Space policy roundup – Jan.24.2019

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:


** ISPCS 2018 – Panel on Commercial Space Law & Policy

  • Franceska Schroeder, Principal, Fish & Richardson
  • Audrey Powers, Deputy General Counsel, Blue Origin
  • Kelly Garehime, Associate General Counsel, United Launch Alliance
  • Caryn Schenewerk, Senior Counsel and Senior Director, Space Flight Policy, SpaceX

** ISPCS 2018 – 21st Century Space Regulations – Kelvin Coleman, Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, FAA, presented his keynote “Innovation and Accountability – Transforming Commercial Space Regulations for the 21st Century.”

** Episode T+108: Layoffs and Launch Sites – Main Engine Cut Off

** January 22, 2019 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

** Panel Discussion: Space Industry Innovations and Business Directions


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Winners announced for Space Foundation’s Int. Student Art Contest

The winners of the Space Foundation‘s ninth international student space art contest, co-sponsored by Firefly Aerospace, have been selected. See the gallery of terrific winning entries here.

Winners of the Space Foundation’s
9th Annual International Student Art Contest Announced

  • 25 winners selected from 61 countries
  • 3,908 entries submitted
  • Space Achievement Award winner is Xinyi Christine from New Jersey
Xinyi Christine, Space Achievement Award 13 – 14 Years Old, USA

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan 23, 2019) — The Space Foundation has announced the winners of its 9th Annual Space Foundation International Student Art Contest, co-sponsored by Firefly Aerospace. The 25 winners represent five U.S. states and 12 countries, with one entry chosen for the Space Achievement Award.

The Space Foundation invited public, private and homeschool children from around the world, ages 3-18, to submit original artwork depicting the theme, Where Will Your Spaceship Take You?” The contest is free to enter every year, and the response for 2019 included more than 3,900 entries from 36 U.S. states and 61 countries, including Lithuania, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Mongolia.

“Everything that has been constructed existed first in the imagination of its architect,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “We are inspired by the vision of these student space architects as they imagine ‘where their spaceships will take them.’”

Rui Xi, 1st Place 3 – 4 Years Old, Malaysia

The winning entries will be shown at the Space Foundation’s 35th Space Symposium, to be held April 8-11, 2019, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA. After the Symposium, the winning art will be displayed at Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.

“I have greatly enjoyed personally viewing thousands of inspired contest entries over the years,” said Nancy Reed, Director – Marketing & Creative Services for the Space Foundation.  “I treasure gained insights from my involvement with the contest – that young artists’ creativity, desire to win and their view of space is universal throughout the world and transcends world politics and differing ideologies – a wonderful thing indeed!”

The winners will receive an astronaut autograph, certificate, ribbon and an art kit.

Adeena, 3rd Place 9 – 10 Years Old, Indonesia

In August 2019, the Space Foundation will make an announcement about the 2020 contest.

About the Contest

Students were invited to enter artwork in the following media formats: drawing, painting, mixed media and digital. The contest featured eight age categories, with first, second and third place honors for each of the age categories, plus one Space Foundation Achievement Award.

Jun Yao, 1st Place, 7 – 8 Years Old, China

The 2019 winners are listed by first name only in consideration of the children’s privacy.

3 – 4 Years      

  • 1st Place – Rui Xi, Malaysia
  • 2nd Place – Naajiha, Bangladesh
  • 3rd Place – Pulasi, Sri Lanka

5 – 6 Years      

  • 1st Place – Sansthita, India
  • 2nd Place – Hangyu, China
  • 3rd Place – Richard, United States

7 – 8 Years      

  • 1st Place – Jùn yáo, China
  • 2nd Place – Ruixi, China
  • 3rd Place – KeXin, China

9 – 10 Years    

  • 1st Place – Aaron, United States
  • 2nd Place – Xu Yuan, United States
  • 3rd Place – Adeena, Indonesia

11 – 12 Years  

  • 1st Place – Peter, United States
  • 2nd Place – Timur, Russia
  • 3rd Place – Maria, Ukraine

13 – 14 Years  

  • 1st Place – Crystal, United States
  • 2nd Place – Daria, Ukraine
  • 3rd Place – Jonathan, United States

15 – 16 Years  

  • 1st Place – Adrian, United States
  • 2nd Place – Natalie, United States
  • 3rd Place – Ziqing, China

17 – 18 Years  

  • 1st Place – Calum, United States
  • 2nd Place – Adriana, United States
  • 3rd Place –  Eva Sophie, Germany

Space Achievement Award   

Xinyi Christine, United States, Age 14

Where to See the Artwork
Winning artwork submitted for this year’s contest can be seen on the International Student Art Contest website gallery at, and all of the submitted artwork can be seen at

About the Judges

Space Art Expertise

  • Richard Green, senior artist/designer with more than 20 years’ experience in creating and designing for the video game, aerospace and industrial design industries, Seattle, Washington.
  • Joe Vinton, digital artist, Renderosity Artist of the Year, Burton, Trent, United Kingdom.

Children’s Art Expertise

  • Hans Wolfe, middle and upper school visual arts, Visiting Artist Coordinator, Art Department Chair, The Colorado Springs School, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Commercial Art Expertise

  • Lourn Eidal, Assistant Art Director, Crystal Peak Design, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • Susanne Arens, President, Crystal Peak Design and Art Director, photographer, fine artist, college instructor, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Studio Tour, Springs Recovery Connection board member, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

About Firefly Aerospace

Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park, Tex., Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine, and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif. Learn more by visiting

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites and – and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.

Blue Origin flies New Shepard reusable rocket vehicle to edge of space

Blue Origin today successfully flew a New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket vehicle to over 100 km altitude. There were eight research experiments aboard the capsule, which separated from the booster after its engine ended its burn. The booster made a powered landing while the capsule returned via parachutes. The flight took place at Blue’s facility in West Texas.

This was the tenth flight of this second NS vehicle. During the webcast, a video was shown of a third New Shepard being transported from the factory in Washington state to the West Texas facility. The webcast host said this new vehicle will be dedicated to carrying people while the vehicle that flew today will focus on uncrewed missions with scientific and technology R&D payloads.

The complete webcast:

See also:


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Space Science: Planetary rover update, Martian slope streaks, Lunar eclipse flash

Some space science items of interest:

** Planetary rover update: January 22, 2019 | Behind The Black – Bob Zimmerman reports on the status and plans for the Mars rovers and the Chinese Yutu-2 rover on the Moon.

Since November Curiosity has remained on the top of Vera Rubin Ridge, where it drilled its third successful hole there, out of a total of six drilling attempts. The failures were partly because of the hardness of the rock on the ridge, and partly because they are using a new drilling technique because of the failure of the drill’s feed mechanism. Instead of having the feed mechanism push the drill down into the rock, they use the robot arm itself. This has required care because the last thing they want to do is damage the arm itself.

The image [below] shows where Curiosity is heading in next year or two and was discussed in detail in my December 19, 2018 post, Curiosity’s future travels.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) image “Monitor Region Near Curiosity Rover” annotated by Robert Zimmerman at

** Planetary Scientists Continue to Puzzle Over the Mysterious Slope Streaks on Mars. Liquid? Sand? What’s Causing Them? – Universe Today – Investigations into what causes the long streaks down the sides of hill and mountain slopes on Mars.

“A splitting slope streak on Mars captured by HiRISE”. Credit NASA JPL,University of Arizona via Universe Today

Since they were first observed in the 1970s by the Viking missions, the slope streaks that periodically appear along slopes on Mars have continued to intrigue scientists. After years of study, scientists still aren’t sure exactly what causes them. While some believe that “wet” mechanisms are the culprit, others think they are the result of “dry” mechanisms.

Luckily, improvements in high-resolution sensors and imaging capabilities – as well as improved understanding of Mars’ seasonal cycles – is bringing us closer to an answer. Using a terrestrial analog from Bolivia, a research team from Sweden recently conducted a study that explored the mechanisms for streak formation and suggest that wet mechanisms appear to account for more, which could have serious implications for future missions to Mars.

** Lunar impact flash observed during eclipse – During the lunar “Blood Moon” eclipse on January 21st, a meteoroid impact was observed as seen in this video:

These images correspond to a lunar impact flash spotted by the telescopes operating in the framework of the MIDAS survey on Jan. 21, at 4:41:38 universal time (23:41:38 US eastern time). The impact took place during the totality phase of the lunar eclipse. The flash was produced by a rock (a meteoroid) that hit the lunar ground. The MIDAS Survey is being conducted by the University of Huelva and the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia.

Scott Manley discusses the impact:

More at:

Meteoroids hit the Moon all the time. Literally. NASA has been observing the impact flashes since 2005. Recently, other groups in Europe have joined the hunt. Flashes are typically observed once every 2 or 3 hours of observing time. Impactors range in size from softballs to boulders, liberating energies equal to tons of TNT when they strike.

The rare thing about this strike is that it was photographed during a full Moon, when lunar glare usually overwhelms the glow of any fireball. During the eclipse, Earth’s shadow turned lunar day into almost-night for an hour, allowing the fireball to be seen.


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