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Videos: “Space to Ground” + Other ISS reports – Sept.18.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Astronaut Jeanette Epps – First Operational Boeing Crew Mission to ISSSpace Snack

NASA has assigned astronaut Jeanette Epps to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, the first operational crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station. Epps will join NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for a six-month expedition planned for a launch in 2021 to the orbiting space laboratory. The flight will follow NASA certification after a successful uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 and Crew Flight Test with astronauts. The spaceflight will be the first for Epps, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 from LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She completed a master’s degree in science in 1994 and a doctorate in aerospace engineering in 2000, both from the University of Maryland, College Park.

** Earth Views from the International Space StationAmericaSpace

The International Space Station’s High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment is an external camera platform located on the Columbus module of the space station. In addition to providing beautiful views of Earth, one of the goals of HDEV is to monitor the longevity and quality of its image sensors in the space environment. HDEV operations began April 30, 2014 and only a single bad pixel has been identified. Credit: NASA

** ISS transit of Mars, September 14, 2020Tom Glenn

The International Space Station (ISS) transits Mars, as captured from San Diego, CA on September 14, 2020 at 05:15:47 PDT (12:15:47 UT). This required being positioned exactly on the line shown in the map in the video, to within less than 100m accuracy on the ground. This is complicated by the fact that the ISS orbit is inherently unstable in low Earth orbit, which causes the predicted ground path to change by small amounts leading up to the event. Even at the time of the event, the best prediction is associated with a small amount of error, on the order of one ISS diameter (~100m). At the time of this image, my telescope was sitting directly on the GPS coordinates of the predicted centerline of the transit, but you can see the center of the ISS was ever so slightly below the disk of Mars. However, it was close enough, and part of the solar arrays appear to touch the planetary disk in one frame. Still images at higher quality are available at the following links

** The International Space Station: A Remarkable Feat of Human CooperationMegaprojects

** International Space Station – Episode 55 – 2019 MissionsKevin Gustafson – YouTube

In this episode we review the launches and departures to the International Space Station in 2019. This includes the Soyuz MS-14 test launch, and the record breaking Progress MS-11 and MS-12 fast track rendezvous.

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Artists commissioned to create paintings on sides of Blue Origin New Shepard rockets

Uplift Aerospace is a company that

provides exclusive products forever transformed by their travel beyond our atmosphere in the realm of the stars. Our products symbolize humanity’s boundless capability and commitment to exploration.

One of Uplift’s projects is to use Blue Origin‘s New Shepard vehicles as canvases for original art pieces:

Uplift Aerospace is Using Rockets in Space as a New Platform
for Evolutionary Artwork

Uplift Aerospace is exploring the limits of evolutionary art by painting commissioned pieces on the exterior of a Blue Origin spacecraft and launching them to space and back on an upcoming New Shepard mission. Internationally renowned artists are collaborating with Uplift Aerospace and the heavens to create this historic artwork.

By painting the vehicle that humanity has used to explore the stars, the artwork will both symbolically and physically represent our search for knowledge and connection. Small details of the painting will transform throughout the journey to and from space as the artwork experiences the phases of a rocket launch from the ground, through the air at Mach speeds, in the vacuum of space, and landing back on Earth. Testing by Uplift Aerospace has ensured that adhesion, integrity, and relative coloration of the paints will endure the rigors of space travel.

“The Mona Lisa would not move today’s viewer quite so poignantly without the telltale signs of its now centuries-old story and its emergence from the brush of a Renaissance master. Journey and story will also leave a unique and indelible mark on Uplift Aerospace’s first artwork to return from space travel,” says Dakota Bradshaw, Museum Professional.

Artists Jeff Hein, recognized as a “living master” by the Art Renewal Center, and Mark R. Pugh, a master of surrealist painting, are working closely with engineers and material experts to ensure the highest retention of their artistic craftsmanship throughout the journey. Both artists have paintings in prestigious private and public galleries around the world and look forward to having their work forever transformed by the journey past Earth’s atmosphere:

“I’ve always felt that creativity is uniquely human. The things we make define us individually and collectively. It is thrilling to have an expression of my humanity propelled into outer space, far from our world, and toward infinite others. After 18 years of painting, I have been fortunate to show my work all over the world, but I’ve never shown in space. It’s truly amazing,” says Hein.

These unique pieces will inspire a new era of artistic collaboration. Not only will outer space wield its brush to put the final touches on the paintings, but the beautiful form of the rocket shows how world-class engineering is an art itself. This partnership represents humanity’s endless capacity for bringing together different frontiers, in this case technology and fine art, in novel and astonishing ways. Mark R. Pugh describes his involvement in this historic collaboration:

“I like to create art as a mix of traditional imagery with modern elements. Painting with a classical approach on the side of a rocket is an exciting way to merge the traditional with the modern. So much creativity goes into engineering these incredible machines, so to be able to have a piece of them displayed as an element in a work of art, particularly one that has spent time directly exposed to elements outside the Earth’s atmosphere, makes this truly a valuable piece of history, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

After its mission, the artwork will be curated and delivered to its patrons, who will own a piece of art and aerospace history.

“The idea that the artwork will be lit by distant galaxies, with earth as a backdrop, is a beautiful visualization, and I think this characteristic will allow viewers a closer connection with the cosmos and the precious planet we call home,” says Josh Hanes, owner of Uplift Aerospace.

Uplift Aerospace is currently accepting bids for these unique murals. See the links below for media contact and additional information.

Additional Links for Media:

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A Chesley Bonestell Space Art Chronology

Space transport roundup – Sept.15.2020

A sampling of recent articles, videos, and images dealing with space transport (find previous roundups here):

** Astra Space attempts orbital launch but fails during first stage boost phase. Following several scrubbed attempts over the past few months to launch Rocket 3.1, the vehicle lifted off from the pad at the Alaska Aerospace on Kodiak Island on Friday Sept. 11th. After about 30 seconds into the flight, the engine cutoff and the rocket fell onto the ground, producing an explosion visible to observers on the island.

A posting from the company: We Have Liftoff! | Astra

As we’ve always said, we expect it to take three flights to make it to orbit. Tonight, we saw a beautiful launch! Preliminary data review indicates the rocket performed very well. Early in the flight, our guidance system appears to have introduced some slight oscillation into the flight, causing the vehicle to drift from its planned trajectory leading to a commanded shutdown of the engines by the flight safety system. We didn’t meet all of our objectives, but we did gain valuable experience, plus even more valuable flight data. This launch sets us well on our way to reaching orbit within two additional flights, so we’re happy with the result.

We are incredibly proud of what the team accomplished today. This was our first orbital launch attempt, and the first flight of a rocket designed from the ground-up for low cost mass production and highly-automated launch operations. The entire launch system was deployed by six people in less than a week – completely unprecedented.

Astra’s strategy is to learn fast through iterative development. Although we’re pleased with today’s outcome, we still have more work to do to reach orbit. Once we reach orbit, we will relentlessly continue to improve the economics of the system as we deliver our customers’ payloads.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a close look at the flight data to determine how to make the next flight more successful. Rocket 3.2 is already built and ready for another big step towards orbit. Thank you to our incredible team and their families, all of our supporters, and stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks. We’ll be back to the pad before you know it!

Astra rocket lifts off from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Credits: Astra Space/John Kraus

Other reports

** A  Chinese Long March-11H rocket launched nine remote sensing satellites on Tuesday, Sept.15th from a platform at sea: China bounces back with Long March 11 launch of nine satellites –

Three days after losing a high-resolution remote sensing satellite due to an apparent problem with its upper stage, China launched nine new satellites for the Jilin-1 remote sensing constellation from a barge out at sea.

Launch of the nine Jilin-1 Gaofen-03 satellites took place at 01:23 UTC on Tuesday using the Long March-11H (Y2) rocket.

Launched from the De Bo 3 launch platform, all mission preparations and countdown operations were conducted from the command and control ship Bei Hai Jiu 101. This ship left port on September 13 to travel to the launch zone in the Yellow Sea.

** Chinese Kuaizhou-1A rocket fails during launch of remote sensing satellite. The solid-fueled vehicle lifted off on Sept. 12th  from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The failure of the Jilin-1 Gaofen satellite to reach orbit was reported several hours later. The small launch system can put 200kg into a sun synchronous low earth orbit.

** China successfully launched a Gaofen remote sensing satellite on a Long March 4B rocket from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Sept. 7th.

The LM-4B booster with toxic fuel still on board falls into a civilian area: Another Chinese rocket falls near a school, creating toxic orange cloud | Ars Technica

** Chinese launched a small space plane on Long March-2F rocket on September 4th from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. It landed after two days in orbit at an undisclosed location.  Little information about the vehicle has been given out by the Chinese government,. No images of the vehicle have been released. Most reports assume that it is similar to the X-37B uncrewed spaceplane.

** ULA sets new target date for Delta IV Heavy launch with the NROL-44 reconnaissance satellite. The company has diagnosed the fault that caused the scrub of a launch attempt on Aug. 29th. The abort happened 3 seconds before liftoff and after the liquid hydrogen/oxygen engine on the core booster had ignited.

** Dynetics led team rolls out engineering mockup of human lunar lander system: Dynetics Marks Progress With Artemis Human Landing System Test Article Development – Dynetics

Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, has completed building a full-scale human landing system (HLS) test article that will be used for initial evaluations for NASA’s Artemis program.

The Dynetics HLS (DHLS) test article, located in Huntsville, Ala., is built to-scale and allows for test and evaluation across the engineering lifecycle. The DHLS team will use the test article for human-in-the-loop (HITL) task identification and analysis, assessing net habitable volume, crew module accommodations, placement and orientation of various components and overall habitability.

The test article includes the crew module, autonomous logistics platform for all-moon cargo access (ALPACA), ascent and descent propellant tanks and deployable solar arrays. This low-slung design could allow for easier and safer access to the lunar surface.

** A note from the LAUNCHER team:

** A fun view from EXOS Aerospace of the leak check of a new engine: Pressure Test Video – EXOS Aerospace  Blog

** Every Spacecraft Which Has Visited The Space StationScott Manley

Over the last 2 decades there have been over 200 spacecraft which have visited the space station, built by many nations and organizations, with different designs. So I thought it might be nice to make a summary of every spacecraft for comparison since we’re getting close to the 20th anniversary and 100th crew to visit the ISS.

** Links:


Check out the
The Lurio Report
for news and analysis of key developments in NewSpace

The latest issue:
Changes Here, Starliner Analysis, OneWeb-A UK View
Vol. 15, No. 5, July 24, 2020

Space Frontier Foundation Award for NewSpace Journalism


** SpaceX:

Falcon 9 launches of the Starlink 12 and Starlink 13 missions, each with up to 60 Starlinks depending on the number and masses of any rideshare customer payloads, are scheduled for this month.

Starlink 12 is currently set for no earlier than  Thursday, September 17 at 2:17 pm EDT (10:17 am UTC).  The landing platform droneship “Just Read the Instructionsleft Port Canaveral on Sunday. The booster for the launch is the same one used for the Crew Dragon mission on May 30th that sent astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS.  It also launched the South Korean ANASIS II comm-sat on July 20th.

The launch of a USAF GPS satellite is currently set for the end of the month.

** A continuous video from Falcon 9 booster during the SAOCOM 1B launch and landing back at the Cape:

Sped up footage from an onboard camera during Falcon 9’s launch of the SAOCOM 1B mission – SpaceX’s first launch to a polar orbit from the East Coast. After launching from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Falcon 9’s first stage returned to land at Landing Zone 1.

** A high resolution time lapse of the return and port handling of the booster that flew the recent Starlink 10 mission: 8K: SpaceX Falcon 9 B1060 2 Return to Port Canaveral & Leg Folding On Board OCISLY – Trevor Mahlmann

Compiled all my coverage from the recent Falcon 9 B1060.2 return to Cape Canaveral into one video. Some really fascinating time lapses I waited around all day for (Octagrabber releasing Falcon 9’s thrust structure and collapsing)

**** Starship

The current activities at Boca Chica include:

  • SN-5, SN-6 – Appear to have been refurbished after their short test hops. Not clear if they will fly again.
  • SN-7.1 – engineering model expected to be pressure tested to failure this week. It underwent an initial test last week and subsequently was moved to another test stand that has rams to push on the lower tank to simulate the extra weight during flight due to acceleration.
  • SN-8 – From Elon’s tweet shown below, this vehicle will soon be assembled and, unlike SN-5 and SN-6, it will have flaps and nosecone . After pressure tests and static firings, a high altitude 20 km flight will be attempted: Starship test program advances towards ambitious SN8 test flight –

  • SN-9 – Stacking has begun in the mid-bay hangar.
  • SN-10 – Assembly of some sections.
  • SN-11 – Some parts observed on site.

The construction of the High-Bay hangar continues. It will probably be finished within a week or so. Presumably, assembly of the first Super-Heavy prototype can then proceed. Construction is also progressing on the orbital launch mount for the Super Heavy booster. Regarding orbital tests:

The landing will look something like this:

Elon responded to this in a tweet:

Pretty accurate simulation, although SN8 will use 3 Raptors. If SN8 craters, SN9 & SN10 are close behind. High production rate allows for fast iteration

****** Testing of Raptor with high vacuum nozzle is ready to start:

******  Sept.8 – SpaceX Boca Chica – SN10 Forward Dome Sleeved – SN7.1 Test Preps – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

Starship Serial Number 10’s forward dome was sleeved with a 4 ring stack, large pieces of the High Bay’s roof were lifted into place, SN7.1 was readied for its test campaign and work continued around the entire facility. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@TheJackBeyer)

******  Sept.8 – SpaceX Boca Chica – SN11 Parts Spotted – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

Starship SN11’s Aft Dome Section, the three ring stack that will eventually go over the Aft Dome was spotted by Mary today, that makes at least SN8, SN9, SN10, and SN11 all in production simultaneously. Work on the Orbital Pad, Starship Pads, High Bay and SN7.1 continued. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@TheJackBeyer)

****** Sept.12: SpaceX Boca Chica Launch Site Flyover 09/12! – RGV Aerial Photography

***** Sept.12: SpaceX Boca Chica Build Site Flyover 09/12/2020 – RGV Aerial Photography

****** Sept 12: SpaceX Boca Chica – Starship Test Tank SN7.1 readied for Burst Test – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

The Starships SN7.1 Test Tank has been moved on to the test mount with the hydraulic rams ahead of an expected burst test as a pathfinder for upcoming Starships. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Brady Kenniston (@TheFavoritist).

****** Sept.12: SpaceX Boca Chica – Starship SN6 Moved Out Of Mid Bay – High Bay Roof Work Continues – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

Starship SN6’s post flight inspections appear to be complete with it being moved out of the Mid Bay, next to its twin SN5. Work on the roof of the High Bay continued, some new unknown parts were delivered, and SN7.1 had been mounted on Starship Pad B. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Nic Gautschi (@NGautschi)

***** Sept.15:  SpaceX Boca Chica – New Legs and Thrust Puck Delivered – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

New legs were delivered along with a fresh Thrust Puck. The SN7.1 Test Tank is hooked up for testing, SN9’s Thrust Section was flipped ahead of stacking, and work around the entire site continued. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Nicholas Gautschi (@NGautschi).

**** Other Starship and space transport reports:

**** Sept.12: SpaceX Starship updates, Starlink Space Lasers, Rocket Lab Photon, SLS news & Astra launch failure – Marcus House

Today we are going to give you a rundown of SpaceX Starship updates, Starlink Space Lasers, Rocket Lab Photon, SLS news & Astra launch failure. So many updates Starship updates from BocaChica. SN7.1, SN8, SN9, SN10 and now SN11! Some interesting new information about Starlink and its newly tested communication via space lasers. We are going to talk a little about Rocket Labs’ awesome new Photon spacecraft and a few interesting updates on NASA’s Space Launch System. Sadly Astra’s 1st orbital test launch failed during first-stage engine burn. That news was breaking as this video was rendering. Tough luck. Better luck next time.

**** Sept.11: SpaceX Starship Mass Production Starting . – What about it!?

Today amongst other things I’ll explain to you, how SpaceX will be able to build their offshore launch platforms for Starship and Super Heavy!

**** Sept. 7: SpaceX Starship – Around the honeymoon – DeepSpaceCourier – “Video follows newlyweds on their lunar honeymoon.”

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The Space Show this week – Sept.14.2020

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, Sept. 31, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT: No special programming.

2. Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT): We welcome back Dr. Ajay Kothari to discuss lunar return and more. His company is Astrox.

3. Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020: Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT):  No special programming.

5. Friday, Sept.4, 2020; 9:30-11 am PDT (11:30 am-1 pm CDT, 12:30-2 pm EDT): We welcome Dr. Peter Hague from the UK regarding his work in developed new methods for analyzing radio interferometry data. See his full bio on the website.

6. Sunday, Sept.6, 2020; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): We welcome Wayne White, founder and CEO of SpaceBooster LLC, back to the program to discuss his Space Pioneer Act.

Some recent shows:

** The Space Show – Sun, Sept.13.2020 – An Open Lines program with David Livingston and callers. “Robert Jacobson phoned in and offered another eBook giveaway for his book, Space Is Open for Business[Amazon commission link]. We had many other callers on a variety of topics including recent Space Show programs.”

** The Space Show – Fri, Sept.11.2020Dr. John Brandenburg discussed “his thruster with his new company in Midland, TX, Kepler Aerospace. He also talked about a meteorite with XE 128 relevant to his XE 129 on Mars and nuclear destruction of Mars. Also discussed was the Mach Thruster work with Dr. Woodward”.

** The Space Show – Thursday, Sept.10.2020Dr. Lena De Winne “explained Asgardia Space to us, we talked about long term goals and their governance plus more”.

** Hotel Mars – Joint program for The Space Show/John Batchelor Show – Wed. Sept.9.2020John Batchelor and Dr. David Livingston talked with Lt. General Steven Kwast, USAF (RET) about the Space Force standing up and starting operations.

** The Space Show – Tues, Sept.8.2020Melodie Yashar discussed “the award winning designs by Melodie and her company [Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch+)], space architecture, working with aerospace medical experts, engineers and designs for optimum space habitats and more”.

** See also:
* The Space Show Archives
* The Space Show Newsletter
* The Space Show Shop

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

The Space Show - David Livingston
The Space Show – Dr. David Livingston

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Space policy roundup – Sept.14.2020

A sampling of links to recent space policy, politics, and government (US and international) related space news and resource items that I found of interest (find previous space policy roundups here):

International space


** Space Policy Edition: The Moon-to-Mars Strategy, with Dr. Scott Pace – The Planetary Society

The National Space Council’s Scott Pace joins the show to discuss the current administration’s whole-of-government strategy to expand humanity’s presence beyond Earth. He argues that Project Artemis naturally integrates national security, commerce, geopolitical, and exploration opportunities and generates a broad benefit to the United States, thus creating a political coalition to sustain human activity beyond Earth. Casey and Mat also discuss NASA’s announcement that it hopes to purchase commercially-collected lunar samples—the answer may not be what you think.

** NASA Asks Commercial Companies to Collect Moon Rocks – NASA

… To meet NASA’s requirements, a company will collect a small amount of Moon “dirt” or rocks from any location on the lunar surface, provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location, and conduct an “in-place” transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith or rocks to NASA. After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for our use.

NASA’s goal is that the retrieval and transfer of ownership will be completed before 2024. The solicitation creates a full and open competition, not limited to U.S. companies, and the agency may make one or more awards. The agency will determine retrieval methods for the transferred lunar regolith at a later date.

** Christopher Johnson – The Need for Engagement and Outcomes In Space Law – Cold Star Project S02E61

Space lawyer Christopher Johnson from the Secure World Foundation is back on the Cold Star Project, and we’re looking at what he has learned this year. Christopher has hosted several Moon Dialog Research Salons and gotten tremendous public input and engagement on space issues. With host Jason Kanigan, he discusses:

– What he learned from the salons – What differences he noted in platforms used, behaviors and outcomes in public engagement with actor/agency/government versus the public
– What’s needed to move forward with space law engagement and outcomes; what that looks like as you’ve seen so far, in terms of process and outcome
– Incentive versus punishment, carrot vs stick, when it comes to issues like orbital debris control: which do we need most?
– What updates do we need most to Outer Space Treaty areas?
– What are his expectations for the Summit for Space Sustainability hosted by the Secure World Foundation beginning tomorrow?

Secure World Foundation website:

** 83- The Space Force, Commercial Technology and Ground DigitizationConstellations Podcast

Listen to Doug Lamborn, U.S. Congressman, talk about partnering with commercial providers. With the government relying more on commercial to take some of the risks of Space off the shoulders of the taxpayer, it makes it a win-win situation. He describes commercial companies bringing a lot of capability, including intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. Congressman Lamborn discusses a common digital ground infrastructure being important to unify commercial and military satellite communications capabilities. In addition, commercial industry is developing digital ground capabilities that can be further leveraged by the government, avoiding parallel investment in terminals, hardware and satellites. Finally, learn about the difference between the Space Development Agency (SDA) creating a large constellation of satellites to track missiles versus the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) program providing global sensor coverage to detect, track and target ballistic and hypersonic missiles.

** Artemis VS Apollo: Is NASA’s Artemis program actually “sustainable?” – Everyday Astronaut

NASA’s making some big moves to finally get humans back to the moon for the first time in over 50 years. The Artemis program is shaping up with checks written and hardware built! So how does a 21st Century program to the moon compare to that of the 1960’s? In Today’s video, we’re going to answer the question, why does NASA think Artemis will be a sustainable program when SLS is sooooo dang expensive AND it’ll take at least two launches to get humans and their lunar landers to the moon…

** September 9, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

** September 11, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

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