Latest Space News
Mon, 23 May 2022 05:01:30 +0000
Space Systems Command is trying to figure out how to exploit traditional and new types of commercial space data The post Military looking for new ways to acquire and use commercial satellite data appeared first on SpaceNews.
Sun, 22 May 2022 23:21:45 +0000
WASHINGTON — Boeing and United Launch Alliance say they remain committed to launching future CST-100 Starliner commercial crew missions on Atlas 5 rockets even after that vehicle is effectively retired for other missions. As with the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) mission in late 2019, an Atlas 5 launched Starliner on the OFT-2 mission May 19. […] The post Starliner launches to remain on Atlas 5 appeared first on SpaceNews.
Sat, 21 May 2022 22:58:27 +0000
NASA is gearing up to perform another practice countdown of the Space Launch System in mid-June as it completes repairs to the vehicle from previous tests. The post NASA plans early June rollout of SLS for next countdown test appeared first on SpaceNews.
Sat, 21 May 2022 01:14:14 +0000
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station May 20, a little more than 24 hours after its launch. The post Starliner docks with ISS for the first time appeared first on SpaceNews.
Fri, 20 May 2022 11:44:09 +0000
Throughout Russia’s invasion and offensive in Ukraine, some of the most compelling images of the war have come from satellites in space operated by private companies. The post On National Security | Drawing lessons from the first ‘commercial space war’ appeared first on SpaceNews.
Fri, 20 May 2022 11:25:37 +0000
Space Perspective has raised an additional $17 million to further development of its stratospheric passenger balloon system that simulates one aspect of spaceflight. The post Space Perspective raises $17 million appeared first on SpaceNews.
Fri, 20 May 2022 08:16:04 +0000
Chinese launch vehicle developer Orienspace has raised $59.9 million in a Series A funding round, which the company says it will use for a first rocket launch and new engine development. The post Chinese launch startup Orienspace raises $59.9 million in Series A round appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 23:32:27 +0000
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station on a critical, long-delayed uncrewed test flight of the commercial crew vehicle. The post Atlas 5 launches Starliner on second uncrewed test flight appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 22:18:11 +0000
Telesat said May 18 it demonstrated high-speed connectivity in India last month using a four-year-old prototype satellite The post Telesat tests LEO broadband prototype in India appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 21:42:28 +0000
Inmarsat said May 19 it has successfully tested a mesh network that enables ships to switch from satellite to terrestrial connectivity by using other vessels as stepping stones to land-based signal towers. The post Inmarsat uses ships as stepping stones in mesh network trial appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 20:44:02 +0000
NASA is seeking informal public input on a set of 50 objectives for its exploration efforts that agency leadership says will go into a broader effort to guide its activities for the next two decades. The post NASA seeks input on human exploration objectives appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 20:04:19 +0000
What the latest decadal survey portends for NASA's planetary science program. The post Ice giants and icy moons: The planetary science decadal survey looks beyond Mars to the outer solar system appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 17:47:59 +0000
Lt. Gen. Saltzman said one lesson from the cyber attacks in Ukraine is that the main targets are not the satellites but the ground systems and user equipment The post U.S. Space Force to step up protection of satellite ground systems in the wake of Russia’s cyber attacks appeared first on SpaceNews.
Thu, 19 May 2022 11:45:06 +0000
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is ready to attempt another uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station, with both the company and the agency expressing confidence in the spacecraft despite past problems. The post NASA and Boeing set for second Starliner test flight appeared first on SpaceNews.
Wed, 18 May 2022 21:47:51 +0000
NASA is continuing to investigate water that leaked into a spacesuit helmet during a spacewalk earlier this year and is holding off on future spacewalks until engineers can resolve the problem. The post NASA puts ISS spacewalks on hold to investigate water leak appeared first on SpaceNews.
Wed, 18 May 2022 18:38:45 +0000
Space Force Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein said commercial innovation today is "outpacing the demand signal from the government." The post Military buyers challenged to stay up on the latest commercial space innovations appeared first on SpaceNews.
Wed, 18 May 2022 18:20:19 +0000
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and Raytheon Intelligence & Space will begin developing technologies for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s next generation of weather satellites under contracts announced May 17. The post Ball and Raytheon win weather instrument study contracts appeared first on SpaceNews.
Wed, 18 May 2022 15:39:51 +0000
Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has ordered three microsatellites to keep tabs on vessels operating clandestinely in the North Sea. The post Kongsberg orders satellites for Norwegian maritime surveillance appeared first on SpaceNews.
Wed, 18 May 2022 11:42:01 +0000
With Arctic aviation and maritime activity on the rise, Europe and Canada are taking the lead in developing weather satellites to gather global data and improve observation of Earth’s northernmost latitudes. The post Proposed constellations would enhance Arctic weather observations appeared first on SpaceNews.
Wed, 18 May 2022 07:15:54 +0000
NASA’s InSight Mars lander mission will likely conclude by the end of the year as power levels for the spacecraft continue to decline, project officials confirmed May 17. The post NASA confirms impending end for InSight appeared first on SpaceNews.
More space news...


May 16, 2022

Space Force Lays Out ‘Range of the Future’ Priorities as Launches Surge (Source: C4ISRnet)
A decade ago, the major launch pads in Florida were flying just three or four missions annually. Now, after a record 31 launches in 2021, they are expecting to host 67 this year, or almost one every five days. Not only has the number of launches ballooned, but so have the providers. By Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy's estimates, if all those providers hit their targets, the Eastern Range could be supporting an annual launch rate of around 300 missions within several years.

The Space Force’s West Coast launch hub at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California is seeing more modest growth, with Purdy projecting its manifest to increase from about five or six launches annually to as many as 50 in the coming years. This explosion of range activity is requiring Purdy and his team to rethink the way they manage the launch enterprise, adopting automated safety systems, implementing new processes for scheduling launches and considering legislative proposals that could allow the Space Force to operate its launch ranges like airports.

Purdy said the service has made progress over the last year in designing a roadmap for those changes, using a 2019 initiative called “Range of the Future” as its foundation. The effort was designed to implement strategic changes at the Space Force’s ranges in four primary areas: architecture, infrastructure, policy, operations. The service recently added a fifth focus on transforming its business model. Click here. (5/13)

Coast Guard Fast-Tracks Changes After Cruise Ship Scrubs SpaceX Launch (Source: Florida Today)
The U.S. Coast Guard modified its procedures in the wake of a cruise ship's intrusion into a SpaceX launch zone earlier this year, a high-profile incident that highlighted the need for continued conversations on how to handle the confluence of space and maritime traffic. Among the changes in the works are updated "exclusion zones" for launches and new ways of disseminating launch updates to ship captains. Capt. Mark Vlaun described the changes since Royal Caribbean's ship entered an exclusion zone in January, forcing SpaceX to scrub a Falcon 9 launch.

Vlaun said the January incident was at least partly caused by the maritime industry's use of paper for disseminating information. Captains and crews are often notified of hazards via paper since noteworthy obstacles are usually static and don't change often. "But five-day-old space launch information is not worth the paper it's printed on," he said. His team's decisions impact other industries, too: if the roles were reversed and the rocket delayed the departure of cruise ships, tens of thousands of travelers could see ripple effects that stretch all the way to Orlando International Airport and beyond.

Changes include digitized notices to captains, using QR codes linked to Space Force web-based launch information; revised (often smaller) exclusion zones; and an ongoing study to overlay historical sea traffic with existing launch trajectories. "The reality is right now, this has become one of our busiest and biggest issues for the Coast Guard – this emergence of the space vessel support team," he said. (5/11)
Second-Generation Space Worker Janet Petro Continues to Oversee Dramatic Change at KSC (Source: Florida Today)
Janet Petro was named Director of the Kennedy Space Center June 30, 2021. As she winds down her first year in the top job at KSC, she’s focused on transitioning the center to what she bills as a launch “mecca” — a facility serving not only NASA, but also private space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin with the possibilities of 50+ of launches a year. Click here. (5/1)

SpaceX Launches Another 53 Starlink Satellites From Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: WFTV)
On Saturday, SpaceX successfully launched another batch of Starlink satellites from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The Falcon 8 rocket carrying 53 Starlink satellites lifted off at 4:40 p.m., and about 8 minutes later the rocket’s first stage successfully landed at sea on the droneship Just Read the Instructions. (5/15)

SpaceX Launches Starlink Satellites From California Spaceport (Source: SpaceX)
SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Friday afternoon. Following stage separation, the rocket's first stage returned to Earth and landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean. (5/13)
SpaceX Starts Florida Megabay for Starship, Plus Blue Origin Facility Developments (Source:
In this video update, SpaceX's Florida Starship factory and Megabay continued to take shape, Blue Origin has put a roof on 2CAT, and Falcon Heavy side booster B1064 was spotted outside Hangar X. Sections of the Starship launch site are also being assembled. Click here. (5/11)
ULA Prepares to Evolve Centaur V with Vulcan (Source:
With 24 launches remaining, the Atlas V rocket will be retired marking the end of the Atlas family. This, however, does not mark the end of the Centaur upper stage. The largest upgrade to Centaur will take place for the ULA’s Vulcan-Centaur rocket. Vulcan will use a new variant of Centaur. Named Centaur V, it is built specifically for the new rocket. Centaur V will return to the normal dual-engine configuration with the RL10C-1-1. The two RL10 engines will provide a total thrust of 212 kN with a specific impulse of 453 seconds. This will also see Centaur’s largest size increase to 5.4-meters in diameter with a height of 12.6-meters. (5/10)

Northrop Grumman Eyes Alternative Rocket Engine Sources (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Northrop Grumman has confirmed that its inventory is sufficient to cover two Antares resupply launches to the International Space Station next year, and that the company has a backup plan should the supply of Russian-made rockets continue to be stalled by the war in Ukraine. Last year, Northrop Grumman received a NASA contract for six additional cargo missions to ISS. (5/11)

Space Force to Select Small Responsive Launcher in August (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Space Force plans to select a small satellite launcher to fly a payload to low Earth orbit on short notice. The Space Force's Space Systems Command announced Thursday it plans to award a contract in August for its Tactically Responsive Space 3 (TacRS-3) mission. Vendors pre-selected for the Orbital Services Program OSP-4 will compete for the task order. The selected launcher will deploy a space domain awareness payload called Victus Nox. Congress included $50 million in the 2022 defense budget for responsive space activities. (5/13)

Astra Awaits FAA License for Next Three Launches From Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Space News)
Astra says it is ready to start launching a set of NASA cubesats as soon as it gets an FAA license. The company plans three launches of its Rocket 3.3 vehicle from Cape Canaveral starting later this quarter, each carrying two TROPICS Earth science cubesats. The company said the vehicles are ready and it is waiting on an FAA license that it expects to receive in the next few weeks. Astra cautioned that it's unlikely to perform all three launches this quarter as previously planned. The company is planning an event this Thursday to show its expanded factory and discuss plans for its next, larger launch vehicle. (5/9)

Astra Gives Details on Larger Rocket Plan (Source: Space News)
Astra announced its Rocket 4.0 vehicle, capable of placing up to 300 kilograms into orbit at a base price of $3.95 million a launch. The company is projecting a test flight of the vehicle as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. The vehicle will use new, larger engines in its first stage that the company has tested, but did not disclose if the engines were developed internally or came from another company. The overall Launch System 2.0 that includes Rocket 4.0 will be designed for a weekly launch cadence, including the ability to perform launches on consecutive days. (5/13)

Astra’s Playing the Long Game (Source: Tech Crunch)
“The expectation I think that a lot of people have is every launch has to be perfect,” said Astra CEO Chris Kemp. “I think what Astra has to do, really, is we have to have so many launches nobody thinks about it anymore.” How many launches? Eventually, Astra wants to achieve a daily launch cadence; in the interim, the company is aiming for weekly launches as early as next year.

It’s a critical part of how the company aims to win amongst an increasingly crowded field of small launch developers — not by being flawless, but by being so low-cost and high-volume that the relative risk of a few catastrophic failures ceases to matter. To get there, Astra is moving at breakneck speed. Notably, it became the fastest company in history to reach orbit in November, six years after the company was founded.

“The approach that we took was not to design and create PowerPoints and do all the analysis and then five or 10 years later, finally maybe build a rocket,” he said. “It was within 18 months of founding the company in that garage, getting a launch license and launching our first rocket and then doing it again a few months later, and again and again and again...This was not the popular way to approach this problem,” he added. (5/13)
Astra Plans UK Launch (Source: Space News)
Astra announced plans Tuesday to launch from a U.K. spaceport next year. The company said it's working with SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetland Islands to host launches, pending regulatory and other approvals. Astra has emphasized the portability of its launch system, including in an earnings call last week, that allows it to operate from facilities worldwide. Astra will follow ABL Space Systems, another small launch vehicle developer that expects to launch from SaxaVord as soon as later this year as part of a deal with Lockheed Martin. (5/10)

Virgin Orbit to Launch Nine Payloads From UK Spaceport (Source: Space News)
The NRO is partnering with the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence on a Virgin Orbit launch from England. U.K. defense procurement minister Jeremy Quin said Tuesday that the NRO will participate in the launch from Spaceport Cornwall scheduled for later this year. Virgin Orbit will fly nine payloads to orbit using the LauncherOne small launch platform deployed from a modified Boeing 747 aircraft. Virgin Orbit separately announced Tuesday an agreement with L3Harris to acquire and modify two other Boeing 747 aircraft to serve as additional launch platforms. (5/11)

Japanese Radar Constellation iQPS Selects Virgin Orbit for 2023 Launch (Source: Space Daily)
Virgin Orbit has signed a launch services agreement with Japanese earth observation constellation operator Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. ("iQPS"). The satellite is expected to join Virgin Orbit's manifest for early 2023.

Selected for LauncherOne's proven ability to provide direct access to diverse orbits, Virgin Orbit expects to launch the QPS-SAR-5 satellite into a tailored mid-inclination orbit to allow iQPS to expand the coverage of its constellation and revisit rate. By directly injecting the QPS-SAR-5 into the desired orbit on iQPS's schedule, LauncherOne's flexibility should allow for iQPS to rapidly commission the QPS-SAR-5 and begin collecting information from areas of key interest to its customers. (5/8)

Virgin Orbit Plans June Launch with Seven Satellites (Source: Virgin Orbit)
Virgin Orbit says its next launch will take place no earlier than late June. The company announced Monday that the next LauncherOne mission is scheduled for as soon as June 29, flying out of Mojave Air and Space Port. The "Straight Up" mission will carry seven satellites for government agencies arranged by the U.S. Space Force, placing them into a mid-inclination orbit. (5/10)

Virgin Orbit to Expand 747 Carrier Aircraft Fleet (Source: Space Daily)
Virgin Orbit has contracted with L3Harris Technologies to acquire two Boeing 747-400 airframes to support the growing need for U.S. national security and allies' satellite launch demands. L3Harris will modify one of the newly acquired aircraft to serve as an additional airborne launch pad for Virgin Orbit's small satellite launch service, with delivery expected in 2023. L3Harris will also overhaul the platform with a new cargo configuration, which is expected to allow Virgin Orbit to deliver its rockets and ground support equipment in the same aircraft that will launch from foreign spaceports. (5/11)

Virgin Orbit Reports $62.6 Million Quarterly Loss (Source: Reuters)
Virgin Orbit remained upbeat about its business prospects despite a widening loss. The company reported Wednesday a net loss of $62.6 million for the first quarter of 2022, much higher than the same quarter of 2021, and revenue of just $2.1 million. The company said that revenue should increase because it is moving from lower "introductory pricing" on its first launches to higher per-launch revenues, and that its cash burn should improve over the course of the year. The company says it has enough cash to operate through the rest of the year without having to raise more capital, and has yet to use an agreement announced earlier this year to sell up to $250 million in stock. (5/12)

Phantom Space Corp. Places Order for More Than 200 Ursa Major Rocket Engines (Source: Phantom Space)
Phantom Space Corporation, a space applications company, today announced an agreement to purchase more than 200 rocket engines from Ursa Major, America's only independent pure-play rocket propulsion company. The order includes Ursa Major's 5,000-Pound Thrust Hadley engines and the new 50,000-pound thrust Ripley engines. By using Ursa Major's Hadley engines, Phantom's Daytona rocket is slated for orbital launch in 2023, just three years after Phantom Space was formed. (5/4)

FAA and NTSB Discussing Space Transportation Accident Investigation Roles (Source: Space News)
The FAA and NTSB say they are talking with each other on roles in commercial spaceflight investigations. The discussions were prompted by a proposed rule the NTSB published last year outlining how it would investigate launch and reentry accidents by commercial vehicles, a rule widely criticized by the industry as well as the FAA as duplicating existing FAA regulations.

In a letter to the House Science Committee, the chair of NTSB said last week that NTSB and FAA were in discussions about updating an existing agreement between the agencies, and that the NTSB would issue a supplemental proposed rule for further public comment before issuing a final rule. At an advisory committee last week, the FAA confirmed it had "good conversations" with the NTSB about updating that agreement. (5/9)

Why is FAA Approval for SpaceX Starship Orbital Launches Taking So Long? (Source: The Hill)
The latest FAA delay of SpaceX's Starbase PEA until the end of May, has caused a proliferation of conspiracy theories on social media. Some Ars Technica readers have suggested the environmental process was being slow walked or even rigged. One common sentiment is that the FAA is delaying so that the NASA Space Launch System will fly before the orbital SpaceX Starship.

However, a sound principle where government bureaucracy is concerned is to be careful about ascribing to malice what can also be explained by inefficacy common with the federal government. The FAA suggests that the reason includes the need to wade through about 18,000 public comments and that SpaceX has made some last-minute changes to the application that has resulted in the need for further analysis. The announcement raises a number of questions, however.

First, why is the FAA constantly blowing past its own self-imposed deadlines for getting the environmental review completed? Can that agency not perform accurate project estimates? Second, while the volume of work seems to be enormous, given the stakes, how many resources is the FAA devoting to the review? Could assigning more people speed the process up? Finally, one wonders whether the FAA comprehends the true importance of the SpaceX Starship and the ability to launch it on a regular basis from the Boca Chica site. (5/9)

Shotwell Sees Starship Launch From Texas This Summer (Source: Bloomberg)
SpaceX’s massive new Starship rocket -- designed to land NASA astronauts on the moon and eventually take humans to Mars -- will conduct a test flight from Texas in June or July, President Gwynne Shotwell said Thursday. She didn’t elaborate. The timing marks another slip in the schedule; as recently as February, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Starship could be ready to launch in May. (5/5)

Housing Costs Skyrocket as SpaceX Expands in Texas City (Source: NPR)
The city of Brownsville's motto used to be, "On the Border, By the Sea" to indicate its geography at the Southern tip of Texas. In 2019, it changed to "On the Border, By the Sea, and Beyond" — an ode to SpaceX, which has a facility about 23 miles east of the city. In downtown Brownsville, there are space-themed murals. One of them is of an astronaut, on the side of a hot dog stand called Space Dog Station.

"Elon Musk is bringing a lot of changes here into the city," Rodriguez says. "I think a lot of people, just the same way they don't like it, a lot of people do go for it as well." Some of that change includes rising housing costs. Texas A&M University data show median housing prices have increased in the Brownsville-Harlingen metro by 26% since 2020, from $184,900 to $233,000. The median yearly family income for Brownsville residents is just over $40,000, a third less than the country as a whole, according to Census data. (5/13)

Three New Facilities are Coming to the Houston Spaceport (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Three new facilities are under construction at the Houston Spaceport, a promising step toward the city’s 2015 commitment to transform Ellington Airport into a hub for space activity. Axiom Space, the local company that recently sent private astronauts to the International Space Station, held a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday for Phase I of its 22-acre campus. This campus will be used to train future astronauts and develop a commercial space station.

In January, Houston-based Intuitive Machines broke ground on its 12.5-acre, 110,000-square-foot location. This is where it will build lunar landers, operate its mission control and make other space products, such as guidance, navigation and control technology. And in June of 2021, Charlotte, N.C.-based Collins Aerospace broke ground on an 8-acre, 120,000-square-foot campus to develop and produce systems for NASA’s human spaceflight programs. (5/13)

Georgia Spaceport Rebranding as Kings Bay Airport and Spacepark (Source: Spaceport Facts)
The FAA told Camden in 2017 that medium-large Rockets couldn't launch from Spaceport Camden. Last year. the FAA said there are no existing rockets “in the foreseeable future” for the $11 million FAA license. Now it's called the "Kings Bay Airport and Spacepark." Envisioned are air launch systems like Northrop Grumman's Pegasus, parabolic flights for space tourism, and landings of orbital vehicles like Sierra Space's Dream Chaser. Vocal spaceport opponent Steve Weinkle is now running for a county commission seat, after decrying Camden County's taxpayer-funded investments in the controversial project. (5/12)

Blue Origin Announces Crew for Next New Shepard Suborbital Flight (Source: Bloomberg)
Blue Origin announced the crew of its next New Shepard flight Monday. The NS-21 mission will carry six people, including its first repeat customer, Evan Dick, who flew on NS-19 in December. Others include Katya Echazarreta, who will be the first Mexican-born woman in space and is flying on a seat acquired by Space for Humanity, as well as explorer Victor Vescovo.

The company said the launch date would be announced in the near future. Separately, Blue Origin auctioned a seat on a future flight Monday as part of a charity event in New York for the Robin Hood Foundation. The winning bid of $8 million came from Ken Griffin, a billionaire who founded the hedge fund Citadel. He said he would donate the seat, for a flight expected in the first half of 2023, to a New York City teacher. (5/10)

Blue Origin to Send First Mexican-Born Woman to Space (Source: Bloomberg)
Blue Origin says the crew flying on its NS-21 mission will include six customer astronauts, including the first Mexican-born woman to visit space, Katya Echazarreta. Echazarreta formerly worked as a NASA test lead and is pursuing a Master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She also co-hosts the YouTube series “Netflix IRL” and “Electric Kat” on the CBS show “Mission Unstoppable.” (5/9)
Space For Humanity to Send its First Citizen Astronaut on Next New Shepard Flight (Source: Space Daily)
Space For Humanity (S4H) announced its selection committee has chosen Katya Echazarreta to become the organization's first ever citizen astronaut ambassador. Katya will become the first Mexican-born female to fly to space when she flies aboard Blue Origin's NS-21 flight. Katya, an electrical and computer engineer and online science educator, was selected from more than 7,000 applicants from over 100 countries to fly on New Shepard and experience the cognitive shift of the Overview Effect. (5/11)

Financier Wins Blue Origin Spaceflight Auction, Donating Two Seats to NYC Teachers (Source: CNBC)
Ken Griffin, billionaire founder and CEO of hedge fund Citadel, placed the winning $8 million bid in an auction Monday for a seat on a spaceflight with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Bezos’ company donated two seats on its New Shepard rocket for a “buy one give one” auction at the non-profit Robin Hood’s annual benefit for New York City, with the second seat going to a NYC teacher.

But Griffin will not launch to space himself, instead giving back his seat so that two educators can fly. A Robin Hood spokesperson told CNBC that the organization will partner with Griffin, Blue Origin and New York City’s Department of Education to select the two teachers for the spaceflight, saying an announcement about the “process and timeline” is coming soon. (5/10)

Report: Pentagon Culture Resists Commercial Space, Especially Small Launchers (Source: C4ISRnet)
DoD's failure to look at commercial options for small satellite launches is undermining US security, according to an Atlantic Council report. The report cites a "negative culture" at the Pentagon for leveraging commercially available launch services. “There is an established culture that ignores legislated ‘commercial first’ mandates, and that behavior has become increasingly detrimental to national security interests,” according to the report. “Over the last decade, this negative culture has eroded U.S. space superiority and will continue to do so as the world moves toward quickly developed and deployed low-cost commercial space systems.” (5/9)

DoD IG: No Improper Influence in Space Command HQ Decision (Source: Space News)
The Pentagon's inspector general concluded that the decision to move U.S. Space Command headquarters to Alabama was reasonable and not improperly influenced by politics. The review was requested last year by Colorado lawmakers who argued that the decision to move Space Command headquarters from Peterson Space Force Base to Redstone Arsenal, made in the waning days of the Trump administration, was politically motivated and counterproductive as most of Space Command's workforce and industrial base reside in Colorado.

The report released Tuesday, though, said the process was reasonable and followed best practices used by the Army in 2018 to select the headquarters of its Futures Command. A separate report on the basing selection process is expected to soon be released by the GAO. The IG did criticize the Air Force basing office personnel for poor record keeping. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said he will continue to fight to reverse the decision. “With only a cursory review of the process itself, the DoD OIG’s conclusion that the previous basing decision was reasonable simply means that it was logical based on flawed evaluations,” he said. A forthcoming GAO report "did a much deeper review of the criteria and scoring in this basing decision,” said Lamborn.

Editor's Note: I've seen this situation before. When strong political factors are anticipated for a site decision, the staff reviewers can safely present multiple candidate sites as being roughly equal, allowing the executive decision maker to make the final selection based on whatever factors he/she believes are most important. My question is how close were CO and AL ranked, and--if they were ranked similarly--was the final decision made by someone who took political factors into consideration to break a notional tie. (5/11)

Leaked Report Should Doom the Space Command Move (Source: The Gazette)
Finally, it is official. A leaked report says Colorado Springs was and remains the best location for the permanent headquarters of Space Command. President Joe Biden should quickly reverse then-President Donald Trump’s vengeful decision to move it from Peterson Space Force Base as retribution for Colorado supporting Biden and ousting Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

Trump’s political indulgence was predictable, and we predicted it. Trump staged a 2020 rally in Colorado Springs and said he would make a Space Command decision after the election. In other words, read between the lines and don’t be stupid. If you want Space Command, vote for Trump.

That did not happen, so Trump rejected the advice of his top military officials. After ordering the relocation of the command, Trump bragged on the radio about single-handedly giving Space Command to Alabama — a state that supported him by 62%. After Trump’s Space Command stunt, Alabama’s congressional delegation fought harder than any other to overturn the 2020 election. (5/12)

Two Federal Reports Muddy Water Around Decision to Relocate Space Command Away From Colorado (Source: CPR)
One of two long-awaited government reports on the decision to move Space Command from Colorado to Alabama seems to support the claim that the selection was legal and reasonable based on the criteria the military looked at. But Colorado lawmakers say another report due out soon may still turn up flaws in the process.

DoD’s Office of Inspector General has found that former President Donald Trump’s decision to move the Space Command Headquarters from Colorado to Alabama was “reasonable.” It could be a damaging, but not fatal, blow for Colorado lawmakers seeking to have President Joe Biden revisit the decision.

In the meantime, Colorado's political leaders, who are fighting to keep the Command in the state, argue that the DoD report doesn't capture the full picture of the process and that a more detailed look at the decision — the one coming from the Government Accountability Office — may still vindicate their efforts. (5/11)

Rubio and Feinstein Team to Support Space National Guard Creation (Source: The Hill)
Two senators have introduced a bill authorizing a Space National Guard. The bill, introduced Wednesday by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), would direct the creation of a National Guard element for the Space Force. A companion bill is in the House. A Space National Guard was considered last year but not included in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act. (5/12)

Pentagon May Rethink How it Determines Which Space Programs are Classified (Source: C4ISRnet)
The U.S. Department of Defense may rewrite its guide for classifying space programs, a policy official told lawmakers this week. Congress last year directed the Pentagon to review its classified space portfolio to determine whether programs are appropriately classified. The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act required the department to complete that effort by the end of April, submit a report to Congress in June and change the classification status of its programs, as necessary, by late July.

John Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, said during a May 11 Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing that DoD has conducted the review and determined that all of its space programs are “probably appropriately classified.” Still, the department may reconsider how it classifies some of its space programs going forward, he said. (5/13)
Space Force: Ukraine Experience Shows Benefits of Megaconstellations (Source: Space News)
A Space Force general said the use of Starlink in Ukraine shows the benefits of megaconstellations. Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday that Starlink demonstrates the resiliency of large proliferated constellations, an architecture the military is pursuing for its own future satellite systems. The inability of Russia to block communications in Ukraine during the conflict is "a reflection of these new proliferated architectures that are very difficult to deny overall," he said. (5/12)

Chinese Military Deeply Alarmed Over Starlink's Dual-Use Capabilities (Source: Sputnik)
Beijing's concerns echo criticisms of the South African-born billionaire's satellite internet system by Russia. On Sunday, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin warned that Elon Musk would be held accountable for supplying Starlink internet terminals to neo-Nazi militants fighting in Ukraine.

SpaceX's plans to increase the constellation of Starlink internet satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 "should put the international community on high alert," China Military Online, a news site affiliated with the Central Military Commission, the PRC's top national defense organ, has warned. (5/12)

Musk Warns of Renewed Russian Efforts to Jam Starlink (Source: Space News)
SpaceX founder Elon Musk, though, warned of renewed efforts by Russia to jam Starlink services in Ukraine. Musk tweeted this week that Starlink had resisted "Russian cyberwar jamming and hacking attempts so far, but they’re ramping up their efforts." His comments come as American and European government officials formally blamed Russia this week for the cyberattack that disabled Viasat's KA-SAT network at the beginning of the invasion in February. That cyberattack disabled tens of thousands of terminals, many outside of Ukraine, requiring some to be replaced. (5/12)

Space Force Considers Modernization of Satellite Testing (Source: Space News)
A Space Force document calls for the service to invest in infrastructure and a skilled workforce to support the testing of new satellite designs and other systems. The "Space Test Enterprise Vision" report, released Tuesday, concludes that the traditional methods for testing hardware and software are no longer adequate to evaluate future systems. That includes the ability to test the ability of space systems to survive threats like anti-satellite weapons. The Space Force requested $89 million in fiscal year 2023 to begin the design and development of a National Space Test and Training Complex that will include a digital environment for virtual testing and some hardware for real-world tests. (5/11)

Space Force Foresees Arctic Monitoring Role (Source: Space News)
Warming seas and thinning polar ice caps promise to turn the Arctic into a hub of greater economic activity and a new hotspot for military competition, with implications for space systems. The changing Arctic is drawing attention to the importance of space systems to keep watch over the region, monitor the climate and maintain constant communications. Space Force Gen. John Raymond, chief of space operations, said in an interview that service will continue to invest in the Arctic, from facilities in Alaska and Greenland to efforts to fill in gaps in satellite communications coverage in the region. (5/12)

MDA Hopes to Add Its Own Satellites to Missile Tracking Architecture (Source: Air Force Magazine)
As the Space Development Agency moves forward with plans for missile tracking and warning satellites, the Missile Defense Agency hopes to add its own satellites to that architecture, the agency’s director told a congressional panel May 11.

Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill’s comments to the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee came as the Pentagon has placed increasing emphasis on missile tracking and warning from space in response to China and Russia’s rapid development of hypersonic weapons. Specifically, MDA is developing the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, a program intended to work with SDA’s satellites to track hypersonic and ballistic missiles. (5/11)

What a 1970s Philosophical Concept Can Teach Us About Space Governance (Source: Fast Company)
Currently, there are no international binding rules that would address these growing threats. In fact, the international community has not been able to agree to any new binding, broadly supported rules for space since 1976, a time when space was dominated by just two powers—the US and the USSR—and the biggest concern was launching nuclear weapons beyond the stratosphere.

This suggests that it may be time to consider new rules for this new space era. One potentially useful approach to governance could be to adopt a rule-making thought device, famous in political philosophy, called the “veil of ignorance.” Philosopher John Rawls presented the veil idea with a thought experiment: to create fair rules for society, everyone must first agree to the rules before knowing how, exactly, the rules would apply to them.

His notion was that if you didn’t know whether you would be a Black, White, or Brown person, a woman or a man, or if you would end up rich or poor until after the rules were created, the rules everyone would agree upon would wind up being more equitable for all. The best time to make rules for society, it turns out, is while society is still living under the veil of ignorance. It is perhaps remarkably useful and relevant to space. (5/9)

House Panel to Hold Public Hearing on Unexplained Aerial Sightings (Source: New York Times)
A House subcommittee is scheduled to hold next week the first open congressional hearing on unidentified aerial vehicles in more than half a century, with testimony from two top defense intelligence officials. The hearing comes after the release last June of a report requested by Congress on “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The nine-page “Preliminary Assessment” from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on 144 incidents dating back to 2004 and was able to explain only one.

The report declined to draw inferences, saying that the available reporting was “largely inconclusive” and noting that limited and inconsistent data created a challenge in evaluating the phenomena. But it said most of the phenomena reported “do represent physical objects.” The assessment concluded that the objects were not secret U.S. technology and that “we currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary.” (5/10)

Canadian Military Suddenly Takes Notice of UFOs (Source: National Post)
The Canadian Armed Forces appear to be taking UFOs a bit more seriously after the U.S. military admitted publicly last year that its pilots kept seeing “unidentified aerial phenomena” they couldn’t explain. Last June, the U.S. intelligence community released a long-awaited report confirming there had been 144 incidents of inexplicable phenomena. In advance of the U.S. release, the top echelons of the Canadian military called in Chris Rutkowski, Canada’s most prominent ufologist, for a briefing.

Canada has one of the world’s largest proportions of alleged UFO sightings. Roughly 1,000 such sightings are annually phoned in to Ufology Research, the organization operated by Rutkowski since 1989. While the majority of these reports are easily explained as aircraft or astronomical phenomena (such as a passing satellite), there have been a handful of incidents in which credible sightings of unexplained shapes or lights have been recorded by trained pilots. (5/10)

Canada Joins US in ASAT Ban (Source: Space News)
Canada announced Monday it is joining the United States in banning tests of destructive direct-ascent ASATs. The announcement came at the start of a week-long meeting of a U.N. working group on reducing space threats in Geneva. The move is largely symbolic as Canada has never tested nor announced plans to test ASATs, but adds momentum to the U.S. ban announced last month that some hope could lead to a global norm against such tests. Several other countries expressed support for the ASAT ban during the U.N. meeting Monday without formally signing on. (5/10)

Anti-Satellite Weapons: the US has Sworn Off ASAT Tests, Australia Should Follow Suit (Source: Space Review)
The United States announced last month it would not perform destructive direct-ascent ASAT tests and encouraged other nations to join it. Cassandra Steer explains why Australia should join the ASAT testing ban despite a lack of plans by the country’s military to develop ASATs. Click here. (5/9)

The UK Wants to Build a Space Solar Power Plant by 2035 (Source:
The United Kingdom is getting serious about beaming solar power from space and thinks it could have a demonstrator in orbit by 2035. Over 50 British organizations, including aerospace manufacturer Airbus, Cambridge University and satellite maker SSTL, have joined the UK Space Energy Initiative, which launched last year in a quest to explore options for developing a space-based solar power plant. (5/11)

Space Safety Concerns Put Economic Growth at Risk (Source: Space News)
LEO will soon be overwhelmed with satellite operators striving to coexist in the same space with little to no international ground rules on acceptable behavior, guidelines for coordination, or models to define acceptable traffic density. To make matters worse, Congress has not fully enabled a lead civil agency to negotiate such matters. This leaves our thriving industry to fend for itself while safety problems and concerns mount.

The US has been working on this problem since 2010, when the Obama administration established an interagency effort to tackle space traffic management; subsequently, in 2018, the Trump administration established Space Policy Directive 3, calling on the Department of Commerce to assume the lead role for ensuring the safety and sustainability of the emerging space economy. The department’s Office of Space Commerce (OSC) has two critical tasks that need a comprehensive strategy: 1) establishing behavioral ground rules for space traffic management and coordination and 2) engaging with industry and facilitating economic growth in the space sector.

While the Biden administration has endorsed these tasks, the department has been slow to focus on them despite the other Commerce roles that impact the space economy, such as trade promotion, export controls, and managing the nation’s weather satellite fleet. Unfortunately, Congress also has failed to fully endow the Office of Space Commerce with the appropriate legal authorities to accomplish these aims—including on-orbit mission authorization for commercial activities beyond communications and Earth observation—a critical missing piece of the U.S. government requirements under the tenets of the Outer Space Treaty. (5/11)

Orbex Reveals First Full-Scale Microlauncher Rocket Developed in Europe (Source: Space Daily)
Orbex has unveiled the first full-scale prototype of the Prime orbital space rocket on its dedicated launch pad publicly for the first time. The unveiling of the first of a new generation of European launch vehicles - designed to launch a new category of very small satellites to orbit - represents a major step forward for the British rocket company as it prepares for the first ever vertical rocket launch to orbit from UK soil. Orbex's Prime rocket is the first 'micro-launcher' developed in Europe to reach this stage of technical readiness.

With the first full integration of the Orbex rocket on a launch pad now complete, the company is able to enter a period of integrated testing, allowing dress rehearsals of rocket launches and the development and optimization of launch procedures. Orbex recently revealed their first test launch platform at a new test facility in Scotland. Prime is a 19-meter long, two-stage rocket powered by seven engines, that is being designed and manufactured in the UK and Denmark. Uniquely, Orbex Prime is powered by a renewable bio-fuel, bio-propane, supplied by Calor UK. This fuel allows the rocket to reduce carbon emissions significantly compared to other similarly-sized rockets being developed elsewhere around the world. (5/11)

German Launcher Project Plans Australia Liftoff (Source: Southern Launch)
In preparation for their ReFEx rocket launch campaign from Australia, the DLR team are visiting spaceport partner Southern Launch. As part of their visit, the DLR team will be visiting Southern Launch’s spaceports; the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex and the Koonibba Test Range, as well as meeting with key personnel across the Australian space industry. 

DLR is the Federal Republic of Germany's research center for aeronautics and space. They conduct research and development activities in the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport, security, and digitalization. DLR have selected Southern Launch as their partner to conduct testing of the Reusability Flight Experiment (ReFEx). (5/5)
Lift-Off for NASA Suborbital Mission From Norway (Source: Andoya Space)
The NASA suborbital research rocket Endurance lifted off from the Andøya Space launch site at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, on May 11. The primary mission for Endurance was to investigate and measure Earth’s electrical field in order to establish to what extent the ionosphere leaks water into space. It is already known by the science community that the ionospheres on Mars and Venus do this as well. The data returned from the mission will be analyzed further in months and years ahead. During its flight the Endurance reached an apogee of 767 kilometers altitude. (5/11)

China's Deep Blue Accomplishes Vertical Rocket Landing (Source: Space News)
Chinese startup Deep Blue Aerospace conducted a vertical takeoff and landing test, flying a vehicle to an altitude of one kilometer. The test, performed Friday by the Nebula M1 vehicle, saw the vehicle take off, fly to the designated altitude and then land within half a meter of the center of its landing pad.

The landing in the video released by the company is obscured by dust thrown up by engine thrust, but the company claims the test was successful. Future tests to altitudes of 10 and 100 kilometers will be conducted using a new test stage on the same scale as the full-scale Nebula-1 rocket, whose first orbital launch is planned before the end of 2024. (5/9)

China's iSpace Suffers Third Launch Failure (Source: Space News)
Chinese launch startup iSpace suffered its third consecutive launch failure Friday. The company's Hyperbola-1, a four-stage solid rocket, lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at 3:09 a.m. Eastern. However, the company provided few details after liftoff and state media confirmed the failure four hours later. The company successfully launched Hyperbola-1 in July 2019 but suffered failures in February and August of 2021. The company is also developing the much more complex Hyperbola-2, a larger, methane-liquid oxygen launcher with a reusable first stage. (5/13)

India Tests Human-Rated Solid Rocket Booster (Source: IANS)
India successfully tested a human-rated version of a solid-rocket booster. The Indian space agency ISRO said Friday that it fired the HS200 booster in a static test for 135 seconds, declaring the test a success. The HS200 is a version of the S200 booster used on the GSLV Mark 3 rocket that will launched crewed flights for the Gaganyaan program. (5/13)

Astronaut Compares the SpaceX, NASA and Russian Spacecraft He's Flown In (Source: Futurism)
After 177 days in space, SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer returned to Earth aboard one of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Marshburn was part of a panel for Crew-3 members that just splashed down last week following their stay on the ISS as part of a joint NASA and SpaceX mission.

During the live conference, Marshburn said that while the NASA, SpaceX and Russian-made ships he’s flown in are all different, they also feel more or less the same during launch and while re-entering the atmosphere because of simple physics. “SpaceX was quite a bit smoother [especially] through staging,” Marshburn said. “[Landing in] the Shuttle was very smooth. We almost didn’t know we we landed. But distinct differences were enjoyable to observe at both launch and landing.” Click here. (5/12)

The Privatization of Space is Taking Off, but Not Everyone is Over the Moon (Source: The Hill)
In 2030, NASA plans to retire the International Space Station. Launched into orbit in 2000, the station has begun to show its age, from equipment failure to air leaks.

But humans are not leaving space. NASA has partnered with numerous companies to design and build private space stations, which NASA will lease space on. These commercial stations represent a new phase of space exploration and inhabitation, with proponents of privatization saying it will lead to lower costs, more research and development and a robust space economy. Critics point to the risks: lack of accountability, labor issues, environmental damage and more. Click here. (5/12)

Entrepreneurs Create a Space “Academy” as Commercial Space Flourishes (Source: Ars Technica)
A group of astronauts, engineers, and business executives is betting on a vibrant space economy by launching a new initiative called "Star Harbor." Among several planned activities, this spaceflight campus would train future astronauts and make facilities such as a neutral buoyancy laboratory and high-gravity centrifuge publicly available.

Star Harbor has already acquired 53 acres in Lone Tree, Colorado, for about $25 million, said Star Harbor founder and Chief Executive Maraia Tanner in an interview. The company plans to open the mixed-use development campus, just south of Denver, beginning in 2026. The centerpiece of the new development will be Star Harbor Academy, Tanner said, estimating its development cost at $120 million. The Academy will include the capability for microgravity flights, a neutral buoyancy facility, high-gravity centrifuge, land based and underwater habitats, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers, a human performance center, and more.

Initially, Star Harbor will seek to serve research and development customers, such as university groups, startup companies, and other ventures that don't have access to facilities to test their payloads. There are only a handful of facilities around the world with some of the amenities built to mimic spaceflight conditions, such as a centrifuge or large pool, Tanner said, and most of those are reserved for government use. Tanner said she expects that about 60 percent of Star Harbor's revenue will come from such research and development efforts, with a much smaller segment initially derived from commercial astronaut training. (5/10)

Colorado Startup Plans Space Training Center (Source: Denver Business Journal)
A startup launching a commercial spaceflight training center plans to develop a 53-acre Denver metro-area campus where people can learn to be astronauts and companies develop new space technologies. The company, Star Harbor Academy, plans development of an astronaut school with dorms and future phases of development planned to create a hotel and commercial spaces for companies and space workforce training.

Maraia Tanner, Star Harbor’s founder and CEO, calls it the first private training center for people flying on the growing number of commercial spacecraft and space stations being developed. “There’s really no resources available for spaceflight training now if NASA is not involved,” she said. "We would be the first center for this available to the commercial space industry." (5/11)

Axiom Space Breaks Ground on New Houston Spaceport HQ (Source: Houston Business Journal)
Just weeks after completing the first all-private mission to the International Space Station, Houston-based Axiom Space is breaking ground on its new headquarters at the Houston Spaceport. Axiom scheduled a May 11 groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate major construction getting underway. The company expects to move its headquarters to the new spaceport campus in 2023.

The Houston Airport System announced in February that Houston City Council and Axiom had finalized the ground lease and user agreement for the previously announced facility. The 22-acre Space Flight and Assembly Headquarters will be used to train private astronauts and for the production of the Axiom Station, which has been billed as the world’s first free-flying, internationally available, private space station. The space station will be used for research manufacturing and commerce in low-earth orbit. (5/11)
AST SpaceMobile Announces $75M Committed Equity Facility (Source: Space Daily)
AST SpaceMobile, the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network designed to be accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has entered into a common stock purchase agreement. The agreement governs a Committed Equity Facility that provides AST SpaceMobile with the right, without obligation, to sell and issue up to $75 million of its Class A Common Stock over a period of 24 months at AST SpaceMobile's sole discretion, subject to certain limitations and conditions. (5/8)

Maxar Selling Mobile Terminals for Direct Imagery Access (Source: Space News)
Maxar is seeking customers for its mobile terminals that give users direct access to the company's imaging satellites. The company offers a terminal that military units could deploy in the field to downlink electro-optical imagery from the company's satellites and radar imagery from Radarsat-2. The company says it's seeing "strong demand signals" from the U.S. government for such systems that could offer more growth for the company. The company added in an earnings call this week that the first two WorldView Legion imaging satellites, delayed by supply chain and logistical issues, are now scheduled for launch in September. (5/11)

Kepler to Use Ku-Band on Some Constellation Satellites (Source: Space News)
Spire Global is installing Ku-band antennas from fellow smallsat operator Kepler Communications on at least three satellites to offer higher capacity data services. The companies said Tuesday the antennas, on satellites planned for launch next year, will allow Spire to add high-speed Ku-band capabilities to its fleet in low Earth orbit under Kepler's existing regulatory licenses. The deal includes an option to add the antennas to up to 50 satellites. Spire currently uses UHF, S- and X-band antennas to provide weather and tracking services from its constellation of more than 100 cubesats. (5/11)
Sidus Space Announces Quarterly Financial Results (Source: Sidus Space)
Sidus Space announced recent company highlights and financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. Revenue increased to $1,799,335 for the three months ended March 31 from $153,136 in the comparable period of 2021, an increase of 1075%. This was driven by growth in number of customers and significant growth in the size of contracts. Gross Profit increased to $978,337 for the three months ended March 31 from a loss of $134,540 in the comparable period of 2021. (5/13)

Satellite Operators Eye Arctic Services (Source: Space News)
Satellite operators are venturing into the Arctic to improve connectivity as the changing atmospheric and geopolitical climate drives demand for more bandwidth there. The Arctic cannot be served well by traditional GEO communications satellites, leading companies to turn to LEO constellations or spacecraft in highly elliptical orbits to serve the region. Satellite companies are increasingly investing in the area as a number of factors drive demand for more capacity, from demand for in-flight connectivity on routes over the poles to defense. (5/13)

SES Considers 5G Satellite-to-Phone Service (Source: Space News)
SES is considering plans to provide 5G services directly to handheld devices after rescuing spectrum rights for a constellation. Luxembourg's government filed an application in 2015 to international regulators at the ITU for the constellation, dubbed Cleosat, but faced losing it until SES used at least one of its satellites to secure the frequencies May 10, two days before the deadline.

SES said its interest in the constellation is because of the "potential of direct-to-handheld 5G satellite connectivity in the years to come," but has not disclosed additional details or a schedule for the system. The proposed Cleosat constellation uses multiple frequency bands from around 1.5 to 29 gigahertz, covering 62 satellites across eight planes in non-geostationary orbits between 519 and 8,062 kilometers. (5/13)

Globalstar Customer Mystery Deepens, is it Apple? (Source: Space News)
Globalstar’s latest financial update raises a mystery project when it said it had signed a term sheet with “a large, global customer” to start deploying some of its spectrum for terrestrial use “in the U.S. and beyond.” The satellite operator, which has been exploring ways to use its frequencies terrestrially for applications including connecting internet of things (IoT) devices, said the deal is for a “significant opportunity that will take time.”

There were also no meaningful updates about the “potential customer” funding a set of 17 satellites to replenish Globalstar’s existing constellation. Even still, B. Riley analyst Mike Crawford continues to believe Apple is “the most probable” wholesale buyer of this capacity, saying the release of the iPhone 14 later this year could be a potential catalyst. Reports last fall had suggested the iPhone 13 line could come with Globalstar-enabled connectivity. (5/9)
Astra Has Sold 61 Satellite Electric Thrusters (Source: Space Intel Report)
Startup small-launch service provider Astra Space Inc. said it has booked firm orders for 61 electric-propulsion Astra Constellation Engines (ACEs) from multiple customers, with the sales pipeline healthy since the engine’s successful functioning in orbit in August 2021. Astra acquired Apollo Fusion, the startup that designed the Hall effect ACE engines for satellite orbit-raising, last year. (5/9)

Northern Sky Research (NSR) to Become Part of Analysys Mason (Source: NSR)
Analysys Mason, a world-leading management consultancy focused on telecoms, media and technology (TMT), today announced the acquisition of Northern Sky Research (NSR), a specialist satellite and space research and consulting firm. Founded in 2000, NSR is a prominent global provider of satellite and space market research and consulting services specializing in the analysis of growth opportunities across four core industry sectors: satellite communications, satellite & space applications, financial analysis and satellite & space infrastructure. (5/3)

CACI Plans Satellite Launch on Transporter-7 Mission (Source: Space News)
CACI International is funding an experiment to demonstrate space technologies for military use, including an alternative to GPS navigation. The defense contractor, seeking to grow its space business, will fly two demonstration payloads on a York Space satellite scheduled to launch to low Earth orbit in January aboard the SpaceX Transporter-7 rideshare mission. That will include a test of an alternative navigation system designed to work in a "contested domain" where GPS signals are jammed. If the test is successful, CACI says it will try to work with satellite operators to include that navigation payload on their satellites. (5/10)

Intelsat Appoints New Executives (Source: Space News)
Intelsat appointed several new executives last week to guide the satellite operator as it emerges from bankruptcy protection. Anthony O'Brien, a former chief financial officer at Raytheon, was appointed to the same role at Intelsat. Intelsat also named Jeff Sare, previously vice president at Panasonic Avionics, as president of its commercial aviation division. Those and other changes come a month after former Raytheon executive David Wajsgras took over as CEO. (5/9)

Freed of Russian Ownership, Momentus Approved by FAA, FCC and NOAA for Launching Vigoride Tug (Source: Space News)
Momentus announced it received all the approvals needed for the first launch of its space tug later this month. The company said it got a favorable FAA payload review last week after getting FCC and NOAA licenses for its Vigoride tug, and that the hardware is now in Florida to be integrated onto a Falcon 9 for the Transporter-5 launch late this month. Momentus was unable to get payload reviews on two occasions last year because of national security concerns linked to its Russian co-founders, who are no longer with the company. (5/9)

Starlink Now Available to Ship Immediately in 32 Countries (Source: The Verge)
SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink is now available in 32 countries around the world, the company has announced. Impressively, Elon Musk’s space company says it’ll ship “immediately,” contrary to earlier issues that caused customers to wait months to receive their dishes. The service as “available” across most of Europe and North America, as well as parts of South America, Australia, and New Zealand. (5/13)

Russian Space Chief Dmitry Rogozin Apparently Threatens Elon Musk (Source:
Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin has apparently threatened Elon Musk, but the SpaceX founder and CEO doesn't seem too bothered. On May 8, Musk posted on Twitter a note that he said Rogozin had sent out to Russian media. The note claimed that equipment for SpaceX's Starlink satellite-internet system had been delivered to Ukrainian marines and "militants of the Nazi Azov battalion" by the U.S. military.

"Elon Musk, thus, is involved in supplying the fascist forces in Ukraine with military communication equipment," Rogozin wrote, according to an English translation that Musk posted. (He also tweeted out a Russian version.) "And for this, Elon, you will be held accountable like an adult — no matter how much you'll play the fool." This sounds very much like a threat, as Musk acknowledged in a follow-up tweet on Sunday. "If I die under mysterious circumstances, it's been nice knowin ya," he wrote.

SpaceX, Musk and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been open about sending Starlink terminals to Ukraine, to help the country maintain some of its communications infrastructure during the ongoing invasion by Russia. Ukrainian officials asked for such equipment in late February, shortly after the invasion began. (5/9)

Quebec Plans Use of Starlink for Rural Broadband (Source: Canadian Press)
The government of Quebec will spend $50 million Canadian ($39 million) to provide rural broadband services using SpaceX's Starlink network. The provincial government will use the money to provide services to more than 10,000 homes out of reach of terrestrial broadband services. The services are scheduled to be in place by the end of September. (5/11)

UK Space Start-up NORSS Wins Deal for MoD Satellite Simulator (Source: The Times)
A space start-up has won a near-£1m contract with UK Space Command to develop a new simulator system for testing out future British satellite launches. Northumberland-based Northern Space Security (NORSS), founded in 2017 by RAF veteran Ralph Dinsley, will develop spacecraft and missions simulator software called ARTSIM to support the MOD’s satellite plans. It will partner on the contract with Nominal Systems, a space simulator developer based in Canberra, Australia. (5/8)
Scotland and UAE: Plans Unveiled to Better Connect Space Industries (Source:  AstroAgency)
Globally focused strategic space marketing firm AstroAgency, headquartered in Edinburgh, has announced it will team up with a Dubai-based space investment and advisory company AzurX, to support space businesses in both regions, access new development opportunities and forge collaborative partnerships.

The two organizations boast a global space client base. AzurX and AstroAgency previously collaborated on a strategic project to support the Scottish Government and its agencies, delivering the Scottish Space Day at Expo 2020 Dubai. The firms recognized an opportunity to build upon the foundations created by the event, which benefitted a host of Scottish space stakeholders, including Prestwick Spaceport, Trade in Space and Skyrora, that took part in a delegation to meet with potential partners and investors in the UAE. (5/9)

India and France Agree on Space Cooperation (Source: Space News)
India and France have agreed to cooperate to tackle "contemporary challenges that have arisen in space," including secure access to outer space. During a summit meeting last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to establish a strategic dialogue between the countries on space issues, with the first meeting later this year. Those discussions will include space security and economic issues, such as norms and principles. The countries also agreed to step up efforts to connect their startup ecosystems and bolster public-private engagement. (5/11)

Colombia Signs Artemis Accords (Source: Space News)
Colombia is the latest country to sign the Artemis Accords. Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez signed the Accords Tuesday at NASA Headquarters, making Colombia the 19th country, and third in Latin America, to sign the agreement regarding best practices for safe space exploration. The signing continues a steady stream of countries, many of which are not traditional spacefaring nations, that have joined the Accords. (5/11)

Boeing, NASA Teams Give Starliner Final Go for OFT-2 Mission (Source:
NASA, Boeing, and ULA teams, along with international partners, have finished the agency Flight Readiness Review (FRR) ahead of the Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. They are now targeting May 19 at 6:54 PM EDT for the launch from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

Despite being uncrewed, OFT-2 is an end-to-end simulation of a crewed launch–including arming the abort system. Lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Starliner will be placed into a 72 km x 181 km sub-orbital trajectory by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. Starliner will then undergo several phasing burns to raise its orbit to that of the International Space Station.

Starliner will then dock to the ISS’ Harmony forward port, where it’ll remain docked for approximately five days for a total mission length of five-to-eight days. This will mark the first time that NASA’s docking system will be used, as Dragon’s docking system was designed in-house. Starliner will then undock, perform several phasing burns, and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in White Sands Missile Range on May 25, 2022. (5/12)

Starliner is Years Late, but NASA Says It's Also Necessary (Source: Florida Today)
Boeing and SpaceX were selected by NASA in 2014 to each develop a new craft that would ferry astronauts to the International Space Station following the end of the space shuttle program. While both companies were tasked with doing the same thing, the outcomes couldn't be more different. The agency spent nearly $8 billion to fund its Commercial Crew Program to develop SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and Boeing’s Starliner.

Boeing launched its Starliner to orbit once in December 2019 for an uncrewed test flight that failed to dock with the ISS and required an emergency return trip home. SpaceX has operated its Crew Dragon capsule since March 2019 completing a total of eight missions, six for NASA and two privately funded ventures. Years behind schedule and over-funded in comparison to SpaceX, Boeing’s Starliner is seemingly just an expensive missed opportunity.

However, NASA, Boeing, and outside experts all agree that a second crew transportation option is still necessary for one reason: Redundancy. If something happens that causes SpaceX to lose its ability to ferry NASA’s astronauts to the ISS, NASA – and America – is left facing a future of relying on Russia for space transportation at $90 million a seat on its Soyuz spacecraft. (5/12)

Boeing Clashes with Key Supplier Ahead of Starliner Spacecraft Launch (Source: Reuters)
Boeing s feuding with Aerojet Rocketdyne, a key supplier for its Starliner spacecraft, as the U.S. aerospace giant races to test launch the uncrewed astronaut capsule and mend its reputation in the space sector, people familiar with the matter said. They are at odds over the cause of a problem involving fuel valves in the Starliner propulsion system that forced a postponement of a test flight last July, with the two companies faulting one another, the sources said. (5/12)

Boeing Considers Design Change for Starliner Valves (Source: Space News)
Boeing is considering a long-term design change for valves on its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle to fix corrosion discovered last year. The company has adopted several changes for the upcoming OFT-2 uncrewed test flight that don't require modifications to the valves, such as dry purges with nitrogen gas to remove moisture. A Boeing executive said a valve redesign is "on the table" as a long-term fix, something the company had not previously acknowledged. The planned design change are considered amid a dispute with the valve supplier, Aerojet Rocketdyne, on the cause of corrosion that made the valves stick during a launch attempt last year. NASA and Boeing said the OFT-2 mission remains on track for launch May 19. (5/12)

Private Crew Dragon Mission to Feature Spacewalk (Source: Spaceflight Now)
Training will begin this month for the private astronauts scheduled to fly on, and conduct a spacewalk from, a Crew Dragon spacecraft. In an interview, Jared Isaacman said the four people, including himself, flying the Polaris Dawn mission planned to start training this month after SpaceX completed a series of Crew Dragon launches and splashdowns. Polar Dawn is the first of three missions Isaacman announced earlier this year to test technologies for commercial human spaceflight, and will include the first spacewalk from a Crew Dragon spacecraft. Polaris Dawn is scheduled to launch no earlier than November. (5/11)

Lawsuit Claims Boeing Negligence in Starliner Test Led to Injury (Source: Ars Technica)
In a 2020 lawsuit filed by Tim Lachenmeier, it is claimed that during a March 2017 Starliner parachute drop test, Boeing negligently failed to implement proper safety measures, including, (a) failing to have in place a capsule tie down system to prevent an inadvertent release of the capsule prior to the time of launch, (b) providing an inadequate, unsafe, and defective ladder that they knew could cause catastrophic injury if something went wrong while someone was using it to access the capsule, and (c) failing to provide an adequate grounding system which could have prevented a freak electrostatic discharge event.
He claimed that as he plugged in a capsule release cable, an electrostatic discharge caused one of the pyro activated cutters to misfire, severing the primary restraint lines holding the balloon to the ground. This static discharge sent the capsule hurling upwards instantly and the force pushed the ladder TIM was standing on backwards and away from the capsule. As Mr. Lechenmeier tried to jump away to safety, his right foot landed hard on the Boeing lowboy trailer on which the capsule was mounted, shattering his ankle, before being hit by the ladder. He fell approximately 20 feet, knocking off his hard hat when hit by the ladder, and ultimately landing hard on his neck, back, and hips.
Editor's Note: Accompanying the thread about this alleged Boeing incident, readers pointed to the 2014 death of a SpaceX employee at that company's McGregor TX rocket testing facility. The incident was described as an accident not related to a rocket test, and involved the employee being flung from a truck as it was driving a load of foam material for disposal. The employee was positioned atop the foam as it was caught by wind. (5/11)
NASA Seeks Feedback on Commercial Destination Certification (Source: NASA)
NASA is currently developing requirements for commercially owned and operated destinations that would support NASA, international, and private astronauts safely in low-Earth orbit. The agency is requesting feedback from industry to evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of the requirements.

NASA’s Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development Program has released the first of several Request for Information (RFI) documents that contain draft crew certification requirements, and a white paper documenting the agency’s current assumptions and expectations on commercial destinations. This RFI is intended to gather industry comments on the feasibility of the requirements and assumptions to aid NASA in the development of safe, reliable and cost-effective space destination capabilities.

As part of the process, NASA will hold an informational briefing on May 25 to provide industry with a top-level summary of the agency’s documents and expectations from its review. RSVPs to participate in the briefing are due by 5 p.m. EDT May 24. (5/11)

Russian Sanctions Creating Administrative Difficulties for ISS Collaboration (Source: Space News)
Sanctions on Russia are starting to affect ISS operations, NASA's safety advisers said Thursday. Members of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said that while day-to-day operations of the ISS are continuing without "serious interruptions" since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, sanctions imposed on Russia are creating "administrative difficulties" for NASA personnel in the country, including limited flight options and inability to use credit cards.

In addition, sanctions are affecting Russia, such as Microsoft's suspension for support of its products there. The panel, though, reiterated its support for a seat barter agreement to allow cosmonauts to fly on commercial crew vehicles and NASA astronauts to fly on Soyuz. (5/13)

NASA Loses and Regains Contact with Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars (Source: NASA)
NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter has encountered power issues. The helicopter missed a communications session earlier last week, but controllers restored contact with it Thursday. The helicopter went into a low-power state because of colder temperatures and a decrease in solar power due to dust in the atmosphere. Controllers have lowered the temperature at which the helicopter turns on heaters as a means to reduce power consumption and allow it to recharge its batteries. They hope that will allow Ingenuity to return to normal operations in several days. (5/9)

Winter is Coming for Mars Helicopter (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
The end could potentially be near for NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter as Martian winter and dust storms wreak havoc on the drone’s vital systems. The Mars helicopter relies on communication relays with the Perseverance rover in order for its onboard systems to be actively monitored by flight controllers on Earth. On May 5, 2022, for the first time since the helicopter’s operation began just over a year ago, Ingenuity missed a planned communication check-in with the rover.

Once the vehicle’s temperature drops below 5 degrees Fahrenheit, a heater automatically kicks on and the spacecraft slowly shuts down in order to protect its electrical systems. With a vital control system shut down, the Ingenuity helicopter is unable to heat itself or communicate with the Perseverance Rover. Scientists at JPL believe that by adjusting the set temperature for which the helicopter’s heater is turned on from 5 degrees to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, Ingenuity should be able to conserve crucial energy that it is desperately trying to absorb with a lack of sunlight being collected from the solar panels. (5/11)

Insight Records Strongest Marsquake (Source: NASA)
NASA's InSight lander has recorded its strongest "Marsquake" to date. The quake on May 4 was approximately magnitude 5, significantly stronger than a magnitude 4.2 quake the spacecraft detected last August. The quake was near the upper limit of what project scientists hoped to detect with the seismometer on InSight. That spacecraft continues to experience dropping power levels and its mission may end later this year. (5/10)

The Future of Mars Science Missions (Source: Space Review)
The planetary science decadal survey final report released last month recommended flagship missions to the outer solar system but also endorsed continued work on Mars Sample Return. Jeff Foust reports other Mars exploration recommendations in the report are still shrouded in uncertainty, such as a radar mapping mission that NASA wants to stop funding. Click here. (5/9)
Raising the Flag on the Moon and Mars: Future Human Space Exploration in Japan (Source: Space Review)
In the concluding part of his examination of Japanese space exploration policy, Makusu Tsuizaki discusses how lessons learned from the ISS could support new plans for human exploration of the Moon and Mars. Click here. (5/9)

A Magnetic Bubble Could Protect Astronauts from Dangerous Space Radiation (Source:
Sending astronauts on long-duration missions to other worlds would be impossible because of the hazardous radiation levels in space, outside of Earth's protective magnetic field. However, a new concept offers hope on the horizon, and the researchers behind it have received funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program to build a prototype.

Called CREW HaT, the proposal takes advantage of the latest advances in superconducting magnet technology to effectively shield spacecraft from harmful space radiation. HaT stands for a Halbach Torus, a circular array of magnets that creates a stronger field on one side while reducing the field on the other side. Researchers came up with a design for lightweight, deployable, mechanically supported magnetic coils activated by a new generation of high-temperature superconducting tapes, which have only recently become available. (5/6)

Students Compete to Improve Everyday Life on ISS (Source: Space Daily)
Textbooks teach concepts, but hands-on learning is the pathway to understanding, especially in careers that involve science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Connect that to real projects on the International Space Station and you've got NASA's HUNCH (High school students United with NASA to Create Hardware) program.

The sheer excitement of creating solutions for astronauts on the space station, has been inspiring high school students interested in STEM careers for almost 20 years. Recently, student teams from all over the country gathered at NASA's Johnson Space Center to present ideas in six categories to see if they were chosen to fly to the station. Those categories include design and prototyping, software, hardware, sewn flight articles, culinary, and video and media. (5/11)

UF Scientists Grow Plants in Lunar Soil (Source: NASA)
In the early days of the space age, the Apollo astronauts took part in a visionary plan: Bring samples of the lunar surface material, known as regolith, back to Earth where they could be studied with state-of-the-art equipment and saved for future research not yet imagined. Fifty years later, three of those samples have been used to successfully grow plants. For the first time ever, researchers have grown the hardy and well-studied Arabidopsis thaliana in the nutrient-poor lunar regolith.

“This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals as we’ll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This fundamental plant growth research is also a key example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that could help us understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth.”

Scientists at the University of Florida have made a breakthrough discovery — decades in the making — that could both enable space exploration and benefit humanity. “Here we are, 50 years later, completing experiments that were started back in the Apollo labs,” said Robert Ferl, a professor in the Horticultural Sciences department at the University of Florida. (5/12)

UCF Student Team Named Finalists in NASA Aerospace Competition (Source: UCF)
A team of UCF students has been named a finalist in the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition, which aims to develop innovative technologies that further human space exploration. This is the first time a team from UCF has advanced to the final round in this competition.

The Knights will compete against 15 other collegiate teams, who will present their research at a NASA forum in Cocoa Beach this June. The team includes 19 students from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the College of Business. Mechanical engineering major Austin Hacker leads the team under the guidance of faculty members Jeff Kauffman and Kawai Kwok, and is proud of representing UCF at this event.

The UCF team is working hard on its mission design, which is titled “Project Vitality.” They aim to autonomously develop methane on Mars, with the goal of using it for rocket fuel. Creating the fuel in space reduces the need to transport it from Earth to Mars. Ultimately, it can lighten the load of future missions or leave room for additional scientific equipment to be transported. This project, along with the rest of the finalists, was chosen for its originality and creativity in the areas of engineering and analysis. (5/9)

Winners Announced for Lunar Exploration with a Miniaturized Payload Prototype Challenge (Source: HeroX)
HeroX, the leading platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced solutions, announced the winners of the "Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload, the Sequel" Challenge. The Challenge sought designs for miniature payload prototypes that could be sent to the Moon to help fill gaps in lunar knowledge.

The first "Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload Challenge" launched on April 9, 2020. Fourteen teams were recognized and rewarded for their innovative approaches to miniature payload development. These fourteen teams were invited to participate in the sequel challenge, which launched on October 15, 2020. From among those fourteen teams, four finalist teams were selected who then relied on crowdsourcing to recruit new team members and fill any resource gaps they might have.

Two of these expanded teams completed the next step of the challenge and were each awarded up to $225,000 that was used to develop their proposals into functioning, flight-ready payloads. In addition, a third team was awarded $65,000 to develop their proposal. Two years later, these teams have completed their hardware development and testing, and could one day see their payloads operate on the Moon. Click here. (5/4)

JWST in Home Stretch Preparations for Activation (Source: Space News)
The James Webb Space Telescope is entering what NASA calls the "home stretch" of its commissioning. Project officials said Monday they have completed the alignment of all the instruments on the observatory with better-than-expected performance in terms of resolution and sensitivity. They are now working on commissioning the individual instruments to prepare them for science operations this summer. The mission will finish the commissioning with a set of images called "early release observations" scheduled for release in mid-July. However, officials declined to say what objects the telescope would observe. (5/10)

GIF Demonstrates Just How Much Sharper JWST is Compared to its Predecessor (Source:  IFL Science)
Now that all of JWST's science instruments have been aligned with the telescope's optics and are all operating at their (very cold) operating temperatures, we have seen some of the test images it has sent back. These images are very impressive but they become even more so when directly compared with our previous infrared observatory in space. Now, NASA has released two images of the same part of the sky taken by Spitzer and JWST to demonstrate just that.

JWST, now the largest and more powerful telescope ever sent to space, is the successor of Hubble (which still works very hard, thank you very much) and the Spitzer Space Telescope, which was retired a few years ago. Spitzer brought incredible new insights to our understanding of the universe by giving us an infrared eye into the cosmos and providing us with the first high-resolution images of the universe in near- and mid-infrared. Click here. (5/12)

Sofia's Termination Recommended in Decadal Survey (Source: Space News)
The latest effort to terminate NASA's SOFIA airborne observatory is different this time, agency officials say, because of the recommendations of the decadal survey. At a town hall meeting last week, NASA noted that the astrophysics decadal survey released last November called on shutting down SOFIA because its high cost could not be justified by the science it produced. Congress also endorsed all the recommendations of the decadal survey in the report accompanying the fiscal year 2022 omnibus spending bill in March. Keeping SOFIA operating affects other astrophysics programs, the agency said. (5/9)
Astronomers Captured the First Image of the Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy (Source: NSF)
This is the first image of Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It's the first direct visual evidence of the presence of this black hole. It was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an array which links together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single Earth-sized virtual telescope. The telescope is named after the "event horizon", the boundary of the black hole beyond which no light can escape.

Although we cannot see the event horizon itself, because it cannot emit light, glowing gas orbiting around the black hole reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region, called a "shadow," surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is 4 million times more massive than our sun. The image of the Sgr A* black hole is an average of the different images that the EHT Collaboration has extracted from its 2017 observations. (5/12)

NASA Test Flights Prove eVTOL's Low Noise Levels (Source: AIN)
Results from recent NASA-backed flight tests with Joby’s eVTOL prototype demonstrate that noise from the four-passenger air taxi vehicle would be barely audible from city streets below. On May 10, Joby published findings from a two-week trial as part of NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign. During the flights, the Joby aircraft registered the equivalent of 45.2 dBA while cruising at an altitude of 1,640 feet at a speed of 115 mph. Recordings made by NASA engineers also demonstrated an acoustic profile for the aircraft while taking off and landing that was below 65 dBA, which Joby said represented a noise level comparable to a normal conversation at a distance of 330 feet from the flight path. (5/10)

NASA Selects SES Government Solutions to Support Near-Earth Communications (Source: Space News)
SES Government Solutions, in partnership with Planet Labs, has been awarded a Funded Space Act Agreement from NASA's Communications Services Project (CSP) to support the development and demonstration of near-Earth communication services in support of the agency's future mission needs. They will develop a real-time always-on low-latency connectivity solution enabled by SES's geostationary (GEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) constellations, including O3b mPOWER, to further NASA missions. (5/10)

NASA Glenn Director Retiring (Source: NASA)
The director of NASA's Glenn Research Center is retiring. The agency said Monday that Marla Pérez-Davis will retire next month after nearly four decades at NASA. She has been director of the center in Cleveland since January 2020 after four years as its deputy director. NASA is starting a formal process to select a replacement for Pérez-Davis, who will retire on June 17. (5/10)

NASA's New Astrovan Maker in Financial Distress (Source: Space News)
An electric vehicle company that won a NASA contract to provide a new version of the "Astrovan" issued a financial warning Tuesday. Canoo said there was "substantial doubt" it could continue operations given its losses and limited cash. The company won a NASA contract earlier this year to provide three electric vans that the agency will use to transport astronauts to the launch pad for Artemis missions. Canoo executives acknowledged the financial warning in an earnings call but said it is working on lining up as much as $600 million in new investment to keep the company, which has yet to begin large-scale production of vehicles, going. (5/11)

NOAA Affirms GOES-18 Functional (Source: NOAA)
NOAA released the first images Wednesday from its newest weather satellite. The images are from GOES-18, launched March 1 into geostationary orbit. NOAA said the images from the Advanced Baseline Imager instrument show that that instrument is working well and is not suffering from the cooling system problems that impaired a version of that instrument on GOES-17. GOES-18 will replace GOES-17 as the GOES-West satellite in early 2023. (5/12)

India Considers Amazon Web Services for Human Spaceflight Support (Source: Times of India)
The Indian space agency ISRO is considering using Amazon Web Services (AWS) ground stations to support future human spaceflight missions. ISRO recently tested a "proof of concept" of how the AWS network of ground stations could fill in coverage gaps for Gaganyaan missions. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said the agency had not yet decided if it will use AWS as part of its communications network for those missions. (5/10)

China Launches Cargo to Space Station (Source: Space News)
A cargo spacecraft docked with China's space station hours after its launch Monday. A Long March 7 lifted off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center at 1:56 p.m. Eastern and placed the Tianzhou-4 spacecraft into orbit. That spacecraft docked with the space station's Tianhe module seven hours later. The spacecraft delivered around 6.9 tons of supplies for June's Shenzhou-14 crewed mission, space station maintenance equipment, space science experiment apparatus, and a refrigerator for space science and medical experiments. (5/10)

South Korea’s New President Seeks Independent Space Agency, Deeper US Space Cooperation (Source: Space News)
South Korea’s newly elected president Yoon Suk-yeol will take office May 10 with a set of ambitious space projects aimed at making the country a major space power by 2035. They include establishing an independent aerospace agency offering integrated management of civil and military space programs in Sacheon, home to nearly 100 aerospace companies, and developing a high-power rocket for independent satellite launches and exploration missions.

Early completion of the country’s own GNSS system, which is on track to launch a full-fledged service by 2035, is another mission the new leader wants to accomplish to bolster the nation’s economic and military prowess. Yoon has also promised to facilitate the public-to-private transfer of space technologies, reform regulations and launch a space industry cluster to grow the country’s nascent domestic space industry. The science ministry selected five universities that will be subsidized $4 million each over the next five years for education programs designed to nurture skilled space engineers. (5/9)

Too Poor for Space? Ballooning to the Stratosphere is the Next Best Thing (Source: Fast Company)
For civilians, it’s reserved for a rarified few who can shell out $450,000 to $55 million for several weightless minutes at the edge of space to several days in orbit aboard the International Space Station. But in 2024, two companies—Space Perspective, a startup on Florida’s Space Coast, and World View, an established high-altitude balloon firm in Arizona—hope to spread that transcendence to more people through comparable views at much lower prices via high-tech ballooning to the stratosphere, a section of the atmosphere still well below space but beyond commercial flights.

For $50,000 to $125,000, tourists aloft both companies’ balloons will be able to slowly drift to a minimum of 19 miles (or 100,000 feet) for vistas that still encompass the curvature of the Earth, blackness of space, and stars that twinkle ever more sharply through the thinner atmosphere. Though participants won’t earn astronaut wings or experience weightlessness—flying well below the internationally recognized Kármán line space boundary at 62 miles (or even NASA’s designation of 50 miles)—the companies hope the experience, coupled with curated companion itineraries, will spark greater environmental and humanitarian concern. (5/13)

All-Girl Rocketry Team Inspires at American Rocketry Challenge (Source: AIA)
The Star Chasers, an all-girl team from Nazareth Academy High School in Pennsylvania, will be among the finalists competing in the American Rocketry Challenge this Saturday in Virginia. "When I look at these young ladies, I think about how we should always have eternal optimism and hope for the future because of these wonderful young ladies who are here crafting a better world," said the school's Gregory Severino. (5/12)

SpaceKids Global Announces National Essay Competition Winners (Source: SpaceKids Global)
On National Space Day, SpaceKids Global, a Florida-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating elementary students in STEAM+ (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics and environment), announced the winners of the 2022 National Essay Competition: Milan (5th grade) of Los Angeles, CA, and Brian (6th grade) of Hamburg, NY.

Milan and Brian will fly in a once-in-a-lifetime Zero-G Experience ($8,200+ value). Flights occur across the country in Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Seattle, Austin, Long Beach, New York, and Washington, D.C., and Milan and Brian will experience the space-like flight at a location near them. (5/9)

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