NASA Names Joel Montalbano International Space Station Program Manager

Joel Montalbano (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, has named Joel Montalbano as manager of the International Space Station Program. The appointment was effective June 29 following the June 26 retirement of Kirk Shireman, who held the position since 2015.

“Joel has the experience and leadership we need to guide the station program during this exciting and dynamic time of human spaceflight,” said Lueders. “We look forward to seeing Joel continue to make great contributions to the International Space Station and know he’ll do a great job leading the program.”

(more…)

Orbex Hails Sutherland Spaceport Approval

Prime rocket launch from Sutherland spaceport. (Credit: Orbex/Anders Bøggild)

FORRES, UK (Orbex PR) – The first orbital spaceflight from the United Kingdom has come a step closer following the Highland Council’s decision to give the go-ahead for the Space Hub Sutherland spaceport.

Orbex, the UK-based space launch company, has confirmed that Orbex Prime will be the first vertical launch vehicle to fly into orbit from the Space Hub, which will be constructed near Melness on the northern coast of Scotland. Orbex today confirmed the company has already signed six launch contracts.

(more…)

SPARX Innovation for the Future Announces New JAXA Partnership

TOKYO, June 29, 2020 (SPARX Group PR) — SPARX Innovation for the Future Co., Ltd. (SIF)—a subsidiary of SPARX Group Co., Ltd. (SPARX; TSE1: 8739)—today announced a partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which aims to develop the space industry and related sectors through the promotion of open innovation.

Combining the technical expertise JAXA brings as a space agency and the investment and market-trend knowledge of SPARX/SIF, the partnership should help accelerate R&D, expansion, and commercialization in the space equipment and exploitation industries. It also aims to generate sustainable growth and innovation in Japan’s space industry over the medium to long term.

(more…)

Luxembourg Space Directory 2020 Published

LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — The Luxembourg 2020 Space Directory gives you an up to date picture of who is doing what in Luxembourg’s expanding space sector.

The space industry in Luxembourg now counts more than 60 companies and research labs, with about 840 people employed directly.

Produced by the Luxembourg Space Agency, the 2020 Luxembourg Space Directory gives you a unique insight into the companies, projects and people involved in this dynamic, high tech sector.

(more…)

Falcon 9 Launches GPS III Satellite

Falcon 9 lifts off with GPS III satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Tuesday, June 30th at 4:10 p.m. ET, 20:10 UTC, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 successfully lifted off, carrying the Space Force’s GPS III Space Vehicle 03 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft deployed approximately 1 hour and 29 minutes after liftoff.

NASA Invests $51 Million in Innovative Ideas from US Small Businesses

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 409 technology proposals for the first phase of funding from the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The contracts will provide approximately $51 million to 312 small businesses in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

“NASA depends on America’s small businesses for innovative technology development that helps us achieve our wide variety of missions,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Whether we’re landing Artemis astronauts on the Moon, sending rovers to Mars, or developing next-generation aircraft our small business partners play an important role.”

(more…)

Starliner Parachutes Perform Under Pressure

Two drogue parachutes successfully deploy from a Boeing Starliner test article during a landing system reliability test conducted on June 21 above White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. (Credit: Boeing)

WHITE SANDS, NM (NASA PR) — Boeing put Starliner’s parachutes to the test again on June 21 as part of a supplemental reliability campaign designed to further validate the system’s capabilities under an adverse set of environmental factors.

Boeing is developing the Starliner spacecraft to take astronauts to and from the International Space Station in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

(more…)

Capella Space Signs CRADA with National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

SAN FRANCISCO (Capella Space PR) –Capella Space, an aerospace and information services company providing Earth observation data on demand, today announced it has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

The CRADA gives Capella access to NGA researchers for deeper insight into problems and in return NGA gains access to Capella Space’s SAR data and analytics services and signifies NGA’s first research partnership with an American commercial small satellite SAR data company, in an effort to expand its research capabilities.

(more…)

Exolaunch & NanoAvionics Sign Two Launch Agreements for SpaceX’s Rideshare Missions

NanoAvionics satellite in orbit. (Credit: NanoAvionics)

NanoAvionics awarded Exolaunch two contracts to launch the NanoAvionics-built nano-satellites on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

BERLIN, Germany, June 30, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed launch agreements with NanoAvionics, a nano-satellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator, to launch two 6U nano-satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

(more…)

Northrop Grumman’s Second Mission Extension Vehicle and Galaxy 30 Satellite Begin Launch Preparations in French Guiana

The second Mission Extension Vehicle and the company-built Galaxy 30 spacecraft have been delivered to the launch site and are scheduled for liftoff in late July. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The spacecraft will launch together on an Arianespace 5 rocket; MEV-2 set to dock with Intelsat satellite in early 2021

DULLES, Va., June 30, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced today the arrival of the company-built Galaxy 30 (G-30) spacecraft for Intelsat and the Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2) at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The vehicles are scheduled to launch late July 2020, in a stacked configuration onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

(more…)

SPARX Group Establishes Space Frontier Fund to Foster Japanese Space Industry

TOKYO, June 29, 2020 (SPARX Group PR) — SPARX Innovation for the Future Co., Ltd. (SIF)—a subsidiary of SPARX Group Co., Ltd. (SPARX; TSE1: 8739)—today announced that it established the Space Frontier Fund. The Fund primarily aims to support human resources and technology development in space-related industries, to foster Japanese space companies that are competitive on the world stage, and to contribute to technological innovation throughout Japan.

(more…)

Scientists Provide New Explanation for the Far Side of the Moon’s Strange Asymmetry

The composition of the Moon’s near side is oddly different from that of its far side, and scientists think they finally understand why. (Credits: NASA/NOAA)

TOKYO (Earth-Life Science Institute PR) — Earth’s Moon has a ‘near side’ that is perpetually Earth-facing and a ‘far side’, which always faces away from Earth. The composition of the Moon’s near side is oddly different from its far side, and scientists think they finally understand why.

The Earth-Moon system’s history remains mysterious. Scientists believe the two formed when a Mars-sized body collided with the proto-Earth. Earth ended up being the larger daughter of this collision and retained enough heat to become tectonically active. The Moon, being smaller, likely cooled down faster and geologically ‘froze’. The apparent early dynamism of the Moon challenges this idea.

(more…)

NASA Awards Contract for Earth Observing Satellite Instrument

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Atmosphere Science Investigator-led Processing System (SIPS) contract to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin.

The total value of this cost-no fee contract is $17,084,053. The contract includes a base year that begins on July 1, and has four options to extend the contract through March 31, 2025.

The contractor will process and reprocess the data from the VIIRS instrument from the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) series of satellites. The contractor will deliver Earth Observing System (EOS)-like standard and near real time atmosphere data products to the Earth Observing System Data and Information System as required by NASA Headquarters Earth Science Division for NASA researchers.

The JPSS missions are funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide global environmental data in low-Earth polar orbit in support of NOAA’s mission. NASA is the acquisition agent for the flight systems. NASA also acquires JPSS data for its research objectives.

New Funding Call for UK Earth Observation Sector

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — More than £800,000 [$983,000] is available to the UK space sector as part of European Space Agency (ESA) support for innovative commercial projects related to Earth Observation.

The programme, InCubed, aims to support industry-led initiatives that will open new market opportunities. The call will bring innovative systems and products to market faster and help Earth Observation businesses compete in the global marketplace.

(more…)

Maxar Technologies Announces its Intention to Acquire Vricon, Inc. to Accelerate Growth for 3D Technology

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar Technologies PR) — Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced its intent to exercise its call option to take full ownership of 3D data and analytics firm Vricon, Inc., for approximately $140 million, or approximately $115 million net of estimated cash at closing.

To fund the transaction, Maxar intends to issue $150 million in aggregate principal amount of new senior secured notes. Maxar has also agreed to repurchase $150 million in aggregate principal amount of existing notes using the proceeds of the recent sale of its MDA business.

(more…)