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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #30 dnia: Lipiec 07, 2020, 00:44 »
16/IV 2020 [66-71]

66) Review: John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 20, 2020

John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings
by William F. Causey
Purdue Univ. Press, 2020
hardcover, 374 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-55753-946-5

Later this month, NASA is expected to announce awards of contracts for its Human Landing System program to develop a human lunar lander for the Artemis program. Several companies will likely get contracts for initial studies, with NASA later selecting one or two for full-scale development. But, whether they involve lander components being aggregated at the lunar Gateway or a single lander docking directly with an Orion spacecraft, they all share something in common: they will all use a version of lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) like that pioneered in the Apollo program.

67) “Space, the final frontier”: Star Trek and the national space rhetoric of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and NASA
by Glen E. Swanson Monday, April 20, 2020

In the original Star Trek television series of the 1960s, creator Gene Roddenberry made use of NASA imagery and the growing national space rhetoric to help sell his show to network executives. (credit: CBS/Paramount/NASA)

“Space… the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five-year mission… to explore strange new words… to seek out new life and new civilizations… to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

These are the words of perhaps the most famous opening lines of narration in all of television history.

The introductory monologue by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) invited viewers to join the crew of the starship Enterprise to watch a brand-new science fiction television series called Star Trek. Every week, households turned their television dial to NBC, where they witnessed series creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of life in the 23rd century unfold in living color during the show’s initial three-year run that began on September 8, 1966.

68) Cost versus control in the small launch market
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 20, 2020

Virgin Orbit’s 747 aircraft, with a LauncherOne rocket attached to its left wing, climbs during a simulated launch release maneuver during an April 12 test flight. (credit: Virgin Orbit)

The pandemic may have slowed much of the space industry, but some parts of the business are moving ahead. Last week, for example, small launch vehicle developer Rocket Lab announced a new launch contract with Synspective, a Japanese company developing a constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. Rocket Lab agreed to launch Synspective’s first satellite, StriX-α, on an Electron rocket late this year.

69) The President’s space resources executive order: a step in the right direction
by Paul Stimers Monday, April 20, 2020

As NASA prepares to return to the Moon sustainably, it needs assurances it can use lunar resources. (credit: NASA)

In the midst of the pandemic, we may find ourselves thinking of astronauts more as advisors on how to handle isolation than as representatives of a singularly human achievement, our expansion into outer space. But the great work continues: we press toward the Moon—this time to stay—and on toward Mars. So, it is appropriate that, on April 6, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.”

70) The FCC takes a leadership role in combating orbital debris
by Ian Christensen, Brian Weeden, and Josh Wolny Monday, April 20, 2020

Proposed FCC rules for mitigating space debris are a step in the right direction, but questions remain about larger policy issues. (credit: ESA)

Since 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required disclosures from applicants for spectrum licenses to operate satellites about how their activities may generate orbital debris and their mitigation efforts to reduce that risk. In November of 2018, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in which it outlined several proposals to revise and expand the orbital debris mitigation requirements in its licensing process. Earlier this month, the FCC released its final Report and Order on these changes, which are scheduled for a vote by the FCC’s commissioners at the end of the month. As we will argue in this article, we believe that the proposed new requirements put the FCC in a forward-leaning position relative to other government regulators on taking meaningful steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities. However, there are still unanswered questions and having the FCC in that leadership role is not ideal.

71) To attack or deter? The role of anti-satellite weapons
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, April 20, 2020

A 1985 test of an anti-satellite missile released from an F-15 fighter. Development of that ASAT stemmed from a policy debate in the 1970s about the utility of ASATs. (credit: USAF)

Last week, Russia conducted another anti-satellite (ASAT) test, apparently one of a series they have been undertaking as part of what increasingly looks to be a broad-ranging ASAT program. This follows a recent statement by the commander of US Space Command, General John Raymond, who acknowledged something that amateur space trackers have noticed for a few months: a Russian satellite appears to be “stalking” USA 245, an American reconnaissance satellite, raising the possibility that the Russian satellite might have offensive capabilities. As Bart Hendrickx noted in a 2018 article in Jane’s Intelligence Review, there was ample evidence that Russia was developing a co-orbital anti-satellite weapon designated “Burevestnik,” although the satellite that may be following USA 245 is probably of a different but related type named “Nivelir.”
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #31 dnia: Lipiec 07, 2020, 00:44 »
17/IV 2020 [72-76]

72) The Lunar Development Cooperative: A new idea for enabling lunar settlement
by Michael Castle-Miller, Alfred Anzaldúa, and Hoyt Davidson
Monday, April 27, 2020

Note: additional contributors to this article include Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty, Jeff Greenblatt, Michelle L. D. Hanlon, Thomas L. Matula, Akhil Rao, and L. Grant Shubin

A Lunar Development Corporation could address many of the issues associated with sustainable lunar development and settlement within existing treaties. (credit: Anna Nesterova/Alliance for Space Development)

With the impressive achievements of both private companies and governments over the last decade, it is clear that lunar development will become a reality soon whether we are ready for it or not. The significance and consequences of this event on human history cannot be overstated. How this new settlement occurs will have enormous implications for countless generations.

73) Draft Moon Village Association Principles: creating best practices for sustainable lunar activities
by Giuseppe Reibaldi and Mark J. Sundahl Monday, April 27, 2020

The draft principles are intended to help develop best practices for future lunar development. (credit: NASA)

On March 6, the Moon Village Association unveiled a set of 15 draft Moon Village Association (MVA) Principles intended to help facilitate the peaceful settlement of the Moon by establishing best practices for the long-term sustainability of lunar and cislunar activity. The MVA Principles are now published on the MVA website and are open for public comment. The announcement by the president of the MVA, Dr. Giuseppe Reibaldi, took place during a day-long symposium on Returning to the Moon: Legal Challenges as Humanity Begins to Settle the Solar System hosted by the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (see “Hard law or soft law? The debate about the future of space law”, The Space Review, April 13, 2020).

74) Taking on the challenge of Mars sample return
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 27, 2020

An illustration from a recent NASA presentation showing a Mars Ascent Vehicle, carrying samples collected from the surface, launching those samples into orbit. (credit: NASA)

At the highest level, Mars sample return sounds very straightforward: go to Mars, grab some rocks, and bring them back to Earth. Easy!

Easier said than done, though. While NASA has demonstrated the ability to land on Mars and travel across its surface on several missions, the challenges of gathering samples, putting them into a vehicle that launches them into Martian orbit, and then getting those samples back to Earth, increases the complexity of the endeavor exponentially more than linearly.

75) Burevestnik: a Russian air-launched anti-satellite system
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, April 27, 2020

MiG-31BM carrying an ASAT launch vehicle. (credit: ShipSash)

In September 2018, an aircraft photographer noticed something interesting while observing activity at the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky near Moscow, sometimes called the “Russian Edwards Air Force Base.” What caught his attention was a MiG-31BM fighter jet with a large black missile suspended under its belly. While this specific aircraft had been seen before, the rocket was new. The pictures he posted on the Internet baffled observers: it seemed to be too big to be an air-to-air or an air-to-surface missile. It did appear to be the right size for an anti-satellite weapon.

76) Putting the White House executive order on space resources in an international context
by Ian A. Christensen and Christopher D. Johnson Monday, April 27, 2020

There will likely be a role for the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in discussions on space resources, but there are also opportunities for bilateral and multilateral agreements. (credit: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs)

On April 6, the White House released the Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.[1] This executive order, along with the accompanying factsheet,[2] emphatically clarifies the posture of the US government on the use of space resources, including how the United States views existing international rules on the matter, how it will approach the development of any new international rules, and how the United States will foster the commercial utilization of space resources.
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #32 dnia: Lipiec 14, 2020, 11:31 »
18/V 2020 [77-81]

77) Review: Alien Oceans
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 4, 2020

Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space
by Kevin Peter Hand
Princeton Univ. Press, 2020
hardcover, 304 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-691-17951-3

Last week, the Government Accountability Office published its annual assessment of cost and schedule major NASA programs. Much of the interest in the report focused on NASA’s exploration programs, which are years behind schedule and billions over budget, but the GAO also cited an issue of a different kind with a planetary science mission, Europa Clipper. That mission is facing a $250 million cost increase because the spacecraft may be ready too soon: because of a congressional mandate to launch the mission on the Space Launch System, Europa Clipper isn’t expected to launch until 2025, even though the spacecraft itself will be ready in 2023. The additional money will be needed to cover spacecraft storage, workforce costs, and other impacts to the mission while it waits for an SLS rocket. (...)

78)SPICA: an infrared telescope to look back into the early universe
by Arwen Rimmer Monday, May 4, 2020

The SPICA mission would fly a telescope operating in the far infrared to perform studies supporting everything from solar system science to cosmology. (credit: JAXA/SPICA team)

The ESA’s fifth call for medium-class missions (M5) is in its full study phase. Three finalists, EnVision, SPICA, and THESEUS, remain from more than two dozen proposals. A selection will be made in the summer of 2021, with a launch date tentatively set for 2032. In February, the author attended the EnVision conference in Paris, and reported on the progress of that consortium. The THESEUS meeting is meant to be in Malaga, Spain, in May, and the SPICA collaboration was scheduled for March 9–11 in Leiden, The Netherlands. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and the physical meeting was cancelled. Instead, the group met via Zoom teleconference. (...)

79) In the recession, space firms should focus on Earth imagery
by Nicholas Borroz Monday, May 4, 2020

Analysis of satellite imagery can play a major role in the response to the pandemic, such as tracking the number of airliners placed in storage at a California airport. (credit: Planet)

The COVID-19 pandemic will disrupt the space sector. The world is about to enter the worst recession since the Great Depression. More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment. China reports its economy contracted by 6.8% in the first three months of 2020. The International Monetary Fund predicts that global growth in 2020 will fall by 3%.

80) Commercial crew safety, in space and on the ground
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 4, 2020

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (background) and Doug Hurley training for their Demo-2 commercial crew mission, now scheduled for launch May 27. (credit: SpaceX)

The last time NASA launched astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center, hundreds of thousands of people showed up to watch the final flight of the space shuttle in July 2011. The expectation, by NASA and others, was that similar crowds would show up when commercial crew flights finally began. The large crowds that showed up for launches like the first Falcon Heavy mission in 2018 or even relatively routine cargo launches appeared to confirm that belief, and NASA was planning for big crowds, not just of the public outside the gates of KSC but also official guests and working media inside, for a historic mission. (...)

81) Working in the shadow space program
A General Electric engineer’s work on MOL and other space programs
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, May 4, 2020

Richard Passman, right, during a demonstration of a new spacewalking tether developed by General Electric in the 1960s. (credit: Bill Passman)

Richard Passman, an engineer for General Electric, spent over a decade working on many missile and space programs, including as a senior manager of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. Passman passed away April 1 at the age of 94 due to complications from the coronavirus. This article is based on an interview conducted with him by the author in January. We had planned to do a follow-up interview, but did not get the chance. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #33 dnia: Lipiec 14, 2020, 11:31 »
19/V 2020 [82-86]

82) Toward a brighter future: Continuity of the Artemis program
by Jamil Castillo Monday, May 11, 2020

The Orion spacecraft built for the Artemis 1 mission after the completion of environmental testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio in March. (credit: NASA/Marvin Smith)

As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming the immediate crisis is the top priority. Recovery will require thoughtful planning, investment, and patience. At the same time, it is important that we look beyond the crisis toward grand efforts that push boundaries and fuel humanity’s aspirations. That is why we continue to work on Artemis, our nation’s program to send humans forward to the Moon and on to Mars. (...)

83) Reinvigorating NASA’s lunar exploration plans after the pandemic
by Ajay P. Kothari Monday, May 11, 2020

A revamped exploration program might preserve NASA’s plans to return to the Moon despite the economic impact of the pandemic, but it will have to forego development of the lunar Gateway. (credit: NASA)

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Josh Rogin argued for the need for a strong American response to China’s perceived mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic: “Americans in both parties increasingly agree that the United States needs a tougher, more realistic China strategy that depends less on the honesty and goodwill of the Chinese government.” Such a strategy should include space, too. (...)

84) The launch showdown
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 11, 2020

Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith speaks at a ceremony marking the completion of the company’s rocket engine factory in Huntsville, Alabama, February 17. The factory will build engines for both the company’s own New Glenn rocket, a model of which is on the right, but also ULA’s Vulcan (left). (credit: J. Foust)

On President’s Day back in February—less than three months ago, but feeling like a previous era—a couple hundred people gathered at a new Blue Origin building in Huntsville, Alabama. The attendees, ranging from local business leaders to members of Congress, were there for the formal dedication of the 32,500-square-meter factory, which the company will use to produce rocket engines. (...)

85) Astronauts, guns, and butter: Charles Schultze and paying for Apollo in a time of turmoil
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, May 11, 2020 [TSR]

Charles Schultze, budget director for LBJ, sought to delay the lunar landings into the early 1970s as a budget-cutting measure. (credit: NASA)

By 1966, NASA’s budget had begun to decrease, but was still significantly larger than other major domestic projects. The civilian space program was over $5 billion, compared to the “war on poverty” at $1.8 billion, and approximately $2 billion to improve elementary and secondary education. In early 1966, Charles Schultze, who served as Lyndon Johnson’s Director of the Bureau of the Budget from June 1965 until January 1968, recommended to Johnson that he delay the Moon landing until the 1970s and cancel post-Apollo projects. Schultze had proposed a list of spending cuts to Johnson, and the NASA cuts produced the second-largest savings of the options he presented. But Johnson rejected the NASA cuts at that time. (...)

86) “Maybe you were put here to be the answer”
Religious overtones in the new Space Force recruitment video
by Deana L. Weibel Monday, May 11, 2020

The end of the first US Space Force ad, whose imagery and messages had religious overtones. (credit: US Space Force)

The American space program has had remarkable religious components from its very beginnings. In its first few decades, the American space program was seen as a challenge to Soviet supremacy in outer space. The Soviet Union was known for its communism and officially atheistic stance, which made the American space program more explicitly religious by default. NASA, for instance, collected the religious affiliations of its astronauts, probably in order to know a person’s preferences in the case of a serious or fatal accident. The crew of Apollo 8 famously read from the book of Genesis while looking back at the Earth from lunar orbit and, in an act not publicized at the time, Buzz Aldrin took communion while he waited to exit the lunar module on July 20, 1969. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #33 dnia: Lipiec 14, 2020, 11:31 »

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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #34 dnia: Lipiec 14, 2020, 11:32 »
20/V 2020 [87-91]

87) Review: The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 18, 2020

The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook: (Or: How to Beat the Big Bang)
by Luke A. Barnes and Geraint F. Lewis
Cambridge Univ. Press, 2020
hardcover, 286 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-108-48670-5

Every astronomer has received a missive like this, not to mention those working in adjacent fields as well as science journalists. The email arrives from an unfamiliar account, and is often written in a… creative choice of fonts, and with various attachments. The gist of the message is along the lines of “The Big Bang is wrong!” (or, often, “THE BIG BANG IS WRONG!” in the belief that the emphasis that capitalization offers will somehow make it more convincing.) The author then provides his or her own alternative cosmology and a plea to review or publish that alternative approach. (...)

88) Explaining China’s space ambitions and goals through the lens of strategic culture
by Namrata Goswami Monday, May 18, 2020

A Long March 5B successfully lifts off May 5 on its first flight, clearing the way for future launches of Chinese space station modules. (credit: Xinhua)

We all need conceptual tools for analysis. Strategic culture is one of them. I define strategic culture as a sum of a nation’s assumptions about its reality (threats, opportunities) based on which certain policy choices are preferred over others. These policy choices are informed by the state’s political culture reflecting both continuity and change over time. Political culture is defined as “a short-hand expression for a ‘mindset’ which has the effect of limiting attention to less than the full range of alternative behaviors, problems [emphasis added], and solutions which are logically possible.” Strategic culture flows from political culture, and is mostly applicable to the political and military leaders, whose assumptions, preferences, and choices inform their proclivity to adopt a particular military strategy over others: offense/defense, compellence/deterrence. History, myths and metaphor, and state capacity play a critical role in informing these assumptions. Colin Gray captures strategic culture well in his definition, “the persisting (though not eternal) socially transmitted ideas, attitudes, traditions, habits of mind, and preferred methods of operation that are more or less specific to a particularly geographically based security community that has had a necessarily unique historical experience. (...)

89) When Washington went to the Moon: An interview with Glen Wilson
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, May 18, 2020

During the race to the Moon, President Lyndon Johnson had access to American satellite photography nearly as good as this historical photograph, taken from a helicopter, showing two Soviet N-1 rockets on their pads in Kazakhstan. That intelligence information influenced Johnson’s views on the need to continue or slow down Apollo.

Glen Wilson was a Senate staffer and worked closely with Senator Lyndon Johnson in the 1950s, playing an important role in drafting the legislation that created NASA in 1958. He worked in the Senate throughout the 1960s, when NASA and the increasingly expensive race to the Moon was often a focus of the legislative branch. Wilson had a high opinion of Johnson as a master politician, and knew many of the key people in Washington during the Apollo program, witnessing how the Apollo program played out in the back halls of Congress. (...)

90) Can NASA land humans on the Moon by 2024?
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 18, 2020

The lunar lander concept by the “national team” led by Blue Origin. (credit: Blue Origin)

Nearly 14 months ago, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a meeting of the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama, and changed the trajectory of NASA’s human spaceflight program. Pence directed NASA to accelerate its schedule for returning humans to the Moon, which at the time called for a landing by 2028. The new goal: land American astronauts on the Moon “within the next five years,” a goal subsequently interpreted to mean by the end of 2024 (see “Lunar whiplash”, The Space Review, April 1, 2019.) (...)

91) Worms and wings, meatballs and swooshes: NASA insignias in popular culture
by Glen E. Swanson Monday, May 18, 2020

NASA insignias in popular culture. Kids and adults are shown sporting NASA apparel. The late comedian Bob Hope is pictured ready to kick off his 1983–84 season of NBC specials wearing the NASA worm during a gala salute to NASA in honor of their 25th anniversary. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle, adorning the NASA worm, is shown ready on the pad at KSC for its upcoming launch that will carry two astronauts to the ISS, the first crewed launch from US soil since the last flight of the space shuttle Atlantis in 2011. (credit: G. Swanson/NBC-TV/NASA/SpaceX)

If all goes well, SpaceX will launch a Dragon spacecraft atop one of its Falcon 9 launch vehicles next week. The spacecraft will carry two humans, the first to be launched from the US since the last shuttle lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 2011. Emblazoned on the side of the rocket will appear a NASA insignia that was all but retired from the agency nearly 30 years ago. Dubbed the “NASA worm,” the retro, then-ultramodern interpretation of the agency’s logo was first created in 1975 as part of the Federal Graphic Improvement Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #35 dnia: Lipiec 14, 2020, 11:32 »
21/V 2020 [92-96]

92) Review: The View from Space
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The View from Space: NASA’s Evolving Struggle to Understand Our Home Planet
by Richard B. Leshner and Thor Hogan
University Press of Kansas, 2019
paperback, 256 pp.
ISBN 978-0-7006-2832-2

Human spaceflight has always attracted an overwhelming share of interest in NASA programs. The attention this week to the Demo-2 commercial crew test flight has been understandable, but what NASA does, or proposes to do, with humans in space captures headlines and public imagination, from last year’s announcement of returning to the Moon by 2024 to the first all-woman NASA spacewalk last October. Space science missions also garner attention, from the latest Hubble Space Telescope images to current and future Mars rover missions. (...)

93) A new use for InSight’s robotic arm
by Philip Horzempa Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The robotic arm, known as the Instrument Deployment Arm, on the Mars InSight lander as seen during the lander’s development. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

The InSight Mars Lander comes equipped with a very capable robot arm and scoop. After a year of being used to assist the “mole” of the lander’s Heat flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument burrow into the surface, this hardware could be used to produce additional science data. Specifically, the InSight team should consider a program to dig a deep trench to allow direct examination of the subsurface layers near the lander. This excavation may also provide clues regarding why the mole has had problems getting below the surface. (...)

94) Cyber security and space security
What are the challenges at the junction of cybersecurity and space security?
by Nayef Al-Rodhan Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Communications links between ground stations and satellites are in some cases vulnerable to cyberattacks, linking cybersecurity with space security. (credit: Wikimapia)

In 2014, the network of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was hacked by China. This event disrupted weather information and impacted stakeholders worldwide. Satellites are often highly vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as some telemetry links are not even encrypted. (...)

95) Space resources: the broader aspect
by Kamil Muzyka Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Space resources are not just a potential source of profit for space companies, but essential to survival for settlements beyond Earth. (credit: Anna Nesterova/Alliance for Space Development)

Space mining is back on the table. Yes, mining. Putting bucket-wheel excavators on the Moon and bringing back ores with rocket-propelled haulers and thousands of space-suited truckers, miners, and other people living and working in space. Some of them would be possibly brewing “Earthshine.” And the Americans are going to strip mine the whole Moon, hollow it out, and then move to someplace else. Americans will be ruining the Moon for their own profit, like they ruined the Earth. We have to stop them! Or if we can’t block their launch or landing sites, we must force them to share the benefits of space mining, and comply with regulations that would be beneficial for the whole world. We cannot allow their greed to ruin other celestial bodies, right? (...)

96) Commercial crew’s day finally arrives
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Doug Hurley (left) and Bob Behnken pose in front of the Tesla May 23 that will transport them to Launch Complex 39A for a final dress rehearsal before the Demo-2 launch scheduled for May 27. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The commercial crew program has forced NASA to adapt to new ways of doing things as it partners with SpaceX. Ride to the launch pad in a Tesla? Sure, no problem. Adorn that Tesla, along with the Falcon 9 rocket, with both the NASA “worm” and “meatball” logos, contrary to past policy? The more the better. (See “Worms and wings, meatballs and swooshes: NASA insignias in popular culture”, The Space Review, May 18, 2020). Ditch the old orange pressure suit shuttle astronauts wore in favor a new, sleek, primarily white suit? Okay, as long as it meets NASA safety standards. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #36 dnia: Lipiec 14, 2020, 11:32 »
22/VI 2020 [97-101]

97) Astrobiotechnology: molecular steps towards the boundaries of space exploration
by Andrea Camera, Ana Sofia Mota, and Christos Tsagkaris Monday, June 1, 2020

The International Space Station’s Columbus module supports astrobiotech research, particularly for European scientists. (credit: ESA)

The Apollo 11 landing was reported as a small step by a man and a great step for mankind. Since then, there have been many steps in space research and exploration, or SRE. Astrobiotechnology, a relatively new branch of biotechnology developed in the frame and for the sake of SRE, is a field where molecular steps mark new endeavours and pave the way to new paths. (NASA, 2018; NASA, 2019) (...)

98) Is open sourcing the next frontier in space exploration?
by Dylan Taylor Monday, June 1, 2020

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) flew a supercomputer on the ISS to test how terrestrial computing systems could operate in the space environment. (credit: HPE)

Humans are naturally curious. For centuries, we have used that curiosity to collaborate to achieve great things. You only have to look at ancient wonders like the Great Pyramids as well as modern-day engineering marvels like launch vehicles. Such traits help us advance technologically and learn more about the world around and above us. (...)

99) The genre-defining astronaut/ex-astronaut autobiographies
by Emily Carney Monday, June 1, 2020

Brian O’Leary wrote about his short tenure as a NASA astronaut 50 years ago.

Books still matter. Throughout the last sixty-plus years of spaceflight, literature chronicling spaceflight history and heritage, which runs the gamut from detailing hardware and rocketry to describing the features of the Moon and various solar system objects, have dazzled and awed readers, often introducing audiences to the subject. However, frequently the books that draw the most interest from readers are about the people: the astronauts, the flight controllers, and the workers. First-person accounts of a particular period can function as a “time machine,” pulling the reader closer into a project’s or program’s orbit (pardon the pun.)


100) NASA will not save 2020
by A.J. Mackenzie Monday, June 1, 2020

While the Demo-2 launch was a major milestone for NASA, it’s not going to “save” 2020 any more than Apollo 8 saved 1968. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

There is a bit a mythology popular among space aficionados about how NASA “saved” 1968. That year was, arguably, one of the worst for the United States in the 20th century. The Vietnam War raged on with no end in sight, civil rights protests turned violent, and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. But, around Christmastime that year, NASA launched Apollo 8, the first human mission to orbit the Moon. The success of that daring, unprecedented mission salvaged 1968, just in the nick of time—or, at least, that’s what many space enthusiasts believe. (...)

101) A shaky ride to a smooth launch
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 1, 2020

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour by the two astronauts on board, approaches the ISS May 31. (credit: NASA)

Ordinarily, planning a mid-afternoon launch from Florida during the summer would be inadvisable, especially if there’s no margin for error. The heat and humidity can make for “dynamic” weather conditions (to use a word that came up frequently in forecasts last week) that make it difficult to predict if a launch can proceed. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #37 dnia: Lipiec 21, 2020, 05:47 »
23/VI 2020 [102-106]

102) Review: After LM
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 8, 2020

After LM: NASA Lunar Lander Concepts Beyond Apollo
by John Connolly
NASA, 2020
ebook, 277 pp.
ISBN 978-0-578-62272-9

When NASA announced the winners of Human Landing System (HLS) awards at the end of April (see “Can NASA land humans on the Moon by 2024?”, The Space Review, May 18, 2020), one thing that was immediately obvious was the diversity of designs. SpaceX proposed a version of its Starship reusable launch vehicle, offering a lander far larger than its counterparts, and one so tall that astronauts would descend to the lunar surface not using a ladder but instead on an elevator. Dynetics, by contrast, proposed a lander with a low-slung crew cabin ringed by drop tanks. Only the “national team” led by Blue Origin offered a lander that looked like a descendent of the Apollo program’s Lunar Module, with an ascent stage mounted on top of a descent stage. (...)

103) Space alternate history before For All Mankind: Stephen Baxter’s NASA trilogy
by Simon Bradshaw Monday, June 8, 2020

Stephen Baxter’s “NASA trilogy” novels offered different looks at alternative histories, or futures, for NASA. (credit: NASA)

For All Mankind, one of the flagship shows of Apple’s original-content Apple TV+ service (see “Wasn’t the future wonderful?”, The Space Review, March 9, 2020), is far from being the first alternate history to reach our screens. Amazon’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is the leading recent example, although the premise has been explored before in series such as Sliders (1995–2000). It is the first such production to specifically take and focus on as its premise an alternate history of human space exploration, overtly diverging from ours in June 1969 when Alexei Leonov becomes the first man on the Moon.[1] (...)

104) Be careful what you wish for
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 8, 2020

President Donald Trump speaks at the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building after the successful Demo-2 commercial crew launch May 30. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

For decades, space advocates have sought presidential leadership in space: a commitment by a president and broader administration to make space a priority and take actions accordingly. That belief was rooted in President John F. Kennedy’s public advocacy for NASA and the goal he set of landing humans on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. NASA’s success in achieving that goal cemented that belief, even if, as historical records revealed decades later, that Kennedy personally was not that interested in space. (...)

105) How has traffic been managed in the sky, on waterways, and on the road? Comparisons for space situational awareness (part 1)
by Stephen Garber and Marissa Herron Monday, June 8, 2020

The growth of both debris in Earth orbit from collisions and explosions as well as active satellites is raising awareness about the need for revised approaches to space traffic management. (credit: ESA)

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors, not of NASA or of the Federal Government.

Most casual observers likely would agree that as the complex space operating environment becomes more crowded with more operating satellites and debris, the topics of space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic management (STM) deserve more concerted attention. While we’ve had over 60 years of satellites in the large expanse of near-Earth space with only a handful of collisions, this likely will change as space becomes more crowded. To understand what kind of overall STM framework might be both useful and practical, we will examine some of the complexities of current SSA operations. For historical points of comparison, we then will look at literal and figurative “rules of the road” paradigms for traveling on land, sea, and in the air. Curiously, norms and procedures for managing the flights of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), aka “drones”, are evolving faster than those for STM, even though modern drones have flown effectively for fewer years than spacecraft. Some aeronautics researchers have looked at UAS traffic management (UTM) as a possible model for STM.[1] By assessing similarities and differences among how traffic is managed on roads, waterways, and in the air for diverse groups of drivers/pilots, we hope to stimulate careful thought on how inherently global space operations might best be managed in this rapidly evolving era of international capabilities in space, technological change, and commercialization. (...)

106) Imagining safety zones: Implications and open questions
by Jessy Kate Schingler Monday, June 8, 2020

The scarcity of lunar resources like volatiles illustrates the need to deconflict activities on the Moon in a way that is acceptable by all participants. (credit: NASA)

In May, NASA announced its intent to “establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space” referred to as the Artemis Accords.[1,2] The Accords were released initially as draft principles, to be developed and implemented through a series of bilateral agreements with international partners. (...)
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24/VI 2020 [107-111]

107) Review: Chasing the Dream
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 15, 2020

Chasing the Dream
by Dana Andrews
Classic Day Publishing, 2020
paperback, 350 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-59849-281-1

The history of spaceflight is littered with concepts that never, literally or figuratively, got off the ground. The recent NASA book After LM described dozens of designs for lunar landers proposed after the Apollo program, up through the cancellation of the Constellation program a decade ago, none of which got even to the hardware production phase of development (see “Review: After LM”, The Space Review, June 8, 2020). The same is true, of course, for many other proposed launch vehicles and spacecraft. (...)

108) How has traffic been managed in the sky, on waterways, and on the road? Comparisons for space situational awareness (part 2)
by Stephen Garber and Marissa Herron Monday, June 15, 2020

The growth of both debris in Earth orbit from collisions and explosions as well as active satellites is raising awareness about the need for revised approaches to space traffic management. (credit: ESA)

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors, not of NASA or of the Federal Government.

Other traditional “rules of the road”

Taking a step back from the complexities of STM and looking at how traffic historically has been managed in other domains may provide some useful insights. One issue that cuts across land, air, and sea is vehicle worthiness. That is, cars, planes, and boats all need to be registered to ensure their safety, and this may be analogous to the satellite licensing process. Cars go through safety inspections to ensure road worthiness and minimum pollution standards, as well as to ensure we have functioning headlights to see and be seen at night, avoiding collisions. Just as cars, planes, and boats should be visible unless bad weather precludes this, so too should satellites be trackable. The technology for each domain is different, but the goal for all these vehicles is to be identifiable to foster communication and coordination of intended maneuvers. (...)
Part 1

109) Hugging Hubble longer
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 15, 2020

The Hubble Space Telescope seen by the last servicing mission, STS-125 in 2009. (credit: NASA)

The future of space-based astronomy is delayed. Again.

Last week, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator, confirmed the inevitable: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) won’t launch next March, as had been the schedule for the last two years. This time, a slowdown in work on the telescope that started this past March because of the pandemic will delay a launch, something that appeared increasingly obvious given the limited work that could be done and the available schedule reserves. (...)

110) The Eagle, the Bear, and the (other) Dragon: US-Russian relations in the SpaceX Era
by Gregory D. Miller Monday, June 15, 2020

A sucecssful SpaceX Crew Dragon mission will allow NASA to end its dependence on Russia for accessing the International Space Station, which brings with it geopolitical implications. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The May 30 launch of two US astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, the first human launch into orbit from US soil in nearly nine years, raises several questions about the future of US-Russian cooperation in space (Snyder and Kramer; O’Callaghan), but also about US-Russian relations more generally. US astronauts have been launching aboard Russian spacecraft since 1995 (Uri), but with NASA’s retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the US human spaceflight program became reliant on Russian launch capabilities. Now that SpaceX showed its ability to perform this task, and plans more launches in the future, one must ask whether this development will help or hinder relations between the U. and Russia. (...)

111) Peresvet: a Russian mobile laser system to dazzle enemy satellites
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, June 15, 2020

The trailer-mounted Peresvet laser system as seen in a Russian Ministry of Defense video.

On March 1, 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a saber-rattling State of the Union speech that harkened back to the darkest days of the Cold War. He used the occasion to put on a display of new armaments such as nuclear-powered cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles capable of penetrating US missile defenses, underlining they had been developed as a result of the US pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002. Putin also boasted that Russia was “one step ahead” in what he called “weapons with new physical properties”, adding:

“We have achieved significant progress in laser weapons. It is not just a concept or a plan anymore. It is not even in the early production stages. Since last year, our troops have been armed with laser weapons. I do not want to reveal more details. It is not the time yet. But experts will understand that with such weaponry, Russia’s defense capacity has multiplied.” (...)
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25/VI 2020 [112-116]

112) Review: Cosmic Clouds 3-D
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 22, 2020

Cosmic Clouds 3-D: Where Stars Are Born
by David J. Eicher and Brian May
MIT Press, 2020
hardcover, 192 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-262-04402-8

Earlier this month, the New Horizons mission released the results of a unique experiment. The spacecraft, about seven billion kilometers from Earth, took pictures of two nearby stars, Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359. Project scientists compared them to images of the stars as seen from Earth. The result was a simple but powerful demonstration of parallax: the positions of the two stars were clearly shifted in the spacecraft images compared to the Earth. (Parallax is routinely used to measure distances to nearby stars, by using the Earth’s orbit as the baseline, but the shifts are never as prominent as in these images.) (...)

113) Distributors should unplug the Earth imagery bottleneck
by Nicholas Borroz Monday, June 22, 2020

An image of Lower Manhattan take by Maxar’s WorldView-3 satellite in April. While there is plenty of satellite imagery and related data, getting the right data into the hands of analytics firms remains an obstacle. (credit: ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

In the midst of the pandemic-induced recession, the Earth imagery industry is a bright point in the space sector. Unlike other areas of the space sector, such as those dealing with satellite constellations or new launch vehicles, there is the potential to make relatively quick profits. This is significant because the recession will likely dampen investment in infrastructure projects that require large investments of time and capital to make returns. (...)

114) Spaceflight after the pandemic
by Eric R. Hedman Monday, June 22, 2020

The pandemic has created crowing demand for broadband that could be an opportunity for constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink, if they can afford to build and launch their satellites. (credit: SpaceX)

A crisis as big as the coronavirus pandemic can’t help but change the world. The space industry will change. We have already seen changes, like OneWeb filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. There will be many more changes as this crisis plays out and long afterwards. (...)

115) Orbital use fees won’t solve the space debris problem
by Ruth Stilwell Monday, June 22, 2020

Orbital use fees are paid by operators of new satellites, but the collision risk largely comes from debris and inactive satellites. (credit: ESA)

When it comes to space debris, the numbers are repeated often: more than 21,000 objects ten centimeters across or larger, approximately half a million objects between one and ten centimeters in diameter. Across the space community, there is general agreement that space debris is an existing, and worsening, problem. Many point to the free and open access to space, while others argue that proposed “megaconstellations” will take low Earth orbit to the breaking point. In response, some argue that economic disincentives, like orbit fees or taxes, could be used to reduce demand by increasing the cost of a satellite in orbit. Some argue that additional satellites create additional debris risk solely based on the increase in the satellite population. But is this the problem we are trying to solve? (...)

116) Stability and certainty for NASA’s exploration efforts
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 22, 2020

Kathy Lueders, NASA commercial crew program manager, monitors the approach of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station May 31. NASA named Lueders as associate administrator for human exploration and operations June 12. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

For most of the last decade, NASA’s human spaceflight program had stable leadership. Since the establishment of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) in 2011, when NASA merged its space operations and exploration directorates, that part of NASA had been led by Bill Gerstenmaier, a veteran of NASA’s shuttle and space station programs. Over the next eight years, Gerstenmaier gained almost universal admiration and respect in the industry for his leadership and expertise during an often-tumultuous time for human spaceflight at the agency. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #40 dnia: Lipiec 21, 2020, 05:47 »
26/VI 2020 [117-121]

117) Review: The Search for Life on Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 29, 2020

The Search for Life on Mars: The Greatest Scientific Detective Story of All Time
by Elizabeth Howell and Nicholas Booth
Arcade Publishing, 2020
hardcover, 424 pp.
ISBN 978-1-950691-39-5

Over the next month the newest flotilla of Mars missions will set sail. Around the middle of July, a Japanese rocket will launch Hope, an orbiter that is the first Mars mission developed by the United Arab Emirates. Sometime in July, or perhaps early August, China will launch Tianwen-1, an ambitious mission that includes an orbiter, lander, and rover, but about which the Chinese space program has said little. Most of the attention, though, will go towards NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, carrying a rover called Perseverance and currently scheduled for launch on July 22. Perseverance will land on March next February and soon start caching samples of Martian rocks, part of an overarching Mars Sample Return effort that will take at least a decade to complete. (...)

118) Enhancing space deterrence thought for nuclear threshold threats (part 1)
by Christopher M. Stone Monday, June 29, 2020

Military planners need to consider threats not just from conventional anti-satellite weapons but also alternatives once dismissed as “unthinkable.” (credit: DRDO)

Most governments when asked to choose between war and peace are likely to choose peace because it looks safer. These same governments if asked to choose between getting the first or second strike will very likely choose the first strike…once they feel war is inevitable, or even very probable.
- Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War (1960)

Space fighting is not far off. National security has already exceeded territory and territorial waters and airspace and territorial space should also be added. The modes of defense will no longer be to fight on our own territory and fight for marine rights and interests. We must also engage in space defense as well as air defense.
- Teng Jinqun, People’s Liberation Army Analyst (2001) (...)

119) The Artemis Accords: repeating the mistakes of the Age of Exploration
by Dennis O’Brien Monday, June 29, 2020

NASA’s approach to international cooperation, the Artemis Accords, rejects alternatives like the Moon Treaty, and an implementing agreement for it, that could be more viable in the long term. (credit: NASA)

“Space is a warfighting domain… It is not enough to have an American presence in space; we must have American dominance in space.”
- US Vice President Mike Pence, 2018[1]

In the spring of 1493, the King and Queen of Spain sent an envoy to the Pope in Rome. Along with Portugal, Spain had just used its advanced sailing and navigation technology to reach “new worlds,” areas of the Earth that had not been previously discovered by Europeans. But they had a problem: they wanted to establish sovereign property rights in the lands they had discovered, but they weren’t sure they could do so under their own authority. So, they turned to the only international authority in Europe at that time, the Catholic Church, which held sway over governments from Portugal to Poland, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. If the Church would establish a legal framework that granted them sovereignty, then those nations would be bound to recognize it.[2] (...)

120) THESEUS: a high-energy proposal for a medium-sized mission
by Arwen Rimmer Monday, June 29, 2020

An illustration of THESEUS, a proposed medium-class ESA missions to detect and precisely locate gamma-ray bursts. (credit: ESA)

THESEUS (Transient High-Energy Sky and Early and Universe Surveyor) is a space mission project aimed at detecting and characterizing gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) so as to investigate the early universe and advance multi-messenger and time-domain astrophysics. It is one of three finalists in the ESA’s latest call for medium-sized missions, along with EnVision and SPICA (see “EnVision and the Cosmic Vision decision”, The Space Review, March 2, 2020; and “SPICA: an infrared telescope to look back into the early universe”, The Space Review, May 4, 2020). (...)

121) Sausage making in space: the quest to reform commercial space regulations
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 29, 2020

The new commercial remote sensing regulations should make it easier for synthetic aperture radar satellite companies like Capella Space get licenses for their systems. (credit: Capella Space)

There’s long been a tension between government and industry involving regulations. Companies traditionally want to minimize regulations in order to reduce the cost and other burdens they place on them. Governments, on the other hand, seek regulations in order to support broader priorities, like national security, workplace safety, and the environment. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #41 dnia: Lipiec 28, 2020, 05:21 »
27/VII 2020 [122-126]

122) Review: The Little Book of Cosmology
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 6, 2020

The Little Book of Cosmology
by Lyman Page
Princeton Univ. Press, 2020
hardcover, 152 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-691-19578-0

Physics and associated subjects, like cosmology, have plenty of canonical, and massive, books. Many physics students are acquainted with Gravitation, a classic textbook about general relativity whose authors include Nobel laurate Kip Thorne. Weighing in at more than 1,000 pages, the book seems massive enough to warp spacetime on its own. (...)

123) Enhancing space deterrence thought for nuclear threshold threats (part 2)
Assessing North Korean nuclear spacepower
by Christopher M. Stone Monday, July 6, 2020

A North Korean rocket launch in December 2012. The rocket successfully placed a satellite into orbit, but that satellite appeared to be dead on arrival.

Strategic cultures are not like strategic plans. They are the result of political and cultural history and tend to be relatively stable over time. The study of these cultures would be inexpensive and could reduce our uncertainties about how these countries could use their new power.
   - Stephen Rosen: Winning the Next War

124) “Artemis 8” using Dragon
by Robert Zubrin Monday, July 6, 2020

A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, like the one approaching the ISS in May on the Demo-2 mission, could be sent around the Moon using a combination of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. (credit: NASA)

The following memo was sent by the author to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, on June 30, 2020.

A mission equivalent to Apollo 8—call it “Artemis 8”—could be done, potentially as soon as this year, using Dragon, Falcon Heavy, and Falcon 9. (...)

125) It’s (small) rocket science, after all
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 6, 2020

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifts off Saturday on its ill-fated launch. (credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

Maybe companies should think twice about launching on US holidays.

To be fair, it was the morning of Sunday, July 5, in New Zealand when an Electron rocket lifted off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 there. However, back in the United States, where Rocket Lab is headquartered, it was still the afternoon of July 4 when the Electron lifted off on a launch licensed by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. (...)

126) National spaceports: the past
by Wayne Eleazer Monday, July 6, 2020

An Atlas V launch in August 2019, seen from the author’s home.

The US Air Force, long the operator of the nation’s primary space launch bases, is giving some thought to what “National Spaceports” should be. This analysis should be aided by certain facts.

The launch bases at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (AFS) and Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) originally were conceived as test facilities for Air Force Systems Command programs. Systems Command’s main focus was its product centers, the procurement organizations for new Air Force systems. They conducted development and acquisition of new military hardware. Under Systems Command’s highly programmatic focus, the launch centers and all other test ranges were entirely driven by the various procurement program requirements. Program offices almost always greatly dislike even the idea that they could be impacted by the requirements and actions of other programs, and as a result this produced a huge proliferation of range systems and facilities designed to meet specific program requirements, largely without regards to overall efficiency. Tracking systems, communications systems, utilities, and brick-and-mortar support facilities required by programs were installed at the launch bases largely without regard to long-term costs or efficiency. This had the effect of increasing test center capacity: dozens or even hundreds of test support operations were common every day, and even multiple rocket launches in one day were common. On the other hand, no doubt many opportunities were lost that could have reduced costs, or at least been better for future activities. (...)
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28/VII 2020 [127-131]

127) Review: The Sirens of Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 13, 2020

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World
by Sarah Stewart Johnson
Crown, 2020
hardcover, 264 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-101-90481-7

Move over, Shark Week: it’s Mars Month. From now through (hopefully) the end of the month, three missions are set to launch to go to Mars. The United Arab Emirates’ first Mars mission, an orbiter called Hope, is set to launch Wednesday morning (Tuesday afternoon US time) on an H-2A rocket in Japan. Next week is the likely launch date for Tainwen-1, China’s first full-scale Mars mission that includes an orbiter, lander, and rover. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, carrying the rover Perseverance, is now scheduled for launch July 30 after some launch vehicle and spacecraft processing issues delayed the launch from July 17. (...)

128) Enhancing space deterrence thought for nuclear threshold threats (part 3)
A future defense space strategy for the Second Nuclear Age
by Christopher M. Stone Monday, July 13, 2020

The defense space strategy of the future must acknowledge the connection of space as a “forward region” of homeland defense similar to that of the emergent Asian nuclear-space powers in the second nuclear age environment.

Deterrence theory favors status quo powers, not powers unhappy with the limitations put on them by the existing distribution of power and superior weapons in the hands of others.
— Therese Delpech: Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century

129) Not so dark skies
by Al Globus Monday, July 13, 2020

In the book Dark Skies, Daniel Deudney examines space settlement[1] in detail and comes to the conclusion that it is so likely to exterminate humanity or have other serious consequences that it should not be undertaken at all, or at least not for several centuries, giving time to improve homo sapiens’ habits. Deudney comes to his surprising conclusion by applying geopolitics, a part of political science that studies “the practice of states controlling and competing for territory,”[2] among other things, to space settlement, which Deudney describes as “habitat expansionism.” Deudney uses a version of geopolitical theory to generate 12 propositions and then applies them to predict the future, coming to the conclusion that space settlement is an existential threat to humanity and should be viewed in the same category as nuclear war. Dark Skies is a difficult read but it is also a detailed and extensive critique of space settlement that deserves a thoughtful response. (...)

130) CSI: Rocket Science
by Jeffrey L. Smith Monday, July 13, 2020

The Castor 600 rocket motor’s nozzle disintegrated during its inaugural test in May 2019, setting off an intense investigation. (credit: Northrop Grumman)

In the failure review process, engineers and technicians work together to perform two separate but equally important tasks: the Investigation to determine the accident’s Root Cause, and the Recovery to implement the Corrective Action.

These are their stories.

131) What’s in a name when it comes to an “accord”?
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 13, 2020

While development of the lunar Gateway (above) will be done through an extension of the intergovernmental agreement for the International Space Station, NASA envisions a new approach for further international cooperation in the Artemis program. (credit: NASA)

The cooperation among the nations involved in the International Space Station is governed by what’s known as the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), a legal framework that handles the rights and responsibilities of the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and various European nations involved in the station. That framework will be extended to cover the lunar Gateway, the facility NASA is developing in lunar orbit as part of the Artemis program with future contributions by Canada, Europe, Japan, and perhaps Russia. (...)
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29/VII 2020 [132-135]

132) Review: Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 20, 2020

Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth
by Kate Greene
St. Martin’s Press, 2020
hardcover, 240 pp.
ISBN 978-1-250-15947-2

While the robotic missions launching to Mars this year have a wide range of science goals, they are widely seen as precursors for eventual human missions to the Red Planet. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission includes an experiment called MOXIE that will demonstrate a way to produce oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere, a capability that will be essential for future human expeditions. NASA’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal included a request to start work on a Mars Ice Mapper mission, an orbiter that would search for subsurface ice deposits that could be resources for future human expeditions. (...)

133) Tracking off-the-books satellites with low perigees
by Charles Phillips Monday, July 20, 2020

A printout of a computer prediction of the reentry of Skylab in 1979, illustrating the hazards of low-perigee objects.

One fascinating study is objects that reenter the atmosphere: watching to see how low an orbit various objects can have and still survive, and where they reenter. My first professional job was in the US Air Force as an orbital analyst and one of the first things I worked on was the reentry of Skylab. It was a lot of fun for a young person. The image above is a plot from our 427M computer that showed predicted reentry time and location; there are probably not many surviving prints from that system. Skylab was an example that large objects that fall from the sky can cause damage and alarm to people below them. I was glad that the US Air Force had taken upon itself the responsibility of alerting the world. (...)

134) The pandemic’s effect on NASA science
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 20, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is partly to blame for the latest James Webb Space Telescope launch slip, a seven-month delay to October 31, 2021. (credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

When the coronavirus pandemic started affecting NASA operations in March, forcing the agency to close centers (see “Space in uncertain times”, The Space Review March 23, 2020), NASA leadership prioritized some activities, like operation of the International Space Station and other spacecraft missions. NASA also elevated the priority of the SpaceX Demo-2 commercial crew test flight and the launch of the Mars 2020 mission. (...)

135) Handshakes and histories: The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, 45 years later
by Asif Siddiqi and Dwayne A. Day Monday, July 20, 2020

The Apollo-Soyuz mission was in many ways intended to be the most visible symbol of a new era of détente between the United States and the Soviet Union. (credit: NASA)

On July 15, 1975, two rockets lifted off their launch pads on other sides of the world. One was a Soyuz spacecraft launching out of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov. The other was an Apollo spacecraft atop the last of the Saturn IB rockets, carrying Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton. Two days later the spacecraft linked up, their space travelers opened their hatches, and they engaged in a symbolic handshake in orbit that was intended to symbolize a thawing of Cold War tensions between two superpowers equipped to annihilate each other in nuclear war. Now, 45 years later, the Russian space agency Roscosmos has released a large trove of declassified documents about the Soviet side of this event which at the time seemed incredibly historic, but in retrospect now looks like a minor footnote in a long and continuing rivalry. Hindsight, it turns out, can be blurrier than we think. (...)
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30/VII 2020 [136-140]

136) Review: Promise Denied
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 27, 2020

Promise Denied: NASA’s X-34 and the Quest for Cheap, Reusable Access to Space
by Bruce I. Larrimer
NASA, 2020
ebook, 410 pp., illus.
ISBN 9781626830516

If, in 1995, you told people in the space industry that in a quarter-century there would be partially reusable launch vehicles in operation commercially, the news might have been a little bit of a disappointment. The mid-1990s were the heyday for reusable launch vehicle concepts, particularly single stage to orbit (SSTO). The DC-X Delta Clipper, developed by the Pentagon and later transferred to NASA and renamed the DC-XA Clipper Graham, was making test flights in New Mexico, demonstrating vertical takeoff and landing. NASA had ambitions for an even more capable RLV demonstrator, the X-33, that Lockheed Martin won the contract to develop with plans to turn it into a commercial SSTO vehicle, VentureStar. Certainly by 2020 RLVs would be commonplace, flying daily! (...)

137) What you should learn from Comet NEOWISE
by Hariharan Karthikeyan Monday, July 27, 2020

Comet NEOWISE as photographed by the author recently. (credit: Hariharan Karthikeyan)

This was nothing short of a hasty search for the highest point in the city. As the sky dimmed, we drove in separate cars for miles and miles unsuccessfully, finally settling for a rugged trail that branched off of Beatty Drive in El Dorado Hills, California. (...)

138) Highway to the Danger Zone: The National Reconnaissance Office and a downed F-14 Tomcat in Iraq
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, July 27, 2020

An F-14 Tomcat from fighter squadron VF-154 “the Black Knights” like the one lost over Iraq in April 2003. (credit:

It was April 1, 2003, in the opening days of the American invasion of Iraq, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, when it still seemed like the United States and its coalition partners were going to liberate the country from a brutal dictator, and before the occupation turned into a long, brutal, messy conflict. Lieutenant Chad Vincelette and Lieutenant Commander Scotty “Gordo” McDonald were assigned to squadron VF-154, “the Black Knights,” flying the squadron’s last deployment of the F-14A Tomcat. Their call-sign was “JUNKER 14.” The squadron had been split in two, with most aircraft staying on the USS Kitty Hawk, while five were based ashore, at Al Udeid Air Base, in Qatar. (...)

139) National spaceports: the future
by Wayne Eleazer Monday, July 27, 2020

The Space Force offers an opportunity to stop repeating the mistakes of the past when it comes to operating launch sites. (credit: US Navy)

“National spaceports: the past” explained how different organizational inclinations, as well as both Command and Air Force priorities and specific experiences, impacted the way different Air Force commands regarded and managed the Air Force test ranges that have become national spaceports. These attitudes and priorities had significant impacts on the way the spaceports were operated and planned. (...)

140) Irregular disorder and the NASA budget
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 27, 2020

The lunar lander concept by the “national team” led by Blue Origin, one of three that NASA is currently supporting through the Human Landing System program. The House version of a fiscal year 2021 spending bill provides NASA with only a fraction of the funding the agency requested for that program. (credit: Blue Origin)

It’s been a long time since there’s been anything like “regular order” in the congressional appropriations process: individual bills passed by the House and Senate, their differences resolved in conference to produce a final version that’s signed into law before the beginning of the fiscal year October 1. Instead, there are usually stopgap funding bills, called continuing resolutions, that extend for weeks or months before a massive omnibus bill, combining up to a dozen different bills, is eventually passed. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
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