15 Years Ago Today….

There I am on the Mojave flight line with the video camera. My friends Eric Dahlstrom and his wife, Emeline, are to my left. Behind me taking the photo was John Criswick.

All waiting for Mike Melvill to make history with the first private spaceflight aboard the suborbital SpaceShipOne.

15 years ago today. That’s hard to believe. It seems like a lifetime ago.  So much has happened since then. And, paradoxically, so little. I remember the optimism of that time. Burt Rutan had extended his reach into space. Space tourism seemed right around the corner.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

SpaceX And Boeing Continue To Struggle With Spacecraft Designs, As Watchdog Raises Safety Concerns

Getting astronauts to the International Space Station was supposed to become routine, so much so that NASA hired a pair of contractors to provide a taxi-like service to low Earth orbit. That, in turn, would allow NASA to focus on the hard stuff — deep space exploration to the moon and Mars.

But four years after awarding the contracts, worth $6.8 billion combined, to Boeing and SpaceX, the agency still can’t fly astronauts, a capability it lost when the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

A new report from a government watchdog paints a grim picture of the program, as both companies “continue to experience delays” in developing their spacecraft and are two years behind schedule.

Read more at: Washington post

Boeing, SpaceX Continue to Work Through Technical Challenges on Commercial Crew

Boeing and SpaceX are continuing to work through a number of technical challenges on their commercial crew spacecraft as NASA struggles to process data needed to certify the vehicles, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

There is sufficient schedule uncertainty, in fact, that GAO recommended the space agency continue planning for additional delays in providing crew transport to the International Space Station (ISS).

“GAO continues to believe that NASA should develop a contingency plan to ensure uninterrupted access to the ISS if delays persist beyond September 2020. NASA generally agreed with GAO’s findings,” the report stated.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

American, Israeli Companies Perfecting Radiation Vest For Astronauts In Deep Space

The last time a human stepped on the Moon, the Watergate hearings were well under way, Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were negotiating a peaceful end to the Vietnam War, and people were playing PONG, the world’s first video game.

A partnership between NASA, a Florida-based company and an Israeli company will help make the next manned flight to the moon possible.

Lockheed-Martin and StemRad have been perfecting a wearable radiation shield, or vest, to protect astronauts on deep space flights.

Read more at: Florida today

Kourou’s New Pad For Ariane 6 Enters Final Leg Of Construction

The huge launch pad complex for Arianespace’s new workhorse, Ariane 6, is in the final months of construction ahead of the new rocket’s debut in 2021. ELA-4 includes a massive mobile gantry that will roll back off the pad ahead of launch. Arianespace is currently working on constructing 14 contracted Ariane 6s.

The Ariane 6 launch complex has been under construction since 2017 and – per the latest update this week – is expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Canada Backs Startup To Boost Data On Space Debris

The Canadian government’s contracting arm is backing a proposed new satellite system that will use big data analytics to provide commercially available data about the Earth and its orbit amid growing concerns about the risks posed by space debris.

Support from the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) will allow Canadian startup NorthStar Earth and Space to negotiate initial service agreements with the United States, Britain and other countries, NorthStar CEO Stewart Bain said. The deal with CCC will be signed on Monday at the Paris Airshow.

Read more at: Reuters

New Sunspot Cycle Promises To Be Mild, But Not Harmless

The sun is nearing the low point of its current sunspot cycle and should start to see an increase in activity again in mid-2020, scientists report.

But the increase probably won’t be all that dramatic, they say, because the next sunspot cycle, like the one just ending, is expected to be unusually quiet.

In fact, says Irina Kitiashvili, a sunspot researcher at NASA Ames Research Centre in California, her models predict that the upcoming cycle will be the weakest in the past 200 years.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

U.N., European Bodies Outline Joint Push Against Space Junk

European and U.N. bodies on Thursday outlined a joint push for global action on space junk, saying that debris orbiting the earth must be cleaned up as satellites launched by private companies and other new entrants are adding to the crowding.

So-called space debris has been an issue since the Cold War-era space race between the United States and Soviet Union. But in the absence of solutions, and with emerging countries like China and India having developed the ability to shoot down satellites, it has only got worse.

Read more at: Reuters

Lockheed Joins Satellite ‘Sustainability’ Rating System

Lockheed is playing guinea pig for a new ‘space sustainability’ rating scheme designed to show how well satellites comply with best operational practices such as debris mitigation.

“It’s a real serious issue with debris,” Rick Ambrose, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin Space told reporters here yesterday. “So, I think there are going to have to be some multinational policies” for “how you conduct yourself in space.”

To that end, Ambrose said he has “volunteered my satellites to be rated” by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) new coalition working on a ‘seal of approval’ scheme that incentivizes industry to take action to maintain the space environment.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Are Russian Space Satellites Failing? It’s Now Harder To Find Out

One of the key themes of HBO’s new Chernobyl miniseries is the Soviet Union’s control of information. As the television series shows, the state’s warping of reality had very real consequences in terms of lives lost.

The control of information has continued into the modern Russian era, as the nation’s state television network is now planning its own series to recount the Chernobyl incident. Reportedly, a central theme of the series to be shown to Russian viewers is that American operatives infiltrated the nuclear facility and orchestrated the disaster. (There appears to be no credible evidence that this actually happened.)

Read more at: Arstechnica

India’s Space Startups Ignite Investor Interest

From companies building palm-sized satellites to those aiming to propel satellites into space using cleaner fuels, a new wave of space technology startups are mushrooming in India, catching the attention of investors keen to join the space race.

Bengaluru-based Bellatrix Aerospace, which wants to propel satellites into orbit using electric and non-toxic chemical thrusters, has raised $3 million from a group of investors, co-founder Yashas Karanam told Reuters.

Venture capital fund IDFC Parampara is leading Bellatrix’s pre-Series A round. The family office of Suman Kant Munjal, who belongs to the billionaire family that controls Indian motorcycle maker Hero MotoCorp, and Deepika Padukone, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, are two of the other seven investors.

Read more at: Reuters

Satellite Startup Spinlaunch Wins First Defense Contract

Satellite startup SpinLaunch has as been awarded a responsive launch prototype contract from the Department of Defense, its first deal for the U.S. military.

Read more at: Bizjournals

Commercial Space Companies Have Received $7.2 Billion In Government Investment Since 2000

Early investments from a government agency, like NASA or the Air Force, can be a crucial step in the evolution of commercial space companies from scrappy startups to successful businesses. That’s according to a new report from Space Angels, an investment firm focused on the space industry, which quantified how much money government agencies have invested in private aerospace firms over the last 18 years.

The analysis reveals just how important a role the government still plays in the private space industry. It found that early public investment can sometimes be the difference between life and death for a company. “I think it’s really important for people to recognize that it isn’t just the private sector deciding to do something,” Chad Anderson, CEO of Space Angels, tells The Verge. “The government has played a key role in the development of entrepreneurial space companies.”

Read more at: Verge

NASA Determining Best Course For Commercial Lunar Gateway Resupply

Following a call late last year for companies to submit ideas on how NASA can best resupply its upcoming Lunar Gateway outpost, the U.S. federal space agency has taken its initiative one step further, releasing the draft resupply Request For Proposals it developed from the feedback received.

The Gateway Logistics Services draft document was released on Friday (14 June) to the commercial space industry and seeks input on the agency’s final Gateway resupply contract plan.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

NASA To Demonstrate New “Green” Propellant In Space Using Aerojet Rocketdyne Propulsion System

Aerojet Rocketdyne, along with NASA, Ball Aerospace and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is helping usher in a new era of small satellite propulsion through the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM). On June 24, a Ball Aerospace small satellite will be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Once in orbit, the spacecraft will conduct a 13-month demonstration of a revolutionary “green” propellant developed by the AFRL, called AF-M315E.

Powered by this green propellant, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s green propellant propulsion system will enable the spacecraft to execute and demonstrate orbital maneuvers in space. The system includes five 1-newton thrusters: four for attitude control and one for orbit maneuvering. This will be the first space-based demonstration of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s green propulsion technology utilizing AF-M315E propellant.

Read more at: Rocket

Atomic Clocks Explained: NASA Set To Launch a Deep Space Timekeeper Monday

NASA is set to launch an incredible new atomic clock into orbit on a Falcon Heavy tomorrow (June 24) in a technology demonstration mission that could transform the way humans explore space.

The Deep Space Atomic Clock, developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is a space-ready upgrade to the atomic clocks we use here on Earth and to the clocks that already fly on satellites like those that provide GPS.

Read more at: Space.com

Blue Origin Test Fires Its BE-7 Rocket Engine, Designed For The Perfect Moon Landing

Blue Origin, the spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos, wants to go where the private sector has never gone before.

The company has its sights set on the moon — where only governments have landed. Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon and longtime space fanatic, began hawking his plans to change that last month by showing off a mockup of Blue Origin’s lunar lander, called Blue Moon.

Three years of work have already gone into developing the spacecraft, but at an event on May 9, Bezos said there was a key problem that Blue Origin needed solved: the rocket engine.

Read more at: CNN

ASU Engineer’s ‘Rad’ Little Board Set To Go To Space

Dangerous radiation is a fact of life in space.

Astronauts are exposed to 50 to 2,000 milli-Sievert of radiation while in orbit, or the equivalent of 150 to 6,000 chest x-rays — well beyond the recommended lifetime dose. Electronics, though hardier than humans, also suffer from the harmful effects of radiation aboard the spacecraft and satellites that make space exploration possible.

Hugh Barnaby, a professor of electrical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, has made a career out of developing ways to protect electronics in harsh environments. This month he’ll be launching his second experiment into space to further study radiation’s effects on electronics.

Read more at: ASU Now

Russian Cosmonauts Refusing to Donate Sperm for Lab Studies, Cite Moral, Ethical Issues – Scientist

Russia plans to launch the Bion-M biosatellite in 2023, with the craft expected to study spermatogenesis in mice, among other things, to discover the impact that prolonged periods in space can have on the healthy development of living organisms.

Russian men cosmonauts are not particularly enthusiastic about the idea to collect their sperm for extensive studies, Dr. Irina Ogneva, lab chief at the Institute of Cell Biophysics outside Moscow, has said.

“We have been unsuccessful in getting the Coordinating Scientific & Technical Council responsible for approving experiments on the Russian segment of the ISS to approve such a routine procedure as the handover of seminograms by cosmonauts,” Ogneva explained.

Read more at: Sputnik news

Astronauts Left Poop On The Moon. We Should Go Get It.

Human feces can be disgusting, but it’s also teeming with life. Around 50 percent of its mass is made up of bacteria, representing some of the 1,000-plus species of microbes that live in our guts. In a piece of poop lives a whole wondrous ecosystem.

With the Apollo 11 moon landing, astronauts took that microbial life to the most extreme environment it has ever been in. Which means the human feces on the moon — along with bags of urine, food waste, vomit, and other waste that also might contain microbial life — represents a natural, though unintended, experiment.

The question the experiment will answer: How resilient is life in the face of the brutal environment of the moon? And for that matter, if microbes can survive on the moon, can they survive interstellar travel, making them capable of seeding life across the universe, including on places like Mars?

Read more at: Vox

Op-Ed | Commercial Space Activities Offer Boundless Opportunities

Fifty years ago this summer, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Their “giant leap for mankind” was a venture that could only be accomplished with the might and funding of the U.S. government.

Today, space continues to be the new frontier, but the pioneers are increasingly being found in the private sector. Once considered to be a niche market for major aerospace companies, commercial space transportation is quickly becoming a mainstream sector of aerospace.

The energy and enthusiasm for commercial space transportation was apparent this week at the Paris Air Show, where I was asked to participate on a panel that looked at the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Read more at: Spacenews

AAS 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 for a few days after launch the Starlink constellation shone 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: AAS

Senators Try New Approach To Passing Commercial Space Bill

Senators are taking a new approach to winning passage of a commercial space bill, offering it as an amendment to a defense authorization bill.

Several senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), introduced an amendment to the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 June 13. Cosponsors of the amendment include Sens. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

Read more at: Spacenews

House Members Seek To Bolster Commercial Space Offices In Appropriations Bill

The full House is unlikely to make major changes in NASA funding when it takes up an appropriations bill this week, but members will seek changes for two other agencies involved in space issues.

The House is scheduled to start debate no earlier than June 19 on a “minibus” combining five separate appropriations bills previously approved by the House Appropriations Committee. Among those bills is the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) bill, which funds NASA, as well as the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill, which funds the Federal Aviation Administration.

Read more at: Spacenews

Americans Aren’t Interested In The Moon And Mars—And That’s Understandable

Nearly two years ago, Vice President Mike Pence made the administration’s space policy official, saying NASA would re-focus its program around “establishing a renewed American presence on the Moon, a vital strategic goal.” In December 2017, President Trump signed a space-policy document codifying this human-exploration plan.

Under this space-policy directive, a sustainable presence on the Moon would then become a stepping stone to destinations further out in space, such as Mars. The president recently made clear his preference for getting to Mars quickly, tweeting a few weeks ago: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon—we did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars.”

Read more at: Arstechnica

Streamlining The Space Industry’s Regulatory Streamlining

One of the hallmarks of the Trump Administration, for better or for worse, has been a zeal for regulatory reform. Throughout the government, the administration has sought to roll back regulations in a variety of areas, arguing that doing so will benefit the economy.

Space is no exception to that. Space Policy Directive (SPD) 2, signed by President Trump a little more than a year ago, directed a variety of regulatory reforms, including for commercial launch and remote sensing, and a move towards consolidating more space regulatory work within the Commerce Department (see “A step towards a ‘one-stop shop’ for commercial space regulations”, The Space Review, May 29, 2018.) SPD-2 in particular called for publication, by February 2019, of proposed revisions to commercial launch and reentry regulations intended to make it easier for companies to carry out such operations.

Read more at: Space review

Elon Musk’s Spacex Clashes With The Pentagon, Its Key Client

Last December, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, spent an hour closeted with then-Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

Among the topics on the table was SpaceX’s failure to win an important contract from the Air Force the previous October. As the Defense Department’s inspector general subsequently reported, Musk acknowledged that the loss was SpaceX’s fault: The company had “written a poor proposal,” the report said, quoting Musk as admitting that it “missed the mark.”

As a result, development-stage contracts totaling more than $2.2 billion for a series of military rocket launches starting as early as 2022 went to SpaceX’s three rivals in the burgeoning field of private launches — United Launch Alliance (ULA, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin), Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin, a spaceflight company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Read more at: LA Times

OPINION: The First Duty Of A Space Force Is To Protect Space Commerce

A critical part of military planning is to study the commander’s intent, and make sure the plans measure up to the political goal. To date America has only expected its military space forces to build, launch and protect military satellites that provide ‘force enhancement’ to the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines — such as weather, navigation, satellite communications, and missile warning. If the new U.S. Space Force assumes that its role is to just keep doing what it has always done — only with greater budget and personnel autonomy — it will fail to meet the expectations of our military space leadership and policymakers.

Read more at: politico

India Is Making A Play To Become A Major Space Power

India has started to make decisions that will make that country a major space power. The south Asian country is responding to China’s progress in space. It has not only set the date for the launch of its next moon mission; it has also decided that it needs its own independent space station.

First, as India Today reported, the Indian Space Research Organization has announced that the much-delayed Chandrayaan-2 space probe will be launched to the moon on July 15 of this year, 50 years after the day that Apollo 11 launched. The Indian moon probe will take almost two months on a low-energy trajectory before landing at the lunar south pole on Sept. 6 or 7.

Read more at: Hill

Aiming For The Stars… But Can’t Even Make A Chip!

India is reaching for the moon. Its second moon mission lifts off next month and will land a remote-controlled explorer on the moon’s surface and put a satellite into lunar orbit. This will mark a spectacular milestone in India’s space journey and showcase its amazing competencies in space technology acquired through decades of pioneering work.

The next giant step will be the 2021 launch of the manned Gaganyaan orbital spacecraft capable of carrying three astronauts on a seven-day space mission.

Read more at: Deccan chronicle

GAO: NASA Programs Rack Up Delays, Cost Overruns

TWO GOVERNMENT Accountability Office reports in as many days show that NASA programs are behind schedule, raising questions about the feasibility of sticking to a five-year timeline to get Americans back on the moon.

The first report on Wednesday found that the agency’s three human spaceflight programs – the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft and supporting ground systems – face additional launch delays and cost increases.

Read more at: US News

Can A Company Own The Moon?

“Beautiful, just beautiful,” the astronaut Michael Collins said, watching as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, his fellow-members of the Apollo 11 mission, worked to plant the U.S. flag in the moon’s dusty surface. That first moon landing was fifty years ago this July. Since then, the space race has changed. No longer a contest between Cold War enemies for military advantage or planetary bragging rights, the new space race is between a slew of private companies who see outer space as an untapped wellspring of mineral resources.

Read more at: Newyorker

Executive Order Could Reduce Number Of NASA Advisory Committees

An executive order calling for an across-the-board reduction in federal advisory groups could force NASA to shut down several of the committees that support the agency.

The June 14 order from President Trump instructed all federal agencies to review their existing committees that operate under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). That act, nearly a half-century old, governs the management of committees that provide advice to government agencies, including requirements for public meetings and reporting of their activities.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Force Nears Approval as First New Military Arm Since 1947

The Pentagon’s proposed Space Force, vying to be the first new branch of the military created in more than 70 years, may now be a done deal with just the name and structural details left to hash out.

The House Armed Services Committee under a Democratic majority voted Thursday for what it calls Space Corps, following a similar move last month by the GOP-led Senate backing a Space Force—the name President Donald Trump coined. While initially met with skepticism in Congress, the panels almost certainly will greenlight the dedicated unit in the final defense authorization bill this year.

Read more at: bgov

NATO Aims To Make Space New Frontier In Defence

NATO aims to recognise space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats said, partly to show U.S. President Donald Trump that the alliance is relevant and adapting to new threats after he signed off on the creation of a U.S. Space Force.

The decision, set to be taken at a Dec. 3-4 leaders summit in London that Trump is due to attend, would formally acknowledge that battles can be waged not only on land, in the air, at sea and on computer networks, but also in space.

Read more at: Newstrust

New SDA Head Kennedy Quits; Turmoil Erupts In DoD Space

After only four months on the job, Fred Kennedy, head of the newly created Space Development Agency (SDA), is leaving. His resignation from the post follows on the heels of that of Chris Shank, head of the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO). The two back-to-back departures suggest a deeper disruption in the Defense Department’s high-profile effort to reform how it handles space — and perhaps the entire R&D enterprise led by Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USDR&E) Mike Griffin.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Air Force Weather Squadron Key Player In Ensuring Successful Rocket Launches

The work of the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron is never over, which makes sense since weather never ceases either.

Aside from predicting the weather forecast on the Eastern Range 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the men and women at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station also help predict how weather will affect upcoming rocket launches.

In fact, since 1988, there are have been 626 launches according to the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron. Of those, more than 100 were delayed due to weather.

Read more at: Florida today

Nazi Rocket Launched Space Age 75 Years Ago Today

Seventy-five years ago today, humankind saw the launch of its first artificial object into outer space. No, not Sputnik, but an ignominious Nazi A-4/V2 rocket launched June 20, 1944, from what was then Germany’s Baltic Coast.

In a desperate attempt to better understand what was causing these early Nazi rockets to airburst into fragments at high altitude, German rocketeer Wernher von Braun and colleagues used a mobile launcher to begin vertical test firing. On this particular day at the Third Reich’s Peenemunde research center, their rocket hit a suborbital altitude of 108.5 miles. Although of debatable military significance, this largely forgotten historical footnote did mark the beginning of the space age.

Read more at: Forbes

What It Takes To Be An Astronaut: The Real ‘Right Stuff’

During the 1966 Gemini 8 mission, commanded by astronaut Neil Armstrong, an error caused the spacecraft to spin so violently that his and astronaut David Scott’s vision blurred. It was set to be the first space docking in history between two spacecraft, Gemini 8 and the Agena, during NASA’s second human spaceflight program.

The astronauts were stuck in a loop, spinning faster and faster. “We have serious problems here,” Scott told Mission Control. “We’re tumbling end over end. We’re disengaged from the Agena.”

Read more at: CNN

US Postal Service Celebrates Apollo 11 Moon Landing with ‘Forever’ Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will issue some very special stamps to celebrate the first moon landing 50 years ago.

On July 19, 2019 — the day before that historic anniversary — USPS will issue two new “forever stamps” to honor the Apollo 11 landing, which saw astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descend safely to the surface.

Forever stamps are a USPS concept created in 2007. The service calls them “non-denominational” postage for first-class service, meaning that if the first-class postal rate increases after the customer purchases the stamps, the buyer can still use the same stamps.

Read more at: Space.com

The Hard-Charging Space Program: Breakthroughs, Breakups And Breakneck

Back then, in the ’60s, rocket scientists were the badass dudes of innovation. Just the title was about the highest brainiac accolade that could be conferred. As in, he’s smart, but he’s no rocket scientist.

As NASA worked relentlessly to fulfill John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon by decade’s end, it turned to the nation’s engineers. Many of them were fresh out of school, running the gamut from mechanical to electrical engineers, because that’s mostly what was taught in universities, and almost exclusively to white men.

In archival Apollo 11 photos and footage, it’s a “Where’s Waldo?” exercise to spot a woman or person of color.

Read more at: Washington post

A NASA Legend: Christopher Kraft Wrote The Rule Book For Mission Control, Flight Operations

American astronauts might not have walked on the moon without NASA legend Christopher Kraft, but the 95-year-old never wanted to don a spacesuit or leave his own dusty footprints.

In fact, the thought of it makes him chortle. Why would he want to be a spaceman when he could be in charge of them?

“I liked my job better than theirs,” Kraft, the agency’s first Mission Control flight director, said recently. “I got to go on every flight, and besides that, I got to tell them what to do.”

Read more at: Chron

‘Stronger Than Required’: Remembering Skylab’s End, 40 Years On

Forty years ago, this summer, America’s first space station, Skylab, breathed its last and commenced a slow descent back to Earth, eventually to burn up in the atmosphere. The vast complex—a converted Saturn V S-IVB third stage, which remains the largest and most massive single object ever launched into orbit on a single booster—had been launched in May 1973, but had endured near-calamity from the start: a troubled ascent had seen its micrometeoroid shield torn away, one solar array ripped off and another clogged with debris.

Once in space, the sterling efforts of three astronaut crews over the next nine months had brought Skylab back to life, repaired it and achieved spectacular scientific results. Hundreds of hours of solar and astronomical observations were made, together with dozens of Earth resources studies and a vast corpus of biomedical data aided our understanding of how the human body functions in space over long periods of time

Read more at: America space

JPL Files Stolen By Hackers Using Credit Card-Size Computer, NASA Says

Hackers exploited a credit card-size computer improperly connected to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s network to access files undetected for 10 months, according to a report from NASA’s Office of the Inspector General released this week.

Investigators found the La Canada Flintridge-based facility had multiple security weaknesses that reduced “JPL’s ability to prevent, detect, and mitigate attacks targeting its systems and networks, thereby exposing NASA systems and data to exploitation by cyber criminals,” the report states.

JPL, managed by Caltech, is responsible for all of the Mars robotic missions, as well as probes sent to Jupiter, Saturn and beyond.

Read more at: Pasadena starnews

Boost For Space Technology Essential To Keep UK In First Place For Future Of Auto Industry

The new Darwin programme aims to test seamless highspeed data connections using 5G and satellites. Next generation telecoms satellites will ensure that vehicles stay connected outside of towns and cities which typically have good mobile signals.

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will transform travel with safer, smoother and smarter road journeys through high levels of automation facilitated by being able to communicate with other vehicles and to road infrastructure around them.

Read more at: Gov UK

Chairwoman Johnson And Ranking Member Lucas Request Federal Studies Of Frequency Spectrum Proposed For 5g Communications

Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine requesting all studies and analyses conducted by NOAA and NASA regarding the impacts of the FCC’s proposed 5G transmissions in the 24 GHz band and the adjacent 23.8 GHz band; a timeline of events; and all documents and communications pertinent to the analyses and recommendations on 5G operations at these bands.

Read more at: House science

Spacex Is About To Launch 152 Dead People’s Remains Into Orbit Aboard A Falcon Heavy Rocket

SpaceX is gearing up for the third-ever launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket: the world’smost powerful operational launch system.

The mission, called Space Test Program-2 (STP-2), is slated to lift off between 11:30 p.m. ET on June 24 and 2:30 a.m. ET on June 25, weather permitting.

When it does, the rocket will propel 24 satellites into orbit around Earth – as well as the ashes of 152 dead people.

Read more at: Business insider

The Fiction that Predicted Space Travel

Arthur C Clarke was never one to hide his light under a bushel. He referred to his office as his ‘ego chamber’ and bought an English manor house to accommodate his archives, aka the ‘Clarkives’. And yet, when it came to imagining the future, he adamantly refused to take credit for any predictions. The internet, 3D printers, email: he may have described them all long before they existed, but these were not predictions. They were, he insisted, extrapolations.

Read more at: BBC

IAASS Space Debris course