Former Employee Hits Bankrupt Masten Space Systems with Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination, Retaliation for Exposing Alleged Fraudulent Billing

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

MOJAVE, Calif. — A former top employee at bankrupt Masten Space Systems has filed a lawsuit against the company and its former CEO, Sean Mahoney, alleging they denied him promotions and pay raises due to his race, and retaliated against him for exposing fraudulent billing on two federal contracts in 2020.

Reuben Garcia, who formerly served as director of technical operations/manager of landing systems before departing the company earlier this year, filed the lawsuit in Kern County Superior Court in November 2021. He is seeking attorney’s fees, punitive damages, and compensatory damages for “economic losses, humiliation and mental and emotional distress”. Garcia has requested a jury trial.

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International Space Station National Lab Sponsoring Diverse Set of Experiments Launching on SpaceX CRS-25

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) – A wide variety of research and technology development payloads sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory will soon launch to the orbiting laboratory. These payloads are among the more than 4,700 pounds of cargo onboard SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission (contracted by NASA), launching no earlier than 8:44 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 14, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

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NSF-Funded Research to Improve Manufacturing of Everyday Products and Medicines Will Launch on SpaceX CRS-25

A SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship departs the space station during a previous mission in July 2021. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) – From salad dressing to foam body wash, many everyday products could get an eco-friendly upgrade thanks to microgravity research. The City College of New York (CCNY) is launching an investigation to the International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to test more eco-friendly ways to create foam products (which consist of gas bubbles dispersed in liquids or solids) and products made through emulsion (when tiny droplets of one liquid are dispersed in another fluid).

However, this is not the only investigation on SpaceX CRS-25 aiming to improve products used by millions of people worldwide. Researchers from Arizona State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) are leveraging the ISS National Laboratory to improve the mass production of pharmaceuticals like vaccines. These investigations are funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and seek to use the unique space environment to help answer scientific questions that have been challenging to address on the ground.

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UH Manoa Receives $2.5M Grant to Monitor Space Weather, Making Space Travel Safer

The Sun sends out a constant stream of particles and energy, which drives a complex space weather system near Earth and can affect spacecraft and astronauts. NASA has chosen five new mission concept studies for further development to study various aspects of this dynamic system. (Credits: NASA)

MANOA, Hawaii (University of Hawaii at Manoa PR) — A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa-led project to better predict and understand weather in space earned a major boost from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The four-year, $2.5 million grant will fund a project to construct a space weather station center on the UH Mānoa campus and deploy a neutron monitor on Maui, which researchers say will greatly improve their research in this critical field.

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Report Identifies Priority Planetary Science Missions, Planetary Defense Efforts, and Strategic Investments for the Next Decade

WASHINGTON (National Academies PR) — A new decadal survey from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies scientific priorities and opportunities and makes funding recommendations to maximize the advancement of planetary science, astrobiology, and planetary defense in the next 10 years.

The recommendations by the steering committee for the decadal survey draw on input from the scientific community through the advice of six panels, hundreds of white papers, invited speakers, outreach to advisory groups and professional society conferences, and work with mission-design teams.

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NSF Awards Grant to Emerging Futures to Develop Lunar Landing Pad Material

Portland, Ore., March 10, 2022 (Emerging Futures PR) — Emerging Futures, LLC, a research and analysis consultancy focused on climate change mitigation and the commercial expansion of space, has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) 2021-2022 Phase I Grant from the National Science Foundation.

This Grant enables Emerging Futures to continue developing its PolyBrick™ polymer-regolith composite lunar landing pad concept. This innovative, sustainable, and scalable material will be constructed entirely from lunar materials.

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Battelle and National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Using SpaceX Starlink Satellites to Timely Deliver Ecological Data to Scientists

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 07, 2022 (Battelle PR) — Battelle, which manages the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) program, is now using Starlink in a pilot test to achieve improved data transmission and service as part of an ongoing initiative to leverage new and innovative technologies to improve and enhance the operations of NEON.

The NSF’s NEON collects data about plants, animals, soil, nutrients, fresh water and the atmosphere in a range of U.S. ecological and climatically diverse areas through a system of field sites.

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Future Trillion Dollar ‘Space Economy’ Threatened by Debris, WVU Researcher Says

Piyush Mehta has earned the prestigious CAREER award for his research in upper atmosphere variability (Credit: WVU/Paige Nesbit)

MORGANTOWN, W.V. (West Virginia University PR) — The space economy is on track to be valued at a trillion dollars by the end of 2030, according to Piyush Mehta, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University. Yet space assets–equipment that is placed in space such as navigation, weather and communication satellites that serve our society daily–are threatened by space debris. 

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Lunar Resources to Mine Metals on the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (Lunar Resources PR) – Recent awards from NASA and the National Science Foundation have created a path forward for Houston-based Lunar Resources, Inc., to perform mining of oxygen and metals on the Moon as early as 2024.

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NSF-Funded Solicitation to Leverage the ISS National Lab for Tissue Engineering Research is Now Open

Credit: NASA

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla, December 6, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) announced a solicitation to utilize the International Space Station (ISS) to advance research in tissue engineering and mechanobiology. Through this solicitation, NSF will provide up to $1.2 million in funding to support multiple projects that will launch to the orbiting research platform under the sponsorship of the ISS National Laboratory. CASIS is the organization responsible for management of the ISS National Lab through a Cooperative Agreement with NASA.

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House Passes Infrastructure Spending Bill With Extra $1 Billion for NASA

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act last week that includes billions of dollars in funds for NASA, NOAA and other scientific and technology agencies.

In addition to funding improvements to physical infrastructure, the measure puts a major emphasis on addressing climate change, a problem that the Biden Administration takes seriously. The previous president described as a Chinese plot to destroy American industry.

The bill now goes to the Senate where its fate is uncertain.

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Report Calls for Immediate Actions to Address Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy, Environment

A wide-field image (2.2 degrees across) from the Dark Energy Camera on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, taken on 18 November 2019. Several Starlink satellites crossed the field of view. (Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/DECam DELVE Survey)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new report recommends “immediate, well-funded, comprehensive, and collaborative work” to implement a series of measures to mitigate the negative impacts that large satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy.

The report, whose executive summary was published last week, includes 10 recommendations for observatories and constellation operators that include the development of software to identify and mask satellite trails and designs changes to lessen the reflectivity of satellites. (The full list of recommendations are below.)

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SpaceX Satellite Signals Used Like GPS to Pinpoint Location on Earth

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ohio State University PR) — Engineering researchers have developed a method to use signals broadcast by Starlink internet service satellites to accurately locate a position here on Earth, much like GPS does. It is the first time the Starlink system has been harnessed by researchers outside SpaceX for navigation.

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Planet Reports Second Quarter Financial Results and Reaffirms Full Year Outlook

  • Delivers Record Second Quarter Revenue of $30.4 Million, Up 19% YoY
  • Reiterates $130 million Revenue Outlook for Fiscal Year 2022

SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PR)–Planet Labs Inc. (Planet” or the “Company), a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2021, highlighting the continued momentum of its unique data subscription business. Earlier this year, Planet entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV (NYSE: DMYQ) (“dMY IV”), a special purpose acquisition company, to become a publicly traded company later this year (the “Business Combination”).

Second Quarter FY2022 Highlights

  • Q2 Revenue increased 19% year-over-year to $30.4 million.
  • Percent of Recurring ACV was 93%, as compared to 92% in the year ago comparable quarter
  • End of Period (EoP) Customer Count increased 36% year-over-year to 732 customers
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NSF and CASIS Select Three Tissue Engineering Projects to Leverage the ISS National Lab

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 8, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced three awarded projects from a joint solicitation focused on transformative tissue engineering and mechanobiology research. Through this partnership, NSF awarded $1.2 million to the selected projects to leverage the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to advance fundamental science and biomedical engineering. CASIS, manager of the ISS National Lab, will facilitate hardware implementation in-orbit access, and astronaut crew time to support the investigations on the orbiting laboratory.

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