Momentus Announces Service Agreement with Qosmosys

SANTA CLARA, Calif., January 21, 2021 (Momentus PR) – Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a commercial space company offering in-space infrastructure services, and Qosmosys, a new venture founded in Singapore last year, today announced a service agreement for two 3UXL protoflight cubesats in 2022, followed by two options in 2023.

“Momentus has exported the spirit of Silicon Valley to Singapore, bringing some fresh perspectives to launch services. Our Qosmosys missions demand a purposeful use of orbits, therefore, with Momentus, we clearly take significant benefits with their injection precision,” said Francois Dubrulle, founder of Qosmosys. “Moreover, Momentus offers an effective solution for Qosmosys for assured access to space, flying on a regular schedule with SpaceX, and adding extra flexibility and customization to our myriad of spacecraft to be launched.”


Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes Validation Test of New Rocket Motor for ULA

Northrop Grumman conducted a validation test of its GEM 63XL rocket motor on Jan. 21 at its Promontory, Utah, facility. The GEM 63XL will support the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

PROMONTORY, Utah, Jan. 21, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) conducted a validation ground test of an extended length 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL) today in Promontory. This variation of the company’s GEM 63 strap-on booster was developed in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide additional lift capability to the Vulcan Centaur rocket.


U.S. Government Releases Orbital Debris R&D Plan

This GIF is part of a longer animation showing different types of space debris objects and different debris sizes in orbit around Earth. For debris objects bigger than 10 cm the data comes from the US Space Surveillance Catalogue. The information about debris objects smaller than 10 cm is based on a statistical model from ESA. (Credit: ESA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In its waning days, the Trump Administration released the National Orbital Debris Research and Development Plan, which is designed to guide federal R&D efforts aimed at limiting, tracking, characterizing and remediating debris in Earth orbit.


Steve Jurczyk Appointed Acting NASA Administrator

Steve Jurczyk (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Steve Jurczyk became NASA’s acting administrator on Jan. 20, 2021. Before that, Jurczyk had served as NASA’s associate administrator, the agency’s highest-ranking civil servant, since May 2018.


John Roth to Serve as Acting Secretary of the Air Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — John P. Roth will serve as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force as of Jan. 20, until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

Roth succeeds Barbara Barrett, who served as the 25th Secretary of the Air Force from Oct. 18, 2019, until Jan. 20.

Roth has served as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller since January 2018. From May 2019 to December 2020, he also performed the duties of Under Secretary of the Air Force, a role he held from June to October 2019.


European Commission Awards €1.47 Billion in Contracts for 2nd Generation of Galileo Satellites

BRUSSELS (European Commission PR) — Today the Commission awarded two contracts for 12 Satellites (6 satellites each) for a total of €1.47 billion, to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) following an open competition.

With this, the Commission is initiating the launch of the 2nd Generation of Galileo, the European satellite positioning system. The aim is to keep Galileo ahead of the technological curve compared to global competition and maintaining it as one of the best performing satellite positioning infrastructures in the world while strengthening it as a key asset for Europe’s strategic autonomy.


Boeing Completes Software Qualification for Second Starliner Test Flight

Starliner OFT-1 capsule after landing at White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (Boeing PR) — Boeing recently completed its formal requalification of the CST-100 Starliner’s flight software in preparation for its next flight. The autonomous spacecraft will fly to the International Space Station during a second uncrewed flight test, Orbital Flight Test-2, in March, ahead of a first crewed flight with NASA astronauts later this year.


NASA to Host Virtual Briefing on February Perseverance Mars Rover Landing

This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater a little after 3:40 p.m. EST (12:40 p.m. PST) on Feb. 18, 2021. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is hosting a media briefing on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 4:30 p.m. EST to discuss the upcoming landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. The event will air live on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and YouTube.


Saffire Ignites New Discoveries in Space

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Our understanding of the way fire behaves in space is expanding as the fifth in a series of NASA investigations ignited recently. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment-V (Saffire-V) successfully tested larger, more dynamic fires for over 26 hours inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, following its primary mission of delivering supplies to the International Space Station.


Long March 3B Launches Tiantong-1 03 Communications Satellite

Long March 3B rocket lifts off with Tiantong-1 03 satellite. (Credit: Zhang Yiyi)

BEIJING (CASC PR) — At 00:25 on January 20, the Long March 3B carrier rocket ignited and lifted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and then sent the Tiantong-1 03 satellite into the scheduled orbit. The launch mission was a complete success.


Rocket Lab Launches OHB’s Fast-track Communications Satellite

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

MAHIA PENINSULA, NZ, Jan. 20, 2021 (OHB PR) — OHB Cosmos International, a company of OHB’s newly established business segment OHB DIGITAL, successfully launched the telecommunication satellite GMS-T on board an Electron launcher.

The satellite took off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 7.26 a.m. (UCT) on January 20th.The launch was performed only seven months after starting engineering activities for the satellite. After having reached the planned 1200 km/90 degree orbit the satellite has been activated and works as planned.


SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites, First Stage Lands for Record 8th Time

Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Wednesday, January 20 at 8:02 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites to orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, completing the seventeenth Starlink mission.

Following first-stage separation, Falcon 9 successfully landed for the eighth time on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s first stage booster rocket previously supported seven other missions: the SXM-7 mission in December 2020, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in June 2019, launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission in March 2019, and four Starlink missions. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported a Starlink mission and the other previously supported two.

New Record for Australia’s Gilmour Space

QUEENSLAND, 20 January 2021 (Gilmour Space Technologies PR) — Australia’s leading rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, has ushered in the New Year with a successful hot fire of the world’s largest single-port hybrid rocket engine.


Testing of New Russian Nauka Space Station Module Continues

Fitting a radiator for the cooling system and installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscomos PR) — In accordance with the prelaunch preparation schedule, factory control tests of the Nauka module continue in the assembly and test building of site No. 254 of the Baikonur cosmodrome.  Its launch to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for 2021 using the Proton-M launch vehicle.