Launch Pad Fire Scrubs Japanese ISS Launch

The launch of a Japanese cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station was postponed Sept. 10 when a fire broke out on a launch platform several hours before the scheduled liftoff.

In a brief statement, launch vehicle manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) said the fire broke out on the platform carrying the H-2B rocket about three and a half hours before the 5:33 p.m. Eastern scheduled launch of the HTV-8 cargo spacecraft. The statement didn’t identify the cause of the fire or what damage it caused to the platform or the rocket.

Read more at: Spacenews

Studying Flames In Microgravity Is Helping Make Combustion On Earth Cleaner, And Space Safer

Understanding how fire spreads and behaves in space is crucial for the safety of future astronauts and for understanding and controlling fire here on Earth.

Microgravity is also crucial for combustion researchers to test some of the core principles of the field. “If you look at any textbook on combustion, almost all of the theories that are developed ignore the influence of gravity,” says NASA’s Glenn Research Center scientist Daniel Dietrich.

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Investigators Narrow Cause Of Vega Launch Failure To Second Stage

Engineers believe super-hot gas from burning solid propellant impinged on the structure of the second stage on a European Vega launcher during a failed flight in July, causing the vehicle to break apart minutes after liftoff from French Guiana with a reconnaissance satellite for the United Arab Emirates, the CEO of Italian rocket-maker Avio said Monday.

The investigation into the July 10 launch failure, co-chaired by the European Space Agency and Arianespace, settled on the “thermo-structural failure” on the forward dome of the Vega’s Zefiro 23 second stage motor as the most likely cause for the accident, which destroyed the Airbus-built Falcon Eye 1 satellite for the UAE military.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Chandrayaan-2: How A Somersault Did Vikram Lander In | India Today Exclusive

An inexplicable flip that turned the Chandrayaan-2 lander upside down moments before it was to land on the Moon may explain what happened last Saturday, when the Indian Space Research Organisation lost all contact with the Vikram lander.

Data and readings from the Vikram lander’s descent on to the lunar surface, gathered by the India Today Magazine, offer an exclusive glimpse into how the Chandrayaan-2 lander lost contact with Earth during its attempt to land on the Moon.

In the early hours of September 7, the Chandrayaan-2 lander began its descent on to the lunar surface. The descent was to last around 15 minutes and initially everything seemed to be going according to plan.

Read more at: India today

ISS Orbit Raised 1.05km For Soyuz MS-12 Spacecraft To Return To Earth

Specialists of Russia’s Mission Control carried out a maneuver to raise by 1.05 kilometers the medium altitude of the International Space Station (ISS), the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash) told TASS on Saturday.

“The orbit has been adjusted with the help of engines of the ISS Zvezda module. The engines started at the scheduled time and worked for 39.5 seconds,” said the institute, which is the leading research center of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

Read more at: TASS

China Returns Long March 4 To Service With Ziyuan Launch

China launched a new remote sensing satellite using a Long March 4B launch vehicle from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Thursday. Launch of the Ziyuan (ZY-1 02D) satellite took place around 03:26 UTC from the LC9 Launch Complex.

The launch returns the Long March 4 to flight after an issue with “structural resonance” between the third stage and the payload on a Long March 4C led to the loss of the Yaogan Weixing-33 mission on May 22.

Onboard were also the BNU-1 / Jingshi-1 satellite and the small Taurus-1 satellite.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Chinese Space Station Core Module Passes Review But Faces Delays

The first module for China’s planned space station has passed a final review, but the project continues to suffer launch vehicle-related delays. 

The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced Sept. 6 that the 20-metric-ton ‘Tianhe’ module design and prototype had passed final reviews Sept. 2. The flight model would be manufactured in the near future.

Tianhe (‘Harmony of the Heavens’) is the core module for the Chinese Space Station (CSS) and will control the station’s orbit and attitude and function as the main astronaut quarters. 

Read more at: Spacenews

A New Journey into Earth for Space Exploration

Six astronauts, five space agencies and a fresh start into underground worlds to help prepare for living on other planets. ESA’s latest training adventure will equip an international crew with skills to explore uncharted terrains on the Moon and Mars, this time with a focus on the search for water.

The CAVES training course takes astronauts to the depths of Earth to improve their communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills.   

After a week of preparations above and underground, the ‘cavenauts’ are set to explore a cave in Slovenia where they will live and work for six days.

Read more at: ESA

This Is What Happens When Two Satellites Collide In Space

More than 1,300 active human-made satellites are flying in low orbit right now. They ceaselessly glide, boosting up and down to avoid bits of space junk and occasionally each other in a robotic ballet hundreds of miles above their human controllers.

In a few years, there could be ten times as many artificial satellites in low-Earth orbit alone (the band of space where the International Space Station resides) thanks to private companies that have proposed launching spacecraft to deliver services such as beaming the internet down from space.

Read more at: Vice

EU Agency Starts Space Sustainability Initiative

The European Union’s equivalent of a foreign ministry is starting a new effort to promote the need for sustainable space operations, but that effort will not initially include any new regulation of European satellite operators.

Carine Claeys, special envoy for space and head of the Space Task Force for the European External Action Service, said in a Sept. 13 panel discussion at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week that the Safety, Security and Sustainability of Outer Space (3SOS) public diplomacy initiative will promote “ethical conduct” in space amid concerns about orbital debris.

Read more at: Spacenews

Roscosmos to Build Cheap Soyuz-2M Rocket for Commercial Satellites Launch Service

Russian state space corporation Roscosmos is working on a cheaper version of the Soyuz rocket to cut launch costs for commercial satellites, Russian space travel operator Glavkosmos (GK) Launch Services CEO Alexander Serkin said.

Speaking at the World Satellite Business Week in Paris, Serkin noted that the GK Launch Services, in partnership with Roscosmos, is working on ways to reduce the Soyuz rockets’ costs, as reported by the media outlet.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Boeing On Starliner Orbital Flight Test: ‘We Really Are Close’

On Tuesday, Vice President and program manager of the Boeing Commercial Crew program, John Mullholland spoke at a luncheon for aerospace professionals in Cape Canaveral. Many attendees were hoping he’d reveal the date of the upcoming orbital flight test of Starliner but instead he assured them “we really are close.” Boeing last stated the test flight would be in October. 

He said they are in the final stages of preparation and testing and “almost across the finish line” to transport the spacecraft to ULA for stacking.

Read more at: Florida today

The Commercialization of Low Earth Orbit Space Station Habitats – Part 2

Today we present the second part of our podcast series titled what is the real world Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space station habitat marketplace?

My guest, as in the first episode last week of the SpaceQ podcast, is Adrian Mangiuca, the Commerce Director at NanoRacks. NanoRacks describes themselves as both the largest commercial user and private investor on the International Space Station with customers from over 30 nations.

Read more at: SpaceQ

Blue Origin Continuing Work On New Glenn Launch Complex, Support Facilities

Work on Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch complex – LC-36 – is well underway. Recent aerial imagery of Cape Canaveral from NOAA shows how far Blue has come on the launch complex. Meanwhile, the company is also working on an engine factory in Alabama, and a first stage refurbishment facility near Kennedy Space Center.

LC-36 was originally constructed to launch the Atlas-Centaur – with its revolutionary liquid hydrogen-powered upper stage. The complex hosted its first launch on May 18, 1962. Due to the Atlas-Centaur’s increasing flight rate – and low reliability early on – a second pad – LC-36B – was built near the existing LC-36A.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

Spaceport Charm Offensive

Cornwall Council has launched a charm offensive in support of Spaceport Cornwall ahead of asking councillors to approve £12million for the project.The council’s leading Cabinet will be asked next week to approve providing capital and revenue funding for the project for a horizontal launch site from Newquay Airport.

Read more at: Cornishstuff

Solving The Commercial Passenger Spaceflight Puzzle (Part 1)

In 1968, a year prior to the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, as a teenager I traveled to New York City for the first time. Growing up in a middle-class suburb in middle America, this was a remarkable experience—almost an alien encounter given the tremendous lifestyle differences between NYC and my quiet suburban city.

By coincidence, the now classic science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was opening that week. Billboards harking the opening were everywhere. Along with a group of other teenagers on this trip, I made a point of seeing the movie. Stanley Kubrick, with the help of many aerospace engineers, had created a detailed, technically accurate depiction of what humanity’s spacefaring near-future could be.

Read more at: Spacereview

Solving The Commercial Passenger Spaceflight Puzzle (Part 2)

In 1968, the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey forecast routine and frequent commercial passenger spaceflight to, from, and within space within three decades. Most in the aerospace community likely saw this as a reasonable forecast given the rapid advancement of human spaceflight capabilities in only a decade. Yet, five decades later, such commercial passenger spaceflight remains a puzzling, elusive goal.

Read more at: Spacereview

New Salt-Based Propellant Proven Compatible In Dual-Mode Rocket Engines

For dual-mode rocket engines to be successful, a propellant must function in both combustion and electric propulsion systems. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used a salt-based propellant that had already been proven successful in combustion engines, and demonstrated its compatibility with electrospray thrusters.

“We need a propellant that will work in both modes,” said Joshua Rovey, associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering in The Grainger College of Engineering at the U of I.

Read more at: Eurekalert

Europe’s ArianeWorks Aims for Reusable Rockets (with a Very SpaceX Look)

Europe’s rocket-launching industry is gearing up to go reusable.The European launch provider Arianespace — best known as the manufacturer of the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the future Ariane 6 — has a plan to make its future rockets more competitive in a tight launch industry. As you might guess from looking at the U.S. company SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, reusability is what Arianespace wants to do as well.

Read more at:

Bigelow’s Next-Generation Inflatable Space Habitat Is Shooting For The Moon

Standing on a metal platform labeled “Does not exist” in the middle of an inflatable bouncy house designed for space, I had one question: where’s the bathroom? The mockup of Bigelow Aerospace’s flagship space habitat module, the B330, was packed with features, but I wanted to know more about how future astronaut visitors to this proposed space station would deal with the grosser parts of being human.

Bigelow officials were very pleased to point out that the B330 has not one, but two toilets. “The fact that there is two is very unusual because usually there’s only one,” Colm Kelleher, the deputy program manager for the B330’s life support systems, said.

Read more at: Verge

NASA Puts Bigelow Aerospace’s Giant Inflatable Space Habitat Prototype to the Test (Photos)

NASA is kicking the tires on one of its prospective astronaut abodes.

The space agency is currently conducting a two-week ground test on Bigelow Aerospace’s B330 habitat here at the company’s headquarters. Eight NASA astronauts have participated in the trial so far, and four were on the scene Thursday (Sept. 12) to assess various aspects of the big, expandable module.

Read more at:

First Earth Observation Satellite with AI Ready for Launch

A few months from now will see the launch of the first European satellite to demonstrate how onboard artificial intelligence can improve the efficiency of sending Earth observation data back to Earth. Dubbed ɸ-Sat, or PhiSat, this revolutionary artificial intelligence technology will fly on one of the two CubeSats that make up the FSSCat mission – a Copernicus Masters winning idea.

As the overall 2017 Copernicus Masters winner, FSSCat, was proposed by Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and developed by a consortium of European companies and institutes.

Read more at: ESA

Food Scientists Create Innovative Model for NASA To Predict Vitamin Levels in Spaceflight Food

A team of food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has developed a groundbreaking, user-friendly mathematical model for NASA to help ensure that astronauts’ food remains rich in nutrients during extended missions in space.

The new research, published in the journal Food Chemistry, gives NASA a time-saving shortcut to predict the degradation of vitamins in spaceflight food over time and more accurately and efficiently schedule resupplying trips. The investigation was funded with a $982,685 grant from NASA.

Read more at: UMass

Thales Alenia Space Hedges Bet On Serially Built, Reprogrammable Small Geos

Thales Alenia Space is shedding around 6% of its workforce while rolling out a new line of reprogrammable satellites it says will benefit from an Iridium Next-style production.

Some 500 employees out of 8,000 total will be leaving the Franco-Italian satellite builder, many through transfers to other parts of its majority shareholder Thales Group, Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, said Sept. 10. 

Read more at: Spacenews

Astronaut-Doctor Serena Auñón-Chancellor Explains How Medical Research on Space Station Helps Patients on Earth

When it comes to making house calls, Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor is out of this world. A medical doctor-turned-astronaut, Auñón-Chancellor spent 197 days in space on board the International Space Station (ISS) last year, performing research on various scientific experiments.

The ISS is and has been home to a large array of experiments made in its unique microgravity environment. But these experiments are not just about moving explorers farther away from Earth. Much of the research centers on improving life on our home planet.

Read more at:

Backing NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program Could Help Democrats Win Back The White House

It has now been nearly half a century—47 years, to be exact—since Americans last walked on the Moon. The Trump Administration wants to return there, and this year it accelerated the timetable for a manned lunar landing from 2028 to 2024. A big increase in funding will be required to meet the earlier deadline.

Human spaceflight, as the astronaut program is now called, is in danger of becoming a partisan issue. President Obama canceled the Bush Administration’s effort to revitalize the human spaceflight program and delayed planned astronaut missions beyond low-earth orbit.

Read more at: Forbes

Space Insurance Rates Increasing As Insurers Review Their Place In The Market

A space insurance executive confirmed Sept. 11 that a spate of recent claims is increasing rates and leading some insurers to reconsider their place in the market.

In a presentation at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week here, Dominique Rora, senior space underwriter at AXA XL, said the underlying problem was not the claims themselves but rather declining premiums that cased back-to-back losses for the industry in 2018 and 2019.

“In recent months there have been a number of claims, and the amount is quite high. It is high, but not out of the norm,” he said. “What has been of particular importance over the past few years is the decreasing trend in premium.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Getting Back To The Moon Requires Speed And Simplicity

As we celebrate 50 years since Apollo, we should learn from its lessons.

Apollo required three developments — the Saturn V rocket, Apollo capsule, and Lunar lander — launched on a single rocket. Those NASA pioneers were driven by urgency to achieve a lunar landing with simplicity in the number of developments (three), launches (one), and mission critical operations (seven).

Read more at: Hill

The Risks and Rewards of Growing US-China Space Rivalry

Five decades after the Apollo 11 moon landing gave the U.S. victory over the Soviet Union in the space race, a new struggle for extraterrestrial supremacy is gaining momentum. This time, the challenger is China, reigniting fears about the potential militarization of space. But this off-planet rivalry also promises a commercial and technological boom with potentially huge benefits for humanity. Expansion to the stars — no matter by which country — should be welcomed, facilitated, and funded by the U.S. and other governments.

Read more at: Diplomat

Kavandi, Morrow Retirements Mean More Change at NASA

Two of NASA’s field centers will be getting new Center Directors in the next few months.  Janet Kavandi, Director of Glenn Research Center, and George Morrow, Acting Director of Goddard Space Flight Center, have announced their retirements.  Coupled with other resignations, by the end of this year at least half of the leaders of NASA’s 10 nation-wide centers will be new to the job since Jim Bridenstine became Administrator.

NASA has nine civil service field centers and one Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) located around the country in addition to its Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Putin Rebukes Officials Over Space Delays

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave a dressing down to space officials on a visit to Russia’s long-delayed and corruption-tainted cosmodrome in the Far East.

The Vostochny cosmodrome was originally supposed to be running manned launches from last year but the grand project has been consistently behind schedule.

Read more at:

The United States Should Follow France’s Lead In Space

Sometimes, even when you’re No. 1, it pays to follow another’s lead. A case in point is the French Government’s recent announcement to develop bodyguard spacecraft to protect its satellites against Russian and Chinese robotic spacecraft capable of rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO). These spacecraft can repair and refuel satellites and remove space debris but also can operate in an offensive mode to disable satellites. France may not be the world’s largest space power but they are on to something here. Washington would be wise to work with Paris to turn France’s satellite protection plan into a NATO initiative at the NATO summit this December.

Read more at: Spacenews

The Growing Pains Of The Pentagon’s New Space Acquisition Arm

The Trump administration’s plans to overhaul military space operations is well underway with a new warfighting headquarters in the U.S. Space Command and bipartisan support in Congress for establishing a dedicated Space Force within the Air Force.

But the parallel plan for a Space Development Agency, the small organization intended to help quickly introduce emerging space technologies, is at risk of being aborted before liftoff.

Read more at: Politico

Schriever Wargame Concludes

The thirteenth in a series of Air Force Space Command Wargames concluded here today. Set in the year 2029, Schriever Wargame 2019 explored critical space and cyberspace issues in depth.

This particular iteration of the wargame was centered on the following objectives: (1) Inform people, processes, and technologies to advance USSPACECOM’s joint/combined operational missions, 2) Explore opportunities and challenges of national, commercial, and coalition architectures to synchronize effects that protect and defend the space enterprise, 3) Examine unity of command/effort to seamlessly integrate space operations and authorities across multiple classification and organizational levels, 4) Advance shared understanding of responsible behaviors in the space domain and impacts on national and coalition decision-making, and (5) Investigate whole-of-government(s) and coalition options to control escalation across all domains.

Read more at: afspc

Barrett Endorses Space Force as Senate Appropriators Approve Funding

Not surprisingly, President Trump’s nominee to be the next Secretary of the Air Force strongly supported efforts to create a Space Force as part of the Air Force at her confirmation hearing today. Barbara Barrett called it a “key imperative” and vowed to make it an agency focused on capability in space, not bureaucracy. At the same time, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2020 defense appropriations bill, providing the requested funding for the Space Force.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Is The Senate Ready To Protect American Interests In Space?

Will America get the sixth branch of the military it deserves? The decision now rests with just four senators: Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The stakes are huge both for American national security and the economic destiny of key U.S. states.

Space Force is not a partisan issue. The idea, first suggested by the 2001 Rumsfeld Commission, emerged from a bipartisan House in 2017 in response to significant threats to our infrastructure and an ossified and federated bureaucracy incapable of reacting to emerging threats from China and Russia. America has already lost two years due to political litigation in Congress and Pentagon resistance.

Read more at: Hill

Putin Has Warned Of An Arms Race In Space – And We Should All Be Worried

Last week Vladimir Putin suggested that a new arms race might be developing between Russia and the United States – one that could spread into outer space.

Putin’s comments, made at the Eastern Economic Forum, are just the latest indication that we are entering a new phase in the global space race. The launch of Donald Trump’s US Space Command followed a campaign promise in 2018, but the French declaration that it will develop anti-satellite laser weapons took the international space community by complete surprise, marking a notable change in policy.

Read more at: Independent

Project Oberon: UK Eyes Cluster Of Military Radar Satellites

The UK government is pushing ahead with its plans for a cluster of military radar satellites, placing a design study with Airbus.

Project Oberon, as it’s known, has been in discussion for a while.

It envisages a network of small spacecraft capable of seeing the Earth’s surface in all weathers and at night, and at very high resolution. The satellites would also have sensors to locate the use of radio transmissions.

Read more at: BBC

Declassify Space Threats, US Capabilities For Stronger Deterrence: AFCENT

Deterring adversaries in space, and just as critically, enabling seamless integration with allies will require US policy makers and military leaders to make “tough decisions” about what can be made public about US and adversary capabilities, says the three-star head of Air Force Central Command (AFCENT).

“That involves where some stuff that is behind the green door is going to have to come out, and those are some tough decisions that senior leaders are going to have to make — because the risks of not doing it may outweigh the technical concerns of doing it,” Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella told the Mitchell Institute Sept. 6.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Amid Questions About Leadership, NASA Is “Close” To Making A Key Hire

Nearly two months have now passed since NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine essentially fired Bill Gerstenmaier, the agency’s chief of human spaceflight. Since then, Bridenstine has been winnowing a field of potential candidates for this critical position at NASA—a position which has oversight of all human spaceflight activities, including the space station, commercial crew, and Artemis lunar programs.

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel on Friday urged Bridenstine to move quickly on finding a qualified replacement for the highly respected Gerstenmaier.

Read more at: Arstechnica


11th IAASS conference