The Space Show this week – Jan.28.2019

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

1. Monday, Jan. 28, 2019: 2-3:30 pm PST (4-5:30 pm CST, 5-6:30 pm EST): We welcome Laura Forczyk to the show. She will discuss her consulting company Astralytical and the rise of the Space Age millennials.

2. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019: 7-8:30 pm PST (9-10:30 pm CST; 10-11:30 pm EST): We welcome back Rod Pyle to discuss his new book Interplanetary Robots and lots more as only Rod Pyle can do.

3. Wednesday, Jan. 30 2019: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, Feb. 1, 2019: 9:30-11 am PST (11:30 am -1 pm CST; 12:30-2 pm EST): We welcome back Dr. Michael Schmidt and Dr. Thomas Goodwin to discuss their new work on pharmaceutical usage in space.

5. Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019: 12-1:30 pm PST (3-4:30 pm EST, 2-3:30 pm CST): Open Lines. We discuss your favorite topics. Everyone welcome. The water is fine so jump right in with a call to 1-866-687-7223.

Recent programs:

** Friday, 01/25/2019Dr. Paul Davies talked about “Interstellar developments, advanced propulsion, extraterrestrial life searches, space and lunar artifacts, The Beyond Center for big universe questions and more”.

** Sun, 01/27/2019Robert (Rob) Godwin talked about his new book, Outpost in Orbit: A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station.

See also:
* The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
* The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
* The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

The Space Show - David Livingston
The Space Show – David Livingston


Space policy roundup – Jan.28.2019

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:


** Quartz asks government and business leaders in Davos about the new space age

** WeMartians 53 – The State of Mars 2019 (feat. Brendan Byrne and Emilee Speck) – “The fourth season of WeMartians has begun, and we bring in our friends and regular guests Brendan Byrne and Emilee Speck to talk about rockets, rovers, and Mars in pop culture.”

** ISPCS 2018: Panel Discussion: CRS Progress toward the Commercialization Tipping Point

  • Chair: Ven C. Feng, Manager of the International Space Station (ISS) Transportation Integration Office, NASA JSC
  • Bob Richards, Vice President, Human Spaceflight Systems, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Sector
  • Benjamin Reed, Director of Commercial Crew Mission Management, SpaceX
  • Steve Lindsey, Vice President, Space Exploration Systems, Sierra Nevada Corporation

NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) providers have been highly successful resupplying the ISS and advancing the low Earth orbit economy. By merging NASA’s extensive technical expertise with industry’s agility and innovative methods, these private-public partnerships are leading the way to leading the way to lowering the cost of access to space and broadening the market for NASA, DoD, industry and academia. Come hear form key leaders at NASA, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX on their progress toward the “tipping point” of commercialization of low Earth orbit.

** ISPCS 2018: Panel Discussion: Commercial Crew: Changing the Face of Human Space Transportation

  • Chair: Kathryn Lueders, Program Manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA
  • John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager for Commercial Programs, Space Exploration, The Boeing Company
  • Benjamin Reed, Director of Commercial Crew Mission Management, SpaceX

The scales have tipped and as a result, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has changed the face of the space transportation industry. Commercial Crew, along with partners Boeing and SpaceX, will soon complete uncrewed and crewed test flights as part of the certification of their spaceflight systems. This historic government-industry partnership will allow for routine crewed missions to the International Space Station from American soil, once more. Join representatives from NASA, Boeing and SpaceX as they discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in commercial spaceflight.


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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.27.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. about student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs:

** From Basement to Orbit – A New Class of Personal Satellites by Joe Latrell — Kickstarter – Crowdfunding the launch of a picosat PocketQube.

Development is nearly complete. The design for the PocketQube is finalized, and the hardware is now functional. There are still some integration processes and software work to do along with various testing requirements. We are also in the process of getting our licensing with the FCC, ITU, and other government agencies. We have spent nearly $50,000 getting to this point. To take it across the finish line, we need to raise $50,000 more. Our plan is to launch Discovery in 2019 into a 500 km (310 miles) Sun synchronous orbit. This location gives the Discovery optimal viewing of the Earth and makes it easier for us to retrieve data and upload new instructions. But in order to be ready to fly, we have to finish a lot of fine details between now and then.

More at Kickstarter campaign starts to finance launch of garage-built cubesat | Behind The Black.

** Winner Announced for the 2018 Altair Feko Student Competition – HPC Wire – Design of a CubeSat antenna by Didier Goulet-Tran, an under-graduate student from Polytechnique Montreal, Canada, wins student tech contest-

Goulet-Tran’s entry utilized Feko to design planar reflect array antenna, where the whole antenna system can be folded on one side of the satellite and saving space for CubeSat application. The challenge in the design of reflect array is to choose the shape of the printed surfaces to form a collimated beam over a reasonable bandwidth. The designed reflect array was fabricated and its performance validated using measurements in anechoic chamber achieving a bandwidth of 6.5%.

** JAXA launches its first startup-built satellite RAPIS-1 & 6 other satellites | SpaceTech Asia – Japanese launch included the following university smallsats:

  1. AOBE-VELOX-4, a 2U cubesat designed by Japan’s Kyutech and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to observe and image the Lunar Horizon Glow
  2. Hodoyoshi 2 or RISESat (Rapid International Scientific Experiment Satellite), a 50-kg satellite developed  by the University of Tokyo, and carrying 8 international scientific payloads
  3. OrigamiSat 1, a 3U Cubesat with a membrane deployment system, by Tokyo Institute of Technology (TITech), and
  4. NEXUS, a 1U cubesat for amateur radio, designed at Nihon University in collaboration with Japan AMSAT Association (JAMSAT).

** Sky is no limit for students at Space Kidz India – The Sunday Guardian Live – A recent launch of India’s PSLV included the secondary payload Kalamsat-V2, a student-built cubesat for technology demos.

HYDERABAD: When minutes after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s PSLV-C44 rocket soared into skies at 11.39 pm on Thursday, Chairman Dr K. Sivan congratulated one and all in his teams, but importantly the students from Chennai, who made Kalamsat V2, the world’s lightest satellite that went into space along with DRDO’s Microsat and their leader Dr Srimathy Kesan.

Dr Srimathy Kesan, who runs Space Kidz India (SKI) from T. Nagar in Chennai, was the center of applause from across the country for her school boys who built the tiny cube satellite weighing just 1.2 kg. She went ecstatic with her mobile continuously getting calls and messages since Friday morning and told this newspaper on phone from Chennai that: “My dream comes true and I am overwhelmed.”

See also India’s 1st Rocket Launch of 2019 Sends 2 Satellites Into Orbit –

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-027 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • OrigamiSat-1 Requests Help for Testing 5.84 GHz Downlink
  • OrigamiSat-1 Reception Challenges
  • AO-85 Operations Re-Started – Telemetry Requested
  • ARISS TV Transmitter Back on Earth for Inspection, Possible Repair
  • ARISS Officers Elected
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Limited ISS SSTV Scheduled for January 30 – February 1
  • Registration Open for “VHF Super Conference”
  • AMSAT 50th Anniversary Awards Program
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • NASA Administrator Addresses Furloughed Employees
  • Australia’s First Commercial Launch Facility to be Built
  • India Will Fly 100 Student Satellites
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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New Horizons: Sharpest image yet of Ultima Thule

The latest images of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule from New Horizons at JHU/APL:

New Horizons’ Newest and Best-Yet View of Ultima Thule

The wonders – and mysteries – of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 continue to multiply as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beams home new images of its New Year’s Day 2019 flyby target.

Ultima Thule. Release Date: January 24, 2019. Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This image, taken during the historic Jan. 1 flyby of what’s informally known as Ultima Thule, is the clearest view yet of this remarkable, ancient object in the far reaches of the solar system – and the first small “KBO” ever explored by a spacecraft.

Obtained with the wide-angle Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) component of New Horizons’ Ralph instrument, this image was taken when the KBO was 4,200 miles (6,700 kilometers) from the spacecraft, at 05:26 UT (12:26 a.m. EST) on Jan. 1 – just seven minutes before closest approach. With an original resolution of 440 feet (135 meters) per pixel, the image was stored in the spacecraft’s data memory and transmitted to Earth on Jan. 18-19. Scientists then sharpened the image to enhance fine detail. (This process – known as deconvolution – also amplifies the graininess of the image when viewed at high contrast.)

The oblique lighting of this image reveals new topographic details along the day/night boundary, or terminator, near the top. These details include numerous small pits up to about 0.4 miles (0.7 kilometers) in diameter. The large circular feature, about 4 miles (7 kilometers) across, on the smaller of the two lobes, also appears to be a deep depression. Not clear is whether these pits are impact craters or features resulting from other processes, such as “collapse pits” or the ancient venting of volatile materials.

Both lobes also show many intriguing light and dark patterns of unknown origin, which may reveal clues about how this body was assembled during the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. One of the most striking of these is the bright “collar” separating the two lobes.

“This new image is starting to reveal differences in the geologic character of the two lobes of Ultima Thule, and is presenting us with new mysteries as well,” said Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Over the next month there will be better color and better resolution images that we hope will help unravel the many mysteries of Ultima Thule.”

New Horizons is approximately 4.13 billion miles (6.64 billion kilometers) from Earth, operating normally and speeding away from the Sun (and Ultima Thule) at more than 31,500 miles (50,700 kilometers) per hour. At that distance, a radio signal reaches Earth six hours and nine minutes after leaving the spacecraft.


Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

Space access: India’s PSLV launches, Scott Manley update, New Blue vids, & latest SpaceX activities

A selection of recent items related to space access:

** ISRO flew the latest version of the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) launched on Thursday and put a military spysat (Microsat-R) and a student developed technology demo spacecraft (Kalamsat-V2) successfully into orbit:

** Scott Manley gives a

round up of big space news stories, with Blue Origin flying its first commercial mission while Elon Musk Starship Hopper falls over in high winds. We also got the details on why building the Super Heavy Booster from stainless steel was ‘counter intuitive. Stratolaunch’s Roc looks like it’s becoming the modern equivalent of the Spruce Goose and Vector Space Systems gears up for a test launch.

** Blue Origin released these videos following this week’s successful New Shepard flight:

We have a lean and mighty team in mission control on launch day – about 30 people who operate New Shepard. Meet our teammate Laura who, like all of us at Blue, is focused on lowering the cost of access to space.

New Shepard’s reusability is lowering launch costs and creating routine access to space. Lowering the cost of microgravity research increases the opportunities for universities, government researchers and entrepreneurs to test payloads and technologies in space.

When we delivered New Shepard PM 4 to our West Texas launch site in December, it was the first time we had two rockets in the barn in Texas. We’re building our fleet of versatile reusable launch vehicles step-by-step as we move towards operations.

Blue Origin demonstrated the versatility of the New Shepard system by taking 8 NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space today. 

** SpaceX:

*** A pad test firing was carried out at Cape Kennedy on Jan.24th of the Falcon 9 that is to send the first Dragon-2 vehicle to dock with the ISS. The demo mission, which will have no astronauts on board, is currently expected to happen sometime in the second half of February.

The firing starts at around 3:22 into this video from Florida Today:

*** Elon Musk explains why the structure of the SuperHeavy/Starship reusable space transport system has been changed from carbon composite to stainless steel:

*** A drone view on Thursday of the Boca Chica Beach facility shows the collapsed nose-cone section of the StarHopper, which was blown over earlier this week (see Scott Manley’s report above), under the roof of the open shelter:

Find latest images and videos of the facility and StarHopper at:

*** Top of a propellant tank was added to the lower section:

*** Fairing catching practice continues in California:

** Tom Mueller, head of SpaceX propulsion since the founding of the company, reviews the history of the Merlin engine, which powers both stages of the Falcon 9 rocket. He was accepting an award from the National Space Society at the NSS’s annual ISDC meeting last May. (Mueller’s comments start at 5:25):


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