orbit

A lot of the talk about the militarization of space these days comes from people who have zero real-life military experience working with satellites. We recently had the welcome opportunity to speak to several frontline military space operators during a trip to Petersen Air Force Base in Colorado, home to U.S. Space Command, and Schriever AFB. The day included a joint interview with three members of the 2nd Operations Squadron, which operates the Global Position System constellation around the clock. Theirs is a military mission with billions of civilian customers added on.

We spoke with Capt. Dustin Spafford, an Assistant Director of Operations of the squadron (which everyone at Schriever calls “two-sops”); 1st Lt Morgan Herman, an Assistant Weapons & Tactics Flight Commander focused on the payloads and ways to optimize a sat’s signal, especially during specific military operations; and Capt. Ryan Thompson, Analyst Flight Commander, the engineer in the room who tends to the health and operation of the satellites; and the airmen’s commander, Lt Col Stephen Toth.

Read more at: Popular mechanics

Lasers, Hypersonics, & AI: Mike Griffin’s Killer Combo

Laser beam communications no enemy can jam. Microwave emitters to fry enemy satellites or incoming hypersonic missiles. AI-controlled lasers shooting down hostile drones faster than a human can react. The Pentagon’s chief of R&D, Mike Griffin, sees tremendous potential for directed energy — both by itself and in combination with his other high-tech priorities like artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, secure communications, and space warfare.

“More than any other of the areas in my portfolio,” undersecretary Griffin said, “I think the leverage of directed energy is so high … that it is right at the top of my investment priorities.”

Read more at: Breaking defense

Shanahan: Military Space ‘Needs An Advocate’

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday argued that a new military branch for space is needed to be an advocate for the mission and to ensure the United States has “unquestioned dominance in space.”

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Shanahan boasted that it only took 18 months for the Pentagon to produce a legislative proposal to establish a Space Force, a process that started in the fall of 2017 after a conversation he had with the leaders of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.)

President Trump helped accelerate the process, said Shanahan. “We faced a compelling need to move quickly,” he said. The issue is the need to “grow our margin of dominance in space. That margin is now being contested.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Russia To Respond To Planned US Tests Of SM-3 Block II Interceptor Missile

Moscow will take all necessary response measures if the United States implements its plans to test the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

“These plans cannot but cause concern as the threat becomes a reality,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry went on to note that Russia will have to take this into account and “take the necessary measures, including those of a technical nature.”

Read more at: Spacedaily

Russia’s Sarmat ICBM Can ‘Rip Any Missile Defence System to Shreds’

The Sarmat, a new intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of up to 11,000 km, is a strategic weapon of last resort capable of carrying up to 24 nuclear-armed independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), and has been touted as Russia’s effort to preserve global strategic stability amid US plans to develop advanced missile defences.

Roscosmos chief Dmitri Rogozin has boasted about the Sarmat’s capabilities in an interview with Russian television.

“This is a heavy ballistic missile that’s capable of defeating, of ripping to shreds any literally any missile defence system to pieces, whether existing or prospective,” Rogozin said, speaking to Russia-24 on Friday.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Fifty Years After Apollo 11, the View of Earth from the Moon

I saw “Apollo 11” in the Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra, sitting in an imax theatre with ten or so other freelancers and retirees who could see a documentary about NASA in the middle of a Thursday. The director and editor, Todd Douglas Miller, tells the story of the moon launch using archival footage, including a trove of 70-mm. film commissioned by nasa at the time of the launch. The film has no voice-over narration. Instead its story is relayed by the newscasts of Walter Cronkite and the radio transmissions of Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and their interlocutors on Earth.

The result is a visual museum about America in July, 1969, in which Aldrin’s famous 16-mm. footage of the lunar module approaching the surface of the moon is only a little more compelling than the thousands of picnickers who gathered at Cape Canaveral to watch the rocket launch, with their station wagons, cat-eye sunglasses, flowered bathing caps, Technicolor minidresses, and coffee percolators.

Read more at: Newyorker

U.S. Postal Service Reveals New Stamp Designs To Honor 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11

In honor of the 50th anniversary since man landed on the moon, The U.S. Postal Service unveiled its two new stamp designs for their “Forever” collection about the Apollo 11 mission on Wednesday.

Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, one stamp displays the famous picture of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface while the other shows a photograph of the moon indicating the landing site of Apollo 11’s “Eagle” lunar module in the Sea of Tranquility.

It is still unknown when the stamps will be issued, but the U.S. Postal Service said additional details will later reveal the date, time and location for the first-day-of issue ceremony.

Read more at: Florida today

The Risk of Apollo: Astronauts Swap Harrowing Tales from NASA’s Moon Shots

It’s no secret that NASA’s Apollo missions were risky. Political pressures pushed the hardworking teams at NASA further and faster than what seemed possible.

From the seamstresses in Dover, Delaware, to the engineers and, of course, the astronauts themselves — everyone at NASA had their sights set firmly on the moon. But, while everyone worked to prepare for every possible malfunction or error with the Apollo missions, getting to the moon still presented these astronauts with strange, unusual (and sometimes life-threatening) surprises.

Read more at:

Netflix Premieres Nail-Biting ’14 Minutes From Earth,’ With Bold Stratospheric Jump

The documentary “14 Minutes From Earth,” which just premiered on Netflix, shows the secrecy behind, and the excitement following, the highest free-fall jump ever.

The 2016 film follows the adventures of Google executive Alan Eustace in his quest to make the highest-ever skydive  — and to do so without benefit of a rocket or even a protective ascent capsule, such as the one used by previous record-holder Felix Baumgartner.

The then 57-year-old Eustace flew a helium-filled balloon more than 25 miles (40 kilometers) above New Mexico on Oct. 24, 2014, before releasing a cord and falling solo toward Earth. As the documentary shows, making the jump was a difficult decision for Eustace. He had the chance to make history, but his wife and others in his life were not fully on board with the idea.

Read more at:

More Shocking Facts About The Boeing 737 Max Crashes

Recent reports have added more confusion, anger and disbelief about the two deadly Boeing 737 MAX accidents over the past 6 months.

The Federal Aviation Authority and Boeing has come under a lot of scrutiny for their training and certification procedures. Pilots from various unions around the United States have stated that nor Boeing nor the FAA have informed them properly about the dangers of MCAS.

Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System has been blamed for the Lion Air Flight JT610 fatal crash in October of 2018.

Read more at: Aviationcv

An Enigma Behind The Curtain: The Tallinn Anti-Ballistic Missile System And Satellite Intelligence

For the first two decades of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was far behind the US in nuclear weapons and relied on deception as its main deterrent. They managed to deceive the US first that there was a bomber gap, then a missile gap, and that the US was falling further and further behind. In 1961, the Soviets had just four intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) launch pads, at a time when the US deployed almost 200, but the Soviets claimed to be building missiles “like sausages from a machine” and that they had outstripped US production.[1] Then American spy technology—the U-2 plane and satellites—proved US stockpiles were massively superior to the Soviet arsenal and the US happily reduced missile production.[2]

Read more at: Spacereview

NASA’s Photo Archives Reveal 60 Years Of Space Travel

When it comes to illustrating humanity’s achievements in space, NASA’s back catalogue is as good as it gets. The images here are all part of a book tracing the agency’s 60 years of existence using more than 400 photographs.

The big launches, moon landings, starscapes and Martian panoramas all make the cut, alongside plenty of striking views from behind the scenes, images that give a human scale to NASA’s vast technological endeavours.

“Of course, many of the well-known shots were too beautiful to leave out, but we also wanted plenty of lesser-known images, so there was a big effort to delve into obscure archives,” says Piers Bizony, the book’s author and editor.

A big focus is the Apollo project to put people on the moon, as these picture show.

Read more at: New Scientist