Lander Simulation Testing Helps Advance NASA Navigation Spinoff

Xodiac rocket tests technology to enable precision landing on the moon. (Credits: Lauren Hughes)

MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) — A navigation doppler lidar (NDL) technology originally developed by NASA was demonstrated on a flight test on Sept. 10 with support from the Flight Opportunities program, part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

With roots at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, the technology was licensed in 2016 by Psionic for both terrestrial and space applications, and both the company and Langley continue to evolve and advance the innovation for upcoming lunar missions.

(more…)

ESA Signs 2 Contracts with Exotrail for Delivery of Electric Propulsion Solutions

An artistic rendering of a satellite firing with a Exotrail ExoMG cluster of four thrusters. (Credit: Exotrail)

LUXEMBOURG (ESA PR) — ESA has signed two contracts with Exotrail under which the company will build and deliver engineering, qualification, and flight models of its ExoMG™ – nano  and ExoMG™ – micro electric propulsion systems. These contracts will allow Exotrail to develop new features on both products ready to be demonstrated in space.

(more…)

Eric Stallmer Joins Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. as Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy

Voyager Logo

Former Commercial Spaceflight Federation President to lead public policy for the organization from new Washington D.C. office

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2020 (Voyager Space Holdings PR) — Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. (Voyager), a global leader in space exploration, today announced the appointment of Eric Stallmer as executive vice president of government affairs and public policy. Stallmer will lead Voyager’s Washington D.C. office and will be responsible for representing the interests of Voyager to key government institutions including Congress, the White House and the many federal agencies that impact the success of Voyager and its subsidiaries.

(more…)

SpaceX to Launch Starlink Satellites Today

Update: SpaceX canceled the launch for Thursday due to an issue with booster recovery. It will attempt to launch on Friday, September 18 at 1:57 p.m. EDT.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Thursday, September 17 at 2:19 p.m. EDT, 18:19 UTC, for launch of its thirteenth Starlink mission, which will launch 60 Starlink satellites to orbit. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A backup opportunity is available on Friday, September 18 at 1:57 p.m. EDT, 17:57 UTC.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts onboard and the ANASIS-II mission. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. One of Falcon 9’s fairing halves supported two previous Starlink launches.

The Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff.  You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 10 minutes before liftoff. If you would like to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area, please visit starlink.com.

How to Safely Stare at the Sun: SOHO, SDO and GOES-R Instruments

The sun over the years. (Credit: SOHO/NASA/ESA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — As an agency, NOAA’s science isn’t just limited to Earth and its atmosphere. NOAA’s reach goes from the surface of the Sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep the public informed of the changing environment around them. So, what sort of instruments help scientists detect what’s going on in the Sun in the first place?

(more…)

IG Report: NASA’s SOFIA Not Meeting Expectations

SOFIA flying observatory (Credit: NASA-Jim Ross)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s flying Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has struggled to meet its scientific expectations due to a lengthy development delay and a series of technical, operational and managerial challenges, according to a new audit from the agency’s Office of Inspector General (IG).

(more…)

Redwire Selects Jacksonville, Florida for its New Corporate Headquarters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., September 15, 2020 (Redwire PR) – Redwire, a new leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy, announced today that it has selected Jacksonville, Florida for its corporate headquarters location.

“We are excited that Jacksonville will be the center of our innovation ecosystem as we continue to position Redwire as the leading developer of cutting-edge space technology and space infrastructure,” said Peter Cannito, chairman and chief executive officer of Redwire. “By strengthening our presence in Florida, we will have access to a skilled aerospace workforce, strategic partnerships, and operational infrastructure to support our growth.”

(more…)

IG Audit: NASA Planetary Program Faces Major Financial, Managerial Challenges

Dragonfly flying over the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) faces a series of managerial, financial and personnel challenges as it prepares to conduct a series of ever more ambitious missions to the moon and planets, according to a new audit by the space agency’s Office of Inspector General (IG).

(more…)

Driven by ‘a Tectonic Shift in Warfare’ Raymond Describes Space Force’s Achievements and Future

Gen. John Raymond

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — Chief of Space Operations, Gen. Jay Raymond, presented an ambitious blueprint Sept. 15 for cementing the nation’s superiority in space while also forcing change closer to home by slashing bureaucracy, refocusing training and instilling a culture across the Space Force that puts a premium on speed, technology and innovation for “this digital service.”

Noting “we are on the cusp of a tectonic shift in warfare,” Raymond said during his keynote address on the second day of the Air Force Association’s 2020 Air, Space & Cyber Conference that the law creating Space Force “gives us a huge opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper to build a service from the ground up.”

(more…)

Solar Cycle 25 Is Here. NASA, NOAA Scientists Explain What That Means

This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019). December 2019 marks the beginning of Solar Cycle 25, and the Sun’s activity will once again ramp up until solar maximum, predicted for 2025. (Credits: NASA/SDO)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Solar Cycle 25 has begun. During a media event on Tuesday, experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed their analysis and predictions about the new solar cycle – and how the coming upswing in space weather will impact our lives and technology on Earth, as well as astronauts in space.

(more…)

Government Backs UK Companies Tackling Dangerous Space Junk

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

Seven UK companies have been awarded a share of over £1 million [$1.3 million] to help track debris in space

  • Currently there are approximately 160 million objects in orbit – mainly debris – which could collide with satellites vital to services we use every day
  • UK Space Agency and Ministry of Defence sign formal agreement to work together on monitoring threats and hazards in orbit

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) –Seven pioneering projects which will develop new sensor technology or artificial intelligence to monitor hazardous space debris, have been announced today by the UK Space Agency.

(more…)

GITAI, JAXA Start Business Concept Co-creation Activities for World’s First Space Work Robot Business

Translated from Japanese with Google Translate

TOKYO (JAXA/GITAI PR) — GITAI Japan Co., Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will identify tasks that require robotics in outer space, and robots that perform these tasks. Aiming to acquire technology and provide services by robots, we will start business concept co-creation activities under the JAXA Space Innovation Partnership and and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative.

(more…)

What’s the Big Deal about Solar Cycles?

Sun and Earth (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — The Sun is Earth’s nearest star—a giant orb of hydrogen and helium about 93 million miles away. To many people, it looks like the same constant ball of light day after day as it moves across the sky. However, our Sun actually goes through a cycle of increasing and decreasing activity that lasts for about 11 years.

(more…)