ISS U.S. National Lab, University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute Form Biomedical Research Alliance

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), August 12, 2019 (ISS U.S. National Laboratory PR) – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory is embarking upon a multi-year research alliance with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (MIRM) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) to push the limits of biomedical research and development aboard the orbiting laboratory.

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Kleos Changes Orbit in Response to Market Demand, Selects PSLV Booster

Maritime illegal activity and piracy hot spots. (Credit: Kleos Space)
  • Orbit change from SSO to 37-degree inclination
  • 4.5 times more data where most illegal activity occurs enabling higher value data from World’s areas of risk
  • Launch provider change to highly reliable PSLV operated by Indian Space Research Organisation

LUXEMBOURG, 12 August 2019 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, today announces that it has changed launch provider for its Scouting Mission1 satellites which will now launch into a 37-degree inclination.

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SpaceX Statement on U.S. Air Force Launch Competition

Gwynne Shotwell

The following statement can be attributed to Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX:

“SpaceX means to serve as the Air Force’s long-term provider for space launch, offering existing, certified and proven launch systems capable of carrying out the full spectrum of national security space launch missions and requirements.”

Overall, SpaceX’s mature, operationally proven Falcon launch system delivers significant flight heritage and is fully capable of reliably supporting Phase 2 National Security Space Launch missions.

Phase 2 presents an opportunity to utilize and expand this certified operational capability to support the full spectrum of national security space launch requirements, leveraging the years-long, close technical relationship between SpaceX and the USG Team. This collaboration has delivered mission success for critical national security payloads, including National Reconnaissance Office Launch 76 (NROL-76), Orbital Test Vehicle 5 (OTV-5), Global Positioning System III-2 (GPS III-2), and STP-2.

SpaceX’s Falcon launch system is the only system offered for Phase 2 NSSL that is flying today and has already achieved national security space certification—SpaceX is clearly the lowest-risk solution for the Government to provide assured access to space on time and on budget.

ExoMars Parachute Fails in Test

ExoMars 2020 parachute deployment sequence (Credit: ESA)

KIRUNA, Sweden, 12 August 2019 (ESA PR) — As the second ExoMars mission, comprising a rover and surface science platform, progresses towards launch next year, teams continue to troubleshoot the parachute design following an unsuccessful high-altitude drop test last week.

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This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, August 12, 2019; 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT) No show on Monday which is now reserved for special programming.

2. Tuesday, August 13 , 2019: 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT): We welcome back Tom Olson for commercial space business plan and financial analysis.

3. Wednesday, Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Thursday, August 15 2019; 7 PM PDT; 10 PM EDT. We welcome back DENNIS WINGO on moving forward with commercial space, lunar return, Mars, and more.

5 Friday, August 16 2019; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT. We welcome retired astronaut GARRETT ERIN REISMAN.

6. .The Sunday, August 18, , 2019 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): Welcome back to Open Lines. We talk about the topics you want to talk about. All space, science, STEM, STEAM calls welcome as are all callers.

WhiteKnightTwo Departs Mojave for New Mexico

A Virgin Galactic spokeswoman tells me that SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity remains in Mojave as its passenger cabin is fitted out for commercial flights.

The spacecraft is set to join WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve at Spaceport America in New Mexico later this year to complete a series of flights that began in Mojave. Commercial suborbital flights are set to begin from there in 2020.

The company is planning an event on Thursday, Aug. 15, in which they will unveil the inside of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space in New Mexico.

Blue Origin Files Pre-award Protest Over USAF Launcher Competition

Defense News reports that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has filed a pre-award protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the U.S. Air Force’s competition for new launch contracts.

Blue Origin is arguing that the current structure of the launch service provider competition may favor incumbents and will perpetuate a duopoly, according to a Blue Origin fact sheet obtained by Defense News.

“As drafted, the LSP [launch service provider] RFP [request for proposals] includes evaluation criteria that are ambiguous and fail to comply with federal procurement statutes and regulations. This subjectivity of the criteria makes it impossible to accurately respond to the RFP,” the fact sheet states.

“To ensure the process maximizes value for the American taxpayer and protects U.S. national security interests in space, it is essential that the Air Force structure the LSP RFP in a way that fosters a fair and level playing field for new entrants.”

The Air Force released a solicitation for the second phase of the LSP competition in May and intends to downselect to two launch providers in 2020. SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman are all slated to vie for the series of contracts, which will be awarded over 2020 to 2024 for launches scheduled through 2027.

ULA Submits Proposal for U.S. Air Force’s Launch Services Competition

Artist’s conception of Vulcan rocket. (Credit: ULA)

Vulcan Centaur rocket on schedule for first flight in 2021

Centennial, Colo., Aug. 12, 2019 (ULA PR) – At the United Launch Alliance (ULA) factory in Decatur, Alabama, production of the first Vulcan Centaur rocket continues, with shipment to the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida scheduled for late next year for processing in preparation for its first launch in 2021.

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ULA Receives USAF Contract for Delta IV Heavy Launch

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. Here it will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The U.S. Air Force has awarded United Launch Alliance (ULA) a contract modification worth $156.7 million for a Delta IV Heavy launch of a reconnaissance satellite in 2024.

“This modification provides for launch vehicle production services for National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Launch Mission Three, the last of three planned NRO launch missions under this contract,” USAF said in announcing the contract.

The modification increases the cumulative value of the contract for the three launches from $310,784,574 to $467,537,345. The $156.7 million is about half of what the third launch will cost.

The launch could be the final one for ULA’s Delta IV family of rockets. The company is phasing out use of the booster as it develops the Vulcan booster.

Canada Seeks Proposals on Tracking & De-orbiting Space Debris

Department of National Defence & Canadian Armed Forces

Challenged Details

Collision Course – Tracking and De-orbiting Space Debris
Full Tender

Challenge Statement

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) are looking for viable and cost-effective solutions for tracking and de-orbiting space debris in order to reduce the collision threat for orbiting space systems.

Background and Context

While “space debris” technically includes asteroids, comets and meteoroids, this challenge refers specifically to orbit debris, space junk, space waste, space trash, space litter or space garbage, as well as fragments from their disintegration and collisions. Space surveillance networks regularly track about 22,300 debris objects in earth orbits, totaling more than 8,400 tonnes, which includes 1,950 operational satellites. As of January 2019, the total number of debris objects that are estimated by statistical models to be in earth orbits are 34,000 (greater than 10 cm); 900,000 objects (1 cm to 10 cm); and 128 million objects (1 mm to 1 cm)1.

When in Earth orbits, space debris pose a risk of collision with space vehicles, humans, and even with other debris. The hazards posed by debris collisions include erosion to hulls, solar panels and optics; fragmentation leading to rapid increases in the total population of space debris; total loss of a vehicle and/or an asset; and major injury and/or loss of human life. Space debris will grow as the number of human-made objects in Earth orbits increase over time.

There are no operational debris removal capabilities in use, globally, and existing prototypes lack important capabilities and have proven ineffective. For instance, there is a need to capture and deorbit multiple pieces of debris per clean-up effort or the capability becomes extremely expensive; as well, capabilities are needed to track and capture space debris smaller than 10cm or larger than the capturing vehicle (e.g., rocket bodies).

Desired Outcomes

The DND/CAF is looking for innovative space debris solutions for one or more of the following:

  • Reliable and robust solutions for tracking space debris below the 10cm diameter size;
  • Concepts, designs or prototypes for deorbiting multiple pieces of debris of any size.

Maximum Funding and Performance Period

Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The individual maximum contract funding available under Competitive Projects – Component 1a is up to $200,000 CAD [$170,412 USD] (excluding applicable taxes) for a maximum performance period of up to 6 months.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

New Report Asks: Could Your Phone Compromise National Security?

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., August 8, 2019 (Aerospace Corporation PR) – Imagine a world in which realtime Earth observations from satellites and related analytics are available globally on the handheld device of an average citizen.

This scenario is called the GEOINT Singularity, and, thanks to artificial intelligence analysis and large satellite constellations with a range of imaging capabilities, it is a possible future. A new report by The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS), The Future of Ubiquitous, Realtime Intelligence: A GEOINT Singularity, examines the ramifications of the GEOINT Singularity for the U.S. military. What would the availability of ubiquitous, realtime intelligence mean for the military operator and warfighter? 

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Meet the Promising New Researchers Making Waves on the Space Station

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers recipient and International Space Station researcher Jennifer Barrila. (Credit: Jennifer Barrila)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Each year, the president of the United States selects an elite group of scientists and engineers at the beginning of their independent research careers to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals at this point in their professions.

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New Report on the Future of National Security Space

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) – The United States is changing how it uses space for national security. From a raw awareness of threats from malign actors, to an increased reliance on private sector players, many dynamics are driving this change.

So how are the ways people are thinking about these dynamics — the schools of thought — influencing the way we discuss, debate, and ultimately formulate U.S. initiatives and policy in space? A new report by The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS), What Place For Space: Competing Schools of Operational Thought in Space, identifies six different major schools of thought and explores the priorities each would elevate for U.S. policy makers in the Space Force debate.

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Rocket Lab Scholarship Applications Now Open

Electron lifts off with DARPA’s R3D2 satellite. (Credits: Kieran Fanning, Sam Tom)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Hawke’s Bay students interested in becoming innovators, scientists, and engineers, are being offered the opportunity to pursue STEM education thanks to Rocket Lab’s 2019 tertiary scholarship.

Applications are now open for the annual Rocket Lab Scholarship, which offers $20,000 across four years of study one outstanding undergraduate student each year. The scholarship also provides students with hands-on mentorship towards the end of their degree from leading space and engineering experts at Rocket Lab.

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NASA Selects 15 Space Biology Research Proposals to Support Moon, Mars Exploration

Telomeres highlighted on the ends of human chromosomes. These long repetitive DNA sequences protect the ends of chromosomes from degradation and damage. One of the newly selected studies from this NASA Research Announcement will examine how spaceflight-like conditions impact telomere length, and how that in turn impacts muscle cell function. (Credits: McKenna MJ and Bailey S, et al. The NASA Twins Study: A multidimensional analysis of a year-long human spaceflight. Science. 2019;364(6436). doi: 10.1126/science.aau8650)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded 15 grants for new space biology research designed to help the agency achieve its goals under the Artemis lunar exploration program. Teams of investigators will use state-of-the-art genetic and other biological techniques to explore how life adapts and changes during spaceflight, and the results could help support human exploration of the Moon, and ultimately, Mars.

Selected microbiology investigations will study whether changes in bacteria, fungi, and viruses are likely to affect how they interact with crew and material surroundings aboard the International Space Station, with an emphasis on likelihood to cause infections and microbial evolution.

The plant studies will determine important characteristics of plants relevant to space-farming methods for exploration missions. Topics for investigation include how interactions between microbes in soil and on plants change in spaceflight and changes in plant disease defense mechanisms.

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