** U.S. Spacewalk 81 Animation – Nov. 14, 2022 – NASA Video
NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio conducted a spacewalk outside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station Nov. 15 to erect a bracket on the starboard 6 truss upon which an ISS Rollout Solar Array (IROSA) will be attached after it is delivered on a future SpaceX Cargo Dragon flight. The IROSAs are being installed for six of the eight space station power channels to augment the power capability for the orbital outpost. Narration by Kieth Johnson, EVA task Flight Controller
** Spacewalk Outside the International Space Station with NASA Astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio – NASA
NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio are conducting a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to assemble a mounting bracket on the starboard side of the station’s truss assembly. The spacewalk, which will prepare the future deployment of additional solar arrays for the station, is scheduled to begin around 8 a.m. EST (1300 UTC) and last for about seven hours.
Cassada (wearing the suit with red stripes) and Rubio (wearing the unmarked suit) are part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission, which arrived at the station on Oct. 6, 2022. This is the first spacewalk for both astronauts.
** Russian Spacewalk 55 Animation – November 16, 2022 – NASA Johnson
Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin conducted a spacewalk outside the Poisk module of the International Space Station to prepare a radiator for its relocation from the Rassvet module to the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module. The radiator and an associated airlock launched in 2010 on Rassvet on a space shuttle mission will continue the outfitting of the Nauka module for future use as both a research facility and a second airlock for Russian-segment based spacewalks. Voice over by Mitchell Harger, EVA Integration and Operations Lead
** Space Station Astronaut Discusses Life In Space With ABC’s Good Morning America – NASA Video
Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Nicole Mann discussed life and work aboard the orbital outpost during an in-flight interview Nov. 18 with ABC’s “Good Morning America”. The quartet is in the midst of a long duration mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory. The goal of the mission is to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future human exploration through the agency’s Artemis missions, which will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future expeditions to Mars.
SpaceX’s 26th Commercial Resupply Mission to the International Space Station (ISS) features dozens of experiments that will be performed over the coming weeks. Many are sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory, and this video highlights some of those investigations. To learn more about all ISS National Lab-sponsored research and technology development investigations on this mission, visit the ISS National Lab launch page: https://www.issnationallab.org/launch…
** See Chinese spacewalkers work outside Tiangong space station in these highlights – VideoFromSpace
Chinese astronauts Chen Dong and Cai Xuzhe installed a “connection “bridge” between the three modules” of the Tiangong space station during a spacewalk on Nov. 17, 2022. It was the the third spacewalk for the Shenzhou-14 crew.
** Shenzhou-14 Crew Install Connection Device Between Space Station Modules During EAVs –CCTV Video News Agency
China’s Shenzhou-14 astronauts installed a connection device between the modules of the country’s space station on Thursday during their third extravehicular activities (EVAs).
Currently, live views from the ISS are streaming from an external camera mounted on the ISS module called Node 2. Node 2 is located on the forward part of the ISS. The camera is looking forward at an angle so that the International Docking Adapter 2 (IDA2) is visible. If the Node 2 camera is not available due to operational considerations for a longer period of time, a continuous loop of recorded HDEV imagery will be displayed. The loop will have “Previously Recorded” on the image to distinguish it from the live stream from the Node 2 camera. After HDEV stopped sending any data on July 18, 2019, it was declared, on August 22, 2019, to have reached its end of life. Thank You to all who shared in experiencing and using the HDEV views of Earth from the ISS to make HDEV so much more than a Technology Demonstration Payload!
The National Space Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Martine Rothblatt has renewed her challenge to the space community to develop compelling business plans to enable space settlement in our lifetimes. The annual Rothblatt Space Settlement in Our Lifetime competition consists of three awards of $16,000, $10,000, and $6,000 USD for the best business plans that reflect Dr. Rothblatt’s vision for space settlement.
Dr. Rothblatt has been a pioneer in satellite communications, founding the Sirius XM radio network in 1990. She later became the chairwoman and CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company devoted to prolonging human life. Her trailblazing work in organ replacement has saved countless lives and will be a key technology in creating sustainable communities in space. Her vision for space settlement is vast, encompassing the next century of human migration into space.
“Dr. Rothblatt’s vision for space settlement explores every facet of our ultimate journey beyond Earth,” said Michelle Hanlon, the president of the National Space Society. “She foresees not just the migration of human beings to free-floating space habitats, but the preservation of individual human identities via digital ‘mindfiles’ that can be integrated into new bodies. This kind of thinking really pushes the boundaries of human creativity and innovation. We are confident that her Space Settlement in our Lifetime business plan competition will continue to push the same boundaries.”
The first Rothblatt business plan competition selected three prize winners at the NSS’s Space Settlement Summit in Beverly Hills, California in November 2021. For 2022, winners will be announced at the society’s annual International Space Development Conference in Arlington, Virginia which runs from May 27-29. One representative from each winning team will have their travel expenses covered to attend the conference.
The Space Settlement in our Lifetime competition is open to anyone, of any age, anywhere on Earth (local laws and restrictions may apply). Those wishing to enter must create a compelling business plan that will help to enable some aspect or increment of space settlement. See more at spacebizplan.nss.org. Two informative presentations by Dr. Rothblatt can be viewed there. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2021. All business plan submissions should be made in PDF format.
“We hope to see some remarkable new business plans, just as we did in 2021,” said Rod Pyle, Editor-in-Chief of Ad Astra magazine, NSS’s official publication. “Martine is an incredible person—one of a small number I can call a true visionary—and her concepts for the future of humanity are truly inspiring. Writing about competition for Ad Astra each year fills me with a sense of hope for our future in space. Thanks again to Martine for supporting this endeavor, and I encourage anyone with a profound idea for a business that will, in some way, support the future of human communities in space to enter the competition!”
The above graphic shows some of the Speakers. Check out the elaborate Schedule of talks, panels, and debates.
From the NSS:
Please join us on Thursday-Sunday, June 24-27, for our multi-day virtual event, ISDC 2021. This exciting, four-day virtual event looks at the future of space exploration, development and settlement. And best of all, it’s entirely FREE for the first three days!Beginning at 12:00 PM EDT (9:00 AM PDT).
The International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®), will focus on key areas of space development: space settlement, space policy, space solar power, Moon, and international space programs and will include presentations by students from the Space Settlement Design Competition and the NSS Space Settlement Contest. ISDC 2021 will be a virtual event showcasing the technologies, people and organizations that will lead us to develop the final frontier!
ISDC 2021 presents the finest minds in this movement to develop space, with experts presenting the latest visions of humanity’s migration into space: where we will go, why we will go there, and how we will do so. Speakers include engineers and scientists working in new space; top minds from the aerospace and defense sectors; and educators, physicians, and investors focusing on the business and future of space travel, settlement, and exploration.
The book details how humans could build rotating space habitats in low-Earth orbit using a design he called the “O’Neill Cylinder.” The habitat could recreate Earth’s gravity and would house millions of people for work and play, eventually solving the major concerns facing Earth such as hunger, overpopulation, dwindling resources, and war. His book and activism launched the movement to the global stage, forever inspiring a generation of free thinkers and space leaders, altering the course of American space industry forever. Dr. O’Neill passed in 1992 from Leukemia, but his vision still lives on thanks to the “Gerry’s Kids,” those who were inspired by Dr. O’Neill and keep his vision alive today.
is a documentary film about the life and influence of Gerard K. O’Neill told through the eyes of his peers, family and the younger generation he inspired during the 1970s and 80s who are now leaders in the modern day space race. Through old stories of “Gerry” as many called him, and the social impact he made on the world, this documentary pays tribute to the unsung hero of today’s space race, while hoping to inspire all ages and walks of life to reignite our planet’s space venturing spirit.
Prof. O’Neill was a big influence on my own life. I can recall a rainy gray autumn day in 1974 when I went to the mail box and found my latest copy of Physics Today. I was amazed to see that the cover of the usually staid trade publication depicted a huge space station. The article, The Colonization of Space by O’Neill, was equally unusual in the striking contrast between the mind-boggling boldness of his space habitat concepts and the matter-of-fact, down-to-earth manner in which he presented the motivations for such undertakings and how they could be accomplished technically and economically.
I was still a big space fan at the time but there had been a collapse in public interest in space in those post-Apollo years of the 1970s. The gigantic effort and expense that went into putting just a handful of people on the Moon for brief sojourns convinced most everyone that space travel was very impractical and that the domain beyond out atmosphere was as uninspiring as the bottom of the deep dark ocean. O’Neill’s ideas radically refuted such assertions. Colossal space habitats would become verdant islands thriving in the light of a brilliant sun, enabling the rise of new cultures and the opening of our vast solar system to endless exploration and utilization of its riches.
As the film’s trailer indicates, O’Neill’s writings and articulate promotion of space habitats revitalized and re-energized interest in human spaceflight for many people. Quite a number of those “O’Neillians” continue to this day to work for the settlement of space.
The appeal of O’Neill’s habitat ideas certainly sustained my own interest in space and inspired my efforts with HobbySpace and other activities, which I hope have contributed a little bit towards encouraging public interest and excitement in space.
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have giant habitats in open space or even small bases on the surface of the Moon or Mars. For settlements to be feasible, O’Neill counted on the Space Shuttles to lower the cost of getting to space dramatically. Unfortunately, the failure of the Shuttles to come even close to that key goal not only undermined arguments for giant space habitats but for most any human endeavor in space. Lowering space access costs thus became the focus for the past few decades for O’Neillians, some of whom pursued rocket ventures themselves or advocated for government initiatives like the DC-X/XA prototype reusable rocket and NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo program. Such efforts have shown progress as seen by the significant drop in launch prices with the arrival of SpaceX’s partially reusable Falcon 9 rockets. The fully-reusable, fast turnaround Starships now in development could offer the break-through that finally enables affordable space travel.
Elon Musk discounts in-space habitats and sees Starships as the means to create a city on Mars. However, such vehicles will be available for all sorts of space endeavors and space stations are sure to be among these. If designed to grow incrementally and take advantage of resources from the Moon and the asteroids, such orbital installations could eventually evolve into O’Neill’s islands in the sky.
Here is a “Roundtable TV interview” from 1975 in which O’Neill and Isaac Asimov discuss in-space colonies with former Esquire editor Harold Hayes:
Physicist and space pioneer Gerard K. O’Neil gathered a community of followers as he led planning for vast, magnificent human settlements in space. Guests Dylan Taylor, Will Henry and Ryan Stuit have produced an inspiring, feature-length tribute to O’Neill that stars space luminaries including Jeff Bezos, Frank White, Lori Garver, Rick Tumlinson, and many others. Then Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan are joined by a special listener guest on What’s Up.
Here is a sampling of recent articles, videos, and images related to human expansion into the solar system (see also previous space settlement postings). This roundup is particularly focused on items related to commercial involvement in lunar development.
The 2020 Lunar Development Conference was organized as an all-virtual event on July 19th and 20th, 2020 and featured prominent government, business, academic and advocacy speakers covering topics across the entire range of lunar science, development and settlement.
Assembly of the lander will begin in Japan in 2021 at a JAL Engineering Co., Ltd. facility in Narita, Japan. Final assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) activities for the lander will be carried out by ArianeGroup GmbH at its facilities in Lampoldhausen, Germany. After assembly and final testing in Germany, the lander will be delivered to Cape Canaveral in the United States for its launch.
The target launch date of 2021, announced in September 2018 following the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) phase, has been adjusted to 2022 in response to technical issues which arose in recent months. The new target launch date was chosen in order to ensure higher reliability for HAKUTO-R customers and overall mission success. The lander is still planned to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Two members of the Astrobotic team join me for a conversation: Laura Klicker, Payload Systems Management Lead, and Daniel Gillies, Mission Director for the Griffin/VIPER mission. We talk about Astrobotic’s first Peregrine mission coming up next year, the very exciting VIPER mission to the south pole of the Moon in 2023, payload management across multiple flights, the technical aspects of their various vehicles, and a whole lot more.
German space company OHB is moving ahead with plans to launch a commercial lunar lander mission in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in late 2022 as it looks for government and commercial customers.
OHB and IAI announced an agreement in January 2019 to cooperate on an initiative to deliver payloads to the lunar surface. Under that Lunar Surface Access Service (LSAS) program, OHB would serve as the prime contractor and handle payloads, while IAI provided a lander based on the design of SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander, which at time was approaching launch.
NASA’s Artemis program has been called ambitious for its goal of returning humans to Earth’s moon as early as 2024. But its most audacious aspiration is something else entirely: a plan to usher in an era of sustainable lunar operations by mining the moon’s reserves of water ice. Once tapped, this extraterrestrial reservoir could become the elixir of life to support human outposts, supplying not only drinking water but also oxygen and even rocket fuel.
The moon is a treasure trove of valuable resources. Gold, platinum, and many rare earth metals await extraction to be used in next-generation electronics. Non-radioactive helium-3 could one day power nuclear fusion reactors. But there’s one resource in particular that has excited scientists, rocket engineers, space agency officials, industry entrepreneurs—virtually anyone with a vested interest in making spaceflight to distant worlds more affordable. It’s water.
Why? If you split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and then liquefy those constituents, you have rocket fuel. If you can stop at the moon’s orbit or a lunar base to refuel, you no longer need to bring all your propellant with you as you take off, making your spacecraft significantly lighter and cheaper to launch. That’s important because Earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull necessitate use of tons of fuel per second when rockets launch. Creating a sustainable source of fuel in space could reduce the costs and hazards associated with heavy liftoffs. One NASA estimate suggests there might be 600 million metric tons of lunar ice to harvest, and other higher-end estimates sayone billion metric tons is a possibility.
In other words, if you could mine it effectively, the moon would become a cost-cutting interplanetary gas station for trips to Mars and elsewhere.
Reston, VA, June 16, 2020: CommStar Space Communications™ LLC, (“CommStar Space”), announced its intention today to deploy an advanced, proprietary data relay satellite (“CommStar-1”) to be located between the Earth and the Moon by 2023. CommStar Space is also excited that its decision to deploy CommStar-1 is a major step by the private sector in accelerating the transition of the government out of building and operating taxpayer-funded communications infrastructure in favor of a new role as customer.
Serving as an advanced network access point located in the Cislunar service area, CommStar-1 will be capable of receiving and relaying both optical and radio frequency communications between the Moon and the Earth. CommStar-1 will provide active, “always on,” advanced data services over the more than 225,000-mile distance but will be situated closer to the Moon, i.e. 41632 miles. CommStar-1 relay infrastructure will be designed as a hybrid system for both radio frequency and optical (laser) communications. CommStar-1 will be a larger communications platform than anything currently contemplated to be located on the lunar surface or in orbit around the Moon, with significant space, weight, and power (“SWaP”) dedicated for enhanced relay data transmission. Customers of CommStar-1 can design their lunar payloads for higher speed connectivity and robust bandwidth capacity on their platforms whilst avoiding the critical trade-offs of costly “SWaP” dedicated solely for ultra-long-haul communications. These returned benefits will allow critical “Price per LB to Space” costs to be reallocated away from solely communications to more valuable tasks.
A research team in western China says it has developed a material from artificial lunar dust that might be strong enough to build a base on the moon, and could potentially be made using volcanic rock on site.
Scientists at the Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry in Urumqi turned the artificial dust into a high-performance construction material called basalt fibre. Put through testing, they said it achieved a tensile strength of up to 1.4 gigapascals – or 1,400 megapascals.
To put that into perspective, a European Space Agency team in February used lunar dust and urea, a compound in urine, with a 3D-printed rod to make a construction material that could withstand 32 megapascals of pressure – about half the strength of some commercial concrete. And back in 1998, Nasa’s “waterless concrete” made from simulated moon dust broke apart when it was pulled at a force of 3.7 megapascals.
From the July issue, here is a description of the MOXIE system on the Perseverance rover, which launched last week. MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) will demonstrate production of oxygen from the C02 in the Martian atmosphere:
MOXIE to pave the way for future Martian oxygen production plants. As one of seven instruments on the NASA Perseverance rover, MOXIE will convert the abundant carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into valuable oxygen. 300 watts of electricity will be used to split the carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide, where the purity of oxygen output will be analyzed before being released back into the Martian atmosphere. While not utilized for this particular demonstration, oxygen production on Mars is required for human habitation, propellant production, and industrial processing.
MOXIE is one of the first dedicated in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) experiments to be tested on Mars, and the technology developed is already being utilized for larger follow-on systems. MOXIE is expected to generate six to ten grams of oxygen per hour, whereas 30 to 40 grams are the budget NASA sets for each astronaut on the International Space Station. Fueling a rocket will require kilograms of oxygen per hour, so larger scale systems with appropriate power systems will be required for sustained presence on Mars.
Joan-Pau Sanchez, PhD, is a lecturer in space engineering at Cranfield University. He was one of the first to publish a Near Earth Orbit asteroid map. With host Jason Kanigan of the Cold Star Project, Dr. Sanchez discusses:
– what some of the “new rich families of exploitable orbits which may enable radically new mission applications and services” are – his thoughts about the current alarm of “cluttered Earth orbit”, which we are moving towards with the planned launches of tens of thousands of smallsats – what the “Traveling Salesperson Problem” is in ADR/servicing satellites – how algorithms to solve such problems can be developed without the help of supercomputers – his experience with the Comet Interceptor program and working with ESA – the uses of his paper, “Optimal Sunshade Configurations for Space-Based Geoengineering near the Sun-Earth L1 Point” – the project he lead, also covered by his student Florian Gautier in Episode 50, researching landing cubesats on an asteroid using the ZARM drop tower.
Our mission is to build a large self-sustaining facility that will house hundreds of people and to start construction by 2026. United Space Structures (USS) has developed a unique construction process for building very large permanent structures within lunar lava tubes. The advantage of building within lava tubes is that the lava tube provides protection from radiation and meteor strikes and so the habitat structure does not require to be hardened from these elements. The structures only need to create an atmospheric structurally stable enclosure that is thermally insulated.
** Gary Calnan – The Space Foundry Lab: A Cislunar Industrial Base – Cold Star Project S02E40
Gary Calnan, co-founder & CEO @ CisLunar Industries out of Denver CO, is on the Cold Star Project. They’re on a mission to create industrial capabilities in cislunar space that will enable sustainable space exploration and a permanent human presence beyond Earth. To make this a reality, their goal is to create the Space Foundry: the first in-space capability for recycling metal already in orbit and reprocessing it into refined raw materials for in-space manufacturing and construction. With host Jason Kanigan, Gary explores:
– at what point (or number) a “permanent human presence” beyond Earth exists – what “industrial capabilities” he believes need to be developed first – the purpose, elements and implementation plan of the Space Foundry – his recent proposal to the ISS NL (“Electromagnetic Control and Manipulation of Liquid Metal in Micro-g”) – what legal issues Gary foresees for capturing and recycling metal already in orbit – what he believes it will take to reach a point of in-space manufacturing and construction – whether the development of manufacturing and refueling capabilities on the moon impacts in-space efforts more or less than developing in-orbit capabilities.
To do this, humanity needs to develop the necessary strategies for sustainable living in hostile environments and enclosed spaces. To prepare humans for this kind of experience, groups like Habitat Marte (Mars Habitat) and others are dedicated to conducting simulated missions in analog environments. The lessons learned will not only prepare people to live and work in space but foster ideas for sustainable living here on Earth.
Between December of 2017 and 2020, Habitat Marte has conducted 42 missions with more than 150 participants, totaling almost 1300 hours (98 days) of mission time. As Prof. Rezende indicated, these activities have generated large volumes of data that has resulted in a variety of scientific studies and publications.
** A look at using the local resources to support human missions on Mars:
Extending humanity to other worlds in the Solar System is at the very limits of our modern technology. And unless there are dramatic discoveries in new propulsion systems or we learn how to build everything out of carbon nanotubes, the future of space exploration is going to require living off the land. The technique is known as In-Situ Resource Utilization or ISRU, and it means supplying as much of your mission from local resources as possible. And many of our future exploration destinations, like Mars, have a lot to work with. Let’s look at the raw materials on Mars that missions can use to live off the land and the techniques and technologies that will need to be developed to make this possible.
** How many people are needed to sustain a Martian colony?
…The use of in situ resources and different social organizations have been proposed [3–6,12–19] but there is still a poor understanding of the problem’s variables. I show here that a mathematical model can be used to determine the minimum number of settlers and the way of life for survival on another planet, using Mars as the example [6,15]. It is based on the comparison between the time requirements to implement all kinds of human activities for long term survival and the available time of the settlers. An important parameter of the model is called the sharing factor, which allows some reduction of time requirements per individual if, for example, the activity concerns the construction of an object that can be shared by several individuals…
GrowBotHub, which recently became an EPFL-accredited association, is the school’s sole contribution to IGLUNA 2020. There are some thirty student members, most of them in Master’s programs. The team is pooling their knowledge from a variety of disciplines – such as robotics, chemistry, life sciences, data management, communication systems, microengineering, materials science and electrical engineering – to create an aeroponics system to grow and harvest vegetables without human intervention.
Aeroponics does not require soil. Instead, the plants’ roots are regularly sprayed with nutrient solutions. GrowBotHub’s robotic system intelligently calculates the variables based on each plant’s needs, including the composition and quantities of nutrients, pH, humidity, light and ambient temperature.