Once Again, A Chinese Rocket Has Doused A Village With Toxic Fuel

China’s space program now ranks among the most successful in the world, with more launches than any other country on an annual basis, the capability to send humans into orbit, and an exploration plan that includes firsts such as the Chang’e-4 spacecraft’s landing on the far side of the Moon.

However, in its steady ascent China has flouted some norms of launch. One of these is that areas down range of launch pads should be sparsely populated—preferably oceans—due to launch hazards and the uncontrolled descent of first and second stages.

Read more at: Arstechnica

‘Adjust Your Location Quickly’ — How China Warns Residents Before Rockets Crash Down From Space

China successfully launched satellites to space last week but a shower of rocket debris after the launch crushed buildings in the Sichuan province, captured in a video shared widely on social media.

Before the government launched a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Friday evening, it warned residents with a notice that read “If you see any flying objects falling from the sky, please adjust your location quickly to avoid any harm.”

Read more at: CNBC

India Admits Its Moon Lander Crashed, Cites Problem with Braking Thrusters

India has finally made it official: the country’s long-silent Chandrayaan-2 moon lander Vikram did, in fact, crash into the lunar surface in September, apparently because of an issue with its braking rockets.

In newly released details about India’s attempted lunar landing on Sept. 6, the Indian government has revealed that the Vikram craft “hard landed” on the moon because of a problem with its braking thrusters. Until now, the India Space Research Organisation had disclosed only that it had lost contact with the probe.The update was announced by Jitendra Singh, the minister of state for the Department of Space, in a written response to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament. The news was first reported by SpaceNews.

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Launch Of 250th Ariane Rocket Marks New Era For Inmarsat Broadband Fleet

Egypt’s first military communications satellite and a powerhouse spacecraft to beam Internet signals to airline passengers and maritime vessels across Europe and the Middle East rocketed into orbit Tuesday on the 250th flight of an Ariane launcher.

Running four days late after delays attributed to a ground power supply anomaly and unfavorable weather, the Ariane 5 rocket lit its core stage Vulcain 2 engine at 4:23 p.m. EST (6:23 p.m. French Guiana time; 2123 GMT) Tuesday, ran through a computer-controlled health check, and then ignited two powerful solid-fueled boosters to fire off its launch pad at the Guiana Space Center.

Read more at: Spaceflightnow


Russia’s Top Brass Confirms Military Satellite’s Exit From Orbit

The Kosmos-2422 satellite of Russia’s missile early warning system has de-orbited and burnt in the atmosphere, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“Specialists of the Main Space Intelligence Center of the Aerospace Forces’ Space Troops have confirmed that the fragments of the Kosmos-2422 satellite have exited the orbit,” the statement says.

According to the data of the Space Control Center within the Main Space Intelligence Center, “the fragments of the space vehicle de-orbited at 01:15 a.m. Moscow time on November 23, 2019 over the Pacific Ocean. The satellite’s fragments burnt in the dense layers of the atmosphere,” according to the statement.

Read mroe at: TASS

Elon Musk’s Starlink Mega-Constellation Will Result In A ‘Wild West’ Scenario In Space, Says Arianespace CEO

As part of the Starlink mega-constellation project, Elon Musk and SpaceX want 42,000 micro-satellites to be orbiting Earth.

Initially, the company planned to launch a total of 12,000 satellites to build the network, but SpaceX later requested permission to deploy an additional 30,000 satellites.

But not everyone is happy about the company’s plans; Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace spoke to radio station, France Inter, saying that Musk’s company is trying to “colonize” low-Earth orbit.

Read more at: Business insider

How a Meteorite Ruined an Alabama Woman’s Afternoon 65 Years Ago

Sixty-five years ago, a few days after Thanksgiving, Ann Hodges was snuggled up on the sofa in her Alabama home when a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite crashed through the ceiling and struck the left side of her body. Not the best interruption to the holiday season.

The cosmic event, which took place on Nov. 30, 1954, was the first known reported instance of a human being struck by a meteorite and suffering an injury. The softball-size space rock, weighing about 8.5 lbs. (3.8 kilograms), burst through the roof of Hodges’ house in Sylacauga at 2:46 p.m. local time, bouncing off a large radio console before striking her and leaving a large, dark bruise. 

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Jan Wörner of ESA: ‘We Humans Do Not Want to Be Wiped Out by a Meteorite’

At a council of ministers conference in Seville, the Director of the European Space Agency (ESA), Johann-Dietrich ‘Jan’ Wörner, demanded money for space projects from E.U. governments. He stressed the importance of researching Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).

NEO research or the potential danger of comets and asteroids to Earth and its inhabitants hardly ever make it into new headlines. Thanks to Johann-Dietrich Wörner, they just did. In Sevilla, he told ministers of numerous governments to increase funding for space research.

Read more at: berlin spectator

There’s a Violent Battle Between Solar Wind and Cosmic Rays, and Voyager 2 Just Passed Through it

Solar wind is not exactly our friend. 

The flood of hot, electric particles constantly gushing out of the sun bathes the entire solar system in radiation, frying the occasional satellite and making life impossible on any planet not shielded by an atmosphere. In both a literal and figurative sense, the solar wind blows — but, as new observations from the edge of our solar system suggest, it also protects everything it touches from the even more damaging forces of interstellar space.

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Rocket Lab Prepares For A Critical Step Towards Booster Recovery On 10th Electron Flight

Rocket Lab’s Electron small satellite launch vehicle is scheduled to enter double digits in the next few days. If all goes to schedule, Rocket Lab’s 10th Electron will lift off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand, now no earlier than this coming week, not long after the 10th anniversary of an extremely important event in Rocket Lab’s history.

The flight, given the name “Running out of fingers”, will be a rideshare mission, lofting seven small satellites into orbit.

Six of these satellites are manufactured by an English company, Alba Orbital. Four of the satellites, are constructed and managed by Alba Orbital but are flying on behalf of other institutions, while two identical ones are owned by Alba Orbital, as a testbed for an in-development satellite bus.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Space As A Service Takes Root At RBC Signals

Ron Faith is well acquainted with high-tech startups. Before becoming president and chief operating officer of RBC Signals in 2018, Faith co-founded and served as chief operating officer of Clonefone, a mobile web services company. He was also the CEO of enterprise software vendor Datacastle Corp. when it was acquired in 2017 by the data protection company Carbonite.

Now, Faith and Christopher Richins, RBC Signals, CEO and co-founder, are leading the Seattle company that provides satellite communications infrastructure as a service. RBC Signals is expanding its global network of ground stations by combining excess capacity in existing antenna networks with its own antennas.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Startup Aims to Launch Cubesats on Balloon-Lofted Rockets

Balloons could help the small-satellite revolution reach new heights.

Los Angeles-based startup Leo Aerospace is developing a system that will loft bantam spacecraft using a rocket dropped from a giant hot-air balloon about 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) above Earth’s surface. 

Such “rockoons” had something of a heyday in the 1950s, when they were employed on dozens of suborbital atmospheric-research flights. But they haven’t made much spaceflight noise since. (Today’s prominent air-launch vehicles, such as Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus rocket and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spaceliner, are carried aloft by planes.)

Read more at:


Aerojet Rocketdyne Overviews RS-25 Installation Success Ahead Of MAF Rollout Milestone

Four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines are fully installed in a NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage for the first time. The Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) donated to SLS from the forty-year long program that ended in 2011 were hard-mated in Core Stage-1 last week after being physically attached between mid-October and early November.

The lower stages of SLS were designed in general around Shuttle rockets and the Core Stage was designed in particular around the RS-25. Although largely the same as when they flew in Shuttle, NASA certified the design and new engine controller avionics to fly in the more demanding SLS operating environment and they will be flying to space as a quartet on SLS, compared to flying in a trio on Shuttle.

Read more at: NASA spaceflight

Space Travel Can Make The Gut Leaky

Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can enter our gut through the food we eat. Fortunately, the epithelial cells that line our intestines serve as a robust barrier to prevent these microorganisms from invading the rest of our bodies.

A research team led by a biomedical scientist at the University of California, Riverside, has found that simulated microgravity, such as that encountered in spaceflight, disrupts the functioning of the epithelial barrier even after removal from the microgravity environment.

Read more at: UCR

Cancer Research That’s Out-Of-This-World

Australia’s first space research mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will attempt to establish how some of the most aggressive cancer cells behave in a zero -gravity environment.

University of Technology (UTS) researcher Dr Joshua Chou is looking to replicate the promising results of experiments he has carried out on cancer cells in the zero gravity chamber built by his team in the UTS School of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr Chou organised the first ever Space Biology Symposium at UTS bringing together scientists, investors, government and space enthusiasts to consider advances in space biology and medicine. Topics included research and development of new types of pharmaceuticals, engineered tissues, and emerging medical technologies.

Read more at: Eurekalert

Canadian Space Agency Funds New Space Station Health Studies

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced this week that it had awarded $2.2 million for three new health studies to be conducted on the International Space Station.

The studies selected are specific to the effects of space flight on the human body and were selected from NASA’s 2017 Human Exploration Research Opportunities program

Read more at: SpaceQ

T-Shirt Generates Electricity From Temperature Difference Between Body And Surroundings

Researchers of the Faculty of Science of the University of Malaga (UMA) have designed a low-cost T-shirt that generates electricity from the temperature difference between the human body and the surroundings. We are talking about the “e-textile” prototype, developed in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (IIT) based on sustainable methods and low-cost materials like tomato skin.

“So far, metals have been the chemical elements commonly used in the fabrication of electronic devices. This project took a step forward, and we have been able to generate electricity by using light and more affordable and less toxic materials”, explains Jose Alejandro Heredia, one of the authors of this project.

Read more at: Space daily

NASA Funds Research into Food Production on Deep Space Missions

As NASA contemplates deep space missions to the moon and Mars, the space agency faces increasing challenges in keeping its astronauts physically and mentally healthy.

One of the key elements in that challenge is fresh food. Currently, fresh produce is supplied periodically to astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on resupply ships. Crew members have also grown small quantities of vegetables on board.

Resupply becomes a more difficult task on deep space missions due to distance. Thus, astronauts will need to grow more of their own food. Last week, NASA announced three Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards to advance that goal.

Read more at: Parabolic arc


Earth Observation, Deep Space Exploration Big Winners In New ESA Budget

European Space Agency member states on Thursday committed nearly 12.5 billion euros ($13.7 billion) to fund ESA programs over the next three years, promising money to grow Europe’s fleet of satellites studying Earth’s changing climate, contribute to NASA-led lunar exploration efforts, and continue ESA’s participation in the International Space Station until 2030.

The funding approved Thursday at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of senior government representatives from ESA’s 22 member states represents a 21 percent boost over the 10.3-billion-euro three-year budget committed at the last such ministerial-level meeting in 2016.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Gov’t Would Spend 10 Billion HUF on Hungarian Space Project

Responding to the question from Hungarian television channel RTL, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó said that the government will spend HUF 10 billion over the next three years to be able to launch a Hungarian astronaut to space in 2024. Szijjártó announced earlier this week at a European Space Agency ministerial conference in Seville that Hungary plans to send an astronaut to space in 2024 in cooperation with Russia.

According to the plans, the launch of the Hungarian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) will only be one of the pillars of the Hungarian space strategy. Hungary also aims to send an independent satellite to orbit the Earth.

Read more at: Hungary today

Italy Satisfied With Outcome Of ESA Ministerial

Italy, one of the largest contributors to the European Space Agency, is pleased with the outcome of the recent ministerial meeting that provided funding for a number of its priorities, including a reusable spacecraft.

In a finally tally of contributions provided by ESA at the end of the Space19+ ministerial meeting here Nov. 28, Italy ranked third among ESA’s 22 member states, contributing 2.28 billion euros ($2.51 billion) or 15.9% of the 14.4 billion in funding provided by ESA members overall at the meeting. Only Germany, at 3.29 billion euros, and France, at 2.66 billion euros, offered more funding. The Italian funding commitment is nearly one billion euros higher than what it provided at the previous ministerial in 2016.

Read more at: Spacenews

Space Provisions of Canada – European Union Trade Agreement (CETA) Ineffective

Issues raised several years ago were again the focus during a consultation with stakeholders by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Canadian Space Agency.

At last weeks Canadian Space Summit, stakeholders got their first chance as a group to provide feedback to GAC on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). As you might expect when something isn’t going the way stakeholders would hope, they complained, sometimes quite passionately.

Read more at: SpaceQ

NASA IG: Decide Future of the International Space Station Soon

The sooner NASA can decide the future of the International Space Station (ISS), the easier it will be for the space agency to pursue its Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon by 2020, according to a new report from its Office of Inspector General (OIG).

“Whether NASA decides to extend, increase commercialization of, or retire the ISS, the timing of each of these decisions has a cascading effect on the funding available to support space flight operations in low Earth orbit, ambitions for establishing a permanent presence on the Moon, and ultimately sending humans to Mars,” the report stated.

Read more at: Parabolic arc


N. Korea Blasts Japan’s Abe, Warns Of ‘Real Ballistic Missile’

North Korea on Saturday warned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he could soon see a “real ballistic missile” while excoriating him as the “most stupid man ever known in history”.

The colourful condemnation comes two days after the isolated state tested what it called a “super-large multiple launch rocket system”, with South Korea reporting that two projectiles came down in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

In the wake of the launch, which was supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Abe termed the fired weapons “ballistic missiles” that violated UN resolutions.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Securing the High Ground in Outer Space

“Everything we know about space is changing,” according to former NASA physicist John Mankins. Within a decade, the cost of launching into space will have dropped more than three orders of magnitude from the year 2000. Coupled with new systems and technologies, both states and private companies can turn the unthinkable into reality, even into the routine.

The economic opportunity of space development beckons, with profound changes in transportation, information, energy, and manufacturing promised in the next couple of decades.

Read more at: National interest

Russian Military Launches Secret Surveillance Satellite Into Orbit

A Russian Soyuz rocket launched a top-secret military satellite designed to scope out other satellites in space on Monday (Nov. 25), according to government reports.

The Soyuz-2.1v launch vehicle brought the satellite into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, which is roughly 500 miles or 800 kilometers north of Moscow, for the Russian Defense Ministry, the ministry said in a statement. The launch took place at 12:52 p.m. EST (1752 GMT or 8:52 p.m. local time).

“The spacecraft … is launched into the target orbit from which the state of domestic satellites can be monitored,” the ministry added. “The optical equipment of the spacecraft also allows you to take pictures of the Earth’s surface.”

Read more at:

Air Force To Test Capella’s Rapid Sat Tasking

Telling a satellite to take imagery while you’re in battle has long been a Holy Grail for military commanders, and it is now a capability on the cusp of being realized under an Air Force contract with San Francisco start-up Capella Space.

Capella CEO Payam Banazadeh told me back in August that Capella would be able to provide usable high-resolution (0.5 meters) imagery within 20 minutes of tasking — via its partnership network including communications satellite operator Inmarsat, terminal maker Addvalue and Amazon for its AWS Ground Stations. SAR satellites can provide imagery even through cloud cover, fog and at night.

Read more at: Breaking defense


Engineering Pyrotechnics for Crew Safety

Tim Pepe, Lockheed Martin Space’s mechanism and pyrotechnics manager for Orion, knows what he wants to see on July 2.

“The vehicle is like a dart going up in the air. We will see the abort motor kick on as an indication that the abort has started.”

Pepe will watch as the second separation occurs with the Orion space capsule’s LAS jettison motor ejecting the uncrewed Orion capsule simulator from the dart-like booster rocket and sending it back down toward the ocean. “That will tell me that we have successfully fired our last retention and release (R&R) mechanism.”

Read more at: Lockheed martin

Op-Ed | Global Government Space Budgets Continues Multiyear Rebound

According to Euroconsult’s Government Space Programs 2019 report, global government space budgets totaled $70.9 billion in 2018, posting a five-year compound annual growth rate of 5.75%. The increase extends the last few years of recovery that global space budgets have experienced since the 2015 low of $62.5 billion, the lowest figure since 2007.

This historic low was caused principally by major downcycling in U.S. defense spending and significant Russian budget contractions (Russia saw its total budget shrink by nearly 60% in U.S. dollars; the loss was less severe in rubles, at only -22%).

Read more at: Spacenews

Detritus on the Moon

One can learn a lot by browsing Twitter. In early October, for example, I found out that one way to tell if a particular lung cancer treatment (anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 therapy) is working is if the gray hair of patients returns to its youthful color; eight species of roundworms were discovered living in California’s Mono Lake despite its high levels of arsenic; and, seriously, the president of the United States tweeted that Democrats “are continuing to interfere in the 2016 Election.” Make that witch hunt a tachyon hunt.

I was also informed, via a tweet by Charles Fishman, author of One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon, that in 2012 NASA published “a comprehensive catalogue of human artifacts on the Moon”: space waste.

Read more at: Scientific american

11th IAASS conference