Launcher Announces Customers for Orbiter’s Inaugural Flight

Orbiter payload plate containing customer spacecraft. (Credit: Launcher)

HAWTHORNE, CA, May 16, 2022 (Launcher PR) – Launcher, the space logistics company focused on providing access to anywhere in space at the lowest cost, today announced the customers on the first flight of its satellite transfer vehicle and hosted payload platform Orbiter. Orbiter’s first mission, SN1, is scheduled to reach orbit in October 2022 on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter-6 rideshare launch. Launcher’s customers, spanning academia, startups and established industry leaders, demonstrate the growing demand for orbit transfer and hosted payload services.

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NASA Selects Three Winners in Inaugural TechLeap Prize Challenge

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA seeks to improve a variety of Earth and space-based capabilities, including detecting and tracking wildfires, identifying plumes of gas venting into Earth’s atmosphere, and precision tracking of small spacecraft positions in orbit. The NASA TechLeap Prize is helping to advance these types of technologies for space exploration and Earth observation.

The agency has named three winners in the first TechLeap Prize competition, Autonomous Observation Challenge No. 1. The proposed solutions will help rapidly advance small spacecraft technologies for autonomous observation of events on Earth and beyond, as well as improve communications and computing power in small spacecraft applications. The winning teams will each receive an initial $200,000 prize they can use to begin building their payloads for a later suborbital flight test.

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Cal Poly Pomona Team Discovers How Microbes Survive Clean Rooms and Contaminate Spacecraft

Engineers work on Opportunity (in its cruise configuration) in a cleanroom at Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: NASA)

by Cynthia Peters
Cal Poly Pomono

Spacecraft assembly facilities harbor a low but persistent amount of biological contamination despite the use of clean rooms.

Rakesh Mogul, a Cal Poly Pomona professor of biological chemistry, was the lead author of an article in the journal Astrobiology that offers the first biochemical evidence explaining the reason the contamination persists.

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