Boeing Tests Crew Capsule Escape System

A Boeing Starliner crew capsule fired off a stand early Monday at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on a mile-high test flight to validate the spacecraft’s emergency escape thrusters.

Only two of the ship’s three main parachutes deployed on descent, but Boeing officials do not expect any impacts on the planned launch of an unpiloted Starliner demonstration mission to the International Space Station in December.

The capsule did not fly with any astronauts Monday when it launched off a pad at White Sands on a fast-paced test flight, which lasted around 78 seconds from liftoff through landing.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Boeing Discloses Cause Of Starliner Parachute Anomaly

NASA’s head of Commercial Crew Kathy Lueders and Boeing’s John Mulholland, V.P. and Program Manager, Commercial Crew Programs, Space Exploration, held a press conference on Nov. 7 to discuss the results of last Monday’s pad abort test of Boeing’s Starliner commercial spacecraft. While the test is nearly every respect was exactly as desired, or what is called “nominal” in aerospace circles, there was one anomaly–only two of Starliner’s three main parachutes deployed.

One issue that Boeing discussed the discharge of hydrazine from the Starliner service module, as seen in the orange cloud surrounding Starliner after it rotated into an aft-forward flight position. Hydrazine is extremely corrosive and caustic. There had been some speculation on social media that the orange cloud had been the cause of one of Starliner’s three parachutes not deploying. It turns-out that the hydrazine cloud was expected and played no part in one of Starliner’s main parachutes failing to deploy.

Read more at: America space

Advisory Panel Wants NASA To Test Fly Moon Lander Before Humans Get On Board

A NASA advisory committee on human space flight is recommending NASA seriously consider flight testing its new lunar landing system with an uncrewed Moon mission before a mission with astronauts on board.

“Serious consideration should be given to demonstrating through flight test the ability to deorbit, land on and ascend from the lunar surface under the expected physical and environmental conditions,” the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) committee of the NASA Advisory Council says in a new report.

Read more at: Al

Astronaut Preparing For ISS Mission With Reduced Crew

A NASA astronaut flying to the International Space Station next spring could be the only American on the station for an extended period because of uncertainty in the status of commercial crew vehicles.

NASA announced Oct. 30 that Chris Cassidy will fly to the station next April on a Soyuz spacecraft with Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin. Cassidy will be making his third spaceflight, and second long-duration mission, while Babkin and Tikhonov will each be making their first flights.

Read more at: Spacenews

Oneweb’s First Big Deployment Launch Slips To January

OneWeb has delayed the beginning of its regular launch campaign by a month to allow more testing of its small broadband satellites.

“We are taking the utmost care to prepare for launch and therefore are taking a few extra weeks to conduct additional tests on the satellites which will be shipped in December for launch,” OneWeb said in a statement to SpaceNews. “We are targeting our next launch for mid-to-late January and remain on track for monthly launches thereafter and to begin service in the Arctic in late 2020 and global coverage in 2021.”

Read more at: Spacenews

ISS Orbit Raised By 800 Meters

The medium altitude of the International Space Station’s (ISS) flight orbit has been raised by 800 meters with the help of the engines of the Progress MS-12 cargo spaceship docked to the station, a spokesman for the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIImash) that is in charge of the Mission Control Center, told TASS on Friday.

“The maneuver was carried out with the help of the engines of the Progress MS-12 cargo spaceship. The engines operated for a due period of time,” the spokesman said, adding that the ISS’ orbit had been raised by 800 meters, to 416.6 kilometers.

Read more at: TASS

“Unacceptable! Never Again!”: EC Deputy On Galileo Outage

Responding to a suggestion about the Galileo outage this past summer to the effect of “these things happen,” a senior European Commission (EC) official pushed back strongly, calling the event “Unacceptable!” and vowing “Never again!”

The comments by Pierre Delsaux came during a question-and-answer session at breakfast hosted by the European Union on “EU Space Policy: Trends for the Future.” The breakfast was held as a parallel event to this year’s International Astronautics Conference in Washington, D.C.

Read more at: gpsworld


Megaconstellation milestones high on U.S. WRC-19 priority list

Finding international consensus on deployment milestones for constellations of non-geosynchronous satellites is a top space-related priority for the U.S. delegation attending the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference, officials said Nov. 1.

Grace Koh, the ambassador leading the U.S. delegation at WRC-19 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this month, said there are several space-related topics the U.S. is following closely at the four-week event. There, regulators from around the world discuss and decide on the best ways to use spectrum for everything from satellites to cellphones.

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX Doubles Starlink Internet Satellites In Orbit, Eyes Critical Mass

A SpaceX launch Monday successfully deployed the next batch of Starlink internet satellites, ahead of a surge next year that could enable some operational capability.

A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:56 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

About five minutes later, the fairing, or nose cone, deployed to mark the first time it was reused. And three minutes after that, the first-stage booster landed on SpaceX’s drone ship, marking the first time the primary stage of a Falcon 9 rocket has been launched and recovered four times.

Read more at: investors

Human Heart Cells Beat Differently in Microgravity, Which May Benefit Astronauts

A new study shows how microgravity alters human heart muscle cells in space, helping astronauts better prepare for long-duration missions to Mars and beyond.

Spaceflight is known to affect the human body in a variety of ways. This includes physiological changes in cardiac function, such as reduced heart rate, lowered arterial pressure and increased cardiac output.

Read more at:

Apollo Astronaut Champions Hera For Planetary Defence

Having spent much of the 21st century developing planetary defence techniques, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart is a strong supporter of ESA’s proposed Hera mission. In general, when it comes to asteroid deflection, he says, two spacecraft are better than one.

“For asteroid deflection by kinetic impact, we stopped talking about a single deflection mission and we’ve started talking about a deflection campaign instead, based on an observer spacecraft as well as the impactor spacecraft,” explains Schweickart, who became the first astronaut to fly the Lunar Module during the Apollo 9 mission in March 1969.

Read more at: ESA


Buy Virgin Galactic Stock Because Space Tourism Will Be Safer Than You Think, Analyst Says

Vertical Research Partners is the first firm to begin covering Virgin Galactic, initiating the space tourism venture’s stock with a “buy” rating and saying its risk “is misunderstood.”

“We think the technical risk to SPCE’s human spaceflight program is less draconian than the stock appears to be pricing in,” analyst Darryl Genovesi said in a note to investors.

Virgin Galactic began trading publicly last week, following the completion of its merger with Chamath Palihapitiya’s venture Social Capital Hedosophia. Genovesi sees Virgin Galactic, ticker ‘SPCE,’ as a standout for being the only stock investors can trade in a niche but growing market.

Read more at: CNBC

Virgin Orbit Awarded $9.5m To Begin Horizontal Rocket Launches From The U.K. In 2021

The U.K. has moved a step closer to launching rockets to orbit in the near-future, after the U.K. Space Agency (UKSA) announced $9.5 million (£7.35 million) in funding for Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit company to begin launches by the end of 2021.

The funds are intended to help Virgin Orbit fly its LauncherOne rocket from a new spaceport being developed at Cornwall Airport Newquay. LauncherOne will be carried into the sky under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 aircraft called Cosmic Girl, where it will then be dropped and fly under its own engines into orbit.

Read more at: Forbes

Yes, the ‘Von Braun’ Space Hotel Idea Is Wild. But Could We Build It by 2025?

Will you be planning a trip to an orbiting “space hotel” as early as 2025?

The Gateway Foundation, a private company developing this “space hotel,” thinks so. The organization plans to build what it describes on its website as “the first spaceport.” This spaceport, the Von Braun Rotating Space Station, will orbit Earth and will accommodate not only scientific research but also visiting tourists looking to experience life away from our home planet.

But, while any timeline for the creation of such a structure would be daunting, the Gateway Foundation plans to build the spaceport as early as 2025 (with the support of the space construction company Orbital Assembly).

Read more at:

Boeing Just Sent NASA Its Moon Lander Idea for Artemis Astronauts. Here It Is.

Boeing is already building a new spaceship and a giant rocket for NASA. Now, the aerospace company wants to go to the moon.

On Tuesday (Nov. 5), Boeing delivered a proposal to NASA for a crewed lunar lander to fly astronauts to the moon in 2024 as part of the agency’s Artemis program. The moon lander will draw on Boeing’s experience in working with NASA on the International Space Station (ISS), the Space Launch System megarocket and the company’s own private Starliner crew capsule that aims to deliver astronauts to the moon as fast as possible, Boeing representatives said.

Read more at:

SpaceX To Reuse Payload Fairing For First Time On Nov. 11 Launch

A SpaceX launch set for Nov. 11 will mark the first Falcon 9 mission to use a payload fairing from a previous flight, the company announced Tuesday, shortly after SpaceX engineers at Cape Canaveral test-fired the mission’s first stage booster, also refurbished and reused.

The Falcon 9 launch scheduled for next Monday — and previously planned for October — will loft 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network, joining 60 other test craft deployed on a Falcon 9 flight in May.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Air Force Looking For Ideas On How To Turn Launch Ranges Into ‘National Spaceports’

The Air Force Space Command will hold a tabletop exercise this week focused on the future of military launch facilities and how they can support growth in commercial space.

The exercise, to be held Nov. 5-7 in Chantilly, Virginia, is an effort by Air Force Space Command to gather ideas on how to transform the military’s launch ranges into multi-use national spaceports that can better accommodate national security, civil and commercial launch demands.

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the Department of Commerce and senior Air Force leaders are expected to participate, a spokesperson for Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) said in a statement to SpaceNews.

Read more at: Spacenews

Tom Clyde: Virgin Galactic’s Stock Offering Raises A Question: Do We Really Need Private Space Travel?

The business world was aflutter this week over the initial stock offering of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s private space travel business. It’s one of several space tourism companies out there. Jeff Bezos, of Amazon fame, has a competing company called Blue Origin, and I think Elon Musk at Tesla is also working on the concept. Virgin Galactic is way out in front. They did a first test flight last February, and are preparing to send tourists into space within a few years.

The system is a little different from the NASA rocket launches we grew up watching. Instead of a giant rocket on a launch pad, the Virgin Galactic vehicle is launched from a special carbon fiber airplane, so it is partway up before the rocket shoots off.

Read more at: parkrecord


Why Are Parachutes Such A Problem For Space Travel?

The United States is developing more spacecraft to carry people into space than any time in history. You might think the whole rocket full of explosive propellant is the biggest engineering challenge, but right now, it’s the soft landing that’s tricky—because designing parachutes, it turns out, isn’t so easy.

Earlier this year, auditors identified parachute problems as a top risk to NASA’s commercial crew program, which has hired SpaceX and Boeing to design and operate vehicles to bring astronauts to the International Space Station.

Read more at: QZ

Advanced Electric Propulsion Thruster for NASA’s Gateway Achieves Full Power Demonstration

Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA recently demonstrated an Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) thruster at full power for the first time, achieving an important program milestone. Aerojet Rocketdyne-developed AEPS thrusters are slated to be used on the Power and Propulsion Element of NASA’s Gateway, the agency’s orbiting lunar outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.

The state-of-the-art AEPS Hall thruster operated at 12.5 kilowatts (kW) as part of its final conditioning sequence during testing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The thruster demonstrated stable operation at power levels ranging from 4.2 kW to 12.5 kW. Full electric propulsion thruster string integration will take place early next year.

Read more at: rocket

NASA’s Grueling Underwater Test for Astronauts

Before astronauts can launch into space, they have to go for a swim.

The pool sits inside a big, windowless building in Houston, on the grounds of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It is about 40 feet deep, and holds enough water to fill several Olympic-size pools. Beneath the surface, shrouded in the bluish tint of the water, is a replica of the International Space Station.

This facility, known as the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, is where future astronauts train for spacewalks outside the ISS.

Read more at: Atlantic

NASA Rejects Blue Origin’s Offer Of A Cheaper Upper Stage For The SLS Rocket

On Halloween, NASA posted a document that provides some perspective on the agency’s long-term plans for the Space Launch System rocket. This is the agency’s titanic booster that has been under development since 2010, has an annual budget of more than $2 billion, and will not fly before at least 2021. The new document, known as a Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition, explains why NASA rejected a lower-cost version of an upper stage for its rocket.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Kilometer-Long Space Tether Tests Fuel-Free Propulsion

A massive cloud of space junk—containing more than 23,000 pieces larger than 10 centimeters across—is currently zooming around Earth with an average speed of about 36,000 kilometers per hour. And as companies such as SpaceX and OneWeb plan to launch tens of thousands of new satellites over the next few years, this hazardous clutter will likely pose an increasing threat to space missions and astronauts. One possible solution may be an electrodynamic tether, a device that could help prevent future satellites from becoming abandoned wrecks. The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory plans to test this technology in the next few weeks.

Read more at: Scientific american


Hidden Figures Commemorative Act Signed Into Law

President Trump signed into law today a bill honoring women who worked at NASA through the 1970s and helped the agency achieve its many successes during that era. In particular, it awards congressional gold medals to four “Hidden Figures” whose contributions to putting the first Americans into space formed the basis of the book and movie of that title.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Sen. Maria Cantwell Plays A Role In Drive To Keep The Space Station Going Until 2030

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has joined with three other U.S. senators in introducing a NASA authorization bill that aims to extend federal support for International Space Station to 2030.The bill voices support for NASA’s Artemis campaign to explore the moon in preparation for missions to Mars. But it doesn’t mention NASA’s 2024 deadline for the astronauts’ first landing. Instead, the legislation urges NASA to “collaborate with commercial and international partners to establish lunar exploration by 2028” — which had been NASA’s plan until April.

Read more at: Geekwire

White House Warns Congress About Artemis Funding

The White House warned Congress in a recent letter that without funding increases for its exploration programs, NASA won’t be able to achieve the goal of landing humans on the moon in 2024.

The Oct. 23 letter from Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, addressed overall issues with appropriations bills that Shelby’s committee had approved in recent weeks, including the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) bill that funds NASA.

Read more at: Spacenews

Conquering Space: Iran to Launch Three Domestically-Made Satellites in Near Future

In October, the Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi said that Iran intended to send an astronaut into space, adding that Tehran would hold talks with Russia on the issue as foreign assistance would be needed.

The head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) Morteza Barari has announced that Iran plans to launch three satellites in the near future.

Read more at: Sputnik news


UN GA Committee Approves 3 Resolutions Against Space Arms Race Submitted By Russia

The First Committee of the UN General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security) on Tuesday adopted three resolutions on disarmament in space which were previously submitted by Russia, an Interfax correspondent reported.

The documents were approved by a majority of votes, but the United States voted against the Russian projects in each case. The adopted resolutions will be discussed at a plenary session of the UN GA later in December.

Read more at: Interfax

CyberSat Sees Dueling Views of Russia as Partner, Adversary in Space

When it comes to outer space, Russia is both a partner and an adversary for the U.S., a duality made clear by two very different keynotes at Thursday’s CyberSat 2019 conference.

NASA CIO Renne Wynn cheerily highlighted the ways the two nations cooperate in space — Russia has a module on the International Space Station (ISS) and provides the launch capabilities that keep ISS supplied. But Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley grimly noted that Russian military theory sees space supremacy as the key to victory in military conflicts on the ground, at sea and in the air.

Read more at: Satellite today

‘Space Pitch Day’ Yields Innovative Technologies And New Partners For The Air Force

The United States Air Force has long been a leader in space and a catalyst for cutting-edge technology.

But the Air Force doesn’t get there – or stay there – alone, which is why senior officers and officials, including Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, were in San Francisco Nov. 5-6 for Space Pitch Day, an event designed to find new partners, innovative technologies and products while fast-tracking development.

By the end of the two-day event, 30 pre-selected companies were awarded on-the-spot contracts with the Air Force worth a total of $22.5 million.

Read more at: AF

Air Force To Require Cybersecurity Audits Of Commercial Satellite Communications Providers

The Air Force starting in 2020 will rate the cybersecurity of commercial satellite communications providers in an effort to increase the protection of military networks.

The new program is called Infrastructure Asset Pre-Assessment (IA-Pre) and will be run by the Air Force Space Command’s commercial satellite communications office, Andrew D’Uva, president of Providence Access Company, said Nov. 7 at the CyberSat 2019 conference.

D’Uva is a consultant who represents a coalition of satellite operators that provide services to the U.S. government.

Read more at: Spacenews

Not Your Average Rocket Launch; 45th SW Supports Pegasus ICON

The 45th Space Wing supported the Pegasus ICON rocket launch on Nov. 7, 2018 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Skid Strip.

Skid Strip? That’s quite different than a standard launch from the Cape – don’t rockets launch from pads? The skid strip, a smaller flight line on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, served as the acting “launch pad” for an L-1011 aircraft as it took flight and air-launched the Pegasus ICON.

Aside from providing land for the L-1011 to take-off, according to 1st Lt. Amanda Parr, 45th Range Squadron range operations commander, the 45th SW provided the same type of support for the Pegasus that it would for any rocket launching from a pad.

Read more at: AF

ESA Practices Cybersecurity

Strong and reliable communication is a key part of the space industry. From the signals that make global satellite navigation work to the data we collect from Earth-monitoring missions, space telescopes, human spaceflight and planetary exploration, everything has to be transferred and stored securely – including the news in ESA’s website.

And these data must be available to those who need it, uninterrupted, any time.

Read more at: ESA

Defense Innovation Unit helping Army find alternatives to GPS

The Defense Innovation Unit’s Boston office is reviewing vendor proposals for handheld navigation devices that don’t rely on Global Positioning System satellite signals. They would be used by U.S. Army soldiers in future military conflicts when they expect GPS signals to be disrupted.

After soliciting vendor ideas last month, DIU received 25 proposals for the Dismounted Assured PNT System (DAPS). PNT is short for positioning, navigation and timing.

Read more at: Spacenews

Boeing’s 737 Max Troubles Deepen, Taking Airlines, Suppliers With It

Boeing shares continued their slide Monday after explosive messages last week revealed a top pilot had concerns about a system on the 737 Max that was later implicated in two fatal crashes.

Several Wall Street analysts downgraded Boeing, fretting about the fallout from the crisis that has barred the manufacturer from delivering its best-selling planes that make up around 40% of its profit.

Read more at: CNBC

GMV Presents Dronelocus For The Safety And Management Of Uspace

Growing from its participation in the European DOMUS project, and designed to come up with a response to the growing number of civil unmanned aircrafts likely to be sharing the airspace in the near future, the technology multinational GMV has developed the U-Space suite dronelocus , which integrates a Tracking Service and an Emergency Management Service.

U-Space is the set of new services and procedures designed to guarantee safe and secure airspace access for unmanned aircrafts, taking in operational security, respect for public privacy and safety of persons and infrastructure.

Read more at: Spacewar

11th IAASS conference