NASA, UK Space Agency to Cooperate on Future Moon Missions

The moon rising over Half Moon Bay. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

LONDON (UKSA PR) — The UK and US space agencies have signed a statement of intent, which paves the way for UK commercial satellite communication and navigation services to be used by future NASA missions to the Moon.

The agreement was announced in a speech from Science Minister Chris Skidmore at the Policy Exchange in London on ‘Embracing the New Space Age’ on 16 July, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch.

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ULA Delays Atlas V, Delta IV Missions

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-4 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V551 rocket carrying the Lockheed Martin-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency 5 (AEHF-5) satellite for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is delayed, due to an anomaly during component testing at a supplier which has created a cross-over concern. 

Additional time is needed for the team to review the component anomaly and determine if any corrective action is required to the launch vehicle. Launch of the AEHF-5 mission is now targeted for no earlier than Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019.

AEHF satellites provide highly-secure, jam-proof connectivity between U.S. national leadership and deployed military forces. Atlas V rockets successfully launched the first four AEHF satellites in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2018.

The AEHF-5 launch will mark the 80th Atlas V mission since the inaugural launch in 2002 and the 10th in the 551 configuration. The rocket features a kerosene-fueled common core booster, five solid rocket boosters, the hydrogen-fueled Centaur upper stage and a five-meter-diameter payload fairing.

The ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the GPS III SV02 mission for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is delayed, due to an anomaly during component testing at a supplier which has created a cross-over concern. 

Upon further evaluation, additional time is needed to replace and retest the component on the launch vehicle. Launch of the GPS III SV02 mission is now targeted for no earlier than Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019.

NASA Releases Pre-solicitation for LEO Commercial Free Flyer

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NASA intends to release Appendix K to the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) entitled “Appendix K: Commercial Destination Development in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Free Flyer.”

This appendix will request proposals from United States (U.S.) commercial entities to enter into a public-private partnership to develop and demonstrate commercial destination technologies and markets in LEO.

The primary objectives of Appendix K to the NextSTEP-2 BAA are (1) to successfully develop commercial markets through demonstration of products and services in LEO in habitable commercial destinations and (2) to provide a plan to establish a long-term, sustainable, commercial, human spaceflight enterprise in LEO where NASA is one of many customers.

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Video: SpaceX Starhopper Fires Raptor Engine in Explosive Display

The test vehicle seemed to survive just fine. It looked worse than it was.

Momentus Announces $25.5 Million Series A Funding Round

Vigoride (Credit: Momentus)

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 17, 2019 (Momentus PR) — Momentus (http://www.momentus.space), a provider of in-space shuttle services that move satellites between orbits, today announced a $25.5mm series A investment round led by Prime Movers Lab and featuring investment from Y Combinator, the Lerner Family, the University of Wyoming Foundation, Quiet Capital, Mountain Nazca, ACE & Company, Liquid 2 Ventures, Drake Management, and others.

This round has brought the total investment amount for Momentus to $34MM. The investment will be used to continue development and in-space testing for Momentus’ Vigoride and Vigoride Extended in-space shuttles. The company also plans to accelerate hiring and expand research/manufacturing facilities at Momentus’ Santa Clara, CA headquarters.

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My Appearance on The Space Show Now Online

My appearance on The Space Show is now online.

David and I had a nice talk about Virgin Galactic’s plan to go public and whether the passenger and financial numbers they’re aiming for are very realistic. We also talked about NASA’s Artemis program and what the odds are of a landing on the moon in 2024. Charles Lurio called in to chat about that. Other space subjects also came up.

Kleos Space Completes Acceptance Reviews for Satellites

Luxembourg, 16 July 2019: Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), (Kleos or Company), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data provider, has completed all acceptance reviews and the satellites are mission ready awaiting transport to RocketLab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

The satellites in the Kleos’ Scouting Mission are now secured in their protective Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) boxes – designed to prevent damage to the hardware in the event of a discharge of static electricity. Sensitive devices are protected at all times during manufacture/assembly, transport, handling, and storage.

Kleos’ CTO Miles Ashcroft said “Our satellites have undergone and successfully passed the full test suite. They are formally technically accepted as mission ready. We await the ‘green light’ from our launch partners RocketLab to dispatch to Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand for flight preparation and integration onto the launch vehicle.”

The multi-satellite Scouting Mission system will form the foundation of a constellation that delivers a global picture of hidden maritime activity, enhancing the intelligence capability of government and commercial entities when AIS (Automatic Identification System) is defeated, imagery is unclear, or targets are out of patrol range. The first scouting mission is made up of four nano-satellites built by GomSpace in Denmark.

Four Moon Walkers Remain as America Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin steps down the ladder to the surface of the moon. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Fifty years ago today, three astronauts set off on the journey of a lifetime to make the first human landing on the moon. Twelve men would walk on the lunar surface, collect rocks and soil samples, and drive electric cars before the Apollo program ended in December 1972.

As the United States marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic first lunar landing on July 20, four of the 12 men who walked on the surface and eight others who flew around the moon are alive to celebrate it.

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OneWeb’s Satellites Deliver Real-Time HD Streaming from Space

  • OneWeb proves satellite constellation can deliver high-speed, low-latency services from Space.
  • Comprehensive tests delivered live Full HD (1080p) streaming video at latency of less than 40 milliseconds and with speeds of over 400 Mbps.
  • All satellites in orbit, launched in February 2019 are performing well.
  • Test conducted in partnership with Intellian, developer of OneWeb user terminals.

LONDON, July 16, 2019 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, whose mission is to enable internet access everywhere for everyone, is delighted to announce the successful test of its six satellites in Low Earth Orbit. All satellites delivered high-speed, low-latency services, with speed of more than 400 Mbps which enabled the fastest real-time video streaming in Full HD from Space. The tests, which took place in Seoul, South Korea, represent the most significant demonstration of the OneWeb constellation to date, proving its ability to provide superior broadband connectivity anywhere on the planet.

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Dynetics Sets its Sights on the Moon and Beyond

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Dynetics PR) — For forty-five years, Dynetics has distinguished itself as a premier aerospace and defense contractor in Rocket City, USA. In 2009, we first expanded our capabilities to the space sector, shocking the industry with the success of our Fast, Affordable, Scientific, SATellite (FASTSAT) small satellite. In just ten short years, Dynetics has built a reputation as a company that provides reliable, rapid, and efficient space solutions. 

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Proton-M Launches Spektr-RG Astrophyics Observatory

Proton-M rocket launches the Spektr-RG observatory. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (July 13, 2019) — Proton-M carrier rocket with DM-03 booster and Spektr-RG unique space astrophysical observatory was successfully launched from launch pad N81 at Baikonur cosmodrome at 15:30 Moscow time. The launch and the flight of the rocket went flawlessly making it the second launch of the type in 2019.

According to the launch sequence, at 17:30 Moscow time the spacecraft separated from DM-03 booster designed by Energia company and the orbital observatory commenced its 100-day flight towards the L2 libration point of the Sun – Earth system, where it will be exploring the Universe in X-ray spectrum of electromagnetic emission.

The following operations are scheduled during the flight: support systems check, telescope adjustment, calibration and testing, test astrophysical observations. The observations are scheduled to be performed for 6.5 years with 4 years in scanning the sky of stars mode and 2.5 years in pinpoint observations of the objects in the Universe.

Ferguson: Starliner Flight Test in September “Looking Good”

Boeing’s Starliner prepares for acoustic testing at Boeing’s spacecraft test facilities in El Segundo, California. This vehicle, known as Spacecraft 2, will fly Starliner’s Crew Flight Test after it returns to Florida from environmental testing. (Credits: Boeing)

News 6 interviewed Boeing’s Chris Ferguson on Saturday about the status of the company’s effort to launch its Starliner commercial crew vehicle to the International Space Station (ISS) this year:

“We have an uncrewed test flight here in September. It’s looking very good. We were working late into the night last night doing test work, 24/7 operations,” Ferguson said. “We are in the final push and I’m optimistic that you’re going to see humans return to space from the Space Coast within the next several months. It’s been a long time.”

[….]

After the uncrewed test flight, Boeing will also need to complete a launch abort test with the spacecraft before it can launch astronauts. During the abort test, ULA will launch the capsule and trigger an abort, which will send the capsule away from the rocket testing the system designed to carry the astronauts to safety.

Ferguson will pilot Starliner, with NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Mike Fincke, to the space station on its first crewed test flight.

“I’ve learned to not count my chickens early but I’m optimistic this year is going to be a very good year for the Boeing team,” Ferguson said.

SpaceX Says Nitrogen Tetroxide Leak Resulted in Destruction of Crew Dragon Vehicle

An instrumented mannequin sit in the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-1 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — On Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 18:13 UTC, SpaceX conducted a series of static fire engine tests of the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort test vehicle on a test stand at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Astroscale Advances Environmentally Sustainable Use of Space through ESA / OneWeb Sunrise Project

End-of-Life Service by Astroscale demonstrator (ELSA-d) satellite. (Credit: Astroscale UK Ltd)

HARWELL, UK (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Ltd. (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in developing a space debris removal service to secure long-term orbital sustainability, has been awarded a contract under the Sunrise Project, a Public-Private Partnership led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and OneWeb, a global communications company on a mission to connect the unconnected through a global satellite constellation.

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