Space Force Orders Orbital Service Station To Revive Dead Satellites

A spacecraft about the size of a gas pump is being developed for the US Space Force program to refuel orbiting satellites. The goal is to extend the lifespan of craft that have run out of juice instead of simply decommissioning them.

According to tracking service Orbiting Now, there are currently 9,707 satellites orbiting the planet right now. When some of those satellites run out of fuel, their usefulness is over and they become space junk rather than space-based tools – even if they’re in otherwise good health. To help solve this issue, in January the United States Space Force (USSF) awarded US$25.5 million to orbit-service provider Astroscale U.S. to create a refueling solution, as part of a larger program focused on keeping government satellites operational after their tanks are empty.

Read more at: newatlas

Coastal Commission Eyes SpaceX Launch Rate Impact on Local Beaches

An increase in SpaceX launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base and confusion about impacts on coastal access has led to measures to avoid temporary closures of nearby beaches and further review by a state panel.

Providing an exclamation point on the review, SpaceX launched its 12th mission of 2024 on Saturday night, days before the California Coastal Commission reviews the matter. The launch of 21 Starlink satellites, including six for the direct-to-cell service, occurred at 7:25 p.m. Saturday.

The item will be taken up during the commission’s meeting starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Long Beach when commissioners will hear about additional environmental monitoring and other measures planned in the wake of the increased launch rate.

Read more at: noozhawk


A Leap Forward in Satellite Monitoring

Space Situational Awareness (SSA) services include the ability to monitor, track, and predict the location and behavior of satellites orbiting the Earth. They are vital for the safety, security, and sustainability of space activities. Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG Space) is a leading space supplier and recently launched a new SSA solution distinguished by its outstanding accuracy and data quality. The solution leverages over six years of data collection from diverse sources and was built together with a trusted partner. Beyond Gravity’s SSA product not only tracks satellite overflights but also offers its users comprehensive ground footprint intelligence, revealing details about the satellite’s onboard technology and instruments. This empowers users with an in-depth understanding of a satellite’s capabilities.

Read more at: spacenews

Parsons To Be System Integrator For Tracss Space Traffic Coordination System

The Office of Space Commerce has selected Parsons Corporation to develop key elements of its civil space traffic coordination system.

The office, located within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said March 18 it awarded a $15.5 million contract to Parsons to provide system integration and cloud management services for its Traffic Coordination System for Space, or TraCSS. The one-year contract includes an option for another year that would increase its total value to $26.9 million.

Read more at: spacenews

Metal Thought To Be International Space Station Trash Rips Through Florida Home

Nasa is investigating after a sizable chunk of metal believed to be part of a discarded battery pallet from the International Space Station crashed through the roof and two stories of a house in Florida.

Engineers for the American outer space exploration agency are analyzing the cylindrical slab, which weighs about 2lb and tore through the home in Naples on the afternoon of 8 March.

Read more at: Guardian

What Solar Eclipse-Gazing Has Looked Like for the Past 2 Centuries

For centuries, people have been clamoring to glimpse solar eclipses. From astronomers with custom-built photographic equipment to groups huddled together with special glasses, this spectacle has captivated the human imagination.

In 1860, Warren de la Rue captured what many sources describe as the first photograph of a total solar eclipse. He took it in Rivabellosa, Spain, with an instrument known as the Kew Photoheliograph. This combination of a telescope and camera was specifically built to photograph the sun.

Read more at: Nytimes

A large group of women, many in fur coats, and one man stand in front of a building with a domed roof. A portion of the roof is slightly ajar, as an observatory may be. One woman is looking through a small telescope. The photo is sepia toned, and the original print has ripped edges.


Elon Musk Just Gave Another Mars Speech—This Time The Vision Seems Tangible

Elon Musk has been talking publicly about his sweeping vision for Mars settlement for nearly eight years now, dating to a speech in Guadalajara, Mexico, in September 2016.This weekend, at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in South Texas, Musk once again took up the mantle of his “making life multiplanetary” cause. Addressing employees at the location of the company’s Starship factory, Musk spoke about the “high urgency” needed to extend the “light of consciousness” beyond Earth. That is not because humanity’s home planet is a lost cause or should not be preserved. Rather, Musk said, he does not want humanity to remain a one-planet civilization that will, inevitably, face some calamity that will end the species.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin Has Passed Key Tests To Build A Space Station For Astronauts And Tourists

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin has passed four key milestones for its $172 million NASA contract to build a new space station.

NASA plans to retire the International Space Station (ISS) in 2030 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean, which should be fun.

Before then, the American space organization is looking to replace the ISS with a new one by collaborating with a private company.

Read more at: supercarblondie

Max Space Announces Plans For Inflatable Space Station Modules

A startup has unveiled plans to develop inflatable modules that the company believes can be made larger and less expensive than alternatives, supporting commercial space stations and other applications.

Max Space is developing a series of expandable modules, the first of which is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX rideshare mission in 2025. That Max Space 20 module, compacted into a volume of two cubic meters for launch, will expand to 20 cubic meters after deployment, making it the largest expandable module flown to date.

Read more at: spacenews

16 Largest Satellite Companies In The World

According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global satellite market was worth $286 billion in 2022. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1% from 2023 to 2032 and reach $615.7 billion by the end of the forecasted period. The growth is driven by the rise in space exploration missions, an increase in satellite-based warfare, and the growing trend of small satellites.

Read more at: yahoo

India’s Private Space Sector Boom And ISRO’s Role | Explained

As the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) forays further into space with missions to the sun and the moon, with space telescopes, landers, and astronauts, the nation’s space sector is also expanding beyond ISRO. With the Centre allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the space sector, the industry’s private players are eyeing a boost in funding from overseas companies and investors.

Since ISRO’s founding in 1969, several state-owned firms like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Antrix Corporation, and private companies like Godrej Aerospace, Ananth Technologies, and Larsen & Toubro have helped it manufacture rockets, satellites, and other space components for ISRO.

Read more at: Hindu

Astrolab Awarded NASA Contract Worth up to $1.9 Billion to Support the Development of Artemis Campaign’s Lunar Terrain Vehicle

NASA has awarded Astrolab a contract to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) which will help Artemis astronauts explore more of the Moon’s surface on future missions. The Astrolab contract is one of three contracts awarded by NASA as part of the LTV project. Collectively, the three contracts have a total potential value of $4.6 billion over the next 13 years. The contracts allow for two additional years for the completion of services. The Astrolab rover, known as Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX), can be operated remotely from Earth even when astronauts are not present, or it can be operated by suited astronauts.

Read more at: businesswire

Blue Origin To Resume Crewed New Shepard Flights

Blue Origin announced plans April 4 for its first crewed New Shepard flight in more than 18 months, a mission that will give an opportunity for America’s first Black astronaut candidate to finally go to space.

The company said the six-person crew of the NS-25 suborbital mission will include Ed Dwight. He was a U.S. Air Force pilot announced by the Kennedy administration in 1961 as an astronaut candidate, the first Black person to be considered. He graduated from the Air Force’s Aerospace Research Pilot School but was not selected by NASA in its next astronaut classes. He left the Air Force in 1966 and became a sculptor.

Read more at: spacenews

Mitsubishi Takes Stake in Starlab Space

Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. is joining Starlab Space, the joint venture of Voyager Space and Airbus Defence and Space that is developing a commercial space station.

Starlab Space announced April 4 that Mitsubishi has become a strategic partner of Starlab Space and would take an equity stake in the joint venture. A Starlab spokesperson declined to provide specific details about the agreement, including its financial value or the size of the equity stake.

Read more at: spacenews



How Many Raptor Engines Does SpaceX’s Starship Heavy Have & How Powerful Are They?

It’s clear that with SpaceX, Elon Musk wants to push the boundaries of space travel, even if every project isn’t a success. Despite scrapping 100 Starlink satellites, there are plenty of important missions SpaceX has completed, and the spacecraft manufacturer has been focusing on a new behemoth: Starship.

Starship is the largest rocket ever flown. It measures 397 feet tall, weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds, and is made of stainless steel. Naturally, with all that mass, it’s going to take an impressive amount of thrust for the spacecraft to not only take off but generate enough velocity to exit Earth’s atmosphere. That’s where SpaceX’s Raptor engines come into play. In total, the Starship Heavy has 39 Raptor engines, with most of them located on the Super Heavy.

Read more at: slashgear

First-Of-Its-Kind Satellite Detaches From Spacex Ship, Enters Orbit: ‘Knowing … How The Rates Are Changing Is Essential’

The first satellite created by an environmental nonprofit was launched from a SpaceX rocket on March 4. Designed and initiated by the Environmental Defense Fund, the MethaneSAT satellite will track methane pollution that can’t be detected by other satellites and provide information that will help reduce said pollution.This project has been years in the making. Steven Wofsy, an atmospheric scientist and Harvard professor, started development on this project with the EDF and other scientists in 2015, and their vision has finally come to fruition.

Read more at: cooldown

China Plans To Catch Its Reusable Rockets With Constricting Wires

China wants to start reusing its rockets for space missions and aims to catch them using wires. Reusable rockets are being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s state-owned main space contractor. CASC makes China’s Long March rockets. The space and defense giant aims to debut its first two reusable rockets in 2025 and 2026. These appear to be linked to China’s lunar and human spaceflight plans.

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Kiwis In Space: New Zealand Defence Force Launches Satellite On Rocket Lab Electron Rocket From Virginia, US

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has officially entered the “space race” with the launch of an experimental communications satellite on board a Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifting off from the Wallops Launch Complex 2 in Virginia.

The NROL-123 mission payload, dubbed “Koramiko”, was attached to a research satellite developed by the US Naval Postgraduate School for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) blasting off into orbit on March 21.

read more at: NZherald

Patent Secured For ‘Petal Fold’ Reusable Rocket Technology

Orbex has successfully patented its REFLIGHT reusable rocket technology following patent approval in several European markets, based on the patent grant by the European Patent Office, as well as in the United States.

The technology is uniquely suited to micro-launcher rockets like Orbex’s Prime rocket since it enables recovery of the launch vehicle by repurposing existing structural features, while adding very little additional weight to the vehicle.

Read more at: Orbex



OSC Releases Vision for Global SSA Coordination

Today, the Office of Space Commerce released its “Global Space Situational Awareness” document, outlining a vision for a future of globally coordinated SSA services.

With its Traffic Coordination System for Space (TraCSS), the Office of Space Commerce is committed to maintaining an open and transparent system that enables global coordination with other SSA providers and ensures reliable and efficient services to global spacecraft operators.

Read more at: space commerce

Exclusive: White House Directs NASA To Create Time Standard For The Moon

The White House on Tuesday directed NASA to establish a unified standard of time for the moon and other celestial bodies, as the United States aims to set international norms in space amid a growing lunar race among nations and private companies.The head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), according to a memo seen by Reuters, instructed the space agency to work with other parts of the U.S. government to devise a plan by the end of 2026 for setting what it called a Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC).

Read more at: reuters

Russia Has A Plan To “Restore” Its Dominant Position In The Global Launch Market

It has been a terrible decade for the Russian launch industry, which once led the world. The country’s long-running workhorse, the Proton rocket, ran into reliability issues and will soon be retired. Russia’s next-generation rocket, Angara, is fully expendable and still flying dummy payloads on test flights a decade after its debut. And the ever-reliable Soyuz vehicle lost access to lucrative Western markets after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Read more at: arstechnica

Thailand Signs Pacts With China On Outer Space, Lunar Outposts

China and Thailand signed initial pacts on Friday to co-operate on peaceful use of outer space and international lunar research stations, the Chinese space agency said. The countries aim to form a joint working group on space exploration and applications, encompassing data exchanges and personnel training, according to the memorandums of understanding.

Read more at: bangkok post

Senate Bills Seek To Reform Commercial Space Regulations

Two bills recently introduced into the Senate would reform regulation of commercial space activities, including putting into motion an eventual end of the “learning period” limiting human spaceflight safety rules.

The Commercial Standards Paramount to Accelerating Cosmic Exploration (SPACE) Leadership Act was introduced March 22 by Sens. Krysten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee.

Read more at: spacenews

NS-20 descent


Russia, China Catching Up To U.S. In Space Weaponry, New Report Finds

The Secure World Foundation on April 2 released its annual report, “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment,” that sheds light on the growing space arms race between the United States, Russia and China.

The report, compiled from publicly available information, details the counterspace capabilities — essentially space weapons — being developed by a dozen countries. Notably, it finds that Russia and China are rapidly catching up to the United States in key areas like electronic warfare and space domain awareness.

Read more at: spacenews

North Korea Says It Test-Fired New Solid-Fuel Hypersonic Missile

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of a new medium-to-long range solid-fuel hypersonic missile, state media said Wednesday, hailing the “important military strategic value” of the new weapon.

Video in state media showed the missile being carried into position on its launching vehicle, as Kim and an array of uniformed soldiers stood by watching, before the missile blasts off, trailing plumes of smoke and flames.

Read more at: spacewar

Pentagon Space Strategy Stresses Need To Protect Commercial Satellites

A new Pentagon strategy for integrating commercial and military space capabilities calls for greater protection for private sector satellites targeted by hostile nations, noting that the U.S. could use force to defend those systems.

The Commercial Space Integration Strategy, released April 2, calls for improved norms and standards to make space safer for private sector operators, threat information sharing and financial protection for companies that support military space missions.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Kratos Demonstrates Satellite Internet Tech For U.S. Army

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions announced April 4 it completed a demonstration of satellite-based broadband for the U.S. Army using a virtual ground system — a software-defined alternative to traditional hardware-based ground stations for controlling satellite constellations.

The company won a contract in 2022 to conduct the demonstration for the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications Tactical (PEO C3T) as part of a broader push to modernize voice and data communication for tactical units. The Army is looking for ways to tap into commercial capabilities rather than having to build its own bespoke space networks.

Read more at: spacenews


How We Know The Universe Is 13.8 Billion Years Old

According to the theory of the hot Big Bang, the Universe had a beginning. Originally known as “a day without a yesterday,” this is one of the most controversial, philosophically mind-blowing pieces of information we’ve come to accept as part of the scientific history of our Universe. Many detractors will reject it as being too in-line with certain religious texts, while others — perhaps more justifiably — note that in the modern context of cosmic inflation, the hot Big Bang only occurred as the aftermath of a previous epoch.

Read more at: bigthink

cosmic epochs lookback hubble 13.8 billion

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and the total eclipse is a stark reminder of that adage when it comes to the key role solar energy currently plays in the US.

More than 31 million people — nearly 10 percent of the population in the US — live in an area that will experience the total solar eclipse today. Millions more live near dirty power plants that could be tapped to make up for a loss of solar power.

Read more at: Verge

SpaceX Readies For Fourth Starship Test & Ships Rocket To Launch Site!

In the wake of a partially successful third Starship test flight less than three weeks ago, SpaceX appears to be moving full speed ahead with its fourth Starship test flight attempt next month. After it had to deal with a long and arduous regulatory approval process in 2023 that caused a considerable delay for the second Starship IFT in November, SpaceX picked up the pace and tested the full stack rocket for the third time last month.

Immediately after the test, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell shared that the firm plans to test Starship next month, and considering the progress made at the test sites in Texas, it appears that the fourth Starship stack might fly soon.

Read more at: wccftech

NASA May Have Inadvertently Redirected An Asteroid At Mars

In 2022, NASA sent a spaceship to slam into an asteroid about the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in an attempt to alter its course.

The mission was a success, and demonstrated that it is possible to redirect objects in space, great news for a planet that isn’t a huge fan of being wiped out by asteroids. As well as successfully redirecting the asteroid Dimorphos, it sent huge boulders flying off from the loosely bound asteroid, ranging in size from 1 to 7 meters (3-22 feet) in diameter. These boulders are not moving at huge speeds relative to the parent rock – their average speed is 0.3 meters per second (0.7 miles per hour) – but that is enough to achieve escape velocity from Dimorphos.

Read more at: IFLscience

Virgin Galactic Fires Back at Boeing Over Failed Mothership Deal

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. escalated a legal battle with Boeing Co. over their broken partnership on a space tourism project.

Two weeks after Boeing took Richard Branson’s company to court in Virginia, Virgin Galactic fired back Thursday with a complaint in Los Angeles, saying that “poor quality control and mismanagement” at the plane maker was what sank the joint effort to develop a so-called Mothership jet carrier.

Read more at: bloomberg

Opinion: NASA Was America’s Crown Jewel. After The Columbia Disaster It Was Never Quite The Same

Around the start of this century, the world counted only two major players in manned space exploration: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency. Ten years later, the heavens were crowded by comparison, with a number of private companies vying to restart the space race with Russia. Internationally, China had regular manned missions and the United Arab Emirates, Japan and the European nations were drawing close to success.

Read more at: yahoo