OTB Ventures Launches OTB Space Program I, Investing in ICEYE’s $87 Million C Round

  • Newly launched space investment program supports $87m series C funding round for ICEYE
  • Builds on OTB Ventures alliance with Draper Venture Network

AMSTERDAM, 22 September 2020 – OTB Ventures, a leading venture capital firm specialized in investments in technology companies originating in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), today announces the launch of a dedicated investment vehicle to support Europe’s leading space technologies – OTB Space Program I – backed by the European Investment Fund and the European Commission through the InnovFin for Equity programme.

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Hayabusa2 to Visit Rapidly Spinning Asteroid in Extended Mission

Hayabusa2 spacecraft at asteroid 1998 KY26. (Credit: Auburn University, JAXA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

JAXA has selected a second asteroid for Hayabusa2 to explore after the spacecraft completes its primary mission to Ryugu in December. But, it’s not going to be an easy destination to reach.

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NASA Publishes Phase 1 Plans for Returning Astronauts to Moon

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Following a series of critical contract awards and hardware milestones, NASA has shared an update on its Artemis program, including the latest Phase 1 plans to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024.

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United Arab Emirates Astronauts to Train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Under New Agreement

UAE astronauts Sultan AlNeyadi and Hazzaa AlMansoori. (Credits: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has signed a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to train UAE astronauts on International Space Station systems at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston later this year.

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This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, Sept. 21, 2020; 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) No programming for today.

2. Tuesday, Sept. 22 2020, 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) We welcome back DR. LES JOHNSON to discuss his new edited book “STELLARIS: People of the Stars” which features stories and speculation from the best of the best around the world.

3. Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020; Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020: 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT: No program for this date.

5. Friday, Sept. 25 , 2020; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT: No program planned due to DL non-space business matters. Please check the website upcoming show menu for any last minute changes because I will post them there if my appointments change.

6. Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT):We welcome Dr. Keith Crane to the show on space economics and the Institute for Defense Analysis report, “Measuring the Space Economy: Estimating the Value of Economic Activities in and for Space.” You can access the report by checking the blog for this show on The Space Show website.

OneWeb to Begin Launching Satellites Again as Early as December

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and OneWeb will resume launch operations to continue the deployment of the OneWeb constellation.

The next Soyuz launch is planned as soon as December 2020 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Pursuant to an amended launch contract with OneWeb, the London-based communications company, Arianespace will perform 16 more Soyuz launches from three spaceports (Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny) beginning in late 2020 and continuing through 2022. These launches will enable OneWeb to complete the deployment of its full global constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites by the end of 2022.

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NASA to Discuss Early Artemis Exploration Plans with Media

Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will discuss the agency’s latest Artemis  program exploration plans during a media teleconference today at 5 p.m. EDT. Audio of the call will stream live on the agency’s website.

Additional NASA participants in the discussion include:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
  • James Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

About 18 months ago, NASA accepted a bold challenge to send the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon in 2024.

For more information about America’s Moon to Mars exploration plans, go to:

https://www.nasa.gov/moontomars

Editor’s Note: Note the language here. NASA has deleted mention of sending the Artemis III astronauts to the south pole of the moon. Now it’s the lunar surface.

The change is in line with a trial balloon that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine floated last week of having the first landing crew of Artemis III visit one of the Apollo sites.

UPDATE: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was emphatic that the first crewed landing and subsequent ones would be going to the lunar south pole. He said remarks he made last week were misinterpreted. Interestingly, the press release announcing the phase 1 plan doesn’t include mention of the south pole.

Artemis: Back to the Future Past?

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, deploys two components of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity in 1969. A seismic experiment is in his left hand, and in his right is a laser-reflecting panel. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, mission commander, took this photograph. (Credits: NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center)

UPDATE: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was emphatic today that the first crewed landing and subsequent ones would land at the lunar south pole. He said remarks he made last week were misinterpreted.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For 18 months NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump Administration officials have repeatedly promised to land the next man and the first woman at the south pole of the moon in 2024.

Now, that plan has apparently changed.

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Breakthrough Initiatives to Fund Research into Search for Primitive Life in Clouds of Venus

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

SAN FRANCISCO (Breakthrough Initiatives PR)  – Breakthrough Initiatives, the privately-funded space science programs founded by science and technology investor and philanthropist Yuri Milner, are funding a research study into the possibility of primitive life in the clouds of Venus. The study is inspired by the discovery, announced yesterday, of the gas phosphine, considered a potential biosignature, in the planet’s atmosphere.

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SSTL Demonstrates New GNSS-R Capabilities

4 Delay Doppler Maps (DDMs) collected by DoT-1 that show signal reflections from 4 GPS satellites. (Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology)

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has successfully demonstrated GNSS-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) from its 18kg DoT-1 satellite. SSTL has pioneered the new field of GNSS-R with successful payloads on board TechDemoSat-1 and the CYGNSS constellation, and is continuing to develop the technology and data analysis in pursuit of this new science.

The latest GNSS-R payload on-board the DoT-1 satellite is incorporated within the new small form factor Core Avionics module integral to all SSTL’s future satellite platforms. This innovation paves the way for any SSTL satellite that can accommodate a nadir pointing antenna to become part of a GNSS-R small-sat constellation.

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AFWERX Announces EngageSpace, Premier Collaboration Event for Space Industry

LAS VEGAS (AFNS) — AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force’s innovation catalyst, announced Sept. 16 that registration is now live for EngageSpace virtual event. Join AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Space Force and the Space Frontier Foundation for this two-day virtual event on September 29-30.

With its highly interactive format and diverse participants, this event is designed to revolutionize how the space ecosystem works, dismantle the walls between sectors and close the “believability gap” for what’s possible in space.

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Former NASA Astronaut James Pawelczyk Joins CASIS Board of Directors

James Pawelczyk

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), September 18, 2020 – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organization that manages the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory pursuant to a Cooperative Agreement with NASA, today announced that former NASA astronaut James (Jim) Pawelczyk, Ph.D., has joined the organization’s board of directors.

As the newest member of the CASIS board of directors, Pawelczyk will join a group that seeks to ensure and enhance the use of the ISS National Lab through basic and applied space-based research, continuing the progress toward our nation’s goal of developing a sustainable market economy in low Earth orbit.

In addition to Pawelczyk’s experience as a NASA payload specialist onboard STS-90, a role in which he logged more 381 hours in space, he joins the board as an acclaimed researcher in the fields of physiology and kinesiology. Pawelczyk has published more than 50 papers, with many focused on the effects of spaceflight on human health.

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William A. LaPlante, former MITRE Executive, to Lead Draper

William LaPlante (Credit: Draper Lab)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Draper Lab PR) — The Board of Directors of The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., announced today that Dr. William LaPlante, a senior executive at The MITRE Corporation, has been selected as Draper’s next president and chief executive officer.

LaPlante will assume his position on October 7 when Francis Kearney, interim president and CEO, steps down and transitions his roles and responsibilities. Kearney, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, has served on Draper’s board of directors since 2015 and in his current role since 2020.

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Orbit Logic Awarded AFRL/AFWERX Space Situational Awareness Planning & Analysis Contract

GREENBELT, MD (Orbit Logic PR) – Orbit Logic, a leading provider of planning and scheduling software, announced today that it has been awarded an AFWERX Direct to Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The award will enhance the Heimdall Fire Space Situational Awareness (SSA) planning solution. Heimdall Fire is an existing software solution consisting of Orbit Logic COTS software products configured for SSA observation planning.

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MethaneSAT Completes Critical Design Review, Moves into Production Phase

MethaneSAT (Credit: EDF)

Sensors and spacecraft exceed mission performance goals; flow of precision measurements will open up new opportunities to track and reduce potent greenhouse emissions

SAN FRANCISCO (EDF PR) –MethaneSAT has reached an important new milestone with completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase for both the mission’s remote sensing instrument and the spacecraft platform “bus” that will provide power and maneuvering, and transmit the vast stream of data from the high resolution sensors to ground stations. Completion of the CDR means that MethaneSAT is now entering the production stage with a design that exceeds anticipated capabilities.

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