Russia Made Alarming Spacecraft Launch Before Ukraine Invasion: Report

Nineteen days before Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, a Russian rocket launched into space carrying a satellite designed to test components for a weapon that would destroy satellites using a nuclear weapon, according to a report. U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal that the satellite—Cosmos-2553—is not itself armed with a nuke, but it is part of Moscow’s ongoing anti-satellite program. American officials have reportedly dismissed Russia’s explanation that the spacecraft is designed to carry out scientific research, saying its true purpose is to test non-nuclear components of the new weapons system. The eventual weapon, if it comes to fruition, would give Putin the ability to take out hundreds of satellites with a nuclear blast. That includes both U.S. government and commercial satellites, according to the officials, like the SpaceX Starlink satellites that have played a crucial role in Ukraine’s battlefield communications.

Read more at: dailybeast


Commerce Extends Commercial Data Contracts For Space Tracking System Pilot

The Commerce Department is extending its pilot effort to gather commercial data to underpin its planned system for monitoring the heavens and warning non-military operators of potential on-orbit collisions.

The Consolidated Pathfinder pilot’s live data collection now will continue through June 30, rather than ending at the end of this month, the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) announced today. All five contractors —  COMSPOC, Kayhan Space, LeoLabs, Slingshot Aerospace, and SpaceNav — received new orders, bringing total “spending over the course of the Consolidated Pathfinder to $15.5 million,” the announcement added.

Read more at: breakingdefense

It’s Time To Figure Out Global Space Traffic Management

The recent acquisition of geospatial intelligence firm Orbital Insight, which has a satellite imagery search engine platform, by Privateer, the Steve Wozniak startup that came out of stealth to raise $56 million in Series A funding, may have important consequences for how we manage space traffic.. It stresses end-to-end vertical integration, cross-functionality, and newfound alignment between the Earth observation segment thanks to the two companies’ focus on imagery and analytics aggregation, space traffic management and situational awareness.

Read more at: spacenews

How Do You Forecast A Solar Storm? Space Weather Experts Explain

For those who had the opportunity to see the aurora this weekend, it was quite a spectacular moment.

But while seeing the aurora borealis is thrilling and exciting for us, the same coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and geomagnetic storms that make these light shows possible can also wreak havoc on some of the technology that’s part of our daily lives.

There was a lot of buzz last weekend about other possible impacts when the historic geomagnetic storms reached the extreme G5 category. Companies that operate satellites like SpaceX reported on Sunday (May 12) on X that “all Starlink satellites on-orbit weathered the geomagnetic storm and remain healthy” and even government agencies like NOAA shared that as of right now there’s been no major impacts to their assets.

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Severe Solar Storm Hits Earth, Causing Colorful Light Shows

Earth was recently hit by the most powerful solar storm in more than 20 years.

The storm caused some colorful light shows in some parts of the world, but no major damage was reported. Solar storms can hurt the operation of some equipment on Earth that uses radio waves. This includes GPS services, electrical systems and satellites.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued warnings about the storm before it reached Earth on May 10. In a statement, NOAA said it had observed heavy solar storm activity in the days before. Based on the activity, the agency issued a Geomagnetic Storm Warning.

Read more at: learningenglish

The northern lights flare in the sky over a farmhouse, late Friday, May 10, 2024, in Brunswick, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Solar Storm Crippled GPS Equipment, Causing Headaches For Farmers

The huge solar storm that has been crashing down on Earth caused serious technological disruptions for farmers across the U.S. and Canada.

The geomagnetic storm lit up the night sky to make the spectacular Northern Lights visible in many states, but the natural phenomenon also disrupted Global Positioning Systems (GPS), which a lot of farmers use to steer their tractors and seed the ground without overlapping rows.

Read more at: Foxbusiness

‘It Came From The Sky:’ Saskatchewan Farmer Finds Hunk Of Space Junk In Field

Barry Sawchuk doesn’t usually concern himself with space or the final frontier.The 66-year-old Saskatchewan farmer is much more focused on seeding.But when he found a giant piece of debris in his fields, Sawchuk said he was shocked to learn it was likely part of a rocket.“Not every day you go out in your field and find space junk,” Sawchuk said with a laugh in an interview from the front seat of his tractor.Sawchuk, who farms with his three sons near Ituna, northeast of Regina, was checking out the moisture in his fields at the end of April when he spotted the item.As he got closer, he became confused.

Read more at: yahoo


Chinese State-Backed Company To Launch Space Tourism Flights By 2028

Chinese commercial space company CAS Space announced its “space tourism vehicle” will first fly in 2027 and travel to the edge of space in 2028, state media reported on Friday. The announcement comes just days after Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin announced that its New Shepard Rocket, which flies cargo and humans on short trips to the edge of space, would resume flights on Sunday, ending a near two-year pause of crewed operations.

Read more at: reuters

Amazon, SpaceX Will Compete To Corner Internet Satellite Market

Competition is heating up on the Space Coast as Amazon challenges SpaceX with new internet satellites.

Amazon is preparing to launch its Project Kuiper satellite into orbit by the end of 2024. The goal is to compete with Starlink and bring the internet to more people.

Almost everything in the world is online, but not everyone is.

“About half the world’s population lack connectivity,” said Tyson Lamoreux in a YouTube video on the Amazon project. He’s the VP of Network and Infrastructure with Project Kuiper.

Read more at: fox35orlando

Omnispace Reports Interference From Starlink Direct-To-Device Payloads

Omnispace says it is seeing interference from direct-to-device payloads on recently launched SpaceX Starlink satellites, offering an early test of new Federal Communications Commission regulations about such services.

During a panel at the International Telecoms Week conference here May 16, George Giagtzoglou, vice president of strategy at Omnispace, said his company now had “empirical evidence” of increased noise in S-band from Starlink satellites that have payloads operating on similar frequencies.

Read more at: spacenews

New Government Funding Coming For Canada’s First Commercial Space Port

Maritime Launch Services (NEO:MAXQ) announced a pivotal step forward in the development of Canada’s first commercial orbital spaceport.

The space launch industry company has received a conditional term sheet for a C$12.9 million contribution from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

This funding is designed to support the ongoing development and commercialization of spaceport Nova Scotia, near the community of Canso.

Read more at: stockhouse

Blue Origin Resumes Crewed New Shepard Suborbital Flights

Blue Origin conducted its first crewed New Shepard mission in nearly two years May 19, carrying six people, including the first American Black astronaut candidate, on a suborbital spaceflight the company called a success despite a parachute issue.

New Shepard lifted off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 10:35 a.m. Eastern. The countdown was held for more than 20 minutes at the T-10 minute mark for an unspecified technical issue.

Read more at: spacenews

NS-25 New Shepard capsule descending


Scientists Commence Biological Analysis Of Shenzhou-17 Mission Samples

The Shenzhou-17 crew brought back a treasure trove of scientific data, experimental materials and equipment exposed to the harsh environment outside the China Space Station. A total of 71 samples have been delivered to the Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for in-depth analysis.

In the capital of northwest China’s Gansu Province, scientists are studying the returned materials including lubricants and the equipment used to test them in space. Lubrication plays a vital role in spacecraft, ensuring smooth operation of moving parts like solar arrays and antenna systems. Using the right lubricant can significantly extend the lifespan of these critical components.

Read more at: CGTN

Startup’s Chip Design Aims To Boost Satellite Computing Power

A Carnegie Mellon University spinoff has developed an energy-efficient computer chip architecture that it claims consumes a fraction of the power required by traditional chips, potentially enabling more powerful and autonomous capabilities on tiny satellites.

“Innovation in space is limited by power-constrained computing devices,” said Brandon Lucia, co-founder and CEO of Efficient Computer and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The company’s proposed solution to this problem is a processor architecture that departs from the classic von Neumann model that is the foundation for most modern computers.

Read more at: spacenews

NASA, ESA Formalize Expanded Cooperation on ESA’s Mars Rover

NASA and the European Space Agency signed an agreement today formalizing NASA’s expanded role in ESA’s Rosalind Frankin Mars rover program, part of what was once the European-Russian ExoMars project. ESA terminated its cooperation with Russia on ExoMars immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine. NASA already was contributing a scientific instrument and now will replace Russia in providing radioisotope heating units, part of the propulsion system for landing, and launch.

Read more at: spacepolicyonline

World’s First High-Definition Lunar Geologic Atlas Revealed

The first high-definition geologic atlas of the entire Moon, scaled at 1:2.5 million, was unveiled on April 21.

The atlas, available in Chinese and English, consists of the Geologic Atlas of the Lunar Globe and the Map Quadrangles of the Geologic Atlas of the Moon (including explanatory manual). The Geologic Atlas of the Lunar Globe includes the Geologic Map of the Moon, the Lithologic Map of the Moon, and the Tectonic Map of the Moon. The Map Quadrangles feature 30 standard-sized quadrangles.

Since the Apollo program in the 1960s, lunar exploration and scientific research have advanced significantly. However, lunar geological research still relies on maps developed during the Apollo era.

Read more at: Moondaily


How Will EU Space Law Impact US National, Strategic, and Commercial Interests

Earlier this year, the six-month-long Belgian rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union set as its policy priority the creation of a unified strategic space framework encapsulated by EU Space Law (EUSL). The framework aims to systematize existing guidelines and avoid possible legal fragmentation stemming from EU member states’ discrete domestic laws regarding space. At present, there are eleven EU countries with national space laws, which cover a broad spectrum of activities ranging from satellite launches and operations to space debris management and international cooperation agreements.

Read more at: moderndiplomacy

India Enters Troubled Space Insurance Market

Indian insurance specialist Tata AIG is expanding into space as the global market reels from a string of heavy losses.

Tata AIG said May 13 it has started providing satellite in-orbit third-party liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage, building on the 22-year-old company’s expertise in the aviation market.

Sushant Sarin, president of commercial business at Tata AIG, a joint venture between Indian conglomerate Tata Group and U.S.-based insurance firm American International Group (AIG) with more than 8,750 employees, said it is the first private insurer in India to offer satellite-based coverage.

Read more at: spacenews

The Space Race Desperately Needs to Be Regulated

As humanity’s quest for knowledge and exploration extends beyond the confines of Earth, we stand on the edge of a new era – one where the boundless expanse of space beckons us with promise.

From the historic launch from UK soil to our improved connectivity across the country, we are witnessing the rapid expansion of a vibrant space sector.

Space has always captivated the human imagination, representing the pinnacle of human scientific achievement and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond our atmosphere.

Read more at: oilprice

FAA Reauthorization Bill Includes Short-Term Learning Period Extension

A reauthorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration passed by Congress will extend current restrictions on the agency’s ability to regulate commercial spaceflight occupant safety through the end of the year.

The House approved H.R. 3935, the bill reauthorizing the agency for five years, on a 387 to 26 vote May 15. The Senate approved the bill on an 88 to 4 vote on May 9.

The bill primarily covers the FAA’s aviation operations, but does include a few provisions related to spaceflight.

Read more at: spacenews

Lithuania Becomes 40th Nation To Join NASA’s Artemis Accords

Lithuania has become the 40th nation to sign NASA’s Artemis Accords, a pact that defines the peaceful exploration of space.

Aušrinė Armonaitė, Lithuania’s minister of economy and innovation, signed the accords Wednesday at the Radisson Blu Lietuva hotel in the capital Vilnius, with U.S. Ambassador Kara McDonald in attendance.

“Welcome to the Artemis Accords family, Lithuania,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “Our nations are strong partners — and now we expand this partnership to the cosmos.”

Read more at: UPI


China Says ‘Multiple Espionage Cases’ Have Been Uncovered In Space Sector

China’s top intelligence agency on Friday said it had cracked down on “multiple” espionage cases in the space sector in recent years, amid an ongoing national security drive.
The Ministry of State Security said in a post on its WeChat account that it had “uncovered multiple espionage cases in the aerospace sector, exposing the despicable acts of certain countries’ intelligence agencies attempting to infiltrate and steal secrets.

Read more at: scmp

Pentagon Wants Commercial ‘Space Reserve’ To Support Military Satellites In Orbit

The United States Department of Defense is developing a plan to use the ever-growing American commercial space industry for national security purposes.The plan, known as the Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve, or CASR, would allow the U.S. Space Force to use the capabilities of the commercial space sector through “pre-negotiated contractual agreements which would be activated in times of crisis or conflict,” according to the service’s “Commercial Space Strategy” document, which was released in April 2024.

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Space Tech Firm Xona Secures $19M for Enhanced Satellite Navigation Network

Xona, a developer of a new satellite network, has announced the successful closure of a $19 million Series A funding round, led by Future Ventures and Seraphim Space, with contributions from NGP Capital, Industrious Ventures, Murata Electronics, Space Capital, and Aloniq.

The capital raised will expedite the rollout of Xona’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network, marking the initiation of beta operations for their PULSAR satellite service. This service is designed to deliver high-accuracy navigation crucial for advancing intelligent and autonomous technologies.

Read more at: gpsdaily

France Undecided On US Offer To Join ‘Olympic Defender’ Space Effort

France remains undecided about an offer from US Space Command to take part in Operation Olympic Defender, the US-led initiative to strengthen defense and deter hostility in space — but says that if it does join up, it will not be turning over operational control of its military space capabilities to its US allies.

Gen. Philippe Adam, France’s Space Force commander, told media that France had been invited, together with Germany and New Zealand, to join the initiative. In parallel, the Ministry of the Armed Forces announced that “This invitation opens new operational perspectives and carries a message of strategic solidarity,” stressing that “France will maintain operational control over all its military space capabilities.”

Read more at: breaking defense

Air Force Is “Growing Concerned” About The Pace Of Vulcan Rocket Launches

It has been nearly four years since the US Air Force made its selections for companies to launch military payloads during the mid-2020s. The military chose United Launch Alliance, and its Vulcan rocket, to launch 60 percent of these missions; and it chose SpaceX, with the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters, to launch 40 percent.

Although the large Vulcan rocket was still in development at the time, it was expected to take flight within the next year or so. Upon making the award, an Air Force official said the military believed Vulcan would soon be ready to take flight. United Launch Alliance was developing the Vulcan rocket in order to no longer be reliant on RD-180 engines that are built in Russia and used by its Atlas V rocket.

Read more at: arstechnica


Strange Photos Show NASA Astronauts Testing Spacesuits With No Arms or Visors

New photos from NASA show the space agency’s astronauts testing spacesuits in the Arizona desert — but we’re not sure these things are quite spaceworthy yet.

Why? Because they’re missing, among other things, arms, legs and visors, leading to an entertaining photoshoot in which astronauts Kate Rubins and Andre Douglas trudge around completing Moonish tasks while garbed half in space gear and half in fairly regular-looking hiking clothes, including sunglasses that look comically out of place with the off-world getups.

Read more at: futurism

Moon Settlement Concepts Could Open The Door For Our First Lunar City

Thanks to the Artemis program, the United States and international and commercial partners will return astronauts to the moon in a few years. But, going beyond brief sorties to the lunar surface, what are the plans for a permanent base or settlement?

A NASA document refers to a concept called the lunar base camp, which includes “a modern lunar cabin, a rover and even a mobile home.”

Read more at: hill

Why We’re One Step Closer To Understanding How Earth Got Its Oceans (Op-Ed)

Space enthusiasts will know — it’s easy to get caught up in a wealth of fascinating developments, from missions to the lunar surface to new discoveries in exoplanet science. But as an astronomer, what has me really excited right now is a largely overlooked development here on Earth that could have profound implications for how we understand the development of life on our planet and one of its most unique features: our oceans.

With little fanfare, the forthcoming Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile marked a major construction milestone on April 27.

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Europe’s Ariane 6 Rocket Is About To Launch – Here’s Why It’s A Big Deal

The wait is almost over: Europe will once again have its own access to space as Ariane 6 is set to make its inaugural launch this summer. The date will be announced soon, but is expected to be some time between mid-June and the end of July. Across Europe and beyond, there is a lot of trepidation – there is a lot counting on this.

Ariane 6 is the successor to Ariane 5, which has been a crucial asset for the European Space Agency (ESA). From 1996 until 2023, Ariane 5 accumulated 117 launches, with 112 successful. It was Ariane 5 that launched JWST into space. Developed by ArianeGroup on behalf of the ESA, Ariane 6 has a legacy to live up to, and also overcome. The rocket will be taller but lighter, and each launch will be more affordable than on Ariane 5.

Read more at: IFLscience

Private Mission To Save The Hubble Space Telescope Raises Concerns, NASA Emails Show

For over three decades, the Hubble Space Telescope has captured stunning images of distant galaxies and stars, allowing astronomers to probe the evolution of the universe and its most mysterious cosmic phenomena.

But all that may come to an end around 2034. That’s when the telescope, which is slowly drifting down toward Earth, is expected to burn up as it plunges through the atmosphere.

A rich entrepreneur has told NASA that he wants to prevent that.

Read more at: NPR