North Korea Says Attempt To Put Another Spy Satellite Into Orbit Fails, Ends In Mid-Air Explosion

A North Korean rocket carrying its second spy satellite exploded midair on Monday, state media reported, after its neighbors strongly rebuked its planned launch.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said it launched a spy satellite aboard a new rocket at its main northwestern space center. But KCNA said the rocket blew up during a first-stage flight soon after liftoff due to a suspected engine problem.

Read more at: CBSnews

Boeing Starliner Capsule’s First Crewed Test Flight Postponed Minutes Before Launch

A second attempt at launching Boeing’s new Starliner space capsule on its inaugural test flight with NASA astronauts on board was automatically halted with minutes to go before liftoff by a computer-abort system, mission officials said.

The scrubbed launch, capping a string of 11th-hour technical issues that ground teams worked through and resolved earlier in the countdown, adds another indefinite delay for the highly anticipated and much-delayed test flight.

Read more at: yahoo


Piece Of Suspected Space Debris Found In Rural North Carolina

Space experts believe a piece of debris recently found in rural western North Carolina could be from a recent SpaceX mission that launched a crew of four to the International Space Station.

The debris was recently spotted by an employee of The Glamping Collective, a company that operates cabins and other facilities on a private mountaintop about 20 minutes west of Asheville, North Carolina.

The debris appears to be at least 3 feet wide and is clearly singed, likely from its travels through Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at: foxweather

Voyager Spacecraft Are Fighting To Survive Constant Cosmic Hostility

In the vast, uncharted expanse of interstellar space, two intrepid spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, are pushing the boundaries of human exploration.

Launched nearly half a century ago, these robotic pioneers have ventured beyond the protective bubble of our sun, the heliosphere, into a realm where no human-made machine has gone before. But this daring journey comes with a price.

Out in interstellar space, Voyager 1 and 2 face a relentless barrage of high-speed particles known as galactic cosmic rays. These tiny, charged particles, accelerated to near light-speed by exploding stars, pose a constant threat to the spacecraft’s aging electronics.

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Airbus To Build Satellite That Will Predict The Northern Lights

The European Space Agency has hired Airbus to build a space satellite. It will forecast solar storms like the one that caused the biggest northern lights display in over 20 years this May.

The satellite, dubbed Vigil, will sit at the so-called L5 point, some 150 million kilometres from Earth. From here it will view the Sun from the side, observing activity on the surface of the Sun four to five days before it becomes visible from Earth

“Vigil will drastically improve both the lead time of space weather warnings as well as their level of detail from its unique vantage point in deep space,” said ESA director general Josef Aschbacher.

Read more at: nextweb

Solar Storm Hits Earth: Expectations And Effects

NASA’s Space Weather Prediction Center has recorded a powerful solar flare from the southeastern limb of the Sun, measuring an X2.9, the highest class of solar flare.

This event follows a significant solar storm earlier this month that caused widespread disruptions, including solar flares and the longest solar storm of 2024, which disrupted radio waves in several regions.

Read more at: i24news


SpaceX Sets Date For Next Starship Flight After Texas Test Ends In Explosion

SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket has been known to explode on test flights in South Texas. Now an explosion has happened during a qualification test at the company’s McGregor, Texas, facility.

Shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, an engine that SpaceX refers to as a “Raptor engine” shut down a few seconds after ignition. Then, a small fire took shape at the bottom of the testing stand and grew into a massive fireball that covered the entire tower and bled into the sky.

It’s not clear if the Raptor engine, which SpaceX describes as a reusable methane-oxygen staged-combustion engine that powers the Starship system, had any damage after the bungled test.

Read more at: chron

Satellogic Lays Off 13% Of Workforce

Commercial imaging company Satellogic has laid off 13% of its workforce as the company continues its efforts to reduce costs and seek new business from the U.S. government.

In a May 24 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Satellogic announced it had laid off 34 employees, or about 13% of its workforce at the time. The company said the layoffs were part of its “previously announced and ongoing efforts to reduce operational costs and control spending.”

Read more at: spacenews

Space Debris Is An ‘Increasing Issue’ For Earth. What Canada Is Doing Now

The Canadian Space Agency says it takes the issue of space debris “very seriously” and is working to ensure it doesn’t pose any “major risks” to Earth after a piece of orbital junk was recently discovered in rural Saskatchewan.

The incident, which experts say was likely linked to a SpaceX spacecraft, is being looked into by government officials, said Stéphanie Durand, vice-president of the CSA’s space program policy.

“The Canadian Space Agency takes the issue of space debris very seriously,” Durand said in an interview with Global News Monday.

Read more at: globalnews

Chinese Firm Files Plans For 10,000-Satellite Constellation

A Chinese firm linked to commercial rocket maker Landspace has filed a notification with the ITU for a constellation comprising 10,000 satellites.

Shanghai Lanjian Hongqing Technology Company, also known as Hongqing Technology, filed an Advance Publication Information (API) with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) May 24.

The filing outlines plans for a constellation named Honghu-3. It is to total 10,000 satellites across 160 orbital planes.

Read more at: spacenews

SpaceX and Starlink Just Passed 3 Important Milestones

On May 17, SpaceX set a new record for reuse of a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket, launching and landing the first stage for the 21st time. For a rocket that was originally designed to last perhaps 10 launches, this was quite a feat.

And with 99.9% of other space companies out there still flying expendable rockets, it’s a feat no other company on Earth can match.

Read more at: yahoo finance

LEOcloud to Send Space Edge Datacenter to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the International Space Station National Laboratory, is offering LEOcloud an opportunity to demonstrate its Space Edge Infrastructure as a Service.

Under a cooperative agreement announced May 29, LEOcloud will install its first-generation Space Edge virtualized micro datacenter on ISS.

“Our target is to get to the ISS by the end of 2025,” Dennis Gatens, LEOcloud CEO and founder, told SpaceNews by email.

Read more at: spacenews

Amazon’s $10 Billion Satellite Venture Enters Factory Mode

Amazon’s first two prototype satellites will soon slam into the Earth’s atmosphere, finishing their lifespans in a retirement-by-fire plan. Next up, Amazon has to build and launch new satellites — thousands of them.

The Seattle retail and cloud-computing giant is spending upwards of $10 billion to develop what it hopes will be a lucrative business selling connectivity from orbit. It’s an enterprise that shares the same basic business plan — and many of the same founding executives — as SpaceX’s Starlink: put thousands of satellites in space to sell beamed-down internet coverage all over the world.

Read more at: bloomberg

MDA Space Joins Starlab Space Commercial Space Station Venture

Canadian company MDA Space will join the Starlab Space joint venture developing a commercial space station, providing its space robotics capabilities and expanding the international scope of the partnership.

The companies announced May 29 that MDA Space was the latest strategic partner in Starlab Space, a joint venture established last year by Voyager Space and Airbus Defence and Space. Mitsubishi Corp. became a partner in April.

Read more at: spacenews

Virgin Galactic’s Plans for Profit Aren’t Realistic

Once upon a time, Virgin Galactic had the space market to itself — but no longer. The only pure-play space stock on the market when it went public in 2019, it soared some 370% over the next 20 months and ignited interest in a whole series of “me-too” space stocks that came public during the pandemic.

But my, how the mighty have fallen. Today, Virgin Galactic trades for roughly $1 a share and flirts daily with penny stock status. At any moment, it might receive a warning letter from the New York Stock Exchange threatening to delist its stock if it doesn’t raise its share price significantly.

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Chinese Reusable Rocket Maker To Cooperate On New MEO Constellation

Chinese rocket maker Space Epoch has entered into a strategic partnership with satellite operator Shifang Xinglian to develop a constellation of medium Earth orbit satellites.

Top officials from Beijing Jianyuan Technology Co., Ltd., also known as Space Epoch, or Sepoch, and Shifang Xinglian (Suzhou) Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd., (Shifang Xinglian) signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Beijing May 23.

Read more at: spacenews


NASA Evaluating 48 Proposals For Mars Sample Return Options

NASA received 48 responses to its April 16-May 17 solicitation for alternative ideas to bring samples collected by the Perseverance Mars rover back to Earth, the agency said May 29. NASA is looking for alternative options to its flagship Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign after independent studies.

Read more at: aviationweek

Why Planetary Protection Matters To The Future Of Space Exploration

The hiker’s motto you often hear cited when it comes to dealing with forays into the wilderness is, “leave only footprints, take only memories.” As humanity spreads outward into space we need to try and adopt something similar —perhaps adding, “take only memories, readings, and bring back a few samples.” We are moving outward to study worlds beyond our own. As such, it behooves us to do our best to not alter the very thing that we have gone out to study—if studying these places is why we go there in the first place, which it is.

Read more at: spacereview

China Is About To Land On The Far Side Of The Moon With Chang’e 6

The Chang’e 6 spacecraft will attempt to land on the far side of the moon on 1 June. If successful, it will extract the first samples of lunar rock from this largely unexplored region of the moon and attempt to bring them back to Earth.

China’s Chang’e series of lunar spacecraft have taken on steadily more ambitious missions, with the eventual goal of establishing a crewed base on the moon in the 2030s. Chang’e 6, which launched aboard a Long March 5 rocket on 3 May, is China’s second sample return mission, after Chang’e 5 successfully delivered a kilogram of material from the moon’s near side to Earth in 2020.

Read more at: newscientist

NASA’s Hubble Temporarily Pauses Science

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope entered safe mode May 24 due to an ongoing gyroscope (gyro) issue, suspending science operations. Hubble’s instruments are stable, and the telescope is in good health.

The telescope automatically entered safe mode when one of its three gyroscopes gave faulty telemetry readings. Hubble’s gyros measure the telescope’s slew rates and are part of the system that determines and controls precisely the direction the telescope is pointed. NASA will provide more information early the first week of June.

Read more at: NASA

Japan Loses Contact With Akatsuki, Humanity’s Only Active Venus Probe

The Japanese space agency said it has lost contact with its intrepid Venus spacecraft Akatsuki.

Akatsuki is Japan’s mission dedicated to studying the climate of Venus and currently the only active spacecraft in orbit around the second planet from the sun. The $300 million spacecraft launched in 2010 and had a less than stellar start to its mission, failing to enter orbit around Venus due to a failure of its main engine. However, the mission team managed to contrive a second opportunity in 2015 after five years of orbiting the sun, successfully entering orbit.

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China Lands On Moon’s Far Side In Historic Sample Retrieval Mission

China landed an uncrewed spacecraft on the far side of the moon on Sunday, a landmark mission aiming to retrieve the world’s first rock and soil samples from the dark lunar hemisphere, China’s space agency said.

The landing elevates China’s space power status in a global rush to the moon, where countries, including the United States, are hoping to exploit lunar minerals to sustain long-term astronaut missions and moon bases within the next decade.

Read more at: AOL

World’s First Wooden Satellite Built By Japanese Researchers

The world’s first wooden satellite has been built by Japanese researchers who said their tiny cuboid craft is scheduled to be carried into space off on a SpaceX rocket in September.

Each side of the experimental satellite developed by scientists at Kyoto University and logging company Sumitomo Forestry measures four inches.

The creators expect the wooden material will burn up completely when the device re-enters the atmosphere — potentially providing a way to avoid the creation of metal particles when a retired satellite returns to Earth.

Read more at: CBSnews



Korea Launches Space Agency To Compete In Global Space Race

With the opening of the nation’s full-fledged space agency, Korea is set to make its mark on the global space stage, aiming to transform into a powerhouse and join the elite space race led by the private industry.

The Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA) will open its doors Monday, focusing on fostering local companies that can play key roles in space development projects, and helping the country develop a global-level space industry and space economy.

Read more at: koreatimes

ISRO To Source Payloads From Domestic Firms

For the first time, India is advancing payload technology and space-bound hardware within facilities outside the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) labs, Chairman and Secretary of the Department of Space, Somanath S, has said.

In a significant move, ISRO plans to source payloads and satellites from Indian companies, aiming to propel these firms onto the global stage. Payload technology, which includes equipment or cargo carried by vehicles like rockets or drones, is crucial for accomplishing diverse space missions.

Read more at: business today

FCC Chair Proposes New Rules For Accidental Space Explosion Risk

Federal Communications Commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel proposed new rules May 29 to cover the risk of debris-generating accidental explosions in space.

The new rules would require applicants to assess and limit the probability of accidental explosions to less than one in a thousand for each satellite they submit for approval.

The probability metric is derived from NASA’s standard and would apply during and after the completion of mission operations.

Read more at: spacenews

Peru and Slovakia Sign the Artemis Accords

Peru and Slovakia signed the Artemis Accords outlining best practices for responsible space exploration, bringing the number of countries who have signed to 42.

In separate ceremonies at NASA Headquarters May 30, Peru’s foreign minster, Javier González-Olaechea, and Tomáš Drucker, Slovakia’s minister of education, research, development and youth, signed the Artemis Accords alongside NASA and U.S. State Department officials.

Read more at: spacenews

Legal Framework for Military Space Operations Detailed in New Manual

Humans have always been explorers, making space the next frontier. But what laws govern outer space? Is it a lawless expanse?

Duncan Blake, a lecturer at UNSW Canberra, emphasizes that space is not without rules. The Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Activities and Operations (Woomera Manual) aims to clarify the application of existing international laws to military space activities, from benign to hostile.

Read more at: spacewar


China’s Secretive Spaceplane Releases Object Into Orbit

China’s experimental reusable spacecraft has released an unknown object into orbit while conducting its third mission.

U.S. Space Force space domain awareness teams cataloged the object as 59884 (International designator 2023-195G). The suspected spaceplane launched Dec. 14, 2023 and has been in orbit 164 days. The object appears to have been released May 24.

Read more at: spacenews

European Defense Fund Invests In ‘Bodyguard’ Satellite Development To ‘Counteract’ Orbital Threats

While Western military leaders for the past decade have been ringing alarm bells at efforts by Russia and China to develop anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, the European Defense Fund (EDF) is pursuing what it describes as a defensive capability that could nonetheless target adversary satellites.

The EDF’s latest funding round, based on bids gathered in 2023 and announced on May 16, includes nearly €6.5 million ($7 million) to develop an “Autonomous SSA Bodyguard Onboard Satellite,” nicknamed Bodyguard, that can track threatening enemy birds and, the spare announcement suggests, disable and/or destroy them.

Read more at: breaking defense

Will France Opt in or Out of the U.S. Space Command’s Operation Olympic Defender?

On April 9, 2024, U.S. Space Force Gen. Stephen Whiting announced that the U.S. Space Command has invited France, Germany and New Zealand to join Operation Olympic Defender. On May 14, France’s head of space operations commented that, while the French government has not yet reached a decision, the invitation itself offers a “message of strategic solidarity.” France has proven to be not only an abiding but an advancing force in the realm of space, especially militarily. When — or if — France decides to give a firm response to this invitation, it will drive the near future of space alliances for both the U.S. and China.

Read more at: spacenews

Space Warfare: How The Military Could Be Forced To Give Up GPS And Return To Navigating By The Stars

What would happen if satellite communications were taken down by enemy action during a war?

It’s a question governments and militaries around the world are grappling with, and one of the more surprising answers is to train sailors brought up in a digital world to master extremely analog technology such as the use of sextants to navigate by the stars.

Prof Dale Stephens, from the University of Adelaide, is a co-editor of a new reference book for governments and civilians to understand the “rule of law in space in times of peace, heightened tension, and even armed conflict”, a global collaboration that took more than five years and posed any number of hypothetical scenarios involving space warfare.

Read more at: guardian

See A Russian Inspector Satellite Get Up Close And Personal With A Spacecraft In Orbit

A Russian military satellite named Luch-2 was found closely approaching a geostationary satellite last month, a maneuver that follows in the footsteps of its predecessor that was found eavesdropping on other nations’ satellites on multiple occasions since 2014.

Aldoria, a French startup that tracks satellites in orbit using a network of ground-based telescopes, alerted satellite operators in May 2024 that it had detected “a sudden close approach” by the Russian Luch-2 to a satellite positioned in geostationary orbit. The maneuver by Luch-2 occurred on April 12, 2024 about 22,232 miles (35,780 kilometers) from Earth’s surface, the company said in a statement.

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a bright white dot approaches another bright white dot as background stars zoom by at high speed


NASA Provides New Near Real-Time Air Quality Data

NASA has released new data offering detailed air pollution observations down to neighborhood levels. This data comes from the TEMPO (Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution) instrument, launched last year to enhance air quality observation from space. The data is available at NASA’s Atmospheric Science Data Center in Hampton, Virginia.

“TEMPO is one of NASA’s Earth observing instruments making giant leaps to improve life on our home planet,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA and the Biden-Harris Administration are committed to addressing the climate crisis and making climate data more open and available to all. The air we breathe affects everyone, and this new data is revolutionizing the way we track air quality for the benefit of humanity.”

Read more at: spacedaily

Radio Astronomers Raise Alarm Bells Over SpaceX’s Cellular Starlink Tech

SpaceX and AST SpaceMobile are working to bring satellite connectivity to smartphones, but scientists say the technology risks disrupting radio astronomy.

“The proposed direct-to-cell satellites would effectively eliminate the existence of radio quiet zones, greatly reducing the effectiveness of existing radio telescopes,” says Catherine Lovekin, Associate Professor of Physics at Mount Allison University in Canada.

Lovekin is among the scientists and groups urging the FCC to regulate cellular satellites from interfering with radio astronomy equipment. The satellites effectively act as cell towers in low-Earth orbit, routing radio signals and internet data to phones on the ground.

Read more at: pcmag

The Cold Lunar Night May Have Finally Swallowed Japan’s SLIM Moon Lander

Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission failed to respond to signals sent over the last few days — but all hope is not lost for the tenacious lunar lander.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) attempted to send signals to SLIM on Friday and Saturday (May 24 and May 25), but was met with no response. A final attempt to reestablish contact was made on Monday evening (May 27) to no avail, marking a close to this month’s operations, the space agency announced on SLIM’s official X account.

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Fish Are Adapting To Weightlessness On The Chinese Space Station

Four zebrafish are alive and well after nearly a month in space aboard China’s Tiangong space station. As part of an experiment testing the development of vertebrates in microgravity, the fish live and swim within a small habitat aboard the station.

While the zebrafish have thus far survived, they are showing some signs of disorientation. The taikonauts aboard Tiangong—Ye Guangfu, Li Cong, and Li Guangsu—have reported instances of swimming upside down, backward, and in circular motions, suggesting that microgravity is having an effect on their spatial awareness.

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Fish are adapting to weightlessness on the Chinese space station

Mars Is More Prone To Devastating Asteroid Impacts Than We Thought, New Study Hints

Mars may face more than twice as many close encounters with potentially dangerous asteroids as Earth does, according to a new study. This could imperil exploratory missions to the Red Planet, but also provide insight into how the inner solar system formed.

Asteroids constitute the biggest threat from space to our planet — the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor, for example, generated shock waves that injured over 1,000 people and caused more than $33 million in damage to infrastructure.

Read more at: livescience

NASA Mars Rover Picks Up Pet Rock Named ‘Dwayne’

It can get lonely on Mars. You’re a rover, traveling around the Jezero Crater. Your best friend, the Ingenuity helicopter, has reached the end of its mission. Now, it’s just you. Except you’ve made a new friend. You’ve got a rock riding along in your wheel. The Perseverance Mars rover has a little companion tucked into one of its wheels, NASA shared this week. It’s the latest in a series of pet rocks the rover has acquired during its travels.

NASA shared a photo of a Martian landscape with part of the rover visible, including one of the explorer’s wheels with a rock resting inside. The Perseverance team posts to social media in a way that sounds like the rover itself is tweeting from Mars. “Hi, little fella. Looks like I’ve picked up another rock friend that my operations team has named Dwayne,” the team said on X on May 29.

Read more at: Forbes