Space policy roundup – Aug.3.2020

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


** Unleashing the Power of Geospatial Intelligence, Lessons Learned from the Government and Turning… – Constellations Podcast

On this episode of the Constellations podcast we will discuss harnessing the power of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) by moving beyond data silos and integrating, fusing and analyzing data horizontally to deliver new insights. The podcast reviews GEOINTs historical roots, the evolution today across industries and looks to the future. With more remote sensing satellites, more rapid revisits and global coverage – an enormous volume of data is being created today. There is a daunting challenge in terms of archiving, processing and analyzing all that data and turning it into insights.

As the founder and early adopter of the concept of GEOINT, the government has been on the front lines for over a decade. What lessons can be learned from the government’s efforts that can be applied to today’s new technologies and providers in the commercial sector to maximize the full value of geospatial intelligence? Keith Masback, a leading international authority on geospatial intelligence with over 30 years of experience will shed some light on this topic. Keith is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Plum Run and provides advisory and consulting services to leading-edge companies working in geospatial intelligence and related fields. Prior to founding Plum Run, he spent over a decade as the President / Chief Executive Officer of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

** Ralph Dinsley – Moving Space Situational Awareness To Civilian Management – Cold Star Project S02E53

Following a three-and-a-half decade UK defense career culminating in managing RAF Fylingdales and in the role of Aerospace Battle Manager, Ralph “Dinz” Dinsley founded Northern Space and Security (NORSS). In this discussion with Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan, Dinz lays out the case for moving space situational awareness from military to civilian management. Dinz answers:

– What is “Peace and Development”, the postgraduate studies subject you applied yourself to for your Masters degree?
– What exactly is “Aerospace Battle Manager”, the role you held for a dozen years?
– What would you describe as the main reason behind the establishment of NORSS? What problems do you solve, and for what organizations?
– Is the military dominance coverage of the orbital environment still fit for purpose? Under what domain should space traffic management be?
– What is the Space Law Games, which you co-initiated? What do you hope to discover from the exercise?
– Where do you find yourself getting pulled into discussions as a well-known individual in the UK defense sector?

NORSS website:

** Hotel Mars – John Batchelor Show/The Space ShowJohn Batchelor and David Livingston spoke with Mike Wall of about the latest  delays, problems, and the future of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):

** The Space Show – Fri. July 31, 2020Scott Herman discussed the BlackSky Global earth satellite imaging company and “Geospatial intelligence and global monitoring, dusk-to-dawn capabilities, LEO Constellation, commercial value, market growth, national security and much more”.

** July 31, 2020 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

** E26 – Removing Obstacles and Streamlining Launch (w Carrie O’Quinn and special guests: Mandy Vaughn, Carie Mullins, Tony Frego) – Center for Space Policy and Strategy | The Aerospace Corporation


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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Aug.2.2020

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

** The annual Smallsat Conference hosted at Utah State University is on line this year due to the Covid-19 virus situation. Registration is free. Though the event is nominally August 1-6, there are dozens of videos of workshop and technical session presentations already on line.

Dr. Pat Patterson of Utah State University talked about the Conference for 2020 on The Space Show on July 21, 2020 :

** Villanova University has a new student  CubeSat Club. The group is starting out by running a locally developed CubeSat simulator, receiving signals from CubeSats in orbit, designing a test project for a high-altitude balloon flight, and more.

The club’s long-term goal involves a bigger leap: to design, build and launch an actual CubeSat—a 10-by-10-by-10-centimeter, lightweight nanosatellite that can be launched from a rocket, or put into orbit by astronauts on the ISS. But with design, equipment, programming, testing, and launch, CubeSat development can take several years and cost up to $100,000.

For now, club members are taking smaller steps towards their ultimate mission as they gain hands-on experience with satellite technology through a CubeSat simulator developed by faculty adviser Alan Johnston, PhD, associate teaching professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The low-cost simulator functions like a real CubeSat, with working solar panels and the capability to send telemetry to an antenna, making it an ideal learning tool.

Monitoring its Lindenblad antenna will keep Villanova’s CubeSat Club busy. First, they will design a payload to be launched into the stratosphere via a high-altitude balloon. If all goes well, the balloon’s telemetry will be detectable from the roof of Tolentine as it sails above Villanova. Also on tap is working with a project called AmbaSat-1: to program, launch and track a credit card-sized “sprite” satellite into low earth orbit.

The CubeSat simulator involves both software and a hardware CubeSat bench emulator. Here is a description of the simulator: A Year with the AMSAT CubeSat Simulator: 12 Months in the Classroom and Lab – A. Johnston, P. Kilroy (pdf). More information on CubeSat Simulator Project Page.

CubeSat model simulators.

** Student CubeSat project at the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute. There are several CubeSat project videos available online. Here is a brief overview of the project that involved designing an system for imaging and tracking ocean plastic debris:

And here is an overview of the design that the students developed:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects:

ANS-208 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Partners with UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab to Develop Maine’s First Small Satellite
  • AMSAT-UK Announces OSCAR Satellite QSO Party
  • JARL Announces FO-29 Operation Schedule for August
  • Christopher Brault, KD8YVJ, Named 2020 Newsline Young Ham of the Year
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Upcoming ARISS Contacts
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-215 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

  • ISS MAI-75 SSTV Activity Planned For Aug 4-5
  • AMSAT Awards Update
  • How Many Satellite Awards Have Been Issued?
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for August 2020
  • First Demonstration Of Orbit Control On A 1U CubeSat
  • Burns Fisher, WB1JF, Featured Speaker at AMSAT SA Symposium
  • NASA to Provide Coverage of Astronauts’ Return from ISS on SpaceX
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Cubesat MissionsMakua Lani Christian Academy – Designing a CubeSat for a particular mission goal.

** PLIX CubeSats Online: Week 2 Wrap-up Stream

Welcome to Week 2 of PLIX CubeSats Online! 🛰️ For the second session, we’ll be covering the Satellite Testing & Payload Integration workshop, which covers both satellite testing strategies and the incorporation of a data-collecting tool. Read more about the CubeSats activity on our PLIX Activity Repository:

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