Antares Launches Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft On First CRS-2 Mission

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket successfully launched a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station Nov. 2, kicking off a new era in cargo delivery for the station.

The Antares 230+ rocket lifted off from Pad 0-A at the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport here at 9:59 a.m. Eastern. The Cygnus spacecraft, named by Northrop Grumman the S.S. Alan Bean after the late Apollo-era astronaut, separated from the rocket’s upper stage about eight and a half minutes later.

Read more at: Spacenews

HTV-8 Departs ISS Ahead Of Destructive Re-Entry

Japan’s Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle has completed its eighth mission at the International Space Station following launch aboard an H-IIB carrier rocket, berthed mission and departure.The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), also known as Kounotori, is the Japanese contribution to a fleet of uncrewed spacecraft that fly cargo and resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS).Along with the Russian Progress, US Dragon and Cygnus and formerly the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), it can deliver supplies, equipment and experiments to the astronauts aboard the outpost.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

ESA Remains Confident It Will Fix Exomars Parachutes

Top officials with the European Space Agency remain confident that they will be able to resolve the parachute problems that threaten to delay next summer’s launch of the ExoMars 2020 rover mission.

In two high-altitude tests earlier this year, parachutes intended to slow down the ExoMars 2020 lander suffered tears in their canopies. In one test in May, both the 15-meter and 35-meter parachutes were tested, while a second test in August, after incorporating what ESA called “precautionary design adaptations,” suffered tears in the 35-meter parachute.

Read more at: Spacenews

Sizing Up The Contenders For NASA’s Lunar-Lander Program

For the first time in a dog’s age, NASA’s human spaceflight program seems to be in a hurry. Although few in the aerospace industry expect the agency to meet its 2024 goal of landing humans on the South Pole of the Moon, this deadline has nonetheless spurred the space agency to move quickly with contracts on offer for a lunar space station, spacesuits, Moon cargo delivery, and more.

And then there is the space agency’s grand prize. At the end of September, NASA asked industry to bid for large contracts—which eventually will be worth at least several billion dollars—to build a “human landing system” that will take astronauts from lunar orbit down to the Moon’s surface. There is a lot to digest in these documents, which entail three-dozen attachments and several amendments. But now the time has nearly expired—the deadline for companies to respond is November 5.

Read more at: Arstechnica

ISS Orbit To Be Raised By 800 Meters On November 8

Specialists of Russia’s Mission Control Center will carry out a maneuver on November 8 to raise by 800 meters the average altitude of the International Space Station (ISS), the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash) told TASS on Friday.

“The orbit adjustment is scheduled for November 8, the maneuver will be carried out with the use of Zvezda module engines,” it said. The engines are to be switched on at 01:40 Moscow time and will be operating for about seven minutes, the press service informed.

Read more at: TASS

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Explosion Response Praised By NASA in New Briefing

During a recent NASA council meeting, SpaceX’s response to a Crew Dragon capsule’s April 20th explosion was repeatedly praised by the agency’s senior Commercial Crew Program (CCP) manager, her optimism clearly rekindled after several undeniably challenging months.

On October 29th and 30th, NASA held its second 2019 Advisory Council (NAC) meeting, comprised of a number of (more or less) independent advisors who convene to receive NASA updates and provide a sort of third-party opinion on the agency’s programs. Alongside NASA’s SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft, Commercial Crew continues to be a major priority for NASA and is equally prominent in NAC meetings, where program officials present updates.

Read more at: Teslarati

Russia Building New Spaceships To Deliver NASA Astronauts To International Space Station

The leader of Russia’s space agency announced that he would fund the construction of two additional manned spaceships in order to deliver NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, according to a Russian news outlet.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said he had received “a warm” letter from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, informing him that tests for American commercial spaceships won’t be complete until 2021, and that the agency would need to purchase seats on the Soyuz.

Read more at: Houston chronicle

China On Pace To Resume Long March 5 Launches By End Of Year

Components for China’s third Long March 5 rocket arrived at the country’s southern launch base this week as teams prepare for the first flight of the heavy-lift launcher since a 2017 mission ended in failure.

The return-to-flight mission, expected in the second half of December, is a major test of the heavy-lift rocket before China commits to launching a Mars rover and a lunar sample return mission on Long March 5 vehicles next year.

Read more at: Spaceflight now

The First Cubesats to Mars Were Almost Lost Upon Arrival

The first-ever interplanetary cubesats went dark just before their big moment last fall, spurring a last-minute rescue effort. 

The two satellites, part of NASA’s $18 million MarCO (Mars Cube One), mission were tasked primarily with demonstrating that tiny spacecraft can explore deep space. But team members also wanted the spacecraft to help relay communications from NASA’s InSight Mars lander during the latter’s touchdown attempt on Nov. 26, 2018.  

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Russia’s Progress MS-12 Spacecraft To Undock From ISS On November 29

Russia’s Progress MS-12 unmanned resupply spacecraft, which has been part of the International Space Station (ISS) since July 31, will undock from the station on November 29 to be de-orbited on the same day, a rocket and space industry source told TASS on Thursday.

“The undocking of the Progress MS-12 space freighter from the ISS is scheduled to take place at 13:23 Moscow time on November 29,” the source said.

Read more at: TASS

China Drawing Up Plan For Manned Lunar Exploration

China is carrying out in-depth demonstration and long-term planning for its manned lunar exploration, and has formed an overall consensus and a preliminary plan, according to a senior space engineer.

At the 1st China Space Science Assembly held in Xiamen, east China’s Fujian Province, from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28, Chen Shanguang, deputy chief designer of China’s manned space program, said the future trend of manned space cause is to explore the moon, and establish a lunar base to carry out scientific research, and accumulate technology and experience for going deeper into space. “The long-term goal is to send people to Mars.”

Read more at: Moondaily


One Scientist’s 15-Year (And Counting) Quest To Save Earth From Asteroid Impacts

Professor Amy Mainzer of the University of Arizona may finally have her near-Earth object (NEO) survey mission. She has led the NEOCam proposal through three rounds of the NASA Discovery program, and in 2015 was one of five mission proposals awarded a Phase A study. In 2017 the Psyche and Lucy missions were selected for flight, and Amy Mainzer’s mission was supported for further funding to develop its infrared detectors.

Read more at: Spacereview

Bluestaq Will Help The Air Force Expand Its Library Of Space Objects

The government has awarded Bluestaq a contract worth as much as $37.5 million to expand a space situational awareness database that integrates information used for air, space and multi-domain operations, the company announced Oct. 29.

The Unified Data Library is a scalable space situational awareness repository stored in a cloud and a combined effort by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, and the Air Force Space Command. The database is a collection of tracking data of objects in space, from military satellites to space debris. Eventually, the library will fuse data from all types of sensors for Air Force command and control needs, with different levels of data accessible via security classification.

Read more at: c4isrnet

The Risky Rush for Mega Constellations

Like it or not, the mega constellations are coming. By the end of 2020, SpaceX plans to launch about 1,000 satellites in its Starlink constellation, singlehandedly increasing the number of active satellites in orbit by half. One of their competitors, OneWeb, intends to launch more than 400 satellites of its own in the same period, while other companies have similar plans for additional large constellations soaring aloft in the near future. And as the number of active satellites skyrockets, so too does the potential for severe adverse effects on our planet’s orbital environment. “If you don’t take action now, then you will be as responsible as those who have not taken care of climate change,” says Kai-Uwe Schrogl, chief strategy officer for the European Space Agency (ESA).

Read more at: Scientific american

South Africa Beefing Up Space Weather Expertise

South Africa’s space agency has existed for just eight years, but the country wants to tackle a crucial challenge in satellite technology: understanding space weather.

Space weather is a suite of phenomena caused by highly charged plasma that’s spewed out by the sun and flung across the solar system, interacting with Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field as it passes. Such events can interfere with satellites in orbit and even interfere with power grids on Earth’s surface, and scientists are still developing techniques to monitor and predict space weather trends. South Africa wants to be sure it and its neighbors aren’t left out of the process.

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Boeing’s Starliner Launch Abort System Put To Test

Boeing livestreamed a critical test of its Starliner astronauts capsule Monday at the request of NASA.

The pad abort test happened at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was part of the process to certify Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to carry astronauts as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Read more at: Click orlando

Humanity Can’t Afford to Keep Space Pristine

The entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Martian ambitions are coming into clearer focus with each gleaming steel panel welded onto the two early spaceship prototypes under construction. While standing in front of a Starship Mark 1 last month, he reiterated his commitment to “making humanity multiplanetary” by founding a city on Mars. For Musk, Jeff Bezos, and other space visionaries, the solar system is filled with nearly unlimited natural resources that will relieve pressure on the Earth’s fragile environment, grow the U.S. economy exponentially, and propel humanity toward its destiny in the stars.

Read more at: Foreign policy


SpaceX to Launch 42,000 Satellites

SpaceX is developing Starlink, a satellite constellation that uses a low-cost, high-performance satellite bus and required user ground transceivers. Services to be provided include new space-based Internet communications.

SpaceX initially planned to deploy nearly 12,000 satellites, but has now increased this number by 30,000, adding up to 42,000 satellites. The initial 12,000 satellites are to be placed in three orbital shells by the mid-2020s. The first 1,600 units are to be placed in a 550-km altitude shell.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Boeing And SpaceX Preparing For Commercial Crew Abort Tests

Boeing and SpaceX are on schedule to perform two critical tests of their commercial crew vehicles in the next week with hopes that both vehicles will be ready to carry astronauts by early next year.

In an Oct. 30 presentation to the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations committee, Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s commercial crew program, said that Boeing was still working towards a Nov. 4 pad abort test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft that the company announced three weeks earlier.

Read more at: Spacenews

Landlord Nixes Hawaii Spaceport Project On Big Island

A Hawaii landowner has decided not to go forward with a satellite launch facility that would have been built by an Alaska company.

Alaska Aerospace Corp. was in talks to potentially build Pacific Spaceport Complex Hawaii on W.H. Shipman land near Keeau on the Big Island. The company operates a similar satellite launch facility in Kodiak, Alaska.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday Shipman President Peggy Farias said the landowner ended discussions with Alaska Aerospace after determining the project would not be a suitable use of its land.

Read more at: hawaiinews now

Branson’s Virgin Galactic Sinks 20% Since NYSE Debut This Week

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. is getting off to a rocky start as the first publicly traded space-tourism company.

The shares have yet to post a daily gain since adopting the SPCE ticker on Oct. 28, following a merger with a shell investment company that was already trading. Virgin Galactic tumbled 11% to $9.41 at the close in New York, bringing this week’s decline to 20%.

Read more at: Bloomberg

Russian Private Firm To Start Reusable Rocket Launches For Satellite Delivery In 2024-2026

The Russian private company Laros will begin launches of its reusable carrier rocket capable of delivering up to 200 kg of payloads into orbit at an altitude of 500 km in 2024-2026, Laros owner Oleg Larionov told TASS on Thursday.

The company chief earlier told TASS that in 2020 Laros planned to begin the launches of a sub-orbital one-stage rocket to an altitude of up to 130 km to practice propulsive landing. In this case, the rocket lands onto a special site at landing pads with zero speed, using its own thrusters. The same method is employed by the US SpaceX.

Read more at: TASS


Space Health Institute Selects New Research Studies

The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine has selected six new biomedical research projects for space applications to receive two years of funding.

These projects aim to develop novel solutions to some of NASA’s highest priority risks to human health and performance during deep space exploration missions.

Read more at: Space daily

Israeli Radiation Protection Vest Blasts Off To Int’l Space Station

A radiation protection vest developed by Tel Aviv-based StemRad blasted off toward the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday on-board a robotic resupply spacecraft launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

StemRad’s AstroRad vest offers personal protective equipment for astronauts to wear beyond low Earth orbit, mitigating space radiation exposure outside the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Read more at: Jpost

Mold In Space: NASA Grant To Study Space Station Fungus

The International Space Station has a problem with fungus and mold – and the University of Colorado Boulder has sent new research to space to find solutions.

It is living and growing in secret aboard the station, hidden behind panels and inside pipes and conduit. It can live on almost any surface, and will slowly consume whatever it touches – plastic, metal, glass. It does not discriminate, and it is a real problem.

Read more at: Colorado

Cruz Criticizes House For Lack Of Action On Commercial Space Legislation

The chairman of the Senate’s space subcommittee said Oct. 31 that his counterparts in the House seemed uninterested in working on legislation to modernize commercial space regulations.

In a speech at a forum organized by the Air Line Pilots Association and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation on airspace issues for commercial launches, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the aviation and space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, said there was no sign that the House was willing to move ahead with legislation such as the Space Frontier Act in the Senate.

Read more at: Spacenews

Shedding New Light On The Charging Of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Exposing cathodes to light decreases charge time by a factor of two in lithium-ion batteries. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reported a new mechanism to speed up the charging of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Simply exposing the cathode to a beam of concentrated light – for example, the white light from a xenon lamp – lowers the battery charging time by a remarkable factor of two or more. If commercialized, such technology could be a game changer for electric vehicles.

Read more at: Spacedaily

British Hypersonic Engine Passes Key Test

Reaction Engines, a UK-based company formed in 1989 to design and develop the technologies needed for a new class of innovative hypersonic propulsion system, claims a breakthrough in aerospace engine technology by developing ultra-lightweight heat exchangers. Such heat exchangers prevent engine components from overheating at high flight speeds.

The company’s Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) is intended to enable aircraft to fly over five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere.

Read more at: Spacedaily


NASA, NOAA, FAA Space Office Appropriations Take Step Forward, But Not Defense

Today the Senate passed a package of appropriations bills including those that fund NASA, NOAA and the FAA’s space office.  While there is no guarantee they will be finalized before the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on November 21, it is a positive development in the FY2020 funding saga.  On the other hand, the package that includes defense appropriations failed a procedural motion and remains in limbo.

The Senate version of H.R. 3055 passed 84-9.  The package of bills, or “minibus,” encompasses the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill, which funds NASA and NOAA (including the Office of Space Commerce); the Transportation-HUD bill that includes the FAA and its Office of Commercial Space Transportation; and two others — Agriculture, and Interior-Environment. 

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

President Zelensky Signs Law Regulating Space Activities

President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed the law amending the Law of Ukraine “On amendments to certain laws of Ukraine on the state regulation of space activities,” which was approved by the Verkhovna Rada on October 2, 2019, according to the parliament’s press service.

“The law creates conditions for developing the domestic space industry, enhancing its investment attractiveness, creating a competitive environment for space entities of different forms of ownership. The document stipulates that enterprises, institutions and organizations of any form of ownership and legal organizational form can be subjects of space activities,” reads the report.

Read more at: ukrinform


GAO Says Critical Space C2 Effort At Risk

Ellen Lord, the head of Pentagon acquisition, will meet with Air Force officials later this month to decide if service is on the right path with its Space Command and Control program, which will enable Space Command’s critical command and control system known as ESBMC2.

Col. Jennifer Krolikowski, Space C2 program chief at Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), told Breaking D that her office has finished drafting the acquisition strategy recommended by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) in its Oct. 30 report.

Read more at: Breakingdefense

Space Companies To Compete For $40 Million Pot At Air Force Live Pitch Event

The U.S. Air Force has selected 30 startups and small businesses to participate in a live pitch event Nov. 5-6 in San Francisco focused on the space industry. These companies will have an opportunity to win on-the-spot contracts from a pot of money estimated at about $40 million, said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics.

“We’re going to see a lot of great commercial technology that we’re going to be able to apply to military problems,” Roper told SpaceNews in an interview.

Read more at: Spacenews

Missile Defense Agency Selects Four Companies To Develop Space Sensors

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Leidos and L3Harris each a $20 million contract to design space sensors that can track hypersonic and ballistic missiles, the agency announced Oct. 29.

The four bids were selected from a total of 12 submitted for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program, MDA said. The bids were solicited by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Enterprise Consortium on behalf of MDA.

The Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program was previously known as the Space Sensor Layer.

Read more at: Spacenews

US Air Force Research Laboratory Developing Space Solar Power Beaming

The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is developing space-based solar power transmission capability using high-efficiency solar cells to collect the sun’s energy, convert it to radio frequency, and beam it to earth.

“Energy is a strategic enabler and potential vulnerability for our nation and our Department of Defense” said U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Felt, director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate. “To ensure DoD mission success we must have the energy we need at the right place at the right time.”

Read more at: Solar daily

Nkorea Conducts New Test Of ‘Super-Large’ Rocket Launcher: KCNA

North Korea has carried out a “successful” new test of its “super-large multiple rocket launcher” system, state media said Friday — the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang.

South Korea’s military said Thursday that the North had launched two short-range projectiles from South Pyongan province. They each flew approximately 370 kilometres (230 miles).

It was the latest in a series of launches by the North but the first since October 2, when it fired a sea-launched missile.

Read more at: Spacedaily


Scientists Demonstrate Direct Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans

We humans have evolved a rich repertoire of communication, from gesture to sophisticated languages. All of these forms of communication link otherwise separate individuals in such a way that they can share and express their singular experiences and work together collaboratively. In a new study, technology replaces language as a means of communicating by directly linking the activity of human brains. Electrical activity from the brains of a pair of human subjects was transmitted to the brain of a third individual in the form of magnetic signals, which conveyed an instruction to perform a task in a particular manner.

Read more at: Scientific american

What It’s Like to Become a NASA Astronaut: 10 Surprising Facts

Being an astronaut is a tremendous commitment. Astronaut candidates — who tend to be selected in their 30s and 40s — usually leave prestigious careers for a chance at being an astronaut, starting again at the bottom of the rung. Training means long days at work and lots of travel. There’s also no guarantee they’ll make it into space.

Yet, more than 18,000 Americans competed in this round of NASA’s astronaut selection. The new candidates will be announced Wednesday (June 7), and will report for basic training in August. Here’s what it takes to be a NASA astronaut and what happens after the selection.

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On This Day in Space! Nov. 6, 1572: Tycho Supernova Discovered

On Nov. 6, 1572, the German astronomer Wolfgang Schulër observed a supernova with his bare eyes. He spotted the exploding star in the constellation Cassiopeia. It was as bright as Venus and could even be seen during the day.

Astronomers were really confused, because it looked like a star just appeared out of nowhere. Schulër may have been the first to see it, but the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe is widely credited for the discovery. Brahe studied it in detail and wrote a whole book about this so-called “new star.” It then became known as “Tycho’s Star.”

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Belgium Kicks Out Chinese Academic In ‘Spy’ Row

Belgium has denied a Chinese academic a visa and banned him from the EU’s passport-free travel area for eight years after identifying him as a potential threat to national security, sources close to the probe told AFP Wednesday.

Song Xinning, the head of the Chinese government-backed Confucius Institute at the VUB university in Brussels, came to the attention of Belgium’s VSSE intelligence agency for “damaging national security”, the sources said.

Read more at: sinodaily

Five Years Ago SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise Crashed in the Mojave Desert

Five years ago today, SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise broke up over the Mojave Desert during a flight test. Co-pilot Mike Alsbury died and pilot Pete Siebold was seriously injured.

The crash ended Virgin Galactic’s effort to begin commercial crewed suborbital spaceflights in the first quarter of 2015. Those flights are not forecast to begin in June 2020 — five years later than planned.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

Commercial Space Pilot Honored at Space Mirror Memorial

Two dozen fallen NASA astronauts are memorialized on sacred ground in Brevard County. But now, for the first time, a commercial space pilot will be honored five years after a tragic crash.

It’s always solemn at the Space Mirror Memorial located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.Created by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation years ago, it honors 24 NASA astronauts who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of exploration. Some predated the space agency, working for the Manned Orbiting Lab, while others were T-38 pilots.

Read more at: mynews13

11th IAASS conference