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[l] at 1/22/21 1:22pm
In this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet’s surface as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Ingenuity, a technology experiment, is preparing to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on the Red Planet.

When NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, it will be carrying a small but mighty passenger: Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter.

The helicopter, which weighs about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) on Earth and has a fuselage about the size of a tissue box, started out six years ago as an implausible prospect. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California knew it was theoretically possible to fly in Mars’ thin atmosphere, but no one was sure whether they could build a vehicle powerful enough to fly, communicate, and survive autonomously with the extreme restrictions on its mass.

Then the team had to prove in Earthbound tests that it could fly in a Mars-like environment. Now that they’ve checked off those objectives, the team is preparing to test Ingenuity in the actual environment of Mars.

“Our Mars Helicopter team has been doing things that have never been done before – that no one at the outset could be sure could even be done,” said MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager at JPL “We faced many challenges along the way that could have stopped us in our tracks. We are thrilled that we are now so close to demonstrating – on Mars – what Ingenuity can really do.”

ngenuity survived the intense vibrations of launch on July 30, 2020, and has passed its health checks as it waits to plunge with Perseverance through the Martian atmosphere. But the helicopter won’t attempt its first flight for more than a month after landing: Engineers for the rover and helicopter need time to make sure both robots are ready.

Here are the key things to know about Ingenuity as the anticipation builds:

1. Ingenuity is an experimental flight test.

The Mars Helicopter is what is known as a technology demonstration – a narrowly focused project that seeks to test a new capability for the first time. Previous groundbreaking technology demonstrations include the first Mars rover, Sojourner, and the Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats that flew by Mars.

The helicopter doesn’t carry science instruments and isn’t part of Perseverance’s science mission. Ingenuity’s objective is an engineering one: to demonstrate rotorcraft flight in Mars’ the extremely thin atmosphere, which has just around 1% of the density of our atmosphere on Earth.

Ingenuity will attempt up to five test flights within a 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) demonstration window. Its pioneering aspirations are similar to those of the Wright brothers’ Flyer, which achieved the first powered, controlled flight on Earth.

2. Mars won’t make it easy for Ingenuity to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

Because the Mars atmosphere is so thin, Ingenuity is designed to be light, with rotor blades that are much larger and spin much faster than what would be required for a helicopter of Ingenuity’s mass on Earth.

The Red Planet also has beyond bone-chilling temperatures, with nights as cold as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius) at Jezero Crater, the rover and helicopter’s landing site. These temperatures will push the original design limits of the off-the-shelf parts used in Ingenuity. Tests on Earth at the predicted temperatures indicate Ingenuity’s parts should work as designed, but the team is looking forward to the real test on Mars.

“Mars isn’t exactly pulling out the welcome mat,” said Tim Canham, Ingenuity’s operations lead at JPL. “One of the first things Ingenuity has to do when it gets to Mars is just survive its first night.”

3. Ingenuity relies on the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission for safe passage to Mars and for operations on the Red Planet’s surface.

Ingenuity is nestled sideways under the belly of the Perseverance rover with a cover to protect it from debris kicked up during landing. Both the rover and the helicopter are safely ensconced inside a clamshell-like spacecraft entry capsule during the 293-million-mile (471-million-kilometer) journey to Mars. The power system on the Mars 2020 spacecraft periodically charges Ingenuity’s batteries on the way there.

To reach the Martian surface, Ingenuity rides along with Perseverance as it lands. The rover’s entry, descent, and landing system features a supersonic parachute, new “brains” for avoiding hazards autonomously, and components for the sky crane maneuver, which lowers the rover onto Mars from a descent vehicle. Only about 50% of the attempts to land on Mars, by any space agency, have been successful.

Once a suitable site to deploy the helicopter is found, the rover’s Mars Helicopter Delivery System will shed the landing cover, rotate the helicopter to a legs-down configuration, and gently drop Ingenuity on the surface in the first few months after landing. Throughout the helicopter’s commissioning and flight test campaign, the rover will assist with the communications back-and-forth from Earth. The rover team also plans to collect images of Ingenuity.

4. Ingenuity is smart for a small robot.

Delays are an inherent part of communicating with spacecraft across interplanetary distances, which means Ingenuity’s flight controllers at JPL won’t be able to control the helicopter with a joystick. In fact, they won’t be able to look at engineering data or images from each flight until well after the flight takes place.

So Ingenuity will make some of its own decisions based on parameters set by its engineers on Earth. The helicopter has a kind of programmable thermostat, for instance, that will keep it warm on Mars. During flight, Ingenuity will analyze sensor data and images of the terrain to ensure it stays on the flight path designed by project engineers.

5. The Ingenuity team counts success one step at a time.

Given Ingenuity’s experimental nature, the team has a long list of milestones the helicopter must reach before it can take off and land in the spring of 2021. The team will celebrate each milestone:

  • Surviving the cruise to Mars and landing on the Red Planet
  • Safely deploying to the surface from Perseverance’s belly
  • Autonomously keeping warm through the intensely cold Martian nights
  • Autonomously charging itself with the solar panel atop its rotors
  • Successfully communicating to and from the helicopter via a subsystem known as the Mars Helicopter Base Station on the rover

If the first experimental flight test on another planet succeeds, the Ingenuity team will attempt more test flights.

6. If Ingenuity succeeds, future Mars exploration could include an ambitious aerial dimension.

Ingenuity is intended to demonstrate technologies and first-of-its-kind operations needed for flying in the Martian atmosphere. If successful, these technologies and the experience with flying a helicopter on another planet could enable other advanced robotic flying vehicles that might be part of future robotic and human missions to Mars.

Possible uses of a future helicopter on Mars include offering a unique viewpoint not provided by current orbiters high overhead or by rovers and landers on the ground; high-definition images and reconnaissance for robots or humans; and access to terrain that is difficult for rovers to reach. A future helicopter could even help carry light but vital payloads from one site to another.

More About the Project

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter technology demonstration for NASA. JPL also manages the Mars 2020 Perseverance project for NASA.

More on Ingenuity can be found in its online press kit:

go.nasa.gov/ingenuity-press-kit

A landing press kit for Perseverance can be found at:

go.nasa.gov/perseverance-landing-press-kit

[Category: News, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, Mars, Mars 2020, Mars helicopter, MiMi Aung, NASA, NASA JPL, Perseverance Rover]

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[l] at 1/22/21 10:41am
The core stage for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is seen in the B-2 Test Stand during a scheduled eight minute duration hot fire test, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The four RS-25 engines fired for a little more than one minute. The hot fire test is the final stage of the Green Run test series, a comprehensive assessment of the Space Launch System’s core stage prior to launching the Artemis I mission to the Moon. (Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — For the Green Run hot fire test on Jan. 16, NASA set out to acquire test data to support 23 detailed verification objectives. To satisfy the objectives, hot fire test data is used in combination with analysis and testing that has already been completed. These detailed verification objectives are used to certify the design of the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage.

The preliminary assessment indicates that the data acquired met the goals for a number of the 23 objectives, such as those related to activities prior to engine ignition. The initial assessment also indicates that data acquired partially met the goals for several additional of the 23 objectives related to simultaneous operations of four RS-25 engines.

NASA and its industry partners, Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne, are continuing to assess the extensive data from the test. As part of the planned near-term activities, they will complete the final assessment determining which objectives were fully met and which ones were partially met. They also are evaluating the value of acquiring additional test data and a longer run time to augment the existing analyses and data.

Currently, the SLS core stage can still be loaded with propellant and pressurized 20 more times for a total of 22 cycles. Rocket stages like the core stage are designed to be loaded with cryogenic propellant and pressurized a specific number of times. These are called cryogenic loading cycles.

Before Green Run testing began, SLS had allocated nine cryogenic cycles for testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and has used two of those during the hot fire and wet dress rehearsal, with seven cryogenic cycles remaining for additional testing.

For the Artemis I Iaunch, NASA is preserving 13 of the remaining 20 cryogenic loading cycles. These can be used for multiple launch attempts, a wet dress rehearsal on the launch pad, and other activities that require propellant loading and tank pressurization.

One of the critical activities that must happen before either another hot fire test or launch is drying and refurbishment of the engines. That activity is underway. NASA is continuing to inspect the core stage and its RS-25 engines on the B-2 test stand, and initial inspections indicate the hardware is in excellent condition.

Hardware inspection and data assessment will continue and will inform NASA’s decision on whether to conduct a second Green Run test or proceed with shipping the core stage to Kennedy for integration with other SLS hardware in the Vehicle Assembly Building.

For more updates, images and videos, check back at this blog or the Green Run web site: https://www.nasa.gov/artemisprogram/greenrun

NASA conducted a media briefing with several experts who support the Green Run team on Jan. 19, and a replay will be available for 30 days by dialing 888-566-0617.

[Category: News, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Artemis, Boeing, Green Run, Kennedy Space Center, KSC, NASA, NASA KSC, NASA Stennis, SLS, Space Launch System, Stennis Space Center]

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[l] at 1/22/21 7:09am
Apollo 17 moon walk (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach, a Moon rock now sits in the Oval Office of the White House. At the request of the incoming Biden Administration, NASA loaned the Moon rock that was put on display in the Oval Office Jan. 20. It is from the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and its display case is inscribed with the following:

Lunar Sample 76015,143

Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans and moonwalkers Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan, the last humans to set foot on the Moon, chipped this sample from a large boulder at the base of the North Massif in the Taurus-Littrow Valley, 3 km (almost 2 miles) from the Lunar Module. This 332 gram piece of the Moon (less than a pound), which was collected in 1972, is a 3.9-billion-year-old sample formed during the last large impact event on the nearside of the Moon, the Imbrium Impact Basin, which is 1,145 km or 711.5 miles in diameter.

The irregular sample surfaces contain tiny craters created as micrometeorite impacts have sand-blasted the rock over millions of years. The flat, sawn sides were created in NASA’s Lunar Curation Laboratory when slices were cut for scientific research. This ongoing research is imperative as we continue to learn about our planet and the Moon, and prepare for future missions to the cislunar orbit and beyond.  

Photo credit: NASA

[Category: News]

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[l] at 1/22/21 4:22am
Bartolomeo external experiment platform (Credit: NASA)
  • Exobiology and material exposure experiments on new ISS payload hosting facility
  • Framework agreement facilitates future slot bookings by ESA

BREMEN / NOORDWIJK, 21 January 2021 (Airbus PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus have agreed on service orders for two independent payload missions to be launched to the Bartolomeo payload hosting facility on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022 and 2024, respectively.

The first payload mission is ESA’s Exobiology Platform (EXPO). This facility carries a set of radiation experiments aimed at better understanding the evolution of organic molecules and organisms in the space. Placed in a Zenith-facing slot, the facility will connect two scientific modules to Bartolomeo. These modules will host everything needed for the experiments, including the scientific sample containers, fluidics systems and sensors related to the individual experiments called Exocube, IceCold and OREOcube. At the end of the three-year mission, the samples will be returned to Earth for detailed investigation and analysis.

The second payload is the Euro Material Ageing experiment platform (SESAME), developed by the French Space Agency (CNES). This mission will study the ageing behaviour of new materials in space and will also make use of Bartolomeo’s payload return option. After a year of exposure in space, the experiments will be returned to Earth, allowing scientists to thoroughly investigate the samples and fully understand the effects of the space environment on the materials.

These service orders, amounting to € 6.5 million [$7.9 million], are the first under a new framework agreement which ESA and Airbus have put in place, pre-defining the overall commercial conditions for ESA payload missions on Bartolomeo.

“With this framework contract, we are making it significantly easier for ESA to use the Bartolomeo Service for quick and affordable use of the ISS,” said David Parker, ESA Director of Human and Robotic Exploration. “Commercial arrangements have been streamlined, which enables our researchers to enjoy the full benefits of Bartolomeo’s short lead times and high flexibility. We are very pleased to have the first two ESA payloads secured on the platform, and are looking forward to using this new European asset on the ISS.”

Andreas Hammer, Head of Space Exploration at Airbus, said: “We are looking forward to working with our partners at ESA on bringing these two and future payloads to space – and back again as needed. The strong interest from across ESA and other institutions as well as a number of commercial players confirms the need for our efficient and affordable payload hosting solutions in LEO.”

Airbus’ Bartolomeo platform was launched and robotically attached to the ISS Columbus Module in 2020. Following the final connection of the cabling during an Extravehicular Activity (EVA), or ‘spacewalk’, in early 2021, the platform will be ready for in-space commissioning.

Bartolomeo is an Airbus investment into the ISS infrastructure, enabling hosting of up to twelve external payloads in the space environment, providing unique opportunities for in-orbit demonstration and verification missions. It is operated in a partnership between Airbus, ESA, NASA and the ISS National Laboratory.

Bartolomeo is suitable for many types of missions, including Earth observation, environmental and climate research, robotics, material sciences and astrophysics. It provides sought-after payload-hosting capabilities for customers and researchers to test space technologies, verify a new space business approach, conduct scientific experiments in microgravity or enter into in-space manufacturing endeavours.

Launch opportunities are available on every servicing mission to the ISS, which occur about every three months. The payload accommodation allows slots for a wide range of payload mass, from 5 to 450 kg. As an evolution of the platform, Airbus will provide optical data downlink capacity of one to two terabytes per day.

Payloads can be prepared and ready to operate within one and a half years after contract signature. Payload sizes, interfaces, preparation before launch and integration processes are largely standardised. This reduces lead times and significantly reduces costs compared to traditional mission costs.

Airbus offers this easy access to space as an all-in-one mission service. This includes technical support in preparing the payload mission; launch and installation; operations and data transfer; and an optional return to Earth.

[Category: News, Airbus, Andreas Hammer, Bartolomeo, Bartolomeo Columbus, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, CNES, David Parker, ESA, Euro Material Ageing experiment platform, European Space Agency, Exobiology Platform, ExoCube, IceCold, International Space Station, ISS, OREOcube, space station]

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[l] at 1/22/21 3:22am

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), January 21, 2021 – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), manager of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, today made public a research announcement  soliciting proposals for technology advancements and applied research that would utilize the space-based environment of the orbiting laboratory.

With this solicitation, CASIS seeks R&D concepts focused on flight investigations within applied research and development, translational medicine, technology readiness level maturation, and technology demonstrations to be performed on the space station. Flight projects selected via this research announcement may be awarded funding to enable mission integration and operations support for projects that will be implemented on the ISS National Lab.

CASIS, in coordination with NASA, has identified multiple ISS National Lab lines of business that support strategic priorities and programmatic focus areas aimed at bringing value to our nation and enabling a robust and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Technology development and demonstrations enabled by access to space bring tremendous growth potential due to the ability to conduct applied research in space to accelerate technology maturation. Through this research announcement, respondents may propose to use the unique ISS environment to develop, test, or mature products and processes that have a demonstrated potential to produce near-term and positive direct or indirect economic impact.

This research announcement will follow a two-step proposal submission process. Before being invited to submit a full proposal, all interested investigators must complete and submit a Step One concept for review. CASIS will host a webinar for interested proposers to discuss the facilities and capabilities associated with the ISS, which will take place on February 11, 2021 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Upon completion of the webinar, a recording will be made available to the research community through the research announcement landing page.

Step One concept reviews are to be submitted by end of day on February 25, 2021. Full proposals (from those invited to submit) will be due by end of day April 26, 2021.

Through ISS National Lab research announcements, CASIS and NASA are fostering a programmatic approach that enables continuous access to space for fundamental science, applied research, and technology development. In the near future, additional opportunities will be presented to the research community in targeted areas of inquiry, to potentially include (but not limited to) in-space production concepts for advanced materials and biomanufacturing as well as education.

To learn more about this opportunity, please visit the web page, which includes information on the research announcement, including how to submit a Step One concept review. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, and the science that it sponsors, please visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.

[Category: News, CASIS, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, International Space Station, ISS National Lab, ISS National Laboratory, microgravity experiments, microgravity research, NASA, space station]

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[l] at 1/22/21 1:45am
  • EIF attracts €300 million to support the innovation and growth of European smaller and medium-sized space technology companies under the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot,
  • New agreements with Orbital Ventures SCA SICAV-RAIF and Primo Space announced at the European Space Conference in Brussels.
  • The EIF’s participation is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

LUXEMBOURG (EIF PR) — The European Investment Fund (EIF) is partnering with the European Commission, to announce €300 million of investments into the EU space sector, supporting ground-breaking innovation in the industry.

During the European Space Conference in Brussels, EIF and the EC jointly announced investments into two space tech focused funds – Orbital Ventures and Primo Space, under the first ever EU-backed equity pilot – the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot. An additional investment expected to be signed by end of Q1 will mark the full deployment of the €100m InnovFin Space Equity Pilot. These agreements are supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. 

Orbital Ventures, a Luxembourg based early stage fund, focuses on space technologies including downstream (communications, cryptography, data storage and processing, geolocation, earth observation) and upstream (space hardware, materials, electronics, robotics, rockets, satellites) areas. 

Primo Space, an Italian early-stage tech transfer investor, was the first fund selected by the EIF under this pilot; EIF is now increasing its support. The fund is one of the first technology transfer funds only focused on space technologies in Europe, and the first one in Italy, in which the Italian Space Agency is an active stakeholder. The fund invests in proof-of-concept, seed and early stages projects or companies, and will foster the commercialisation of breakthrough innovations in the space industry in Europe.

EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “Bolstering competitiveness in the space industry is an essential element for the recovery of the sector. I strongly welcome this investment into space technology SMEs, which brings us closer to our digital transition goal. This supports the development of European space start-ups and shows that the European space business is booming.”

EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “These transactions, benefiting from the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot, will help to bolster private equity for innovative SMEs and start-ups in the space sector. The investments in Orbital Ventures and Primo Space is a testimony to Europe’s booming space sector and demonstrates our commitment to supporting companies with breakthrough ideas and technologies.”

“The investments in the space sector announced today demonstrate how public support can be deployed to attract private investment and catalyse the development of this sector in the EU. We are pleased to be supporting new players in the European landscape, focusing on seed and early stage space-related VC opportunities.” said EIF Chief Executive, Alain Godard. “Orbital Ventures and Primo Space will play a vital role in supporting the space ecosystem and EU space-related start-ups. Attracting more private capital to this sector enables us together to reach new heights.”

Pierre Festal, Partner at Orbital Ventures said: “We are delighted to partner with the EIF to back New Space entrepreneurs and early stage start-ups across Europe and globally. The New Space sector is at an inflection point and start-ups have an important role to play in the development of new technologies and applications to fully realize the industry’s potential. Europe, with a strong track record of innovation in the sector and support from the continent’s institutions, has a leading role to play in this revolution.”

The support of EIF has been instrumental to attract new private investors in Primo Space,” said Gianluca Dettori, Chairman of Primomiglio, “we will be fundraising until the summer and we see growing interest from investors to be exposed to a 300 billion Euro industry that is growing fast.  We are announcing today our second investment of 2 million Euro in Leafspace, a Como based startup that provides a ‘ground segment as a service’ solution for satellite operators and space service providers, we are looking for new investments across Europe.”

The signatures today with Orbital Ventures and Primo Space benefit from financing from the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot. This pilot is a €100 million programme under InnovFin, specifically dedicated to support the innovation and growth of European SMEs operating in the sector of space technologies. The programme is investing into venture capital funds across the EU, which support companies commercialising new products and services in the space sector, as well as into companies.

To-date, EIF has made one co-investment alongside the Polish VC fund OTB Fund into the Finnish company ICEYE, as well as several investments into specialised Space funds (Primo Space, Orbital Ventures) and deeptech funds having a particular Space focus (UnternehmerTUM VC Fonds III), attracting €300m of space investment to the sector. It is expected that the InnovFin Space Equity Pilot will be fully deployed in the coming weeks and support around 50 space tech companies across Europe.

Background Information:

The EIF is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It provides first loss guarantees enabling the EIB Group to invest in riskier projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI have so far mobilised €535.4 billion in investment.

InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators – Under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme for 2014-2020, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” is offering a range of tailored products which provides financing in support of research and innovation by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructure.

[Category: News, Alain Godard, EFSI, EIF, EU Commission, European Commission, European Fund for Strategic Investments, European Investment Bank Group, European Investment Fund, European Union, Gianluca Dettori, Iceye, InnovFin Space Equity Pilot, Investment Plan for Europe, Mariya Gabriel, Orbital Ventures, OTB Fund, Pierre Festal, Primomiglio, Thierry Breton, UnternehmerTUM VC Fonds III]

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[l] at 1/21/21 4:29pm

SANTA CLARA, Calif., January 21, 2021 (Momentus PR) – Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a commercial space company offering in-space infrastructure services, and Qosmosys, a new venture founded in Singapore last year, today announced a service agreement for two 3UXL protoflight cubesats in 2022, followed by two options in 2023.

“Momentus has exported the spirit of Silicon Valley to Singapore, bringing some fresh perspectives to launch services. Our Qosmosys missions demand a purposeful use of orbits, therefore, with Momentus, we clearly take significant benefits with their injection precision,” said Francois Dubrulle, founder of Qosmosys. “Moreover, Momentus offers an effective solution for Qosmosys for assured access to space, flying on a regular schedule with SpaceX, and adding extra flexibility and customization to our myriad of spacecraft to be launched.”

Momentus will provide the orbital maneuvering services necessary to deliver the spacecraft to a circular or elliptical orbit, depending on each mission requirement.

Qosmosys has its specific platform design, dubbed Zeus, which will be built with major contributions from NuSpace in Singapore. NuSpace has also been chosen to assemble and integrate all Zeus spacecraft. NuSpace signed a separate service agreement with Momentus last year for the company’s NuX-1 satellite to be launched later in 2021.

“Momentus is thrilled to contribute to the development of an innovative business idea in space while fostering the development of newspace in Asia and, more specifically, Singapore,” added Mikhail Kokorich, CEO of Momentus. “We love and share Qosmosys’ bold vision of making the vastness of space accessible to all mankind – in earth orbit and beyond.”

About Momentus

As a first mover in building in-space infrastructure services, Momentus is at the forefront of the commercialization of space. With an experienced team of aerospace, propulsion, and robotics engineers, Momentus has developed a cost-effective and energy efficient in-space transport system based on water plasma propulsion technology. Momentus has in-place service agreements with private satellite companies, government agencies, and research organizations.

http://www.momentus.space/

About Qosmosys

Qosmosys aims to connect every citizen of the world with the vastness of space.

For Qosmosys, the outer space is no longer reserved for a select few. With its innovative Zeus family of spacecraft, space becomes a new playground for individuals and corporations to bring their dreams to fruition.

Qosmosys is a Singapore-based venture. http://www.qosmosys.com

[Category: News, Cubesats, Francois Dubrulle, Mikhail Kokorich, Momentus, NuSpace, Qosmosys]

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[l] at 1/21/21 4:18pm
Northrop Grumman conducted a validation test of its GEM 63XL rocket motor on Jan. 21 at its Promontory, Utah, facility. The GEM 63XL will support the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

PROMONTORY, Utah, Jan. 21, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) conducted a validation ground test of an extended length 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL) today in Promontory. This variation of the company’s GEM 63 strap-on booster was developed in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide additional lift capability to the Vulcan Centaur rocket.

“This new motor optimizes our best-in-class technologies and leverages flight-proven solid rocket propulsion designs to provide our customers with the most reliable product,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. “Evolving the original GEM 63 design utilizes our decades of GEM strap-on booster expertise while enhancing capabilities for heavy-lift missions.”

During today’s static test, the motor fired for approximately 90 seconds, producing nearly 449,000 pounds of thrust to validate the performance capability of the motor design. Additionally, this firing verified the motor’s internal insulation, propellant grain, ballistics and nozzle in a hot-conditioned environment.

Northrop Grumman has supplied rocket propulsion to ULA and its heritage companies for a variety of launch vehicles since 1964. The GEM family of strap-on motors was developed starting in the early 1980s with the GEM 40 to support the Delta II launch vehicle. The company then followed with the GEM 46 for the Delta II Heavy, and the GEM 60, which flew 86 motors over 26 Delta IV launches before retiring in 2019. The first GEM 63 motors supported ULA’s Atlas V rocket in November 2020.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

[Category: News, GEM 63, GEM 63XL, Northrop Grumman, Vulcan Centaur]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 4:05pm
This GIF is part of a longer animation showing different types of space debris objects and different debris sizes in orbit around Earth. For debris objects bigger than 10 cm the data comes from the US Space Surveillance Catalogue. The information about debris objects smaller than 10 cm is based on a statistical model from ESA. (Credit: ESA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In its waning days, the Trump Administration released the National Orbital Debris Research and Development Plan, which is designed to guide federal R&D efforts aimed at limiting, tracking, characterizing and remediating debris in Earth orbit.

The plan is the product of an interagency working group established by the National Science & Technology Council. The council is part of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The document lists 14 priority areas for future R&D work, which are shown below.

  1. Limit debris generation by design. Deliberate spacecraft design choices can limit the generation of new debris.

    R&D priorities for element 1:

    • Reduce debris during launch
    • Improve resilience of spacecraft surfaces
    • Improve shielding and impact resistance
    • Develop designs that will reduce or limit fragmentation processes
    • Improve maneuverability capabilities
    • Incorporate end-of-mission approaches to minimize debris into spacecraft and mission design
  2. Track and characterize debris. Debris tracking and characterization are critical to enabling effective mitigation measures and safe spaceflight operations.

    R&D priorities for element 2:

    • Characterize orbital debris and the space environment
    • Develop technologies to improve orbital debris tracking and characterization
    • Reduce uncertainties of debris data in orbit propagation and prediction
    • Improve data processing, sharing, and filtering of debris catalogs
    • Transition research on debris tracking and characterization into operational capabilities
  3. Remediate or repurpose debris. Remediation activities, also called active debris removal, could in the long-term substantially reduce the risk of debris impact in key orbital regimes. Repurposing may also contribute to reducing risk and removing debris.

    R&D priorities for element 3:

    • Develop remediation and repurposing technologies and techniques for large-debris objects
    • Develop remediation technologies and techniques for small-debris objects
    • Develop models for risk and cost-benefit analyses

The report said orbital debris “poses a significant and growing hazard for safe spaceflight operations” as Earth orbit becomes increasingly congested.

Credit: National Science & Technology Council

“There are currently approximately 23,000 debris objects 10 centimeters in size (about the size of a softball) or larger that are cataloged and tracked for purposes of collision avoidance,” the document said. “However, there are estimated to be roughly 500,000 objects 1 centimeter in size or larger, and upwards of 100 million debris objects at least 1 millimeter in size. Objects less than 5 centimeters in size are difficult to track individually even if they are in low Earth orbit (LEO); therefore, these population size estimates rely heavily on statistical sampling and modeling techniques.


National-Orbital-Debris-RD-Plan-2021Download

“While orbital debris is present throughout the space environment surrounding the planet, it is concentrated around the most widely used orbits,” the report added. “The highest concentration of cataloged objects is located in LEO—defined as the region below approximately 2,000 kilometers in altitude. The LEO region also contains the highest estimated mass of debris, at about 3,000 metric tons.3 Collectively, there are over 8,000 metric tons of orbital debris from LEO to geosynchronous orbit (GSO), which is around 35,800 kilometers in altitude.”

The report notes that satellite manufacturers and operators lack common orbital debris standards and best practices for satellite and mission design. Many spacecraft are not designed to be deorbited at the end of their lifetimes due to the high costs of doing so.

“Satellites can break up and generate debris during operation. Some of these are older satellites launched when debris considerations received less emphasis, but events involving newer satellites continue despite design improvements. Fragmentation debris objects dominate the tracked debris population,” the report said.

Launch vehicle upper stages and payload deployment systems are contributing to the debris problem. The report said many launch providers have not developed approaches to prevent new debris.

There is also a great deal of uncertainty about what debris is up there and exactly where it is located.

“Less than 1 percent of the debris objects that could cause mission-ending damage are currently tracked,” the report said. “Debris is insufficiently characterized for accurate and reliable risk assessments. An object’s size, shape, mass, and velocity all affect how much and what kind of damage occurs upon impact.

“The uncertainties are high in tracking objects and propagating orbits. The uncertainty tends to grow with time due to the compounding effects of atmospheric drag, space weather, and other nongravitational perturbations that may be difficult to predict,” the document added.

The report identified a number of challenges in active debris removal, including:

  • higher costs relative to other methods of reducing debris
  • costs and benefits are not well characterized
  • a small market resulting from a lack of defined responsibility for removing debris
  • risk of inadvertently creating even more debris
  • difficulty in scaling the technology to capture multiple pieces of debris, and
  • risk of reducing the near-term risk of collisions without addressing long-term sustainability of orbital space.

The document assigned responsibilities to NASA and the departments of Commerce, Defense, Transportation, State and the Interior.

[Category: News, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Interior Department, NASA, National Orbital Debris Research and Development Plan, National Science and Technology Council, NSTC, Office of Science and Technology Policy, orbital debris, OSTP, Space debris, State Department, Trump Administration]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 11:59am
Steve Jurczyk (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Steve Jurczyk became NASA’s acting administrator on Jan. 20, 2021. Before that, Jurczyk had served as NASA’s associate administrator, the agency’s highest-ranking civil servant, since May 2018.

Before that assignment he had been the associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate since June 2015.  In this position he formulated and executed the agency’s space technology programs, focusing on developing and demonstrating transformative technologies for human and robotic exploration of the solar system in partnership with industry and academia.

He previously was director of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Named to this position in May 2014, he headed NASA’s first field Center, which plays a critical role in NASA’s aeronautics research, exploration and science missions.  Jurczyk served as Langley’s deputy center director from August 2006 until his appointment as director.

Jurczyk began his NASA career in 1988 at Langley in the Electronic Systems Branch as a design, integration and test engineer developing several space-based Earth remote sensing systems.  From 2002 to 2004 Jurczyk was director of engineering, and from 2004 to 2006 he was director of research and technology at Langley, where he led the organization’s contributions to a broad range of research, technology and engineering disciplines in all NASA mission areas.

Jurczyk has received several awards during his NASA career, including two Outstanding Leadership Medals, the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 2006, and the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive in 2016 — the highest honors attainable for federal government leadership.

Jurczyk is a graduate of the University of Virginia, from which he received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1984 and 1986.  He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

[Category: News, NASA, Steve Jurczyk]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 11:48am

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — John P. Roth will serve as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force as of Jan. 20, until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

Roth succeeds Barbara Barrett, who served as the 25th Secretary of the Air Force from Oct. 18, 2019, until Jan. 20.

Roth has served as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller since January 2018. From May 2019 to December 2020, he also performed the duties of Under Secretary of the Air Force, a role he held from June to October 2019.

“It is a privilege to serve Airmen and Guardians as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force,” Roth said. “Protecting the nation is a solemn responsibility; one that the U.S. Air and Space Forces execute daily without fail. I look forward to working side-by-side with Gen. (Charles Q. Brown, Jr.) and Gen. (John W.) Raymond to ensure our Airmen and Guardians have the training and resources required to meet national security requirements and keep America safe.

“I’m eager to continue the momentum Secretary Barrett and these two great military leaders put into motion as we work together to accelerate change for our Air Force and continue building America’s Space Force,” he said.

As acting secretary, Roth leads the Department of the Air Force, comprised of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. He is responsible for organizing, training and equipping Air and Space Forces and for the welfare of 697,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian Airmen and Guardians and their families.

[Category: News, Barbara Barrett, John Roth, U.S. Air Force]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 11:33am

BRUSSELS (European Commission PR) — Today the Commission awarded two contracts for 12 Satellites (6 satellites each) for a total of €1.47 billion, to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) following an open competition.

With this, the Commission is initiating the launch of the 2nd Generation of Galileo, the European satellite positioning system. The aim is to keep Galileo ahead of the technological curve compared to global competition and maintaining it as one of the best performing satellite positioning infrastructures in the world while strengthening it as a key asset for Europe’s strategic autonomy.

The first satellites of this second generation will be placed in orbit by the end of 2024. With their new capabilities relying on high innovative technologies (digitally configurable antennas, inter- satellites links, new atomic clocks technologies, use of full electric propulsion systems), these satellites will improve the accuracy of Galileo as well as the robustness and resilience of its signal, which will be key for the upcoming digital decade as well as more security & military usage.

Background :

With the Galileo satellite navigation system, Europe operates a state-of-the-art system in positioning, timing and navigation that is recognised worldwide as the most performant of this kind. In operation since 2016, Galileo provides signal services to 2 billion users around the globe. 26 satellites are currently in orbit, with 2 additional satellites due for launch in Q3 2021.

In May 2018, the Commission launched the tender procedure to procure a first batch of 12 second-generation satellites through a competitive dialogue, with the objective of signing two contracts (double source) of 6 satellites each. The tender procedure was run by the European Space Agency (ESA) by delegation. After 2 months of detailed technical and financial evaluation of the industrial offers, ESA recommended to the Commission to proceed with Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence & Space that represent the best  technical and financial offers. The three industrial bidders were notified yesterday.

The contract will be signed by the end of the month and will take place in line with the steps foreseen in the EU financial regulation

[Category: News, Airbus Defence & Space, ESA, European Commissioin, European Space Agency, European Union, Galileo, navigation satellites, satellite navigation, Thales Alenia Space]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 6:15am
Starliner OFT-1 capsule after landing at White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (Boeing PR) — Boeing recently completed its formal requalification of the CST-100 Starliner’s flight software in preparation for its next flight. The autonomous spacecraft will fly to the International Space Station during a second uncrewed flight test, Orbital Flight Test-2, in March, ahead of a first crewed flight with NASA astronauts later this year.

Teams in Houston and across the country conducted a full review of Starliner’s flight software and the process by which mission modifications or upgrades will be formally qualified in the future.

“The work this team put into exhaustively wringing out our software is a defining moment for the program,” said John Vollmer, Starliner vice president and program manager. “We’re smarter as a team having been through this process, and most importantly, we’re smarter as a human spaceflight community.”

The team began by evaluating Starliner’s software requirements and the testing associated with its verification. Reviews were conducted to ensure Starliner’s Houston-based Avionics and Software Integration Lab, or ASIL, was sufficiently outfitted and configured to support all testing. Additional assessments were made to verify the complete integration of software with all recommended flight hardware. Software engineers also validated all the simulators and emulators to ensure they were accurate models.

The team then conducted a series of tests to confirm Starliner’s updated software met design specifications. They also conducted static and dynamic tests inside the software integration lab, including hundreds of cases ranging from single command verifications to comprehensive end-to-end mission scenarios with the core software.

When the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the team’s progress, the program swiftly transitioned to virtual work, and enlisted support from across the company.

“Throughout all the turmoil 2020 handed us, this team remained energetic and inspired to be successful,” said Aaron Kraftcheck, Starliner’s software test and verification manager. “They want to do their very best for their country and their fellow citizens by helping to restore the pride NASA has in flying humans safely in space.”

Hardware and software integrated test events are planned with the spacecraft’s launch vehicle provider, United Launch Alliance, to further strengthen that portion of the qualification test regimen, and with NASA’s International Space Station program to verify Starliner’s code is robust and error-free throughout joint docking and undocking operations.

Boeing will then run through an end-to-end simulation of the OFT-2 test flight in the company’s ASIL using flight hardware and the final versions of Starliner’s flight software to accurately model the spacecraft’s expected behavior. The simulation will be conducted over several days and includes complete pre-launch to docking and undocking to landing events.

“As we continue carrying out these critical milestones and reviews, we remain true to our values of safety, quality and integrity,” Vollmer said. “Completing OFT-2 brings us one step closer to our end goal of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station this year.”

[Category: News]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 4:47am
This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater a little after 3:40 p.m. EST (12:40 p.m. PST) on Feb. 18, 2021. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is hosting a media briefing on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 4:30 p.m. EST to discuss the upcoming landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. The event will air live on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and YouTube.

Perseverance lands Feb. 18, carrying new science instruments and technologies, including the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on its belly. Perseverance will use a drill on the end of its robotic arm to capture rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) samples in metal tubes, which will be deposited on the surface of Mars for a future mission to collect and return to Earth. The rover will seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet as a primary goal.

Perseverance was built and managed for NASA by the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Participating in the briefing are:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Lori Glaze, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters
  • Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 deputy project manager, JPL
  • Allen Chen, Mars 2020 entry, descent, and landing lead, JPL
  • Ken Farley, Mars 2020 project scientist, Caltech
  • Briony Horgan, Mars 2020 science team member, Purdue University

To learn more about Perseverance, visit:

https://nasa.gov/perseverance

 and

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

[Category: News]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/21/21 3:22am

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Our understanding of the way fire behaves in space is expanding as the fifth in a series of NASA investigations ignited recently. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment-V (Saffire-V) successfully tested larger, more dynamic fires for over 26 hours inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, following its primary mission of delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

After Cygnus departed the station on Jan. 6, operators on the ground, for the first time on a Saffire mission, lowered the pressure inside the spacecraft and backfilled it with oxygen to replicate potential atmospheric conditions that would likely be experienced inside future human spacecraft.

After ignition, cameras and sensors monitored flame growth, temperature variations, and oxygen changes, which were translated into data. The data will be used to model fire response scenarios, as well as fire detection, combustion product monitoring, and post-fire cleanup.

“The elevated oxygen levels show more energetic flames, which would have a larger impact on the vehicle,” says Gary A. Ruff, Saffire project manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. “The Saffire-V data will allow us to model fire scenarios and increase our confidence in safety strategies.”

Another Saffire experiment is ready to fly on an upcoming launch to the space station as NASA continues to pursue a greater understanding of the risks and behaviors of fire in space for Artemis astronauts who will explore the Moon and eventually Mars.

Saffire is a series of experiments developed by the Spacecraft Fire Safety Demonstration Project which supports NASA’s Exploration Capabilities Program.

[Category: News]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/20/21 12:53pm

It has been my great honor to serve as your @NASA Administrator. I will miss the amazing NASA family and will forever be grateful for my time at this incredible agency. Ad astra. pic.twitter.com/Zba4MTawPV

— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) January 20, 2021

[Category: News, Jim Bridenstine, NASA]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/20/21 12:41pm
Long March 3B rocket lifts off with Tiantong-1 03 satellite. (Credit: Zhang Yiyi)

BEIJING (CASC PR) — At 00:25 on January 20, the Long March 3B carrier rocket ignited and lifted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and then sent the Tiantong-1 03 satellite into the scheduled orbit. The launch mission was a complete success.

This mission won the opening battle in the aerospace field in 2021 and opened a new journey for China’s aerospace development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.

The Tiantong-1 satellite was developed by the Fifth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The 01 satellite and 02 satellite were successfully launched by the Changsan B rocket in 2016 and 2020 respectively. After being launched into orbit, Tiantong-1 03 satellite will be networked with Tiantong-1 01 and 02 satellites. my country’s autonomous and controllable satellite mobile communication system will achieve Asia-Pacific coverage.

The Tiantong-1 satellite mobile communication system is composed of space segment, ground segment and user terminals. The system will provide users in China and surrounding areas, the Middle East, Africa and other related areas, as well as users in most of the Pacific and Indian oceans, providing all-weather, all-time, stable and reliable mobile communication services such as voice, short message and data, and enhance my country’s satellite communication services. Level and emergency communication support capabilities.

The Long March 3A rocket used for this launch mission belongs to the “Gold Medal Rocket” Long March 3A series, which was developed by the First Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and adopted the unified configuration design concept of the Long March A series rockets.

This mission is the 358th launch of the Long March series of carrier rockets and the 117th launch of the Long March series rockets.

This year, the Aerospace Science and Technology Group plans to conduct more than 40 aerospace launch missions, and the number of launches and flight tests has reached a new high.

[Category: News, Long March 3B, Tiantong-1 03, Xichang Satellite Launch Center]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/20/21 12:25pm
Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

MAHIA PENINSULA, NZ, Jan. 20, 2021 (OHB PR) — OHB Cosmos International, a company of OHB’s newly established business segment OHB DIGITAL, successfully launched the telecommunication satellite GMS-T on board an Electron launcher.

The satellite took off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 7.26 a.m. (UCT) on January 20th.The launch was performed only seven months after starting engineering activities for the satellite. After having reached the planned 1200 km/90 degree orbit the satellite has been activated and works as planned.

GMS-T is the first prototype spacecraft for a planned new multi-hundred telecommunication satellite constellation in LEO using microwave broadband radio communication links. Besides testing the new technology radio payload and spacecraft platform, this first satellite will also bring into use the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) registered frequencies. OHB Cosmos is responsible for all planned test sequences and the operation of the satellite for the whole operational lifetime until entry into the automatic deorbiting phase. Furthermore OHB Cosmos engineered and integrated the telecommunications payload, which was only possible in time due to the performance and reactivity of its main suppliers MDA, Arralis and IQ Wireless.

“With outstanding agility, reactiveness and flexibility, OHB and its key partners were able to engineer, assemble, test and launch this satellite in an unmatched contract-to-launch time,” said Dr. Lutz Bertling, Chief Digital Officer of OHB Group. The satellite in the 50 kg class is based on OHB Sweden’s Innosat platform. OHB Sweden as system integrator has been responsible for the satellite platform, the integration and testing of the overall satellite and is – after an initial phase – planned to operate the satellite on behalf of OHB Cosmos. A further company from the OHB family was involved: The entire spacecraft structural analysis work was performed by OHB Czechspace.

“Rocket Lab did a great job to deliver on short notice the capability to install the satellite at the target orbit including using Electrons kickstage. We would like to thank our employees and our partners for their outstanding contribution to this great achievement. The New Space Approach applied shows the capabilities of OHB and its partners to respond to today’s customer requirements for rapid response for space based applications,” said Dr. Lutz Bertling.

[Category: News, Electron, GMS-T satelite, Lutz Bertling, Mahia Peninsula, OHB Cosmos, OHB Group, Rocket Lab]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/20/21 12:04pm
Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Wednesday, January 20 at 8:02 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites to orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, completing the seventeenth Starlink mission.

Following first-stage separation, Falcon 9 successfully landed for the eighth time on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s first stage booster rocket previously supported seven other missions: the SXM-7 mission in December 2020, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in June 2019, launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission in March 2019, and four Starlink missions. One half of Falcon 9’s fairing previously supported a Starlink mission and the other previously supported two.

[Category: News, Falcon 9, Kennedy Space Center, KSC, NASA KSC, SpaceX, Starlink]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/20/21 5:35am

QUEENSLAND, 20 January 2021 (Gilmour Space Technologies PR) — Australia’s leading rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, has ushered in the New Year with a successful hot fire of the world’s largest single-port hybrid rocket engine.

“We achieved a record 91 kilonewtons (or 9 tonnes-force) of thrust in this initial verification test of our main engine,” said Adam Gilmour, CEO and co-founder of Gilmour Space, a Queensland-based company that is developing a three-stage rocket capable of launching small satellites into low earth orbits. 

“This is the engine that will be powering the first and second stages of our Eris orbital vehicle as it launches to space,” he explained. “I’m happy to report that all systems performed very well during this 10-second test. Our team will be going through the results and conducting longer duration and higher thrust tests in the weeks ahead.”

A leading space company in Australia, Gilmour Space continues to demonstrate key sovereign space and industry capabilities as it prepares to launch its first commercial payloads from Australian companies Space Machines Company and Fireball International.

“We are delighted by this successful hotfire test, which demonstrates Gilmour’s progress towards a successful orbital launch in 2022,” said Rajat Kulshrestha, co-founder and CEO of Space Machines Company. “Together with Space Machines Company, important sovereign launch and in-space transport capabilities for Australia are becoming a reality.”

“Many of our Eris launch vehicle components have completed development testing, and the first flight articles are on the manufacturing floor ready to be assembled,” said Mr Gilmour. “This is going to be a busy year for us; it’s the year we build our rocket.”

About Gilmour Space

Australian rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies is developing  affordable and reliable rockets that will launch small satellites into low earth orbits from 2022. Since launching their first hybrid rocket in 2016, Gilmour Space has raised AUD 26 million in venture capital funding, signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, and secured multi-million-dollar launch contracts with Australian and international customers. With more than 60 employees in its Queensland rocket facility, the company is actively partnering with local and global companies, universities, government, and defence organisations to build Australia’s sovereign space and launch capabilities. 

Find out more: https://www.gspacetech.com/

[Category: News, Adam Gilmour, Fireball International, Gilmour Space Technologies, hybrid engines, Rajat Kulshrestha, Space Machines Company]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 1/20/21 3:10am
Fitting a radiator for the cooling system and installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscomos PR) — In accordance with the prelaunch preparation schedule, factory control tests of the Nauka module continue in the assembly and test building of site No. 254 of the Baikonur cosmodrome.  Its launch to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for 2021 using the Proton-M launch vehicle.

To date, specialists of the State Corporation Roscosmos have completed 80% of the planned inspections. Tests of the television communication system and antenna-feeder device of the television system, including TV circuits and encoders, TV communication through universal crew workplaces were carried out. 

The main and backup sets of the module’s temperature control system, the components of the Nauka propulsion system, the module’s motion and navigation control system were tested. At the same time, tests of the pressurization system and fuel supply to the high and low pressure tanks of the fuel and oxidizer and pressure sensors of the pressurization and fuel supply systems were carried out.

Vehicle inspection (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

The Nauka laboratory module is a research module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, developed by the SP Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia. Korolev (equipment of on-board systems and scientific equipment) in cooperation with M.V. Khrunichev (general design and production, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) in order to expand the functionality of the ISS Russian segment.

The “Science” module was created on the constructive and technological base of the “Zarya” functional cargo block using the experience of designing a transport supply vehicle for manned scientific stations “Salyut” and modules for retrofitting the orbital complex “Mir”. It will be located at the nadir port of the Zvezda service module and is intended for the implementation of the Russian program of scientific and applied research and experiments.

Installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

After the commissioning of the new module, the Russian segment will receive additional volumes for the arrangement of workplaces and storage of cargo, the placement of equipment for the regeneration of water and oxygen, the conditions for the stay of cosmonauts will improve and become more comfortable, and the safety of the entire ISS crew will also increase.

[Category: News, Baikonur Cosmodrome, ISS, Nauka module, Proton-M, Roscosmos, space station]

As of 1/22/21 3:50pm. Last new 1/22/21 2:11pm.

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