SpaceX Receives $102 Million Contract for Military Rocket Cargo Delivery

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded SpaceX a $102 million contract to provide more concrete data on how the company’s reusable Super Heavy/Starship vehicles could be used to rapidly deliver cargo to remote locations on Earth. C4ISRNET reports:

The U.S. Air Force in its fiscal 2022 budget request designated the program one of AFRL’s Vanguard efforts, boosting its profile as a potentially transformational technology. [Program manager Greg] Spanjers told C4ISRNET in an email this week the program represents “a big-bet [science and technology] investment,” noting its designation as a Vanguard effort is a recognition it could offer a “game-changing capability.”

To date, AFRL has awarded several Rocket Cargo contracts for analytics, landing material research, wind tunnel sensors and command-and-control systems development, but this week’s award to SpaceX is the first deal with a launch vehicle provider. According to Spanjers, the lab is engaged with other launch providers and will consider awarding additional contracts later in the program.

Spanjers said the SpaceX work is focused in four areas: collecting data from commercial orbital launches and landings; exploring cargo bay designs compatible with U.S. Transportation Command containers and support rapid loading and unloading; researching landing systems that can operate on a variety of terrain; and demonstrating the heavy cargo launch and landing process.

Hytera Delivers Reliable Comms and Time GPS to Tracking for Southern Launch

Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.

SYDNEY (Hytera PR) – Hytera partner D2N in Australia supplied a multi-site Hytera XPT radio network with real-time GPS tracking across a large rocket launch site with difficult terrain for space company Southern Launch.

Southern Launch is a rocket launch service provider based in Adelaide, South Australia. Its goal is to develop a space launch capability to send satellites into orbit from its Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The company also has a suborbital testing facility at the Koonibba Test Range.

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NASA Solar Sail Mission to Chase Tiny Asteroid After Artemis I Launch

NEA Scout is composed of a small, shoebox-sized CubeSat (top left) and a thin, aluminum-coated solar sail about the size of a racquetball court (bottom left). After the spacecraft launches aboard Artemis I, the sail will use sunlight to propel the CubeSat to a small asteroid (as depicted in an illustration, right). (Credits: NASA)

NEA Scout will visit an asteroid estimated to be smaller than a school bus – the smallest asteroid ever to be studied by a spacecraft.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Launching with the Artemis I uncrewed test flight, NASA’s shoebox-size Near-Earth Asteroid Scout will chase down what will become the smallest asteroid ever to be visited by a spacecraft. It will get there by unfurling a solar sail to harness solar radiation for propulsion, making this the agency’s first deep space mission of its kind.

The target is 2020 GE, a near-Earth asteroid (NEA) that is less than 60 feet (18 meters) in size. Asteroids smaller than 330 feet (100 meters) across have never been explored up close before. The spacecraft will use its science camera to get a closer look, measuring the object’s size, shape, rotation, and surface properties while looking for any dust and debris that might surround 2020 GE.

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New Composite Material Could Make Manufacturing on the Moon and Mars More Efficient

Above: An experimental composite material for the Moon/Mars cures inside an acrylic vacuum chamber. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawai’i (PISCES PR) — NASA has plans to put humans back on the Moon as early as 2025 and ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) will be a crucial technology for establishing the infrastructure needed to sustain humans in the harsh lunar environment. Using raw, native materials, ISRU can provide vital resources like breathable air, tools or building blocks for shelters.

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Rocket Lab Announces Extension of Redemption Date for its Public Warrants

LONG BEACH, Calif., January 20, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced that it is extending the redemption date of its public warrants (the “Public Warrants”) until 5:00 p.m. New York City time on January 31, 2022 (the “New Redemption Date”) to allow holders of Public Warrants additional time to exercise their Public Warrants. Although the Company met all notice requirements under the warrant agreement and is not required to take this action, the Company expects that this additional time will help retail investors in particular who may have been unaware of the Company’s notices related to the redemption or the terms of the warrant agreement.

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Northrop Grumman-Built Space Sensor Satellites Launch in Support of US Space Force-8 Mission

Northrop Grumman-built GSSAP satellites collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va., Jan. 21, 2022 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Two Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites were successfully launched into orbit on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket today from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as part of the U.S. Space Force (USSF)-8 mission. The two satellites, GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, will enhance space situational awareness, a top priority for the U.S. Space Force. In addition to manufacturing and delivering both GSSAP payloads, Northrop Grumman also provided the sole strap-on solid rocket booster adding propulsion to the rocket launch, as well as essential aeronautical components in support of the USSF-8 launch.  

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Critical Space Surveillance Mission for U.S. Space Force

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 2:00 p.m. EST on Jan. 21. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

Atlas V launched Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites, GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, to a near-geosynchronous orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., January 21, 2022 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command lifted off on Jan. 21 at 2:00 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. To date ULA has launched 148 times with 100 percent mission success.

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NASA Offers $1 Million for Innovative Systems to Feed Tomorrow’s Astronauts

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have coordinated to open Phase 2 of the Deep Space Food Challenge, targeted at developing novel food production system technologies for long-duration deep space missions. (Credits: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — As NASA prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before, the agency aims to upgrade production of a critical fuel source: food. Giving future explorers the technology to produce nutritious, tasty, and satisfying meals on long-duration space missions will give them the energy required to uncover the great unknown.

In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA is calling on the public to help develop innovative and sustainable food production technologies or systems that require minimal resources and produce minimal waste. Dubbed the Deep Space Food Challenge, the competition calls on teams to design, build, and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that provide tangible nutritional products – or food.

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Canada Announces Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation

Twenty-one Canadian organizations receive funding to make innovative use of Earth observation data

LONGUEUIL, Que., January 20, 2022 (CSA PR) – Satellites provide a unique perspective of our planet, support cutting-edge science, and enable applications and services in many areas critical to the health and well-being of Canadians. For 60 years, Canadian experts have been using satellites to monitor our environment from space.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the release of Resourceful, Resilient, Ready: Canada’s Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation, which describes how Canada will take full advantage of the unique vantage point of space to address climate change and other key challenges of our time. 

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Team Confirms Water on the Moon with Ground Equipment

View of the Chang’E-5 landing site. (Credit: CNSA/CLEP)

MANOA, Hawaii (University of Hawaii PR) — The first on-the-ground detection of water on the Moon’s surface was reported by an international team of researchers, including Shuai Li, a planetary geologist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Understanding the concentrations and distributions of water on the Moon is critical to understanding its formation and evolution, and to providing water resources for future human exploration.

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NATO Overarching Space Policy

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Policy
Published Jan. 17, 2022

INTRODUCTION

  1. Space is increasingly important for the Alliance’s and Allies’ security and prosperity.  Space brings benefits in multiple areas from weather monitoring, environment and agriculture, to transport, science, communications and banking.  The use of space has greatly enhanced Allies’ and NATO’s ability to anticipate threats and respond to crises with greater speed, effectiveness and precision. The evolution in the uses of space and rapid advances in space technology have created new opportunities, but also new risks, vulnerabilities, and potentially threats for the Alliance’s and Allies’ security and defence. Today, access to, and use of, space is no longer the prerogative of a few nations that are technically capable of launching and operating a spacecraft. Space technology and services have become more readily accessible, cheaper and more capable.  Most space capabilities are dual use, serving civilian/commercial as well as military purposes, often at the same time, further adding to the complexity of the space domain1.  In security and defence terms, space is increasingly contested, congested and competitive and requires the Alliance to be able to operate in a disrupted, denied and degraded environment. Allies’ space capabilities could become a high priority target given the advantages that space systems provide in conflict and given Allies’ dependence on these systems to enable operations.   
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2021 International Space Station National Laboratory Annual Report Now Available

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur conducts bioscience work on the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., January 19, 2022 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) has released the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21, October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021). For more than 10 years, CASIS has managed the ISS National Laboratory through a Cooperative Agreement with NASA. The FY21 Annual Report showcases ISS National Lab accomplishments in enabling space-based research and technology development (R&D) that brings value to humanity and stimulates a robust and sustainable market in low Earth orbit (LEO).

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Scientific Hardware, Experiments Return to Earth on SpaceX CRS-24 Dragon

Cargo Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Editor’s Note: Do to adverse weather in the recovery zone, SpaceX and NASA are now targeting 10:40 a.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 23 for undocking from the International Space Station of a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft filled with more than 4,900 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast its departure live beginning at 10:15 a.m. EST.

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A retired microscope and samples from studies on colloids and cellular signaling are among the cargo returning from the International Space Station aboard the 24th SpaceX commercial resupply services mission. The Dragon craft, which arrived at the station Dec. 22, 2021, is scheduled to undock Jan. 22 with splashdown the next afternoon off the coast of Florida.

These quick return flights allow scientists to make additional observations and analyses of their experiments at Kennedy Space Center, minimizing the effects of gravity on samples. Investigators then can conduct more in-depth analyses back at their home labs.

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Space Entertainment Enterprise Announces World’s First Entertainment Arena and Content Studios in Space, Built by Axiom Space

SEE-1 module attached to the International Space Station. (Credit: Space Entertainment Enterprise)

LONDON, 20 January 2022 (S.E.E. PR) — Space Entertainment Enterprise (S.E.E.) the UK-based media company developing multi-platform, space-based entertainment today announces a ground-breaking new venture – SEE-1 – the world’s first content and entertainment studios and multi-purpose arena in space. The space station module will be built by Axiom Space, the leader in human spaceflight services and human-rated space infrastructure.

SEE-1 is planned to launch in late 2024 and dock with Axiom’s world’s-first commercial space station, Axiom Station, while it is connected to the International Space Station. The module will allow artists, producers, and creatives to develop, produce, record, and live stream content which maximizes the Space Station’s low-orbit micro-gravity environment, including films, television, music and sports events.

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