NASA Confirms Boeing’s Latest Timetable For Starliner Space Taxi’s Final Tests

NASA confirmed today that Boeing is scheduled to conduct the next high-profile test of its CST-100 Starliner space capsule in a little more than three weeks.

The target data for Starliner’s pad abort test is set for Nov. 4 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, NASA said. That’s in line with the plan that Boeing executive John Mulholland laid out earlier this week at a New Mexico space symposium.

If next month’s test is successful, Boeing would target Dec. 17 for the launch of an uncrewed Starliner to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

Read more at: Geekwire

Letter To The Editor: CSF’s Position On Launch And Reentry Licensing Regulations Mischaracterized

On Oct. 8, SpaceNews published in its weekly SN Military Space newsletter an article about FAA’s efforts to reform its launch and reentry licensing regulations. Commercial Spaceflight Federation leadership was not contacted in advance of the article being published, and the article erroneously characterizes CSF’s and its member companies’ position on FAA’s proposed licensing regulations.

“CSF and our member companies strongly support — and always have supported — regulations that protect the lives and property of the uninvolved public. At the same time, we pursue the goal of streamlining the licensing process to help the commercial space sector grow and innovate, continuously improving its capabilities and its safety,” said CSF president Eric Stallmer. “Any other characterization of CSF’s position is disingenuous, misleading, and false.”

Read more at: Spacenews

Putin Bestows Award For Courage On U.S. Astronaut Who Survived Rocket Failure

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday bestowed a prestigious state award for courage on Nick Hague, the U.S. astronaut who survived a botched space launch last year.

A Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station malfunctioned two minutes after liftoff on Oct. 11, 2018, forcing its two-man crew of Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin to make an emergency landing.

Read more at: Reuters

Russian Company Plans To Send Tourists Into Space Without Space Suits

The Russian CosmoCourse company, which is developing private space tourism in Russia, is planning to send its tourists into short sub-orbital space flights without space suits, company’s Director General Pavel Pushkin said on Thursday.

“We have sent materials to Roscosmos [on the planned flights] in which no space suite are featured,” Pushkin said.

Read more at: TASS

Russia To Introduce Genotype Based Technology For Selecting Astronauts In 2020-2021

A new technology for selecting future astronauts depending on their genetic radiation sensitivity is planned for introduction in 2020-2021, head of Russia’s Federal Biomedical Agency Vladimir Uyba told TASS.

“We have developed a technology for the selection of radiation resistant and radiosensitive individuals. Its introduction is planned for 2020-2021. The technology can be used to select teams working in conditions of radiation risks, including astronauts,” Uyba said in an interview with the portal “Russia’s Future. National Projects”, operated by TASS.

Read more at: TASS

FAA Expects Revised Launch Regulations To Be Completed Next Fall

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space office says he expects to have updated commercial launch and reentry regulations completed by next fall, but hasn’t decided if there will be another draft of the rules published before then.

In an Oct. 9 speech at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) here, Wayne Monteith, associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the FAA, said his office is expending significant resources to review comments submitted on the draft rule published in April.

Read more at: Spacenews

Elon Musk Explains That Destroyed Spacex Capsule Came From Testing To The ‘Extreme’

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine addressed concerns about safety for the company’s crew capsule during a media briefing at SpaceX headquarters on Thursday.

Musk addressed an incident in April that destroyed the first SpaceX capsule, known as Crew Dragon, which had successfully returned from the International Space Station after a few days in orbit. “You’re trying to find extreme corner cases of where things go wrong,” Musk said

Read more at: CNBC

Boeing’s New Space Capsule Nears Major Milestone

Boeing’s new space capsule will undergo one of its most challenging tasks next month when it performs the pad abort test to ensure astronauts can eject safely from the spacecraft in the event of a launch mishap.

The test will bring the CST-100 Starliner, part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, one step closer to flying Americans to space from U.S. soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

Read more at: Politico

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma Confident About Gaganyaan Mission Launch By 2022

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel to space, on Thursday said the human interface in the ‘Gaganyaan’ project makes it a challenging one and expressed confidence about ISRO launching it by 2022.

“We are capable of anything. It’s just that we never had the opportunity or the support to actually achieve what we are potentially capable of,” Sharma told PTI on the sidelines of a function here.

A former IAF pilot, Sharma was a part of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11 expedition, launched on April 2, 1984, as part of the Intercosmos programme.

Read more at: India today

Northrop Grumman Cargo Ship Launch to Space Station Delayed to November

A Northrop Grumman Innovations Systems launch of a commercial cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA on Oct. 21 will now liftoff on Nov. 2, NASA officials said.

The NG-12 Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station aboard an Antares rocket (also built by Northrop Grumman) on Nov. 2 at 9:59 a.m. EDT (1359 GMT) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, according to a NASA update. The mission, called CRS-12, will fly under Northrop Grumman’s Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

Read more at:

NASA Astronaut Hague Says He Is Honored To Receive Russian Order Of Courage

NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who has been awarded Russia’s Order of Courage for surviving last year’s botched space launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome, said he would be honored to wear this medal.

“I am honored to be awarded the Russian Order of Courage. I have learned that courage in the face of adversity is defined by how you respond,” the astronaut told TASS. “Through first-hand experience, I have witnessed true courage and leadership from my Commander Alexey Ovchinin, our international team of trainers and operators, and the Search and Rescue Forces who brought us home to our loved ones,” said Hague, who was with Ovchinin onboard the Soyuz rocket, which aborted shortly after the launch in October 2018 due to a failure of the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle.

Read more at: TASS

NASA Opens Competition To Build Human-Rated Lunar Landers

Companies have until Nov. 1 to submit proposals to NASA for a human-rated lander that could be ready in time to carry astronauts to the moon’s surface by the end of 2024, and the agency is leaving open the option for contractors to develop a descent craft that would bypass the planned Gateway mini-space station in lunar orbit, at least for the first landing attempt.

The lunar lander, or Human Landing System, is critical to the Trump administration’s goal of returning humans to the moon’s surface by the end of 2024. NASA named effort after Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, after Vice President Mike Pence announced the 2024 goal in a speech March 26.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

NASA’s 2024 Moon Goal: Q&A with Human Landing System Chief Lisa Watson-Morgan

In July, Lisa Watson-Morgan was named program manager for NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS). This program is tasked with developing the lander that will haul two astronauts — including the first female moonwalker — to the lunar surface in 2024. The HLS is also charged with establishing a sustainable, long-term presence on and around the moon by 2028.

Watson-Morgan sat down with here last month at the American Astronautical Society’s 2019 Wernher Von Braun Memorial Symposium to discuss these ambitious goals.

Read more at:

Astronauts Complete Extra Work On First In Series Of Battery Upgrade Spacewalks

Astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan floated outside the International Space Station Sunday and completed a 7-hour, 1-minute spacewalk to begin replacing batteries on the far left side of the research outpost’s solar array truss, the first of up to six excursions scheduled before the end of October.

Koch and Morgan suited up for Sunday’s spacewalk inside the space station’s Quest airlock module. Once in their spacesuits, they entered Quest’s crew lock and began depressurizing the airlock compartment. The astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:39 a.m. EDT (1139 GMT) to officially mark the start of the spacewalk.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Spacex, NASA Test Escape Zipline Ahead Of Crew Dragon’s Astronaut Launch Debut

As part of continued preparations ahead of SpaceX’s Demonstration-2 mission (DM-2) that will debut Crew Dragon’s ability to support astronaut flight, SpaceX and NASA have successfully tested crew emergency egress (escape) systems at SpaceX’s primary crew launch facilities located at Launch Complex 39-A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The successful verification tests have proven that SpaceX is ready to support crewed launches and preserve human life with effective escape methods, including a zipline mounted basket system that will whisk astronauts away from Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 in the event of a launch pad anomaly.

Read more at: Teslarati

Manufacturers Say Wider Range Of Satellites They Build Is Stressing Mission Assurance

Growing demand for small satellites that are built quickly and cheaply is challenging manufacturers who want that business but don’t want to forsake lessons learned from building bigger spacecraft.

Manufacturers speaking Oct. 10 at the Satellite Innovation conference here said they are trying to evolve their approaches to mission assurance — making sure what they build doesn’t fail in orbit — so that they can respond to a wider swath of customers.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test Falcon 9 Arrives In Florida

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will be used for the company’s In-Flight Abort Test arrives at SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The test will demonstrate the spacecraft and launch system’s ability to abort in the unlikely case of an emergency after liftoff. It is an important step before NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are transported to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Read more at: Spaceref

Russian Scientists Reveal Nuking Asteroid Heading Towards Earth is a Safe Option

A group of Russian scientists claims that using nuclear weapons in the event of a looming asteroid impact is both safe and effective. The group says that following certain conditions, it would help prevent a collision without doing any harm to our planet. The team of scientists suggests hitting the asteroid while it is approaching the Earth. It is easy to accomplish, they say, as all known asteroids that could pose a danger to us wind up appearing in near-Earth space several times.

Read more at: Sputniknews

Inflection Point Within The Year For Megaconstellations?

An inflection point is coming in the next six to twelve months for the multibillion dollar satellite megaconstellations, when it will become apparent which ones will succeed and which ones “will take a pause or exit,” Chris Baugh, Northern Sky Research president, said Oct. 9 at the Satellite Innovation 2019 conference.

New communications constellations being built by Amazon, LeoSat, OneWeb, SES, SpaceX and Telesat are in early phases of development. Firms are conducting research and development or starting to launch satellites but they have not yet reached the so-called Valley of Death, where products and services often languish or die.

Read more at: Spacenews

Falling Fireballs Crashed in Chile Last Week. They Weren’t Meteorites, Experts Say.

Goodness gracious! Great balls of fire rained from the sky in Chile last week, and officials are still trying to figure out what they were and where they came from.

One thing is certain: The mysterious burning objects were not meteors, according to news reports.

The fiery UFOs descended on Dalcahue City on the Chilean island of Chiloé on Sept. 25, CNET reported. . The tumbling objects crash-landed in seven locations, setting off fires that were promptly put out by volunteer firefighters. .

Read more at:

Decommissioned Earth Science Satellite To Remain In Orbit For Centuries

A U.S.-European satellite that completed its mission earlier this month has been decommissioned but will remain in orbit for as long as 1,000 years, far beyond existing orbital debris mitigation guidelines.

Jason-2, a joint mission of NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the French space agency CNES and European weather agency Eumetsat, ended its mission to study sea-level height Oct. 1. The spacecraft, also known as Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), launched in June 2008 for a mission originally expected to last three years.

Read more at: Spacenews

Europe Eyes Improved ‘Space Weather’ Resilience

It’s a mission that would monitor the Sun for the type of energetic outbursts that can interfere with everyday activities on Earth.

These powerful eruptions of particles and magnetic fields can degrade communications and even knock over power grids.

The Lagrange satellite would see this “space weather” as it develops, alerting us to the impending disruption.

Read more at: BBC

Industry Weighs Government’s Role In Satellite Servicing

With the first commercial satellite servicing spacecraft about to launch, industry executives argue that government agencies, primarily seen as developers of key servicing technologies, also need to be customers of those systems.

The Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) 1, developed by SpaceLogistics, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, is set to launch on a Proton rocket Oct. 9 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The spacecraft is dual-manifested on the Proton with the Northrop-built Eutelsat 5 West B communications satellite.

Read more at: Spacenews

As NASA And Others Launch More Rockets, Effects On Earth Remain A Mystery

The lagoons surrounding the space shuttle launch pads were filled with dead fish after most liftoffs during the 30-year program.

Sometimes, 100 fish were killed. Other times, 1,000. But the culprit was always the same: a cloud of acidic mist and dust that spread up to five miles around the pad, leaving deposits on nearby buildings and plants.

Read more at: Houston chronicle

Kepler To Launch Satellite On A Soyuz Mid Next Year

Kepler Communications signs launch agreement with Innovative Space Logistics B.V (ISL) working with GK Launch Services to deploy two satellites into sun-synchronous orbit in Q2-Q3 2020. The satellites will be the first of multiple batches of the next-generation platform, forming part of Kepler’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation for global data services.

Kepler’s next generation of satellites will incorporate both a high-capacity Ku-band communications system and a narrowband payload, for both high-speed data transfers and low-power direct-to-satellite IoT connectivity.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Stratolaunch Gets Mystery New Owner

Stratolaunch, the venture founded by the late Paul Allen to develop an air-launch system, has “transitioned” ownership, but the company is not disclosing who the new owner is.

In a brief statement Oct. 11, Stratolaunch said that it “transitioned ownership and is continuing regular operations.” The company had been owned by Vulcan Inc., the holding company of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, since its founding in 2011.

Read more at: Spacenews

45th Space Wing Commander: Changes Underway To Support Commercial Launch

The Eastern Range is on a path to launch as many as 40 rockets in 2020, bringing it closer to its much touted goal of 48 launches per year, said Brig. Gen. Douglas Schiess, commander of the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing and director of the Eastern Range at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.

Schiess said the range is not taking growth for granted and reaching that goal will require attracting more commercial launch providers.

“We have to improve turnaround both with new technology and processes,” he said Oct. 9 at a Mitchell Institute event on Capitol Hill.

Read more at: Spacenews

Rockets Purchased By Stratolaunch Back Under Northrop Grumman Control

Hardware for two air-dropped Pegasus XL launchers previously purchased by Stratolaunch, a space launch company founded by the late billionaire Paul Allen, are now back under Northrop Grumman control and for sale to NASA, the Air Force, or commercial satellite operators, industry officials said.

Phil Joyce, vice president of space launch programs at Northrop Grumman, said this week that the company is trying to sell the launches using the two remaining Pegasus XL rockets, and officials plan to keep the Pegasus rocket’s L-1011 carrier jet flying for at least five or 10 more years.

Read more at: SpaceflightNow

Scottish Spaceport to Begin Construction Soon

Construction on a low-cost vertical spaceport in the north of Scotland may commence within a year, pending the approval of a planning application by a local authority.

The spaceport, to be called the Space Hub Sutherland, would be built at A’Mhoine on the Moine Peninsula in the county of Sutherland, a few miles from Scotland’s Atlantic coast. This facility would enable vertical rockets to launch small satellites into low Earth polar and sun-synchronous orbits. 

Read more at:

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Program Delay: 3+ Years

There’s been a lot of discussion over the last week or so about NASA’s delay plagued Commercial Crew Program, which is designed to restore the nation’s ability to launch astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.

Prior to SpaceX CEO’s Elon Musk’s Sept. 28 webcast update on the Starship program, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed frustration that the company wasn’t more focused on the Crew Dragon program that hasn’t flown astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) yet.

Read more at: Parabolicarc

Why NASA’s Renewed Efforts In Space Exploration Are Great News For The Fuel Cell Industry

Nearly two years after the launch of the ambitious White House Space Policy Directive 1 and in the wake of this year’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the team at NASA appears to be on the verge of a space renaissance. The agency is busier than ever, with recent months bringing a new generation of climbing robots, confirmation of a long-planned mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and announcements surrounding dozens of other promising endeavors.

Read more at: Forbes

NASA’s New Moon-Bound Spacesuit Is Safer, Smarter And Much More Comfortable

The next Americans to set foot on the Moon will do so in a brand new spacesuit that’s based on, but hugely improved from, the original Apollo suits that last went up there in the ’70s. With easier entry, better mobility and improved communications, these won’t be nearly as clumsy or restrictive — though you still wouldn’t want to wear one around the house.

The new spacesuit, known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit or xEMU, is still deep in development, but its features have been more or less finalized. It’s already being tested underwater, and orbital testing is scheduled for 2023.

Read more at: Techcrunch

After Years Of Delays, NASA Is Finally Poised To Launch A Satellite To Better Understand Space Weather

NASA is slated to launch a long-awaited satellite from Florida on Thursday night that’s designed to help scientists better predict how space weather events will behave high above Earth. But to get to space, the rocket launching this satellite won’t take off from the ground like most others do. Instead, it’ll launch from underneath a giant airplane, climbing to space from midair.

The mission is named ICON — for Ionospheric Connection Explorer — and it was originally supposed to launch in the summer of 2017. However, technical issues with the rocket, called Pegasus, forced the launch to be put on hold for the last two years.

Read more at: Verge

Curiosity Finds Ancient Salty Lakes On Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found salt-rich sediments indicating that Gale Crater, which it has been exploring on Mars for seven years, once had briny lakes that formed as ancient climate change caused it to go through recurrent arid cycles.

The find reinforces satellite observations indicating that Mars became substantially more arid shortly after Gale Crater was formed, about 3.5 billion years ago.

Since it landed in 2012, Curiosity has been slowly ascending the lower slopes of the giant peak at the centre of the crater, looking at ever-younger sediments as it climbs.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

Meat Grown in Space for the First Time Ever

For the first time ever, meat was created in space — but no animals were harmed in the making of this 3D bioprinted “space beef.” 

Aleph Farms, an Israeli food company, announced today (Oct. 7) that its experiment aboard the International Space Station resulted in the first-ever lab-grown meat in space. The company focuses on growing cultivated beef steaks, or growing an entire piece of real, edible meat out of just a couple of cells, in this case, bovine cell spheroids, in a lab. 

Read more at:

Here’s An Example Of The Crazy Lengths NASA Goes To Land Safely On Mars

If all goes well, the Mars 2020 mission will launch toward the Red Planet next July. Then, after a six-month cruise to Mars, a lander carrying a 1-ton rover will detach from the spacecraft and attempt to make a soft landing in an ancient lake bed named Jezero Crater.

Most likely, it will all go well despite the enormous challenge of safely sending spacecraft to Mars. Historically, about 50% of missions have failed. But NASA has gotten pretty good at this stuff, and there’s a reason for that. The agency works really hard at getting all of the details right.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Op-Ed | Priority-One For Space Policy Should Be To Protect U.S. Satellites

Should dominance be our immediate space security priority? The short answer is no. Why? Doing so jeopardizes achieving the more urgent task of protecting our critical satellites. Dominance may be desirable but, for now, the United States must tackle the weightier task of preventing Russia and China from disabling our key satellites.

Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center; and Defense Intelligence Agency have warned us our satellites are facing a new threat. They’ve spotlighted recent Chinese and Russian testing and demonstration of robotic spacecraft that can switch from refueling, repairing and repositioning their satellites to damaging and pushing ours out of position. This emerging threat will be realized in a few short years.

Read more at: Spacenews

Rocket Lab’s New 5-Year FAA License Will Help It Streamline Its Rocket Launch Process

Rocket Lab has received a new five-year Launch Operator License from the Federal Aviation Administration, which grants it permission to do multiple launches of its Electron rocket from its LC-1 launch site in New Zealand without having to seek individual clearance for each one. While not the only limiting factor, this should help Rocket Lab increase the frequency of its launches from LC-1, servicing more customers more often for commercial small satellite customers.

Read more at: Techcrunch

Space Activities Bill, Meant To Boost Private Role, Will Create Confusion Instead

When India’s Department Of Space (DoS), overseen by PM Modi himself, put forth a draft space legislation in 2017, one of its main aims was to create a legal framework to encourage the participation of Indian industry, including start-ups, oversee their performance, and facilitate growth. 

The bill might soon be tabled in Parliament, but it has, in its current form, glaring lacunae that are likelier to breed chaos than put Indian space activities on solid footing.

Read more at: Print

One on One ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Last Sunday (October 6th) the annual ESA-ESTEC open house day was held on the grounds of Europe’s largest Space facility, ESTEC in the Netherlands. This open day is part of world space week – and the week of science. This year’s theme of the open day was “Europe to the Moon”. Among the special guests was ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner.

Mr. Wörner, who has led ESA since July 1, 2015, took time out of his busy schedule to talk to

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Russia, Argentina Sign Agreement On Space Cooperation

Russian state corporation Roscosmos and the Argentina National Space Activities Commission have signed a bilateral intergovernmental protocol on cooperation in space research and the use of space with peaceful aims. The ceremony took place at the Argentine Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

“The agreement is composed in such a way as to cover all areas of space activity,” Roscosmos Deputy Director General Mikhail Khailov told reporters.

Read more at: TASS

Russia, Japan Discuss Cooperation In Space Industry — Deputy Premier

Japan and Russia are discussing the possibility of expanding space cooperation, including contract-based relations, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Akimov met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Science and Technology in Society forum in Kyoto.

“We spoke about putting into practice the areas of cooperation discussed and outlined during the bilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and [Japanese] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Vladivostok.

Read more at: TASS

Roscosmos Patents ‘Cloaking’ Spaceship to Avoid Spy Satellites

Russian space agency Roscosmos patented a spacecraft which can change its shape if approached by a foreign spy satellite, according to a descriptive note attached to the patent.

The spacecraft can rearrange its solar panels, from flat to hemispherical, reducing its reflective surface and visibility, increasing the chance that the inspector satellite will detect and inspect the protected spacecraft.

Read more at: Sputniknews

The Data Challenge Of Space-Based Hypersonics Defense

Managing data is the biggest challenge to developing a new space-based sensor layer that would help detect hypersonic weapons, the director of the Missile Defense Agency said Oct. 7.

The agency is working toward building the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, a layer of sensors on orbit that would be capable of detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons that the nation’s current missile defense architecture was not designed to handle. The new system will be built into the Space Development Agency’s constellation of low earth orbit satellites.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Alexei Leonov: First Person To Walk In Space Dies Aged 85

Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who became the first person in history to spacewalk in 1965, has died aged 85.

Tethered to a spaceship by a 4.8m (16ft) cable, the Russian floated above Earth for 12 minutes.

“You just can’t comprehend it. Only out there can you feel the greatness – the huge size of all that surrounds us,” Leonov told the BBC in 2014. But the outing nearly ended in disaster as his spacesuit inflated and he struggled to get back in the spaceship.

Read more at: BBC

‘Down-the-Throat Geology’: Remembering the Fall and Rise of STS-68, 25 Years On (Part 2)

Twenty-five years ago, tonight, six astronauts spent their last night on Earth ahead of a scheduled liftoff early the following morning on a complex mission to radar-map the Home Planet in unprecedented detail. The second Space Radar Laboratory (SRL-2)—equipped with the powerful Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-C) and the X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (X-SAR)—was flying only a few months after SRL-1, in order to gather data and capture a glimpse of terrestrial change in the late spring and late summer of the year. And it would not be unrealistic to suppose that STS-68 Commander Mike Baker and his crew may have had a fluttering of nerves as they steeled themselves to rocket off the planet next day.

Read more at: America space

Too Emotional to Go to Space — ‘Lucy in the Sky’ Reinforces Negative Stereotypes

“Lucy in the Sky,” which was released on Friday, Oct. 4, had an opportunity to tell the story of a woman astronaut going through the psychological challenges that can affect those who’ve gone to space and been changed by the experience. 

Unfortunately, in my opinion, while the film was a fun watch, Lucy missed the mark. To me, the film highlighted stereotypes about women, especially women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and in the space sector, when it could have pushed against them. 

Read more at:

The Exquisite Boredom of Spacewalking

Ask astronauts what spacewalking around the International Space Station is like, and they get a dreamy look on their face almost instantly. They might say something about how the view “just takes your breath away.” Or that the experience “is what it truly feels like to be on top of the world.” That “nothing compares to being alone in the universe; to that moment of opening the hatch and pulling yourself outside into the universe.”

But without the surreal view of Earth, spacewalking isn’t much more than hours of maintenance work in a sweaty spacesuit. Follow the script laid out in the training back home. Listen to detailed instructions from mission control, carry out the task without screwing up, repeat. After a while, the magical becomes the mundane.

Read more at: Atlantic

WHITTINGTON: ‘Ad Astra’ Is A Voyage Beyond The Heart Of Darkness

Is outer space a “heart of darkness” in terms of both the physical environment and the human spirit when it is challenged and changed by exploration? A new movie, “Ad Astra,” examines that question.

Ad Astra is a space adventure starring Brad Pitt. It starts when the main character, Roy McBride, undertakes a psych evaluation. He is not connected with other human beings and, indeed, his own humanity. He has focused on the job of being an astronaut.

Read more at: Daily caller

UPS Wins First US Approval For ‘Drone Airline’

Package delivery giant UPS said Tuesday it became the first company to obtain US regulatory approval to operate a “drone airline” and would expand its airborne operations in healthcare and other sectors.

UPS said it was the first applicant to win full certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing it to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of remote operators.

“This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” said David Abney, UPS chief executive.

Read more at: Spacewar

Boeing to Invest in Human Spaceflight Pioneer Virgin Galactic

Boeing will invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic, a vertically integrated human spaceflight company. The companies will work together to broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies.   

“Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Our work with Virgin Galactic and others will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility.”

Read more at: Spaceref

FAA Failed To Properly Review 737 MAX Jet’s Anti-Stall System: JATR Findings

A panel of international air safety regulators on Friday harshly criticized the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) review of a safety system on Boeing’s (BA.N) 737 MAX airliner later tied to two crashes that killed all 346 people aboard.

The Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) was commissioned by the FAA in April to look into the agency’s oversight and approval of the so-called MCAS anti-stall system.

JATR report

Read more at: Reuters

Boeing Board of Directors Separates CEO and Chairman Roles

The Boeing Company today announced that its Board of Directors has separated the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Dennis A. Muilenburg continues as CEO, president and a director. The board elected David L. Calhoun, current independent lead director, to serve as non-executive chairman.  

The board said splitting the chairman and CEO roles will enable Muilenburg to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing’s customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety. This decision is the latest of several actions by the board of directors and Boeing senior leadership to strengthen the company’s governance and safety management processes.

Read more at: Boeing


11th IAASS conference