Mitochondrial Changes Key to Health Problems in Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly is working with the Microgravity Sciences Glovebox during a Rodent Research session with Bone Densitometer. (Credit: NASA)

by Frank Tavares
NASA’s Ames Research Center

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — Living in space isn’t easy. There are notable impacts on the biology of living things in the harsh environment of space. A team of scientists has now identified a possible underlying driver of these impacts: the powerhouse of the cell, called mitochondria, experiences changes in activity during spaceflight.

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FROG, an Innovative Collaborative Project on Rocket Reuse

The experimental rocket in flight. (Credit: CNES)

This experimental rocket offers a learning and development platform in the field of reusable launchers. It is developed within an associative framework bringing together CNES and university, scientific and industrial partners.

PARIS (CNES PR) — Combining in the same program a high-level collaborative and educational project and an agile experimental approach around the reuse of a miniature launcher. These are the ambitions of the FROG initiative , launched by CNES with university and association partners and start-ups. 

The program consists of developing an experimental vehicle to test guidance, navigation and control (GNC) algorithms allowing its takeoff, stable vertical flight at low altitude and landing. By bringing together contributors from various backgrounds and specialists in their field, it aims to learn to work and innovate differently, and to harness new energies and ideas outside the traditional frameworks of space programs. 

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Artemis I Launch Preparations Are Stacking Up

The aft segments of the Space Launch System solid rocket boosters for the Artemis I mission prepare to move from high bay 4 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking on the mobile launcher inside high bay 3 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: NASA/Cory Huston)

By Madison Tuttle
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center


NASA has stacked the first piece of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on the mobile launcher in preparation for the Artemis I launch next year. At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers lowered the first of 10 segments into place Nov. 21 for the twin solid rocket boosters that will power the first flight of the agency’s new deep space rocket. Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight to test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon with the Artemis program.

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UKSpace Praises Government’s Plan to Establish Space Command

BORDON, UK (UKspace PR) — Plans to establish the UK’s own Space Command will “further enhance coordination of the UK military and commercial space operations” according to space industry association UKspace.

During an announcement about increased UK defence spending over the next four years, the Prime Minister said that the new Space Command – which will be a joint services command of the Ministry of Defence, to be established at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base – will protect the UK’s interests in space and control the UK’s first satellite launched from a UK rocket by 2022.

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NASA Centers Collaborate to Advance Quiet Supersonic Technology During Pandemic

A NASA F/A-18 is towed to the apron at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California during sunrise over Rogers Dry Lake. The F/A-18 was used to test a transmitter for an air navigation system, called the Airborne Location Integrating Geospatial Navigation System, or ALIGNS. This system, designed to allow pilots to position their aircraft at precise distances to each other, will be critical for acoustic validation efforts of NASA’s next supersonic X-plane, the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology. (Credits: NASA/Lauren Hughes)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Two NASA centers on opposite sides of the countries are finding new ways to work together to support the agency’s mission to develop quiet supersonic technology, in spite of thousands of miles of distance and a global pandemic.

Using their available labs, Kennedy Space Center in Florida is building tools in collaboration with Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, which NASA will use in support of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane, or QueSST.

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Defence Secretary Announces Plans for UK Space Command

Ben Wallace

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Speech at Defence Space Conference 2020
18 November 2020

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace talks about transforming in the new Space Age.

Good afternoon, it’s a great pleasure to speak to you at the end of what has clearly been a fascinating and wide-ranging conference.

The variety of speakers – over 45, from the UK and overseas, and military and civilian sectors, as well as academia and private industry – shows just how important space is, right across today’s society.

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NASA Flight Opportunities Program PI Spotlight: Kevin Crosby

Kevin Crosby during a microgravity flight on G-FORCE ONE airplane.

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — With a half-dozen Flight Opportunities campaigns under his belt (including one currently underway — see Flights section above), Carthage College professor Kevin Crosby understands the value of the program. Through flight testing, he has been able to raise the technology readiness level (TRL) of his slosh control and propellant gauging technologies for spacecraft.

As head of the school’s Space Sciences program, Crosby blends his development of these technologies with powerful learning opportunities for his students. We spoke with Crosby about what he has learned during his years of flight testing and how those lessons apply to both students and the research community as a whole. 

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NASA Announces Moon Supply Unloading System Design Winners

The first prize selection, NASAGANTRY2020 ALLGO CS used a tripod structure on wheels. (Credits: GrabCad/Christie S.)

HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected five 3D model submissions to the Advanced Lightweight Lunar Gantry for Operations (ALLGO) challenge. The ideas offer potential ways to unload supplies on the Moon, something NASA is considering as it works toward sustainable exploration under the Artemis program.

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Rep. Frank Lucas Warns of Risk Posed by Chinese Launch to the Moon

Frank Lucas

WASHINGTON (Frank Lucas PR) — Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee  Ranking Member Frank Lucas emphasized the risk the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to American international leadership in science and technology following the launch of the CCP’s Chang’e-5 mission to the Moon. 

“The launch of Chang’e-5 is a significant step by China towards their goal of establishing a long-term presence on the Moon. The nation that leads in space will dictate the rules of the road for future technological development and exploration, and the influence of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the CCP’s space program makes China a particularly irresponsible and dangerous candidate. Advancements by the CCP also jeopardize American international competitiveness in science and technology. We can no longer take America’s leadership in space for granted and must continue supporting the men and women of the American space program aspiring to launch crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wild turkey in the Marin Headlands of California. (Photo: Douglas Messier)

It’s Thanksgiving.

I’m taking the day off. Unless something particularly newsworthy happens, Parabolic Arc will resume on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

World-first Real-time Link Between Satellites Promises Quicker Worldwide Delivery of Data, Imagery

LONDON, 23 November, 2020 (Inmarsat PR) — The world’s first ever publicly-available, real-time link between satellites in high and low earth orbits is now available, it was announced today.

After a five-year collaboration, Inmarsat and Addvalue Innovation are pleased to announce the Commercial Service Introduction (CSI) of their Inter-satellite Data Relay System (IDRS) service, following the successful demonstration of the first live data connectivity between customer Capella Space’s Control Center and its recently launched Sequoia satellite at low earth orbit.

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EUMETSAT takes control of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich

Falcon 9 lifts off with Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Copyright 2020 Kenneth Brown)

DARMSTADT, Germany (EUMETSAT PR) — Three days after the launch of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich from California, ESOC, ESA’s space Operations Centre, handed over flight operations of the Copernicus ocean-monitoring satellite to EUMETSAT.

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MOXIE Could Help Future Rockets Launch Off Mars

Engineers lower MOXIE into the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Perseverance rover carries a device to convert Martian air into oxygen that, if produced on a larger scale, could be used not just for breathing, but also for fuel.


PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — One of the hardest things about sending astronauts to Mars will be getting them home. Launching a rocket off the surface of the Red Planet will require industrial quantities of oxygen, a crucial part of propellant: A crew of four would need about 55,000 pounds (25 metric tons) of it to produce thrust from 15,000 pounds (7 metric tons) of rocket fuel.

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