Category Archives: Space industry

Space settlement roundup – Mar.26.2020

A sampling of recent articles, videos, and images related to human expansion into the solar system (see also previous space settlement postings):

** Joel Sercel – Mini Bee Prototype for Asteroid Mining – Cold Star Project S02E09 –

The Mini Bee asteroid mining craft prototype is the topic of this episode of the Cold Star Project, and Dr. Joel Sercel is our guest. Momentus Space and TransAstra are teaming up with a NASA NIAC grant and other investors to prove the concept of this new asteroid mining technology. Dr. Sercel has considerable experience in the space field, having designed JPL’s space project process. We cover:

– tradeoffs in vehicle design of the Mini Bee -process for Mini Bee proof of concept

– “process maturity” concept for Air Force projects he lead -biggest surprise in his JPL experience

– smallsat market predictions.

Mini Bee project info on NASA site:https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spa…

A NIAC infographic about the Mini Bee and optical mining concept:

Mini Bee optical mining system for extracting resources from asteroid and lunar material. Credits: Transastra Corp. & NIAC

** TransAstra’s Sun Flower solar powered module would enable extraction of water from permanently shadowed lunar craters at the poles:  TransAstra lunar outpost concept – Joel Sercel on LinkedIn

NASA has funded TransAstra to find a way to make a lunar outpost. Our system can evolve into a tourist destination and then grow into a city. The problem we had to overcome is that with today’s rocket technology launching just a single gallon of water to the Moon could cost upwards of $10M. Lunar outposts will need thousands of tons of water every year to drink, as a source of oxygen for air, and most importantly for rocket propellant. The best rocket propellant is made by breaking water into oxygen and hydrogen and liquifying the resulting gases at ultra low temperatures. Getting the water and turning it into rocket propellant will require megawatts of electric power. Solar arrays are not an option because the permanently shadowed regions that are expected to be loaded with ice haven’t seen the light of the Sun for billions of years.

Our new patent pending invention, the Sun Flower™ solves that problem. Sun Flower flies to the Moon as a single modular spacecraft and soft lands itself on the icy surface. With its landing legs stabilized on the icy lunar surface the tower grows vertically out of a modest package until the top of the tower is in the sun.

** ESA’s PROSPECT will extract materials from the crater floors of the Moon’s South Pole and look for water. The package will launch in 2025 as a payload on Russia’s Luna-27 lander: Hunting out water on the Moon – ESA

The overall payload is called Package for Resource Observation and in-Situ Prospecting for Exploration, Commercial exploitation and Transportation, or PROSPECT. A drill called ProSEED will extract samples, expected to contain water ice and other chemicals that can become trapped at the extremely low temperatures expected; typically -150 °C beneath the surface to lower than -200 °C in some areas. 

Samples taken by the drill will then be passed to the ProSPA chemical laboratory, being developed by an Open University team. These samples will then be heated to extract these cold-trapped volatiles and enable follow-up analysis.

ESA posts this “map of possible water beneath the surface of the Moon’s South Pole, based on temperature data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter”.

** Christopher Dreyer – Space Resources Program at the Colorado School of Mines – CSP S02E22

Dr. Christopher Dreyer is the Associate Director of Engineering and co-creator of the Center for Space Resources at Colorado School of Mines. The School offers an exciting Space Resources Program and Dr. Dreyer has played an integral role in developing it. Chris meets with Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan to discuss the Program. We cover:

– how Chris got involved with the idea of asteroid mining

– the way one creates a curriculum for something that hasn’t existed before

– why the School decided to go with an online program format instead of in-class

– exactly what is taught in a course Dr. Dreyer developed for the program, such as Space Resources Fundamentals

– what if any relevance Earth-based capabilities and experience the Colorado School of Mines developed has for asteroid mining

– technologies available and being developed to prospect for and process resources in space

– how close or far away Dr. Dreyer believes we are to actual asteroid mining.

One of the first things I noticed on Dr. Dreyer’s LinkedIn profile was a recommendation from Dr. Joel Sercel, also a guest on this show. Dr. Sercel’s Momentus firm and Dr. Dreyer’s School do have a relationship and we discuss that in this episode. Dr. Sercel’s appearance is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce9Rr…

Space Resources Program: https://space.mines.edu/

** Elon Musk aims for a fleet of a 1000 Starships to transport thousands of people and thousands of tons of cargo every two years to Mars to build and maintain a permanent settlement until it can become self-sustaining.

Musk tweeted in January that the goal of his Starship transportation system to Mars will be to launch each of SpaceX’s reusable Starship rockets about three times per day, on average, while carrying a 100-ton payload on each flight. with roughly 1,000 flights per year carrying more than 100 tons of cargo on each flight. At that rate, Musk theorizes, each Starship rocket would make roughly 1,000 flights per year, launching a total of 100,000 tons of cargo into orbit.

“So, every 10 ships yield 1 megaton per year to orbit,” Musk also tweeted in January.

And 1,000 Starships could send “maybe around 100k people per Earth-Mars orbital sync,” Musk added on Twitter, referring to the period, every 26 months, when Earth’s and Mars’ orbits are best aligned for an interplanetary journey. “That’s the goal.”

Starships at a Mars settlement. Credits: SpaceX

** Bloomberg posted a series of videos last fall on various aspects of large scale space development such as space factories and  living in space. The full series will play out if you start with this one:

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Xplore and Nanoracks Partner to Commercialize Deep Space

An announcement sent to me by Xplore Inc:

Xplore and Nanoracks Partner to Commercialize Deep Space
Interplanetary Payload Services Enable Frequent, Low-Cost Missions to the Inner Solar System

January 29, 2020, Seattle, WashingtonXplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space As A Service™ today announced a partnership in which Nanoracks will provide commercial deep space flight opportunities for its customers and serve as a customer interface for payload design, preparation and integration on Xplore missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, Lagrange Points and near-Earth asteroids.

Nanoracks has dramatically expanded the commercialization of space in low-Earth orbit by launching cubesats and microsatellites from the International Space Station, and launching hundreds of microgravity experiments, for customers since 2009. Xplore founder Lisa Rich said,

“Xplore and Nanoracks have joined forces to create higher-cadence, low-cost flight opportunities to the inner solar system via the Xplore Xcraft™.” She continued: “Xplore’s multi-mission spacecraft has a large payload bay, ample power, electric propulsion and precision pointing capability to perform advanced planetary science, heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary defense and national security missions for our customers. Scientists need more flight opportunities to the Moon, Mars, Venus and other interplanetary destinations. Together, Xplore and Nanoracks will deliver this access and enable scientists to focus on the science, not the spacecraft.”

Nanoracks CEO Jeffrey Manber said,

“Commercial space no longer stops at low-Earth orbit. Xplore paves the way for commercial utilization and services to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. We are truly excited at Nanoracks to be working with Xplore to bring our commercial knowledge from low-Earth orbit into deep space exploration.”

Xplore will advance commercialization of deep space by promoting science, accelerating innovation and growing programmatic-level efforts with established and emerging space agencies around the world. Xplore’s Xcraft™ is a highly-capable ESPA-class spacecraft that can carry 30kg – 70kg of payload in 50U volume and provide customers with the opportunity to fly scheduled or custom orbital missions. Beginning with Moon Xpeditions™ targeted for late 2021, customers can fly instruments including optical instruments, space weather instruments, hyperspectral imagers, deployable cubesats, life science experiments, technology demonstrations and more from the Moon to Ceres. Lisa Rich said, “Nanoracks’ ability to prepare and integrate our customers’ instruments onto Xplore’s spacecraft platform allows Xplore to launch payloads faster and accelerate access to space.”

About Xplore: Established in 2017, Xplore is a Seattle-based commercial deep space company offering Space As A Service™. Xplore provides hosted payloads, communication relay services and exclusive datasets to its customers via a fleet of networked multi-mission spacecraft.

The mission of Xplore is to expand robotic exploration beyond Earth via commercial missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, Lagrange Points and near-Earth asteroids in the inner solar system. Xplore provides hosted payload services for scientific instruments and technology demonstrations for national space agencies, national security agencies, sovereign space agencies and universities. Visit: https://www.xplore.com

About Nanoracks: Established in 2009, Nanoracks is the world’s first commercial space station company with an existing customer base. The company offers low-cost, high-quality solutions to the most pressing needs for satellite deployment, basic and educational research and both at home and in 30 nations world-wide for those new to the industry and aerospace veterans. Since 2009, Texas-based Nanoracks has truly created new markets, and ushered in a new era of in space-services.

As of February 2018, over 600 payloads have been launched to the International Space Station via Nanoracks services, and our customer base includes the European Space Agency (ESA) the German Space Agency (DLR,) the American space agency (NASA,) US Government Agencies, Planet Labs, Millennium Space Systems, Space Florida, NCESSE, Virgin Galactic, pharmaceutical companies, and organizations in Vietnam, UK, Romania and Israel. Visit: http://nanoracks.com

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.

===

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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The Space Show this week – Oct.21.2019

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

1. Monday, Oct. 21, 2019; 7 PM PDT (9 pm CDT; 10 PM EDT): We welcome Dr. Jose V. Lopez to discuss his paper regarding Planetary Protection in which he suggests we should be spreading Earthly molecules throughout the solar system and Mars. His paper has been uploaded to the blog page for this program and we have discussed it on several earlier Space Show programs.

2. Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT): We welcome back both Linda Plush and Dr. John Jurist for fresh work and views regarding human factors for long duration human spaceflight.

3. Wednesday, Oct. 23 2019; Pre-recorded Hotel Mars Program with John Batchelor. See Upcoming Show on The Space Show website for details.

4. Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019: 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT): We welcome space architect Suzana Bianco. Note that Ms. Bianco was a presenter at the SSI Space Settlement Conference in Seattle during early Sept. 2019. [See the  video of her panel.]

5. Friday, Oct. 25, 2019; 9:30-11 am PDT (11:30 am -1 pm CDT, 12:30-2 pm EDT):. We welcome Don Pickering, CEO of Olis Robotics to discuss advances with AI and robotics for space and more.

6. Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): We welcome you to OPEN LINES. Call us and talk about the issues that you want to talk about. All callers welcome, so are all space, STEM, STEAM, economic, and science topics.

Some recent shows:

** Sun, 10/20/2019Dr. Gerald Jackson discussed antimatter based propulsion systems.

** Fri, 10/18/2019Jose Ocasio-Christian talked about “the Caelus Foundation, their Chinese space program workshops, policy and more”.

* Thu, 10/17/2019Dr. Eligar Sadeh and Layla Martin discussed “the launch of the Astropolitics Institute, What it is and why now?”

** Wed, 10/16/2019 – Hotel Mars with John Batchelor, Dr. David Livingston Dr. Karen Meech talked about “the two interstellar comets we have discovered, Comet Borisov and Comet Oumuamua”.

** The Space Show – Tue, 10/15/2019 –  Dr. Alan Hale discussed “multiple astronomy, telescope and exoplanet subjects. Also Hale-Bopp and other comets. Alan’s new Ice and Stone 2020 educational outreach project.”

** The Space Show – Mon, 10/14/2019Robert Zimmerman of www.behindtheblack.com “covered multiple topics in this one segment 123 minute program featuring listener phone calls and email questions”.

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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The Space Show this week – Sept.23.2019

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

1. Monday, Sept. 23, 2019; 2:00 pm PDT (4:00 pm CDT, 5:00 pm EDT): No show today as Monday is reserved for special programming.

2. Tuesday, Sept. 24 , 2019; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT):  Dr. Anahita Modiriasari will talk about lunar and Martian lava tubes.

3. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019: Pre-recorded Hotel Mars Program with John Batchelor. See Upcoming Show on The Space Show website for details.

4. Friday, Sept. 27, 2019; 9:30-11:00 am PDT (11:30 am-1:00 pm CDT, 12:30-2:00 pm EDT): We welcome back Dallas Bienhoff will discuss cislunar development and his recent SSI discussion comments.

5. Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): OPEN LINES. We want to hear from you. STEM, STEAM, SPACE, SCIENCE calls welcome. First time callers welcome. Talk about what is on your mind with space.

Some recent shows:

** The Space Show – Sun, 09/22/2019 – Space attorney Wayne White  discussed property rights and other commercial space legal issues.

** Fri, 09/20/2019Dr. David Warmflash  talked about his new book, Moon: An Illustrated History: From Ancient Myths to the Colonies of Tomorrow , and about “Apollo’s Biomedical Lessons, human lunar spaceflight and more”.

** Tue, 09/17/2019Kim Holder and John Jossy “provided us with their analysis of the SIS Space Settlement Conference. This was an in-depth discussion of the extraordinary two day event”.

** Mon, 09/16/2019Dr. Patricia Hynes “discussed the upcoming ISPCS Conference to be held in Las Cruces, NM from Oct. 9-10, 2019 with implications for commercial and exploratory space”.

** The Space Hotel – Wed, 09/11/2019 – John Batchelor and Dr. David Livingston talk with Anatoly Zak (RussianSpaceWeb.com) about the latest Russian space news and developments.

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