Asteroid Day is held on 30 June each year to mark the date of Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event. Asteroid Day was co-founded by astrophysicist and famed musician Dr Brian May of the rock group QUEEN, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, filmmaker Grig Richters, and B612 Foundation President Danica Remy, to educate the public about the importance of asteroids in our history and the role they play in the solar system. In 2016, with the leadership of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), the United Nations declared Asteroid Day to be a global day of education to raise awareness and promote knowledge in the general public about asteroids. Major events in past years have taken place in London, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Tanzania, Milan and Rimini, Italy; Garching, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; in addition to thousands of events worldwide.
This year, the event is a fully digital celebration of asteroid science and exploration. Panel discussions and one-on-one interviews with astronauts and world experts will be broadcast on 30 June 2020.
Each year Asteroid Day presents the public with a snap-shot of cutting-edge asteroid research from the largest telescopes on Earth to some of the most ambitious space missions. Topics of discussion this year include the acceleration in the rate of our asteroid discoveries and why it is set to accelerate even faster, the imminent arrival of samples from asteroid Ryugu and Bennu, the exciting preparations for the joint US-Europe mission to binary asteroid Didymos, and much more.
Asteroids are the leftover remnants of the birth of the planets in the Solar System, and many are the shattered fragments of these diminutive proto-planets that never made it to maturity. “Asteroid exploration missions tell us about the birth of our own planet and reveal how asteroids can serve astronauts as stepping stones to Mars,” says Tom Jones, PhD, veteran astronaut and planetary scientist, and Asteroid Day Expert Panel member.
Each asteroid is an individual with its own story to tell. And that’s what Asteroid Day is all about: bringing those stories to the widest audience possible. “Space and science have been an endless source of inspiration for SES! This is one of the reasons why we and our partners continue to do extraordinary things in space to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth,” says Ruy Pinto, Chief Technology Officer at SES. “Through satellite broadcasting, we are able to reach millions of TV households and this enables us to unite people around science, space, and technology topics.”
“The valuable expertise of SES and BCE play a central role in making Asteroid Day an international success and enabling us to have a global conversation about space, space resources, and asteroids in these COVID-19 times.” says Mark Serres, the CEO of the Luxembourg Space Agency.
A highlight of this year’s events will be the official premier of the documentary Apollo 9 & Beyond (at Vimeo.com), which profiles Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, who has been a leader in efforts to deal with the threat of asteroid impacts on Earth:
In this profoundly beautiful and moving film, Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart discusses the Apollo 9 mission, his life-altering spacewalk, and our cosmic birth. Rusty describes testing the Lunar Module, the first true spaceship that would four month later land men on the moon, his historic spacewalk, the first EVA of the Apollo era, and the incredible beauty of the Earth from space.
Beyond the Apollo 9 mission itself, Rusty goes much deeper to explore the philosophical and evolutionary implications of humanity’s first steps into the cosmos, describing the powerful effects of his “five minutes” alone on the Lunar Module porch as he observed the Earth below and pondered the big questions of existence – questions he would come to answer back on Earth.
At just 22 by 10 by 10 cm, the miniature EIRSAT-1 is smaller than a shoebox but is still equivalent in complexity to a standard space mission.
Normally the EIRSAT-1 student team would have joined the test campaign in person, but current Covid-19 restrictions made this impossible. Instead the team delivered their self-made Antenna Deployment Module (ADM) plus a mock-up of the satellite body, along with detailed test preparation procedures.
Project Hermes is a 1U cubesat development project and is ERFSEDS first satellite effort. Our team is in the design development phase and is planning to launch the project within the next two years. Hermes is communications based satellite that will be used to communicate with the Hermes ground team.
Building their own ground station for communications, the Hermes ground team is certified with HAM Radio Technician liscenses.
Julie Sage is an aspiring astrophysicist, science communicator, and the host of SuperNova Style Science News. At just 16-years-old, she’s been doing some real science with running a variety of different experiments on cubesats, including material testing.
AMSAT Announces Candidates for 2020 Board of Directors Election
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38th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting Moving to Virtual Event
Upcoming Satellite Operations
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
Satellite Shorts From All Over
6th anniversary of NANOSATC-BR1 | Southgate Amateur Radio News
“Friday, 19-06-2020, completes six years since we successfully launched the NANOSATC-BR1, CubeSat 1U, which was launched on June 19, 2014, from Yasny Base, in Russia. The first Brazilian Scientific Nanosatellite remains in operation, sending telemetry to the Earth Stations of the NanosatC-BR Program, Cubesats Development and Amateur Radio Support Stations.“
In this webinar, we will be focusing on the questions that must’ve crossed every developer’s mind, i.e. “Someone else must’ve have this problem too! How did they solve it?” Sometimes, it’s about the lack of time and manpower, sometimes it’s about the problem’s complexity. With our panellists, we will explore these problems and current (and potentially future) solutions, and how collaboration may help especially in the Australian context. This webinar will cater to both newcomers, where we streamline up-to-date resources, and to the experienced, where we can share ideas on how to make things better. These include:
1. A survey on Australian small satellite developers
2. Existing standards, available resources, and what are the current shortfalls?
3. Interfacing subsystems – hardware and software issues
4. Space Communications – RF issues and how cloud solutions may help
5. Building a Cubesat developer’s community – open source approaches?
CubeSats are miniature satellites typically deployed into low earth orbit. A standard 1U CubeSat is a cube ten centimeters on a side. Here, I tracked three different CubeSats on the night of 6/17 at our dark site observatory. Tracking is performed blind, meaning there is no optical assist to help the telescope point to the target. These videos are shot using a Celestron RASA 11 telescope and the ZWO ASI 6200 mono camera, operated in 8 bit video mode, quarter frame size, 100ms exposure. That video is further cropped here to make it easier to find the satellite.
** SpaceX SN5 prototype Starship was moved to the launchpad from the assembly area this morning at Boca Chica Beach. Initial pressure testing is expected to start next Monday. This would be followed by at least one static firing of the engine(s). If those tests go well, then a low altitude hop would be the next step.
** SpaceX Starship test article SN7 was pressure tested to destruction on Tuesday. The tank had previously popped a leak on June 16th during its initial tests. Elon Musk indicated in Tweets then that the test reached a satisfactory 7.6 Bars of pressure before leaking rather than bursting. After repairs were made, the cryogenic pressure tests were resumed today with the intention of raising the pressure until the tank ruptured. No word yet from Elon on what pressure level was reached before the tank failed. Here is a video of the event, which was much more dramatic than the earlier one:
** China launched a Beidou navigation satellite on Long March 3B rocket this week. This completes the constellation for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS). The launch took place from the inland Xichang space center in southwestern China. Images later surfaced showing the smoking remains of the booster near a lake. For decades China has sent such boosters into populated areas despite the fact that the rockets use very toxic propellants.
** Arianespace Vega to launch 53 smallsats. The launch on the initial target date of June 20 was canceled due to upper level winds. No new date has been announced as of June 23rd. This will be the first launch of a Vega rocket since a launch failed for the first time on July 11, 2019after fourteen successful flights. This is also the first of the Vega’s Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) missions. The smallsats come from 21 different customers. A list of the spacecraft can be found in the Launch Toolkit (pdf).
** United Launch Alliance (ULA) carried out a wet dress rehearsal for the Atlas V launch of the Perseverance Mars mission. The launch is currently set for July 20th. A wet dress rehearsal means the rocket was loaded with propellants and the steps in a launch were followed up to the moment when it would lift off the pad. There was no firing of the engine as happens with a SpaceX Falcon 9 pre-launch static test.
Edinburgh-based Skyrora successfully launched its Skylark Nano rocket from remote land, the Fethaland Peninsula at North Roe on the Scottish island on Saturday, the 13th of June.
Skyrora plans to launch from one of the three proposed spaceports in Scotland and commercially launching from Shetland in the future is a potential option for them.
Reaching an altitude of six kilometers, this marked the third time the 2 meter (6.5ft) projectile took to the skies. The launch was completed for educational purposes, collecting meteorological data, measuring wind profiles, analysing the vehicles trajectory and providing critical training in support of Skyrora’s future plans.
Skyrora invited local journalists to attend the launch and to be apart of the education and learning process. All social distancing measures were met during the launch days.
Robin Hague, Head of Launch said: “The launch signifies a vital step towards Skyrora’s ambitions to become the UK’s “go-to” satellite launch provider. We’re ecstatic and truly proud. This is a great success for Skylark Nano, and the Skyrora team in general. Launching from Shetland is very important for us because it’s a potential option for our Skyrora XL orbital commercial launch vehicle. To understand the local launch conditions learning more about the wind profiles in Shetland is critical.
“Skylark Nano’s third successive launch is testament to the engineers who have worked tirelessly to bring to life a reusable rocket that can provide valuable intelligence for the future of the UK space programme.”
It comes after Skyrora successfully completed a full static fire test on their Skylark-L launch vehicle.
Volodymyr Levykin, CEO, said: “With this successful launch from Shetland we are further closing the gap to making the UK a rocket launching nation again.
Yes, Relativity’s inexpensive launch capabilities are attracting clients. While Noone was not at liberty to discuss all of their potential clients, he did mention that Canada’s own Telesat is betting on Relativity Space to launch a portion of their LEO broadband satellite constellation. Relativity had made that announcement public in April of 2019 with Telesat’s approval.
As Noone pointed out, though, it’s much bigger than that. Nobody has ever had the resources or opportunity to learn this much about additive manufacturing. “Manufacturing as software” means that creating a single part or product is as economical as a million-part run; even creating new parts only waits on Relativity’s engineers and Stargate AI’s to sort out the optimal way to produce them. Iteration becomes as fast for hardware as it is for software. While Noone didn’t get into details, this could change manufacturing in ways that go far beyond rockets.
It’s also incredibly scalable. While only one Stargate [a very large 3D printer used to build the company’s rockets] currently exists, any new Stargate will be as capable as the first. A Stargate in their Mississippi facility has the same capabilities as the one in Los Angeles; and any future Stargates in any future factories would as well. A Stargate (with accompanying small printers) in Jakarta would be as capable as the one in Los Angeles. Terran rockets, with Aeon engines, could be built and launched almost anywhere.
Relativity Space today announced that Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) has signed a launch contract to deliver satellites to orbit. The contract includes flexible timing for up to six dedicated launches to deploy Iridium’s ground spare satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The launches will take place on an as-needed basis, determined by Iridium and utilizing Relativity’s Terran 1, the world’s first 3D printed launch vehicle. Launches are planned for no earlier than 2023.
Rocket Lab is known for launching tiny satellites into Earth orbit, but the company has big plans to venture deeper into space, with its first mission to the Moon set for next year. Thanks to a contract with NASA, Rocket Lab will send a small spacecraft called CAPSTONE into orbit around the Moon to test out how to navigate in lunar orbit and help human missions to the Moon in the future.
It’ll be the most ambitious mission yet for Rocket Lab, which just launched its workhorse Electron rocket on its 12th flight this weekend. In total, the company has put up to 53 spacecraft into space, and so far, all of the those launches have sent satellites into low Earth orbit. But the company has been eyeing ways to push the envelope. “From day one that I came to Rocket Lab, it’s been an interest to stretch the legs of Electron and keep pushing to see what we can do,” Amanda Stiles, the Moon program manager for Rocket Lab who used to be the director for Google Lunar X Prize, tells The Verge. “And I know from the very highest levels of the company, there’s always been a big interest in going to the Moon.”
This mission will rely on a key piece of hardware that Rocket Lab has been using for the last few years: its Photon spacecraft. The cylindrical vehicle sits on the top of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, propelling customers’ hardware into low Earth orbit. It can also serve as a customizable satellite that can carry various payloads and instruments into space. “For most people’s purposes, they’re looking at low Earth orbit, but it’s also flexible where we can upgrade it and use it as a platform for these more advanced missions,” says Stiles. “So, this is the first advanced version of a Photon for that purpose.”
The mission, ‘Pics Or It Didn’t Happen,’ is scheduled to launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula no earlier than 3 July, 2020 UTC— just days after the successful launch of Rocket Lab’s most recent mission, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ on 13 June, 2020 UTC. The back-to-back missions will represent Rocket Lab’s fastest turnaround between missions to date.
‘Pics Or It Didn’t Happen’ will deploy seven small satellites to a 500km circular low Earth orbit for a range of customers, including Spaceflight Inc.’s customer Canon Electronics, as well as Planet and In-Space Missions.
**** A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of another batch of Starlink satellites along with two Blacksky earth imaging satellites is set to lift off on Thursday, June 25th at 4:39 pm EDT (2039 GMT). A static test firing on the pad is planned for today.
F9/Starlink: SpaceX has erected a Falcon 9 rocket atop KSC pad 39A for an expected hot-fire engine test this evening and launch Thursday afternoon to put another batch of Starlink internet relay sats in orbit pic.twitter.com/I8zdI0gL2q
**** Tom Mueller, former chief of SpaceX propulsion development, gave an on-line presentation and extended Q&A with the Launch Canada student/amateur rocketry group last Friday. His main emphasis was on his experiences with home built liquid-fueled rockets but he occasionally made a SpaceX related remark. See the Highlights entry in the comments there for an overview of topics discussed.
Tom gave this video conference yesterday to Canadian student rocketeers. The first hour focuses on his successes and failures in amateur rocketry and his early career, as well as future goals now that he took a back seat with SpaceX. In the second part, he answers various questions from the audience on rocketry, SpaceX, his personal life, and more.
It was a 4 hour marathon chat with rocket propulsion legend Tom Mueller @lrocket. With close to 200 in attendance, Tom discussed how his time doing amateur rocketry got him the experience needed to become the man behind the @SpaceX Merlin engines.#LauncCanadaLectureSeries
** More rocket and spaceship projects discarded by SpaceX – Scott Manley
In its 18 year history SpaceX has developed a lot of concepts on paper which never made it to flight, or, were never made to work. Either way the company has a rich history of projects that seemed like a good idea at the time but fell out of favour due to difficulties with engineering, a dearth of time, or a lack of a customer wanting to pay the cost.
****** Boca Chica Beach kept rock’in for the past week. The Starship prototypes SN5 and SN6 were both fully stacked except for the nosecone sections. The SN7 test article under went repairs and then was pushed to its breaking point in a final pressure test (see video at the top of this blog item).
Multiple construction projects are also underway, including what may be a pad for SuperHeavy Booster tests.
A new launch stand was being readied for the SN5 prototype, which reached the launch site today (see item at top).
Fingers crossed that SN5 will not explode, implode, or destroyed by ground support equipment detonations and actually do a low altitude flight.
****** Elon Musk comments on offshore launch/landing platforms for Starship/Super Heavy operations:
SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth https://t.co/zLJjz43hKw
Starship SN5 and Starship SN6 were spotted together in the high bay. Meanwhile, SpaceX teams continue to prepare the launch site ahead of the resumption of full-scale Starship testing. Video and Pictures from Mary (@bocachicagal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer).
Starship SN7 is repaired and upgraded while the Superheavy Launch Pad undergoes further construction including pouring multiple new foundations. Cory’s Taco Dome makes a reappearance as well as some other unknown ring stacks. Video and Pictures from Mary (@bocachicagal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer).
With Test Tank SN7 at the launch site, Starship SN5 and SN6 in the High Bay, a huge crane is being assembled and a new Thrust Puck was being transported during Friday. Video and Pictures from Mary (@bocachicagal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer).
SpaceX teams continued to lay the foundations for the Super Heavy orbital launch pad in Boca Chica. Meanwhile, SN7 was getting ready for another round of testing and a large crane is on-site to assemble the new high bay. Video and Pictures from Mary (@bocachicagal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer).
With SN7 preparing for testing on Tuesday, and the return of the Flare Stack – work at next door’s Super Heavy launch pad involved the installation of huge columns of rebar. Video and Pictures from Mary (@bocachicagal). Edited by Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer).
** Webcast rocket reports:
*** SpaceX Starship News, Starship/Super Heavy offshore Spaceport and Starlink Beta Testing coming soon – Marcus House
**** SpaceX Starship Updates – Chinas Next-Gen Crew Capsule & Long March 5B Rocket Explained – What about it!?
1. Monday, June 22, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT: No special program today.
2. Tuesday, June 23, 2020; 7 pm PDT (9 pm CDT, 10 pm EDT): We welcome back Dr. Jim Logan to discuss the “successful spreading out of humanity into space – PERMANENTLY”, NOT “Exploration” per se – and the most feasible way(s) to establish the first viable toeholds in this “New World” given what we’ve learned (i.e. ‘evidence-based’ not fantasy-based) in almost 60 years of human spaceflight.
3. Wednesday, June 24, 2020: Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.
4. Thursday, June 25, 2020; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT): David Livingston and John Batchelor will talk with NASA JPL scientist Dr. Linda Spilker about the Saturn moon Titan and more.
5. Friday, June 26, 2020; 9:30-11 am PDT (11:30 am-1 pm CDT, 12:30-2 pm EDT): We welcome back Jim Lewis from Cape Canaveral to talk about his new space and science fiction work in film. Topics will include SpaceX launches and Jim’s NCOUNTERS TV series getting picked up by Amazon.
6. Sunday, June 28, 2020; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): Welcome to OPEN LINES. All callers and space et al calls welcome. Call and let us know what you want to talk about.
** Tues. June.16.2020 – Dr. Harold Sonny White talked aboutt his new non-profit organization, Limitless Space Institute,and their programs. He also “responded to phone calls and emails regarding advanced propulsion, space drives, physics and much more”. Following his 52 minute interview, there was an open lines session with discussions of nuclear propulsion, testing propulsion systems in the lab versus in space, etc.
Jim Bridenstine on Twitter: “BREAKING: @NASA is developing the process to fly astronauts on commercial suborbital spacecraft. Whether it’s suborbital, orbital, or deep space, NASA will utilize our nation’s innovative commercial capabilities. RFI will be released next week.” – June.19.2020
In this Space Cafe Special, Michelle Hanlon, co-founder of For All Moonkind and Co-Director of the Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, discusses “Race in Space” A Conversation about Equality and Civil Rights. The panel talked about race with diverse perspectives from within and outside the US space community. It was our pleasure to host this incredible panel which included:
Jarard Williams: a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law who shared his research in a presentation entitled “The Dark Star: Black Representation in Space.”
Yvette Butler: who is joining the law faculty at the University of Mississippi this summer. She discussed recent events, how we got here, and how to engage to both ensure a more equal future and prevent the extension of racism with humans into space.
Kevin Myrick: Co-Founder of Synergy Moon, an official Google Lunar Xprize team, shared how space can help race relations and promote equality and justice.
** 77- Global Intelligence, SAR Satellites and New Insights
On this episode of Constellations, we discuss how Satellite Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites are changing the space industry and how this new technology is impacting markets across the globe. Adam Maher is the CEO of Ursa Space Systems, a start-up company that uses SAR satellite to provide insights into many industries such as energy, oil and gas. Listen as we discuss how Ursa bridges the gap between information-rich data and those companies that are breaking new ground in global intelligence with their vision to “turn data into impact”.
In this week’s Space Cafe Web Talk, Dr. Regina Peldszus and Marc Becker, of DLR Space Administration discussed the concept of ‘dual-use’: how space technologies enable both civilian and military applications. The discussion highlighted key issues at this complex intersection for both domains and addressed policy discourse on the future of applicability for space situational awareness, security, on-orbit servicing, and the possibility of space neutrality.
They provided insight to the post-Cold War space environment and how dual-use has evolved from arms control non-proliferation to an opportunity to cultivate technology for multipurpose systems. It was an encouraging perspective on exploring commonalities and synergies amongst military and non-military stakeholders. The conversation inspires much consideration about how space actors are diversifying use of the same systems and how this is altering the regulatory approach.
Dr. Christopher Newman is Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University. We’re talking about an important but not oft-seen issue in space, which is a part of many areas such as space situational awareness: environmental protection. The first thing you’re likely to notice is that phrase, like many things in space, does not quite mean what you first thought. It is farther reaching and more broadly applied. Dr. Newman and Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan discuss:
– Why we should care about environmental protection in space
– What capabilities exist for environmental protection to be included or executed through space law
– The issues with enforcement of any agreements
– Christopher’s experience with implementing environmental protection though space law
– What the good doctor would download directly into his students’ skulls, “Matrix-style”, if he could and more.
SpaceNews talked with the colonel leading AFRL’s effort to keep the U.S. military “one step ahead in space” by fostering key enabling technologies.
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate in New Mexico is one of 23 space-related organizations set to transfer to the U.S. Space Force under plans unveiled last month.
As the Department of the Air Force’s “Center of Excellence” for space technology R&D, the Space Vehicles Directorate develops, demonstrates and transitions critical technologies for the entire gamut of military space missions, including communications; positioning, navigation and timing, missile warning, space situational awareness, and defensive space control.
Col. Eric Felt, the Air Force officer who leads the Space Vehicles Directorate and its team of 1,000 military, civilian, and on-site contractors, will talk with SpaceNews Staff Writer Sandra Erwin and Editor-in-Chief Brian Berger about the R&D investments the directorate is making to help the U.S. military maintain a technological advantage in the space domain.
– How can the U.S build more resilient space technology in the face of anti-satellite threats? – What is the role of the private sector in bringing innovation into military programs? – How does the standup of the U.S. Space Force change the thinking about R&D investments?
Also joining the conversation will be Paul Jaffe, a U.S. Naval Research Laboratory engineer and principal investigator for a space-based solar power experiment flying on the X-37B autonomous spaceplane the Space Force launched May 17.
Jaffe will discuss the experiment and what it could mean for future capabilities to harvest power from space.
** Virtual Summit on Geospatial and Earth Observation Industrial Policy for India – Geospatial World
With an intent to have consultation and engagement with larger section of leadership across commercial industry, government institutions, and civil society, Geospatial Media in partnership with World Geospatial Industry Council is organizing a virtual summit on ‘Geospatial and Earth Observation Industrial Development Strategy for India