Space policy roundup – Aug.24.2020

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 (find previous space policy roundups here):

International space


** The Space Show – Fri. Aug.21.2020Dr. Louis D. Friedman “talked about his new book [Planetary Adventures: From Moscow to Mars (Amazon commission link)], doing business with the Russians and the Chinese, plus his thoughts on Mars, returning to the Moon, the commercial players today, settlement and more”.

** E29 – The Present and Future of Space Commerce (with Ed Swallow and Kevin O’Connell) – Aerospace Corp – Center for Space Policy & Strategy (CSPS)

** Artemis Westenberg – Getting There With Explore Mars – Cold Star Project S02E57

President emerita of Explore Mars Inc. & CEO of Explore Mars Europe Artemis Westenberg joins host Jason Kanigan on the Cold Star Project. What’s the truth about the American public’s interest in going to Mars? Why should we go there at all? How is private industry likely to get involved? We dig into the political and technological issues necessary to overcome to go to Mars, and what Explore Mars is doing to promote those actions. Artemis also discusses the role of women in the space industry. Explore Mars website:

** Episode 22 Space Force and Nuclear Weapons – Michael Listner, Space Law & Policy Solutions. The article discussed is available at Space Force Doctrine Raises Questions About Nuclear Missiles – Air Force Magazine.

** August 18, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

** August 20, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black


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The Space Show this week – Aug.24.2020

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

1. Monday, Aug. 24, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT: No special programming.

2. Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT): We welcome back Patrick Host with his excellent report on the Small Launch Vehicle market.

3. Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020: Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT): No special program today.

5. Friday, Aug. 28 2020; 9:30-11 am PDT (11:30 am-1 pm CDT, 12:30-2 pm EDT): We welcome back Mark Whittington for his space and lunar return news updates.

6. Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): We welcome back Dr. George Nield regarding his spaceport work. George is the retired director of the FAA Commercial Space Transportation office.

Some recent shows:

** Sun. Aug.23.2020Dr. Jason Reimuller spoke about “his many academic, training and product development programs plus his science work. We talked EVA spacesuit development and testing, space medicine training, astronaut training, science, the upper atmosphere and much more”.

** Fri. Aug.21.2020Dr. Louis D. Friedman “talked about his new book [Planetary Adventures: From Moscow to Mars (Amazon commission link)], doing business with the Russians and the Chinese, plus his thoughts on Mars, returning to the Moon, the commercial players today, settlement and more”.

** Wed. Aug. 19, 2020 – Hotel Mars – John Batchelor Show/The Space ShowJohn Batchelor and David Livingston talked with Dr. Alan Stern about “the dark side of Pluto and what we know from the New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto several years ago”.

** 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 – Dr. David Livingston

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Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – Aug.22.2020

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

** HTV-9 departure – Japanese Cargo Craft Completes Station Mission – Space Station

JAXA’s H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI9” (HTV-9) was unberthed from the International Space Station’s Harmony module and departed on 18 August 2020, at 17:35 UTC. HTV-9 was released using the Canadarm2 robotic arm by NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. The spacecraft is scheduled to deorbit and burn over the Pacific Ocean on 20 August 2020. Kounotori 9 (こうのとり9), meaning white stork in Japanese, delivered a total of 6.2 metric tons of supplies, including six new lithium-ion batteries, to the ISS. Credit: NASA

** U.S. Navy’s “At The Helm” with ISS Commander Chris Cassidy

In-flight interview between the U.S. Navy’s “At The Helm” and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy.

** Hurricane Genevieve seen by satellite and space station

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured imagery of Hurricane Genevieve from Aug. 18-19, 2020. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy also snapped imagery of the massive storm.

** Views of Planet Earth — As Seen by NASA Astronauts in Space

While in orbit, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley captured stunning views of our home planet Earth. The duo made history May 30 when they launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft to the International Space Station. Their mission and test flight is helping NASA certify SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the orbiting laboratory. Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program:…

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Space transport roundup – Aug.21.2020

A sampling of recent articles, videos, and images dealing with space transport (find previous roundups here):

** SpaceX launches Falcon 9 with 58 Starlink broadband sats and 3 earth imaging sats for Planet. The first stage booster flying on its 6th flight made a successful landing on an ocean platform. One nosecone fairing was caught in  a net (see below) and the other was recovered after setting down on the water.

A fairing from the Starlink 10 launch makes a leisurely return onto a calm summer sea:

SpaceX’s fairing recovery vessel Ms. Tree catches a Falcon 9 fairing half after launch of SpaceX’s eleventh Starlink mission on August 18, 2020. The fairing used on this mission previously flew in support of SpaceX’s fourth Starlink mission.

The landing is so gentle it’s easy to see why even the fairings that miss the net are often reusable as well.

See also:

More SpaceX activities listed below.

** Blue Origin-led National Team delivers engineering model of human lunar landing system to NASA: Blue Origin-Led National Team Delivers Lunar Lander Engineering Mockup to NASA – Blue Origin

Today, the Blue Origin-led Human Landing System (HLS) National Team – comprised of Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper – delivered an engineering mockup of a crew lander vehicle that could take American astronauts to the Moon. The lander is set up in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF), NASA Johnson Space Center’s (JSC) iconic Building 9.

The full-scale engineering mockup showcases two elements of the National Team’s multi-element architecture – the Ascent Element (AE) and Descent Element (DE). Standing at more than 40 feet, it is the Blue Origin National Team’s update to Apollo’s Lunar Module (LM) and will be used to validate the National Team’s approaches for getting crew, equipment, supplies, and samples off and on the vehicle. The team will collaborate with NASA organizations including JSC’s Astronaut Office to perform engineering and crew operations tests with astronauts aiming to fly the final system within several years.

“Testing this engineering mockup for crew interaction is a step toward making this historic mission real,” said Brent Sherwood, vice president of Advanced Development Programs, Blue Origin. “The learning we get from full-scale mockups can’t be done any other way. Benefitting from NASA’s expertise and feedback at this early stage allows us to develop a safe commercial system that meets the agency’s needs.”

The National Team HLS design leverages significant prior work, flight heritage, and a modular solution. Modular solutions help to enable faster progress due to the independent development and testing of each element, which permits ongoing improvements and evolution without impacting the full system. This also provides flexibility in the use of different launch vehicles and different concepts of operations.

The Descent Element is based on Blue Origin’s Blue Moon cargo lander and BE-7 LOX/hydrogen engine, both in development for more than three years. The Ascent Element incorporates avionics, software, life support hardware, crew interfaces, and mission operations from Lockheed Martin’s human-rated, deep-space Orion vehicle that will fly on the Artemis I and II missions. A consistent cockpit experience and training from Orion to the AE makes the end-to-end mission safer for Artemis. The Transfer Element, a propulsive stage that starts the lander on its descent trajectory from lunar orbit, is based on Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus vehicle that provides logistics resupply to the International Space Station; and Draper provides descent guidance and avionics to the National Team.

The Human Landing System (HLS) includes the Transfer Stage (left), Descent Stage (middle), and the Ascent Stage. Credits: Blue Origin/National Team

See also: Blue Origin team delivers lunar lander mockup to NASA – SpaceNews

** Ariane V rocket launches two comm-sats and Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2):

On Saturday, August 15 at 22:04 UTC, Ariane 5 Flight VA253 was successfully performed from the Guiana Space Center, orbiting two satellites produced by Northrop Grumman: Galaxy 30 for Intelsat, and MEV-2 for SpaceLogistics LLC, a 100% subsidiary of Northrop Grumman; along with BSAT-4b, built by Maxar Technologies for the Japanese operator B-SAT.

** LinkSpace of China flies RLV-T5 vertical takeoff and landing rocket:

See also: Chinese startup successfully launches a reusable rocket to new height – CGTN

The rocket, named RLV-T5 (NewLine Baby), blasted off at 10:35 am Beijing time at Linkspace’s launch base in Lenghu Town, Mangya City, northwest China’s Qinghai Province.

With a total length of 8.1 meters and a diameter of 65 centimeters, RLV-T5 has a takeoff weight of about 1.5 kilograms.

It reached a new height of 300 meters before landing steadily and accurately at the designated area with little deviation. The whole process lasted for 50 seconds.

Today marked the third successful trial conducted by the company. Before this, RLV-T5 made two quick jumps experiments at a relatively low height in China’s Shandong Province this year.

According to the company, as China’s largest recyclable rocket, RLV-T5 is designed to serve as an initial sample, providing experience for further suborbital reusable rocket and on-orbit reusable rocket development.

Here’s a proposed vehicle for suborbital commercial services:

** Skyrora of Scotland launches sounding rocket from Iceland:

Skyrora has successfully launched its two-stage, four-metre tall sub-orbital rocket, Skylark Micro from the company’s mobile launch complex set up within a few days at Langanes Peninsula, Iceland. The rocket climbed to 26.86km in altitude before both stages were parachuted back down to sea.

The launch is part of Skyrora’s de-risking program leading up to the building and launching of its orbital vehicle, Skyrora XL, scheduled for 2023. The launch of Skylark Micro was to test onboard electronics and communications that will also be used in the larger Skylark-L and Skyrora XL launch vehicles. Before launch, the team undertook a number of weather procedures to learn more about the mid and upper-level wind speeds and altitudes. In addition, the mobile launch complex allowed the team to collect a large amount of data of telemetry, GPS tracking, and weather conditions during the flight to which they are currently analysing. The test also allowed the Skyrora crew to practice launch procedures and marine recovery operations.

Despite the ongoing heroic efforts of the Langanes Search and Rescue and Skyrora Recovery teams, Skyrora has unfortunately been unsuccessful in their efforts of locating the Skylark Micro booster and sustainer stages. However, they are still continuing search operations for the next few days as well as learning how to improve future recovery operations. Creating another test of our suborbital mobile launch complex in a different location demonstrates the immense speed and flexibility of Skyrora for launching its test rockets.

** HyImpulse of Germany using hybrid propulsion system to power small orbital rocket: DLR spinoff HyImpulse plans small launcher debut in 2022 – SpaceNews

A startup formed by rocket engineers from the German space agency DLR is targeting late 2022 for the first flight of a small launch vehicle designed around hybrid engines. 

HyImpulse is developing a three-stage rocket capable of sending 500 kilograms to a 400-kilometer low Earth orbit. The 40-person company is bankrolled by Rudolf Schwarz, chairman of German technology company IABG, and has a 2.5 million-euro ($3 million) grant from the European Commission to advance its launcher technology, Christian Schmierer HyImpulse co-CEO, said in an interview. 

HyImpulse is seeking to differentiate itself by using hybrid engines that run on a paraffin-based fuel and liquid oxygen. The combination of fuels should result in a rocket with simpler hardware than a liquid-fueled system and greater safety than solid fuels, Schmierer said. 

** Firefly testing booster of Alpha rocket that is to launch this autumn:

** Briefs:


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** SpaceX:

** Reusing the Falcon 9 booster fairings pays off in just 2 to 3 flights according to Elon Musk:

This refutes the long held claims of ULA managers and many others in the space industry that numerous re-flights are required to make reusable launch vehicles pay off financially.  The RLV skeptics believe, in turn, that they cannot justify investment in RLVs without first seeing a demand from customers for high numbers of launches.

However, without a drop in launch prices by a factor of 10 to 100 (i.e. to low $100s per kg rather than several $1000s), which  is only feasible with reusability, high-launch rate markets such as orbital space tourism cannot emerge. This chicken and egg dilemma has been a persistent impediment to progress in space development.

SpaceX took advantage of expendable flights for paying customers to enable the testing of returning a stage from high altitudes and hypersonic speeds and executing a powered landing. This cost-saving approach plus a willingness to learn from multiple failures and persist with the effort, let SpaceX break through this impediment.

Elon also refutes the belief inspired by the Space Shuttles that recovery/refurbishment must necessarily be tremendously costly. The Shuttle program employed a standing army of about 10,000 people who toiled for at least two months to return an orbiter to the launch pad. Although the shortest time between re-flights of an F9 booster so far is 51 days, the 10% cost number from Elon implies that there is a fairly limited number of people involved with the turnaround activities. The current turnaround times may have as much to do with scheduling and logistics issues as they do with the degree of refurbishment work required.

Elon has long claimed that a turnaround of a day or two could eventually be achieved with the F9 boosters. However, with the emphasis now on the fully reusable, fast turnaround Starship/Heavy Booster system, we are unlikely ever to see a super-short turnaround of a F9 booster.

*** Merlin engine refurbishment is the most difficult challenge to flying F9 stages multiple times:

See also: SpaceX’s Elon Musk talks next goals for Falcon rocket reusability – Teslarati.

*** An important military launch coming in September: SpaceX targets September launch of military GPS satellite for US Space Force – Teslarati

On July 14, just two weeks after the successful SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Lockheed Martin-built GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (SV03) satellite for the United States Space Force, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station took delivery of the GPS III Space Vehicle 04 (SV04) GPS satellite from The U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). The GPS III SV04 satellite, like its predecessor GPS III SV03, is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 no earlier than September.

In a statement provided by the U.S. Air Force, SMC’s Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division chief, Col. Edward Byrne, said that “the delivery of SV04 marks the start of our third GPS III launch campaign on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and brings us another step closer in advancing the GPS constellation with more capable satellites.” The SpaceX Falcon 9 previously lifted the GPS III SV01 and SV03 satellites to orbit in December 2018 and June 2020 respectively.

*** SpaceX receiving more launch contracts:

*** SpaceX raises cash to fund Starlink, Starship, etc:

The nearly $2 billion in fresh capital was oversubscribed and is the largest fundraising round yet for SpaceX, according to PitchBook.

News of the funding was first reported by Bloomberg, which said that the private company will now have a valuation of $46 billion, citing people familiar with the matter.

**** Starship

The SN6 prototype Starship passed its pressure tests last weekend and since then a Raptor engine has been installed. A test firing of the Raptor is expected early next week. If that goes well, a hop to 150 meter or so, similar to the one flown by SN5, could soon follow. The goal is to do many short flights to debug the hardware and software, and become adept at operational tasks.

For more on the upcoming prototype tests, see SN6 begins test campaign as future Starships hatch plans for SpaceX’s next leap –

The SN8 prototype is rapidly coming together. It is expected to be fully fitted out with nosecone section and body flaps. Here is a current sketch of the state of its assembly:

The SN8 could be the first prototype Starship to go on a high altitude flight like the one simulated in this animation:

***** Enhancements continue with the Raptor engines, which will power both the Starship and the Super Heavy booster:

****** Boca Chica could be where humans first leave Earth to go to Mars:

****** Aug. 14: SpaceX Boca Chica – High Bay Level 4 and Super Heavy Pad Work – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

Level 4 of the High Bay begins to go up and the work on the Orbital Launch Pad picks up speed. SpaceX is laying the foundations for its future in Boca Chica and that future is all about Super Heavy. Deliveries of huge pipes to the launch site foreshadow the scale of the coming construction, while SN6 is prepared for cryo proofing. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Theo Ripper (@TheoRipper).

***** Aug.15: SpaceX Boca Chica – Introducing Starship SN9, while SN8 is flipped – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

Two new SpaceX Starships are being assembled in Boca Chica with SN8’s Aft Section flipped while SN9 made its first public appearance in the form of its Common Dome. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@TheJackBeyer).

***** Aug. 16: SN6 Pressure Testing & Launch Pad Time Lapse – LabPadre – YouTube

08.16.2020 SN6 was tested with what looks like ambient and cryo pressure. Another spectacular sunrise along with what seemed to be clean pressure testing. Sunrise at 6:50 AM. Pressure testing at 1:00 PM.

Aug.16: SpaceX Launch Site Super Heavy and SN6 Flyover Update – RGV Aerial Photography

***** Aug. 18: SpaceX Boca Chica Site Aerial Update! – RGV Aerial Photography

***** Aug. 18: SpaceX Boca Chica – Starship SN6 receives Raptor SN29 – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

As work continued at both the Production Facility and the Launch Sites, Starship SN6 has received Raptor SN29, with installation ahead of next week’s Static Fire test. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@TheJackBeyer).

***** Aug.20: SpaceX Boca Chica – Launch Site Build Out and SN6 Static Fire Prep – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

SpaceX furiously preps the launch site ahead of SN6’s static fire test. Work on the High Bay, SN7.1, SN8 and on Nosecones continues. More unknown work at the Old Gas Well Lot. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@TheJackBeyer)

** Aug.21: SpaceX Boca Chica – 4 Starships and a Test Tank – SN5, 6, 7.1, 8, and 9 all in work – NASASpaceflight – YouTube

Full speed ahead at SpaceX Boca Chica, with SN6 at the pad and several Starships being worked – SN9 Fwd Dome, SN8 sections being stacked next to SN5 in the midbay, and Test Tank SN7.1 undergoing preps. Video and Pictures from Mary (@BocaChicaGal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@TheJackBeyer) and Theo Ripper (@TheoRipper).

**** Other Starship and space transport reports:

***** Aug.18: What is SpaceX actually building in Boca Chica?  – What about it!?

Welcome to Episode 113 of What about it!? Today, amongst other things, I’ll explain to you, what SpaceX is doing very differently with Starships in Boca Chica than we all expected and why!


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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Aug.19.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** US Dept. of Education opens CubeSat mission competition for high school students: U.S. Department of Education Launches Space Mission Challenge for High School Students: CTE Mission: CubeSat Challenge seeks to inspire, prepare students for a future in aerospace | U.S. Department of Education

Building on the Administration-wide commitment to expand student interest in the booming science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the U.S. Department of Education today launched CTE Mission: CubeSat, a national challenge to inspire students to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond. High school students from across the country are invited to design and build CubeSat (cube satellite) prototypes, or satellites that aid in space research, bringing space missions out of the clouds and into the classroom.

“This is such an exciting way to rethink education and get students engaged in hands-on learning in the growing aerospace and technology fields,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “I look forward to seeing the innovative prototypes students develop and hope this challenge inspires our next generation of American space explorers.”

Investors predict that space will be the next trillion-dollar industry, and as missions in space continue to expand, so do the career opportunities. This multi-phase challenge offers high school students across the United States the chance to build CubeSat prototypes while learning creative, collaborative, and technical skills for 21st century careers.

Schools interested in entering CTE Mission: CubeSat should form a team and submit a mission proposal by 5:59 p.m. ET, on Oct. 16, 2020 — no in-person collaboration or prior experience with CubeSats is required. The online submission form asks for school information, a team profile, a project proposal, and anticipated learning outcomes. Curated educational resources are available to students and teachers online in the CTE Mission: CubeSat resource hub. To learn more, schools can join a virtual information session on Sept. 1.

Up to five finalists will be selected to receive prizes and participate in Phase 2, which runs from January to May 2021. Finalists will have access to expert mentorship and additional virtual resources as they build CubeSat prototypes and plan flight events to launch their prototypes. The Department understands that due to current conditions, schools will need flexibility to safely collaborate when designing and building prototypes during the challenge. The Department looks forward to the creative solutions in the mission proposals it receives as challenge entries.

Each finalist will receive an equal share of the $25,000 cash prize pool, as well as satellite development, hardware, and software kits. Challenge sponsors include Arduino, Blue Origin, Chevron, EnduroSat, LEGO Education,, MIT Media Lab, and XinaBox.

Find more about the competition at the CTE Mission: CubeSat blog. See, for example, Small yet mighty: CubeSats are transforming the future of space discovery — and education – CTE Mission: CubeSat

Diagram of the primary components of a CubeSat.

** Norwegian university team building HYPSO-1 CubeSat to study ocean algae blooms.The NTNU SmallSat Lab at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology is developing a miniature hyper-spectral camera system for the mission. The 6U CubeSat is to be launched later this year.

The HYPer-Spectral smallsat for Ocean observation (HYPSO) will observe oceanographic phenomena via a small satellite with a hyperspectral camera, intelligent on-board processing and robots


The Ocean is of great interest to understand the effects of climate change and human impact on the world.

Traditional EO satellites are very expensive and take several years to develop and launch.

Dedicated SmallSats can be used to provide images of small areas of interest with short revisit times.

The information can be downloaded, and communicated to unmanned vehicles which can investigate the areas of interest further.

The Norwegian company KSAT ( Kongsberg  Satellite Services ) will provide ground support for the mission: KSAT will support Norway’s first hyperspectral Smallsat mission – KSAT

At NTNU Small Satellite Lab, a multi-disciplinary team of master students, PhD-students and professors are currently working on a small satellite with a miniaturized hyperspectral camera for detection of toxic algae blooms along the Norwegian coast. KSAT will as part of this contract, provide commercial ground station services from the Svalbard Ground Station for this mission, called HYPSO-1. KSAT is well known for providing fast and reliable space to ground services. By using the unique ground station at Svalbard, KSAT ensures fast access to the time-critical data.

In combination with drones and autonomous vehicles both on surface and subsea, the goal is to be able to detect and alert the fish-farms about toxic algae blooms in the area. In 2019 a sudden upwelling of toxic algae killed close to 8 million salmon in Norwegian fish farms, wiping out more than half of the annual sales growth in just over a week. The hope is that with the contribution of this mission, one can avoid this in the future.

As a significant provider of maritime monitoring services KSAT had an active role during the algae bloom last year and together with partners in Tromsø they are currently exploring how to discriminate between different types of algae by combining different sensors and applying advanced algorithms.

** The Orbit student smallsat group at NTNU is developing SelfieSat as their first mission.

The SelfieSat, our first project, started out as a simple satellite project; we wanted to make an operational satellite that is able to communicate while it is orbiting earth. However, we wanted to make things a bit more interesting. While SelfieSat is in orbit it will be able to display a selfie of any person on earth, which will be uploaded from our ground station at NTNU. A robotic arm with a camera attached will photograph the screen with the earth in its background. Finally this picture will be sent back to the selfie-taking individual!

A rendering of the SelfieSat CubeSat in development by the Orbit student group at NTNU.

Launch is targeted for the 2020/2021 time frame.

** Univ. of Georgia‘s Small Satellite Research Laboratory (SSRL) building 2 CubeSats for ocean studies: Smallsat Lab @ University of Georgia Building Two For Orbit – SatNews

The primary scientific goals of these cubesat missions are to develop and operate the first moderate resolution coastal ecosystem and ocean color CubeSats in Georgia.

The AFRL mission, the Mapping and Ocean Color Imager (MOCI) will use an onboard RGB camera to take images from multiple perspectives to create a 3D point cloud of land features.

The NASA mission, the SPectral and Ocean Color Satellite (SPOC Sat), will generate hyperspectral moderate resolution imaging products to monitor coastal wetlands status, estuarine water quality, and near-coastal ocean productivity in compliance with some of the NASA’s strategic objectives. The designing and building of the hyperspectral imager for SPOC is being done in house and will have 60 bands to acquire image data between 400 and 850 nm. In addition, the SPOC mission has been chosen as a candidate of NASA’s eight CubeSat Launch Initiative, meaning that SPOC will be launched to the International Space Station for deployment between 2018 and 2020.

Undergraduate students are deeply involved in the two projects:

The two missions and the establishment of the lab have the primary goals of teaching and developing students for STEM careers by training undergraduates in a broad range of fields through hands-on, experiential learning and creating a pipeline for high school students to attend UGA through the Physics and Astronomy Department. While the majority of members in the lab are undergraduates, there are graduate students that serve as mentors. The team currently consists of 45 students from around campus.

Checkout the SSRL poster (pdf) created for the recent Smallsat 2020 conference.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-229 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Two-Minute Engineering Video Update Available [See the video below]
  • Announced CubeSat Design Specification Rev.14
  • US Department of Defense to Share 3450 – 3550 MHz with 5G Commercial Operations
  • QSO Today Virtual Expo Satellite Presentations Still Available
  • Chinese Mars probe Tianwen-1 successfully received by AMSAT-DL
  • SmallSat 2020 Virtual Conference Proceedings Available Online
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** AMSAT Engineering Two Minute Update

A light-hearted presentation of the latest status update from AMSAT Engineering.

** Bhutan-1 CubeSat. Bhutan’s first satellite

** SmallSat 2020- Achieving compact and effective thermal solutions for small satellitesAdvanced Cooling Technologies Inc. – YouTube

ACT’s Bryan Muzyka hosts a side meeting for Small Satellite 2020 in a virtual platform. He walks through some of options available for small satellite thermal control. Q&A finishes up the presentation with questions related to CTE mismatch, custom tubing for 3U cards, electric propulsion systems and if heat pipes are suitable for RF environments.

** Hypergiant Galactic Systems SEOPs: Affordable Access to Low Earth OrbitGalactic – Hypergiant

With the advent of mobile phones and mass-produced miniaturized electrical components, satellite construction has become much more affordable. Hypergiant Galactic Systems SEOPs has built a foundation to provide access to space utilizing the International Space Station infrastructure with two launch systems servicing the CubeSat and MicroSat markets. The organization has also built several launch vehicle agnostic products such as dispensers and separation systems with five successful missions.

** The Space Show – Fri. Aug.14.2020Charles Miller discussed “his new company, Lynk Global, connecting mobile phones to [small] satellites for global coverage. We discussed other topics as well, including some of the commercial space history made by our guest.”

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