World-first Zero Debris Charter goes live

More satellites were launched in the last few years than the entire six decades of space exploration. 130 million pieces of space debris larger than a millimetre orbit Earth, threatening satellites now and in the future. Once a week, a satellite or rocket body reenters uncontrolled through our atmosphere. Behaviours in space have to change.

Building on a decade of work carried out across the Agency, ESA has introduced its own bold internal standard to significantly limit the production of debris in Earth and Lunar orbits by 2030 for all the Agency’s future missions, programmes and activities: ESA’s ‘Zero Debris approach’.

Read more at: ESA

Funding the Journal of Space Safety Engineering

My name is Tommaso Sgobba and I am a senior editor of the Journal of Space Safety Engineering (JSSE). From space debris to human spaceflight and space traffic management, the future of the space frontier very much depends on advancing safety. The JSSE is the only scientific publication worldwide entirely focused on space safety research and education. We are a drop in the ocean but we want to be that drop and indeed a catalyst drop, but we need annual financial support to continue our publication that started in 2014, almost ten years ago.

Read more at:GoFundMe

Safety, Not Speed, Should Be The Priority In Launch Mishap Probes, FAA Advisory Group Says

Safety, not speed, should be the priority when conducting launch mishap investigations, members of a U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory committee say.

Amid reports of pressure from companies like SpaceX to add licensing staff to speed up approvals for new launches, FAA committee members instead urged caution Wednesday (Nov. 8) during a livestreamed meeting of the agency’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC).

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A Worrisome Report On Safety Issues At Spacex

I’d like to bring your attention to a worrying report on SpaceX’s safety issues as published yesterday by Reuters based on what looks like a comprehensive investigation. The whole article is worth a read but I’m excerpting below some notable parts that either need to be taken seriously or disproved with new information.

Firstly, here’s an overview of what the investigation unfolded to be “at least 600 previously unreported workplace injuries”

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‘Beam Me Up, Scotty’: Scientists To Use Sci-Fi Beam To Get Rid Of Real Space Junk

Nothing beats the cool sci-fi film scene where a film’s protagonist racing against time is beamed up by aliens or other powerful entities at the last minute. But what if this beam could be used to remove junk from space?

This could soon be a reality as scientists develop a high-intensity real-life tractor beam that could nudge dangerous space junk out of the Earth’s orbit. Here’s how it will work.

Removing space junk is a high-stakes mission. With the commercial space industry gaining prominence, the number of satellites in our planet’s orbit is predicted to rise manifold. These would eventually wear out and litter the already crowded ‘space junkyard’ that surrounds the Earth.

Read more at: wionnews

Over The Past Six Years, Governments Proposed Launching Over One Million Satellites, But Where Will They All Go?

In September 2021, Rwanda announced that it was planning to launch over 300,000 satellites. Three months later, a Canadian company, having previously launched two dozen CubeSats, said it would launch an additional 100,000. Then, a French company did likewise. And SpaceX, which has already launched around 5,000 satellites, now has plans for over 60,000 more. There are currently only about 8,000 active satellites in orbit. What’s going on?

Read more at: conversation

Huge Space Rock Three Times The Size Of Mount Everest Is Racing Towards Earth

The comet, first discovered in 1812, is set to reach its closest point in its orbit to Earth in June 2024, although thankfully it won’t get close enough to pose a danger to humans.

When this close approach occurs, 12P/Pons-Brooks is expected to be visible to the naked eye as a faint star-like blob with a hazy tail.

Comets consist of a nucleus made up of ice, dust, and small rocky particles, surrounded by an outer ‘coma’ – a hazy cloud of gases. 12P/Pons-Brooks is what is known as a cryovolcanic – or cold volcano – comet, which means it exhibits volcanic activity. But instead of spewing out molten rock and lava like a volcano on Earth, a cryovolcanic comet releases a mixture of gases and ice.

Read more at: dailymail

International Space Station Dodges Orbital Debris Hours Before SpaceX Cargo Ship’s Arrival: Report

In an email to, a representative from NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate confirmed the debris avoidance maneuver that took place on Nov. 10.

“On Nov. 10, the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module engines were fired for five mins, 16 seconds beginning at 10:07 a.m. EST to maneuver the complex away from the predicted track of an orbital debris fragment,” NASA’s email reads.

“The maneuver had no effect on the rendezvous and docking of NASA’s SpaceX 29th commercial resupply mission, which docked to the space station at 5:07 a.m. Nov. 11 after launch two days prior.”

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Solar Superstorm Could ‘Wipe Out The Internet’ For Months, Scientist Says

An ‘internet apocalypse’ could take place leaving the system ‘fried’ for ‘months’, according to a team of researchers. Solar storms have already occurred in the past, hitting earth and causing disruptions to global communications. George Mason University in Virginia, and the Naval Research Laboratory are now working together to create an early warning system, concerned an internet cut-out may be pending.

According to Wonderopolis: “Solar storms occur when the Sun emits huge bursts of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

“These phenomena send a stream of electrical charges and magnetic fields toward the Earth at a speed of about three million miles per hour.”

Read more at: Unilad

Fireball Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight From The Beautiful Taurids

The Southern Taurids meteor shower, an awe-inspiring celestial event, are set to reach their peak this weekend, offering a unique spectacle for enthusiastic stargazers. According to the American Meteor Society, the peak of this astronomical display is expected to occur at around 8:47 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Notably, the Southern Taurids, which have been active since late September, are particularly famous for their fireballs. These fireballs are incredibly bright meteors that outshine even Venus, making them a standout feature in the night sky, as explained by NASA.

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If The Next Starship Makes It Through Staging, You Can Call That A Win

SpaceX will have answers to some burning questions in the first three minutes of the next Starship test flight. Did the upgrades to the Starship launch pad in Texas hold up to the rocket’s powerful thrust? Are the rocket’s Raptor engines more reliable than they were on the first Starship test flight in April? And did the rocket’s Super Heavy booster safely separate from the Starship upper stage?

The answers to these questions will show how quickly SpaceX can move forward with everything else it wants to do with Starship. These next steps include launching Starlink Internet satellites, which will expedite the network’s ability to directly connect with consumer cell phones. SpaceX needs to test in-orbit refueling for Starship flights to the Moon for NASA, and engineers want to demonstrate recovering Starship’s giant booster and upper stage, necessary steps to make the rocket fully reusable.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Godspeed, Jeff Bezos

Not that Bill Gates cares, but he will soon regain his status as the richest person in Greater Seattle when Jeff Bezos makes a diagonal move across America to take up residence in Miami.

Currently, Bezos is the second wealthiest man in the United States, according to Fortune magazine, while Gates comes in at number six.

Read more at: seattletimes

Viasat-3 Failure Investigation To Conclude Next Week

Viasat expects to know next week what caused the antenna deployment issue that severely impaired its debut ViaSat-3 broadband satellite over the Americas, the operator’s CEO announced during earnings results Nov. 8.

Mark Dankberg said Viasat would also be getting more information from the antenna’s supplier, which he did not name, on how long it would take to ensure a second, mostly built ViaSat-3 could launch without the issue that reduced the throughput on its first by more than 90%.

Read more at: spacenews

Virgin Galactic to halt Unity Suborbital Flights by mid-2024

Virgin Galactic will reduce the frequency of flights of its current suborbital vehicle and stop them entirely by mid-2024 as it concentrates resources on the next generation of vehicles.

In a Nov. 8 earnings call, company executives said flights of VSS Unity, which completed its fifth commercial suborbital mission Nov. 2, would move to a quarterly frequency starting with its next mission, Galactic 06 in January. That would be followed by Galactic 07 early in the second quarter.

Read more at: spacenews

Qualcomm Ends Partnership For Connecting Android Phones To Iridium Satellites

Semiconductor giant Qualcomm is scrapping plans to provide the technology Android smartphones would need to directly connect to Iridium’s satellites when they can’t reach a cell tower.

Despite successfully developing and demonstrating a chip enabling everyday phones to connect with satellites for SOS, texts, and other low-bandwidth messaging services, Iridium announced Nov. 9 that no smartphone makers have included Qualcomm’s enabling technology in their devices.

Read more at: spacenews

Airbus And Voyager Sign Agreement With ESA On Starlab Commercial Space Station

The European Space Agency has signed an agreement with Airbus and Voyager Space to study potential use of the companies’ Starlab commercial space station as a successor to the International Space Station.

Airbus and Voyager said Nov. 9 they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ESA during the European Space Summit in Seville, Spain, earlier in the week.

Read more at: spacenews


ESA And EC To Unite On Climate Action From Space

ESA and the European Commission are joining forces to accelerate the use of Earth-observing satellites and the information they provide to address the pressing challenge of climate change.

This landmark initiative signifies a firm commitment to advancing our understanding of Earth’s climate system and enhancing our ability to take timely and informed actions to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, particularly encompassing the European Green Deal.

Read more at: ESA

Meteorite Found In Somalia Contains Two Minerals That Are Not Found On Earth

A research team has discovered at least two minerals they’ve never seen on Earth before inside a 15-tonne meteorite found in Somalia.

The University of Alberta analysed a slice of the meteorite – which fell in 2020 -and discovered two, if not even three minerals, that have never before been seen on our planet.

That information alone is pretty darn impressive but it turns out the team also identified the meteorite as the ninth largest in the world.

Read more at: Unilad

NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Celebrates 4,000 ‘Sols’ on the Red Planet

NASA’s Curiosity rover is doing well after fighting dust, wind and age for 4,000 Red Planet days.

Curiosity recently passed 4,000 “sols,” or Red Planet days, on Mars since landing on Aug. 5, 2012. (One sol is slightly longer than an Earth day — about 24 hours and 40 minutes.) The rover is a key part of NASA’s search for life on Mars and continues to pull up evidence of minerals, rocks and other parts of the environment shaped by water.

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NASA Getting Ready to Launch Wooden Satellite

A team of researchers at Kyoto University has been hard at work on a satellite made of wood — and they say it’s now scheduled to launch into space next summer in a joint mission between Japan’s JAXS space agency and NASA.

While it may sound like an odd choice of materials, they say wood is a surprisingly suitable material for space.

Read more at: futurism

CNES Publishes Call for the Demonstration of Reusable Launch Systems

The launch directorate of the French space agency CNES has published a call to support industry-led demonstrations of semi-reusable micro and mini-launcher systems that will include the deployment of a passenger payload.

In the call’s introduction, CNES states that the reuse of the first stage of European launch vehicles is one of nine of its “Priority Innovation Vectors.” The agency goes on to explain that the reuse of a first stage offers a number of benefits, including cost reductions, greater flexibility, and a reduced impact on the environment.

Read more at: european spaceflight

Astronauts Might Be Able To Grow Plants On The Moon, Thanks To A Few Earth Microbes

Microbes could help unlock vital nutrients in lunar soil to one day help farms sustain astronaut crews on the moon, a new study reports.

Previous research found that lunar soil possesses a number of elements vital for plant growth. This has raised hopes that greenhouse farms on the moon could make use of local resources to help lunar bases sustain life, instead of astronauts having to lug huge amounts of soil or bulky hydroponic systems from Earth.

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China Tests Reusable Rocket

China’s version of SpaceX has successfully launched and recovered a rocket in a critical step toward developing reusable spacecraft. iSpace’s Hyperbola-2 methane-liquid oxygen rocket went up about 600 feet and then descended under power to a soft landing on its four legs. The 60-foot rocket is a test stage only and is used for evaluating the various guidance and navigation systems and the variable thrust Focus-1 engine that make it possible. iSpace is more formally known as the Glory Space Technology Ltd. and was created as a commercial entity to emulate Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Read more at: avweb


The European Space Agency holds a ministerial meeting in Seville today, ahead of a space-focused EU competitiveness Council to be held on Tuesday under the Spanish Council presidency. Expect updates on everything from Ariane 6 rocket funding to fresh visuals from the Euclid exploration mission.

Dampen your expectations: Hopes that this meeting would firm up a political mandate for ESA to start working on a serious human and robot spaceflight program have gone on the backburner given the multiple crises facing European governments right now.

Read more at: politico

House Bill Would Fully Fund Mars Sample Return, Block Cooperation On Exomars

House appropriators would fully fund NASA’s Mars Sample Return program despite its ongoing problems but halt the agency’s plans to cooperate with a European Mars mission.

House appropriators released this week the report accompanying the commerce, justice and science (CJS) spending bill for fiscal year 2024. That bill, which includes $25.366 billion for NASA, had been in limbo for more than three months, after an appropriations subcommittee marked up the bill in mid-July. The full appropriations committee did not take up the bill at the time nor public the report associated with it, which provides more details on spending levels and policy direction.

Read more at: spacenews

ESA To Start Commercial Cargo Program

The European Space Agency announced Nov. 6 it will start a competition to develop commercial vehicles to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station by 2028, a step towards developing a crewed vehicle.

ESA’s member states, meeting in Seville, Spain, as part of the European Space Summit, endorsed a resolution directing the agency to take the first step in an effort patterned on NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program that would see European companies developing vehicles for cargo transport to the ISS and potentially future space stations.

Read more at: spacenews

SpaceX is aiming to launch a Starlink cellular service next year, with the goal of supplying satellite-based messaging and internet to smartphones. But the company still needs to convince the FCC that the technology won’t interfere with other satellite and ground-based services.

On Tuesday, the FCC sent a list of additional questions to SpaceX as the US regulator considers whether to approve or reject the company’s application to operate the Starlink cellular service over the 1910 to 1995MHz radio bands.

Read more at: pcmag

NASA Invites Media to Bulgaria Artemis Accords Signing Ceremony

Bulgaria will sign the Artemis Accords during a ceremony at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 9, at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will host officials from Bulgaria and the U.S. Department of State for the accords signing ceremony.

This event is in-person only. Media interested in attending must RSVP by 7 a.m. on Nov. 9, to the NASA Headquarters newsroom at NASA’s media accreditation policy is online.

The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations, including those participating in NASA’s Artemis program.

Read more at: NASA

Amazon Argues to Reduce LEO Regulations

Amazon is teaming up with a handful of leading think tanks to launch the Alliance for Satellite Broadband, a coalition aiming to broaden global satellite internet access.

The group was just announced yesterday, but it already has its first task: pushing regulators to update decades-old limits on signal interference between different orbits.

EPFD 101: Equivalent power flux-density (EPFD) calculates signal interference from lower orbit birds on their GEO counterparts. With the proliferation of LEO constellations, regulators have set these limits to protect GEO satellites’ line of communication.

Read more at: payloadspace

Meet Washington’s Shadow Diplomat. Spoiler … it’s NASA.

When foreign leaders come to Washington they often make the rounds at the White House and Capitol Hill. But NASA?

Bill Nelson, the head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, regularly welcomes foreign leaders to his office, showing off his collection of spacecraft figurines and sitting them down to press for decadeslong partnerships with Washington. Nelson is, after all, the second sitting member of Congress to fly into space.

Read more at: Politico


How the Koreas’ Race to Launch a Spy Satellite Has Ramifications Beyond the Peninsula

Both North and South Korea have had an action-packed year in space development, from unveiling new rocket designs to testing hypersonic missiles. Now, the rivaling countries are racing to launch their first homegrown military reconnaissance satellites: Seoul is set to launch its first from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California by the end of the month, while Pyongyang has promised a third attempt to fling one into orbit, after it vowed to do so by October but did not follow through.

Read more at: TIME

DoD Signs $270 Million Agreement To Acquire SES Satellite Communications Services

The global satellite operator SES will provide services to the U.S. Defense Department under a five-year agreement worth up to $270 million, the company announced Nov. 8.

The agreement is for satellite communications services from the SES O3b broadband constellation in medium Earth orbit. The contract is a task order awarded as part of a so-called blanket purchase agreement SES signed in 2018 with DoD’s Defense Information Systems Agency.

Read more at: spacenews

Startups, Universities Selected For Accelerator Focused On Space Domain Awareness

The Space Force’s Space Systems Command selected several startups and universities to participate in a new accelerator program focused on enhancing space domain awareness — or the ability to detect, characterize and understand activity in space.

The startups include True Anomaly, Katalyst Space Technologies, HEO, and Intrack Radar Technologies. From academia, the Space Force selected the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Other organizations supporting the project are Lockheed Martin,  MITRE, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Read more at: spacenews

Four Bidders Selected To Develop Ground Systems For U.S. Missile-Warning Satellites

Ball Aerospace, Parsons, General Dynamics, and Omni Federal each won $9.7 million contracts from the U.S. Space Force to develop competing designs of next-generation ground systems.

The contracts, announced Nov. 9, are for a project known as FORGE C2, short for Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution Command and Control. The Space Force wants to modernize the ground systems that control spacecraft and process data from existing and future geostationary and polar orbit satellites — including the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) and Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) constellations.

Read more at: spacenews

Leolabs Data Shows On-Orbit Maneuvers By Russian Satellites

The space tracking firm LeoLabs over the past year tracked two Russian satellites performing rendezvous and proximity operations. These satellites — Resurs-P3 and Cosmos-2562 — conducted maneuvers that offer a glimpse of the potential hazards that U.S. and allied spacecraft could face in low Earth orbit, the company said.

Resurs-P3 — a Russian Earth observation satellite — performed a large maneuver in November 2022 after years of inactivity, and approached the Russian military satellite Cosmos-2562, according to a LeoLabs briefing.

Read more at: spacenews


China Has Sent Its Youngest-Ever Astronaut Crew To The Tiangong Space Station

When China’s first astronaut Yang Liwei blasted off into space in 2003, it was a history-making moment that declared his country’s arrival as an emerging space power.

Two decades on, China has become a major presence in space — a status that mirrors its growing economic, political and military ascendency on Earth. It now has its own permanent outpost in orbit — a fully operational space station and routinely rotates crews to live and work there.

On Thursday, three Chinese astronauts lifted off on the Shenzhou-17 spacecraft from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center deep in the Gobi Desert, heading for the Tiangong space station for a six-month stay.

Read more at: ksl

So Much For Strategic Autonomy: EU Pays Elon Musk €180M To Launch Its Satellites

The European Commission keeps banging on about strategic autonomy, but it’s had to sign a €180 million deal with SpaceX to get its satellites into orbit because Europe’s own rocket program has stalled.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told POLITICO he agreed to turn to Elon Musk’s space company — with whom he’s recently sparred on digital policy due to his ownership of X (formerly Twitter) — because Europe’s Ariane 6 launcher is very delayed.

Read more at: Politico

Intern in the ESA Director General’s Cabinet

The Director General and Council Support Division within the Director General’s Cabinet is responsible for providing all necessary support to the day-to-day work of the ESA Director General, in particular:

  • Supporting the Director General’s operational activities in coordination with the Director General’s Office;
  • Maintaining relations with ESA Member States, including pre-Council consultations, as well as meetings and visits of the Director General. This responsibility includes maintaining briefing notes and up-to-date dossiers on each Member State andensuring ESA-wide coordinated preparation;
  • Preparing the Director General’s internal meetings, providing in particular the secretariat of the Executive Board and organising bilateral meetings with Directorates;
  • The Director General’s correspondence, speeches, presentations, reporting and contributions to publications;
  • The protocol service, in particular maintaining a diplomatic network and managing the VIP participation to launch events with the support of the communication services;
  • Monitoring subsidies granted to third parties and memberships.

Read more at: ESA jobs

The World’s Largest Aircraft Breaks Cover In Silicon Valley

As dawn breaks over Silicon Valley, the world is getting its first look at Pathfinder 1, a prototype electric airship that its maker LTA Research hopes will kickstart a new era in climate-friendly air travel, and accelerate the humanitarian work of its funder, Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

The airship — its snow-white steampunk profile visible from the busy 101 highway — has taken drone technology such as fly-by-wire controls, electric motors and lidar sensing, and supersized them to something longer than three Boeing 737s, potentially able to carry tons of cargo over many hundreds of miles.

Read more at: techcrunch

The PLATERO Mission By Open Cosmos, Powered With SPACE:AI From Ubotica, To Intelligently Track Biodiversity, Desertification, Emergencies

In the landscape of satellite technology, we are witnessing a pivotal transition from the conventional centralized model to a cutting-edge framework of edge AI. Traditional “simple” satellites give way to efficient, autonomous, intelligent AI-powered counterparts. This shift to AI operating in space allows for collaborative operations and optimizes space activities, turning satellites into proactive decision-makers. With real-time analytics and communications, AI-powered satellites are becoming crucial in sectors like security, commerce, and sustainability, where immediate and accurate data delivery is invaluable to humanity.

Read more at: ubotica

Bold China Mission to Mars Will Obtain Samples Years Before NASA

China continues to take great strides as part of its goal to become a superpower in space and a direct competitor with NASA. In addition to its proposed expansion of the Tiangong space station and the creation of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), China is also planning on sending crewed missions to Mars in the coming decade.

In preparation for the arrival of taikonauts on the Red Planet, China is gearing up to return samples of Martian soil and rock to Earth roughly two years ahead of the proposed NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return (MSR).

Read more at: sciencealert

Apollo Astronaut Ken Mattingly Dead at 87

Former NASA astronaut Ken Mattingly II, best known for helping the crew of Apollo 13 return to Earth safely in 1970 after the loss of an oxygen tank in space doomed the lunar landing, has died at 87.

His cause of death on October 31 in Arlington, Virginia, was not released by NASA.

“Mattingly was key to the success of our Apollo program, and his shining personality will ensure he is remembered throughout history,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement that also called Mattingly “one of our country’s heroes.”

Read more at: flyingmag