Kathy Lueders New Head of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program
Kathy Lueders is the new head of NASA’s human spaceflight program — the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). She succeeds Doug Loverro who resigned last month after less than six months on the job. She has gained renown as manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that on May 30, in partnership with SpaceX, launched the first American astronauts into orbit from American soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.
Her appointment as Associate Administrator (AA) of HEOMD at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC is effective immediately. Her deputy, Steve Stich, will take over the Commercial Crew Program, which is enjoying the ongoing flight of the Demo-2 crew, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, aboard the International Space Station (ISS) while at the same time working with its other partner, Boeing, to get the Starliner system back on track.
Read more at: Spacepolicy online
Solid Rocket Boosters Arrive at Kennedy for Artemis 1 and OmegA
For the first time in ten years, Solid Rocket Booster segments have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for flight operations.
Successfully completing the cross-country train trip were all 10 propellant segments for the Artemis 1 mission of the SLS rocket as well as inert Castor-series segments for the company’s upcoming OmegA rocket, both of which are scheduled to debut in 2021 with flights off of Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center.
Read more at: NASA Spaceflight
China Plans To Launch Meteorological Satellite To Dawn-Dusk Orbit
China plans to send a meteorological weather satellite into a dawn-dusk orbit, its developer said Thursday.
The satellite was designed and built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It will be the world’s first polar-orbiting weather satellite in a dawn-dusk orbit.
According to the academy, the satellite is undergoing final tests and is expected to come out of the factory by the end of 2020.
Read more at: Xinhuanet
Company Adapts Proven Cygnus Technology For Human Habitation
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a contract by NASA to execute the preliminary design and development of the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO). It is to be deployed in lunar orbit as the first crew module of the NASA Gateway, a space station orbiting the moon providing vital support for long-term human exploration of the lunar surface and deep space. This award is a follow-on to the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2 (NextSTEP-2) Appendix A contract. A subsequent modification will be definitized for the fabrication, assembly, and delivery of the HALO module.
Read more at: Northrup Grumman
SPACE HAZARDS & STM
Speed Of Space Storms Key To Protecting Astronauts And Satellites From Radiation
Space weather forecasters need to predict the speed of solar eruptions, as much as their size, to protect satellites and the health of astronauts, scientists have found.
Scientists at the University of Reading found that by calculating the speed of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) when they hit Earth, forecasters could provide more useful early warnings. This would help operators of critical infrastructure such as satellites know if they need to take evasive action or switch off systems to protect them, and warn astronauts when they need to shelter inside shielded parts of the International Space Station.
Read more at: Reading
Brilliant Fireball Lights Up Skies Over Tennessee (Video)
A meteor lit up the night sky over Tennessee and neighboring states late Sunday (June 7), sparking 120 fireball sightings across 12 different states and Canada.The fireball occurred at 9:42 p.m. EDT (0142 GMT) and blazed a trail over southern Ohio, according to a ground track by the American Meteor Society. It was visible for up to 3.5 seconds from as far south as South Carolina and as far north as Ontario, Canada, AMS reported.
One witness video shows the fireball from Knoxville, Tennessee, as the meteor flares up in a dazzling streak and disappear seconds later.
Read more at: Space.com
Japan Firm to Develop Satellite to Remove Space Debris
Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. said Thursday it will develop a satellite to remove space debris with lasers, aiming to launch a related service in 2026.
The satellite communications service provider will make the satellite mainly with government-affiliated research institute Riken and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, it said.
The satellite will irradiate lasers to push space debris into Earth’s atmosphere and burn it, according to SKY Perfect JSAT.
Read more at: Nippon
Here’s How To Find Out When Elon Musk’s SpaceX May Provide You With Satellite Internet
SpaceX updated the website for its Starlink satellite internet project on Friday, as the company continues to move closer to its goal of offering direct-to-consumer broadband from space later this year.
“Get updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area,” the website reads, with a submission form for an email address and zip code. The form allows prospective customers to apply for updates and access to a public beta test of the Starlink service.
Read more at: CNBC
Space Exploration Is Back, And Asteroid Mining Is The Next Gold Rush
We’re going to the moon. We’re going to Mars. And, before you know it, we’ll be going to the asteroid belt.
Space is back, baby. It’s back in the news, back in our thoughts, and back in the culture. America, and the world, are better for it.
Over the past few years, space exploration has returned to public consciousness in ways not since the first shuttle mission in 1981, or even since Americans landed men on the moon then brought them safely back to earth in the summer of 1969.
Read more at: Federalist
New SpaceX Spacesuits Get Five-Star Rating From NASA Astronauts
The movie-star look to SpaceX’s new spacesuits is just one of the innovative features the Crew Dragon astronauts enjoyed during the Demo-2 test flight to the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were the first humans to wear the suits in space during their mission, which began May 30 with a flawless launch from Florida — the first human spaceflight from the region since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.
How things have changed since then. Instead of the old-school “pumpkin suit” launch suits Behnken and Hurley wore multiple times for space shuttle missions, this time the veteran astronauts were decked in all-white SpaceX suits for their rocket ride to orbit.
Read more at: Space.com
Ford v. Ferrari—in Space!
May 30, 2020, marked the first time in history that human beings were launched into Earth orbit on a privately owned rocket. The SpaceX mission, called Demo-2 because it was intended to certify SpaceX’s hardware and capabilities to manage missions to the International Space Station (ISS), demonstrated a flawless launch and recovery of the main booster rocket. Although the mission will not be over until the crew returns safely to Earth, the launch was a fundamental break in the short history of human spaceflight, in which every one of the nearly 600 people from over 40 countries who have ever gone into orbit have done so on board government-owned and -operated rockets.
Read more at: issues.org
Private Investment Fuels China Commercial Space Sector Growth
In its latest research titled “China Space Industry Report,” Euroconsult provides in depth analysis of how commercialization is driving both growth and technology advances in the Chinese space sector, with oversubscribed IPOs and a wave of private investment.
China Satcom is now the world’s highest valued pure satellite operator with a market cap of US$11 billion as of May 2020, while China Satcom parent company China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) reported record revenues of $37 billion in 2018.
Read more at: Spacedaily
DDC-I’s Deos RTOS Selected By MDA To Develop Communications System For Dream Chaser Cargo System
DDC-I, a leading supplier of software and professional services for mission- and safety-critical applications, has announced that its Deos safety-critical real-time operating system has been selected by Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) for use in a communications subsystem destined for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser Cargo System.
The subsystem will provide on-board communication signal processing capabilities for the Dream Chaser Cargo System, a cargo transportation spacecraft being developed by SNC under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS2) program. The spacecraft is scheduled for at least six cargo delivery missions to and from the International Space Station between 2020 and 2024.
Read more at: Spacedaily
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Vicodin, Ketamine, And Caffeine: The Ingredients Of A Good Space Pharmacy
In space, no one can hear you sneeze. But if an astronaut does catch the flu, it can be a major problem. With the nearest Walgreens several hundred kilometers away, every medication an astronaut could possibly need on a space mission must be packed beforehand. It makes designing a pharmacy for space extremely complicated.
On top of that, of course, space itself poses potential medical issues. That extreme environment is known to warp the human body, shift fluids, and shrink bones, among other things. But microgravity can also affect how medications are metabolized, potentially making drugs less effective or even toxic.
Read more at: Arstechnica
Convenience Store Fried Chicken Gets Approved As Food For Japanese Space Program
In February of 2017, after repeated requests from Japanese astronauts that some meat would really be nice while on space missions, convenience store chain Lawson set out on a three-year mission: to explore strange new frying techniques, to seek out new batter and new seasonings, to boldly go where no store-brand fried chicken has gone before.
Among the many regulations set by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the most daunting challenge for Lawson’s beloved Karaage-kun line of fried chicken was the 11-month shelf life. Not only that, but in order to be fully certified as space food, a product must remain safe to eat after a year and a half of storage.
Read more at: soranews24
Japanese Scientists Succeed In Inducing Hibernation-Like State In Rodents
A team of Japanese scientists said Thursday they have succeeded in artificially inducing a hibernation-like state in rodents by stimulating nerve cells, suggesting beneficial implications for human medical applications and deep space exploration.
The University of Tsukuba and Riken, a state-run research institute, announced their discovery in the online edition of the scientific journal Nature.
Read more at: Mainichi
Astronauts Say Riding Falcon 9 Rocket Was “Totally Different” From The Space Shuttle
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken say SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was a “very pure flying machine” as it sped their Crew Dragon spaceship into orbit, but they said they were surprised by the rougher-than-expected ride on the Falcon 9’s powerful upper stage.
Hurley and Behnken became the first people to ride a Falcon 9 rocket into space May 30 after lifting off from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Around 19 hours later, their Crew Dragon capsule autonomously docked with the International Space Station to complete the first trip to the orbiting outpost from a U.S. spaceport since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.
Each astronaut launched on two space shuttle flights before flying on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule.
Read more at: SpaceflightNow
Boeing Vs SpaceX: NASA Astronauts Are Using Virtual Reality Headsets To Fly ‘Starliner’ To The ISS
Amid all the talk about SpaceX and a new era of private human spaceflight in the wake of “Launch America,” arguably one of the most important space industry corporations of all got short shrift.
Boeing–which built the first stage of the Saturn V rocket that took the Apollo missions to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s—is now readying astronauts for a mission to the International’s Space Station (ISS) in its own capsule, the CST-100 Starliner.
And it’s doing so using virtual reality (VR) technology.
Read more at: Forbes
First Global Map Of Rockfalls On The Moon
In October 2015, a spectacular rockfall occurred in the Swiss Alps: in the late morning hours, a large, snow-covered block with a volume of more than 1500 cubic meters suddenly detached from the summit of Mel de la Niva. It fell apart on its way downslope, but a number of boulders continued their journey into the valley. One of the large boulders came to a halt at the foot of the summit next to a mountain hut, after travelling more than 1.4 kilometers and cutting through woods and meadows.
Read more at: ethz
SPACE POLICY & LAWS
Russia Should Rethink Its Rejection Of Lunar Commercialization
The Russian News Agency TASS recently quoted Dmitry Rogozin, the CEO of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Agency, as rejecting the idea of commercial operations on the moon. He stated on the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station, “We will not, in any case, accept any attempts to privatize the Moon. It is illegal, it runs counter to international law.”
The statement is seen as a rejection of the proposed Artemis Accords, a set of ground rules for behavior of how nations and private entities should explore the moon.
Read more at: Hill
SASC Prohibits DOD From Complying With “Misguided” FCC Ligado Decision
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved its version of the FY2021 defense authorization bill yesterday and shared some of its provisions today. Among them, the committee prohibits DOD from spending money to comply with the FCC’s decision to allow Ligado to use frequencies close to those used for the GPS system until certain conditions are met. DOD and many SASC members strongly oppose the FCC decision.
In one of its rare hearings since the coronavirus pandemic changed how Congress conducts its work, a substantial number of SASC members agreed with DOD witnesses on May 6 that allowing Ligado to operate a terrestrial 5G broadband wireless system in a frequency band adjacent to GPS could jeopardize a wide range of national security capabilities.
Read more at: Spacepolicy online
Executive Orders and Artemis Accords – Considerations for Canada
The United States government has recently announced two major proclamations in relation to their current and future space exploration program and has requested prospective international partners, including Canada, to effectively embrace these declarations if they wish to join the U.S. program.
Since Canada’s space endeavours are closely aligned with those of our southern neighbour, how this country responds to these approaches may have a significant impact on the future development of our national space program, our long-standing position as a respected, independent voice in relation to global space diplomacy and our relationship with the U.S. even beyond space concerns.
Read more at: SpaceQ
Part 3: Executive Orders and Artemis Accords – Considerations for Canada
In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we considered the Executive Order relating to space resources and the Artemis Accords, and what they might imply for Canada if this country signed onto supporting them. In part 3, we will attempt to wrap up the discussion within a global context, including some concluding remarks.
Read more at: SpaceQ
Amid Covid, India-Japan Moon Mission Takes Shape, ISRO to Lead Lander Tech
Read more at: Times of India
A Second Golden Age Of Spaceflight?
“Space is hard,” admits Steve Carell’s character in the new Netflix original series Space Force. While not eloquent or nuanced, his point is surprisingly similar to a line from President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 Moon Shot speech: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” The United States was extremely successful in the Space Race of the 1960s and 1970s. Nonetheless, the challenges posed by space exploration, including a declining budget and the Columbia shuttle explosion in 2003, led to the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. The glamour of the unknown had faded since the glory days of the Moon landings, and the U.S. no longer had the means to independently sustain space exploration and related missions.
Read more at: Politic
The New Frontier: Space Law And The Galactic Economy
The commercial space industry is heating up– 50 years ago, outer space was reserved for the most powerful of nations and the most dominant governments, but today, there is a democratization of space. Commercial industry is inching us closer to the cosmos, and in the process, there is a growing interdependence between what is happening hundreds of miles up into space and down below on Earth. Currently, the space market is worth approximately US$400 billion, and the commercial space industry, using multi-million-dollar rockets and satellites, is increasingly playing a part in our everyday lives. Although you may have been hearing about this phenomenon in recent years, this launch into the new world has been ongoing for decades.
Read more at: Entrepreneur
Senators Continue Building Space Force with Caution
New legislation further establishes the Space Force as the sixth branch of the military, but wants a closer look at who will do that work and where.
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill, approved June 10, would temporarily stop the military from transferring its installations into the Space Force. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett would first need to send an analysis of those potential transfers to Capitol Hill.
Read more at: Airforce mag
Are Manned US Systems in Low-Earth Orbits a Defense Necessity?
The United States has returned to manned space missions. Utilizing the privately built SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, NASA successfully launched two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011. This is a momentous occasion for U.S. spaceflight, but it raises an important question. What’s the point?
It seems strange to question this launch since NASA has been around since 1958 to advance U.S. interests in space or, more specifically, to conquer space, as stated in NASA’s founding documents. NASA, formed as a civilian space agency, has always had a national security element to it (hence the use earlier of the word conquer).
Read more at: inhomeland security
Space Development Agency To Deploy Hypersonic Missile Defense Satellites By 2022
The Space Development Agency is soliciting bids to integrate a missile-warning sensor with a satellite bus and launch it to low Earth orbit by late 2021.
The June 5 solicitation is for a “tracking phenomenology experiment” to develop sensor algorithms for a future missile detection network in space. Proposals are due July 6.
The experiment is an initial step in the SDA’s plan to deploy a large constellation of low orbiting satellites in 2022 to detect and track maneuvering hypersonic missiles that the Pentagon predicts China and Russia will field in the near future.
Read more at: Spacenews
Special Operations Command Is Diving Into Space
The need for U.S. Special Operations Command to rely on existing space-based capabilities while developing its own has increased in recent years, especially as SOCOM expands its focus from the counter-terrorist fight to a near-peer competition, an organization leader said recently.
“We’ll be learning a lot over the next couple years with how we are going to partner with the Space Force, Air Force and other services who are doing things in space,” Special Reconnaissance Program Executive Officer David Breede said at the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference May 12. “We are now delving into space-based capabilities.”
Read more at: C4isrnet
US Senate Panel Approves More Funds for Missile Defence in 2021 NDAA Act
The US Senate Armed Services Committee approved additional funding for missile defence, including for hypersonic weapons, in the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2021, a summary of the draft bill revealed.
The Armed Services Committee on Thursday voted 25-2 to advance the fiscal year 2021 NDAA to the Senate floor.
“The amended measure provides additional funding for missile defence priorities, including the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, components for an eight Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) battery, Homeland Defence Radar-Hawaii, and additional SM-3IIA interceptors”, the summary of the draft bill said.
Read more at: Spacewar
Former NASA Administrator Reprimanded For Use Of Agency Personnel After Departure
NASA’s inspector general found that former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden continued to use the services of an employee to manage his activities for almost two years after leaving the agency.
The NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report June 11 summarizing an investigation into allegations that Bolden’s former executive assistant, or EA, continued to support Bolden after he left NASA in January 2017, including aiding Bolden’s consulting business.
Read more at: Spacenews
Parking in a Pandemic
Global aviation is facing its battle to survive, with most flights grounded since March owing to travel restrictions in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic. According to aviation industry researcher Cirium, the number of passenger jets in service is the lowest it has been in 26 years.
Managing large-scale storage poses a challenge for the industry, as airlines hunt for space on the ground for storage facilities. Taxiways, hangers and even runways at major airports around the world are being transformed into parking spaces for planes. These images captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission show the numerous parked planes on runways – even in remote airports such as Alice Springs in Australia.
Read more at: ESA
Twitter Removes China, Russia and Turkey ‘State-linked’ Accounts
Twitter on Friday said it had removed tens of thousands of “state linked” accounts used by China, Russia and Turkey to push their own propaganda, sow misinformation or attack critics.
By far the biggest network uncovered was linked to China, the US social media giant said, comprised of a “highly engaged core” of 23,750 accounts that was boosted by a further 150,000 “amplifier” accounts.
The Turkish network was made up of 7,340 accounts while the Russian group was 1,152 strong. All accounts and their content have been removed from Twitter but have been placed on an archive database for researchers.
Read more at: Spacewar