Category Archives: Space Systems

Videos: “Space to Ground” & other space habitat reports – Nov.11.2022

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

** Expedition 68 Northrop Grumman Cygnus Cargo Craft Arrives at Space Station – Nov. 8, 2022 – NASA Video

Loaded with food, fuel, research investigations, and supplies, the unpiloted Northrop Grumman CRS-18 Cygnus cargo craft arrived to the International Space Station November 8 where it was installed to the nadir port of the Unity module. Dubbed the “SS Sally Ride” for the late NASA astronaut who made history as the first American woman to fly in space, Cygnus launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on November 6 atop an Antares rocket and will remain docked to the space station for approximately two months.

** Expedition 68 Northrop Grumman Cygnus Cargo Craft Secured to Space Station – Nov. 8, 2022 – NASA Video

Loaded with food, fuel, research investigations, and supplies, the unpiloted Northrop Grumman CRS-18 Cygnus cargo craft arrived to the International Space Station November 8 where it was installed to the nadir port of the Unity module. Dubbed the “SS Sally Ride” for the late NASA astronaut who made history as the first American woman to fly in space, Cygnus launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on November 6 atop an Antares rocket and will remain docked to the space station for approximately two months.

** S.S. Sally Ride captured by space station with only 1 solar array deployed!VideoFromSpace

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft, named S.S. Sally Ride, was captured by the International Space Station’s robotic arm on Nov. 9, 2022. The cargo ship made to space station powered by only one solar array as the second failed to deploy after launch. Full Story:…

** Orbital Reef: Your Address, In Orbit  – Blue Origin – YouTube

Orbital Reef will provide anyone with the opportunity to establish their own address in orbit. Learn more at

** See China’s ‘t-shaped’ space station in cargo ship undocking viewsVideoFromSpace

The Tianzhou-4 cargo ship undocked from the Tiangong space station on Nov. 9, 2022. It was launched to China’s orbital outpost in May 2022.

** ‘Life-size’ Chinese space station replica unveiled at Zhuhai Airshow 2022VideoFromSpace

The 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Zhuhai Airshow 2022, features a full-size replica of the Tiangong space station.

** ISS Live video stream – IBM/ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment

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!


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Virgin Orbit to launch “ForgeStar” returnable, reusable space platform from Spaceport Cornwall

An announcement from Virgin Orbit:

Virgin Orbit to Launch First Welsh Satellite From UK Spaceport Summer 2022

                • Cardiff-based Space Forge secure slot on first launch from UK soil with Virgin Orbit
                • Space Forge have developed a fully returnable and reusable satellite platform to enable in-space manufacturing
                • This mission, launched from Spaceport Cornwall this summer, will test new return capability

LONG BEACH, Calif. & CARDIFF, Wales–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leading launch company Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) and European in-space manufacturing tech start-up Space Forge announce today an agreement to launch the first satellite developed in Wales in summer 2022.

In a historic moment for UK space, the satellite will be launched as part of a broader joint UK-US mission to open the country’s first domestic space port in summer 2022 out of Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, Cornwall.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne ignites in mid-air for the first time during the company’s Launch Demo. May 25, 2020. Credit: Virgin Orbit/Greg Robinson.

With shared values of democratising space and pioneering responsive and responsible launch technologies, the synergy between Virgin Orbit and Cardiff-based Space Forge’s ethos makes this the ideal marriage for initial launch from the UK. This, coupled with Spaceport Cornwall’s ambitions to become a world leader in responsible launch will offer a real-world example of a global shift in environmental space practice – from sustainable on the ground operations, to horizontal lower impact launch technologies, to in-orbit services minimising the environmental impacts of manufacturing.

Space Forge is on a mission to make space work for humanity – seeking to harness the power of microgravity, offering an on demand service to advance the expansion of the market for premium research and development applications.

Space Forge recently announced that, along with partners, it is developing a world-first service incorporating both launch and return of a new small class of vehicle – the ForgeStar – that can be deployed from conventional launchers to provide rapid, reliable and reusable in-space infrastructure. This inaugural mission will see Space Forge’s ForgeStar-0 platform launched for the first time and will test future return from space technology.

The Forge Star Platform, “ a fully returnable and reusable satellite platform to enable in-space manufacturing“. Credits: Space Forge

Aiming to unlock the next steps on the path to market expansion, dedicated in-space manufacturing, coupled with proof of reliable return, will allow Space Forge to leverage the benefits of the space environment, namely: microgravity, vacuum, and temperature, to create products impossible to manufacture on Earth.

Their focus is on producing materials and products which offer game-changing levels of performance and efficiency in power hungry infrastructure and systems – reducing the environmental impact of production on earth to unlock new value and innovation. Research suggests that manufacturing certain materials in space could reduce CO2 emissions by 75% – the equivalent to removing all petrol cars from the UK.

“We at Virgin Orbit are delighted to have been chosen to move Space Forge forward in their space journey as we look forward to our inaugural Cornwall launch. Space Forge is joining the growing community of space innovators advancing space technologies for the betterment of our world,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “Their commitment to sustainability builds a foundation for future growth in the industry that we at Virgin Orbit are proud to be part of.”

Joshua Western, CEO, Space Forge:

“We’re thrilled to be making UK history with our first launch. We will demonstrate the use of space for good through in-space manufacturing and reliable return and it’s brilliant that both Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall share our ambitions. This is the start of a great collaboration and we are so excited to see where it goes.”

Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall:

“Launch from Cornwall is the chance to set the bar for the global space industry. Leading with companies like Space Forge, who are innovating in the responsible use of space, is key to this next iteration of space exploration.

It’s amazing to see our partners Virgin Orbit select customers who share our ambitions in this area and we can’t wait to show the world how this can be done.”

Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency:

“The UK is set to become the first nation in Europe to offer small satellite launch, as we become one of the most attractive space economies in the world.

“Space Forge is an innovative, fast-growing company and their agreement with Virgin Orbit demonstrates how all regions of the UK are playing a key role in our ambition to create a thriving small satellite launch market. In-space manufacturing harnesses the benefits of the space environment to create materials far superior to those we can produce on Earth, which can be used to speed up electric car charging or improve the lifetime of aircraft engines.

“This is a huge moment for Space Forge to be part of the first satellite launch from the UK and I wish them all the best, along with Spaceport Cornwall and Virgin Orbit.”

About Space Forge: Space Forge Ltd is a UK start-up on a mission to lead the clean industrial revolution by harnessing space. The company is developing fully returnable satellites that are designed for manufacturing next generation super materials in-space. In creating a reliable return, Space Forge will advance the expansion of the microgravity market for premium research and development applications by lowering the barriers to entry. The company is focused on R&D initiatives where dedicated return from the space environment can add a significant benefit, or overcome obstacles found terrestrially, to unlock new value and innovation.

Website:, Instagram: @space_forge, Linkedin:, Twitter: @space_forge

About Virgin Orbit: Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the company began commercial service in 2021, and has already delivered commercial, civil, national security, and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747- 400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Learn more at and visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @virginorbit, and on Instagram @virgin.orbit.

About Spaceport Cornwall: Spaceport Cornwall is the horizontal space launch site at Cornwall Airport Newquay, in South West England. Spaceport Cornwall is a partnership between Cornwall Council, commercial launch operator Virgin Orbit and Goonhilly Earth Station. The consortium will deliver small satellite launch into lower Earth Orbit, for the first time ever from the UK by 2022. The project is funded by the UK Space Agency, Cornwall Council, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Virgin Orbit. For video and media content:

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Video: Update on graphene development and applications

While it probably exaggerates its near-term importance to tell 2022 graduates that “The future is graphene” (as The Graduate, Benjamin Braddock, was told in the 60s about plastics) , the future is nevertheless very bright for applications of the amazing one-atom-thick material. Here is an update on developments with graphene via an interview with Adrian Nixon, Editor in Chief of Nixene Publishing at Ex Terra – The Journal of Space Commerce:

On this edition of The Ex Terra Podcast, we return to the topic of Graphene with Adrian Nixon, Editor in Chief of Nixene Publishing. The Nixene Journal is a publishing company specializing in Graphene and other 2D materials based in Manchester, United Kingdom. We publish the Nixene Journal, a monthly analysis of developments in the fast-moving business and technology world of graphene in “plain English” for global decision makers and investors. Adrian Nixon began his career as a chemist, and took a somewhat circuitous path to publishing. As a scientist, his knowledge of graphene is extensive, and he is well versed in the potential applications for the material in space commerce, as well as here on Earth.

Nixene Publishing produces the monthly Nixene Journal, which provides busy decision makers with up-to-date knowledge and information, as well as Special Editions tailored to a specific topic. They are ideal as corporate reports or industry events. Both print and digital versions are available, and a subscription is not required. The company also produces a video series focused on graphene, holds webinars and workshops, and provides consulting services.

Adrian is a member of the International Space Elevator Consortium Board, and a Strategic Advisory Board member of StellarModal, the space transportation association. On this edition of the podcast, Adrian and host Tom Patton talk about the many uses of graphene, how it came to be discovered, it’s chemical makeup (Adrian is a chemist, after all), and a couple of the more Earthly uses for the substance.

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Nanoracks to deploy FEES2 picosat from the ISS

Nanoracks and GP Advanced Projects (GPAP) will soon deploy a picosat a third the size of a standard CubeSat from the International Space Station.  GPAP refers to its picosat design as a 1/3U CubeSat (10cm x 10cm x 3cm). The first demo reached orbit in 2020 and was called the Flexible Experimental Embedded Satellite  or FEES.

FEES is a 1/3U Cubesat for in-orbit demonstration and validation of electronic components.

Cubesats systems were born in 1999 as a result of the cooperation between California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University, which defined the standards of this new satellite category. Typical Cubesats have a 10x10x10 cm dimension, 1U volume and are nominally in the nanosat or picosat satellite class.

These attributes being set, Cubesats allow affordable cost launch and different applications, since they lend themselves to educational, scientific and commercial purposes.

More than fifteen years later than the first cubesat prototype, we knew we could go even further. This vision led us to the development a 1/3U Cubesat, miniaturising the Cubesat technology in just 30% of former volume. FEES is the result of our commitment to this project.

Incredible partners like Politecnico di Milano, Brno University of Technology, CESI, LINKIT, Laser and Pandigital joined us in the program, giving birth to a 10x10x3cm satellite with a 300g mass which has been launched into orbit in October 2020.

Here is the announcement of the deployment of second FEES satellite (FEES2) into orbit, this time from the ISS:

Nanoracks to Deploy First-Ever 0.3U CubeSat from Space Station

NOVEMBER 23, 2021 – Torino, Italy – Nanoracks Europe is on track to set a new record as the company prepares to deploy the first-ever 0.3U CubeSat from the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite, named FEES2, was developed by the Italian company GP Advanced Projects and is approximately the thickness of a cherry. It will be one of the smallest trackable objects deployed directly from the Space Station.

FEES2 (Flexible Experimental Embedded Satellite-2) is a platform for demonstrating and validating CubeSat technology in orbit. The mission will test critical satellite components, such as GPS receivers and attitude control systems that have specifically been designed for miniaturized experiments.

GP Advanced Projects (GPAP) selected Nanoracks Europe for the integration services, launch brokerage, and deployment of FEES2 in June 2021 to reach orbit quickly and efficiently. Nanoracks’ proven business model provides flexible opportunities for its customers to demonstrate innovative technologies utilizing the ISS.

Guido Parissenti, CEO and co-founder of GPAP, remarked that

“The ISS has been a sort of booster for our company’s growth. Thanks to this deployment opportunity, which we contracted just five months ago, we will reach a major milestone towards the building of the first Italian nanosatellite constellation for IoT [Internet of Things], which is our long-term goal.”

The miniaturization of space technologies is a trend that allows for broader participation in space research and for CubeSat developers to make progress more rapidly. Companies like GP Advanced Projects that are seeking to deploy small satellites might have had difficulties reaching orbit in the past due to funding or launch accommodations. This mission demonstrates that such deployments are not only possible but that they can also be completed in a very short amount of time.

To approve FEES2 for deployment from the ISS, Nanoracks performed a feasibility study with NASA to verify the satellite’s trackability and quantify its deployment parameters. After careful evaluation, FEES2 was approved for integration into a Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD). The satellite is now integrated into an NRCSD with several other CubeSats and is manifested on the 24th SpaceX Commercial Resupply (SpX CRS-24) mission to the ISS, which is planned to launch in December 2021.

“We were excited that GP Advanced Projects entrusted Nanoracks to get the job done,”

said Adriana Aiello, Systems Engineer for Nanoracks Europe.

“Of course, we were going to make this happen for GP Advanced Projects – this is our specialty. Our customers’ needs challenge us to be innovators and disruptors, and we’re proud to bring a new customer and new technology to the Space Station.”

[Nanoracks Europe’s CEO, Veronica La Regina, said,]

“This is an absolutely exciting opportunity for Nanoracks Europe to make a difference in enabling wider access to space in our community,” […] . “Nanoracks’ passion for opening space access is one of our greatest assets, and this mission proves to be yet another example of the tenacity for making new things happen.”

Nanoracks offers a variety of satellite launch opportunities, including deployments from the International Space Station, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft, the SpaceX Rideshare program, and from India’s PSLV. Learn more about Nanoracks’ satellite opportunities here.

About Nanoracks: Nanoracks, a Voyager Space Company, is the world’s leading commercial space services provider. Nanoracks owns and operates private hardware on the International Space Station and has launched over 1,300 research experiments, deployed over 300 small satellites, and owns and operates the Bishop Airlock on the ISS. Today, Nanoracks leverages over a decade of experience to develop new commercial space systems in direct response to customer needs. These space systems include converting commercial launch vehicle upper stages into functional secondary platforms, building new habitable space stations, supplying payload and crew airlock systems and services infrastructure, and more. Follow @Nanoracks on Twitter to learn more.

About GP Advanced Projects: GP Advanced Projects is an innovative SME active in both production and management of space projects. The company is developing PiCo, a picosatellite constellation dedicated to IoT data retrieval anywhere in the world. The first demonstrator satellite has been successfully deployed in March 2021.

In addition, thanks to its experience in project & innovation management, GP Advanced Projects enabled different non-space companies and institutions entering the space sector; the company is also actively engaged in scientific projects for both ESA and NASA.

For more information, visit

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Geared Up for Launch – Immortal Data & NM Tech

An update from Immortal Data on the partnership with students at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology on a sub-orbital rocket project:

Geared Up for Launch:
Four Years of Space Engineering Takes Flight

August, 30, 2021 (New Mexico) – Innovation works hard behind the scenes, often for years, before its accomplishments see the light of day. This year marks an exciting one for Immortal Data and the students of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, as their industrial partnership is finally set to take off, with all their hard work on board. Since 2017, IDI and NM Tech students have toiled long hours, developing the payload mounting and attaching system for sub-orbital flight, using extremely strict weight and volume guidelines. Their combined efforts have resulted in a payload that not only holds IDI’s data acquisition and logging system “microDAQ and ShipsStore,” but also includes structural health monitoring capabilities.

Structural Health Monitoring is an important technology that improves flight safety and reduces operation cost of future space systems. By monitoring structural conditions in real time, information on changes and damage can be reported immediately to the support team, which allows fast decisions to be made.

According to Dr. Andrei Zagrai,

“We believe that structural health monitoring will be one of key components in re-usability of future space vehicles. We are very excited to demonstrate its feasibility and integration with the blackbox system developed by Immortal Data. It is a great opportunity to test our ideas during sub-orbital space flight.”

This partnership has been a great opportunity for not only Immortal Data, but also for their partners at NMT. Students have been able to participate in a project that will reshape the future of space safety standards.

“This project is also an excellent example of collaboration between the institute and a commercial company as it has both educational and research objectives. We have an undergraduate student team which helped to design and fabricate payload and gained much experience interacting with space engineers at Immortal Data. A graduate student and a former New Mexico Tech graduate were involved in design, implementation and validation of SHM experiment further advancing research and engineering solutions for space vehicles. We hope that our joint work will help to make spaceflight safer and affordable to everyone.”

Through blended endeavors of passion and drive, NM Tech students and IDI have crafted a piece of technology that will impact the future of space engineering for years to come. IDI ShipStore’s patented solution to accumulate, store, and share sensor data in real time, combined with the enclosure designed by NMT to withstand the rigorous stress of a space launch, is a huge achievement for both parties involved. Immortal Data will be delivering the payload this month in anticipation of the sub-orbital flight scheduled to take place in November. They continue to prove their commitment to safety in space and to the space community.About Immortal Data: Immortal Data is an affordable solution to the data collection and recovery demands of the burgeoning and budget-minded private space craft industry.

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