Astroscale Opens Series E Funding Round, Secures First Investor

TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — Astroscale Holdings Inc., a market-leader in developing technology and services to remove space debris and secure long-term orbital sustainability, announced on 18 May 2020 that it has opened a Series E funding round and has secured I-NET CORP., a leading Japanese data center provider, as its first investor for an undisclosed amount.

The additional financing will be used to broaden Astroscale’s current business services and achieve the company’s mission of securing a sustainable orbital environment.


Crew Dragon Mission Timeline

On Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, SpaceX teams in Firing Room 4 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the company’s Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, along with NASA flight controllers in Mission Control Houston, executed a full simulation of launch and docking of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley (front) participating in SpaceX’s flight simulator. (Credits: SpaceX)
Mission Timeline

(all times are approximate and adjustments may occur prior to launch)

  -04:15:00Crew weather brief
  -04:05:00Crew handoff
  -04:00:00Suite donning and checkouts
  -03:22:00Crew Walk Out from Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building
  -03:15:00Crew Transportation to Launch Complex 39A
  -02:55:00Crew arrives at pad
  -02:35:00Crew ingress
  -02:20:00Communication check
  -02:15:00Verify ready for seat rotation
  -02:14:00Suit leak checks
  -01:55:00Hatch close
  -00:45:00SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
  -00:42:00Crew access arm retracts
  -00:37:00Dragon launch escape system is armed
  -00:35:00RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
  -00:35:001st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
  -00:16:002nd stage LOX loading begins
  -00:07:00Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
  -00:05:00Dragon transitions to internal power
  -00:01:00Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
  -00:01:00Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
  -00:00:45SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
  -00:00:03Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
  -00:00:00Falcon 9 liftoff

Falcon 9 Crew Dragon Launch Weather Criteria

Falcon 9 launch with fourth batch of Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

NASA Fact Sheet

Do not launch if the sustained wind at the 162-foot level of the launch pad exceeds 30 mph.

Do not launch through upper-level conditions containing wind shear that could lead to control problems for the launch vehicle.


This Week on The Space Show

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

Monday, May 25; 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) No special programming these two days this week.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) We welcome DR. MICHAEL; WEIL regarding his paper on calculating the cancer risk from galactic cosmic radiation for a human Mars mission, predicting cancer risks from GCRs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020; Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

Thursday, May 28, 2020: 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT): No special show today.

Friday, May 29, 2020; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT. We welcome back DR. MADHU THANGAVELU from USC.

Sunday, May 31, 2020 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome Dr. Joyce Liao of Stanford to discuss her work regarding eye-brain issues in microgravity. As an example of her work, see from April 2020.

Virgin Orbit Press Release on LauncherOne Failure

LauncherOne operated in powered flight for only seconds before an anomaly shut it down after being dropped from the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747. (Credit; Virgin Orbit)

Mojave, Calif., May 25, 2020 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based satellite launch company, conducted a launch demonstration of its innovative air-launched rocket today in the skies over the Pacific Ocean just off the California coast. The company successfully completed all of its pre-launch procedures, the captive carry flight out to the drop site, clean telemetry lock from multiple dishes, a smooth pass through the racetrack, terminal count, and a clean release. After being released from the carrier aircraft, the LauncherOne rocket successfully lighted its booster engine on cue — the first time the company had attempted an in-air ignition. An anomaly then occurred early in first stage flight, and the mission safely terminated. The carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl and all of its crew landed safely at Mojave Air and Space Port, concluding the mission.

“Our team performed their prelaunch and flight operations with incredible skill today. Test flights are instrumented to yield data and we now have a treasure trove of that. We accomplished many of the goals we set for ourselves, though not as many as we would have liked,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “Nevertheless, we took a big step forward today.  Our engineers are already poring through the data. Our next rocket is waiting. We will learn, adjust, and begin preparing for our next test, which is coming up soon.”

The company’s next rocket is in final stages of integration at its Long Beach manufacturing facility, with a half-dozen other rockets for subsequent missions not far behind. Virgin Orbit’s decision to begin production of multiple rockets well in advance of this test flight will enable the team to progress to the next attempt at a significantly faster pace, shortly after making any necessary modifications to the launch system.

Video of Virgin Orbit Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 Takeoff & Landing

Video Caption: Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port on May 25 with a fully fueled LauncherOne booster under its left wing. The launch over the Pacific Ocean near the Channel Islands failed. The aircraft and crew returned safely to Mojave.

Videographer: Kenneth Brown

Crew Dragon Go for Launch on Wednesday, Weather Forecast Improves

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, left, and Douglas Hurley, right, are seen on a monitor showing the crew access arm at Launch Complex 39A during a dress rehearsal in preparation for the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission, Saturday, May 23, 2020, in firing room four of the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA, SpaceX and U.S. Space Force officials said that a launch readiness review went well on Monday, clearing one of the last hurdles toward liftoff of the Falcon 9 booster and Crew Dragon capsule with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard at 4:33 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 27.

Officials said the launch day forecast for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has improved from 60 percent chance of weather violating launch constraints to 40 percent.

Backup dates if the launch is scrubbed are May 30 and 31.

Officials said a brief hot fire of the Falcon 9 boosters first stage Merlin 1-D engines went as planned.

The Crew Dragon mission will be the first orbital launch from American soil since the space shuttle was retired in July 2011.

NASA will provide live coverage on its website of the flight to the International Space Station beginning no earlier than 12:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Motiv Space Systems Unveils xLink Highly Modular, Cost-Efficient Space-Rated Robotic Arm System

Motiv’s xLink robotic arm is scalable and modular (Credit: Motiv Space Systems)

PASADENA, Calif., May 21, 2020 (Motiv Space Systems PR) — Today, Motiv Space Systems announced the launch of its xLink™ space-rated modular robotic arm system. The xLink™ system is exceptionally adaptable and can accommodate nearly every current and planned application for space-rated robotic manipulation.


USSPACECOM Campaign Plan, New Mission Focus on Defeating Adversaries

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo (U.S. Space Command PR) — U.S. Space Command reached a critical milestone as the Department of Defense’s 11th Combatant Command by finalizing the command’s campaign plan, which incorporates a new mission statement placing greater emphasis on preparing for, defending against and deterring threats.

The campaign plan provides guidance to USSPACECOM’s staff and components on day-to-day operations, activities and investments to achieve the command’s mission in support of DoD and national security objectives.


Japanese Supply Ship Arrives at Space Station

May 25, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the HTV-9 resupply ship from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Russia’s Progress 74 and 75 resupply ships and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The unpiloted Japanese cargo spacecraft was installed this morning at 10:46 a.m. EDT to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module, where it will remain for two months.

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA, with assistance from Russian Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, operated the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola and grappled the 12-ton spacecraft.

Among the four tons of cargo aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) unpiloted H-II Transport Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) were investigations testing a new livestreaming educational tool, microscope and telescope. Learn more about the science experiments and technology heading to station here.

For almost 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth.

As a global endeavor, 239 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,800 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries.

For arrival coverage and more information about the mission, visit: Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @issISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Rogozin Says Nyet to Privatizing the Moon

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin is not a big fan of the Trump Administration’s efforts to allow the extraction and use of lunar resources, Tass reports.

“We will not, in any case, accept any attempts to privatize the Moon. It is illegal, it runs counter to international law,” Rogozin pointed out.

The Roscosmos CEO emphasized that Russia would begin the implementation of a lunar program in 2021 by launching the Luna-25 spacecraft to the Moon. Roscosmos intends to launch the Luna-26 spacecraft in 2024. After that, the Luna-27 lander will be sent to the Moon to dig up regolith and carry out research on the lunar surface.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April supporting the extraction and utilization of lunar resources. NASA’s recently released Artemis Accords, a set of principles to guide lunar exploration, supports the executive order.

Panasonic Provides In-flight Connectivity for Virgin Orbit Launches

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (Panasonic PR) — Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has been selected by Virgin Orbit to provide inflight connectivity for its airborne rocket launch platform.

Panasonic’s latest generation high-speed inflight connectivity system has been installed on Cosmic Girl, the modified Boeing 747-400 that serves as the carrier aircraft for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system. Virgin Orbit is currently undergoing final rehearsals for an orbital launch demonstration expected soon.


Meet Crew Dragon Astronaut Robert Behnken


Robert Behnken (Credit: NASA)


Robert L. Behnken was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000 and is a veteran of two space shuttle flights. He is currently training for the Demo 2 flight of SpaceX’s CrewDragon spacecraft, the first crewed flight for that vehicle.  Behnken and his crewmate are working closely with SpaceX to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with Boeing’s Starliner, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil. A native of Missouri, Behnken flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, logging more than 708 hours in space, and more than 37 hours during six spacewalks.


Meet Crew Dragon Astronaut Douglas Hurley


Douglas Hurley (Credit: NASA)


Douglas G. Hurley was selected as an astronaut in 2000. A veteran of two spaceflights, he was the pilot on STS‐127 and STS‐135. Hurley holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. Before joining NASA, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Hurley is currently training for the Demo 2 flight of SpaceX’s CrewDragon spacecraft, the first crewed flight for that vehicle.  He and his crewmates are working closely with SpaceX to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with Boeing’s Starliner, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil.