NASA says that a surge in COVID-19 cases has caused supply issues that have delayed the planned launch of the Landsat 9 Earth observation satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base by one week to no earlier than Sept. 23.
“Current pandemic demands for medical liquid oxygen [LOX] have impacted the delivery of the needed liquid nitrogen supply to Vandenberg by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and its supplier Airgas,” the space agency said in a blog post. “Airgas converts the liquid nitrogen to gaseous nitrogen needed for launch vehicle testing and countdown sequences. DLA and Airgas now have implemented efforts to increase the supply of liquid nitrogen to Vandenberg.”
Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s growing space program managed only two domestic launches last year as it was forced to delay the Gaganyaan human spaceflight program and several other high profile projects.
However, India was able to move forward last year on a sweeping commercialization of its state-controlled space industry designed to make the country internationally competitive.
MOJAVE, Calif., June 23, 2021 (Masten Space Systems PR) – Masten Space Systems is proud to be one of NASA’s providers for lunar delivery services to the Moon as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. Masten Mission 1 includes delivery of science and technology instruments near the Haworth Crater at the lunar south pole, a site expected to offer insight into the presence of important volatiles on the Moon. In addition to commercial payloads, Masten’s XL-1 lunar lander will deliver and operate eight NASA-sponsored payloads to assess the composition of the lunar surface, evaluate radiation, and detect volatiles, such as water, methane, and carbon dioxide, under the agency’s Artemis program.
SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.
First in a series
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DOJ PR) – A Senior Executive Service (SES) employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) pleaded guilty today to submitting fraudulent applications for over $350,000 in COVID-19 economic relief loans and benefits.
“Despite holding a senior executive position at NASA, the defendant applied for over $350,000 in fraudulent loans and benefits,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “In doing so, he essentially treated COVID-19 relief programs as a personal piggy bank, using funds intended to provide pandemic relief for small businesses and the unemployed to pay down his credit card debt, pay off loans for a residential pool and minivan, and pay a dog-breeder, among other personal expenses. EDVA will continue to hold accountable individuals who exploit a national economic crisis in order to unlawfully enrich themselves at the expense of those in genuine need due to the pandemic.”
PARIS, WASHINGTON DC, MONTREAL, YOKOHAMA (Euroconsult PR) — The latest update of “Prospects for the Small Satellite Market” was released this week by Euroconsult, forecasting further growth in the global supply and demand of government, commercial and academic satellites weighing up to 500 kg.
The market intelligence report, now in its 7th edition, builds upon Euroconsult’s previous iteration that accurately predicted more than 1,000 satellites would be launched during 2020, a record year despite COVID-19. The new release further reinforces the sentiment that the 2020s will be the decade of small satellites, anticipating the launch of close to 14,000 smallsats before 2030.
The Wall Street Journalreports that Richard Branson has hired Credit Suisse Group AG and LionTree LLC to take Virgin Orbit public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) at a valuation of up to $3 billion.
Rollout of Second Spaceship Scheduled to Take Place on March 30
Announced Expected Timing of Revenue-Generating Flight with the Italian Air Force
Next Rocket-Powered Spaceflight Targeted to Occur in May
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or the “Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2020.
At least 32 people infected from illegal gathering that violated state and local restrictions
Event held while Southern California ICUs were at full capacity
Diamandis says he’s learned masks and social distancing really are important
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
On Saturday, I received an email from XPRIZE Chairman Dr. Peter Diamandis, holder of a medical degree from Harvard, about a super spreader event he held in Los Angeles last month that resulted in at least 32 people becoming infected with the deadly COVID-19. The email, sent to members of the Abundance 360 mailing list, was based on a blog post he had published the previous day.
I was impressed with how candid Diamandis was in admitting how his Abundance 360 Summit with nearly 100 participants had turned into a complete cluster expletive. Well, I was impressed until I found this MIT Technology Review story online only a short time later:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has replaced the minister who oversees the nation’s space program as part of a shakeup of his cabinet that also involved the first Canadian to travel to space.
Trudeau named minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne to replace Navdeep Bains as minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. The position involves overseeing the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) among other duties.
Despite the Covid-19 global pandemic impacting certain segments of the commercial space market, government spending remains unaffected.
Paris, Washington D.C., Montreal, Yokohama (Euroconsult PR) – In its latest research product “The Space Economy Report 2020″, Euroconsult estimates that the consolidated space economy, including both government space investments, as well as commercial space, totaled $385 billion in 2020, a record amount. Commercial revenues of $315 billion in 2020 were down 2% from 2019’s $319 billion evaluation, due partially to the Covid-19 pandemic affecting certain commercial markets – in particular satellite communication sub-segments focused on high mobility such as, aero, maritime, offshore oil and gas, though other factors, such as video-related revenues continuing their pre-Covid downward trend contributed to the decrease.
NASA needs to strengthen its management oversight of the lunar landing program to minimize delays and cost overruns as the space agency moves beyond the Artemis I flight test scheduled for November 2021, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
GAO’s program review also found that schedule for the maiden flight of the Space Launch System and second Orion spacecraft does not account for delays resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The outgoing year 2020 has become a difficult test for the entire world marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many world economic players have encountered objective difficulties in the implementation of previously outlined plans.
Unfortunately, Roscosmos also had to correct a number of plans, including those related to launch activities. Nevertheless, Roscosmos management put the quality of production and the safety of personnel working at the Russian rocket and space industry enterprises and cosmodromes at the forefront.
With the disruption and deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t the easiest year to get things done. Keeping that in mind, let’s see how the companies did in 2020. (Spoiler Alert: they came up a little short.)