Momentus to Launch IRIS-A Mission for NCKU Space Laboratory

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Momentus Space PR) — Today we are happy to announce a launch service agreement with NCKU Space Laboratory and ODYSSEUS Space.

The IRIS-A mission we are supporting is of strategic importance to Taiwan, and is the first of three, with follow up missions IRIS-B and IRIS-C due to reach space in 2022 and 2023.

IRIS-A will be equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to achieve a Doppler shift estimation and improve the quality of downlink signal, increasing the efficiency of future IoT constellations of nanosatellites intended to monitor objects from space.

ODYSSEUS is a young startup based in Taiwan created by French professionals coming from the European space sector. They have experience and expertise both in Asia and in Europe to uniquely address the booming global market of small satellites applications.

ODYSSEUS has been working with National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) of Tainan, Taiwan (NCKU) for many years now. IoT is a very hot topic in Taiwan and we are thrilled to be working with leaders in the sector bringing the technology to space.

Our Vigoride solution is highly innovative and provides small satellite developers, like NCKU and ODYSSEUS with long awaited flexibility in the choice of their orbit and their timeline.

COVID-19: How Can Satellites Help?

Normally busy, Frankfurt airport stands still amid the COVID-19 crisis. The image was captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission on 30 March 2020. (Credits: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data – 2020, processed by ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has virtually paralysed daily life as we know it. Even when the spread of this highly infectious disease has been stemmed, the world will face huge challenges getting back to normal. To help support experts working in Europe’s research centres and technical organisations during these unprecedented times, ESA has issued two new initiatives related to understanding the effects that COVID-19 is imposing on society, the economy and the environment.

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NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Gets Its Wheels and Air Brakes

Wheels are installed on NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover inside Kennedy Space Center’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on March 30, 2020. Perseverance will liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in July 2020. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Final assembly and testing of NASA’s Perseverance rover continues at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the July launch window approaches. In some of the last steps required prior to stacking the spacecraft components in the configuration they’ll be in atop the Atlas V rocket, the rover’s wheels and parachute have been installed.

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Space Foundation Reschedules Space Symposium for October

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 2, 2020) — The Space Foundation issued a statement today announcing the 36th Space Symposium has been rescheduled for Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, 2020.  Hosted at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, the annual assembly of the world’s space community will gather leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs from the civil, commercial, military, research, and international sectors to share, explore, and partner on efforts that will impact our lives beyond Earth and upon it.

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Nine New Members Join FAA’s COMSTAC

WASHINGTON – (FAA PR) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is pleased to announce nine new members  for the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). Secretary Elaine L. Chao approved the nominations along with the re-appointment of 13 members.

Since its inception in 1984, COMSTAC has provided information, advice, and recommendations to the DOT through the FAA about technology, business, and policy issues relevant to overseeing the U.S. commercial space transportation sector.

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Video: Grant Anderson TEDx Talk About Human Spaceflight

Being Human Means Being There. Human Space Flight Takes Humanity with it to the Stars – Recognized as a leader in the life support in extreme environments field, Grant has led the systems & conceptual design of multiple spacecraft Title of talk is: Being Human Means Being There. Human Space Flight Takes Humanity with it to the Stars –

Recognized as a leader in the life support in extreme environments field, has led the systems & conceptual design of multiple spacecraft under contract to Lockheed Martin, NASA, Inspiration Mars Foundation & others. He has led development & qualification of experimental flight hardware for five shuttle flights, two Mir missions, a Russian Progress, & the first commercial payload on ISS.

Prior to starting Paragon, Mr. Anderson was the Chief Design Engineer for the International Space Station Solar Array Program–the largest solar arrays ever built–while employed at Lockheed Martin.

Working at an aviation consultancy, he participated in the start-up of two airlines through route analysis, equipment analysis and strategy advice. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Virgin Orbit Partners to Use Japanese Airport for Launches

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 taxis down runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port with the LauncherOne booster under its wing. Northrop Grumman’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, which also air launches the Pegasus XL rocket, can be seen in the background. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

OITA, Japan/LONG BEACH, Calif., April 2, 2020 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based small satellite launch company, has announced a new partnership with Oita Prefecture to bring horizontal launch to Japan.

With the support of regional partners ANA Holdings Inc. and the Space Port Japan Association, Virgin Orbit has identified Oita Airport as its preferred pilot launch site — yet another addition to the company’s growing global network of horizontal launch sites — in pursuit of a mission to space from Japan as early as 2022. 

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SNC Leverages VORTEX Engine Technology for DARPA’s OpFires Program

VORTEX hot fire. (Credit: Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation and Missile Center)

SPARKS, Nev. (April 2, 2020) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, reached a major milestone in the advancement of hypersonic propulsion with its patented VORTEX engine, advancing to the next phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Operational Fires (OpFires) program.

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SpaceX Starship SN3 Collapses During Cryo Test

Video Caption: Starship SN3 collapsed during a cryogenic proof test designed to validate the vehicle ahead of a planned static fire and 150-meter hop. SpaceX will now have to instead focus on future Starship builds.

Footage via Mary (@BocaChicaGal) for NSF and edited by Jack Beyer (thejackbeyer)

Video Caption: Another very disappointing end to the week with SpaceX SN3 Starship Destroyed. Looks like the Liquid Oxygen Tank Crumpled. This is quite disappointing as we had huge hopes for the SN 3 because it looked just so much more robust. The welds were looking really beautiful.

The SN 4 is already being built so we can look forward to that which is going come up rapidly much quicker than most people would realize.

A huge thank you to Boca Chica girl with NASAspaceflight and also LabPadre links to both of those incredibly awesome channels below.

Editor’s Note: It’s disconcerting that work on this project is continuing during the coronavirus pandemic. I reviewed the video above that shows the stacking of the the Starship prototype that collapsed on the test stand this morning.

Credits: BocaChicaGal, NASASpaceflight.com & Marcus House

The above screenshot taken at 4:54 into the video shows employees working closely together without observing the six feet social distancing guidelines or wearing protective masks to guard against infecting each other with the deadlly COVID-19 virus.

Any one of these workers could have the virus for a week without showing any symptoms. During that time, an infected worker could unknowingly pass COVID-19 onto his co-workers. The result of that could be severe illness or death. Even young, seemingly healthy individuals have died when their respiratory systems collapsed.

SpaceX is legally exempt from closing its doors because it is classified as an essential business. That is due to the fact that Elon Musk’s company is a government contractor that performs vital, time critical work for NASA and the Department of Defense.

Starship, however, does not appear to be either vital or time critical. It’s a long-term development project that SpaceX is funding on its own. Neither NASA nor DOD is going to use Starship at any time in the near future. Their launch needs are satisfied by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy as well as the nation’s fleet of expendable boosters.

SpaceX’s goal of preserving humanity by making it a multi-planetary species is noble enough. It doesn’t need to place the humans making that possible at unnecessary risk in the midst of a deadly global pandemic.

NASA Outlines Lunar Surface Sustainability Concept

Astronauts on a future lunar walk. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — When NASA sends astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2024, it will be the first time outside of watching historical footage most people witness humans walking on another planetary body. Building on these footsteps, future robotic and human explorers will put in place infrastructure for a long-term sustainable presence on the Moon.

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US Space Force Awards Contract to L3Harris to Improve Object Tracking in Space

  • Estimated contract value is $1.2 billion over 10 years
  • Addresses growing threat to critical space assets by enhancing current and introducing new capabilities
  • Continues 17-year collaboration with U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center

MELBOURNE, Fla. (L3Harris PR) — L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) has been awarded a $23 million contract to modernize and sustain critical space infrastructure used by the military to keep track of activities and objects in space. The current  estimated contract value with the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center is $1.2 billion over 10 years.

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Former NASA Astronaut Bill Fisher on the Risks of Treating Coronavirus Victims

This is a really excellent thread by a doctor who could be happily retired but is risking his life to save others. It’s definitely worth a read.

Report: Geodetic Infrastructure Needs Enhancements, Continued Maintenance to Answer High-Priority Scientific Questions

WASHINGTON (National Academies PR) – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that enhancements to the geodetic infrastructure are needed to answer important questions about sea level rise, water resources, geological hazards, and more over the next decade

The report, Evolving the Geodetic Infrastructure to Meet New Scientific Needs, compares the current capabilities of the geodetic infrastructure with the requirements of high-priority science questions for 2017-2027. Many of these questions can be supported by the existing geodetic infrastructure, as long as it is maintained. However, other science questions will require enhancements.

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NASA TV to Air U.S. Cargo Ship Departure from Space Station

SpaceX’s Dragon resupply ship slowly approaches the orbiting lab as both spacecraft were orbiting 258 miles above the Mediterranean Sea Dec. 9, 2019. Filled with more than 4,000 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo, Dragon is now set to leave the International Space Station Monday, April 6. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Filled with more than 4,000 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo, a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft is set to leave the International Space Station Monday, April 6. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast its departure live beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

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