HOUSTON (MEI Technologies PR) — Officials at MEI Technologies, Inc. (MEIT) have announced the successful arrival of two MEIT-supported payloads—the Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6) and the RED-EYE—brought to the International Space Station onboard the SpaceX-17 resupply vehicle. These two payloads represent the culmination of the efforts of the Space Test Program, Aerospace Corporation- and MEIT-integrated teams to fly new technologies.
The STP-H6 payload, which is designed, built and integrated by MEIT includes multiple experiments from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. (more…)
NASA astronaut Anne McClain performs the first series of tests of an Astrobee robot, Bumble, during a hardware checkout. To her right is the docking station that was installed in the Kibo module on the International Space Station on Feb. 15. Bumble, and another robot named Honey, launched to the space station on Apr. 17, aboard Northrop Grumman’s eleventh commercial resupply services mission from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. When needed the robots will be able to return to their docking station on their own and recharge their battery power.
Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will provide a research platform for the orbiting laboratory. The system includes three robots as well as a docking station for recharging. Robots will play a significant part in the agency’s mission to return to the Moon as well as other deep space missions. Astrobee will be used to test how robots can assist crew and perform caretaking duties on spacecraft. This will increase astronaut productivity and help maintain spacecraft when astronauts are not present near the Moon, Mars or other deep-space outposts.
Tethers Unlimited will continue to develop a software payload for the Astrobee free flying robot under a NASA contract.
The space agency selected the Bothell, Wash company for a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II award to continue development of its AstroPorter software. The award is worth up to $750,000 over two years.
Made in Space will continue to pursue the development of advanced glass alloys and 3-D manufactured structures for space interferometry missions under a pair of contract awards from NASA.
The space agency selected the additive-manufacturing company for awards under phase II of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The contracts are worth a maximum of $750,000 apiece for up to two years.
“The next step in the industrialization of LEO is the formulation of base materials, such as specialty glasses, that can be refined into higher value products in microgravity,” the company said in a summary of its proposal. “The Glass Alloy Manufacturing Machine (GAMMA) is an experimental system designed to investigate how these materials form without the effects of gravity-induced flows and inform process improvements for commercial product development.”
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — The photo above shows the landing site of the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft on a region of the Moon called Sea of Serenity, or Mare Serenitatis in Latin. On April 11, 2019, SpaceIL, a non-profit organization, attempted to land its spacecraft in this ancient volcanic field on the nearside of the Moon. After a smooth initial descent, Beresheet made a hard landing on the surface.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 companies to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for its Artemis lunar exploration program. This effort will help put American astronauts — the first woman and next man — on the Moon’s south pole by 2024 and establish sustainable missions by 2028.
WASHINGTON (House Appropriations Committee PR) — The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee on Friday, May 17. The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $22.32 billion, $815 million above the 2019 enacted level. This funding includes:
$7.16 billion for NASA Science programs – $255.6 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
$123 million for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement, $13 million above fiscal year 2019 and rejecting the Administration’s request to eliminate funding for these programs, which help inspire and train the country’s future STEM workforce.
$5.1 billion for Exploration – $79.1 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and related ground systems.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.48 billion for NOAA, which is $54.28 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and more than $1 million above the Administration’s request. Funding will help address important priorities such as climate research, improvements in weather forecasting, the reduction of harmful algal blooms, and fisheries management.
Editor’s Note: The measure does not seem to take into account the supplemental request made earlier this week for NASA.
Working on a freelance project right now, so I don’t have time to go through the bill. For anyone who has time to take a look at the text of the House markup (link above), here are some resources for comparison purposes:
Update: SpaceX scrubbed for Thursday to update satellite software and make additional checks. Next launch attempt will be in about one week.
SpaceX was forced to cancel a Falcon 9 launch with 60 Starlink satellites on board on Wednesday night due to high upper-level winds. Tonight’s launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. EDT, or 2:30 UTC on May 17, and closes at 12:00 a.m. on May 17, or 4:00 UTC. The launch webcast will go live about 15 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast. The ground weather forecast is 90 percent go for launch.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave a media teleconference during which he describes elements of the Starlink satellite constellation, which is designed to provide high-speed broadband and other communications on a global basis. Here are the highlights:
although the constellation could eventually number nearly 12,000 satellites, it would be economically viable with about 1,000 spacecraft;
Musk said “it looks like we have sufficient capital to get to an operational level”;
Starlink would be able to provide coverage to limited areas of the globe with 400 satellites, which would require a total of seven launches;
the constellation would be able to provide coverage for the United States with 12 launches, most of the world’s population with 24, and the entire planet with 30 launches;
the 60 satellites being launched are equipped with phased array antennas and ion propulsion units that use krypton instead of more expensive xenon gas;
the spacecraft do not have inter-satellite communications links, which will be added to future iterations of the spacecraft;
Starlink satellites should last four to five years in orbit before they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere;
spacecraft will be able to detect and avoid orbital debris;
ground terminals are about the size of a small or medium pizza and use phased array, electronically steered antennas that can switch between satellites in under a thousandth of a second with a latency of under 20 milliseconds;
SpaceX has not signed up any customers yet, but is targeting telecommunications companies, governments, maritime industries, aviation and under served areas of the globe;
Musk sees Starlink as providing a revenue stream to fund SpaceX’s Starship launch system and his dream of establishing settlements on Mars;
annual revenues could approach more than $30 billion per year, 10 times the approximately $3 billion that the launch side of SpaceX’s business brings in; and,
60 satellites weigh about 18.5 tons, which is the heaviest payload ever launched by Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy.
The Honorable Roy Blunt Chairman Senate LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee
The Honorable Patty Murray Ranking Member Senate LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro Chairwoman House LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee
The Honorable Tom Cole Ranking Member House LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee
Dear Chairman Blunt, Ranking Member Murray, Chairwoman DeLauro, and Ranking Member Cole:
I write to express the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ strong opposition to the administration’s revised budget request,which would rescind $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant reserve to, in part, fund the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The collaboration is set to establish a higher radar imaging data availability for both governmental and commercial organisations in South Korea.
Helsinki, FINLAND – May 15 – APSI, Asia Pacific Satellite Inc., and ICEYE, the global leader in small satellite synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology, announced today that the organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding about working together to support the South Korean New Space market. As a part of the agreement, APSI will supply ICEYE’s SAR imagery in South Korea and also provides mutual support from both APSI and ICEYE to deliver radar imaging related satellite solutions for the South Korean market.
Kleos appoints Kongsberg Satellite Service (KSAT) as ground station service provider
KSAT is a world leading provider of communication services for spacecraft
Appointment marks the next step towards revenue
LUXEMBOURG, 15 May 201 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space S.A (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data provider, is proud to announce the signing of a ground station service agreement with Norwegian Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT). KSAT is a world leading provider of communication services for spacecraft and launch vehicles with an extensive and uniquely located global ground network, providing advanced monitoring services.
WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – In late March, Vice President Mike Pence announced a new presidential directive to NASA to return humans to the surface of the moon by 2024, accelerating the mission timeline by 4 years. In order to fund the acceleration of this mission, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released an amendment to the President’s FY 2020 NASA budget proposal requesting that Congress appropriate an additional $1.6 billion for the first year of this program, now named Artemis.
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Chair Kendra Horn (D-OK) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics issued the following statements.
“While I am a supporter of challenging human space exploration endeavors that can take us to the Moon and eventually to Mars, based on the limited information provided to Congress it is impossible to judge the merits of the President’s budget amendment,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.