Annual Fundraising Campaign: Please Help Parabolic Arc!

Hi everybody.

You have all been so supportive of Parabolic Arc over the years. I want to thank you for your readership and comments and for spreading the word about our work through Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

But, now I need your help. We’re once again seeking donations as part of Parabolic Arc’s annual fund-raising campaign. Your contribution will help us to continue delivering all the latest news and analysis of the rapidly growing space industry.

Follow the link and, in just a few clicks, you will be able to support the valuable work we do here. Any amount will help.

Thank you again for all of your support.

Doug

China, Russia to Cooperate on Lunar Missions

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Two Russo-Chinese agreements on cooperation in Lunar research were signed on September 17, 2019 in Saint Petersburg as part of the 24th meeting of Russia and China heads of government.

The documents were signed by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin and the Head of China National Space Administration Zhang Kejian. One of the signed agreements is connected with creating and operating a joint Data Center for Lunar and Deep Space Research. The Data Center will be implemented as a geographically distributed information system with placing two main centers in Russia and China respectively.

The agreement also implies enhancing information capabilities and improving Lunar research output, as well as engaging relevant national organizations and institutions (e.g. National Academy of Sciences institutions) for further Data Center improvement.

The second document deals with the cooperation to coordinate the Russian Luna Resurs-1 spacecraft with the Chinese Chang’e 7 Moon polar research mission. The agreements reached ensure detailed exploration of possible landing areas for Chinese missions by Russian orbital spacecraft.

The data transmission tests will be performed between Luna Resurs-1 and Chang’e 7. The parties will also analyze the possibility of mutual scientific payload placing on Luna Resurs-1 and Chang’e 7 space modules, as well as consider the possibilities of joint space experiments.

NASA to Air Rescheduled Launch, Capture of Cargo Ship to Space Station

Canadarm2, the ISS’s robotic arm, grapples and berths unpiloted resupply ships, a manoeuvre known as a “cosmic catch.” (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A Japanese cargo spacecraft loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts, and experiment hardware is scheduled to launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan to the International Space Station at 12:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 24 (1:05 a.m. Sept. 25 in Japan). Live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website will begin at 11:30 a.m.

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Backing Australian Business, Jobs for the US Moon to Mars Mission

NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, second from left, shakes hands with Dr. Megan Clark, Head of the Australian Space Agency, second from right, as they pose for a photo with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, left, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right, following the signing of a letter of intent between NASA and the Australian Space Agency, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

CANBERRA (Karen Andrews PR) — The Morrison Government is positioning Australia for lift-off with a $150 million [US $101.5 million] investment into our local businesses and new technologies that will support NASA on its inspirational campaign to return to the Moon and travel to Mars.

The five year investment will see the Australian Space Agency foster the new ideas and hi-tech skilled jobs that will make Australian businesses a partner of choice to fit out NASA missions.

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Australia to Support NASA’s Plan to Return to the Moon and on to Mars

WASHINGTON (Australian Space Agency PR) — The Australian Space Agency and NASA have launched a new partnership on future space cooperation. This includes the opportunity for Australia to join the United States’ Moon to Mars exploration approach, including NASA’s Artemis lunar program.

The Australian Government is investing $150 million [US $101.5 million] over five years for Australian businesses and researchers to join NASA’s endeavour, and deliver key capabilities for the mission. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investment would benefit all Australians with more jobs, new technologies and more investment in businesses that would grow the economy.

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Launch of Japanese Cargo Ship Rescheduled for Wednesday

Canadarm2, the ISS’s robotic arm, grapples and berths unpiloted resupply ships, a manoeuvre known as a “cosmic catch.” (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (MHI PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has revised the launch schedule of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 8 (H-IIB F8) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI8” (HTV8), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.

Launch Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 at 1:05 am JST (Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 1605 UTC/12:05 pm EDT)*1
Launch Window: Sept. 26 through Oct. 31, 2019

The changes will be made based on the results of the latest orbit based analysis (※ 1) of the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft. It was revealed there’s a possibility that the 2nd stage of H-IIB rocket after separation from “KOUNOTORI8” may approach the Soyuz spacecraft.

MHI canceled the launch of the H-IIB F8 on September 11 due to a fire at the movable launch pad exit hole during the countdown operation.

As a result of the investigation, it was confirmed that there was a high possibility that the fire spread due to the static electricity generated by the oxygen dripping from the engine exhaust port during the propellant filling operation, which continued to blow on the heat-resistant material in the exit hole at the movable launch pad.

We have taken corrective measures and have confirmed normal functioning of the rocket and facility.

*1: Collision Avoidance Analysis to prevent collision between the rocket and debris from the rocket and manned space systems (Space Station, etc.) in orbit after launching the rocket. The launch was previously rescheduled for September 24, 2019.

The launch time is subject to change as the ISS orbit is updated.

Launch time and date during this period are pending, determined by the ISS operations and other status.

Lack of Anomalies in House Spending Bill a Blow to NASA’s Moon Plan

For once, a lack of anomalies is a problem for NASA.

The House of Representatives has passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the government operating for seven weeks when the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. A CR keeps government spending at FY 2019 levels until Congress passes and the president signs a new budget.

NASA, which the Trump Administration tasked earlier this year with landing astronauts on the moon by 2024, has sought a number of exceptions or anomalies to allow for new program starts. But, the Democratic House did not include any for the space agency in the CR.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said earlier this year that a CR instead of a new budget would be “devastating” to the Artemis program meeting the 2024 deadline.

Ken Bowersox, the NASA official who is overseeing Artemis, told the House space subcommittee this week that NASA would need funding for lunar landing contracts by the end of 2019 or the landing would slip into 2025.

The Republican-controlled Senate, which has been supportive of the Trump Administration, has not passed a CR yet.

NASA Joins Last of Five Sections for Space Launch System Rocket Stage

NASA finished assembling the main structural components for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on Sept. 19. Engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans fully integrated the last piece of the 212-foot-tall core stage by adding the engine section to the rest of the previously assembled structure. Boeing technicians bolted the engine section to the stage’s liquid hydrogen propellant tank. (Credit: NASA/Steven Seipel)

NEW ORLEANS (NASA PR) — NASA finished assembling and joining the main structural components for the largest rocket stage the agency has built since the Saturn V that sent Apollo astronauts to the Moon. Engineers at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans connected the last of the five sections of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on Sept. 19. The stage will produce 2 million pounds of thrust to send Artemis I, the first flight of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon.

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Australian Government Commits to Join NASA in Lunar Exploration and Beyond

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his nation’s intention to join the United States’ Moon to Mars exploration approach, including NASA’s Artemis lunar program.

The announcement took place at a ceremony Saturday at NASA Headquarters in Washington during which NASA Deputy Administrator, Jim Morhard, and Head of the Australian Space Agency, Megan Clark, signed a joint statement of intent. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Australian Ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey and U.S. Ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse Jr. also participated in the ceremony.

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ONERA Joins ArianeWorks Accelerator

PARIS (CNES PR) — ArianeWorks, the acceleration and innovation platform created at the beginning of 2019 by the French space agency CNES and ArianeGroup, founder members and coordinators, continues to expand with the arrival of a new partner, ONERA, a leading player in aerospace research and a key partner in the development of the Ariane family of launchers.

This partnership agreement will enable ArianeWorks’ projects to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of the French aerospace research center, notably in the fields of structural health monitoring (SHM) and aerothermodynamics.

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GAO Report on SLS/Orion: Making Progress, But….

SLS core stage pathfinder is lifted onto the Stennis B-2 test stand (Credits: NASA/SSC)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Government Accountability Office released another depressing review this week of NASA’s Artemis program, specifically looking at the space agency’s progress on the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and the exploration ground systems (EGS) required to support them.

Cristina Chaplain, GAO’s director of Contracting and National Security Acquisitions, summarized the report’s conclusions on Wednesday in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

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It’s Dead, Jim! ISRO Gives Up on Lunar Lander, Rover

Chandrayaan2 Vikram lander (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, it’s not the famous winter of Game of Thrones, but the 14-day lunar night has arrived where India’s Vikram lander and Pragyan rover made what IRSO officials have called a “hard landing” two weeks ago with no communication between them and ground controllers.

Since neither vehicle was designed to survive the frigid temperatures of the lunar night, the Indian space agency has called it a day in a rather bare bones announcement.

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Long March 11 Launches Five Remote Sensing Satellites

Zhuhai Orbita Aerospace Science and Technology continued to expand its Zhuhai-1 constellation of commercial remote-sensing micro-satellites on Thursday by placing five more spacecraft into orbit.

A Long March 11 lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China’s Gobi Desert at 2:42 p.m. Beijing Time carrying four hyperspectral satellites with 256 wave-bands and a video satellite with a resolution of 90 centimeters.

Orbita has launched a total of 12 microsats as part of a planned 34-spacecraft constellation that will provide hyperspectral, video, high-resolution optical, radar and infrared data.

Orbita has said the data will be used to monitor crops, vegetation and water resources as well as helping to build smart cities.

Pad 39B Water Flow Test Comes Through Loud and Clear

NASA continued its preparation for the Artemis I mission with a successful water flow test on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39B on Friday, Sept. 13. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA eclipsed another milestone in its plan to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface by 2024 with the latest successful water flow test on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39B.

Using adjustments from the first water flow test event in July, the Friday, Sept. 13 exercise demonstrated the capability of the sound suppression system that will be used for launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) for the Artemis I mission.

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HawkEye 360 Awards Satellite Constellation Contract to UTIAS SFL

Herndon, Virginia, September 18, 2019 (HawkEye 360 PR) — HawkEye 360 Inc., the first commercial company to use formation flying satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) analytics, today announced it has awarded the manufacturing contract for its next generation of satellites.

Enabled by the company’s $70 million Series B financing in August, this contract will substantially boost on-orbit capacity to serve the company’s rapidly growing customer base. The contract will expand the constellation to 18 satellites, achieving routine revisits of less than an hour for increased global persistence.

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