China Might Be Developing Weapons To Shoot Down Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellites

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. This seems to be the attitude of researchers in China, who’re working on ways of disabling and potentially eliminating SpaceX’s Starlink satellites — in the not-wholly-farfetched scenario where they might represent a threat to the country’s national security, according to an initial report from the South China Morning Post.

Read more at: Interesting engineering

ESA Satellite Avoids High-Risk Collision With Russian Space Debris

On Monday, May 16, Copernicus Sentinel-1A, Europe’s Earth-monitoring satellite, avoided a high-risk collision with space debris created in Russia’s Cosmos 1408 anti-satellite (ASAT) test in 2021, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Wednesday.

In a series of tweets, the agency revealed how the Sentinel-1A control team performed a set of difficult collision avoidance manoeuvres to avoid the collision. According to ESA, the satellite altered its orbit by 140 m in order to prevent a near head-on collision with a debris fragment, which was several centimeters in diameter.

Read more at: devdiscourse

Starlink Approved In Nigeria And Mozambique, Says Elon Musk

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the regulatory clearance in Africa via Twitter a few hours after tweeting that Starlink had been approved in the Philippines, the first country in Southeast Asia to grant it permission to provide services.

Starlink’s regulatory approvals mean the low Earth orbit network “is now licensed on all seven continents,” SpaceX’s Twitter account added.

Nigeria-based publication Nairametrics reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission confirmed it had licensed Starlink following Musk’s tweet.

Read more at: Spacenews

UK’s Open Cosmos Gets ESA Funding For Space Weather Constellation

British small satellite startup Open Cosmos said May 27 it has secured European Space Agency funding to develop plans for a space weather monitoring constellation.

ESA awarded a 5.2 million euro ($5.6 million) contract to Open Cosmos, which is the technical lead for a European consortium comprising engineering, research and academic organizations for the proposed three-satellite NanoMagSat network.

Read more at: Spacenews

Boeing Starliner Completes Key Test Mission To ISS, With Some Hiccups

Boeing’s Starliner capsule returned to Earth Wednesday in the final step of a key uncrewed test flight to prove itself worthy of providing rides for NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The gumdrop-shaped spaceship landed in a puff of sand at 4:49 pm local time (2249 GMT) in the New Mexico desert, wrapping up a six-day mission crucial to restoring Boeing’s reputation after past failures.

“Just a beautiful touchdown in White Sands this evening,” said an announcer on a NASA live feed, as ground control reacted with applause, and a recovery team raced to the landing site.

Read more at: Spacedaily


‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid 1989 JA — the Largest of 2022 So Far — to Make Its Closest Approach to Earth on May 27

Several asteroids have come and gone since the beginning of 2022, but the one that’s approaching Earth this week is the largest so far! Asteroid 1989 JA, estimated to be almost 2 kilometres wide or twice the size of the Burj Khalifa, will graze past our planet at a mere 40,24,182 kilometres.

The object will be travelling at a stunning 47,232 kilometres per hour at the time of its closest approach on Friday, May 27. And owing to its proximity to out world during the flyby and its passage through the Earth’s orbit, the asteroid has been labelled ‘potentially hazardous’ to the planet.

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Debris From Chinese Rocket Reenters Atmosphere, Mostly Burning Up

Debris from the last stage of the Long March-7 Y5 carrier rocket reentered the atmosphere at 5:34 p.m. on Wednesday (Beijing Time), the China Manned Space Agency said.

The vast majority of the device burned up during reentry and the debris fell into the sea, with the center of the landing area at a latitude of 37.5 degrees north and a longitude of 24.2 degrees east, according to an agency statement.

Read more at: Spacedaily

India Hit By Suspected Space Debris

Several pieces of suspected space debris fell onto the rural parts of western India, Indian media reported. The time of the incident suggests these could be Chinese rocket parts re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

The objects crashed into the ground in Gujarat within a 15-km radius, accompanied by a loud noise. No properties were damaged and no one was hurt. One of the pieces is a five-kilogram black metal ball.

Both local authorities and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are working on identifying the objects. Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics claims the debris could be part of a Chinese Long March 3B rocket. The rocket’s third stage re-entered the same day the objects fell on the ground.

Read more at: Spacewatch

Leftover Rocket Impacts Moon at 5,800MPH

As of March 4 at 4:25a.m., a leftover piece of a space rocket has been predicted to have made an impact on the Moon’s surface. 

The 3-ton piece of a rocket was traveling at 5,800 mph upon impact. Scientists predicted the “space junk” would leave a crater on the lunar far side. Our grounded telescopes were not able to see the event as the far side is out of our view. 

Read more at: elpaisano online

NASA May Move International Space Station To Avoid Debris

During NASA’s daily planning conference Wednesday evening, the crew of seven aboard the International Space Station learned that their flight control teams in Houston were assessing options for a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) within a day’s time to dodge debris from a satellite destroyed last year in a Russian weapons test, according to NASA and CBS Space Reporter William Harwood.

The debris would continue to be tracked overnight before a final decision was made, NASA spokesman Mark Garcia said.

Read more at: Clickorlando


SpaceX Replacing Heat Shield On Upcoming Crew Dragon Mission After Failed Test

SpaceX will replace the heat shield on the next Crew Dragon spacecraft flying to the International Space Station after it failed inspections, but NASA says there is no risk of a similar problem for the spacecraft currently at the station.

In a May 24 statement to reporters, NASA said that a heat shield structure that SpaceX built for the Crew-5 mission to the station, slated to launch in early September, failed an acceptance test earlier this month and will not be used on that spacecraft.

Read more at: Spacenews

Anisprint Signs Mou With Nanoracks To Deploy CFC 3D Printing In Space

Anisoprint, a manufacturer of continuous fiber 3D printing systems, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nanoracks Space Outpost Europe that will see it become a part of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) economy.

Going forwards, the agreement will secure the demonstration and validation of the firm’s continuous fiber co-extrusion (CFC) 3D printing technology in orbit.

Read more at: 3dprinting industry

Orbital Assembly Aims to Launch Space Hotels Starting in 2025

The rapidly growing business niche of space tourism may well include accommodations in the next few years. A U.S. company called Orbital Assembly has in mind overnight vacations with — depending on the celestial position of the players involved — views of both Earth and its moon.

Orbital Assembly’s plans include two stations at present. According to the company website, Pioneer Station, the smaller and the first targeted for completion and opening, is a ‘business park in space’ that can handle 28 guests.

Read more at: AMLU

Astroscale Gets Funds For 2024 Debris-Removal Mission

Astroscale has secured European Space Agency funding for a 2024 demo mission to remove what will likely be a OneWeb satellite.

The debris-removal startup said May 27 that the 15 million euro ($16 million) funding enables it to complete the design of its ELSA-m servicer spacecraft, progressing through manufacturing up to the satellite pre-integration phase. 

Astroscale plans to launch a commercial de-orbit service for satellite operators after that.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpinLaunch Tosses Payload Into Orbit During One-of-a-kind Test Flight; Watch Dizzying Clip

California-based launch providing company SpinLaunch had announced in early April to have signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA wherein it would launch payloads for the agency later this year. SpinLaunch, which was founded in 2014, has developed a concept of lofting spacecraft into orbit using a massive accelerator that is established at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The suborbital accelerator measures 165-foot-tall (50 meters) and slingshots spacecraft which then launches mid-air after gaining momentum.

Read more at: Republic world


Self-Cleaning Spacecraft Surfaces To Combat Microbes

Astronauts live and work in orbit along with teeming populations of microorganisms, which could present a serious threat to health – and even the structural integrity of spacecraft. To help combat such invisible stowaways, an ESA-led project is developing microbe-killing coatings suitable for use within spacecraft cabins.

Crewmen on the International Space Station are not alone. A microbial survey of surfaces within the orbital outpost found dozens of different bacteria and fungi species, including harmful pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus – known to cause skin and respiratory infections as well as food poisoning.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Experimental Payload With Robotic Arm To Attempt Metal Cutting On Orbit

Voyager Space announced that one of its portfolio companies, Nanoracks, will launch a NASA-funded experiment to demonstrate on-orbit metal cutting using a robotic arm. 

The mission named Outpost Mars Demo-1 is scheduled to launch May 25 aboard SpaceX’s Transporter 5 rideshare. The experiment originally was scheduled to launch in 2020. 

The mission is part of Voyager’s outpost program that seeks to transform used launch vehicle upper stages into space habitat platforms.

Read more at: Spacenews

‘Space Tether’ Could De-Orbit Space Junk Without Using Propellant

As more and more satellites are launched into space each year, the threat of collisions and space debris grows. A new project aims to tackle the issue to enable sustainable use of the space environment – all without propellant.

The consortium behind the project received funding of €2.5m from the EU’s European Innovation Council (EIC) today (17 May). The money will be used to develop the device, known as the electrodynamic space tether.

Read more at: imeche

Introducing Quesst: Speed Never Sounded So Quiet

Evoking the experimental nature of flight testing and the spirit of aeronautical exploration, Quesst is what NASA is calling its mission to enable supersonic air travel over land. This new moniker – complete with an extra “s” to represent “supersonic” – draws its inspiration from NASA’s long legacy of supersonic flight research.

The mission’s centerpiece is the sleek research plane known as the X-59, which Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is currently building in Palmdale, California.

Quesst replaces the mission’s original name: the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration.

Read more at: Spacedaily

NASA’s Hytec To Help Jets Burn Less Fuel

What if we told you we could reimagine the way a jet engine works to generate the same amount of power using less fuel?

Our aeronautical innovators are designing a new jet engine that, compared to current engines, will produce the same thrust and even look the same on the outside, but is more fuel-efficient.

HyTEC, or Hybrid Thermally Efficient Core, is a NASA project kicked off in June 2021 seeking to make the aviation industry more sustainable by developing a small core for a turbofan jet engine that increases fuel efficiency.

Read more at: Spacedaily

NASA’s Getting Screwy Messages From Interstellar Space

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is sending back some funky data from interstellar space that’s leaving NASA engineers scratching their heads.

Readouts on the orientation of the 1970s-era space probe now appear to be randomly generated or don’t reflect any possible scenario the spacecraft could be in, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory officials said this week.

Read more at: Mashable


Earth’s Orbital Debris Problem Is Worsening, And Policy Solutions Are Difficult

One of the greatest threats to humanity’s ongoing expansion into space is the proliferation of debris in low Earth orbit. During a panel discussion at the Ars Frontiers conference earlier this month, a trio of experts described the problem and outlined potential solutions.

The issue of debris is almost as old as spaceflight, explained Caleb Henry, a senior analyst at Quilty Analytics. During the Space Race in the 1960s, the Soviet Union and the United States often launched rockets without regard for the trajectory of the upper stages.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Biden Vows To Expand Space Cooperation With South Korea, Japan

U.S. President Joe Biden promised to expand space cooperation with Japan and South Korea during back-to-back summits with the leaders of two East Asian allies.

During a May 23 summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Biden agreed to work to put the first Japanese astronaut on the moon as part of the NASA-led Artemis program. In a May 21 summit with South Korea’s president Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul, Biden agreed to strengthen the alliance “across all sectors of space cooperation.”

Read more at: Spacenews

US, Japan, Australia, India To Launch Tracking System To Monitor Illegal Fishing By China —Report

US, Japan, Australia, and India will unveil a maritime initiative at the Quad summit in Tokyo to curb illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing a US official. 

The report said that the maritime initiative will use satellite technology to create a tracking system for illegal fishing from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific by connecting surveillance centers in Singapore and India.

Read more at: gmanetwork

Industry Pushes For NASA Reauthorization

As House and Senate conferees begin work to reconcile competitiveness bills, industry groups are pushing Congress to either include a NASA authorization bill in that legislation or pass a standalone bill.

A conference committee that includes more than 100 members of the House and Senate met for the first time May 12 to discuss reconciling the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) with the House’s America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act. Both are broad-ranging competitiveness bills, but with differences that conferees will seek to hammer out in the coming weeks.

Read more at: Spacenews


With U.S. Help, Japan Wants To Go From Player To Power In Space

Space is a key area of cooperation for Japan with the United States, its closest ally, amid heightened tensions with an increasingly assertive China, which itself aims to become a space power.

Tokyo has said it hopes to put one of its astronauts on the lunar surface – the first non-American – in the latter half of the 2020s as part of NASA’s Artemis programme to return humans to the moon.

Japan has an extensive space programme, mainly focused on developing launchers and space probes.

Read more at: Reuters

Benchmark Works With Space Forge To Develop Reusable Engines

Benchmark Space Systems announced plans May 24 to produce engines in the United Kingdom and to work with U.K. startup Space Forge to develop reusable chemical propulsion systems.

Space Forge of Cardiff, Wales, intends to produce high-value materials in orbit to bring to Earth. Under the contract announced May 24, Benchmark will provide propulsion for ForgeStar-1, Space Forge’s first in-space manufacturing and return demonstration.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Force Rolls Out Cybersecurity Standards For Commercial Providers Of Satellite Services

The Space Systems Command on May 26 rolled out a new process to assess the cybersecurity of commercial satellite operators that do business with the Defense Department. 

Under the Infrastructure Asset Pre-Approval program, or  IA-Pre, commercial suppliers of satellite-based services are evaluated based on their cybersecurity practices and systems. Those suppliers that pass the government’s checklist are then placed on a pre-approved list and will not be required to complete lengthy cybersecurity questionnaires for each individual contract proposal. 

Read more at: Spacenews

LeoLabs to support Japan Air Self Defense Force with Commercial Space Domain Awareness

LeoLabs, Inc., the world’s leading commercial provider of low Earth orbit (LEO) mapping and Space Situational Awareness (SSA) services, has announced a multimillion-dollar award to provide data and services for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF). The agreement offers Japan access to the largest set of actionable insights in existence for tracking satellites and orbital debris in low Earth orbit (LEO), all generated from LeoLabs’ global network of phased array radars. LeoLabs will deliver its LEO data and services platform and a full set of training to empower JASDF operators to utilize a range of data and tools, including tracking and monitoring, collision avoidance, and other services.

Read more at: Spacedaily


The Winds Were Carried To The Edge Of Space By The Volcano In Tonga

On January 15, 2022, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption propelled shockwaves through Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. The event’s tremendous global consequences will go down in history. They said Tonga’s explosion exceeded all previous nuclear detonations. They also reported last month that the blast from the Tonga volcano caused greater-than-hurricane-speed winds and strange electric currents to build high in Earth’s atmosphere, in the layer we call the ionosphere, in the hours after the eruption.

Read more at: Bollyinside

Lonestar Plans To Put Datacenters In The Moon’s Lava Tubes

Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world’s data.

Read more at: Register

On National Security | Drawing lessons from the first ‘commercial space war’

Throughout Russia’s invasion and offensive in Ukraine, some of the most compelling images of the war have come from satellites in space operated by private companies.

“For many of us who have been tirelessly watching this conflict from our TVs or smartphones, some of the most iconic scenes which come to mind are those of a huge Russian military convoy, stretching more than 60 kilometers northwest of Kyiv,” commented tech industry consultant Chetan Woodun.

Read more at: Spacenews

Inside the Historic Mission To Service an Orbiting Satellite

In a nondescript building outside Washington, D.C., a team of engineers, scientists, and technicians are making history with technological breakthroughs that have taken space satellite operations to the next level. 

Northrop Grumman subsidiary SpaceLogistics allowed FLYING rare access inside the highly restricted lab where team members developed an autonomous spacecraft that can safely dock with commercial satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) to provide propulsion and pointing control.

The spacecraft is called a Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV). On February 25, 2020, the minivan-sized MEV-1 captured and serviced an Intelsat communications satellite called IS-901 orbiting Earth in GEO— about 22,000 miles from Earth—essentially beginning a new operational era of commercial satellite servicing.

Read more at: Flyingmag