Tethers Unlimited Announces Successful Operation of Space-Debris Removal Device

The Terminator Tape Deorbit Module interacts with the space environment to rapidly drag a satellite out of orbit. (Credit: Tethers Unlimited)

BOTHELL, Wa. (Tethers Unlimited PR) – Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) announced that it has successfully demonstrated on-orbit operation of the Terminator Tape, an affordable, lightweight solution for removing space debris from on orbit.

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Second Space Data Highway Satellite Set to Beam

EDRS-C is prepared for launch. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Vidéo du CSG – S Martin)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The second satellite in the European Data Relay System has reached its intended orbit and completed its in-orbit tests.

Dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway” by its commercial operator Airbus, EDRS uses innovative laser technology to enable Earth-observation satellites to deliver their information to users on the ground in near real-time, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products.

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Skylo Emerges From Stealth With $116 Million in Funding for Most Affordable IoT Satellite Data Network

SAN MATEO, Calif. & BANGALORE, India & TEL AVIV, Israel, January 21, 2020 (Skylo PR) — Skylo, maker of the world’s most affordable and ubiquitous network that connects any machine or sensor, today announced that the company has emerged from Stealth with $116 million in total funding. The company previously raised $13 million in a Series A round that was co-led by DCM and Innovation Endeavors, and joined by Moore Strategic Ventures. The new Series B round raised $103 million, led by SoftBank Group and joined by all existing investors.

Skylo will bring instant, affordable and ubiquitous Internet of Things connectivity to millions of machines, sensors and devices, even in the most remote geographies. It is the world’s first company to leverage the cellular Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) protocol via satellite, making it possible to instantly connect billions of sensors on objects and machines in remote areas.

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NASA Awards Contract for Intelligent Systems Research

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, LLC, a KBRwyle business unit, of Greenbelt, Maryland, for a contract for intelligent systems research and development support services at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

This is a cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) hybrid contract consisting of firm-fixed-price (FFP) contract line item numbers (CLINs) for phase-in and core management requirements; and CPFF or FFP CLINs for core technical and indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity requirements. It will begin on March 15 with a 60-day phase-in period followed by a two-year base period and three two-year options. The contract has a maximum value of $400 million.

The contractor will provide resources and technical expertise to support the Intelligent Systems Division on scientific research, technologies and applications development in a variety of research domains and infusion of advanced information systems technology on NASA missions and other projects within the federal government.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

OSIRIS-REx Completes Closest Flyover of Bennu Sample Site Nightingale

During the OSIRIS-REx Reconnaissance B flyover of primary sample collection site Nightingale, the spacecraft left its safe-home orbit to pass over the sample site at an altitude of 0.4 miles (620 m). The pass, which took 11 hours, gave the spacecraft’s onboard instruments the opportunity to take the closest-ever science observations of the sample site. (Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Preliminary results indicate that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully executed a 0.4-mile (620-m) flyover of site Nightingale yesterday as part of the mission’s Reconnaissance B phase activities. Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s primary sample collection site, is located within a crater high in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere.

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Descartes Labs Launches First Cloud-Based Geospatial Data Refinery and Modeling Platform

SANTA FE, N.M., Jan. 22, 2020 (Descartes Labs PR) — Descartes Labs, a New Mexico-based geospatial analytics company, today announced the availability of the Descartes Labs Platform, the industry’s first-ever cloud-based geospatial analytics platform. It provides enterprises with a real-time geospatial data catalog and flexible modeling environment – all in one complete package.

By handling nearly all geospatial modeling functions through one secure solution in the cloud, organizations can quickly evaluate the output of models, speed development and proof-of-concept creation, and ultimately, transform their decision-making.

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Fire Breaks Out at Firefly Test Site; No Injuries Reported

UPDATE: Firefly Aerospace Issued an updated statement today:

Firefly Aerospace maintains a 200-acre manufacturing and test facility in Briggs, Texas, 27 miles north of its headquarters.

On January 22, 2020, test engineers were conducting a planned test of the first stage of the company’s “Alpha” launch vehicle. The test was to be the first in a series of propulsion tests to verify design and operation of the stage, and involved a short, 5-second firing of the stage’s four engines.

At 6:23 pm local time, the stage’s engines were fired, and a fire broke out in the engine bay at the base of the rocket’s stage. The 5-second test was immediately aborted and the test facility’s fire suppression system extinguished the fire. The cause of the anomaly is under investigation. Firefly engineers are reviewing test data from the stage to identify potential causes for the test failure, and Firefly will share results of that investigation once it is complete.

Firefly is committed to workplace safety, and at no time during the test were Firefly operations personnel or the public in danger. Firefly is coordinating closely with local authorities and emergency response personnel as it investigates the anomaly and refines its contingency procedures.

Firefly Aerospace has said a fuel leak on the test stand caused a fire on Wednesday. The company was preparing for a static fire of the company’s Alpha small-satellite booster.

During testing this evening we experienced a test anomaly resulting in a small fire on our test stand. The fire was quickly extinguished by our fire suppression systems on the stand and the local community emergency response team quickly responded. Both the test stand and our rocket are intact. At no time was there any risk to individuals on site or the community.

In a series of tweets, local authorities said they ordered an evacuation of residents living within 1 mile (.6 km) of the Texas test site “out of an abundance of caution.” They also temporarily closed nearby roads.

Firefly is preparing for a maiden launch of the Alpha rocket this spring.

Watch Live This Weekend: Final Spacewalk for AMS

Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) attached to the Canadarm during the first Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2019. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will exit the International Space Station airlock together for the fourth time Saturday 25 January. It is the ninth spacewalk for Expedition 61 – the most spacewalks ever performed during a single Space Station expedition – and the last in a complex series to maintain the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

During this final #SpacewalkForAMS, Luca and Drew will check the particle detector’s upgraded pump system. After approximately three hours, their checks should reveal whether it is now leak-tight, ready to support further research into the origins of our Universe.

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X-59 QueSST Wing Assembly

X-59 wing (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology, or QueSST, wing assembly is lifted by a crane and moved to another area of the manufacturing floor in preparation for wing skin installation. The aircraft is under construction at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® in Palmdale, California, and will fly for the first time in 2021. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Video: Trump Praises Musk

Video Caption: President Donald Trump sits down for an interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernen from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

First Commercial Moon Delivery Assignments to Advance Artemis

The Moon as seen from the International Space Station (Credit: ESA/NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has finalized the first 16 science experiments and technology demonstrations, ranging from chemistry to communications, to be delivered to the surface of the Moon under the Artemis program. Scheduled to fly next year, the payloads will launch aboard the first two lander deliveries of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. These deliveries will help pave the way for sending the first woman and the next man to the lunar surface by 2024.

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Shape the Future of European Biology Research in Space

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti working with ESA’s Biolab facility on the International Space Station for the Triplelux experiment. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — What biology research would you conduct on the International Space Station? As the world celebrates 20 years of astronauts living and working on the International Space Station, ESA is preparing for another decade of European research in humankind’s weightless laboratory.

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ISILAUNCH Signs Launch Services Agreement with Firefly Aerospace

CEDAR PARK, Texas, January 21, 2020 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc.(Firefly), a provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services, announced today the execution of a Launch Services Agreement with Innovative Space Logistics BV (ISILAUNCH), a launch services subsidiary of Netherlands based ISIS – Innovative Solutions in Space B.V. (ISISPACE). Under the agreement, ISILAUNCH will offer to its customers multiple dedicated and rideshare launch opportunities on the Firefly’s Alpha launch vehicle, on missions beginning in 2020.

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