Category Archives: Space participation

Rocket Lab to launch ALE Sky Canvas – “Shooting stars. On demand”

Spaceflight has arranged a Rocket Lab Electron launch for the Sky Canvas spacecraft owned by the Japanese company ALE Co., Ltd. Sky Canvas will create “Shooting stars. On demand”.

Spaceflight’s Third Rideshare Mission with Rocket Lab to Launch
ALE’s Space-related Entertainment Satellite

Man-made shooting stars to provide both entertainment and scientific understanding

Seattle – Nov. 5, 2019 — Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it has arranged for Tokyo-based ALE to launch its entertainment and science satellite on Rocket Lab’s next Electron launch. The mission, called “Running Out of Fingers” by Rocket Lab to signify its tenth mission, represents Spaceflight’s third launch with Rocket Lab this year. It follows the launch of seven spacecraft on its inaugural “Make it Rain” mission in June and three on the “Look Ma No Hands” mission in August.

Like the previous missions, Spaceflight managed the launch capacity procurement, integration, and mission management services for the rideshare spacecraft. The Electron, carrying the ALE satellite, will lift-off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 at the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The launch window opens on 25th November NZDT.

“Our experience offering end-to-end launch services across multiple launch vehicles continues to be highly valued by organizations — regardless if they’re a newer customer like ALE, or an experienced constellation developer,” said Curt Blake, CEO and president of Spaceflight. “Our expertise and long-standing relationships provide reliability, flexibility, and the confidence that we’ll get customers to space as efficiently as possible. We’re really looking forward to taking ALE on our third Electron launch this year.”

ALE’s Sky Canvas, the world’s first man-made shooting star project, will deploy to a 400km circular Sun Synchronous orbit, which is beneath the International Space Station. The company’s satellite will create man-made shooting stars by safely releasing particles, precisely controlling the reentry location, date, and timing. When the particles re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they fully burn up, creating the appearance of shooting stars on the ground.

In addition to the entertainment factor, the Sky Canvas project will also study the path and mechanics of shooting star particles during re-entry from the upper atmosphere. The data collected in the mesosphere will be helpful in the aerospace industry to help predict the path of satellites and artificial objects as well as contributing to scientific understanding in several technology fields including meteorology and the study of climate change.

“This launch gets us much closer to realizing the world’s first man-made shooting star,” said Lena Okajima, CEO of ALE. “We really appreciate Spaceflight`s support and attention to our mission and we’re honored to take this big step with them.”

Following this launch, Spaceflight will have launched 11 spacecraft on the Electron and has plans to continue partnering with the launch vehicle provider in 2020. Spaceflight has completed five missions already this year, with another five planned in 2019. Other noteworthy missions from the last year include Spaceflight’s GTO-1, which deployed the first commercial lunar lander aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, and SSO-A, the company’s historic dedicated rideshare mission, successfully launched 64 unique smallsats, making it the single largest deployment of satellites from a U.S.-based launch vehicle.

About Spaceflight: Spaceflight is revolutionizing the business of spaceflight by delivering a new model for accessing space. A comprehensive launch services and mission management provider, the company provides a straightforward and cost-effective suite of products and services including state-of-the-art satellite infrastructure and rideshare launch offerings that enable commercial and government entities to achieve their mission goals on time and on budget. A service offering of Spaceflight Industries in Seattle, Wash., Spaceflight provides its services through a global network of partners and launch vehicle providers. For more information, visit http://www.spaceflight.com.

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See also Next Up: ALE’s Sky Canvas Mission – Spaceflight.

This mission took years of analysis and rigorous review. Josh Rodenbaugh, ALE’s launch campaign manager, worked closely with the Spaceflight team as a mission of this type had never been done before. ALE had already worked through the Japanese Space Agency who had conducted a rigorous review for the launch of ALE-1 earlier this year. ALE also met with other countries’ space agencies and even astronomers to work through any concerns around this unique mission. Spaceflight helped the company get the necessary permits through the New Zealand Space Agency, and worked with Rocket Lab to ensure a smooth integration process (which will begin in the next week or so). We are always happy to advocate for our customers and support new uses for satellites – opening up access to space for new business models is part of our corporate mission.

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Gemini reference book for model builders at “Space in Miniature”

Space in Miniature (SIM) is Michael Mackowski’s website devoted to space modeling.  He  includes a series of books and reports  in which he “covers various topics in the area of building scale models of real spacecraft”. He has just released a new book about modeling Gemini spacecraft:

Building Gemini Reference Book for Model Builders is Published

Lunar Rescue Gemini. Credits SIM

The ninth installment of the Space In Miniature (SIM) series of reference booklets for spacecraft modelers is now available. This 72-page soft-cover booklet describes in detail how the author, Michael Mackowski, built nine different models of the Gemini two-person spacecraft. These include some standard NASA versions as well as some proposed Gemini variants that never made it off the drawing board.

Gemini XI with an Agena. Credits SIM

While there already is a Gemini book in the Space in Miniature series, SIM #2, that volume did not have any detailed how-to articles. The new book is loaded with over 200 photos of work in progress of the following model projects:

  • Gemini IV
  • Gemini VII
  • Gemini XI with Agena
  • Rogallo Wing Capsule
  • Manned Orbiting Lab (MOL)
  • Big G
  • Winged Gemini
  • Lunar Rescue Gemini
  • Gemini to Mars

All are in 1/48th scale except for a 1/24th scale Gemini IV and a 1/72nd scale Mars mission concept and use a variety of kits and scratch-building. This book documents those builds, including how to correct the old Revell kits, and presents a bit of background on the “lost Gemini” projects that were never built. The result is the largest SIM book to date, covering a unique collection of nine historical and theoretical Gemini models built over a span of four years.

Gemini EVA. Credits: SIM

This book is printed in black and white on coated paper, and is available both as a hard copy book as well as a full-color pdf file. This guidebook will be a unique resource for the serious space modeler. A hard copy of SIM #9 – Building Gemini sells for $12 plus shipping, while a pdf download costs $10. A combination package of both the hard copy and digital version is available for only $15 plus shipping. To order, see www.spaceinminiature.com or send an email to mike@spaceinminiature.com. The other titles in the SIM series are still available.

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See also the SIM Galleryspace modeling reference materials, and SIM Paper Models. The latter includes free instructions for the Mars Insight lander:

Insight Lander Paper Model at SIM
Insight Lander paper model at SIM.

Space arts roundup – July.1.2019

Some space arts related items I’ve recently come across:

** Winners announced for the OK Go Sandbox‘s Art In Space Contest. As described in the March posting about the contest, the band OK Go, which had made a music video in microgravity, wanted to encourage young people between ages 11-18 to do their own art projects in space and they came up with the idea of a contest:

The Art in Space contest invited students to dream up their own cool experiments to send into suborbital space onboard the [Blue Origin] New Shepard spacecraft.

The two winning teams will work with engineers, artists and educators from the Playful Learning Lab, in consultation with Blue Origin and OK Go, on flight ready versions of their ideas.

The responses of the winners when informed of their selection were captured in this video:

One of the two winning teams is based in New York and includes students Alexandra Slabakis (16), Grace Clark (16), and Annabelle Clark (12). The team’s project is called “Dark Origin” and will use gravity and magnetism to simulate the origin of planet Earth.

The second winning team is based in Utah and includes students Cameron Trueblood (11), Blake Hullinger (12), and Kellen Hullinger(15). Their design proposes using environmental data taken during the space craft’s flight to create sounds and visual art.

“We were thrilled with the entries to the Art In Space contest – picking winners was so hard!” said OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash. “The submissions were all so imaginative, and really exemplified the type of thinking and creativity that OK Go is always striving for in our own work. The kids, especially our winners, clearly understand the truth that so many adults have lost along the way: there are no borders separating art and science — they’re the same thing. It all comes from curiosity and experimentation, and creativity is really just about exercising those skills.”

*** You can also send your artwork to space and back via a New Shepard. Blue Origin’s public participation initiative, Club for the Future, welcomes your art on the back of postcard

At Club for the Future:

Draw or write your vision of millions of people living and working in space on the blank side of a self-addressed, stamped postcard, and send it to us. We’ll pack the first 10,000 postcards received before July 20, 2019 inside the Crew Capsule on an upcoming New Shepard flight. Your idea will launch into space! Once New Shepard returns to Earth, we’ll send your postcard back to you, officially stamped “flown to space.”

To participate, see the step-by-step guide on the Club for Space homepage or download these instructions (pdf).

** Amazon Prime’s “Artist Depiction” documentary profiles 3 space artists: Don Davis, Charles Lindsay, and Rick Guidice discuss their

Space Habitat - Rick Guidice
A rendering of a pair of large space habitats by Rick Guidice.

** Check out the terrific images created artist Sam Taylor who is inspired by the SpaceX Starships now in development in Florida and Texas:

SpaceX Starships - Sam Taylor
SpaceX Starship inspired artwork by Sam Taylor.

** A CNN article on the space arts covers astronaut and dancer Mae Jemison’s views on the importance of both the arts and STEM in a well-rounded education, the paintings of the Moon by the late Apollo astronaut Alan Bean, astronaut Nicole Stott’s use of art to teach kids about space, and the role of effective illustrations in explaining complex space science and astrophysics phenomena: Art and space: ‘A quest never to end’ – CNN

For the past 15 years at Caltech, the artistic duo of Robert Hurt and Tim Pyle has been creating illustrations of how gravitational waves, myriad exoplanets and even the top of the Milky Way might look if we could see them for ourselves. The images look so realistic that the captions have to remind people that they’re artistic renderings.

Trappist-1 Planetary System - Tim Pyle and Robert Hurt
A rendering of the TRAPPIST-1 exo-planetary system illustrates the relative sizes of the earth-scale planets, their orbits around their ultra-cool red-dwarf sun, and the habitable zone band where water can be in liquid form rather than steam or ice for a planet with an earth-like atmosphere. Credits: Tim Pyle and Robert Hurt.

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Einstein’s Monsters:
The Life and Times of Black Holes

Xplore and Arch Mission Foundation to fly knowledge archives to space destinations

An announcement from the Arch Mission Foundation and Xplore:

Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation partner to fly Arch™ Libraries
to the Moon, Mars, Venus and Asteroids
Arch™ Libraries will fly on Xplore missions beginning in 2021
to cislunar and interplanetary destinations.

June 11, 2019, Seattle, WA – Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation today announced that Xplore spacecraft will host specially designed Arch Libraries on its planned missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus and Near-Earth Asteroids starting in 2021.

“Our civilization’s knowledge is precious. Helping distribute Arch™ Libraries in space is an important way to secure this valuable data. The Xplore team is proud to host the Lunar Library™ payload on our missions,”

said Jeff Rich, CEO of Xplore.

“These archives provide a personal connection to space,” said Jeff Rich. As an Arch Strategic Advisor, Mr. Rich’s image was etched into nickel and included on the Arch™ Lunar Library in 2019. “It is humbling to know my image is likely intact on the Moon’s surface. Soon we will enable everyone to bring their life into space as millions of individuals can include photos and stories in the Arch™ Libraries.”

[ Nova Spivack, Co-founder and CEO of the Arch Mission Foundation, said,]

“We are thrilled to work with Xplore, and join their mission to expand human knowledge through scientific space explorations,” […] “Partnering with Xplore enables us to continue expanding our Lunar Library™, and establish new Arch Libraries throughout our solar system as part of our Billion Year Archive. We are thankful to generous partners like Xplore who believe in our mission and are willing to help us achieve it.”

The Billion Year Archive™ is a solar system-wide collection of Arch Libraries that can preserve, connect, and share humanity’s knowledge for billions of years, and serve as a backup of planet Earth. Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation are enabling new demonstration missions that expand the Billion Year Archive™ throughout the solar system. Together they will develop technologies that ensure the Arch Library’s 30 million pages of contents are detectable and functioning after extended time periods in deep space.

Xplore XCRAFT
Sketch of an Xplore XCRAFT.

About Xplore: Xplore is a privately-funded commercial space company focused on the scientific exploration of our solar system. The mission of Xplore is to expand human knowledge beyond Earth via continuous commercial Xpedition™ missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, and Near-Earth Asteroids. Xplore has been building its strategy, team and spacecraft since 2017 and is planning missions beginning in 2021.

Xplore provides hosted payload Xpedition™ services for scientific instruments, branding, technology demonstrations, tributes, memorials, art and custom payloads, opening up interplanetary space to national space agencies, researchers, companies, non-profit organizations and individuals. Visit: www.xplore.com

About The Arch Mission Foundation: Co-founded by Nova Spivack and Nick Slavin, the Arch Mission Foundation is a non-profit organization that maintains a backup of planet Earth, designed to continuously preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge across time and space. Visit: www.archmission.org

NanoFIche
“Nanofiche can also store up to 2,000 analog pages of text at 150 dpi, per square centimeter. For example a 20 x 20 mm nickel Nanofiche sheet can hold up to 8,000 pages of text rendered at 150 dpi. At this resolution, a letter size page of Nanofiche would hold up to 1.2 million analog images and pages of text!” – Arch Mission

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Note that one archive of the Arch Lunar Library™ made it to the Moon this year, hopefully in one piece: The Lunar Library: Genesis — Arch Mission Foundation

The Arch Lunar Library™ represents the first in a series of lunar archives from the Arch Mission Foundation, designed to preserve the records of our civilization for up to billions of years. It is installed in the SpaceIL “Beresheet” lunar lander, which crashed on the Moon in April of 2019.

Currently it is believed that the Lunar Library survived the crash of Beresheet and is intact on the Moon according to our team of scientific advisors based on imagery data provided by NASA’s LRO.

The Lunar Library contains a 30 million page archive of human history and civilization, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres, and time periods.

Another archive is on a Tesla that travels between Mars and Earth.

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The Case for Space:
How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up
a Future of Limitless Possibility

SpaceIL diagnosing landing failure and planning for next lunar mission

The attempt by SpaceIL, a private non-profit organization, to land the Beresheet craft softly on the Moon last week went awry just a few minutes before it was to set down onto the surface. Initial results of an investigation into what went wrong were released today:

See also:

** Final image taken by Beresheet released:

** Planning for a second Beresheet mission is now underway:

More at

** SpaceIL member participated in an Ask Me Anything session on reddit this week: Hi, my name is Ben Nathaniel, I work on the team of Beresheet, the spacecraft that Israel sent to the Moon on April 11 (as you may know the landing didn’t go so well). Ask Me Anything. – space/reddit.com.

** A vast knowledge database on Beresheet may have survived the crash: There may be a copy of Wikipedia somewhere on the moon. Here’s how to help find it – Mashable.com

The Arch Lunar Library contains 100GB, or 30 million pages of text and pictures, literally embedded in 25 nickel disks in the tiniest type you can possibly imagine. You don’t need anything more specialized than a microscope to read it, and the etchings should survive for billions of years. 

This library was supposed to be delivered to the surface of the moon — specifically, the Sea of Serenity — by Israel’s Beresheet Mission last week. The bad news: After a glitch that turned its engine off and on again at the worst possible moment, the Beresheet lander smashed into the moon at 300 miles per hour.

The good news: Those disks were designed to be indestructible. And the Arch Foundation is all but certain its payload survived the crash.

“We have either installed the first library on the moon,” says Arch Mission co-founder Nova Spivack, “or we have installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon.”

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First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience