NASA Safety Advisers Warn ISS Transition Plans On “Precarious Trajectory”

NASA’s safety advisers warn that the agency’s efforts to transition from the International Space Station to commercial space stations without a gap are on a “precarious trajectory.”

At a July 21 meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, members said they were concerned that commercial stations whose development is being supported by NASA were unlikely to be ready in time before the ISS is retired at the end of the decade, and that those efforts suffered from insufficient budgets.

Those plans, called Commercial Leo Earth Orbit (LEO) Destinations by NASA, “are on a precarious trajectory to realization on a schedule and within the projected resources needed to maintain a NASA LEO presence,” said Patricia Sanders, chair of the panel. “This is an area of concern for us.”

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA Delays VIPER Lunar Rover Launch By A Year

NASA has delayed the launch of an ice-prospecting lunar rover by a year to perform more testing of its commercial lander, the agency announced July 18.

NASA said it is delaying the launch of its Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission from November 2023 to November 2024. The rover is designed to land near Nobile Crater in the south polar regions of the moon to look for water ice, of interest to both lunar scientists and as a resource for future human missions.

Read more at: Spacenews

James Webb Official Describes ‘Solemn’ Mood During ‘Very Serious’ Early Setback

NASA’s James Webb team made history last week.

Only a short time ago though, NASA officials feared James Webb’s mission was doomed and that we may never see the first scientific images revealed to the world just a few days ago.

The news comes from NASA Mission Operations Manager Carl Starr, who described early mission setbacks in a Science Channel special program, as per Yahoo News.

Read more at: Interesting engineering

Deadly Risks Of Falling Space Junk On The Rise According To Canadian Study

Despite the vastness of space, the laws of gravity still apply to the things we launch into our galaxy. Now a Canadian study is examining the risks for us Earthlings posed by falling space junk. Mike Armstrong explains why the odds of debris causing serious damage, or even death, are on the rise.

Read more at: Global news


China Wants To Defend The Earth From Asteroids Using The Moon

China’s “Planetary Defense System” has been catching momentum recently, with Beijing researchers now planning to utilize the moon to protect Earth from asteroid strikes that could potentially wipe out a city or even human civilization, according to scientists involved in the project.

Two optical telescopes would be built on the moon’s south and north poles to survey the space around them for any threats that may have slipped through the ground-based early warning network, especially those approaching from the blind side facing the sun.

Read more at: Jpost

Another Chinese Rocket Could Be Headed for a Dangerous Uncontrolled Reentry

A powerful rocket is set to blast off from Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan on a mission to expand China’s first space station. Similar to previous launches of the Long March 5B, however, the rocket could perform a dangerous uncontrolled reentry on its return.

China is in the midst of constructing its Tiangong space station—the country’s answer to the International Space Station—with one of the station’s modules already in place. China’s space agency is gearing up to launch the station’s Wentian module, which is set to occur this Sunday July 24 from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan.

Read more at: Gizmodo

How Dangerous is ‘Space Weather’? | The Royal Society

The sun pours out a constant stream of material, called the solar wind, which interact with the Earth. This can cause the beautiful aurora at the poles but can also damage aircraft, harm astronauts and take out power grids. The ‘Monitoring space weather’ team at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2022 spoke to Esme Todd about this invisible threat.

Surprise Asteroid Mystery Unraveled – Barreling Toward Earth From Blind Spot

When asteroid 2019 OK suddenly appeared barreling toward Earth on July 25, 2019, Luisa Fernanda Zambrano-Marin and the team of astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico quickly sprang into action.

After receiving an alert, the radar scientists zoned in on the asteroid, which was approaching from Earth’s blind spot — solar opposition. Zambrano-Marin and the team had just 30 minutes to collect as many radar readings as they could. The asteroid was traveling so fast, that’s all the time she’d have it in Arecibo’s sights.

Read more at: scitech daily

Starlink Moved Its Satellites 1,700 Times To Evade Russian Missile Debris

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet constellation has revealed that it had to maneuver its satellites more than a thousand times after the Russian Federation launched an anti-satellite missile last year. SpaceX shared this information in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which described the status of its constellation and shared other details such as the number of satellites that were deorbited this year and other failures that the spacecraft might have experienced.

Read more at: wccftech

‘Canyon Of Fire’ Solar Storm Will Slam Into Earth Today Or Tomorrow

Solar winds from the snapping of a gigantic “canyon of fire” filament on the sun are set to slam into the Earth today (July 20) or tomorrow (July 21), triggering a weak G1 geomagnetic storm.

Sun watchers first spotted (opens in new tab) solar filaments as dark, thread-like lines against the sun’s bright background on July 12, according to Then, on July 15, a filament that had snaked its way down our star’s northern hemisphere erupted (opens in new tab), carving out a roughly 238,880 mile (384,400 kilometers) long and 12,400 mile (20,000 km) deep “canyon of fire” on the sun’s surface and belching solar material right at us. 

Read more at: LiveScience

What Goes Up Must Come Down: Study Looks At Risk Of Orbital Debris Casualties

It’s only a matter of time before someone is killed by falling space junk.

The toll taken by space debris so far includes an Indonesian livestock pen’s fence crushed by a stray fuel tank, a house in the Ivory Coast damaged by a chunk of a first stage, and a woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, walking in the park who felt a piece of rocket tap her on the shoulder. 

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Satellite Dodges Space Debris As It Scrambles Against Space Weather

A European satellite that has been scrambling to escape premature death in Earth’s atmosphere due to bad space weather has narrowly avoided a collision with a random piece of space junk. 

The satellite, part of the constellation Swarm, which monitors Earth’s magnetic field, has been climbing to a higher altitude after it experienced increased drag due to changes in the density of the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere that occurred in response to solar activity. 

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NASA Releases Image of James Webb Damage From Micrometeoroid Impact

NASA has released images of the mirrors of its James Webb Space Telescope after they were struck by a larger-than-expected micrometeoroid.

While the size of the space particle, which impacted the observatory in May, was larger than the team had prepared for, the damage is fortunately isolated to just one of the observatory’s 18 mirrors, as seen in images included in a yet-to-be-peer reviewed study by NASA and its Canadian and European counterparts

Read more at: Futurism


NASA Moon Program Aims For A Daring Commercial Landing On The Far Side In 2025

Like Pink Floyd, a new NASA-funded commercial mission will see us on the ‘dark’ side of the moon. The agency announced (opens in new tab) Thursday (July 21) it will task a team led by Draper to carry a suite of science and technology payloads to Schrödinger Crater (opens in new tab), an impact basin on the moon’s far side. Touchdown of the Draper SERIES-2 lander is scheduled for 2025.

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Crew Dragon Mission Delayed After Booster Damaged In Transport

NASA is delaying the next commercial crew mission to the International Space Station by nearly a month after the Falcon 9 booster that will launch it was damaged during transport across the country for testing.

NASA announced July 21 that the Crew-5 mission is now scheduled for launch no earlier than Sept. 29, after previously being scheduled for early September. The spacecraft will transport NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina to the station.

Read more at: Spacenews

Spacex Reveals Plans To Catch Super Heavy On First Launch Attempt! JWST Baffles Science World!

SpaceX reveals plans to catch their Super Heavy Starship booster on the first attempt. Parts for a third Starship launch tower spotted at Kennedy Space center, and James Webb is 5% away from viewing the Universe’s beginning!

SpaceX Aborts Launch Of Falcon 9 Rocket Carrying 46 Starlink Satellites

SpaceX aborted the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a payload of the company’s Starlink internet satellites just before liftoff on Thursday (July 21). The Falcon 9 rocket was just 46 seconds away from launch when mission controllers announced the abort. The rocket, which has flown three times before, was set to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission is carrying 46 of the company’s Starlink internet satellites and would have marked SpaceX’s 32nd launch of 22, surpassing the company’s 2021 record of 31 launches.

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Fireball Sends SpaceX Super Heavy Booster Back To The Factory

SpaceX has returned an upgraded Super Heavy booster to the factory after an unexpected explosion and fireball caused “minor” damage during testing.

CEO Elon Musk first revealed that the company would need to remove the rocket from Starbase’s orbital launch pad for inspections and repairs on July 13th, about a day and a half after the anomaly. On July 11th, during what may have been a partial wet dress rehearsal (WDR), a dispersed cloud of methane gas found an accidental ignition source and exploded with a force that at least one observer estimated was equivalent to several pounds of TNT.

Read more at: Teslarati

Two Companies Join Spacex In The Race To Mars, With A Launch Possible In 2024

Relativity Space has not launched a single rocket, and Impulse Space has never tested one of its thrusters in space. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, the two California-based companies declared their intention to launch an ambitious mission that will land on the surface of Mars in fewer than three years.

This would be the first commercial mission to Mars, and normally such a claim could be safely dismissed as absurd. But this announcement—audacious though it may be—is probably worth taking seriously because of the companies and players involved.

Read more at: Arstechnica


Mapping The Sky: Finding Asteroids Requires A Combination Of Tools

“A single strike could reshape our world, and the only thing that can stop it is science.”

Those are the opening lines of “Asteroid Hunters,” an IMAX film narrated by Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame. If a June 17 screening near the NASA Ames Research Center is any guide, “Asteroid Hunters” achieves its goal of underscoring the threat asteroids pose and the opportunity to deflect a dangerous one headed toward Earth.

Read more at: Spacenews

China Could Shift To Fully Reusable Super Heavy-Launcher In Wake Of Starship

China’s launch vehicle makers appear to be designing a fully reusable version of the Long March 9 super heavy-lift rocket needed for future megaprojects.

The emergence of plans for new reusable methane-liquid oxygen launch vehicles to be ready for 2035 suggests that China is looking to make significant changes to its space transportation plans.

China’s government last year signaled approval for the continued development of a super heavy-lift launcher, known as the Long March 9.

Read more at: Spacenews

Solstar Space To Provide NASA’s HALO Module With Wireless Access Points

Solstar Space (Solstar) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) have announced that Solstar will provide the Wireless Access Points that will be used on NASA’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module planned for launch in 2024.

Solstar is providing a mission critical component of the HALO module. Providing reliable connectivity for NASA’s crew and the devices used aboard HALO is essential to the safety and success of this first module of the Lunar Gateway.

Read more at: Satnews

The Unexpected Way We Might Prevent An Asteroid From Hitting Earth

One of the favorite themes of disaster movies is imagining the result of an asteroid (made from rocky materials and metals) or a comet (made from rocky materials, dust, and ice) on course for Earth and potentially wiping out life as is believed to have happened to the dinosaurs. It’s widely accepted that dinosaurs were made extinct when an asteroid about 6 to 9 miles wide collided with the Earth, leaving a massive crater about 93 miles wide and 12 miles deep. This event occurred at least 66 million years ago, which, thankfully for our existence, not only allowed humankind to propagate but also shows that these extinction-level events (ELEs) are not especially common.

Read more at: Slashgear

ESA Funds Skimsat Demonstrator Study for VLEO

The European Space Agency has awarded funds to develop a demonstrator for Skimsat, a small satellite platform designed to operate in very low Earth orbit (VLEO).

Europe’s Thales Alenia Space said July 19 it had secured 2.3 million euros ($2.4 million) in ESA funding to advance its design of a satellite capable of operating in orbit below 300 kilometers. 

Read more at: Spacenews

China Plans Asteroid Deflection Test In 2026: Reports

China knows which asteroid it will target to test planetary defense techniques in the 2020s. The China National Space Administration plans to work at potentially hazardous asteroid 2020 PN1 in a mission now due to launch in 2026, according to a Space News report (opens in new tab) Tuesday (July 12). Earlier this year, China appeared to be targeting 2025. Further details were revealed in a Chinese-language lecture (video (opens in new tab) in Chinese) by Long Lehao, chief designer of China’s Long March rocket series.

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Chinese Project Will Bounce Signals Off Asteroids To See How Dangerous They Are To Earth

A leading Chinese university has begun constructing an array of more than 20 large radar antennas to track asteroids that have the potential to be hazardous to Earth. The project, named China Fuyan (or “compound eye”), is led by the Beijing Institute of Technology. The array aims to bounce signals off asteroids within 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) of Earth (about as distant as the sun) to image and track objects and determine the possibility that they could impact our planet.

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Marine Management Organisation Opens Consultation On Virgin Orbit Satellite Launch Project

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is consulting on the determination of a marine licence application from Virgin Orbit, proposing to launch a satellite from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay.

Virgin Orbit proposes to conduct a maximum of one launch in 2022 and two launches per year over the next 8 years (January 2023 – December 2030).

As the material to be deposited will be loaded in the UK, the activity will require a marine licence from the MMO, as required by The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, to carry out a deposit into the sea.

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NASA Authorization Included In CHIPS Act

The Senate is moving forward with a revised version of a NASA authorization bill that formally authorizes the agency’s Artemis lunar exploration effort and extends operations of the International Space Station.

The Senate Commerce Committee released July 20 the text of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act, a bill primarily intended to support domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. The release came a day after the Senate voted 64–34 in favor of a procedural motion to advance the legislation.

Read more at: Spacenews

Senate NDAA Directs Independent Review How The Space Force Acquires Technologies

In its proposed 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate Armed Services Committee directs the Pentagon’s outside business advisors to review the acquisition process for space programs, and specifically whether the current approach is “agile enough for the rapid development of space acquisition systems to keep pace with today’s space industry.”

The SASC approved the bill June 16 and released the full text July 18 before sending it to the Senate floor.

Read more at: Spacenews

Op-Ed | Today’s Space Race As A Catalyst For Regulatory Reform

In February 2021, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson established a task force to address the excessive bureaucracy stifling scientific and technological innovation. At least, this appeared to be the crisis undermining the U.K.’s best startups and laboratories. The hot take of the day, fashionably brandished by our thought leaders: red tape. How astute.

Read more at: Spacenews


China Accuses U.S. Of Turning Outer Space Into ‘a Weapon and a Battlefield’

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has accused the U.S. of being “the main driver in turning outer space into a weapon and a battlefield.”

His comments came during one of the ministry’s regular press conferences which often include barbed responses to accusations against China or other developments.

In Tuesday’s session, Zhao was asked by Chinese state-run news agency China News Service about last month’s opening of the U.S. National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC) and whether it posed a risk to “humanity’s overall stability”.

Read more at: Newsweek

To Track China’s AI-Enabled Hypersonic Missiles, US Is Developing ‘Constellation Of Satellites’ That Can Predict Their Path

The US Space Development Agency (SDA) announced two new contracts for a constellation of missile tracking satellites to detect and track the Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles. The contracts were announced on July 18 and awarded to L3Harris and Northrop Grumman.

The two companies beat the competition from five other contractors for the contract to develop the SDA’s ‘Tranche 1 Tracking Layer’, consisting of 28 satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Read more at: eurasian times

Reaction Engines Begins Testing Breakthrough High-Mach Propulsion Under US DOD Contract

Reaction Engines today revealed the start of a new testing campaign to expand the performance envelope of their high-Mach enabling technology through the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) Program at the Department of Defense and supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The FCT Program is administered by the Directorate of Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities and is focused on the discovery, assessment, and testing of leading foreign technology with the potential to satisfy U.S. Defense technical demands.

Read more at: next big future

US Developing Satellite System To Track Hypersonic Weapons

The U.S. will spend $1.3 billion to develop advanced satellites that will be able to better track hypersonic missile threats, the Pentagon said Monday, announcing two new contracts that will put the detection and tracking systems in orbit by 2025.

Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency, said the contracts will provide 28 satellites, as the U.S. moves to greatly expand and enhance its ability to counter increasing threats from Russia and China.

Read more at: ABC news

60 Years Ago, A Military Pilot Made It To Space — And Set Off A Debate That Rages Today

Sixty years ago today, Robert Micheal White returned from space. But unlike most spacefarers, he didn’t get there in a spaceship. Instead, he took a state-of-the-art rocket plane up, making him the first American astronaut to have arrived in space without a traditional spaceship. And his flight on July 17, 1962, paved the way for space tourism and opened up an ongoing debate about where space begins.

Read more at: Inverse


SpaceX’s Rocket For NASA Astronauts Crashes Into Bridge

A SpaceX rocket that was on its way to the company’s facilities in Hawthorne California met an accident when its trailer truck tried to pass under a bridge with low ground clearance. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket is used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the agency’s crew and cargo missions to the International Space Station (ISS), and the rocket in question was intended to fly NASA astronauts to the orbiting space laboratory as part of the agency’s Crew-5 mission. NASA confirmed the accident in a blog post but refrained from providing any details, which then made their way on the social media platform Twitter.

Read more at: wccftech

‘Bright As A Firework Flash’: Hoosiers Report Fireball Sighting Early Friday

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

It’s actually not, and it’s not Superman. It’s a fireball.

A fireball passed over Central Indiana as well as several other states around 1:50 a.m. Friday, the American Meteor Society confirmed.

“The main thing that gives us an idea is the wide area that it was seen, plus the fact that it only lasted a few seconds,” Robert Lunsford, fireball report coordinator for AMS, told IndyStar.

Read more at: indystar

The Future Of Space Exploration Belongs To Robots And Billionaires

There was this awakening when Lord Martin Rees said that the space agencies in the world should remove plans to send astronauts to Mars and the moon and leave them to robots and billionaires who could privately risk and fund such adventures.

For onlookers, this sounds different. However, does the statement mean that the space exploration future belongs to robots and billionaires?

I don’t want to agree, but the recent happenings are gearing towards his line of the debate.

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Engineers On The Brink Of Extinction Threaten Entire Tech Ecosystems

Intel has produced some unbelievable graphs in its time: projected Itanium market share, next node power consumption, multicore performance boosts.

The graph the company showed at the latest VLSI Symposium, however, was a real shocker.

While computer science course take-up had gone up by over 90 percent in the past 50 years, electrical engineering (EE) had declined by the same amount. The electronics graduate has become rarer than an Intel-based smartphone.

Read more at: Register

53 Years of First Human on the Moon: Must Read Books About Space Travel

Read more at: Times of India

Will The Ukraine War Force ESA To Pass On Arianespace, Use SpaceX?

The European Space Agency had been on the verge of launching the billion-euro Euclid satellite, which is designed to address the most pressing unsolved questions in astronomy: What are the true natures of dark matter and energy? ESA had scheduled a March 2023 launch for Euclid from French Guiana—but it was on a Soyuz rocket. The war in Ukraine brought an end to Soyuz operations from Guiana and started a period of uncertainty for Euclid’s team.

Read more at: Arstechnica