Nanoracks to Provide ISS with New Doorway to Space

Illustration of Bishop commercial airlock on International Space Station. (Credit: NanoRacks)

by Margo Pierce
NASA’s Spinoff Publication

Anyone who has gotten a sofa stuck in a doorway on moving day knows how frustrating it is when there’s no other way in or out. The doorways on the International Space Station, or airlocks, have worked just fine for 20 years. But as more researchers and companies wish to expand the scope and size of the projects they send into low-Earth orbit, a larger doorway could help.

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SSC UK Awarded ESA Contract to Define Next Generation Ground Segment Connectivity Systems for CubeSats and Smallsats

One of SSC antennas at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden, where SSC has one of the world’s largest ground stations for satellite management. (Credit: SSC)

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — The UK subsidiary of SSC (Swedish Space Corporation), has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a next generation concept for space to ground communications targeting the “NewSpace” (CubeSats and SmallSats) market. The initiative is supported by the UK Space Agency and aims at developing a range of new technologies that will address some of the market entry barriers faced by CubeSat organizations globally.

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Emxys Raises €2 Million in Venture Funding to Develop ODALISS

  • Emxys, a space technology company, has raised €2 million in funding.
  • The round was led by Mundi Ventures with participation from CDTI.
  • Financing from the round will be used to develop the ODALISS project, an innovative platform for small satellites with laser communications.

ALICANTE, Spain – Emxys (Embedded Instruments & Systems), a Spanish company based in Alicante, has closed a €2 million [US $2.35 million] funding round led by Mundi Ventures and with participation from CDTI. Vinca Capital served as financial advisor and Gesem served as legal advisor to Emxys in the transaction.

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Rocket Lab Demonstrates Flexible In-space Transportation with New Kick Stage Maneuver

Kick Stage in orbit. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab’s Kick Stage successfully completed plane change in orbit for the first time, further demonstrating the Kick Stage’s ability to enable custom orbits for small sats.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — This week Rocket Lab demonstrated an advanced capability of its Kick Stage acting as a space tug during the company’s 15th launch, the ‘In Focus’ mission that launched satellites for Planet and Canon on October 28th UTC.

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Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Agreement with Andøya Space for Maiden Flight

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

AUGSBURG, Germany — Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), a participation of space technology company OHB SE, will be establishing a launch site for a micro launcher together with Norwegian company Andøya Space. The two partners have now signed a letter of intent to this effect. The site is to provide launch services for small satellites from 2022.

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Video: First Hot Fire Testing of 75kN HyImpulse Hybrid Rocket Motor

Video Caption: At midday of Tuesday 15 September, the first firing of the HyImpulse 75kN hybrid rocket motor was a full success! It was performed at the world class DLR Lampoldshausen testing facility.

This is the biggest hybrid rocket motor ever built and tested in Europe. This marks an important milestone in accomplishing our plan for a suborbital flight in early 2021 and the first flight of the three stage HyImpulse launcher SL1 by the end of 2022.

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RHEA Group and GomSpace Sign MOU on Space Security

Aalborg, Denmark (GomSpace PR) — RHEA Group and satellite solutions provider GomSpace have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further combine their expertise on Security for Space and the development and operations of large constellations of SmallSats.

The MOU consolidates a closer collaboration between the two companies as a result of past and ongoing activities in related fields. Under this MOU, the companies are partnering on security developments and monitoring operations associated with GomSpace’s present and future in-orbit satellite constellation activities, including taking advantage of RHEA’s Cyber-Range and Cyber Security Operations Centre (C-SOC).

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JAXA Selects 15 Innovative Micro Satellite Demonstration Projects

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has established a basic mission that uses micro satellites as part of the “environmental maintenance for stable supply of core parts of space systems” shown in the Basic Space Plan.

We are advancing the “Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program” with the aim of conducting on-orbit verification of parts and new elemental technology in a timely and inexpensive manner.

We would like to inform you that we are soliciting demonstration themes for “Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Unit 3” and selected the demonstration themes (15 in total) from the 23 themes that we applied for, as shown below.

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SpaceX Senior VP Jumps to Relativity Space Startup

Zachary Dunn

One of the lesser known aspects of SpaceX’s rise to the top of the space industry is how the company has seeded other companies with experienced personnel.

Throughout its existence, SpaceX has had fairly high employee turnover. People work at Elon Musk’s company and move on for reasons ranging from being fired or laid off to getting burned out from long hours to becoming frustrated over relatively low pay to simply wanting to do something else.

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Virgin Orbit Maiden Launch Set for Sunday

Cosmic Girl with LauncherOne under its wing. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit will attempt to air launch its LauncherOne rocket for the first time on Sunday, CNBC reports.

The website says the company’s Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 will take off with the rocket under its wing from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 1 p.m. and head out to the Pacific Ocean.

Parabolic Arc will be in Mojave to cover the takeoff and landing. Look for updates on Twitter @spacecom.

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NASA Funds Six Small Spacecraft Technologies for Development

NASA has selected six small satellite technology projects for continued development under phase II of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The selected proposals included: two projects focused on in-space propulsion; two systems for de-orbiting satellites; one project focused on radiation shielding for small spacecraft; and an improved turbo-pump for small satellite launch vehicles.

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Exolaunch Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Falcon 9 Small Satellite Rideshare Mission

Falcon 9 launch with fourth batch of Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

BERLIN, Germany, April 14th, 2020 (Exolaunch PR) – Exolaunch, a German rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a Launch Services Agreement with SpaceX to launch small satellites on a Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program.

Under the launch contract, Exolaunch accommodates multiple microsatellites and cubesats on the first Falcon 9 smallsat-dedicated rideshare mission to sun-synchronous orbit, targeted for launch in December 2020. 

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Video: Virgin Orbit Cosmic Girl Taxi Test with LauncherOne Attached

Video Caption: Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 conducted a slow-speed taxi test down the runway with a fueled LauncherOne under its wing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on March 5, 2020. The test covered about 2 miles on runway 12-30.

The taxi test was a precursor to a flight test with a fueled booster for Sir Richard Branson’s launch company. LauncherOne is designed to orbit small satellites after being dropped from the modified Boeing airliner. Virgin Orbit plans to conduct a flight test of the booster for later this year.

Momentus Space to Provide Flexibility for SpaceX Rideshare Missions

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Momentus Space PR) — As we have written in the past, SpaceX has proven a new paradigm for the satellite launch industry. From record-breaking launches for payloads (number of satellites on one rocket) to one of the most innovative and flexible ridesharing programs, the team there has proven that the world’s first orbital-class reusable rocket can bring down costs for smallsat operators through regularly scheduled, dedicated Falcon 9 rideshare missions.

Still, many CubeSat and smallsat operators would prefer to be in custom orbits at different inclinations, in different orbit planes, or at different altitudes.

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