Maxar Provides Update on COVID-19 Operational Posture

WESTMINSTER, Colo., April 8, 2020 (Maxar PR) — Maxar has activated its standing pandemic crisis response plan to protect the health and safety of its team members, families, customers and communities while continuing to meet our commitments to customers. Our mitigation strategies cover employee preparation, travel, security, supply chain, virtual work, facility preparation and communications.

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Virgin Galactic Builds Prototype Patient Oxygen Hood to Address COVID-19 Pandemic

Supporting our Communities: Our work with the Antelope Valley COVID-19 Task Force

George Whitesides
CEO Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company

As we all continue to feel the direct impact of COVID-19 in our day-to-day lives, I’ve been inspired by the teamwork shown in the Antelope Valley (AV) of California to respond to the challenge of COVID-19. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we share knowledge, skills and collaborate.

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Omnispace Selects Thales Alenia Space to Develop Satellite Infrastructure for Global Hybrid Network Vision

Omnispace satellites (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

TYSONS, Va., April 9, 2020 (Omnispace PR) – Omnispace, the company that is reinventing mobile communications by building a global hybrid network, today announced it has selected Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), to develop the initial component of its satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. This will advance Omnispace’s vision to deliver a global hybrid communications network based on 3GPP standards.

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NIAC Award: Exoplanet Imaging Using Solar Gravitational Lens

Graphic depiction of Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravity Lens Mission (Credit: S. Turyshev)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC)
Phase III Award
Amount: $2 million

Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravitational Lens Mission

Slava Turyshev
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The solar gravitational lens (SGL) is characterized by remarkable properties: it offers brightness amplification of up to a factor of ~1e11 (at 1 um) and extreme angular resolution (~1e-10 arcsec). As such, it allows for extraordinary observational capabilities for direct high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of Earth-like exoplanets.

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NASA Selects Proposals for In-Space Development of Optical Fibers, Stem Cells and More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Removing the force of gravity from development processes can lead to products that are higher quality, have fewer defects, and are more effective than when developed on Earth. Companies are demonstrating these improved results can be achieved in the unique microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits about 250 miles above the planet.

The research opportunities that have demonstrated the unique market value of in-space manufacturing, technology advancement and drug development have come through NASA’s investment in dedicating transportation and research time for ISS National Lab investigations.

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When the Moon Dust Settles, It Won’t Settle in VIPER’s Wheels

Robotics engineer Jason Schuler performs a preliminary test to prepare for dust testing of various seals for the wheel motors on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, March 17, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test takes place in a bin holding more than 120 tons of simulated lunar regolith – loose dirt, dust and rock – that is used to help simulate the properties of the lunar surface. (Credits: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Moon dust is a formidable adversary – the grains are as fine as powder and as sharp as tiny shards of glass. During the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon, the astronauts lamented how the dust found its way into everything, coating their spacesuits and jamming the shoulder joints, getting inside their lunar habitat and even causing symptoms of a temporary “lunar dust hay fever” in astronaut Harrison Schmitt. Those symptoms fortunately went away quickly – but the problem of Moon dust remains for future missions.

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China Suffers Second Launch Failure of 2020

A Chinese Long March 3B booster failed after launch on Thursday, destroying an Indonesian communications satellite and providing a spectacular nighttime light show for residents of Guam as debris burned up in the atmosphere.

China’s Xinhua news agency said the Long March 3B’s third stage malfunctioned after launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The booster was carrying the Palapa-N1 geosynchronous communications satellite. The spacecraft was owned by Palapa Satelit Nusantara Sejahtera, which is a joint venture of Pasifik Satelit Nusantara and Indosat Ooredoo.

Palapa-N1, also known as Nusantara Dua, would have provided C-band and Ku-band broadcast and broadband services for Indonesia and neighboring regions. The China Academy of Space Technology built the spacecraft based on its DFH-4 platform.

Debris from the launch reentered the atmosphere near Guam. Officials said the debris posed no threat to the U.S. territory.

It was China’s second launch failure in less than a month. On March 16, the maiden launch of the Long March 7A rocket went awry, destroying a classified government satellite. Chinese officials have not announced the cause of the failure.

Maxar Closes Sale of MDA Subsidiary

WESTMINSTER, Colo., April 8, 2020 (Maxar PR)– Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced it has closed the sale of MDA, previously a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, to a consortium of investors led by Northern Private Capital for CAD$1 billion. Net proceeds, including customary adjustments, and after application of currency hedges related to the transaction is expected to be approximately US$729 million.

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Rocket Lab Successfully Completes Electron Mid-Air Recovery Test

LONG BEACH, Calif., 8 April 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a space systems company and the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has successfully completed a mid-air recovery test – a maneuver that involves snagging an Electron test stage from the sky with a helicopter.

The successful test is a major step forward in Rocket Lab’s plans to reuse the first stage of its Electron launch vehicle for multiple missions. The test took place in early March, before ‘Safer at Home’ orders were issued and before New Zealand entered Alert Level 4 in response to the COVID-19 situation.

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Made In Space 3D Printing PPE to Help in the Fight Against COVID-19

Face shields (Credit: Made in Space)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Made in Space PR) — Made In Space (MIS) is helping in the fight against COVID-19 by providing frontline healthcare workers with much-needed supplies and equipment. 

MIS facilities in Jacksonville, FL and Moffett Field, CA are using our additive manufacturing resources to provide hundreds of 3D printed face shields to local-area hospitals to augment the shortage of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.

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NASA Wants You to Send it Your Mini Moon Payload Designs

Credit: NASA

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Future exploration of the Moon and beyond will require tools of all shapes and sizes – from sweeping orbiters to the tiniest of rovers. In addition to current planned scientific rovers like the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover,  or  VIPER, NASA could one day send even smaller rovers to help scout the Moon’s surface.

These tiny robots would provide mission flexibility and collect key information about the lunar surface, its resources and the environment. The data collected by these rovers would be helpful for future lunar endeavors and NASA’s Artemis program.

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Soyuz Docks With International Space Station

The crew of Soyuz MS-16: Russian cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin and with NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy. (Credit: Roscosmos)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner docked to the International Space Station at 10:13 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.

Aboard the space station, NASA Flight Engineers  Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir and Expedition 62 Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at noon for hatch opening targeted for 12:15 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @issISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NIAC Award: Lunar Polar Propellant Mining Outpost

Graphic depiction of the Lunar Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO) concept. (Credits: Joel Sercel)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC)
Phase II Award
Amount: $500,000

Lunar Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO): A Breakthrough for Lunar Exploration & Industry

Joel Sercel
Trans Astronautica Corporation

The Lunar Polar Mining Outpost (LPMO) (see quad chart graphic) is a breakthrough mission architecture that promises to greatly reduce the cost of human exploration and industrialization of the Moon.

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Techshot Prints Knee Cartilage in Space

NASA Astronaut and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences graduate Dr. Andrew Morgan prepares the 3D BioFabrication Facility for meniscus test prints aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

GREENVILLE, Ind. (April 6, 2020) – Commercial space company Techshot Inc., used its space-based 3D bioprinter, called the BioFabrication Facility, or BFF, to successfully manufacture test prints of a partial human meniscus aboard the International Space Station (ISS) last month.

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ISS National Lab Issues RFP to Leverage External Facility for Materials Science and Device Testing

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), April 7, 2020 – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory has announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the fields of materials science, device testing, and other research and development areas that require external space exposure. 

Investigators are encouraged to propose flight concepts that will leverage the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) Flight Facility from Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, an in-orbit platform deployed externally onboard the ISS. Proposals will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. EDT on May 22, 2020.

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