NASA Safety Panel Urges Independent Review of Boeing’s Starliner Program

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel is urging NASA to establish an independent review of Boeing’s Starliner commercial crew transportation system before launching the spacecraft with people aboard. NASA and Boeing currently are planning that Crew Flight Test for July, but ASAP clearly is not convinced it is ready.

During a May 25 public teleconference at the end of its second quarter 2023 meeting, ASAP Chair Patricia Sanders cautioned that despite the success of the commercial crew program so far with launches of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, “this is no time for complacency.”

Read more at: spacepolicyonline


Avoiding Armageddon: Researchers Narrow Down List Of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

Keep an eye on the skies.

Researchers from CU Boulder and NASA have completed a census of hundreds of large asteroids orbiting near Earth—gauging which ones could come precariously close to our planet over the next thousand years. The researchers identified at least 20 asteroids that scientists may want to study more to make certain they pose no threat to life on Earth in the next millennium.

To be clear, the researchers say the odds of any of these rocky bodies striking the planet are extremely low, and are next to zero for the coming century. But because the fallout from such an impact would be catastrophic, it’s important to be sure, said Oscar Fuentes-Muñoz, lead author of the study.

Read more at: colorado

A “Potentially Hazardous” Asteroid Bigger Than A Skyscraper Reaches Earth Next Week

Asteroid 1994 XD, which was discovered by the Spacewatch group at Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona in 1994, will come as close as 1.8 million miles to Earth, or about eight times the average distance of the moon, just before 9pm EDT on June 12.

The asteroid is between 1,214 to 2,723 feet in diameter and is traveling at 77,301 kilometers per hour (48,032 mph). According to the Asteroid Launcher simulation website, assuming the asteroid is 1,500 feet in diameter and hit Earth at a 45-degree angle, Asteroid 1994 XD landing in New York City would leave a crater 2.1-miles wide, vaporizing around 60,000 people. A 6.8-mile fireball would kill over 6 million, and 5.6 million would die from a 264-decibel shockwave. There would also be a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.

Read more at: techspot

Possible Meteorite Splashes Down In British Columbia Pool

A British Columbia man said he is trying to determine whether an object that splashed down in his backyard pool was a meteorite.

Justin Broad said he was outside his home in Delta earlier this week when something fell from above and splashed into his pool. He said the object, which he suspects may have been a meteorite, was slightly disintegrating in the water. “It didn’t cloud up and dissipate. It just dropped to the shallow end right at the bottom in a ball,” Broad told Global News.

Read more at: UPI

1st Mission To ‘Touch’ The Sun Discovers A Mysterious Source Of Solar Wind

A NASA spacecraft has skimmed through the sun’s hellish atmosphere to discover a mysterious source of solar wind. Away from the sun, the solar wind is a sloshing spray of energetic plasma. But get closer — as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe recently did by diving within 13 million miles (21 million kilometers) of the sun’s surface — and individual particle streams can be seen, and some of them are being steered by magnetic fields as they emerge from gigantic holes in the sun’s surface.

Read more at: livescience

The Carrington Event Of 1859 Disrupted Telegraph Lines. A “Miyake Event” Would Be Far Worse

A little after midnight in the late summer of 1859, campers dozing beneath the night sky in the Colorado Rockies woke to a display of auroral light “so bright one could easily read common print.” In their account of the event, published in the Rocky Mountain News, the party recalled that “some insisted it was daylight and began the preparation of breakfast.”

Thousands of miles away, crowds gathered in the streets of San Francisco with eyes turned skyward. “The whole sky appeared to undulate something like a field of grain in a high wind; the waters of the Bay reflected the brilliant hues of the Aurora,” wrote one journalist in the San Francisco Herald on September 5, 1859. “Nothing could exceed the grandeur and beauty of the sight; the effect was almost bewildering and was witnessed with mingled feelings of awe and delight by thousands.” City dwellers around the world shared this experience.

Read more at: bigthink


Boryung Partners with Axiom Space and Aurelia Institute to Launch the “2023 Humans In Space” Program

Boryung, South Korea’s leading healthcare investment company, has launched a global space initiative called “Humans In Space” together with Axiom Space (the only commercial company leveraging the ISS to build the world’s first commercial space station, Axiom Station) and Aurelia Institute (nonprofit spinoff from MIT Space Exploration Initiative) as co-hosts. The Humans In Space program aims to foster an ecosystem of innovative minds working to advance human activities in space. The program will kick start with the Challenge launch in May, followed by the Symposium in late October.

Read more at: prnewswire

Virgin Orbit Spent More Than a Billion to Make Millions

Virgin Orbit spent well over $1 billion developing a launch system that produced only tens of millions in revenues before the company went bankrupt. Richard Branson’s launch provider recently auctioned off most of its assets for just under $36.5 million and announced it would be shutting down for good.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne flew six times between May 25, 2020 and January 9, 2023. Four launches succeeded. Failures on the maiden and final flights were bookends for four successful launches in 2021 and 2022.

Read more at: parabolicarc

Apogeo Space Orders Second Space Tug For Connectivity Constellation

Apogeo Space, an Italian venture with plans for nearly 100 tiny satellites for connecting remote monitoring devices, said June 5 it had signed a deal to deploy nine picosatellites next year with an orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) from Momentus.

The satellites are due to launch on a Vigoride tug slated to join the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-10 rideshare mission in February to low Earth orbit.

Momentus declined to disclose other customer details about the mission. The California-based company is currently preparing for Vigoride-7, its fourth OTV launch that is slated to join a Falcon 9 rideshare in October.

Read more at: spacenews

Bombshell Whistleblower Testimony Suggests Virgin Galactic Could Be Wildly Undervalued

Shares of Virgin Galactic SPCE are moving aggressively higher in early trade on Tuesday as the world may be about to change in a fundamentally paradigm-shifting way. At last check, the stock was trading up almost 6% to above $4.00 in the wake of bombshell whistleblower testimony that the United States and other near-peer countries are in possession of exotic materials of a non-human, off-planet origin.

Read more at: benzinga

Analysis: Boeing, Northrop face obstacles in commercializing flagship US rocket

NASA’s plans to turn over its flagship rocket to contractors Boeing and Northrop Grumman to find more buyers and bring down costs faces steep hurdles thanks to meager demand even from the Pentagon and a sprawling supplier network. The U.S. space agency is pushing ahead with plans to hand ownership of the Space Launch System (SLS) to a Boeing-Northrup joint venture in the next few years, with a goal of cutting in half the rocket’s price tag – estimated at $2 billion. But finding a market for a giant and costly rocket promises to be difficult, with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) – seen as a potential customer – signaling little interest.

Read more at: reuters


Japan To Launch Satellite Made Of Wood In 2024

A satellite made of wood could be launched into space in 2024.

The high durability of wood in space was recently tested and confirmed at the International Space Station (ISS) by an international group of scientists led by those from Kyoto University.

Their experiments showed wood samples tested at the ISS for durability underwent minimal deterioration and maintained good stability.

Preliminary inspection, including strength tests and crystal structural analyses, of the wood samples was also done once they were brought back to Earth from the ISS by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Read more at: Independent

Exploration Of Space Industry Best Practice

ESA is reaching out to members of the industrial space sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to take part in a survey on lessons learned in the space industry.

This survey aims to gather valuable insights into the best practice of how industry learns from their experiences while working on projects in the space sector, and how using their experience informs their future actions and business decision-making.

Read more at: ESA

Long Space Missions Take A Toll On Astronaut Brains, Study Finds

Long missions and frequent voyages to space may take a toll on astronaut brains, a new study suggests. Previous research discovered that spaceflight can trigger widespread changes in the human brain. Shedding light on these changes and their potential effects may prove key to success in future missions, such as planned multi-year voyages to Mars.

The most enduring spaceflight-related changes in the brain yet detected are the way cavities in the brain known as ventricles can enlarge by up to 25%. Ventricles are filled with cerebrospinal fluid, which helps protect, nourish and remove waste from the brain. The absence of a gravitational pull leads the brain to shift upward in the skull and causes the ventricles to expand.

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How The Lack Of Gravity In Space Impacts Astronauts’ Brains

What happens to the brain when you take gravity away? According to a new study looking at astronauts both before and after space travel, that experience causes physical changes that researchers believe requires at least three years between longer missions to recover from.

The study looked at the brains of 30 astronauts and found that cavities within the brain had expanded during their time away from Earth.

Read more at: ctvnews

NASA Says There May Be Life on the Moon After All

You probably think of the Earth’s Moon as a dead husk, void of life.

But NASA says the astronauts who are scheduled to touch down on the surface of the Moon as soon as late 2025 — if everything goes according to plan, an increasingly significant “if” — might not be the first organisms in town, reports.

“One of the most striking things our team has found is that, given recent research on the ranges in which certain microbial life can survive, there may be potentially habitable niches for such life in relatively protected areas on some airless bodies,” Prabal Saxena, a planetary researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the site.

Read more at: futurism

Video Shows Astroscale’s Plan To Deorbit Multiple Satellites

A new Astroscale video shows how the End of Life Services by Astroscale-Multiple mission, ELSA-M, will capture and deorbit a OneWeb communications satellite.

“ELSA-M will be the world’s first commercial removal of a client’s inactive spacecraft,” Alex Godfrey, Astroscale business development manager, told SpaceNews.

In 2025, Astroscale plans to send ELSA-M into very low Earth orbit for commissioning. Next, the Astroscale satellite will move into a higher orbit to test its ability to latch onto a OneWeb satellite equipped with magnetic docking plates.

Read more at: spacenews


Today the Department of State is releasing our first-ever Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy, a groundbreaking initiative to advance U.S. global space leadership. Through this Framework, we will expand international cooperation on mutually beneficial space activities, including through the Artemis Accords, and commitments against destructive anti-satellite missile tests. We will encourage responsible behavior, strengthen understanding and support for U.S. national space policies, and promote international use of U.S. space capabilities.

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A Review Of Japan’s Space Policy After The H3 Launch Vehicle Failure

On March 7, 2023, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) tried and failed to launch the first H3 launch vehicle. The H3 is Japan’s first new major rocket in 12 years and is expected to replace the current H-2A launch vehicle in terms of high-cost performance and flexibility. The main reason for its failure was that the second-stage engine did not ignite due to electrical problems. JAXA is working to determine the problem’s cause and resolve it immediately. However, the next launch date has yet to be set. This article discusses the losses suffered by Japan due to this failure and some of the contributing causes of these losses. Finally, a mechanism for ensuring a better balance of costs and risks for all Japanese space stakeholders is discussed for a positive way ahead.

Read more at: spacereview

Boeing Sued Over Alleged Theft Of IP, Counterfeiting Of Tools Used On NASA Projects

Wilson Aerospace, a small family-run tools company based in Colorado, is suing Boeing for a wide range of claims concerning allegedly stolen intellectual property over the last two decades.

The company’s lawsuit centers around multiple custom-designed tools that Wilson says it created for Boeing. Boeing, in turn, “rewarded Wilson’s efforts by brazenly stealing” the IP related to multiple devices, the complaint says. Wilson filed suit in a Washington federal court Wednesday.

The scope of the damages is “hard to quantify,” according to one of the company’s lawyers, Pete Flowers. Still, Boeing’s actions have hurt Wilson to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars,” he told CNBC.

Read more at: CNBC

Melroy: NASA “Unlikely” To Get Full FY2024 Budget Request

NASA is acknowledging that the debt limit deal signed into law a few days ago means the agency probably will not get the 7.1 percent increase requested for FY2024. Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy said it is “unlikely” and difficult choices lie ahead.

President Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act into law on Saturday. It suspends the debt limit until January 1, 2025 — after next year’s congressional and presidential elections — and caps total FY2024 government spending at FY2023 levels with only a one percent increase allowed for FY2025. Defense and veterans medical care funding are exempted from cuts.

Read more at: spacepolicy online

Should The FAA Regulate All Space Activities?

The Outer Space Treaty (OST) requires nation-states to provide “authorization and continuing supervision” of the activities of their nationals in space. In recent months the National Space Council (NSpC), chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris, has asked federal agencies for their opinions on which agencies or departments should have this role for in-space activity. Here, “in-space activity” is basically everything other than launch and reentry operations, already regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); communications, regulated by the Federal Communications Commission; and Earth observation, regulated by the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Read more at: spacenews

The US And China Are In A New Space Race – Who’s Winning?

The space race was between two cold war warriors, but now there’s a new race – and China could be winning.

According to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, China’s space program is “far more advanced” than we think.

His tweet was in response to an article citing Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, who said: “By 2030, the Chinese people will definitely be able to set foot on the Moon.”

Read more at: ABC


‘We Are Watching’: How A Satellite Company Helps Expose Scenes From The War In Ukraine

From its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, private satellite company Maxar Technologies is tracking major events around the world.

Read more at: CNN

Space Force Assigns 12 National Security Missions To SpaceX And ULA

The U.S. Space Force launch procurement office on June 8 announced an additional 12 missions assigned to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance under the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract.

The 12 missions are projected to start launching in 2025.

SpaceX was assigned five Space Development Agency (SDA) launches to low Earth orbit and a U.S. Space Force classified mission, USSF-31.

SDA is building a large constellation of communications and missile-tracking sensor satellites that will be launched in batches.

Read more at: spacenews

GAO Flags Concerns About Space Force Satellite Procurements

The Government Accountability Office in its annual assessment of Pentagon procurements provided an update on the Space Force’s satellite programs and found a few red flags.

The watchdog agency in the report released June 8 examined 101 of the Pentagon’s largest programs.

With regard to satellite procurements, it warned that the geostationary missile-warning spacecraft known as Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) “must overcome numerous challenges before its first planned launch in 2025.”

Read more at: spacenews

Oneweb And Eutelsat Demonstrate Multi-Orbit Offering And Global Connectivity Solution To NATO

Representatives at the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) took part in a successful demonstration of combined Geo-stationary (GEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) multi-orbit capability from satellite companies and strategic partners, OneWeb and Eutelsat last month.

The hands-on live demonstration enabled the NATO attendees to get a real feel for the steps that, together, both companies are making to provide a multi-orbit architecture that will deliver robust and resilient connectivity to deliver data and communications.

Read more at: Oneweb


The Odyssey of Mars Express: Charting Two Decades of Red Planet Exploration

Mars appears in the night sky different from all the other gleaming dots in the darkness. Look carefully and even to the naked eye it has an orangey hue, look even closer and there’s a twenty-year-old spacecraft that has been lovingly circling it for two decades. Peering down on Mars’ familiar but eerily lifeless surface, Mars Express has re-written our view of a planet that perhaps once looked more like our own home, and where we plan to set foot soon.

Read more at: scitechdaily

N° 25–2023: Europe Is Aiming For The Moon

A bold ambition for Europe in space exploration received enthusiastic support from politicians, business leaders and independent experts from across Europe at an event held today in Vienna.

Delegates discussed the immense international, economic and societal importance of space exploration for Europe – and how to establish the way forward.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “Space technologies are key technologies for our future. Space science and technology will continue to play an important role in the future. ESA fulfils much more than just a strategic policy task, it is above all about innovation and technology leadership and thus ultimately also about Europe and Austria as a business location.”

Read more at: ESA

Sixth Main Rocket Engine Trial For China’s Crewed Lunar Missions Sets Record

China has completed the 6th trial run for the main rocket engine of its future crewed lunar missions, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The 130-tonne class liquid oxygen kerosene rocket engine brought its cumulative test run time to 3,300 seconds after this recent trial, setting a new record for the longest trial of a single 100-tonne class engine in China, said the corporation.

As the main engine for the country’s future crewed lunar missions, it needs higher comprehensive performance and reliability.

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Whither Starliner?

The gaping chasm between the two companies NASA selected nearly nine years ago to develop commercial crew vehicles was clearly illustrated last week.

On Tuesday, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station and, 12 hours later, splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. On board were four private astronauts who had completed Ax-2, the second mission by Axiom Space to the station. The four people included two Saudi astronauts and an American businessman, commanded by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who added to her American record for the most time in space.

Read more at: spacereview

NASA Concerned Starship Problems Will Delay Artemis 3

NASA has growing concerns that the lunar lander version of SpaceX’s Starship vehicle will not be ready in time for the Artemis 3 mission in late 2025, given the amount of work needed to get the vehicle ready.

Speaking at a joint meeting of the National Academies’ Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board June 7, Jim Free, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems development, said Artemis 3, which would feature the first human landing on the moon in more than half a century, was in danger of being delayed from December 2025 to some time in 2026.

Read more at: spacenews

Why Wouldn’t NASA Want to Use Pencils in Space? Here’s The True Story

One very persistent story about the mid-20th century space race involves the development of the space pen.

When humans left the surface of Earth for the weightless environment of space for the first time in the 1960s, they quickly found that ballpoint pens designed for the gravity environment of Earth were not quite so effective in space. Ever tried to write using a cheap ballpoint pen on a vertical surface? Doesn’t go so well, does it?

Read more at: sciencealert

Ariane 6 Joint Update Report, 8 June 2023

As anticipated in May, here is an update of the progress being made towards inaugural flight of the new Ariane 6 launcher. The next update is expected end July. Key milestones towards inaugural flight: Started May 2023: Ground combined tests sequence, at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana – This test sequence notably includes two wet rehearsals and a long firing test of the lower stage on the launch pad. The successful achievement of this sequence is a main prerequisite for the inaugural flight.

Read more at: ESA

The Moon’s Pull Is So Strong It May Trigger Earthquakes On Earth. Scientists Are Still Baffled By Its Power.

Our moon has an undeniable affect on Earth’s tides. Its gravitational pull causes rises and falls in our planet’s sea level.

But what if the moon were to have a smaller, less visible affect on our planet?

A small handful of experts claim to have evidence that our satellite produces forces that can trigger earthquakes.

Read more at: MSN

US Urged To Reveal UFO Evidence After Claim That It Has Intact Alien Vehicles

The US has been urged to disclose evidence of UFOs after a whistleblower former intelligence official said the government has possession of “intact and partially intact” alien vehicles.

The former intelligence official David Grusch, who led analysis of unexplained anomalous phenomena (UAP) within a US Department of Defense agency, has alleged that the US has craft of non-human origin.

Information on these vehicles is being illegally withheld from Congress, Grusch told the Debrief. Grusch said when he turned over classified information about the vehicles to Congress he suffered retaliation from government officials.

Read more at: Guardian

How And Why NASA Gives A Name To Every Spot It Studies On Mars

Martian maps are full of monikers recognizing places on Earth, explorers, and even cartoon characters.

NASA’s Perseverance rover is currently investigating rock outcrops alongside the rim of Mars’s Belva Crater. Some 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) away, NASA’s Curiosity rover recently drilled a sample at a location called “Ubajara.” The crater bears an official name; the drill location is identified by a nickname, hence the quotation marks.

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