Astronauts to Boost European Connectivity

Image taken by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano from outside the International Space Station on the first spacewalk to service the cosmic ray detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02). The image shows the three main laboratory modules, clockwise from top: the US Destiny lab, Japanese Kibo module and the European Columbus lab. (Credit: ESA–L. Parmitano, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are planning a spacewalk to install a high-speed satellite link that will improve their connections with Europe.

The system will enable astronauts to connect at home broadband internet speeds – delivering a whole family’s worth of video streaming for communications and a data pipeline connecting the scientific experiments aboard the Station to researchers in Europe.

(more…)

NASA’s Costly Toxic Legacy: Space Agency Faces at Least $1.9 Billion in Environmental Liabilities

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA faces at least $1.9 billion in environmental clean up and restoration costs at its far-flung network of centers, an amount that has increased $724 million, or 61 percent, since 2014, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

While five of 14 centers where chemical contamination exists have decreased their cleanup liability, other centers such as Kennedy Space Center, Ames Research Center and the White Sands Test Facilities have seen increased costs from 2014 to 2019.

(more…)

Redwire Acquires Oakman Aerospace, a Leading Digitally Engineered Spacecraft and Satellite Design Firm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., January 19, 2021 (Redwire PR) – Redwire, a new leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy, announced today that it has acquired Oakman Aerospace, Inc. (OAI) a leading provider of cutting-edge products and services related to digital engineering, spacecraft and satellite design and development, mission payload development, and data distribution services. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Oakman Aerospace adds a critical capability in digital engineering that will significantly enhance our space infrastructure solutions,” said Peter Cannito, Chairman and CEO of Redwire. “Their modular open systems architecture design and development approach and proprietary commercial off-the-shelf software suite is transforming the way future space capabilities are designed, developed, deployed and operated.”

(more…)

NASA: Early Green Run Engine Shutdown Caused by Conservative Test Parameters; Core Stage in Good Condition

The core stage for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is seen in the B-2 Test Stand during a scheduled eight minute duration hot fire test, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The four RS-25 engines fired for a little more than one minute. The hot fire test is the final stage of the Green Run test series, a comprehensive assessment of the Space Launch System’s core stage prior to launching the Artemis I mission to the Moon. (Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Green Run team has reviewed extensive data and completed preliminary inspections that show the rocket’s hardware is in excellent condition after the Green Run test that ignited all the engines at 5:27 p.m. EST at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. After analyzing initial data, the team determined that the shutdown after firing the engines for 67.2-seconds on Jan.16 was triggered by test parameters that were intentionally conservative to ensure the safety of the core stage during the test.

(more…)

Satellogic and SpaceX Announce Multiple Launch Agreement

Falcon 9 launches the Turksat 5A satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

First mission, scheduled for mid-2021, will further expand Satellogic’s industry-leading in-orbit capacity

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (Satellogic PR) – -Satellogic, the first company to develop a scalable Earth observation platform with the ability to remap the entire planet at both high-frequency and high-resolution, today announced a Multiple Launch Services Agreement (MLA) with SpaceX. Through the agreement, SpaceX becomes Satellogic’s preferred vendor for rideshare missions. The first launch, scheduled for June 2021, will deliver Satellogic satellites to Low Earth Orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket.

(more…)

Tech Designed by University Students Could Shine Light on Extreme Lunar Environments

Michigan Technological University’s Tethered-permanently shadowed Region Explorer would extract and use the water ice located in and around the lunar polar regions through the use of super conducting cables to deliver large quantities of power to these extremely hard to access regions. (Credits: Michigan Technological University)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — “The dark side of the Moon” is sometimes used to describe mysterious things. Though the far side of the Moon isn’t actually dark, there are some areas on the Moon that haven’t seen the Sun in billions of years. Those are the unexplored areas university students aimed to help NASA reach.

(more…)

FAA Announces Final Rule to Facilitate the Reintroduction of Civil Supersonic Flight

NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane, or QueSST, will fly over communities in the United States to demonstrate quiet supersonic. (Credits: Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON, DC (FAA PR) — Today the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule (PDF) to facilitate the safe development of civil supersonic aircraft. The rule streamlines and clarifies procedures to obtain FAA approval for supersonic flight testing in the United States.

(more…)

UArizona Scientists Will Test Mars Exploration Drones in Iceland with $3 Million NASA Grant

TUCSON, Ariz. — A team of scientists led by Christopher Hamilton of the University of Arizona is gearing up to send drones on exploration missions across a vast lava field in Iceland to test a next-generation Mars exploration concept.

Hamilton is the principal investigator on a project that has been awarded a $3.1 million NASA grant to develop a new concept combining rovers and unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, to explore regions of the red planet that have been previously inaccessible. These new Rover–Aerial Vehicle Exploration Networks will be tested in Iceland to explore volcanic terrains similar to those observed on Mars.

(more…)

Leaf Space Raises €5 Million, Bringing Total Funding to €10 Million

Closing its Series A round, the Italian startup raised €5 million, with both Primo Space and Whysol Investments contributing €2 million each

LOMAZZO, Italy (Leaf Space PR) – Leaf Space, the Italian ground segment as-a-service company focused on microsatellites, announced it has completed its Series A financing round of €5 million [$6 million], bringing its total funding to €10 million [$12 million]. A contribution of €2 million [$2.4 million] came from Primo Space, the investment fund of Primomiglio SGR focused on investments in highly innovative companies in the space industry. The other €3 million [$3.6 million] of investment were between Whysol Investments, acting as lead investor, and RedSeed Ventures, an early-stage investor of the company that had already joined the equity round last spring.

(more…)

Space BD to Provide Sompo Japan Memento Item Service by Utilizing the ISS Kibo External Experience Platform

TOKYO (Space BD PR) — Space BD Inc., the leading Japanese space startup providing access to space, announced that they will provide the memento item service to Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (Sompo Japan) and its campaign “SOMPO Park x Space Travel.

Space BD and Sompo Japan have discussed a new compensation service to expand the International Space Station (ISS) users by offering user-friendly options. The “SOMPO Park x Space Travel” campaign was born from the discussion between the two companies. While ISS has been mainly used for science-centered projects, this is the first project focusing on the entertainment uses done by service providers.

(more…)

Aurora Propulsion Technologies to Partner with Space Impulse

ESPOO, Finland and LONDON — Finland based Aurora Propulsion Technologies is a space industry engineering developer and solutions provider focusing on scalable movement and lifecycle control components for small satellites. Aurora has been recognized as one of the leading technology companies in New Space in the world. Its team of 20 engineers has grown from the founding seven in about two years.

Recognizing the importance of professional networking to support continued growth of the company, Aurora has partnered with Space Impulse to take advantage of membership in its rapidly expanding network of space industry companies and professionals in a highly collaborative environment. As the first Enterprise member in the Space Impulse platform, Aurora will leverage Space Impulse to accelerate its leadership.

(more…)

This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 NO PROGRAM TODAY.

2. Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, 7 PM PST (9 PM CST; 10 PM EST): We welcome back DR. DEANA WEIBEL to discuss her latest work on space tourism, space development and faith. Please read her full bio and program details on The Space Show website home page at the far right for the Upcoming Show Menu.

3. Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021: Hotel Mars is pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021: No program today.

5. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 SPECIAL TIME: 1-2:30 PM PST; 3-4:30 PM CST; 4-5:30 PM EST: We welcome back DR. NAMRATA GOSWAMI to discuss national security space, China and space, and space policy in the new administration.

6. Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): Welcome back DR. AVI LOEB to discuss his new book, “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life and Beyond. ”

CNES Looks to Improve Availability of Guyanese Space Center to Accommodate New Launchers, Launch Trajectories

Soyuz ascends from the Spaceport in French Guiana on Arianespace’s second mission of 2019, carrying the first six satellites for OneWeb. (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (CNES PR) — At the Guyanese Space Center (CSG), the evolution of launching azimuths leads to an increase in firing towards the North. In addition, more and more different launchers and associated launch sites must be taken into consideration, in particular with new launchers and demonstrators in preparation.

(more…)

Virgin Orbit Launches 10 Payloads for NASA

Cosmic Girl takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

MOJAVE, Calif., January 17, 2021 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based satellite launch company, confirmed that its LauncherOne rocket reached space during the company’s second launch demonstration today, successfully deploying 10 payloads for NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP).

(more…)