Northrop Grumman’s EPS-R CAPS Satellite Program Completes Delta Critical Design Review

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Aug. 4, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully completed a delta Critical Design Review (dCDR) with the U.S. Space Force for the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program.

“The successful completion of this milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to agile processes,” said Rob Fleming, vice president, strategic force programs, Northrop Grumman. “Extensive collaboration between the Northrop Grumman and customer teams was a large part of the design review success. The final design review content was shaped in cross functional working group meetings in the preceding weeks leading up to and resulting in a high quality dCDR event that met 100 percent of the exit criteria within 13 months of the contract’s authority to proceed.”

(more…)

First Laser Detection of Space Debris in Daylight

A visible green laser shone from ESA’s Optical Ground Station (OGS). Part of Teide Observatory, the OGS located 2400 m above sea level on the volcanic island of Tenerife, used for the development of optical communication systems for space as well as space debris and near-Earth orbject surveys and quantum communication experiments. (Credit: IAC– Daniel López)

Lasers on Earth are used to measure the position of space debris high above, providing crucial information on how to avoid in-space collisions. Until now, this technique has suffered from a fatal flaw.

For some time, lasers could only be used to measure the distance to space debris during the few twilight hours in which the ‘laser ranging’ station on Earth is in darkness, but debris objects high above are still bathing in the last of the Sun’s rays.

(more…)

TechEdSat-10 Deploys from the Space Station

TechEdSat-10 satellite after deployment from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — On July 13, TechEdSat-10, a six-unit CubeSat deployed from the International Space Station. The mission is demonstrating increased storage and power capabilities that could enable future science and exploration using small spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. Included on TechEdSat-10 are improvements over previous CubeSat technologies in the areas of communications and radio systems, and new propulsion techniques.

(more…)

Multiple Investigations Ongoing into Spaceport America Finances

Daniel Hicks

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that State Auditor Brian Colón is investigating the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA), and the state Economic Development Department has hired an outside accounting firm to perform an independent forensic audit of the organization that runs Spaceport America.

The investigations followed claims by NMSA’s former chief financial officer that CEO Dan Hicks had pressured him to ignore accounting procedures. Hicks is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of the inquiries.

Colón said Monday he couldn’t release the complaint that prompted him to open the investigation, but said he began the inquiry in June, one day after former Chief Financial Officer Zach De Gregorio resigned, citing frustration with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority Board’s response to his whistleblower complaint about CEO Dan Hicks’ alleged attempts to get him and others to circumvent accounting protocols.

“Daniel Hicks has shown gross mismanagement and abuse of authority,” De Gregorio wrote in his complaint. “He has consistently applied pressure to the CFO and the accounting staff to bend the rules. This pressure has reached the point where I feel like my ethical ability to act as a check and balance for financial decisions in the Agency is compromised. This has created a toxic environment where there is no longer adequate internal controls at the NM Spaceport Authority, which could lead to fraud.”

De Gregorio also accused Hicks of attempting to block and interfere with his communications with state Economic Development Department Secretary Alicia Keyes and the Spaceport board.

“Daniel Hicks often talks about that it is his money and his authority and he should be able to do what he wants,” DeGregorio wrote in his complaint. “Zach De Gregorio reminds him that it is the State of New Mexico’s money and the board’s authority and the Agency has to follow the process.”

The newspaper also reports that former NMSA employee Karen Barker has filed a complaint saying Hicks had created a toxic work environment and retaliated against her after she complained she was being paid less male counterparts.

General Atomics to Build Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System Prototype for U.S. Space Force

SAN DIEGO, Calif., 04 August 2020 (General Atomics PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has been selected for the United States Space Force Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) satellite program under the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC). GA-EMS will design and manufacture a prototype spacecraft, integrate the EWS payload and provide on-orbit mission control services to support the collection of theater weather imagery and cloud characterization data for worldwide military operational use.

“In addition to our ongoing Orbital Test Bed programs like the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) for NASA and Argos 4 for the United States Air Force, GA-EMS is pleased to support critical space missions,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “With EWS we will continue to leverage our expertise in developing scalable architectures and volume-efficient packaging, as well as our expanding satellite manufacturing capabilities to rapidly design and deliver an EO/IR satellite solution to meet the proposed EWS launch date in 2022.”

(more…)

Rocket Lab Increases Electron Payload Capacity, Enabling Interplanetary Missions and Reusability

Electron lifts off from the Mahia Peninsula on its 12th flight on June 13, 2020. (Credit; Rocket Lab webcast)

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 4, 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a satellite manufacturer and the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today announced a major performance increase to the Electron launch vehicle, boosting the company’s payload lift capacity up to 300 kg (660 lbs).

(more…)

Behnken, Hurley to Discuss Crew Dragon Flight

Crew Dragon astronauts on their way to the spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will discuss their recently completed SpaceX Demo-2 test flight mission to the International Space Station during a news conference at 4:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The news conference from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will be broadcast live on NASA Television and on the agency’s website.

(more…)

Swarm Awards Launch Contract to Exolaunch to Deliver 24 SpaceBEE Satellites into Orbit on Falcon 9

Swarm satellite (Credit: Swarm Technologies)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., August 3rd, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a Berlin-based rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a launch agreement with Swarm Technologies, a Mountain View-based satellite company providing low-cost global connectivity for IoT devices, to launch 24 satellites aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission.

Under the contract, Exolaunch will provide launch, integration and deployment services to the Swarm satellites. The spacecraft will be launched to a sun-synchronous orbit on the Falcon 9 smallsat-dedicated rideshare mission targeted for launch in December 2020.6U CubeSat

(more…)

U.S. Coast Guard Statement on Private Boats Approaching Crew Dragon Capsule

Support teams and curious recreational boaters arrive at the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft shortly after it landed with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Regarding the Pleasurecraft that were Present at the Splashdown this Afternoon
U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard worked closely with NASA and SpaceX to plan the recovery of the Dragon crew in a way that prioritized the safety of the boating public and those involved in the recovery operations.

Mariners were alerted to pending hazardous operations within a specified boundary by a Broadcast Notice to Mariners, issued 29 July.

(more…)

Virgin Galactic Stock Price Declines, Commercial Flights Scheduled for Next Year

New SpaceShipTwo reaches weight on wheels milestone. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Galactic’s stock decline in extended trading after Sir Richard Branson’s spaceline reported second quarter earnings.

The stock closed on Monday at $24.02 after rising $1.57 (6.99%). In after-hours trading, the stock declined to $22.23, a decrease of $1.79 (-7.45%).

(more…)

Virgin Galactic Announces Proposed Public Offering of Common Stock

SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity makes first glide flight at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif., August 3, 2020 (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, announced today that it has commenced an underwritten public offering of 20,489,977 shares of its common stock, for expected gross proceeds of approximately $460 million.

(more…)

Virgin Galactic Net Loss Increases to $63 Million in Q2

WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo fly right overhead. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

MOJAVE, Calif., August 3, 2020 (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020.

Second Quarter 2020 Financial Highlights:

  • Cash position remains strong, with cash and cash equivalents of $360 million as of June 30, 2020.
  • Net loss of $63 million, compared to a $60 million net loss in first quarter of 2020.
  • GAAP selling, general, and administrative expenses of $26 million, compared to $27 million in first quarter of 2020. Non-GAAP selling, general and administrative expenses of $23 million in the second quarter of 2020, compared to $23 million in the first quarter of 2020.
  • GAAP research and development expenses of $37 million, compared to $34 million in first quarter of 2020. Non-GAAP research and development expenses of $35 million in second quarter of 2020, compared to $33 million in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Adjusted EBITDA totalled $(54) million, compared to $(53) million in first quarter of 2020.
  • Cash paid for capital expenditures totalled $6 million, compared to $4 million in first quarter of 2020.
(more…)

Momentus Announces Hosting Service

Beginning in June 2021 companies or academics requiring large scale demos in Space can ride on a Momentus bus

SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 03, 2020 (Momentus PR) — Momentus (www.momentus.space), provider of in-space transportation services for satellites, today announced a hosting service for customer payloads, providing access for analytics and in-space demonstrations at a fraction of the cost of designing, building, launching and operating a dedicated smallsat.

(more…)