This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, August 14, 2017: 2:15PM-3:30 PM PDT (5:15PM-6:30 PM EDT, 4:15PM-5:30 PM CDT): DR. FANKLIN CHANG DIAZ, DR. ERIK SEEDHOUSE & Erik’s new book, “To Mars And Beyond, FAST!”.

2. Tuesday, August 15, 2017: 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: We welcome back GARY HUDSON of The Space Studies Institute.

3. Wednesday, August 16, 2016:: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details.

4. SPECIAL TIME: Friday, August 18, 2017; 7 PM PDT, (10 PM EDT; 9 PM CDT): OPEN LINES. All space and STEAM calls welcome. First time callers welcome. Let’s see how a Friday evening Open Lines show works on TSS!

5. Sunday, August 20, 2017: 12-1:30 PM DST (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome back noted author SHARON WEINBERGER to discuss her new book on DARPA, “The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World .”

ESA Sends Astronauts to China for Spaceflight Training

Samantha Cristoforetti is a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut of Italian nationality. Between November 2014 and June 2015 she spent 199 days on board the International Space Station as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 42 and 43. During ASI’s Futura Mission, Samantha conducted experiments in the Station’s laboratories. Samantha is a Captain in the Italian Air Force.

Matthias Maurer is ESA’s newest recruit for the Agency’s astronaut corps. From Germany, Matthias was among the 10 finalists in the 2009 selection and is now undergoing basic training at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Virgin Orbit to Launch SITAEL Satellite

μHETsat (Credit: SITAEL)

LOGAN, Utah (SITAEL PR) – Virgin Orbit was selected to launch a SITAEL satellite developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Virgin Orbit and SITAEL signed a launch service agreement at the 31st AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellite.

With Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, SITAEL will launch its μHETsat, a technical demonstration of a new electric propulsion system for ESA and ASI. Established in 1994 and headquartered in Mola di Bari, Italy, SITAEL is the largest privately-owned space company in Italy and provides Small Satellites based turn-key solutions, from mission concept to satellite in-Orbit commissioning.

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Start-up Space Blasts Off

Bryce Space and Technology has produced a new report, Start-up Space: Update on Investment in Commercial Space Ventures.

Below is the executive summary. You can also download the full report.

Executive Summary

The Start-Up Space series examines space investment in the 21st century and analyzes investment trends, focusing on investors in new companies that have acquired private financing. Space is continuing to attract increased attention in Silicon Valley and in investment communities world-wide. Space ventures now appeal to investors because new, lower-cost systems are envisioned to follow the path terrestrial tech has profitably traveled: dropping system costs and massively increasing user bases for new products, especially new data products. Large valuations and exits are demonstrating the potential for high returns.
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ELSE Raises $3 Million Seed Round for Internet of Things Constellation

Lausanne, Switzerland (August 10th, 2017) – ELSE SA, the Swiss new space start-up, today announced the funding of a $3 million seed round. The successful capital raise was enabled by a group of investors including Airbus Ventures, a Geneva-based Independent Assets Manager and Multi Family Office, as well as numerous additional Swiss- and internationally-based private investors. The seed round follows $3 million previously raised by the company in public support.

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Lockheed Martin Closes In On Shrinking the Telescope

Artist’s conception of SPIDER telescope in orbit (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today revealed the first images from an experimental, ultra-thin optical instrument, showing it could be possible to shrink space telescopes to a sliver of the size of today’s systems while maintaining equivalent resolution.

Weighing 90 percent less than a typical telescope, the Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-Optical Reconnaissance (SPIDER) opens a path for extremely lightweight optical instruments, allowing for more hosted payloads or smaller spacecraft. More broadly, the sensor technology has applications for aircraft and other vehicles—anywhere that depends on small optical sensors. The future could see UAVs with imagers laid flat underneath their wings, and cars could have imaging sensors that are flush against their grills.

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German Orbital Systems to Launch LEO Communications CubeSat

BERLIN (German Orbital Systems PR) — German Orbital Systems GmbH works on the development of small satellites’ constellation for communication in LEO orbit, the constellation will consist of 3U CubeSats. This project is implemented in partnership with iSky Technology s.r.o. (Prague, Czech Republic).

The first satellite, called “D-Star ONE”, will demonstrate the main bus components. It will future four communication modules with D-Star capability, two of which be fully dedicated to the amateur radio community. Subsequent satellites will have enhanced capabilities and communication protocols to address larger potential customer groups beyond the amateur radio community. D-Star ONE will become the first private German satellite, i.e. designed and built on own company funds.

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New CubeSat Propulsion System Uses Water as Propellant

Purdue University graduate student Katherine Fowee and postdoctoral research associate Anthony Cofer work on a new micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats. (Credit: Purdue University/Erin Easterling)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR)  – A new type of micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats uses an innovative design of tiny nozzles that release precise bursts of water vapor to maneuver the spacecraft.

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NASA Studies Tethered CubeSat Mission to Study Lunar Swirls

This artist’s drawing shows how two CubeSats, connected by a miles-long tether, would gather measurements on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — A novel mission concept involving two CubeSats connected by a thin, miles-long tether could help scientists understand how the Moon got its mysterious “tattoos” — swirling patterns of light and dark found at more than 100 locations across the lunar surface.

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Techshot Research System Headed for International Space Station

ADvanced Space Experiment Processor ((Credit: Techshot)

GREENVILLE, Ind., August 8, 2017 (Techshot PR) – Onboard the next SpaceX cargo spacecraft launching to the International Space Station (ISS) from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center will be a commercial research system owned and operated by Techshot Inc. The equipment will conduct regenerative medicine experiments on board the station before returning to Earth in the same capsule for a splashdown off the coast of Southern California approximately 30 days later.

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Ad Astra Completes NextSTEP Milestones for Year Two

WEBSTER, Texas (Ad Astra PR) — Ad Astra Rocket Company has successfully completed all contract milestones and deliverables for the second of its three-year Next Space Technology Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract with NASA. The 9 million dollar, fixed-price contract remains on schedule and on budget. After a successful year-two performance review at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. on July 24, 2017 and completion of a 10-hour cumulative test of the 200SSTM rocket at 100kW, Ad Astra received NASA approval to proceed with year-three activities.

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