NASA Engineers Try To Remedy Stuck Probe On Mars

An instrument on NASA’s Mars InSight mission that was supposed to be driven into the planet’s soil is stuck. It’s designed to measure Mars’s internal temperature.

There’s a mole stuck in the ground on Mars – not the small, furry animal but a probe on NASA’s Mars InSight lander called the mole. It’s a probe that was supposed to go 15 feet beneath the Martian surface, but it got stuck after only going one.

Read more at: NPR

A Home In Space

ISRO has declared its intention to build a permanent space station for itself, possibly in the next five to seven years. After the mission to moon and Mars and a proposed manned space flight before 2022, this is the next logical step for the agency. What the step seems to suggest is that, in the coming years, ISRO would be undertaking many prolonged space exploration projects and sending many astronauts into space, such that it would require a permanent station for itself.

For four decades since its inception in the early 1960s, ISRO had, apart from building its capacities, focused primarily on harnessing space technologies for societal benefits. Yash Pal, the first director of Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad, once described India’s space mission as “almost a sociological programme” as much as a technological programme.

Read more at: Indian Express

Bridenstine Estimates Artemis Cost At $20–30 Billion

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a television interview June 13 that it will cost the agency an additional $20 billion to $30 billion to return humans to the moon, the first range of costs given by the agency for the program.

In an interview with CNN, Bridenstine said that estimate would be above earlier projections for costs of existing elements of what’s now called the Artemis program, such as the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft

“For the whole program, to get a sustainable presence on the moon, we’re looking at between 20 and 30 billion dollars,” he said. “When we talk about the 20 to 30 billion dollars, it would be 20 or 30 billion on top of the normal NASA budget but, of course, that would be spread over five years.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Cristoforetti Leading NEEMO 23 Underwater Expedition For Deep Space Training

Another NEEMO expedition is set to begin this week, with the 10-day NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 23 crew preparing to test techniques that will be employed during deep space missions. Previous NEEMO expeditions have already provided valuable lessons in dealing with challenges such as communication time-delays associated with sending and receiving commands between controllers on Earth and astronauts on Mars.

The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) objectives are a highly advanced – and a more involved – version of the underwater training environment provided by the likes of the giant Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL).

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Orion Launch Abort System Designed To Pull Its Weight For Moon Missions

Astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft will soar toward the Moon atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket as part of the agency’s Artemis program to establish a permanent presence at the Moon and learn the skills needed to send humans to Mars. Crew members will journey aboard Orion with the confidence knowing the spacecraft is specifically designed with a number of features to support humans traveling to deep space, including a highly capable Launch Abort System (LAS). The LAS is a structure on top of the crew module that can fire within milliseconds and, with the crew module attached, outrun the powerful rocket if an emergency arises during launch.

Read more at: Colorado spacenews

If You Want To Be An Astronaut, You May Need A Good Sense Of Humor: NASA Is Looking For Jokers To Join Mars Crew

Are you a funny guy or gal who’d love the opportunity to travel to space? If so, then the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) wants to hear from you.

The federal space agency is reportedly looking for a jokester to accompany astronauts on a mission to Mars that’s set to take place sometime in the 2030s, the purpose being to help keep morale high on the planned, two-year journey.

According to an anthropologist from University of Florida, having a “class clown” on long space missions like this one is essential for defusing tension and building social bridges. “These are people that have the ability to pull everyone together, bridge gaps when tensions appear and really boost morale,” Jeffrey Johnson, who’s working with NASA to find the best candidates for this job, is quoted as saying.

Read more at:

Study: Can Extended Space Travel Increase An Astronaut’s Risk Of Cancer?

Astronauts make a lot of sacrifices in their line of work. The longer they stay in space, the more severely their health suffers. Latest research warns that long-term stays in space could drastically weaken the immune systems of astronauts, making them much more vulnerable to the onset and effects of deadly diseases like cancer.

The findings of the study add another item to the already long list of concerns involving NASA’s future mission to Mars. It may even affect the even earlier return to the moon, which was far enough from Earth to be subjected to the full might of cosmic radiation.

Read more at:

Why Is Scotland A Prime Rocket Launch Site?

By the end of the year, plans could be submitted to build a facility at the A’Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland. But Scotland has a number of regions which look attractive to aerospace companies for development. A consortium has revealed plans to build the UK’s first vertical launch site at Scolpaig, North Uist, following months of investigations. Shetland has also been earmarked as a desirable location.

When looking to build a spaceport, the UK considered both horizontal and vertical launch sites. Like their names suggest, horizontal launch sites fire rockets at a gradual angle – similar to what you would see at an airport. Prestwick Airport, for example, is on the cusp of applying for a licence to carry out horizontal space launches from its 2,986-metre concrete case runway.

Read more at: BBC

Site Of Biggest Ever Meteorite Collision In The UK Discovered

Evidence for the ancient, 1.2 billion years old, meteorite strike, was first discovered in 2008 near Ullapool, NW Scotland by scientists from Oxford and Aberdeen Universities. The thickness and extent of the debris deposit they found suggested the impact crater – made by a meteorite estimated at 1km wide – was close to the coast, but its precise location remained a mystery.

In a paper published today in Journal of the Geological Society, a team led by Dr Ken Amor from the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University, show how they have identified the crater location 15-20km west of a remote part of the Scottish coastline. It is buried beneath both water and younger rocks in the Minch Basin.

Read more at: Oxford

American Astronomical Society Issues Position Statement On Satellite Constellations

On May 23rd entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company SpaceX launched 60 Starlink communication satellites aboard a single rocket. Within days skywatchers worldwide spotted them flying in formation as they orbited Earth and reflected sunlight from their shiny metal surfaces.

Some people, unaware that artificial satellites can be seen moving against the starry background every clear night, reported UFO sightings. Astronomers, on the other hand, knew exactly what they were seeing – and immediately began to worry.

SpaceX had suggested that the satellites would be visible just barely, if at all. But the Starlink constellation shines as brightly as many astronomical constellations, and SpaceX intends to launch thousands more such spacecraft as part of an effort to provide internet service to everyone in the world.

Read more at: Spacedaily

The True Price of Privatizing Space Travel

On New Year’s Day 2001, the first crew of the International Space Station spent a quiet day in orbit. The commander, U.S. Navy Captain William Shepherd, decided to honor a naval New Year’s tradition, in which the person at the helm recites a poem. Shepherd had written something for the occasion, which included the following, recorded in the ship’s log:

Though star trackers mark Altair and Vega / Same as mariners eyed long ago / We are still as wayfinders of knowledge / Seeking new things that mankind shall know.

The station had been under construction, in orbit, for four years at that point, but Expedition 1 marked the beginning of continuous human habitation.

Read more at: Atlantic

China Rolls Out Rules To Guide Development Of Spacex-Style Commercial Rocket Research In The Country

China has rolled out its first rules to regulate the manufacture of commercial space rockets and test flights in a move to guide healthy development of the commercial space sector, mirroring similar moves by the US in recent years.

As a rising number of start-ups set out to be China’s version of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the guidelines are the first since China’s space industry was opened to the private sector in 2014. They require companies to obtain official permission before carrying out rocket research and development as well as production, according to a notice published on the web site of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on Monday.

Read more at: scmp

Luokung And Land Space To Develop Control System For Space And Ground Assets

Luokung Technology Corp. has announced a strategic partnership with Land Space Technology Corporation Ltd. (“Land Space”). The two parties will work together and take advantage of respective strength on commercial space cooperation with satellite remote sensing data applications as the main target market.

They will jointly develop domestic and foreign markets of products and services which are not limited to spatial-temporal big-data applications and aerospace application systems, and jointly build a measurement and control system for rockets, satellites and earth stations with global coverage.

On the strength of its accumulated customer resources and marketing channels in international aerospace market, Land Space will cooperate with Luokung on developing the domestic and foreign launch service markets, remote sensing data application market, and target users in different market segments.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Bigelow Announces Plans For Private Astronaut Flights To Space Station

Bigelow Space Operations says it will charge $52 million per seat to send private astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon ferry ships, and has already paid “substantial sums” to SpaceX for up to four dedicated crew missions to the orbiting research complex.

The announcement came in a statement June 7 by Robert Bigelow, the wealthy founder of Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace and Bigelow Space Operations, hours after NASA unveiled plans to use the International Space Station to commercialize low Earth orbit for human spaceflight.

Bigelow said his company made the initial payments to SpaceX in September 2018.

These (four) launches are dedicated flights each carrying up to four people for a duration of one to possibly two months on the ISS,” Bigelow wrote.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

NASA Asks Private Companies To Share How They Might Supply The Lunar Gateway

NASA’s stated goal of sending the first woman ever, and the first man since the Apollo program, to the Moon involves setting up a new space station that will orbit the Moon, which is supposed to begin being built by the end of 2022, per current timelines. Today, the U.S. space agency issued an open call for industry feedback and insight on how American companies might help supply said station.

Like the ISS, the forthcoming “Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway” (aka the LOP-G, but much more commonly simply referred to as “The Gateway”) will need regular resupply runs and delivery of cargo — both for the many stages of its build, which are projected to span at least six years to get to its target state of completion. NASA is also considering the possibility that private companies could provide transportation for parts of its lunar landing and, eventually, exploration and base building on the Moon.

Read more at: Techcrunch

The World’s Largest Airplane Is Up For Sale For $400 Million

Stratolaunch, which is the world’s largest airplane and has flown only once, is up for sale.

Holding company Vulcan is seeking to sell Stratolaunch for $400 million, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. Vulcan is the investment conglomerate of late billionaire Paul Allen, a Microsoft co-founder. Allen died last October following complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The hefty price tag includes ownership of the airplane as well as the intellectual property and facilities.

Read more at: CNBC

For Sale: Airport With Spaceport Aspirations

The airport’s management team has plans to increase revenue and pursue options including a spaceport. Glasgow Prestwick Airport aims to become the first commercial spaceport in the UK and Europe. It plans to enable horizontal launches of orbital and sub-orbital missions for satellites, micro-gravity experiments and passenger spaceflight experiences.

The Scottish government is looking to return the facility to the private sector. It took control of it to safeguard jobs and to protect a strategic asset.

An advert will be placed in the Official Journal of the European Union, inviting expression of interest in the business.

Read more at: Construction index

Former Blue Origin And SNC Executive Joins Vector

Small launch vehicle Vector has hired a new chief financial officer who previously held similar positions at Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Vector announced June 12 Stephanie Koster as its new CFO, leading the company’s finance and business operations. Koster joined the company in March, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Koster previously worked at Sierra Nevada Corporation, where she served as senior vice president of finance for a year. Prior to that, she spent six years at Blue Origin as director and treasurer, overseeing its financial operations.

Read more at: Spacenews

The End of the Egolauncher

Making predictions sometimes is not very enjoyable even—or perhaps especially—when they come true.

According to a Reuters article published Friday, Stratolaunch is about to cease operations and close up shop, selling off its assets. Whether this includes selling the record-setting Roc aircraft remains to be seen. It is hard to imagine any buyer for that aircraft, and it may prove too large for any museum. This is a sad end to an interesting project, but many people, myself included, never expected Stratolaunch to ever be successful. Stratolaunch seemed like the pet idea of a billionaire with so much money that he did not need to worry about market viability. When that billionaire, Paul Allen, died late last year, those of us skeptical about the company assumed that Allen’s trustees would finish and fly the aircraft, and then close up shop, and now it’s happening.

Read more at: Space review

ESA Boost To New Commercial Space Transportation Services

Europe is part of a new era in space transportation with new commercial initiatives offering services to space, in space, and back from space springing up within the privately led and funded space sector. ESA welcomes this development towards further European industrial growth and competitiveness.

ESA, tasked with growing and supporting European businesses, is proposing a Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support Programme (C-STS) beyond 2019, which will be presented at the Space 19+ Council meeting at Ministerial level in November this year. The initial focus will be microlaunchers and national spaceports.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Space Rider: Europe’s Reusable Space Transport System

Initially proposed in 2016, ESA’s Space Rider reentry vehicle provides a return to Earth and landing capability that compliments the existing launch options of the Ariane and Vega families. Having recently completed system and subsystem preliminary design reviews, Space Rider is advancing quickly towards the Critical design review at the end of 2019.

Launched on Vega-C, Space Rider will serve as an uncrewed high-tech space laboratory operating for periods longer than two months in low orbit. It will then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and land, returning its valuable payload to eager engineers and scientists at the landing site. After minimal refurbishment it will be ready for its next mission with new payloads and a new mission.

Read more at: Spacedaily

A New Fuel For Satellites Is So Safe It Won’t Blow Up Humans

LATER THIS MONTH, a small satellite will hitch a ride on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket for the world’s first demonstration of “green” satellite propellant in space. The satellite is fueled by AF-M315E, which the Air Force first developed more than 20 years ago as an alternative to the typical satellite juice of choice, hydrazine. If successful, AF-M315E could make satellites vastly more efficient, shrink satellite deployment time from weeks to days, and drastically reduce the safety requirements for storing and handling satellite fuel, a boon to humans and the environment. Looking to the future, scientists working on the fuel say it will play a large role in helping get extraterrestrial satellite operations off the ground.

Read more at: Wired

How NASA Gave Birth To Modern Computing—And Gets No Credit For It

The computer that flew the astronauts to the Moon—the Apollo guidance computer—was a marvel of the 1960s: small, fast, nimble, and designed for the people who were using it, astronauts flying spaceships.

Each Apollo mission had two identical computers, one in the command module, one in the lunar module, each of which were programmed for the very different missions of those spacecraft. They could handle 85,000 instructions a second, which sounds pretty impressive until you realize that an iPhone X can handle 5 trillion. So it would take the Apollo flight computer 681 days to do the work your iPhone can do in one second.

But if it was basic, the Apollo computer was not in any way primitive. Just the opposite.

Read more at: Fastcompany

Meet Ariane 6 and Vega C: Europe’s New ‘Rideshare’ Rockets (Videos)

Europe is taking advantage of the small-satellite trend by building two rockets that act as a rideshare, taking several spacecraft up at the same time. Two new videos show what to expect with the new boosters, which are called Ariane 6 and Vega C.

Next year will be a big one for the European Space Agency — both vehicles will fly for the first time. An agency animation shows how its heavy-lift vehicle Ariane 6 will come together, stage by stage.

The animation shows the upper stage rolling into an assembly building at the Guiana Space Center in French Kourou, soon to be joined by an additional stage. After joining up, the two stages — forming a central core — ride down a path to where the launch will take place. Boosters and other pieces are added, including the satellites, which ride inside a payload at the top. Then Ariane 6 launches into space.

Read more at:

Lockheed Martin Studies How To Use A Cloud Of Satellites For Space Missions

More and more computing is being done in the cloud, but so far, the cloud-based approach hasn’t been applied in space. Lockheed Martin is thinking about changing that.

The aerospace giant has already registered two trademarks for satellite cloud systems — HiveStar and SpaceCloud — and it’s considering how the approach can be applied to a range of space missions.

Yvonne Hodge, vice president and chief information officer at Colorado-based Lockheed Martin Space, lifted the curtain on the HiveStar project last week at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas.

Read more at: Geekwire

Defanging the Wolf Amendment

Later this month the House of Representatives will start consideration of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2020. Those bills will include the commerce, justice, and science (CJS) bill, which the House Appropriations Committee favorably reported May 22.

That section will look familiar to those who have scrutinized past appropriations bills. Colloquially known as the Wolf Amendment, after former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who added a version of it to an appropriations bill eight years ago, it restricts NASA’s ability to cooperate directly with China on space exploration. Some, though, think the provision has outlived any usefulness it might have once had.

Read more at: Spacereview

Who Owns The Moon?

Back in 1980, a former ventriloquist and car salesman named Dennis Hope was out of work, going through a divorce and struggling to make ends meet. As he tells it, he was driving along wondering what he could do for cash flow when he looked through the car window, saw the moon and thought: “Now there’s a lot of property.”

Hope did some research in a college library and discovered the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, a pact in which dozens of nations, including the United States, laid out the basic legal guidelines for dealing with celestial bodies. Hope thought he saw a loophole: The treaty declares that no nation can assert sovereignty over the moon, but it fails to say clearly that individuals can’t.

Read more at: politico

Space Agencies Come Together

On 14 June, President Hiroshi Yamakawa of JAXA was welcomed at the 282nd meeting of the ESA Council – the Agency’s governing body – held at ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

For decades, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, have worked in close collaboration to better understand our Universe.

From Earth observation missions to spacecraft exploring Martian moons, Mercury or distant asteroids, ESA and JAXA continue to show how international cooperation makes space exploration more effective and ultimately more successful.

Read more at: ESA

Interview: UN Space Chief Hails Broad, In-Depth Cooperation With China

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, has hailed China’s accomplishment in space as well as the country’s close cooperation with the UN office.

The 62nd session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is ongoing here in Vienna, from June 12 to 21.

A Chinese navigation exhibition and the announcement of which international scientific experiments would fly with the China Space Station (CSS) took place in close proximity — in both timing and location — to the session. And on the sidelines, Di Pippo told Xinhua this week “we are waiting for the Chinese space station to become a reality.”

Read more at: Xinhuanet

China’s New Wealth-Creation Scheme: Mining the Moon

On January 3, 2019, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) soft-landed a spacecraft, the Chang’e-4 (嫦娥四号) robotic lander and rover, on the far side of the moon, the first such landing in history. Chang’e-4, named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, touched down in the Von Kármán crater in the lunar southern hemisphere and then released its rover, Yutu-2 (玉兔二号), to explore the lunar landscape. Yutu-2 has proven a great success. As of June 10, the rover, named after the “Jade Rabbit,” a companion of the moon goddess, had traveled over 212 meters across the lunar surface, giving the far side of the moon “its first set of rover tracks,” as Mike Wall put it last January. The Chang’e-4 mission comes in the wake of China’s publicized Chang’e-3 (嫦娥三号) mission in 2013. That was a historic mission in its own right, achieving the first lunar soft landing of any kind since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe in 1976.

Read more at: National review

International Experiments Selected for China’s Space Station

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced Wednesday (June 12) the winners of their joint opportunity to conduct experiments on board the China Space Station(CSS), which is scheduled to be built in the next few years.

Six winning projects were selected, and three were conditionally selected. They were carefully evaluated by a team of around 60 experts from UNOOSA, CMSA and the international space community.

The winning institutions come from a variety of countries, including Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Poland, Peru, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland.

Read more at:

Russia Will Seek US Clarifications On Plans To Deploy Weapons To Space, Says Diplomat

Moscow would like Washington to clarify its plans to station weapons in space, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.

“The possibility that weapons will be deployed to space is just around the corner. We will seek not some assurances, but specific explanations,” Ryabkov said in response to a TASS question. “This is one of elements of the entire picture, which affects the strategic stability situation,” he added.

According to him, 20-30 years ago, “space was militarized from the standpoint of reconnaissance and communication activities, and the monitoring of the situation on the ground.” “However, there were no real possibilities to deploy weapons there,” he said, adding that “the situation is completely different now.”

Read more at: TASS

HASC Chairman Smith Earmarks $500M Giveaway For SpaceX, Potentially Aborting Air Force Space Plans

The U.S. Air Force, which leads Pentagon space efforts, has spent the last five years reorganizing how the military and intelligence agencies get their satellites into orbit. Pursuant to congressional mandates, it has had three goals: (1) stop using Russian rocket engines, (2) assure access to all key orbits by selecting two capable launch providers, and (3) foster competition between those providers to discipline price and performance.

The service has made good progress, sharing the costs of developing new launch vehicles with prospective providers and preparing to select two winners next year. But now comes Representative Adam Smith (D-WA), Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee, with a plan to overturn the Air Force’s efforts by arbitrarily giving up to $500 million to the one company that failed to win a launch services agreement from the service in competitive bidding last year.

Read more at: Forbes

Machinists Union Mobilizing To Defeat HASC Chairman’s Space Launch Legislation

In advance of the House Armed Services Committee markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the nation’s largest defense and aerospace labor union sent letters to committee members urging them to support an amendment to strike HASC Chairman Adam Smith’s proposed language on space launch.

Smith has included provisions in the committee’s NDAA that require the Air Force to add more competitors to the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement and create a $500 million fund that would help SpaceX get access to government funds that the Air Force awarded to other rocket manufacturers but denied to SpaceX. Another provision would help SpaceX obtain a key component made a supplier of archrival United Launch Alliance.

Read more at: Spacenews

House Armed Services Committee Votes To Create A U.S. Space Corps

The House Armed Services Committee voted to establish a United States Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force. The vote came in the overnight hours Thursday. The committee began its markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday morning. After a nearly 21-hour session, the committee passed the NDAA 33-24.

The Space Corps amendment was offered by the HASC Strategic Forces subcommittee leaders Chairman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). The proposal is similar to what the committee proposed in the 2018 NDAA, including the name of the new space service, U.S. Space Corps, rather than the Trump administration’s preferred name, U.S. Space Force.

Read more at: Spacenews

Who Is Really In Charge Of US Space Operations?

From 1957 to 1961, the United States turned its attention to space. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Army launched our first satellite, Explorer, with its Redstone rocket, and the Navy followed with its Vanguard system, then began developing the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The Air Force was building the Thor, Atlas and Titan missiles, initially as intermediate range or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for delivering nuclear warheads. Then, unknown to most of us, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was created to use the best missiles to put intelligence-gathering satellites into space.

Read more at: Hill

Arizona Company Launches Balloon-Borne Surveillance

An Arizona company called World View Enterprises says it’s within months of fielding balloon-based surveillance systems that will provide a less expensive alternative to satellite reconnaissance. The aircraft are called Stratollites and the company just completed a 16-day mission over four western states, according to Bloomberg.

The untethered and unmanned balloons fly near the top of the sensible atmosphere and will eventually be capable of maintaining station for months at a time, according to World View. They can carry payloads of up to 100 kg (220 pounds) including cameras and communication equipment.

Read more at: avweb

Coalition Partners Graduate Space Capstone Course In NSSI Historic First

A year after former Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson, announced her initiative for an increased coalition partner participation in space education, the National Security Space Institute graduated its first Space 300 class with international space operators, May 10, 2019.

Four students from Australia, and three from the United Kingdom, joined U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy service members for the capstone course designed to develop senior officer and enlisted space professionals as strategic thinkers for an international geopolitical environment and increase understanding of national space policy.

Read more at: Colorado spacenews

India To Launch A Defense-Based Space Research Agency

In a move to bolster India’s space warfare capabilities, the ruling National Democratic Alliance government has approved the creation of the Defence Space Research Organisation.

DSRO will provide technical and research support to its parent organization, the Defence Space Agency.

Last week, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the creation of DSRO to also develop space warfare systems and associated technology, according to a Ministry of Defence official.

Read more at: Defense news

Air Force Wants To Expand Tactical Data Network To Space

The U.S. Air Force wants to use a small satellite in low earth orbit to help offer beyond-line-of-sight tactical communications to soldiers on the battlefield.

Such a satellite would be outfitted with a Link 16 terminal. Link 16 is a tactical data exchange network that provides a picture of where friendly and enemy forces are located, allowing the military to share a common understanding of the battlefield. Military leaders rely on Link 16 as a critical tool in identifying friend from foe in the heat of a battle.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Humans or Robots First?

Since the early days of space exploration, a debate has raged over one big question: Should we really be sending humans out into the cosmos, or just do it with robots?

Both visions have sound logic in their favor. Smart automated machines are relatively cheap and disposable and can operate continuously in harsh environments. Since the moon certainly qualifies as a harsh environment, and lunar operations would clearly benefit from continuous activity, robots might seem the most sensible option for scaling up a moon colony, particularly if the goal is a commercial operation. Certainly many smart people think that’s the best choice.

Read more at: Politico

A Mighty Thunderous Silence: The Saturn F-1 Engine After Apollo

The Saturn V’s F-1 engine is probably the most legendary rocket engine ever built. After a problematic early start that destroyed several test stands, the powerful engine went on to send 12 astronauts to the lunar surface. Later, as NASA planned on retiring the Apollo hardware, astute leaders recognized that they might need it again. This resulted in the F-1 Production Knowledge Retention Program. This was a project at Rocketdyne, the company that built the F-1 engine, to preserve as much technical documentation and knowledge about the engine as possible. According to an inventory of records, the Knowledge Retention Program produced 20 volumes of material on topics such as the engine’s injector ring set, valves, engine assembly, and checkout and thermal insulation and electrical cables, among others.

Read more at: Spacereview

Why the Soviets Lost the Moon Race

About two weeks before the Apollo 11 mission was launched to the moon, Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman was in Moscow on a courtesy trip on behalf of NASA. The visit had been planned for months but the timing could not have been worse. American astronauts were getting ready to land on the moon while it appeared as if the Soviets had ceded the race.

On the evening of July 4, 1969, Borman was at the ornate U.S. Embassy compound in Moscow, surrounded by several veteran cosmonauts who seemed reticent if not outright glum. The following day, Borman visited the Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City, where he met with cosmonaut coordinator Nikolai Kamanin. One of the few Soviet space program managers with a public profile, Kamanin was also a national hero who had come to prominence back in the 1930s for leading a daring Arctic rescue. Now his mood seemed unusually subdued. When a journalist asked whether the Soviet Union was going to launch a mission to the moon to preempt Apollo 11, Kamanin and the cosmonauts would neither confirm nor deny it.

Read more at: Air and Space

How Flight Suits Have Evolved To Keep Astronauts Safe In Space

SPACE SUITS—DESIGNED TO provide oxygen and consistent atmospheric pressure—have evolved from pressure suits for pilots in high-altitude planes to ones that can keep astronauts alive in the near-vacuum conditions of space.

Read more at: National geographic

IAASS Space Debris course