Capella Space Awarded Commercial Radar Contract By National Reconnaissance Office

Capella will demonstrate high-resolution SAR imagery capabilities as part of the National Reconnaissance Office’s Broad Agency Announcement Framework for Strategic Commercial Enhancements

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 20, 2022 (Capella Space PR) — Capella Space, an information services company providing high-quality, high-speed Earth observation data on demand, today announced a new contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to demonstrate the company’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery capabilities. Through this contract, Capella will work with the NRO to provide SAR data modeling and simulation, end-to-end regional imagery responsiveness demonstrations, theater downlink demonstrations and sample imagery delivery.

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NRL/NASA Experiment Launched to Study Origins of Solar Energetic Particles

The UltraViolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder undergoes inspection after the successful completion of its thermal vacuum test at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. The front, gold-colored, aperture shows the multiple external occulters that will block direct light from the solar disk. The occultation allows the faint solar corona to be observed at Lyman-alpha wavelengths. The UVSC instrument sits on a transport cart, which is not part of the flight package. (Credit: U.S. Navy)

By Paul Cage
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

WASHINGTON  –  A joint-U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/NASA experiment prepares to investigate the origins of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) that could affect Navy satellites and harm personnel during future crewed missions to the moon and beyond.

Researchers will use a new instrument, the Ultraviolet Spectro-Coronagraph Pathfinder (UVSC Pathfinder) to try to understand the origins of these particles, how they’re generated close into the sun to provide accurate space weather forecasting when these events happen.

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Space Force Selects More Than 900 Personnel to Transfer in FY 2022

ARLINGTON, VA (AFNS) — The Space Force, working with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, has selected 670 active-duty service members and 259 civilians to transfer into the Space Force during fiscal year 2022. These volunteers come from the pool of candidates who applied in March 2021 and members who are currently assigned to Army and Navy units slated to transfer into the new service.

These new selects join the initial tranche of 50 selects announced in June 2021 and once transferred into the Space Force, they will account for about seven percent of the service, which totals nearly 13,000 military and civilians today.

“Successfully integrating the units, capabilities and people from Sister Services into the Space Force is critical to our mission and was one of the driving forces in creating the new service,” said Gen. David D. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations. “We look forward to welcoming these Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and civilians into our force and encourage them to apply their experiences and perspectives to help us meet the needs of the Joint Force and shape a unique service culture.”

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U.S. Navy Establishes Maritime Space Officer Designator for Joint Warfighting Effort

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo.  (U.S. Space Command PR) – U.S. Space Command is focused on building the command to compete and win, as it heads into its third year as America’s 11th Combatant Command. A huge part of that focus is to ensure space warfighters from each service have the technical knowledge and tactical acumen to integrate into the full range of joint space capabilities.

Each service brings unique talents to the Joint Force, and most recently, the U.S. Navy announced the establishment of the Maritime Space Officer designator.

“These sailors will integrate into our operations to help deter, compete and win against our nation’s most formidable competitors in space,” said U.S. Army Gen. Jim Dickinson, USSPACECOM commander. “All joint partnerships across the Department of Defense are pertinent to continue projecting global power with space capabilities.”

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Army, Navy SATCOM Mission Areas Shifting to U.S. Space Force

WASHINGTON (U.S. Space Force PR) — The Chief of Space Operations announced the transfer of Army and Navy satellite communications billets, funding and mission responsibility to the U.S. Space Force.

Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond made the announcement at the Air Force Association meeting in Washington, yesterday. The transfers are scheduled to be effective Oct. 1, 2021, if the DOD budget is passed and signed.

“We’re one team with our sister services and over the last year-and-a-half we have worked with the Army and the Navy and the Air Force to determine which capabilities come over to the Space Force,” Raymond said. “The intent was to consolidate (and) increase our operational capability; increase our readiness and do so in a more efficient manner.”

The changes are “a first tranche,” he said.

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First Soldiers, Sailors, Marines Selected for Transfer to U.S. Space Force

ARLINGTON, VA. (AFNS) — The Space Force working with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps have selected 50 active-duty volunteers from those Services to transfer into the Space Force beginning July 2021. This initial group of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines will test out the integration efforts established by the Services to pave the way for a larger group of volunteers transferring in fiscal year 2022.

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SpaceX Leases Property at Port of Long Beach

Long Beach Harbor property leased by SpaceX. (Credit; Google Maps)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Long Beach Harbor Commission has unanimously approved a two-year lease with SpaceX for Elon Musk’s company to use a marine terminal for the recovery of Falcon 9 first stages.

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2020 a Busy Year for Suborbital Launches

New Shepard landing on the pad in West Texas on October 13, 2020, with the NASA Lunar Landing Sensor Demo onboard. (Credit: Blue Origin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Suborbital launch used to be a sleepy field that rarely attracted much public attention. Let’s face it, atmospheric research and student experiments are not front-page news. Sounding rockets don’t have the majesty and power of a Falcon 9 or Atlas V.

In recent years, exciting new entrants in the field and widespread streaming of launches have made suborbital flights exciting. Last year saw important suborbital flight tests by SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and Skyrora that garnered worldwide interest.

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Former Astronaut Mark Kelly Elected to U.S. Senate

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly has won election to the U.S. Senate from the state of Arizona, joining a small group of space explorers subsequently elected to serve in Congress.

The Associated Press reports that with 83 percent of the votes in, Kelly has 1,444,645 votes (52.6 percent) while Republican Sen. Martha McSally trails with 1,300,119 votes (47.4 percent). Kelly has declared victory and McSally has conceded the race.

Kelly, a Democrat who flew aboard the space shuttle four times, and McSally competed in a special election to fill the last two years of the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s six year term.

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DARPA Completes Key Milestone on Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Program

Artist’s illustration of hypersonic missile. (Credit: DARPA)

Risk reduction milestone paves way for airborne tests this year

ARLINGTON, Va. (DARPA PR) — DARPA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) today announced successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) and are ready to proceed to first free-flight testing within the calendar year. The joint Agency and Service effort seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile.

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USSPACECOM to Welcome New Command Senior Enlisted Leader

Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott H. Stalker (Credit: US Space Command)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Aug. 27, 2020 (US Space Command PR) — U.S. Marine Corps Master  Gunnery Sgt. Scott H. Stalker is set to assume responsibility of U.S. Space Command from U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman during an Aug. 28 ceremony.

The Department of Defense’s 11th combatant command is getting a new command senior enlisted leader eight days after U.S. Army Gen. James H. Dickinson assumed command from USSF Gen. John W. Raymond.

Stalker, a native of Lebanon, New Hampshire, previously served as the CSEL for U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency.

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Northrop Grumman Increases Collaboration with Space and Missile Systems Center by Implementing Agile Methodology

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — Northrop Grumman’s Enhanced Polar System – Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program is essential to provide continuous coverage for secure, jam-resistant, strategic and tactical communications in the Earth’s North Polar Region.

As the company works on the program that facilitates military satellite communications, the team is implementing Agile methodologies to better enable increased customer collaboration, rapid adjustment to changing mission requirements and quality-enhanced efficiency. The program is working to move quickly and efficiently in bringing capabilities when and where the U.S. Space Force needs them most.

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Fiber Optic Sensing System Readied for Space Use

Allen Parker, Fiber Optic Sensing System (FOSS) senior research engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, and Jonathan Lopez show how FOSS in aeronautics is used on a wing to determine its shape and stress on its structure. (Credits: NASA/Ken Ulbrich)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA will soon test an enhanced system that can take thousands of measurements along a fiber optic wire about the thickness of a human hair for use in space. In the future the technology could monitor spacecraft systems during missions to the Moon and landings on Mars.

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DIU Awards Antenna Contract to Isotropic Systems for Trial Optical Beamforming Technology

READING, UK, 18 May 2020 (Isotropic Systems PR) – Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, today announced an antenna evaluation and development contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to test the ability of its patented multi-beam antennas to unlock high-powered bandwidth aboard next-gen Naval vessels at sea.

As the U.S. Navy expands the size and communications capabilities of its global fleet, the DIU is reviewing Isotropic Systems’ patented beamforming antenna technologies and circuits as an enabler to fuse multi-band, multi-orbit commercial and military capacity to deliver intelligence data at the tactical edge over a single platform.

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Test Version of Orion Capsule Recovered in the Pacific Ocean

Seahawks from the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, also known as Wildcards, fly by a test version of an Orion capsule during Underway Recovery Test-8 in the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: NASA/Tony Gray)

With the USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) in the distance, helicopters from the HSC-23 squadron fly by a test version of an Orion capsule during Underway Recovery Test-8 in the Pacific Ocean. During this first full mission profile test of the recovery procedures for Artemis I, NASA’s Landing and Recovery team met their objectives.

Artemis I, formerly Exploration Mission-1, will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System rocket, with the newly upgraded Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

The primary goal of the mission is to assure a safe crew module entry, descent, splashdown and recovery. Artemis will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.