Firefly Aerospace Announces DREAM Payload Participants

CEDAR PARK, Texas, Nov. 19, 2019 (Firefly Aerospace PR) — Firefly Aerospace (Firefly) announced this past summer the Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission (DREAM), a global competition to host academic and educational payloads as rideshare participants on the inaugural flight of the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle. Today we are happy to announce the payloads selected to fly on Alpha’s maiden flight to support and stimulate STEM on a global basis.  There are 26 DREAM payloads representing 7 different countries.

The payloads are broken down into two categories, nontechnical and technical. Nontechnical payloads include children’s artwork, messages from children in pediatric hospitals and photographs of previous space missions. Technical payloads range from 3U to 27U satellites supplied by prominent universities and nonprofits from around the globe.

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Tyvak Selected for NASA’s CLPS Lunar Program

Lunar lander (Credit: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems)

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 18, 2019 (Tyvak PR) — Tyvak is honored to be selected by NASA to participate in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Tyvak’s offering provides NASA with a lander option to host payloads and perform science investigations on the lunar surface, paving the way to return to the Moon.

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A Look at NASA’s New CLPS Partners’ Vehicles

SpaceX

Starship on the moon. (Credit: SpaceX)

Blue Origin

Blue Moon lunar lander (Credit: Blue Origin)

Sierra Nevada Corporation

Lunar lander (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Ceres Robotics

Robotic lunar lander (Credit: Ceres Robotics)

Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems

Lunar lander (Credit: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems)

NASA Scientists Confirm Water Vapor on Europa

On the left is a view of Europa taken from 2.9 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) away on March 2, 1979 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Next is a color image of Europa taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft during its close encounter on July 9, 1979. On the right is a view of Europa made from images taken by the Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. (Credits: NASA/JPL)

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — Forty years ago, a Voyager spacecraft snapped the first closeup images of Europa, one of Jupiter’s 79 moons. These revealed brownish cracks slicing the moon’s icy surface, which give Europa the look of a veiny eyeball. Missions to the outer solar system in the decades since have amassed enough additional information about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA’s search for life.

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Ozmens’ SNC Awarded NASA Contract to Support Artemis

Lunar Lander (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., November 18, 2019 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, has been awarded a NASA contract under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) on-ramp procurement.  The contract positions SNC to support NASA’s Artemis lunar program.

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GAO Upholds Blue Origin’s Protest Over USAF Launch Solicitation

Jeff Bezos

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has upheld a pre-award protest by Blue Origin over the selection process the U.S. Air Force is using to award contracts for military launches for the years 2022 to 2027.

GAO recommended the Air Force modify the solicitation under which it planned to select two companies that would compete for launches during that period. The decision would have been based on which combination of two independently developed proposals provided the best value to the government.

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Maxar Technologies Announces Pricing of $1.0 Billion Senior Secured Notes Offering

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar PR)–Maxar Technologies Inc. (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced the pricing of $1.0 billion in aggregate principal amount of 9.75% Senior Secured Notes due 2023 issued by SSL Robotics LLC, its wholly-owned subsidiary.

The notes were offered and sold to qualified institutional buyers in the United States pursuant to Rule 144A and outside the United States pursuant to Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The notes will have an interest rate of 9.75% per annum and will be issued at a price equal to 98% of their face value.

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Kuaizhou-1A Launches for Second Time in 4 Days

China launched its second Kuaizhou-1A booster in four days on Sunday, orbiting a pair of commercial Ka-band satellites.

The launch of the KL-a-A and KL-a-B satellites took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 6 p.m. Beijing time.

The Xinhua news agency described the payloads as “global multimedia satellites” designed to test Ka-band communication technology. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Innovation Academy for Microsatellites built the spacecraft, which will be used by an unidentified German company.

Kuaizhou-1A is a four-stage solid fuel booster developed by a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is designed to launch micro-satellites on short notice.

Nanoracks Books CubeSat Rideshare, Habitat Building Demonstration in Single SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch

WASHINGTON, November 18, 2019 (Nanoracks PR) – Nanoracks, the world’s leading commercial space station company, has booked a launch mission like no other, leveraging the recently announced SpaceX rideshare program. Onboard a Falcon 9, targeting launch in late 2020, Nanoracks has booked deployment of eight small satellites as well as the Company’s first in-space Outpost-demonstration mission.

Recently, Nanoracks announced the Company’s first in-space Outpost demonstration mission in a letter from CEO Jeffrey Manber. Nanoracks, in collaboration with Maxar, will be building and operating a self-contained hosted payload platform that will demonstrate the robotic cutting of second stage representative tank material on-orbit. This test will be the first of its kind to demonstrate the future ability to convert spent upper stages in orbit into commercial habitats – a long-term goal of Nanoracks.

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Boeing Fires Back at Critical NASA IG Report on Starliner

A look at the Starliner that will soon fly the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test soon after the dome mate activities at the Boeing Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. (Credits: Boeing)

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 18, 2019 (Boeing PR) – In response to the Nov. 14 Office of the Inspector General report titled “NASA’s Management of Crew Transportation to the International Space Station,” Boeing today issued the following statement:

“We strongly disagree with the report’s conclusions about CST-100 Starliner pricing and readiness, and we owe it to the space community and the American public to share the facts the Inspector General [IG] missed,” said Jim Chilton, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Launch. “Each member of the Boeing team has a personal stake in the safety, quality and integrity of what we offer our customers, and since Day One, the Starliner team has approached this program with a commitment to design, develop and launch a vehicle that we and NASA can be proud of.”

Specifically, Boeing offers the following responses to the main assertions:

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This Week on The Space Show

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

1 Monday, Nov. 18, 2019; 7 PM PST (9 pm CST; 10 PM EST) We welcome back JOE CARROLL regarding artificial gravity, tethers and more.

2. Tuesday, Nov. 19 , 2019: 7-8:30 PM PST (9-10:30 pm CST; 10-11:30 PM EST): We welcome back CHRISTOPHER RICHINS re LEO satellites, ground stations, and more.

3. Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019: Pre-recorded Hotel Mars Program with John Batchelor. See Upcoming Show on The Space Show website for details.

4. Thursday, Nov. 21 , 2019: 7-8:30 PM PST (9-10:30 pm CST; 10-11:30 PM EST): Dr. David Livingston launches the 2020 Annual Fundraising Campaign with new campaign additions.

5. Friday, Nov. 22, , 2019; 9:30-11 AM PST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST; 12:30-2 PM EST. We welcome DR. KIRBY RUNYON , APL, regarding what makes a planet, planetary naming, dwarf planets, the proposed NASA interstellar mission and more.

6. Sunday, Nov. 24 , 2019 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): We welcome you to OPEN LINES. Call us and talk about the issues that you want to talk about. All callers welcome, so are all space, STEM, STEAM, economic, and science topics.

NASA Small Business, Tipping Point Contracts Advance Small Moon Rover

CubeRover on the lunar surface. (Credit: CubeRover)

By Jim Cawey
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

A partnership involving NASA and a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company and university will let us explore the lunar surface in new ways. The project to develop a shoebox-sized rover is part of a multifaceted approach to mature commercial space capabilities that benefit future NASA missions under the Artemis program. 

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The NFL Inspires New Satellite Docking Tool

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — How do you teach a satellite to park? As spacecraft transition from standalone vehicles to swarms of “self-driving” robots that interact and dock on their own in space, engineers need a way to test those maneuvers here on Earth. An Aerospace team found a possible solution on Sunday Night Football ™.

For this team, the action was not on the field, but in the sky, where a camera sailed through the air on a system of cables and pulleys, capturing the game from above. Such cable systems allow cameras to move between any two locations in a three-dimensional space – exactly the kind of maneuvers needed to test and train the next generation of satellites.

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Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Win Satellite-related Contracts

Lockheed Martin has won an U.S. Air Force contract worth up to $3.3 billion for operations, sustainment and enhancement activities to support the Advanced Extremely High Frequency, Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System III programs.

Raytheon has won a U.S. Navy contract worth $61.5 million for Global Positioning System-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Service (GPNTS) software support.

Full details on the contracts are below.

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