SpaceX Demo-2 Flight Test Ends With Crew Splashdown

SpaceX ended its first crewed spaceflight—a two-month test run to the International Space Station (ISS)—on Aug. 2 with a successful parachute splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, flying as test pilots for the SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2 (Demo-2), landed in flat seas and 2 mph winds at 2:48 p.m. EDT, capping NASA’s six-year effort to restore U.S. human orbital flight capability after the space shuttles’ retirement in 2011.

Read more at: Aviation Week

NASA Is On An Epic Roll. But Can It Keep The Momentum Going?

After years in which NASA seemed like an afterthought in the national consciousness and was at the back of the line when the federal budget was allocated, the space agency appears to be on a roll.

It’s basking in the successful completion Sunday of the first crewed space mission launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade and the launch last week of a new rover to Mars. It’s already planning its next astronaut launch, perhaps as soon as next month.

The question now is: Can it maintain its mojo?

Read more at: Washington Post

SpaceX’s Starship SN5 Prototype Soars On 1st Test Flight! ‘Mars Is Looking Real,’ Elon Musk Says

SpaceX just flew a full-size prototype of its Starship Mars-colonizing spacecraft for the first time ever.The Starship SN5 test vehicle took to the skies for about 40 seconds this afternoon (Aug. 4) at SpaceX’s facilities near the South Texas village of Boca Chica, performing a small hop that could end up being a big step toward human exploration of the Red Planet.”Mars is looking real,” Musk tweeted shortly after today’s test flight.

SN5 prototype soars on 1st test flight! ‘Mars is looking real,’ Elon Musk says

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Space Weather Bill Clears Senate, Creates Pilot Program at NOAA

The Senate passed the PROSWIFT space weather bill on July 27, another step along what has been a long path for the legislation. It is a compromise with a version adopted by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in January that includes a provision calling for NOAA to create a commercial space weather data pilot program akin to its commercial weather data program. All that is needed now is passage by the House and a signature from the President, which would mark the end of a five-year effort.

Read more at: Spacepolicyonline

General Atomics To Design Space Force Weather Satellite Prototype

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems announced an agreement Aug. 4 to design a prototype for the U.S. Space Force Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System, known as EWS.

“EWS will demonstrate new technologies and lead to optimized future capabilities for effective weather prediction,” Nick Bucci, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Missile Defense and Space Systems vice president, said in a statement. “Combining [General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems’] proven expertise in satellite design and manufacturing will lead to production of a cost-effective future high-performance weather satellite constellation.”

Read more at: Spacenews

First Laser Detection Of Space Debris In Daylight

For some time, lasers could only be used to measure the distance to space debris during the few twilight hours in which the ‘laser ranging’ station on Earth is in darkness, but debris objects high above are still bathing in the last of the Sun’s rays.

In the same way that the Moon is brightest when it is glistening in sunlight while it is night on Earth, space debris is easier to spot when reflecting the Sun’s light as seen from a dark vantage point.

Because debris objects are so much closer to Earth, however, there is only a small window in which they are lit up but observers on Earth are not.

Read more at: ESA

Maps Of The Sun’s Corona Could Help Us Predict Dangerous Solar Storms

The outermost layer of the sun, called the corona, is extraordinarily difficult to study, but now researchers have made the first map of its magnetic field. This will help us predict solar flares that potentially threaten Earth.

The plasma – a hot, ionised state of matter – that makes up the corona is incredibly tenuous, which is why it isn’t visible with the naked eye except during a total solar eclipse. That tenuousness, along with the brightness of the disk of the sun, also makes it tough to measure.

Read more at: Newscientist


IN-SPACe Mandate Creates Flutter In Scientific Community

The decisions of the newly set-up Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the single-window nodal agency, on the launch dates of satellites and rockets and use of facilities of the Department of Space’s assets also by private players will be binding on all stakeholders including the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

The Department of Space published the roles and responsibilities of IN-SPACe, formed after the department decided to open up the assets for all with an aim to boost the private sector’s participation in the space activities in the country, on the Isro’s website.

Read more at: New Indian Express

Edinburgh-Based Skyrora Successfully Completes Shetland’s First Rocket Launch

Edinburgh-based rocket firm Skyrora launched the two metre Skylark Nano rocket – which reached an altitude of six kilometres – from Fethaland Peninsula on the mainland of Shetland.

Skyrora, which hopes to operate from one of the three proposed spaceports in Scotland, carried out the suborbital launch on Saturday (June 13).

Launching commercial rockets from Shetland in the future is a potential option.

Read more at: Edinburgh news

Momentus To Fly Hosted Payloads In 2021

In-space transportation startup Momentus announced plans Aug. 3 to begin flying hosted payloads for customers in 2021.

The Santa Clara, California, company plans to offer space for technology demonstrations, qualification missions and short-term demonstrations in its Vigoride transfer vehicle. The hosted payload experiments can be conducted in the Vigoride transfer vehicle after it finishes its primary job of moving customer payloads from the point in orbit where their rocket drops them off to their ultimate destination and prior to Vigoride re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at: Spacenews

Virgin Galactic Delays Spaceshiptwo Commercial Flights To 2021

Virgin Galactic has pushed the beginning of commercial flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle to no earlier than the first quarter of 2021 while announcing plans to sell additional stock to raise money.

The company, in its fiscal second quarter financial results released Aug. 3, said it expected to perform two more test flights of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico, both of which will be powered flights. The vehicle has made two glide flights since moving to the spaceport early this year.

Read more at: Spacenews

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