House Passes Infrastructure Spending Bill With Extra $1 Billion for NASA

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act last week that includes billions of dollars in funds for NASA, NOAA and other scientific and technology agencies.

In addition to funding improvements to physical infrastructure, the measure puts a major emphasis on addressing climate change, a problem that the Biden Administration takes seriously. The previous president described as a Chinese plot to destroy American industry.

The bill now goes to the Senate where its fate is uncertain.

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Report Calls for Immediate Actions to Address Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy, Environment

A wide-field image (2.2 degrees across) from the Dark Energy Camera on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, taken on 18 November 2019. Several Starlink satellites crossed the field of view. (Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/DECam DELVE Survey)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new report recommends “immediate, well-funded, comprehensive, and collaborative work” to implement a series of measures to mitigate the negative impacts that large satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy.

The report, whose executive summary was published last week, includes 10 recommendations for observatories and constellation operators that include the development of software to identify and mask satellite trails and designs changes to lessen the reflectivity of satellites. (The full list of recommendations are below.)

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SpaceX Satellite Signals Used Like GPS to Pinpoint Location on Earth

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ohio State University PR) — Engineering researchers have developed a method to use signals broadcast by Starlink internet service satellites to accurately locate a position here on Earth, much like GPS does. It is the first time the Starlink system has been harnessed by researchers outside SpaceX for navigation.

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Planet Reports Second Quarter Financial Results and Reaffirms Full Year Outlook

  • Delivers Record Second Quarter Revenue of $30.4 Million, Up 19% YoY
  • Reiterates $130 million Revenue Outlook for Fiscal Year 2022

SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PR)–Planet Labs Inc. (Planet” or the “Company), a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2021, highlighting the continued momentum of its unique data subscription business. Earlier this year, Planet entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV (NYSE: DMYQ) (“dMY IV”), a special purpose acquisition company, to become a publicly traded company later this year (the “Business Combination”).

Second Quarter FY2022 Highlights

  • Q2 Revenue increased 19% year-over-year to $30.4 million.
  • Percent of Recurring ACV was 93%, as compared to 92% in the year ago comparable quarter
  • End of Period (EoP) Customer Count increased 36% year-over-year to 732 customers
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NSF and CASIS Select Three Tissue Engineering Projects to Leverage the ISS National Lab

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 8, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced three awarded projects from a joint solicitation focused on transformative tissue engineering and mechanobiology research. Through this partnership, NSF awarded $1.2 million to the selected projects to leverage the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to advance fundamental science and biomedical engineering. CASIS, manager of the ISS National Lab, will facilitate hardware implementation in-orbit access, and astronaut crew time to support the investigations on the orbiting laboratory.

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ISS National Lab-Sponsored Investigations Ready for Northrop Grumman CRS-16 Flight to Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 6, 2021 (CASIS PR) – A variety of research investigations sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory are launching onboard Northrop Grumman’s 16th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting outpost. The mission will launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia no earlier than August 10, 2021, and a five-minute window for launch begins at 5:56 p.m. EDT.

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NASA Expands Earth Observation Satellite Data Access for Federal Science Agencies

This Copernicus Sentinel-3 image features Hurricane Dorian as it pummels the Bahamas on 2 September 2019 at 15:16 GMT (11:16 EDT). (Credit: ESA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has expanded its contract with two space-based imagery companies, Planet and Spire Global, to broaden access to Earth imagery data and enable scientific research across the federal government. Broader access to this satellite data will help answer questions about how Earth is changing and how those changes may impact people and communities.

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Qorvo Provides Key Enabling Technology for Identifying, Mapping and Tracking Threats from Near-Earth Objects

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Green Bank Telescope, and Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) are working in collaboration to improve planetary radar capabilities. With the addition of Qorvo’s Spatium power amplifier technology, the project now has the power to identify and characterize even small NEOs earlier with more precision. (Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello)

GREENSBORO, NC (Qorvo PR) — Qorvo® (Nasdaq: QRVO), a leading provider of innovative radio frequency (RF) solutions that connect the world, today announced its Spatium® solid-state power amplifier (SSPA) technology will play a key role in a new planetary radar experiment using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. Planetary radar is instrumental in characterizing Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) by providing precision measurement of shape, rotation, position, and an estimate of composition.

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SpaceX Crew-2 Astronauts Will Perform a Wide Variety of Research During Six-Month Mission

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 26, 2021 (CASIS PR) – Early Friday morning, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission launched four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A. After a successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket into low Earth orbit, the SpaceX Crew Dragon trailed the orbiting laboratory until Saturday morning, when the spacecraft successfully docked. On this mission, the second under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet joined the other members of the ISS Expedition 65 crew.

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Growing Number of Satellites Contribute Significant Light Pollution to Night Skies

Trails caused by the fifth deployment of satellites making up the Starlink constellation. (Credit: Andreas Möller)

LONDON (Royal Astronomical Society PR) — Scientists reported new research results today suggesting that artificial objects in orbit around the Earth are brightening night skies on our planet significantly more than previously understood.

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CASIS Releases International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory 2020 Annual Report

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. January 14, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has released the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory 2020 Annual Report. The report is intended to educate the public on ISS National Lab highlights and accomplishments from the 2020 fiscal year (October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020).

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NASA, NSF Sign Agreement to Advance Space, Earth, Biological, Physical Sciences

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the U.S. National Science Foundation  (NSF) have signed a  memorandum of understanding affirming the agencies’ intent to continue their longstanding partnership in mutually beneficial research activities advancing space, Earth, biological, and physical sciences to further U.S. national space policy and promote the progress of science.

The agreement addresses a broad range of research and activities in many areas of science, engineering, and education central to the missions of both agencies.

“When you look at the vast array of disciplines that make up NASA’s mission, there isn’t a single one that isn’t somehow informed by our partnership with NSF,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We look forward to continued collaboration on areas of research here on Earth and in space – including aboard the International Space Station – as well as inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.”

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Orbit Fab Secures Additional Seed Round Funding for its Gas Stations in Space

SAN FRANCISCO (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space company, announced that it has raised a seed extension round led by Munich Re Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Munich Re Group, one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, primary insurance, and insurance-related risk solutions. 

The funding will help Orbit Fab achieve its vision of an in-orbit ecosystem for satellite servicing, national security, and space commercialization. Orbit Fab recently announced that it will launch its first fuel tanker, Tanker 001 Tenzing, in the coming year.

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CASIS, NSF Announce Sixth Annual Solicitation in Transport Phenomena and Fluid Transport to Utilize the International Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., November 30, 2020 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced a “Transport Phenomena” joint solicitation open to investigators interested in leveraging resources onboard the orbiting laboratory for research in the areas of fluid dynamics, particulate and multiphase processes, thermal transport, nanoscale interactions, and combustion and fire systems.

Up to $400,000 will be awarded for multiple research projects that will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory (NSF will award up to $3.6 million in total grant funding). CASIS is the organization responsible for managing the ISS National Lab through a Cooperative Agreement with NASA.

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NSF Statement on Collapse of Arecibo Observatory

Damage sustained at the Arecibo Observatory 305-meter telescope. (Credit: UCF)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (NSF PR) — The instrument platform of the 305-meter telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fell at approximately 7:55 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time Dec. 1, resulting in damage to the dish and surrounding facilities.

No injuries were reported as a result of the collapse. The U.S. National Science Foundation ordered the area around the telescope to be cleared of unauthorized personnel since the failure of a cable Nov. 6. Local authorities will keep the area cordoned off as engineers work to assess the stability of the observatory’s other structures.

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