Watchdog Launches Probe Of How FAA De-Conflicts Space And Regular Flights

The Transportation Department’s inspector general says it is reviewing how officials prevent everyday flights and commercial space flights from sharing the same airspace and potentially colliding. The review of the department’s Federal Aviation Administration comes as space flights have exploded in frequency since 2016, and shortly after the agency grounded a prominent commercial spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, until an investigation into founder Richard Branson’s flight is complete. During that July flight, the company’s SpaceShipTwo supersonic spaceplane flew outside of its designated FAA airspace for nearly two minutes.

Read more at: CNN

Passengers On First All-Civilian Spacex Flight Share Incredible Video Of Earth From Afar Featuring ‘Alien’ Cameo

Passengers aboard the world’s first all-civilian space flight have posted spectacular footage of the Earth from their trip. SpaceX’s Inspiration4 touched back down to Earth safely last week after a three-day mission in space. More onboard images from the all-civilian crew of Inspiration4 have begun to grace social media and the results are spectacular.

The crew included mission commander Jared Isaacman, who financed Insipiration4’s trip, Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant, aerospace data engineer and Air Force veteran Christopher Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist.

Read more at: indy100

Tianzhou 3 Cargo Spacecraft Launches From S China’s Hainan Island

A Long March 7 rocket carrying Tianzhou 3 blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan at 3:10 pm on Monday.

Atop the 53-meter rocket, the craft entered a low Earth orbit, unfolded its solar panels at 3:22 pm and began to execute rapid autonomous rendezvous and docking procedures with China’s Tiangong space station, the China Manned Space Agency said in a statement.

Read more at: Chinadaily

NASA Shows Off New Images And Video Of The Space Launch System – The ‘Most Powerful Rocket’ Its Ever Built And The One That Will Take Artemis 1 To The Moon

NASA has unveiled new images and video of the ‘most powerful rocket’ the U.S. space agency has ever built, the Space Launch System (SLS), intended to have its first launch later this year.

Contractors working on the SLS completed the Umbilical Release and Retract Test (URRT) on September 19 in preparation for the Artemis I mission, scheduled for November. 

The umbilicals – which connect the rocket to ground support equipment before launch – provide power, communications, coolant, and fuel to the rocket and Orion prior to ignition and liftoff.

Read more at: Dailymail


Discovery About Meteorites Informs Atmospheric Entry Threat Assessment

Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign watched fragments of two meteors as they ramped up the heat from room temperature to the temperature it reaches as it enters Earth’s atmosphere and made a significant discovery. The vaporized iron sulfide leaves behind voids, making the material more porous. This information will help when predicting the weight of a meteor, its likelihood to break apart, and the subsequent damage assessment if it should land.

“We extracted samples from the interiors that had not already been exposed to the high heat of the entry environment,” said Francesco Panerai, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at UIUC. “We wanted to understand how the microstructure of a meteorite changes as it travels through the atmosphere.”

Read more at: Spacedaily

Congress, Industry Chivvy Space Force On Commercial SSA

Despite the long-standing efforts by DoD to improve the military’s aging space tracking system’s accuracy and timing by incorporating commercial data and services, both defense lawmakers and industry are getting impatient with the lack of progress.

“Congress is getting lobbied hard by the commercial SSA companies and in turn keeps asking the DoD for a strategy, and they’re not getting much back,” one source following the issue said. “So over the last few years they’ve been adding more and more of a ‘mandate’ for the DoD to have a strategy for using commercial SSA data. And it’s probably also related to the broader push for the DOD to use commercial services across remote sensing, weather, communications, etc.”

Read more at: Breaking defense

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Wants To Clean Up Space Junk With New Company

Apple’s co-founder plans to bring disruption to a new industry: the long-standing effort to clean up dangerous space junk.

Steve Wozniak said he plans to make a private space company “unlike the others” in a cryptic tweet Sunday (Sept. 12). The tweet included a link teasing his planned company, called Privateer Space.

The company is in stealth mode and we thus know little about its business model, potential customers and potential sources of revenue. Wozniak, who played a key role in developing the Apple I and many early-stage company products, has a reported net worth of $100 million. As such, it’s likely he will be a heavy early investor in the business.

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It’s Time to Develop a Global Space Traffic Management System, White House Adviser Says 

Earth’s orbits are becoming increasingly crowded with government and commercial satellites and other technology-driving elements, plus heaps of problematic space debris.

This poses many complex challenges, but to the National Security Council’s Director for Space Policy Audrey Schaffer, it also presents a meaningful chance for the United States to help chart a path towards a global space traffic management system before it’s too late.

“When you look at the changes in the number of space objects that are anticipated to be on orbit in the next 10 years, it is an exponential shift,” she explained Tuesday during the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Maryland.

Read more at: nextgov

Revolutionary Tech Could Allow Near-Real Time Space Tracking, MITRE Says

The Space Force is testing out new software that could not only improve the accuracy of its current system for tracking satellites and dangerous junk in space, but also enable actual tracking in near-real time that would allow the service to keep better tabs on adversary spacecraft seeking to hide from prying eyes.

The software package was developed by The MITRE Corporation, a non-profit federally funded research and development center, and was turned over to Space Systems Command (SSC) in July for operational prototyping after two years of internal MITRE development and testing, said MITRE senior systems analyst Bob Carden.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Satellite Operators Need More Accurate SSA Data

Space situational awareness data used by satellite operators isn’t accurate enough to support the decisions they need to make on whether and how to maneuver their spacecraft to avoid potential collisions.

In a paper presented at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, Conference here Sept. 15, officials with the COMSPOC Corporation, which specializes in commercial space situational awareness (SSA), looked at the various approaches satellite operators used to determine if they need to make a collision avoidance maneuver and compared it to the accuracy of the data they use to base “go/no-go” decisions for those maneuvers.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Force Calls For ‘Trash Trucks’ For All The Orbiting Junk

There is a need for industry capabilities to clean up burgeoning amounts of space junk, and at the same time an urgency to getting a civil authority for managing orbital traffic up and running, according to Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, vice commander of Space Force Space Operations Command.

“We need to pick up debris — we need trash trucks. We need things to go make debris go away,” she told the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference here on Wednesday. “That’s definitely a need, and I think there is a use case for industry to get after that as a service-based opportunity.”

Read more at: Breaking defense


The Billionaire Space Race: Analyzing the Prospects of a Corporate Outer Space

SpaceX’s September 15th civilian voyage into orbit marked the latest in a series of corporate entities seeking to make their mark on the final frontier. Along with other tech giants such as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, SpaceX has been a part of the so-called billionaire space race, a rivalry amongst wealthy entrepreneurs who have recently entered the space industry. The race marks a major change from the early era of space travel and innovation which, these days, is increasingly centred in the private sector rather than considered the purview of the government. While this may have some economic benefits, whether it is an overall positive change remains to be seen, given the many potential pitfalls of an increasingly privatized space sector.

Read more at: mjps

South China City Strives For New Engine Of Commercial Aerospace Industry

The city of Wenchang in south China’s island province of Hainan, known for its spacecraft launch center, is endeavoring to turn itself into a new engine of China’s commercial aerospace.

The small city boasts the only coastal launch center in China, namely the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, which is also the fourth launch center of the country, following three others in Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan.

Since its maiden rocket launch in 2016, the Wenchang launch center has handled a number of launch missions, including the launches of the Long March-7 and Long March-5 rockets. It also witnessed the launch of China’s first Mars mission “Tianwen-1” and Chang’e-5 probe.

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ABL Space Systems To Launch NASA Technology Demonstration Mission

Small launch vehicle developer ABL Space Systems has won a contract to launch a NASA technology demonstration spacecraft in 2023.

ABL Space Systems said Sept. 16 it will launch the NASA Cryogenic Demonstration Mission spacecraft on its RS1 rocket in 2023. NASA selected a team led by Lockheed Martin in 2020 to develop the smallsat mission, which will test cryogenic fluid management technologies in orbit using liquid hydrogen, under a $89.7 million contract.

Read more at: Spacenews

A Spacecraft So Simple Anyone Can Fly It

Welcome to Quartz’s newsletter on the economic possibilities of the extraterrestrial sphere. Please forward widely, and let me know what you think. This week: Orbital tourism is back, Spire needs a bigger boat (tracking network), and Wozniak’s worries about space trash. Go beyond the astronaut experience and the philanthropy, and what does SpaceX’s ability to hurl four private citizens into space really add up to?

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The FAA Releases Initial Report On Boca Chica Launches, And It’s Not Terrible

The Federal Aviation Administration released a draft environmental review of SpaceX’s plans for orbital launches from South Texas on Friday, kicking off a 30-day public comment period.

The long-awaited procedural step is the first of several regulatory hurdles that SpaceX must clear before obtaining final permission to launch its Super Heavy booster and Starship upper stage from a site near Boca Chica, Texas. Such a launch likely remains months away, but it now appears that the feds will ultimately greenlight South Texas for orbital launches. That seemed far from assured before today.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Pvt Space Activity Gains Pace, 2 Firms Ink Key Pacts With Isro, 3rd Opens New Lab, 4th Readies For Launch

In enactment with the government’s ambitions of encouraging backstage enterprises successful the abstraction sector, manufacture enactment is gaining gait with 2 cardinal memoranda of understanding, 1 laboratory opening successful conscionable 1 week, portion different steadfast is readying to motorboat its archetypal satellite. Two abstraction startups, Skyroot and Agnikul — some gathering rockets/launch vehicles — person signed important agreements with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) that volition let them to summation entree to the abstraction agency’s facilities and expertise towards improvement and investigating of systems, portion Bellatrix Aerospace opened a caller lab. All 3 developments happened betwixt September 11 and 17.

Read more at: Times of India

Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport Announces Launch Partner

Prestwick Spaceport has secured a launch partner for its spaceport development in a landmark deal that will boost Scotland’s space industry ambitions and create an important strategic asset for the UK.

The spaceport, represented by Glasgow Prestwick Airport and South Ayrs0hire Council, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Astraius, the leading UK based, commercially operated horizontal ‘air launch’ company. The organisations will collaborate closely alongside other key project partners, including Scottish and UK governments, to prepare for the orbital launch of small satellites from 2023.

Read more at: Spacedaily

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