All posts by TopSpacer

Carnival of Space #640 & 641 – Everyday Spacer & Citizen Science

The Everyday Spacer Blog hosts Carnival of Space #640.  And Citizen Science hosts Carnival of Space #641.

New observations find that NGC 6240 contains three supermassive black holes following the collision of three galaxies. W. Kollatschny et al. Via Carnival of Space.

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Brief Answers to the Big Questions – Stephen Hawking

Space transport roundup – Dec.11.2019

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

[ Update: Statement from Blue about today’s New Shepard flight: Blue Origin | New Shepard Mission NS-12 Updates

New Shepard had a wholly successful mission on December 11, 2019. 

This mission was another step towards verifying New Shepard for human spaceflight as we continue to mature the safety and reliability of the vehicle. 

This was the 6th flight for this particular New Shepard vehicle. Blue Origin has so far reused two boosters five times each consecutively, so today marks a record with this booster completing its 6th flight to space and back.

This particular rocket has been an operational payload vehicle for several flights, meaning there are no more updates to the system.

Here are some videos Blue posted this afternoon:

]

** Blue Origin flew a New Shepard rocket vehicle today on its 6th mission to over 100 kilometers. The launch was postponed from Tuesday due to bad weather. Here is the webcast video (the liftoff is around the 40:15 point):

An earlier statement from Blue announcing the mission:

Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-12) is currently targeting liftoff tomorrow, December 10th at 8:30 am CST / 14:30 UCT. Current weather conditions aren’t as favorable as we’d like, but we’re continuing to keep an eye on the forecast.

As we move towards verifying New Shepard for human spaceflight we are continuing to mature the safety and reliability of the vehicle. 

It’s the 6th flight for this particular New Shepard vehicle, marking the first time a Blue Origin booster has made this many consecutive flights (the previous booster flew five times consecutively) – all with minimal refurbishment between flights. This particular rocket has been an operational payload vehicle for several flights, meaning there are no more updates to the system.

This will also be the 9th commercial payload mission for New Shepard, and we are proud to be flying our 100th customer on board. 

Also on the vehicle are thousands of postcards from students around the world for our nonprofit Club for the Future. The Club’s mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help visualize the future of life in space.

You can watch the launch live at BlueOrigin.com – the pre-show begins T-30 where Blue will provide more mission details and updates.

To follow the action, we’ll be posting live updates on Instagram and Twitter.

Blue Origin Twitter and Instagram 
Club for Future Twitter and Instagram

New Shepard Mission NS-12 Notable Payloads Manifested:

OK Go
Earlier this year we partnered with rock band OK Go on a contest called Art in Space, giving high school and middle school students a chance to send art experiments into space on our New Shepard vehicle. We are sending the two winning art projects on NS-12.

Columbia University
One of our educational payloads from Columbia University, designed and built by undergraduate students and advised by Dr. Michael Massimino (an astronaut), will study the acute impacts of microgravity environments on cell biology. This is crucial for humans living and working in space.

OSCAR
OSCAR, which was led by principal investigator Dr. Annie Meier, is a recycling technology payload from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It is designed to create a mixture of gasses that could be used for propulsion or life support from common waste on a deep space human exploration mission. This is Blue’s first full-stack payload, meaning there will be more room to do complex studies in flight.

-Gradatim Ferociter

See also: Blue Origin moving to verify New Shepard for human flight with 12th test launch – NASASpaceFlight.com

** Several orbital launches took place in the past week.

*** Dec.11: India launched a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) today with a radar imaging spy satellite on board. Liftoff happens at about 23:55 into this ISRO webcast video:

[ Update: So many launches it’s hard to keep up. I left out this Russian Soyuz  2-1b launch on Tuesday, Dec.10, which successfully put a navigation satellite into orbit: Soyuz 2-1b launches latest GLONASS satellite – returns Plesetsk pad to service – NASASpaceFlight.com

]

*** Dec. 7: China launched two Kuaizhou-1A rockets within a few hours, putting a total of seven satellites into orbit. This included the Jilin-1 Gaofen-2B remote sensing satellite for the Jilin constellation on the first launch and six smallsats on the second rocket:

*** Dec. 6: Russian Soyuz sent a Progress cargo vehicle to the ISS: Russia’s Progress MS-13 space freighter delivered into near-Earth orbit – TASS

The spacecraft docked with the ISS on Monday.

*** Dec. 6: Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket for the 10th time. Seven satellites were placed into orbit. In addition, the first stage booster remained intact after plummeting back through the atmosphere in a guided flight all the way to splashdown. This is a positive indication for plans to recover the boosters  and reuse them. This Electron was also the first to fly with a fully Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS).

*** Dec. 5: SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a Cargo Dragon to the ISS. The first stage successfully landed on a platform at sea.

The Dragon berthed to the station on Dec. 8th.

The USLaunchReport.com team posted this montage of scenes from before and during the Falcon 9 launch, plus they show the booster at Cape Canaveral and the retracting of the legs.

** Boeing Starliner and Atlas V launcher are preparing for launch this month. The uncrewed  test flight to the ISS is currently set for Dec.20th at 6:36 am EST from Cape Canaveral: Boeing Uncrewed Flight Test Launch Date Update – Commercial Crew Program/NASA

**** Starliner and Atlas V at SLC-41 for Wet Dress Rehearsal – NASASpaceflight.com

Q&A from ULA’s Space Launch Complex 41 viewing Starliner atop its Atlas V Rocket in preparation for the upcoming OFT. More information on Starliner: News Site: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/?s=St… Forum Section: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/ind…

** Chinese rocket news items:

**** Testing of an hydrogen-oxygen engine for the Long March-8, which is expected to fly in 2020 for the first time:  China’s Long March-8 rocket successfully passes engine test – Xinhua

**** An upper stage solid fuel motor test, this time by the Chinese company Galaxy Space (Beijing Xinghe Dongli Space Technology Co. Ltd.): Chinese private rocket complete the third phase engine thermo ground test – ecns.cn

** Europe’s Space Rider uncrewed space plane to fly in 2022. The latest ESA budget includes full funding for the project, which has been led by Italy:

ESA’s Space Rider.

** Balloons can’t reach space but balloon tanks can:

** The Int. Space Elevator Consortium (SEC) posts an update on space elevator development: ISEC Newsletter – Dec.2019/Jan.2020

Road to the Space Elevator Era: This International Academy of Astronautics study report (4 years by 30 global space experts) was “released” during the IAC [2019] at the Robert Heinlein Prize Trust Booth (publisher). The report has significant inputs from ISEC and our members. Several of the ISEC concepts from our Chief Architect were accepted into the book and stood tall. These would include several of Fitzer’s Architectural Notes and his concept of a Galactic Harbour being a combination of a transportation infrastructure and an enterprise zone. This internationally endorsed study report again portrays an aggressive approach towards implementation of SEs. ISEC was instrumental in the content of the book and the editing of the content – as such, this year’s distribution of the document at the IAC was a “win-win.”

** SpaceX:

**** As usual, lots of activities underway across the wide range of SpaceX projects. Here are four upcoming Falcon 9 launches:

  • Dec. 16: Launch from Cape Canaveral of the Boeing built JCSAT 18/Kacific 1 comm-sat for SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. of Japan and Kacific Broadband Satellites of Singapore.
  • Late Dec: Starlink-2 launch of a batch of 60 operational Starlink satellites.
  • Jan.4: A “no-earlier-than’ (NET) date for the in-flight abort test in which a Crew Dragon spacecraft will separate from the Falcon 9 about a minute after to liftoff. This will simulate the
  • Early Jan: Starlink-3 launch of the third batch of 60 Starlink satellites

Articles about these flights:

**** A crewed Dragon flight to the ISS could happen as early as February if the in-flight abort and parachute tests are successful:

**** The Falcon upper stage successfully fired after coasting for a several hours following the release of the Cargo Dragon in last week’s mission discussed above. Such a capability is required for some types of satellite missions, especially for the military.

**** SpaceX plans to provide low cost launch services for smallsats on a fixed schedule.  This will mean tough competition for small rocket launch providers. The use of Momentus space tugs will also allow smallsats released from the Falcon to reach a wide array of orbits. SpaceX’s First Rideshare Customer Means Competition for Northrop – Motley Fool

The article exaggerates the threat, though, to Northrop’s Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs). These are intended to keep large comm-sats in geostationary orbit in operation after they have run out of station-keeping fuel. The SpaceX and Momentus services are focused on low earth orbit missions for smallsats.

**** Starlink internet services need low cost ground station equipment if the project is to be financially successful: SpaceX wants to be your WiFi provider. This could be the company’s biggest hurdle – CNN.

SpaceX hopes to meet the demands of astronomers to reduce the glow of the Starlink satellites: SpaceX to experiment with less-reflective satellite coatings on next Starlink launch – Spaceflight Now

**** Recent Starship activities:

  • Boca Chica Beach, Texas:
    • Disassembly of the Mk.1 lower propulsion section that blew off its top during a pressure test on Nov.20th.
    • Mk.3 Starship assembly started with work on structural bands.
    • Construction of launch pad, control center, and other facilities.
    • Arrival of components from the Florida site via SpaceX ship.
  • Florida:
    • Scaling down of Starship assembly activities in favor of focusing on Starship building in Texas
    • Construction of Super Heavy Booster/Starship launch facility at Pad 39A at KSC

Here are articles and videos about these developments:

**** Boca Chica, Texas

****** A LabPadre report on events in Boca Chica:

****** Arrival of components from Florida

12.08.2019 Go Discovery entered the Brazos Santiago at 7:18 AM local time. Spectacular view of SpaceX bulk head and stands being delivered to Boca Chica complex. Dolphins at the bow at 2:00 min mark. All images are explicitly owned by LabPadre Media

****** SpaceX Boca Chica – Taking apart Starship Mk1 – NASASpaceflight

Disassembly of Starship Mk1 is in the final stages ahead of the stacking of Mk3. Sunrise. Normal speed disasembly, then additional clips in timelapse. Footage and photos from Mary (@bocachicagal) for NSF.

**** New SpaceX Launch Control Center at Boca Chica, Texas – LabPadre – Dec.3.2019

It appears that SpaceX is breaking ground for their new launch control center here at Boca Chica, Texas. Fast paced progress ahead for the push of MK-3. Video Credit: Maria Pointer

** Florida Starship facility – Aerial view via John Winkopp – Dec.6.2019:

Aerial view, still not much changed, more equipment on the way out. One large piece of wing root has been placed in the blue container for shipping. All of the sheets of steel that was in the On Deck Area has been shipped out.

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The Space Show this week – Dec.9.2019

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

1. Monday, Dec. 9 2019; 2 pm PST (4 pm CST, 5 pm EST): No special show today.

2. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019; 7-8:30 pm PST (9-10:30 pm CST; 10-11:30 pm EST): We welcome back Dr. Charles Lurio of The Lurio Report for his perspective on 2019 and looking forward to 2020.

3. Wednesday, Dec. 11 2019: Pre-recorded Hotel Mars Program with John Batchelor. See Upcoming Show on The Space Show website for details.

4. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019; 7-8:30 pm PST (9-10:30 pm CST, 10-11:30 pm EST): We welcome back Chris Carberry of Explore Mars for his new book, Alcohol in Space: Past, Present and Future.

5. Friday, Dec. 13, 2019; 9:30-11 am PST (11:30 AM-1 pm CST, 12:30-2 pm EST): We welcome Dr. Morgan Irons will discuss quasi-closed, agro-ecological systems for use in Earth and space environments. Dr. Irons was a presenter at the recently held SSI Space Settlement Conf. in Seattle this past September.

6. Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019; 12-1:30 pm PST (3-4:30 pm EST, 2-3:30 pm CST): We welcome Jeffrey Morris, founder of Futuredude Entertainment regrading his new space science fiction movies in the making.

Some recent shows:

** The Space Show – Sun, 12/08/2019 – Dr. David Livingston led a discussion with listeners “on several Space Show topics in physics and the future of physics, The Space Development Network and space agriculture, important Space Show fundraising efforts for our 2019 campaign, news events of the day and more”.

** The Space Show – Fri, 12/06/2019Dr. Panagiotis (Panos) Tsiotras of Georgia Tech discussed “advanced AI and robotics for space purposes”.

** The Space Show – Thu, 12/05/2019Al Globus discussed”new information and an implementation program for his ELEO space habitat” concepts.

** The Space Show/Hotel Mars – Wed, 12/04/2019 –  William Harwood of CBS News talked about the “ISS spacewalks for repairs to the cosmic ray detector, commercial crew approaching deadlines and more”.

** The Space Show – Tue, 12/03/2019Bryce Meyer discussed “space farms, growing food in space, lunar agriculture, food on Mars, recycling human waste, space farm energy needs and TRL’s”.

** The Space Show – Mon, 12/02/2019Dr. Sean Casey gave an “Overview of commercial and NewSpace investment through the present, multiple additional commercial, exploratory, engineering and space related topics”.

** The Space Show – Sun, 12/01/2019Dr. Gary Greenberg talked about “special 3D imaging for art with science of sand, lunar sand, Martian dust, 3D Microscopes and much 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 – David Livingston

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Space policy roundup – Dec.9.2019

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):

Webcasts:

** Space Policy Edition: The Biggest Policy Moments of the Decade (with Marcia Smith) | The Planetary Society

As the 2010s come to a close, Marcia Smith, the founder of Space Policy Online, rejoins the show to explore the most significant and impactful space policy decisions of the 2010s. Mat and Casey also discuss the recently-approved European Space Agency budget, and what it means for planetary defense and Mars sample return efforts.

** Episode 0113: Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar | The Center for Space Commerce and Finance

Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar is the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration president & CEO. Supportive parents & being part of the Apollo generation fostered her love for space. But it wasn’t until later in her career that she believed she could have a professional impact on the industry. Fast forward to today and she’s one of the most renowned strategic thinkers in Space & a highly regarded technical expert with a boldness you’ll respect, admire & love. Discover how she did it & how she continues to pay it forward.

** Episode T+140: Launch Protests and Lander Hopefuls – Main Engine Cut Off

Blue Origin successfully protested the US Air Force’s RFP for the National Security Space Launch program, which will have big implications for the way the current round of contract awards plays out. NASA added five new providers to the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, including SpaceX and Blue Origin, and I’ve got some thoughts about the inclusion of those options in what is quickly becoming my favorite NASA program.

** Town Hall with Administrator Bridenstine and NASA’s New HEO Associate Administrator Douglas Loverro

NASA held an Agency-wide Town Hall with Administrator Bridenstine and Douglas Loverro, NASA’s new Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at noon EST. During the Town Hall, the Administrator introduced Douglas Loverro, and they answered questions from the agency’s workforce.

** The Space Show – Sun, 12/08/2019 – Dr. David Livingston led a discussion with listeners “on several Space Show topics in physics and the future of physics, The Space Development Network and space agriculture, important Space Show fundraising efforts for our 2019 campaign, news events of the day and more”.

** The Space Show – Thu, 12/05/2019Al Globus discussed”new information and an implementation program for his ELEO space habitat” concepts.

** The Space Show/Hotel Mars – Wed, 12/04/2019 –  William Harwood of CBS News talked about the “ISS spacewalks for repairs to the cosmic ray detector, commercial crew approaching deadlines and more”.

** The Space Show – Tue, 12/03/2019Bryce Meyer discussed “space farms, growing food in space, lunar agriculture, food on Mars, recycling human waste, space farm energy needs and TRL’s”.

** The Space Show – Mon, 12/02/2019Dr. Sean Casey gave an “Overview of commercial and NewSpace investment through the present, multiple additional commercial, exploratory, engineering and space related topics”.

** December 5, 2019 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

** December 3, 2019 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Dec.9.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

**AzTechSat-1 CubeSat built by Mexican students reaches the ISS: Mexican Students Launch a Small Satellite to the Space Station | NASA

The first satellite built by students in Mexico for launch from the International Space Station is smaller than a shoebox but represents a big step for its builders.

The project is part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, which offers universities, high schools and non-profit organizations the opportunity to fly small satellites. Innovative technology partnerships keep down the cost, providing students a way to obtain hands-on experience developing flight hardware.

A multidisciplinary team of students at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), in Puebla, Mexico, built the CubeSat for AzTechSat-1. The investigation demonstrates communication within a satellite network in low-Earth orbit. Such Intra-satellite communication could reduce the need for ground stations, lowering the cost and increasing the number of data downloads possible for satellite applications.

“Jose Cortez of NASA Ames (left) and Joel Contreras of UPAEP (right), conduct final integration of AzTechSat-1 into the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) in preparation for launch to the International Space Station. Credits: NASA”

** University of the Philippines team building STAMINA4Space CubeSat: Meet the future of Philippine space exploration | ABS-CBN News

After a series of tests and screening, Wee and seven others from different science backgrounds and regions were accepted into UP’s graduate program for electrical engineering and into the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) program of the DOST.

For Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, who heads the STAMINA4Space program and the DOST-ASTI, said making cube satellites locally is an important step for the Philippines.

“Building satellites is one way you can be in space,” he said. “These smaller satellites are becoming more powerful, can take meaningful missions, experiments in space.”

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-342 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Member Melissa Pore, KM4CZN, Named 2020 Carole Perry Educator of the Year
  • AMSAT Vice President – Educational Relations Alan Johnston, KU2Y, Participates in Hackaday Hack Chat
  • AMSAT to Join ARRL in Opposition to FCC Proposal to Eliminate 3.3 – 3.5 GHz Amateur Allocation
  • Chris Taron, NK1K, Completes Satellite DXCC via LEO Satellites
  • Duchifat3 with V/u FM Transponder to Launch December 11
  • Donate to AMSAT Tax-Free From Your IRA
  • AZTECHSAT-1 Cubesat to Transmit Emergency Traffic using WINLINK
  • AMSAT-SA to Shift Main Focus to AfriCUBE, a Digital SDR CubeSat
  • LSF Heads Back to Orbit with the Qubik Mission
  • VUCC Awards And Endorsements for November 2019
  • Upcoming ARISS Activities
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

See also

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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