Australia Provides $11 Million in Space Grants to Boost Businesses and Local Jobs

CANBERRA (Karen Andrews PR) — The Morrison Government is backing a series of projects designed to grow Australia’s space sector and create local jobs, including improving GPS technology and the design of innovative spacesuits that will make spacewalking easier.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the 10 projects sharing in $11 million [USD $7.6 million] would boost jobs and skills in the space sector, and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

(more…)

Using Sunlight to Save Satellites from a Fate of ‘Space Junk’

by Kayla Wiles
Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No satellite stays the same once launched into space. How much it changes can go unnoticed – until something bad happens.

Carolin Frueh is among only a handful of researchers who have persisted in using a complex technique that can diagnose a problem from thousands of miles away based on how the satellite reflects sunlight.

(more…)

ISRO, ARIES Sign MOU on Space Situational Awareness, Astrophysics Cooperation

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Bengaluru and Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital for cooperation in the field of Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Astrophysics was signed by Shri.R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Prof. (Dr.) Dipankar Banerjee, Director, ARIES through video at ISRO Headquarters and ARIES Headquarters on 4th June 2020. 

(more…)

ALE, JAXA Launch Demonstration of J-SPARC Aimed at Commercializing Space Debris Prevention Device

Conceptual diagram of space debris prevention device Using ElectroDynamic tether (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — ALE Co., Ltd. and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, as a project of the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative, are engaged in the “commercialization of space debris prevention devices that work by promptly deorbiting satellites after the completion of their mission,” as a space debris mitigation measure (*1). Having co-created the concepts of the project, the two partners have now moved on to the joint demonstration phase.

In the joint demonstration phase, ALE and JAXA will collaborate toward launching their space debris prevention device aboard a nano-satellite during fiscal 2021 for demonstration in space. Following the demonstration, ALE aims to develop a business to manufacture and market the device.

(more…)

New DLR Research Observatory Will Track Near-Earth Satellites, Space Debris

Computer visualisation of the DLR research observatory. (Credit: DLR)
  • DLR is building a new research observatory to determine the nature and trajectory of objects in low-Earth orbit quickly, precisely and reliably. Accurate data are important to avoid collisions between satellites and space debris.
  • Construction work will begin at the end of May 2020 at the Empfingen Innovation Campus in Baden-Württemberg. The inauguration is planned for spring 2021.
  • The project focuses on particularly accurate measurement of distances using specialised lasers.
  • The research telescope will be the largest of its kind in Europe.

Baden-Württemberg, Germany (DLR PR) — With the construction of a new research observatory, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is taking the next step in determining the nature and trajectory of objects in low-Earth orbit as quickly, precisely and reliably as possible. This is fundamental for the future of spaceflight as it is the only way to prevent collisions between objects such as space debris and active satellites.

(more…)

UK Commits New Funding to Combat Space Debris

New government funding for innovative solutions to tackle the growing problem of potentially hazardous space debris, has been announced today.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — There are an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm orbiting the Earth, with only a small proportion of them tracked.

The UK Space Agency is providing up to £1 million for organisations to come up with smart solutions to this problem by using cost effective ways to monitor objects in low Earth Orbit, or applying artificial intelligence to make better use of existing orbital data.

(more…)

Solving the Space Junk Problem

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

Internationally agreed upon fees to put satellites in orbit could boost value of the space industry.

BOULDER, Colo. (CIRES PR) — Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it’s an international agreement to charge operators “orbital-use fees” for every satellite put into orbit. 

(more…)

Astroscale Opens Series E Funding Round, Secures First Investor

TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Holdings Inc., a market-leader in developing technology and services to remove space debris and secure long-term orbital sustainability, announced on 18 May 2020 that it has opened a Series E funding round and has secured I-NET CORP., a leading Japanese data center provider, as its first investor for an undisclosed amount.

The additional financing will be used to broaden Astroscale’s current business services and achieve the company’s mission of securing a sustainable orbital environment.

(more…)

Astroscale, Northumbria University Sign MOU to Advance End-of-Life Practices for Satellites

TOKYO, May 4, 2020 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in developing technology and services to remove space debris and secure long-term orbital sustainability, today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Chris Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University, Newcastle, to collaborate on investigating end-of-life standards and practices from various industries, such as oil and nuclear energy. The project will highlight the need for shared knowledge from such decommissioning initiatives which can be applied to the satellite industry, encouraging responsible behavior in space and improving space environmental protection.

(more…)

House Science Committee Leaders Criticize FCC Action on Orbital Space Debris

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson released a statement today on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote on new regulations for orbital space debris. 

“As we said in our letter to the FCC last week, regulatory action at this time, without consensus across federal agencies and clear authority from Congress, will at the very least create confusion and undermine the Commission’s work, and at worst undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in space,” Lucas and Johnson wrote. “Despite a host of concerns raised by this Committee, other federal agencies, and industry stakeholders, the FCC moved forward. This rulemaking process alone is problematic. During a global pandemic and unprecedented public health and economic challenges, the decision to take action on a significant regulatory change is unnecessary and ill-advised. As the Commission proceeds, we expect them to work with our Committee and all relevant federal agencies on an appropriate policy framework for orbital debris.”

Astroscale U.S. Appoints Dave Fischer as Business Development VP, David Hebert as Communications Director

Denver, Colo,, USA, April 21, 2020 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale U.S. Inc., (“Astroscale U.S.”), the U.S. unit of Astroscale Holdings Inc., the market leader in developing a service to remove space debris and secure long-term orbital sustainability, today announced that Dave Fischer and David Hebert, two experienced and highly respected space industry professionals, will join the Astroscale U.S. management team. Fischer joins the company as Vice President of Business Development and Advanced Systems, and Hebert joins as Director of Communications with appointments effective as of March 2020.

(more…)

An Overview of India’s Counterspace Strategy and ASAT Tests

Global Counterspace Capabilities:
An Open Source Assessment

Secure World Foundation
April 2020

Full Report

The following excerpts from the report summarize India”s growing counterspace programs and its anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests in 2019.

Country Summary

India has over five decades of experience with space capabilities, but most of that has been civil in focus. It is only in the past several years that India has started organizationally making way for its military to become active users and creating explicit military space capabilities.

(more…)

FCC Updates Rules on Orbital Debris Mitigation

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2020 (FCC PR) —The Federal Communications Commission today comprehensively updated its satellite rules on orbital debris mitigation for the first time in over 15 years.

The Commission also voted to seek further public comment on other proposals related to mitigating orbital debris. Orbital debris, also known as space debris, can pose a risk to satellites and inhabitable spacecraft, and in some instances, pieces of debris falling back to earth can pose a risk to persons and property on the surface of the earth.

(more…)

FCC Fact Sheet on Proposed Orbital Debris Mitigation Rules

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, IB Docket No. 18-313
Proposed Rules
(119 Pages)

Fact Sheet

Background: Since 2004, when the Commission first adopted rules regarding orbital debris mitigation for Commission-authorized satellites, there have been a number of developments in technologies and business models that pose new or additional orbital debris risks. These developments include the increasing deployment of lower-cost small satellites and of large constellations of non-geostationary satellite orbit systems, some potentially involving thousands of satellites.

(more…)

House Members Ask FCC To Delay Action on Orbital Debris Rules

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Three leaders of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have called upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay action on new orbital debris mitigation rules planned for Thursday.

“Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the immense effort undertaken to recover from the pandemic, and the potential for the FCC’s proposal to exacerbate impacts on U.S. industry and international competitiveness at a critical period in our nation’s history, we hope that you will agree to postpone future action,” the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai read.

(more…)