Senate Appropriators Urge DOT To Reconsider Draft Commercial Space Launch Rule

The Senate Appropriations Committee is urging the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reconsider its draft rules to modernize commercial space launch regulations. The committee’s report on the Transportation-HUD (THUD) bill, released today, echoes criticism from the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) that the draft fails to create an improved regulatory environment for the industry.  The committee also provided more funding than requested for the FAA’s space office, but less for commercial space integration into the National Airspace System (NAS).

President Trump’s Space Policy Directive-2 instructed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to modernize its regulations for the commercial space launch and reentry business. DOT is the parent of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) facilitates, regulates and promotes the commercial space launch industry.

Read more at: Spacepolicyonline

Spacex Highlights Crew Dragon Superdraco Thrusters As Explosion Investigation Nears End

SpaceX has published a highlight reel touting “over 700 tests” of Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco abort thrusters at the same time as the company is about to close a failure investigation into a Dragon capsule’s April explosion, pinned primarily on abort-related hardware.

According to a September 6th meeting of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), SpaceX has nearly completed the ‘fault tree’ of Crew Dragon’s explosion, a term used to describe the process of analyzing telemetry and ruling out all possible failure modes.

Read more at: Teslarati

SpaceX Anomaly: ‘No Further Action’ Needed On Crew Dragon Explosion Cleanup

Florida environmental officials agree with a consultant that concluded “no further action” is needed to clean up after SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule explosion, which on April 20 sent toxic fumes that could be seen for miles.

The test failure, which released some 3,000 pounds of nitrogen tetroxide, cast a shadow of uncertainty over Elon Musk’s $1 billion project to get humans back to orbit, launching from American soil. The last time that happened was July 2011, when space shuttle Atlantis made its swan song mission. Since then, NASA has been buying seats on Russian-made Soyuz rockets to get astronauts to the International Space Station.

Read more at: Floridatoday

Russia Says It Will Keep Source of Hole (and Air Leak) on Soyuz Secret— But NASA Wants to Know: Report

Amid reports that the Russians will keep the cause of an air leak discovered at the International Space Station in 2018 secret, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has promised to speak personally with the head of the Russian space agency.”They have not told me anything,” Bridenstine said during a Houston energy conference question session Thursday (Sept. 19), according to the Houston Chronicle. But he emphasized that he wants to keep good relations with the Russians, one of the two chief partners on the orbiting complex.

Read more at:

ESA Turns To NASA To Assist In Crucial Exomars Parachute Tests

The European Space Agency has sought assistance from NASA in a bid to qualify problematic parachutes that threaten the launch of the ExoMars 2020 mission.

ESA is preparing two new high-altitude tests of the supersonic and subsonic main chutes for the entry, descent and landing phase of the ExoMars mission, following failures in August and May.

The new tests, to be held in December and February, will test the 15-meter-diamater supersonic and 35-meter-wide subsonic parachutes needed to slow the descent of the ExoMars lander.

Read more at: Spacenews

Northrop Grumman Concludes Investigation Into Omega Rocket’s Test Fire Anomaly

Northrop Grumman’s investigation into what caused an Omega solid rocket booster’s nozzle to break apart during a May test in Utah has concluded, the company told FLORIDA TODAY on Wednesday.

“The nozzle exit cone break up that occurred at motor shut down was caused by a ground test phenomenon that would not have occurred in flight,” the company said in a statement. “We have worked closely with the Air Force to study the issue and we are confident the Omega rocket will perform in flight as expected.”

Read more at: Floridatoday

Mission Gaganyaan Next Priority, No Link With Vikram Lander: ISRO Chief

Mission Gaganyaan is our next priority, said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Sivan on Saturday adding that Chandrayaan-2 has achieved 98 per cent of its objectives.

“There are 8 instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do. Regarding the lander, we have not been able to establish communication with it. Our next priority is Gaganyaan mission,” he said in Bhubaneswar, reports ANI.

Read more at: Hindustan times

India Will Send Man To Space By Dec 2021: ISRO Chief K. Sivan

ISRO chairman K. Sivan, on Saturday, said the country is moving ahead to meet its target of sending man to space by December 2021.

He asserted that though ISRO’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s ‘Vikram’ module on the lunar surface did not go as per script, it will have no bearing with on the ‘Gaganyaan’ mission.

Stating Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter will give data for seven and half years, he said all technologies of the moon mission have proved accurate except for the soft landing. “Is it not a success ?” he asked.

Read more at: Week

Launch Of South Korean Lunar Orbiter Delayed To 2022

The launch of South Korea’s first moon orbiter has been delayed from December 2020 until July 2022 after the mission encountered technical issues during development, officials recently announced.

The design of the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, or KPLO, has grown beyond its original launch weight, and engineers need more time to complete the detailed design of the spacecraft, South Korea’s space agency announced Sept. 10.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Some NASA Contractors Appear To Be Trying To Kill The Lunar Gateway

During a hearing of the House space subcommittee on Wednesday, the outlines of a battle over the future of NASA’s Artemis Moon program emerged. Yet it was not a partisan fight over whether the Republican White House plan to land humans on the Moon by 2024 should or shouldn’t happen. Instead, some members of both political parties questioned how the space agency planned to conduct the Artemis program.

These members, including Oklahoma Democratic representative and committee chair Kendra Horn, as well as Alabama Republican representative Mo Brooks, were particularly skeptical of private rockets in their comments and questions during the hearing.

Read more at: Arstechnica

ESA Expertise Aids UAE Spaceflight

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first ever astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri, is set to fly to the International Space Station, where he will be supported on the ground by ESA-trained operations personnel at a newly-established control centre in Dubai, UAE.

Hazza will be launched alongside NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 25 September.

Read more at: ESA

Problems With Nauka Module Propellant Tanks Fixed — Sources

Orginial propellant tanks will be installed on Russia’s multifunctional laboratory module Nauka (Science), which is expected to be launched to the International Space Station in 2020, two rocket and space industry sources told TASS on Thursday.

According to the sources, there will be no need to refit Nauka with tanks from the Fregat booster, as was earlier announced by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.

“Original tansks will be used. They had successfully undergone all trials, all problems with them have been fixed. We are now receiving relevant documents,” one of the sources told TASS.

Read more at: TASS

End Space Chaos, Urges Safety Chief After Satellite Near-Miss

On one side of the Earth was a £400 million European research satellite called Aeolus, hurtling through the sky at 17,000mph. On the other side was a newly arrived SpaceX internet satellite, hurtling on a collision course in the other direction.

One of them had to move and it had to be fast. But when the European Space Agency (ESA) got in touch, it found that Elon Musk’s SpaceX controllers were not responding.

Holger Krag, head of space safety at the ESA, said that that at least clarified the appropriate response — as well as his belief that our skies are too chaotic.

Read more at: Times

No Space Crash: Dead Russian Satellite Just Missed an Old Habitat Prototype in Orbit

It could have been bad.

There was a 5.6% chance that two big pieces of space debris — Bigelow Aerospace’s Genesis II experimental habitat and Russia’s defunct Cosmos 1300 satellite — would collide high above Earth early this morning (Sept. 18). That warning came yesterday (Sept. 17) via Twitter from Bigelow Aerospace representatives, who cited analyses by the U.S. Air Force.

One-in-twenty odds are actually quite high in the satellite world. For perspective: Earlier this month, the European Space Agency (ESA) moved its Aeolus satellite after learning there was a 1-in-1,000 chance of a smashup with one of SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites. Indeed, the standard industry threshold for performing a collision-avoidance maneuver is a 1-in-10,000 probability.

Read more at:

Incentives And Requirements May Be Needed To Enhance Space Sustainability

With satellite operators doing a poor job complying with guidelines to deorbit their satellites, incentives or even regulation may be inevitable to address concerns about orbital debris and satellite collisions.

During a Sept. 19 presentation at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference here, Francesca Letizia, an engineer at the Space Debris Office of the European Space Agency, presented discouraging findings from the agency’s latest Space Environment Report, published in July.

Read more at: Spacenews

New Space Industry Coalition Seeks To Play Traffic Cop

A new coalition of space companies is advocating for updated international norms for operating in orbit in order to ensure space remains safe and accessible for future generations as congestion steadily grows with new satellites and spacecraft.

The Space Safety Coalition was established this week to fill what is seen as a critical void in the international approach to governing the usage of space: the leadership of space-faring companies themselves.

Read more at: Politico

Lunar Soil Is a Dangerous Nuisance for Astronauts

Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the moon 50 years ago, and his footprints in lunar soil will be there for million of years, according to NASA. There is no wind to blow the footprints away. When they returned to Earth, astronauts from the Apollo missions said that moon dust was sticky, abrasive and stinky.

The next astronauts who walk on the moon will have to contend with plenty of obstacles: the perils of space travel, exposure to high levels of radiation, and a lack of air, gravity, food and water. But dust is surprisingly high on the list of problems that need to be addressed for a successful visit to the moon.

Read more at: NorthropGrumman

A “Sneaky” Asteroid Narrowly Missed Earth This Summer. Internal Emails Show How NASA Scientists Totally Missed It.

In late July, a record-setting asteroid hurtled just 40,400 miles over Earth, the largest space rock to come so close in a century. But perhaps more alarming than the flyby itself is how much it caught NASA by surprise, according to internal agency documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Spotted just 24 hours before a relatively narrow miss with Earth, the incident reveals holes in NASA’s surveillance network to observe incoming space rocks. The football-field-sized asteroid, dubbed “2019 OK,” is also drawing attention to decades of congressional failures to fix the problem, experts say.

Read more at: Buzzfeednews

Better Coordination Needed Among Operators To Avoid Potential Collisions

As both the number of satellites and the number of potential collisions grow, government and industry officials say they need to improve the ways satellite operators coordinate maneuvers.

The challenges of such coordination were on display earlier this month, when the European Space Agency announced it shifted the orbit of its Aeolus spacecraft to avoid a close approach to a SpaceX Starlink satellite. ESA made the decision after SpaceX didn’t respond to updated assessments that showed a higher probability of a collision, which the company blamed on a glitch in a paging system.

Read more at: Spacenews

Data Sharing Seen As Critical To Future Of Space Situational Awareness

The future of space situational awareness (SSA) will increasingly rely on governments and companies sharing data that can be used to improve knowledge of space objects and create more accurate warnings of close approaches.

That message was a theme of sessions at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference here Sept. 20, where officials from the U.S. and other countries made the case for enhanced sharing of data.

Read more at: Spacenews

Transparency Key To The Future Of Space Traffic Management

It is possible to build improved space traffic management approaches to ensure safe operations in space, a panel of experts in the field said Sept. 18, but it will require more transparency among satellite operators.

A panel at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference here, was asked to look ahead 10 years to what they envisioned the state of space situational awareness (SSA) would be.

Read more at: Spacenews

Spaceport Moves Closer To Reality

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet members voted yesterday by six to four to recommend to councillors that the Council invests up to £12 million in developing the Spaceport Cornwall Programme.

The ultimate decision on whether to invest Council money in the scheme will now fall to a meeting of the full Council in November.

Should that be approved, the money would be used to develop facilities and operational capabilities at Cornwall Airport Newquay that would enable plans by satellite launch company Virgin Orbit to send small satellites into space from Spaceport Cornwall using a modified Boeing 747.

Read more at: Businesscornwall

Xenesis To Test Optical Terminal On Bartolomeo Platform

Xenesis, a laser communications startup, plans to conduct a space-based demonstration of its Xen-Hub Optical Communications terminal in 2021 on Bartolomeo, the Airbus Defense and Space external research platform on the International Space Station.

If that demonstration is successful, Airbus and Xenesis could work together to provide space station customers and Bartolomeo platform users with commercial access to Xenesis’ ten-gigabit optical communications service.

Read more at: Spacenews

The Space Race Has A Dirty Nuclear Secret And It’s Right Here In Ontario

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission added momentum to the new push to go farther into outer space than humans have ever gone before.

Ontario’s nuclear industry could receive both a reflected glow from the extraterrestrial travel hype and a new revenue stream. It could also potentially increase international nuclear-weapons proliferation. 

Unbeknownst to most Canadians, the Darlington nuclear power plant 70 kilometres east of Toronto has already been playing a not-so-small role in the space race. The plant is part of a plan announced in early 2017 to produce up to 10 kilograms per year of radioactive plutonium-238 for NASA’s mushrooming pipeline.

Read more at: Nowtoronto

This Inflatable Space Habitat Could House the Next Astronauts to Walk on the Moon

Fifty years ago, humanity achieved one of its greatest accomplishments: landing on the moon. But before NASA’s astronauts stepped on the lunar surface, they had to travel through space in rickety metal cans. Space travelers of the future, however, may instead cruise in cushy inflatable pads.

Decades later, NASA is in a race against itself to send humans back to the surface of the moon by 2024. To meet this ambitious goal, the space agency plans to build what it calls a Lunar Gateway—basically a mini space station in lunar orbit. This critical piece of hardware is essential to the agency’s plans and will serve as a transportation depot; astronauts will board a lander that will descend from there to the moon’s surface and return to the Gateway when the astronauts are ready to come home.

Read more at: Observer

Opinion | If It Turns Upside-Down, Is It Still A Failure?

Another rumination today, on a mission to the Moon. This one is prompted by a few people I met recently who were dejected by Chandrayaan-2 and asked me —“You’re the maths columnist!”—to explain. I got the feeling they wanted to consider my response almost like therapy, balm on a stroke of widely felt misfortune.

Not that I know exactly what happened; the folks at the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) will work it out. But the news reports we’ve seen reminded me, of all things, of a piece of software some of us built many years ago.

Read more at: Livemint

Gigantic Asteroid Collision Boosted Biodiversity On Earth

An international study led by researchers from Lund University in Sweden has found that a collision in the asteroid belt 470 million years ago created drastic changes to life on Earth. The breakup of a major asteroid filled the entire inner solar system with enormous amounts of dust leading to a unique ice age and, subsequently, to higher levels of biodiversity. The unexpected discovery could be relevant for tackling global warming if we fail to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Read more at: Lunduniversity

Hermes Regolith Experiment in Space Takes Aim at Moon Dirt and Asteroid Landings

By 2024, NASA plans to land the next two people on the moon, including the first woman who will ever walk on the lunar surface.

But to get there, scientists will first need to understand lunar regolith, Kristen John, principal investigator of NASA’s Hermes Facility, said in a video recently published to NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s YouTube page.Regolith is the layer of loose rock and other minerals that cover the surface of solid ground, and the regolith on the moon is made up of many particles. “The solar system is very dynamic and we have asteroids and meteoroids moving around and impacting different bodies,” John said in the video. “So that the surface is getting bombarded all the time.”

Read more at:

Virgin Galactic Assemble Primary Structures For Second Spaceshiptwo

Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company have announced new milestones in the assembly of the primary structures for the second SpaceShipTwo in its current fleet. A sister to VSS Unity, the yet-unnamed vehicle is set to launch customers into suborbital space in the 2020s. VSS Unity is being prepared for that first customer flight, although the start date for commercial operation is yet to be revealed.

The company announced Tuesday that it has successfully mated the fuselage and cabin to the completed wing assembly. Also, the two tail booms have been mated to the spaceship’s rear feather flap assembly.

The part fabrication of the wing, fuselage, cabin, nose and feather flap primary structures is also now complete.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

China’s Lunar Rover Discovers Mysterious Material On Far Side Of Moon

Yutu-2, the lunar rover for China’s Chang’e-4 mission, grabbed attention last month after its drive team spotted some unusual “gel-like” material while roving close to a small crater.

The Chinese-language science outreach publication Our Space, which announced the findings on August 17, used the term “jiao zhuang wu”, which can be translated as “gel-like,” reported. This notion sparked wide interest and speculation among lunar scientists.

Read more at: Moondaily

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

EU Industry Chief Hands Over Full Docket To Successor

Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted Bieńkowska with the hefty Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs portfolio in 2014. Notable achievements under her watch include tweaks to public procurement and successes in the space sector.

At the start of her mandate, the directorates-general for internal market and enterprise (DG MARKT and DG ENTR) merged into DG GROW and Juncker tasked her with upping industry’s contribution to the economy from 16% to 20%.

Read more at: Euractiv

House Members Skeptical About NASA’s Approach To Returning Humans To The Moon

Members of a House committee expressed skepticism about NASA’s reliance on commercial launch vehicles to carry out human lunar landings by 2024 rather than an upgraded version of the Space Launch System.

The Sept. 18 hearing by the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee on NASA’s exploration programs left members of both parties with doubts that with NASA’s current approach, and the cost and schedule problems programs like the Space Launch System and Orion have suffered, it could achieve the goal of returning humans to the surface of the moon by 2024.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA Still Looking For New Human Spaceflight Chief

NASA hopes to have a new leader for the agency’s human spaceflight directorate by the end of the year to replace Bill Gerstenmaier, who held the post for nearly 14 years before his reassignment in July amid the Trump administration’s push to land humans on the moon by 2024, a NASA official said Wednesday.

Until then, NASA will will not commit to a new target launch date for the first flight of the agency’s new heavy-lift rocket, named the Space Launch System, according to Ken Bowersox, who became the acting associate administrator for NASA’s human exploration and operations mission directorate after Gerstenmaier’s ouster in July.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Trump, Australia’s Morrison Talk Moon/Mars Cooperation

Australia is joining the Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024. It is one of the topics being discussed by President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Morrison’s ongoing visit to the United States. Although it is but one of many topics on the table, it came up at three joint press conferences yesterday as well as last night’s State Dinner. Today, NASA and the Australian Space Agency signed a “statement of intent” on “potential” contributions Australia may make. While that sounds less than definitive, the Prime Minister’s personal attendance at the signing ceremony sends a strong signal that Australia is serious about participating.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Russia, Brazil Eye Joint ISS Projects – Education Ministry

Russia and Brazil might consider joint projects on aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Russian First Deputy Education and Science Minister Grigory Trubnikov told TASS after his talks with Astronaut Marcos Pontes.

Pontes, Brazil’s current minister of science, technology, innovation and communications, is the first Brazilian to go to space. In 2006, he launched aboard Soyuz-TMA8 to the ISS on a ten-day mission.

Read more at: TASS

Sanders NASA Plan is Definitely Earth First

NASA and, more specifically, the Artemis return-to-the-moon program, has not yet become a partisan political issue for the 2020 presidential election. That might change if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) becomes the Democratic nominee.

For those people who care about the Artemis program’s potential — to benefit the United States and the world — a Sanders presidency would be a gut punch.

Read more at: Hill

Stellar Birthday Proposal: Russian Space Chief Offers Turkey Prospects In Baikonur Project

On Wednesday, Director General of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation, Dmitry Rogozin, spoke of potentially getting Turkey to join a Russia-Kazakh joint venture for the use of the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.

“Roscosmos is ready to offer its rockets so that Turkey could launch its space vehicles. Besides, this is optional, and does not necessarily have to be done from Turkish territory. Instead, we could design a project for three parties to use Baikonur’s unique infrastructure,” Rogozin said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

Read more at: TASS

Canadian Space Regulations Discussed at Inaugural SpaceQ Intel Event

SpaceQ Intel, a new division of SpaceQ, held an inaugural roundtable in Ottawa Thursday (Sept. 12) to discuss the space regulatory environment in Canada.

Approximately 60 representatives from government and industry attended, using Chatham House Rule. This means, according to the rule, that “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”. This story is thus a collection of ideas discussed by presenters and attendees from the three morning presentations, with identifying information stripped.

Read more at: SpaceQ

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.

Read more at: Spacenews

Audit Faults NASA For Failing To Detect Schedule Delays For Moon Return

NASA’s push to return humans to the Moon by 2024 is threatened by a failure to account for schedule delays and cost overruns, the General Accountability Office said in a report on Wednesday.

“For example, NASA should enhance contract management and oversight to improve program outcomes,” the report said. “NASA’s past approach in this area has left it ill-positioned to identify early warning signs of impending schedule delays and cost growth or reap the benefits of competition.”

Read more at: Moondaily

Air Force Tries To Set Record Straight On What The Space Force Is Really About

Air Force leaders are working to dispel what they believe are misconceptions about the future Space Force as they continue to press lawmakers to enact the new branch of the armed services.

The Space Force has been the butt of countless jokes since President Trump announced 15 months ago he was directing the Pentagon to stand it up. But the Space Force has been serious business for the Air Force which will serve as the parent service.

Read more at: Spacenews

Air Force Will Shift Up To $30B For Space, Multi Domain

The Air Force’s version of the Army’s famous Night Court has found up to $30 billion in weapons money it will take and reinvest it in Multi-Domain Operations and space warfighting capabilities, the top two Air Force leaders say.

Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan told reporters here today that the service drilled down into the budget via its “zero-based review” — an exercise to scrutinize programs across the board for their continued relevance to the National Defense Strategy and the Air Force’s future mission.

Read more at: Breaking defense

Space No Place For Wars Between Nations

The United States military formed a unified command for its activities in space in 1983 during the cold war. It was to be terminated in less than 20 years in a defence restructuring after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. Now President Donald Trump has recreated it as a distinct service responsible for controlling the military’s operations in space. It is seen as a counter to Russian and Chinese advances in space power. Trump describes space as “the next war-fighting domain” and claims “SpaceCom will ensure that America’s dominance in space is never questioned and never threatened”.

Read more at: SCMP

German Probe Opens Into Suspected Internal Spying At Airbus

German prosecutors have opened an investigation into suspected internal spying by employees of European aviation giant Airbus over two arms projects, sources said Wednesday.

The suspicions arose “a few weeks ago”, and the company has alerted the authorities in the southern German city of Munich, an Airbus source said.

“Some of our employees had documents that they shouldn’t have had,” the source said.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Documents Reveal How The Space Force Would Launch In 90 Days

What will the U.S. Space Force uniform look like? Will it have an official song? And what military personnel and organizations will transition into the new service? Those questions will be answered by a small staff of about 200 people — and yes, the Army and Navy will have a seat at the table.

According to Air Force planning documents obtained by Defense News, an “initial Space Force staff” will be ready to stand up within 90 days of the new branch’s formal establishment by law. The group will take over all planning work currently done by the Air Force, and it will hash out the finer details of the branch’s structure.

Read more at: Defensenews

Russian Cosmonaut Hails Idea Of Complementing Crews’ Emergency Kit With Weapons

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononeko believes that in certain situations space crews returning from the International Space Station may need weapon, while the current emergency kits include no arms at all.

“A re-entry capsule may touch the surface at any point on the globe. Possibly, this may happen in hard-to-access areas, so we may need a special knife to build a shelter. Possibly, we will need weapons, because wild animals are still there,” Kononeko told a news conference at the space training center on Tuesday.

Read more at: TASS

Intelsat Sues Oneweb Broadband Satellite Venture Over A Mega-Deal That Went Sour

One of the world’s biggest satellite operators, Intelsat, is accusing the OneWeb broadband satellite venture and its biggest investor, SoftBank, of breach of contract, fraud and conspiracy in a lawsuit seeking what could amount to tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

In the course of laying out its case, Intelsat told the New York State Supreme Court that it paid Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta, a venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, $10 million for development of a flat-panel antenna for OneWeb’s constellation.

Read more at: Geekwire

Solving The Commercial Passenger Spaceflight Puzzle (Part 3)

Recently, I casually discussed the topic of space with a millennial professional working outside the aerospace community. I related watching the Apollo 11 mission when I had just graduated from high school. After I answered the surprising question of what year that happened, this very nice person wondered out loud about why so little had happened since then. This observation is valid. Fifty years after landing on the Moon, we are still taking “expeditions” to low Earth orbit—the uniqueness of which has long since faded away.

Read more at: Spacereview

Senator Threatens to Hold Back Air Force Nominee Over Trump Resort Stays

A Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee says he intends to oppose the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee for Air Force secretary over concerns about overnight lodging stays by U.S. airmen at the president’s Turnberry resort in Scotland.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut announced Wednesday that he intends to place a hold on Barbara Barrett’s confirmation unless she assures the committee she will “implement a policy to prohibit Air Force spending at Trump-owned properties” after she is confirmed.

Read more at: Military

Elon Musk Wants Humans To Colonize Space. Brad Pitt Shows That’s Easier Said Than Done.

In a time when one of humankind’s goals is to commercialize space, colonize other planets and venture farther into the cosmos, science fiction movies detailing human health risks do not bode well for the next pioneers wanting to explore beyond the tiny blue dot we call home.

With the goal to send American astronauts to the moon by 2024 and then on to Mars, or with billionaire entrepreneurs like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos aspiring for humans to eventually become a multi-planetary species, it can be easy to forget just how dangerous space can be.

Brad Pitt’s new film throws some cold water on the idea of colonizing the solar system.

Read more at: Florida today

Brad Pitt Talks Weightlessness And Calluses On Phone Call To ISS

When Brad Pitt called the International Space Station (ISS) Monday to talk to American astronaut Nick Hague, the conversation turned to the unexpected consequences of weightless life.

“The calluses on my feet have basically gone away because I don’t walk on the bottoms of my feet,” said Hague, who is currently living on the ISS with two other Americans, two Russians and an Italian.

“But now I have calluses across the top of my foot, around my big toe, because I’m constantly hanging on things with my big toe,” he added.

Read more at:

NASA Reveals New Gateway Logo For Artemis Lunar Orbit Way Station

The agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston revealed the Gateway program logo in an update to its employee online newsletter on Tuesday (Sept. 17). The Gateway, which is sometimes referred to as the Lunar Gateway, is a component of NASA’s Artemis program, which is focused on returning American astronauts — including the first woman — to the moon by 2024 before pushing onwards to Mars.

“It is a bold look closely aligned with the Artemis brand. The logo symbolizes NASA’s efforts to go forward to the moon and on to Mars,” wrote Deepthi Cauligi, a communications strategist, for Johnson Space Center’s Roundup Reads.

Read more at: Collectspace

‘Ad Astra’ Strives To Immerse Audience In Epic Interstellar Experience

Ad Astra means simply “the stars” in Latin. The title of this epic space adventure, starring Brad Pitt, is derived from the Latin phrase “Per aspera ad astra”, or “Through hardship to the stars.” The movie is part thriller and part action movie, but the core message is to explore the psychological and sociological consequences of space travel.

I have not seen the movie myself yet, so you are safe from any major spoilers. I can only relay what I know from the trailer and production notes, and my brief conversations with people involved in the production of the movie.

Read more at: Forbes

Space Talent Puts Jobs At Blue Origin, SpaceX And Elsewhere In One Big Database

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are often at odds, but there’s at least one place where those two space-industry rivals are on the same page: the newly unveiled Space Talent job database.

The search engine for careers in the space industry is a project of Space Angels, a nationwide network designed to link angel investors with space entrepreneurs.

“If you’ve ever considered working in space, this jobs board has 3,000 reasons to make the leap,” Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson said in a tweet.

Read more at: Geekwire

What It Was Like To Fly The Baddest Airplane The World Has Ever Known

The X-15 was not the first rocket-powered aircraft, but it is probably the best one ever built and flown. Before the first X-15 took flight in the late 1950s, the fastest speed airplanes had reached was Mach 3. The X-15 doubled that. And, remarkably, it also went on to fly into space more than a dozen times.

The US Air Force and NASA developed the X-15 to better understand flight under extreme conditions, including reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere. Yet more than half a century later, the exceptional plane still holds the world record for speed by a piloted, powered aircraft after William Knight flew the vehicle at Mach 6.70 in 1967.

Read more at: Arstechnica

11th IAASS conference