Kleos Space Appoints Ground Station Service Provider

Kleos Scouting mission. (Credit: Kleos Space)
  • Kleos appoints Kongsberg Satellite Service (KSAT) as ground station service provider
  • KSAT is a world leading provider of communication services for spacecraft
  • Appointment marks the next step towards revenue

LUXEMBOURG, 15 May 201 (Kleos Space PR) —  Kleos Space S.A (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data provider, is proud to announce the signing of a ground station service agreement with Norwegian Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT). KSAT is a world leading provider of communication services for spacecraft and launch vehicles with an extensive and uniquely located global ground network, providing advanced monitoring services.

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House Committee Chairs Question Trump’s Proposed Moon Funding

Eddie Bernice Johnson

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – In late March, Vice President Mike Pence announced a new presidential directive to NASA to return humans to the surface of the moon by 2024, accelerating the mission timeline by 4 years. In order to fund the acceleration of this mission, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released an amendment to the President’s FY 2020 NASA budget proposal requesting that Congress appropriate an additional $1.6 billion for the first year of this program, now named Artemis.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Chair Kendra Horn (D-OK) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics issued the following statements.

“While I am a supporter of challenging human space exploration endeavors that can take us to the Moon and eventually to Mars, based on the limited information provided to Congress it is impossible to judge the merits of the President’s budget amendment,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.

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NASA Awards $106 Million to US Small Businesses for Technology Development

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“Small businesses play an important role in our science and exploration endeavors,” said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “NASA’s diverse community of partners, including small businesses across the country, helps us achieve our mission and cultivate the U.S. economy. Their innovations will help America land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024, establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface a few years later, and pursue exciting opportunities for going to Mars and beyond.”

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Elon Musk, Apollo 11 Documentary Honored With Stephen Hawking Medals

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

ZURICH (STARMUS PR) — The STARMUS festival announces the 2019 winners of the Stephen Hawking Medal, one of the world’s most celebrated science communication awards. This year’s recipients are:

  • Elon Musk for his astounding accomplishments in space travel and for humanity
  • Brian Eno for his contribution to the popularisation of science
  • Apollo 11, a documentary by Todd Douglas Miller, for its breakthrough look at history’s most famous space mission.

STARMUS will announce the winners at a press event in Zurich on May 10th, with the medal ceremony to follow on June 24 at the STARMUS V festival, also in Zurich. Celebrated scientist and educator Bill Nye will host the ceremony, and scheduled attendees include a remarkable roster of science and space luminaries, including Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins and six other Apollo mission astronauts.

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Axiom Space Tests Key Space Station Acrylic Sample on ISS in Alpha Space’s MISSE Facility

The Axiom acrylic being tested will form the large windows of its forthcoming room-sized earth observatory in space. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON, May 13, 2019 (Axiom/Alpha Space PR) — A pair of private American companies brought a key material sample for an upcoming space station from simple concept to testing in space in only six months, in a sign of the burgeoning commercial space industry’s responsiveness and agility.

Axiom Space and Alpha Space Test & Research Alliance (Alpha Space), both based in Houston, released photos on Wednesday of a specially formulated acrylic sample belonging to Axiom flying on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) in Alpha Space’s MISSE Flight Facility. It was one of more than 400 samples contained in seven MISSE carriers launched Nov. 17 on the Northrop Grumman NG-10 ISS resupply mission.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites Tonight

60 Starlink satellites inside the Falcon 9 payload fairing. (Credit: Elon Musk)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, May 15 for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SpaceX’s Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.

The launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT on May 15, or 2:30 UTC on May 16, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 16, or 4:00 UTC. A backup launch window opens on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, or 2:30 UTC on May 17, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17, or 4:00 UTC. The Launch webcast will go live about 15 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast.

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Hermeus Raises Seed Funding for Hypersonic Aircraft from Khosla Ventures, Announces Advisory Board

Hypersonic vehicle (Credit: Hemeus)

ATLANTA, GA – Hermeus Corporation, a startup increasing the speed of air transportation by developing hypersonic aircraft, today announced a Seed round investment. The round was led by Khosla Ventures, with additional participation from private investors. The financing will further the development and test of Hermeus’ hypersonic propulsion system.

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OCO-3 Ready to Extend NASA’s Study of Carbon

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the “shaker”) in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Updated at 12:35 a.m. PDT (3:35 a.m. EDT) on May 10

NASA’s OCO-3 was removed from the Dragon spacecraft and robotically installed on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility as of approximately 9 p.m. PDT on May 9 (12 a.m. EDT on May 10). Over the next two days, a functional checkout will be performed and the OCO-3’s Pointing Mirror Assembly (PMA) will be deployed. The PMA and context cameras will then perform an initial survey of OCO-3’s surroundings to make sure nothing unexpected is interfering with its view of Earth.

Updated at 9:10 a.m./p.m. PDT (12:10 p.m. EDT) on May 4

SpaceX CRS-17 launched Friday, May 3, 11:48 p.m. PDT (Saturday, May 4, 2:48 a.m. EDT).

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — When the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, OCO-3, heads to the International Space Station, it will bring a new view — literally — to studies of Earth’s carbon cycle.

From its perch on the space station, OCO-3 will observe near-global measurements of carbon dioxide on land and sea, from just after sunrise to just before sunset. That makes it far more versatile and powerful than its predecessor, OCO-2.

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Space Plants Project Could be Astronaut Game Changer

by Kelli Trifonovitch
University of Hawaii News

MANOA, Hawaii — The robotic arm glides past past stacked rows of herbs, lettuce and cabbages, bathed in artificial light. It is part of an autonomous hydroponic growing system called Box Farm that was designed and built by engineering students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. It may be an important tool for space crews someday, and the project won first place in the UH Mānoa College of Engineering Francis J. Rhodes Montgomery innovation competition in April.

“Itʻs an automated plant growing system,” said Preston Tran, a senior mechanical engineering student and team leader. “Itʻs able to seed, transfer and monitor your plants. To make sure that your plants are at the most optimal condition.”

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Adding SatNav to Turn Power Grids into Smart Systems

Power lines (Credit: Freepik)

PARIS (ESA PR) — An ESA-backed project is harnessing satnav to insert an intelligent sense of place and time to power grids, to provide early warning of potentially dangerous electricity network failures.Four years ago an apparent fire from nowhere forced the evacuation of 5 000 people from central London. Thick black smoke and choking fumes emerged from manhole covers as power was cut off to the Holborn neighbourhood. The local London Underground station was shuttered, along with West End theatres and law courts

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Sky and Space Global Signs New 6U Agreement with GomSpace

  • Agreement signed with GomSpace to deliver newly designed 6U nanosatellites (“6U Agreement”) – supporting Sky and Space to add a Global Coverage constellation to address the growing demand for IoT and M2M services, increase its potential customer base and enhance its revenue opportunities
  • Agreement also contemplates the execution of a new definitive Pearls Agreement that, once signed, will replace the existing Pearls Agreement entered into in 2017 (as amended)

Sky and Space Global Limited (ASX: SAS) is pleased to announce that it has signed a definitive agreement with GomSpace for the provision and manufacturing by Gomspace of an additional fleet of nanosatellites (“6U Agreement”) to support a Global Coverage constellation.

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Untangling the Numbers in NASA’s Supplemental Budget Request

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In seeking a $1.6 billion increase in NASA’s budget for fiscal year 2020 to land astronauts on the moon in 2024, the Trump Administration has claimed that “no NASA programs were cut” to accommodate the new spending.  However, to quote Obi-wan Kenobi, this is only true from a certain point of view.

The Administration’s original FY 2020 request would cut NASA’s current $21.5 billion budget by $488 million while shifting funds from other space agency programs to the Artemis lunar program. Thus, the claim of no cuts can likely be interpreted as no reductions beyond what the Trump Administration has already proposed.

Further, the overall increase is not as large as it sounds. The supplemental request would increase NASA’s budget by $1.1 billion from its current $21.5 billion to $22.6 billion.

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NASA FY 2020 Budget Amendment Summary

Lunar Gateway concept. (Credit: NASA)

Editor’s Note: The President’s budget request submitted to Congress in March proposed cutting NASA’s budget from by $488 million from $21.5 billion to just above $21 billion. Cuts in other parts of NASA to boost the lunar program were already baked in. I’m working on a separate story to untangle the numbers.

Thus, the claim in the NASA summary below that “no NASA programs were cut” for the supplemental appropriation can likely be interpreted as no cuts beyond what the Trump Administration has already proposed. The supplemental request would increase NASA’s budget from its current $21.5 billion to $22.6 billion if Congress approves.

America to the Moon by 2024
NASA’s FY 2020 Budget Amendment Summary

The President challenged NASA to land the first American woman and next American man at the South Pole of the Moon by 2024, followed by a sustained presence on the Moon by 2028.

This FY2020 budget amendment provides an increase of $1.6 billion above the President’s initial $21 billion budget request to accelerate our return to the lunar surface. This additional investment is a down payment on NASA’s efforts to land humans on the Moon by 2024, and is required to achieve that bold objective. It’s the boost NASA needs to move forward with design, development and exploration.

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Ryugu’s Fast-spinning Past Shaped the Asteroid’s Western Hemisphere

Figure 1: When viewed from a certain direction (90 degrees west), the angle of the equatorial ridge on Ryugu becomes very sharp. This feature is also discussed in the paper led by Sei’ichiro Watanabe. (Hirabayashi, M.+, 2019)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Astrophysical Journal Letters is an academic journal for research results in astronomy and astrophysics published in the United States. Our paper on the shape of asteroid Ryugu was recently included in the journal (publication date: March 26, 2019) entitled:

Hirabayashi, M., and 28 colleagues, “The western bulge of 162173 Ryugu formed as a result of a rotationally driven deformation process,” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2019, 874, 1, doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab0e8b .
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ab0e8b

In this article, we will highlight our main findings from this research.

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