Happy New Year!

2017 is finally over. Let’s hope 2018 is a better one.

My best wishes to all of you in the new year.

Global Small Satellites Market Anticipated to Reach $10.1 Billion by 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota, December 22, 2017 (BIS Research PR) — According to a market intelligence report by BIS Research titled Global Small Satellites Market, Analysis & Forecast, 2017-2021, the global market is expected to reach $10.10 billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 31.9% during the forecast period, 2017 – 2021. In the recent years, small satellites have gained traction owing to the significant mass reduction in the subsystems and components along with higher cost-efficiency. The interest in small satellites has increased significantly during the last few years. Over the past decade, nearly $2.5 billion has been invested in small satellites, of which half of the amount was generated in the last two to three years.

Browse 21 Market Data Tables and 125 Figures spread through 266 Pages and in-depth TOC on “Global Small Satellites Market


Report Examines Benefits of Settling Space Using NEO Resources

TransAstra Corporation recently completed an in-depth study of how to use resources from near Earth objects to facilitate space exploration and settlement.

The 82-page report, “Stepping Stones: Economic Analysis of Space Transportation Supplied From NEO Resources,” was funded with a $100,000 grant from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.


Restore-L Satellite Servicing Mission Passes PDR

Artist’s conception of Restore-L servicing satellite with Landsat 7. (Credit: NASA)

PALO ALTO, Calif. – December 20, 2017 – SSL, a business unit of Maxar Technologies (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.) (NYSE: MAXR; TSX: MAXR) and a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, announced today that the Restore-L mission to provide satellite servicing in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) has completed an extensive NASA review called the Mission Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and is on track to meet its next development milestone, called Key Decision Point C (KDP-C).

The on-schedule progress and successful reviews for this mission, which will develop and demonstrate key technologies essential to future NASA missions and commercial activities, are tangible evidence of SSL leadership, experience, and commitment to space innovation.


NASA Flight Opportunities Program Issues Pre-Solicitation Notice for Flight and Payload Services

On December 20, NASA released a pre-solicitation notice for an upcoming solicitation entitled ‘Flight and Payload Integration Services’. Deadline to submit questions is January 3, 2018 (see below).
Some excerpts from the pre-solicitation:
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (NASA AFRC) intends to solicit and award a multiple Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract for Flight and Payload Integration Services. The duration of the contract period is anticipated to be 5 years.
This requirement is to provide flight and payload integration services. Typical platforms will include (but are not limited to) high-altitude balloons, spacecraft, sounding rockets, and vertical flight testbeds, which must be capable of meeting one or more of the required flight profiles.
Vehicles for flight services shall be currently operational, and has conclusively demonstrated the capability to meet or exceed the minimum performance requirements as defined in the flight profiles. Legacy vehicles not currently in operational status will not be considered as qualified vehicle for the purposes of meeting the flight profile requirements. Vehicles must be capable of accommodating a minimum payload mass of 4Kg and minimum payload volume equivalent to a 4U cubesat (4L or 4,000cc).
This notice is not a Request for Proposal (RFP). Potential Offerors should monitor the Federal Business Opportunity website for the potential release of a RFP or any changes. All contractual and technical questions must be submitted in writing to Jenny Staggs at jenny.y.staggs@nasa.gov no later than January 3, 2018. Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.
Please read the full text of the pre-solicitation with the specific flight profiles at: https://www.fbo.gov/spg/NASA/DFRC/OPDC20220/80AFRC18R0006/listing.html

A Look at NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Plans

Last month NASA officials gave a series of presentations about the space agency’s deep-space exploration plans to the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Committee. I have excerpted slides from those presentations to provide an overview of what the space agency is planning.

Blue Origin Buys Land for Expansion

Blue Origin is expanding its operations near Seattle.

Blue Origin, the Kent-based aerospace firm owned by Jeff Bezos, has added to its holdings in Kent with a 31-acre land purchase just southwest of its headquarters.

The $14 million transaction was recorded last week by King County. The site is at and around 21600 76th Ave. S.

The seller was Bar-Gem LLC, an entity of the Barnier family, which had owned the property for many decades….

The buyer was Blue Properties LLC, which is governed by Blue, Inc.

Falcon Heavy Goes Vertical on Pad-39A for First Time

The rocket is undergoing a fit check on the launch pad. A brief static fire of the first stage’s 27 engines will follow in January prior to the maiden flight set for later in the month.

Falcon Heavy will be capable of lifting 63,800 kg (140,655 lb) to low Earth orbit, 26,700 kg (58,863 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit and 16,800 kg (37,038 lb) to Mars. That will make it the most powerful booster in the world.

The payload for the maiden flight will be a Red Tesla Roadster.

Cellular Dynamics International Sends Human iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes to ISS

MADISON, Wis., Dec. 27, 2017 (CDI PR)  — Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a FUJIFILM company, the leading developer and manufacturer of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiated tissue-specific iPSC-cells, announced that its iCell® Cardiomyocytes were launched into space via SpaceX’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station on Dec.15, 2017.

The purpose of the scientific research project utilizing CDI’s iCell Cardiomyocytes in space is to validate the function of NASA’s new Bioculture System for automated cell culture on the International Space Station and to study human cardiac cell function in microgravity.


Russians Lose Contact With Newly Launched Satellite

UPDATE: TASS reports that controllers have re-established contact with the spacecraft and are receiving telemetry. The report offers no further details at this time.

Russian officials say they have lost contact with the Angosat-1 communications satellite, which was launched from the Baikonur  Cosmodrome on Tuesday aboard a Zenit 2SB booster.

“Contact has temporarily been lost,” the source told AFP, adding specialists were now looking into the matter.

The source said officials had stopped receiving “telemetry data” but called it a “rather common situation” and expressed the hope that contact would be re-established.

The reason for the loss of contact was not immediately clear.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said the Zenit booster performed as planned, deploying Angola’s first communications satellite into its intended orbit. Contact was lost after the spacecraft separated from the booster’s upper stage.

The spacecraft is a joint $280 million project between Angola and Russia that was funded with credit from Russian banks. The spacecraft was built by Russia’s RSC Energia. Fifty Angolans were trained to operate and maintain Angosat-1 from a control center outside Luanda.

NASA Remembers Astronaut Bruce McCandless II

Official Space Shuttle portrait showing Astronaut Bruce McCandless II, attired in the Shuttle Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Suit with Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) attached and American flag in background. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II, mission specialist on the STS-41B and STS-31 missions, passed away on Dec. 21, 2017, at the age of 80.

McCandless is perhaps best remembered as the subject of a famous NASA photograph (below right), flying alongside the space shuttle in the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) — the first astronaut to fly untethered from his spacecraft. His time as an astronaut encompassed much more than that mission, including serving as the Mission Control communicator for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moonwalk on the Apollo 11 mission.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bruce’s family,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. “He will always be known for his iconic photo flying the MMU.”

McCandless, a retired U. S. Navy captain, was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 14 mission and was backup pilot for the first crewed Skylab mission. He flew as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions. On STS-41B in 1984, he performed the famous spacewalk and on STS-31 in 1990 he helped deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.


This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: We welcome back KIM HOLDER of Moonwards for 2017 updates and a look ahead for Moonwards in 2018.

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2017: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

Friday, Dec.29, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PST, (12:30 -2 PM EST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST) We welcome back TOM OLSON for his annual space year in review program.

Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017: 12-1:30 PM PST; 2-4:30 PM EST; 2-3:30 PM CST. Welcome to our 2018 Space Show New Year’s resolution program. Let us know your space related New Year’s resolution and what you plan to do to keep your resolution.

Vector and Nexus Team Up to Bring Cryptocurrency to Space

Flight test of P-19H engineering model of the Vector-R launch vehicle from Friends of Amateur Rocketry site in California. (Credit: Vector Space Systems)

TUCSON, Ariz. (Vector PR) — Vector, a nanosatellite launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced a partnership with Nexus to host its decentralized cryptocurrency in space using Vector’s GalacticSky Software-Defined Satellite platform. Nexus will be the first company to deploy a cryptocurrency on a satellite orbiting the earth. This partnership between Vector and Nexus highlights the unique use cases for GalacticSky’s technology and further proves the versatility of the platform. Additionally, the partnership allows future Vector customers to pay for launches using Nexus’ cryptocurrency, NXS.