NASA’s SLS Core Stage Green Run Tests Critical Systems For Artemis I

Teams at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, completed the first test of the eight-part core stage Green Run test series for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on Jan. 30. (Credits: NASA)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — NASA is resuming work on a series of tests to bring the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage to life for the first time, allowing engineers to evaluate the new complex stage that will launch the Artemis I lunar mission.

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Indian Pilots Resume Astronaut Training in Russia

Indian astronaut in training. (Credit: Roscosmos)

STAR CITY, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — The Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) on May 12 resumed training of the Indian cosmonauts under the contract between Glavkosmos, JSC (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) and the Human Spaceflight Center of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

All four Indian cosmonauts undergoing training in Russia are in good health and feel fine. The health of Indian cosmonauts is carefully protected: GCTC continues to observe anti-epidemic regulations according to which sanitary and hygienic measures are carried out at all the GCTC facilities, social distancing measures are applied and the presence of unauthorized persons is restricted; all employees and cosmonauts must wear medical masks and gloves.

This week, the GCTC specialists are giving theoretical classes on the basics of astrogation, the basics of manned spacecraft control and the Russian language to the Indian cosmonauts.

The contract for the training of Indian cosmonauts between Glavkosmos and the Human Spaceflight Center of the Indian Space Research Organisation was signed on June 27, 2019.

Their training in Russia started on February 10, 2020. Since the end of this March, due to the global pandemic of a new coronavirus infection, a lockdown was recommended for the Indian cosmonauts which they carefully observed.

Atlas V Launches X-37B Space Plane

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (Credit: ULA)

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 17, 2020 ULA PR)  A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).

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How Engineers at NASA-JPL Persevered to Develop a Ventilator

Clockwise from bottom left: Brandon Metz, Shaunessy Grant, Michael Johnson, Dave Van Buren, Michelle Easter and Patrick Degrosse are among dozens of engineers at JPL involved in creating VITAL, a ventilator prototype specially targeted to coronavirus disease patients. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — On April 30, the Food and Drug Administration approved VITAL for a ventilator Emergency Use Authorization. Developed in just 37 days by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in response to the coronavirus pandemic, VITAL (short for Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) wouldn’t replace current hospital ventilators, which can treat a broader range of medical issues.

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California Panel Turns Down Training Money for SpaceX

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

Angered by Elon Musk’s threat to move Tesla Motors out of the Golden State, the California’s Employment Training Panel denied an application from Musk’s SpaceX for $655,500 in state job and training funds.

Reuters reports:

“In my opinion, given the recent threats of the CEO to leave the state of California, and everything else we’ve discussed today, this proposal does not rise to the level for me to feel secure in supporting it,” said Gretchen Newsom, a panel member and the political director of an IBEW electrical workers union local.

“SpaceX is a different company, but they have the same CEO,” said Newsom, who is not related to California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Musk threatened to pull his electric car company out of California after Alameda County officials wanted him to delay reopening Tesla’s production facility in Fremont, Calif.

The plant had been closed in late March due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. County officials were not satisfied with Tesla’s plan to protect workers from the virus. Musk reopened the facility without the county’s approval.

NASA Takes Preliminary Steps to Resume SLS Core Stage Testing Work

The SLS stage being prepared for the green run. (Credits: NASA/SSC)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — NASA resumed Green Run testing activities this week on the first flight stage of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, with the return of limited crews to perform work at the agency’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

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USSF and ULA to Honor COVID-19 Responders with ‘America Strong’ Launch Dedication

Encapsulated X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle for United States Space Force-7 mission. (Credit: Boeing)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The U.S. Space Force and United Launch Alliance will honor all front-line workers and COVID-19 first responders while paying tribute to those affected by the pandemic during a launch mission scheduled for May 16 at 8:24 a.m. EST. United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket carrying the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle serves as a collaborative “America Strong” salute from the USSF and ULA.

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ESA Takes Next Steps in Startup Competition

PARIS (ESA PR) — In spite of the COVID-19 crisis, ESA’s Startup competition is under way. By the closing date for submissions, 101 valid proposals had been submitted to ESA and the evaluations have now begun.

ESA is looking for ways to provide support to startups in their valuable role in the space industrial ecosystem. ESA’s Startup competition offers the winning entrepreneurs a mentoring prize and an invitation from ESA to present and promote their projects during a prestigious event.

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Funds Increased for Space in Response to COVID-19

PARIS (ESA PR) — Some €10 million is now available for proposals to use space to improve healthcare and distance learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the Italian national delegation to ESA.

The funding has quadrupled because of the large quantity of high-quality ideas received. 

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Small Satellite Conference Goes Virtual This Year

The 34th Annual Small Satellite Conference will be streamed live free of charge on Aug. 1-6 this year due to the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Conference organizers decided to cancel the in-person conference held annually in Logan, Utah, to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

A letter from conference Chairman Pat Patterson follows.

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Building Satellites Amid COVID-19

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will map up to 95% of Earth’s ice-free ocean every 10 days in order to monitor sea level variability. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

MUNICH (ESA PR) — During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 lockdown, trying to work poses huge challenges for us all. For those that can, remote working is now pretty much the norm, but this is obviously not possible for everybody. One might assume that like many industries, the construction and testing of satellites has been put on hold, but engineers and scientists are finding ways of continuing to prepare Europe’s upcoming satellite missions such as the next Copernicus Sentinels.

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Amazon, SpaceX Among Companies Circling Bankrupt OneWeb

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are among companies doing due diligence on OneWeb, the satellite broadband company that declared bankruptcy in March.

Other companies interested include Eutelsat, Cerberus and two Chinese companies, according to Space Intel Report.

OneWeb has 74 satellites in orbit, which is only 11.4 percent of an initial planned constellation of 648 satellites designed to provide broadband services across the globe.

SpaceX is already deploying its rival Starlink constellation with satellites the company says are more capable than the ones launched by OneWeb. Bezos’ Amazon is planning its own satellite constellation.

It’s not clear whether potential buyers want to purchase the entire company or the OneWeb’s bandwidth allocation, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

OneWeb filed bankruptcy in March, blaming the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for drying up financing for the multi-billion satellite constellation.

New SLS Worry: Leaks

NASA’s Ground Transportation team guides NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s completed core stage from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the agency’s Pegasus barge on Jan. 8. (Credits: NASA/Tyler Martin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of NASA’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) has a depressingly familiar ring to it. Tell me if you’ve heard this before:

  • schedule continues to slip
  • costs continue to rise
  • core stage could develop fuel leaks.

Yeah, that does sound famil– Wait…WHAT?!?

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NASA-Developed Ventilator Authorized by FDA for Emergency Use

This image shows the ventilator prototype for coronavirus disease patients designed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers and tailored to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients today was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use under the FDA’s March 24 ventilator Emergency Use Authorization.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the device was developed by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators so they may be used on patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.

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