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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #45 dnia: Lipiec 28, 2020, 05:23 »
31/VIII 2020 [141-145]

141) Sending Washington to the Moon: an interview with Richard Paul
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, August 3, 2020

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 last year in Washington. A radio show two decades earlier examined the political issues behind the program. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Recently, the BBC World Service podcast “13 Minutes to the Moon” finished its second season, focusing on the Apollo 13 mission during seven episodes. It has been an outstanding series so far. But this was not the first time that radio has addressed the Apollo program in an interesting and substantive way. Two decades ago there was a two-part radio broadcast that also told a complicated space story involving multiple actors. In 1999, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, radio station WAMU in Washington, DC, aired a program about the role of Washington politics in the lunar landing. “Washington Goes to the Moon” (WGTTM) was written and produced by Richard Paul and featured interviews with a number of key figures in the story, from historians to NASA and congressional officials to famed newsman Walter Cronkite. After the radio program aired Paul, the author of We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program, turned transcripts of the interviews over to NASA as historical documents. These transcripts included unaired portions of the interviews. (...)

142) Mars race rhetoric
by Ajey Lele Monday, August 3, 2020

NASA launched the Mars 2020 mission, featuring the Perseverance rover, last week, bound for a landing on Mars next February. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Science gets viewed as the search for truth. It helps to remove bias and bring in objectivity. But the intimacy of science and politics is also well-known. Depending upon the purpose, science could have societal, political, economic, and strategic backdrops. Science requires political patronage, mainly for funding. (...)

143) Propelling Perseverance: The legacy of Viking is helping NASA get to Mars
by Joe Cassady Monday, August 3, 2020

The same thruster design used for the Viking landers was resurrected for the Curiosity landing (above) and will be used on the Perseverance landing next year. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Much has been written in the past few weeks about the NASA Mars 2020 mission that will carry the rover Perseverance and the helicopter Ingenuity to Mars. But did you know that the transportation system that will deliver these phenomenal machines to the surface of the Red Planet actually owes much to the original Viking landers back in the 1970s? It’s true. This is a tale of tried and true engines and a little bit of perseverance to accomplish the task that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) liked to proclaim as “Dare Mighty Things!” (...)

144) How the “Department of Exploration” supports Mars 2020 and more
by Paul Dabbar Monday, August 3, 2020

An Atlas V rocket carrying the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover lifts off July 30 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Rovers can’t rove without persistent sources of power. That’s especially true when it comes to space exploration. And when NASA’s Perseverance rover begins exploring the Red Planet next February after its launch last Thursday, it will do so thanks to power supplied by the Department of Energy (DOE), which may be better dubbed the “Department of Exploration.” (...)

145) Captured flag
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 3, 2020

The Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour moments before splashdown August 2 that ended the Demo-2 mission. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

During a ceremony on the final space shuttle mission, STS-135 in July 2011, astronauts on the International Space Station spoke with then-President Barack Obama. During the call, the astronauts showed off a small American flag, 10 by 15 centimeters, that has also flown on the first shuttle mission three decades earlier. That flag, they said, would remain on the station until the next crewed American spacecraft arrived at the station. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #46 dnia: Sierpień 04, 2020, 02:15 »
32/VIII 2020 [146-150]

146) Review: War in Space
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 10, 2020

War in Space: Strategy, Spacepower, Geopolitics
by Bleddyn E. Bowen
Edinburgh University Press, 2020
hardcover, 288 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4744-5048-5

The latest salvo, if you will, in the debate about a space arms race came last month. US Space Command announced that Russia conducted what it considered an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test in orbit when the Kosmos 2543 satellite deployed an object in the vicinity of another Russian satellite. The speed of the deployed object led the US government to conclude this was a test of a kinetic projectile. “This is further evidence of Russia’s continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems, and consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold US and allied space assets at risk,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, head of both Space Command and the US Space Force, in a statement. (...)

147) Orbital space tourism set for rebirth in 2021
by Tony Quine Monday, August 10, 2020

Both Axiom Space and Space Adventures have announced contracts for Crew Dragon missions, either to the International Space Station or a free-flyer mission to a higher orbit. (credit: SpaceX)

Orbital space tourism has been in a holding pattern since 2009, a decade-long hiatus caused, indirectly, by the end of the space shuttle in 2011. However, orbital space tourism is finally due to return in 2021, perhaps on a scale unimaginable back in 2009.

According to media releases from the two main protagonists in the sector, Space Adventures and Axiom Space, up to nine seats to orbit will be available for purchase, by either individuals or organizations, during the final quarter of 2021. These will be spread across three spaceflights, using both the tried and tested Russian Soyuz, and SpaceX’s Dragon, two of which will dock at the International Space Station. (...)

148) Virgin Galactic, still awaiting liftoff, spreads its wings
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 10, 2020

The interior of SpaceShipTwo features reclining seats, lots of cameras, and a mirror in the back. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

For the last 15 years, Virgin Galactic has been very clear about its plans: develop a suborbital vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, that will fly customers and payloads to the edge of space on a regular basis. It’s kept a focus on that goal despite extensive delays, testing setbacks, and a fatal test flight accident nearly six years ago. When the company did develop a side business, a small launch vehicle called LauncherOne, it spun that out into Virgin Orbit, a separate business that now shares little with Virgin Galactic other than founder Richard Branson and the “Virgin” in their names. (...)

149) After the fire: a long-lost transcript from the Apollo 1 fire investigation
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, August 10, 2020

The crew of Apollo 1 crosses the gantry to the spacecraft on the day of the fire, January 27, 1967. (credit: NASA)

As long as there has been spaceflight, there have been conspiracy theories. There were conspiracy theories about Sputnik in the late 1950s (“their Germans are better than our Germans”) and dead cosmonauts in the early 1960s. Even before some people claimed—on the very day that it happened—that the Moon landing was faked, Apollo had its own conspiracy theories. In those days it was difficult for them to propagate and reach a wide audience, unlike today, when they can spread around the world at the speed of light. One of those Apollo conspiracy theories was about a whistleblower named Thomas Baron, who later died under mysterious circumstances. (...)

150) Upgrading Russia’s fleet of optical reconnaissance satellites
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, August 10, 2020

Early concept for a 2.4 m primary mirror scheduled to fly on Russia’s next-generation Razdan reconnaissance satellites. (credit: Kontenant magazine)

Russia currently has only two operational optical reconnaissance satellites in orbit, both of which may already have exceeded their design lifetime. They are to be replaced by more capable satellites carrying a primary mirror about the same size as of those believed to be flown aboard American reconnaissance satellites, but it is unclear when these will be ready to fly. An experimental satellite launched in 2018 likely is the precursor of a constellation of much smaller spy satellites that will augment the imagery provided by the big satellites. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #47 dnia: Sierpień 04, 2020, 02:15 »
33/VIII 2020 [151-155]

151) Review: Shuttle, Houston
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 24, 2020

Shuttle, Houston: My Life in the Center Seat of Mission Control
by Paul Dye
Hachette Books, 2020
Hardcover, 320 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-316-45457-5

The recent SpaceX commercial crew mission offered a look at the future of mission control, or at least the concept of mission control. There was the traditional NASA Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, overseeing the operations of the International Space Station. There was also, though, SpaceX’s own mission control center at its Hawthorne, California, headquarters, which handled the Crew Dragon itself. During their trip to the station in May, and back home in August, the NASA astronauts on the spacecraft communicated directly with the SpaceX mission control rather than with JSC. (...)

152) Reaching for the stars: structural reform in the private space sector in India
by Anirudh Rastogi and Varun Baliga Monday, August 24, 2020

New privatization initiatives by the Indian government may help space startups in the country, like small launch vehicle developer Skyroot Aerospace. (credit: Skyroot Aerospace)

India has taken steps in quick succession to liberalize its private space industry. In May, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the opening up of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) facilities to the country’s private sector as part of its COVID-19 special economic stimulus. More recently, the Indian Cabinet approved the setting up of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to facilitate private sector participation “through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment.” These are early but laudable steps. (...)

153) NASA’s Artemis Accords: the path to a united space law or a divided one?
by Guoyu Wang Monday, August 24, 2020

The Artemis Accords are intended to ensure partners in NASA’s Artemis program agree to a set of principles, but some of those principles may raise international space law issues. (credit: NASA)

On May 15, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine presented the critical points of The Artemis Accords Principles for a Safe, Peaceful, and Prosperous Future (the Artemis Accords) publicly (see “What’s in a name when it comes to an ‘accord’?”, The Space Review, July 13, 2020). The Artemis Accords attempt to clarify basic principles and rule frameworks in international law for the sake of lunar activities which are led by the US, and then to influence and promote the international community to reach a consensus on the legality of space resources activities. It shows that the US carries on the rationale of the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act of 2015, along with the Presidential Decree No.13914, and continues to promote the construction of legal and political certainties on space resource activities. In this way, more countries will be attracted to participate in not just the Artemis program, but also future space resources activities on other celestial bodies, such as extracting and utilizing resources on Mars or asteroids. This will have a certain impact not just on the nature of space activities and the relations between spacefaring countries, but also on the discussion of relevant international rules. The main question to be discussed here is whether it will bring to a united space law or a divided one. (...)

154) The National Aeronautics and Space and Arms Control Administration (NASACA)?
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, August 24, 2020

A missile during a May Day Parade in Red Square. In 1969, NASA sought a role in arms control negotiations between the US and USSR.

Nineteen sixty-nine was a key turning point for NASA. In July, the agency landed Apollo 11 on the Moon, a stunning achievement that culminated more than eight years of frantic effort. But by that time the agency’s future was already in question. The Nixon administration had begun questioning the agency’s budget and looking for ways to cut it. Advisers had indicated that there were major policy issues to address about what would happen after Apollo landed on the Moon, and soon some in the administration would question if NASA was even necessary. It was in the midst of this uncertain environment that NASA Administrator Thomas Paine made a surprising suggestion that has been classified for 50 years: NASA could become the key US government agency for monitoring arms control agreements. Newly declassified documents are now shedding some light on this previously unknown proposal, but they raise many questions requiring further study. (...)

155) Losers and (sore) winners
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 24, 2020

While SpaceX won the Air Force launch competition using its existing Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, it will have to build a mobile servicing tower (right) at LC-39A to allow for vertical processing of payloads, as well as a stretched payload fairing for the Falcon Heavy. (credit: SpaceX)

In April 2014, Elon Musk declared war on the US Air Force. At a press conference in Washington, he announced that he was filing suit against the service, arguing that it had locked SpaceX out of future military launch contracts with a block buy of launches from rival United Launch Alliance. “Essentially, what we feel is that this is not right,” he said at that event. “National security launches should be put up for competition, and they should not be awarded on a sole-source, uncompeted basis.” (See “SpaceX escalates the EELV debate”, The Space Review, April 28, 2014.) (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #48 dnia: Sierpień 04, 2020, 02:15 »
34/VIII 2020 [156-160]

156) Review: The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 31, 2020

The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)
by Katie Mack
Scribner, 2020
hardcover, 240 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-9821-0354-5

The end of the universe is probably one of the last things on everyone’s minds these days, given all the problems that make you wonder how we’ll get through just this year. It’s something that is (presumably) very far in the future, and also something we have absolutely no control over. But, perhaps, you are a little curious about how it will all come to an end—whether or not you want to accelerate the process. (...)

157) From SSA to space recon: Setting the conditions to prevail in astrodynamic combat
by Maj. James Kirby, US Army Monday, August 31, 2020

The growing concerns about threats to military space assets requires a new mindset, adapted from terrestrial military reconnaissance, to help identify those threats in a timely fashion. (credit: DOD)

Traditional orbital analysis in support of the concept of Space Situational Awareness (SSA) has been historically focused upon the concepts of executing orbit determinations, state vector updates, and close approach analysis to support safety of flight. While these functions will remain foundational, the mindset and culture that has developed these procedures must change in the face of existential threats to our space capabilities. No longer may we be content with a solely a passive awareness of the domain, focused on collision avoidance and safety of flight; rather we must transform our perspective to merge the physics of Newton, Kepler, Lambert, Clohessy, Wiltshire, and Hill, and the reconnaissance principals and culture of Tzu, Buford, and Wellesley into concepts that shape maneuver warfare in this emerging warfighting Area Of Responsibility (AOR). (...)

158) Collaboration is the cornerstone of space exploration
by Dylan Taylor Monday, August 31, 2020

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover, launched in late July, carried instruments from several companies and is just one example of the importance of international collaboration in space exploration. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

When Neil Armstrong proclaimed that landing on the Moon was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” the resonance of its message not only alluded to the incredible undertaking that a moon landing entailed, but it also ignited the human imagination and the spirit of invention for what could now be possible. (...)

159) Outer space needs private law
by Alexander William Salter Monday, August 31, 2020

NASA’s Artremis program and its proposed Artemis Accords has triggered debate about space governance. (credit: Dynetics)

The Cold War is back, and it’s headed into orbit. American tensions with China and Russia are escalating, especially since Russia’s suspected anti-satellite weapons test. The stakes are nothing less than a peaceful future in space. Operations in orbit and beyond require extraordinary precision and certainty. Any conflict can seriously hinder operational efficiency for both governments and businesses. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can benefit all parties: Giving private law a major role in ordering the cosmos. (...)

160) Pick an agency, any agency
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 31, 2020

A report commissioned by Congress affirmed the administration’s choice of the Office of Space Commerce within the Department of Commerce as the lead agency for civil space traffic management. (credit: ESA)

When President Trump appeared at a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House in June 2018, the highlight was his announcement that the administration would seek to establish a Space Force as a separate military branch. It overshadowed his signing of Space Policy Directive (SPD) 3, which focused on space traffic management and assigned responsibilities to the Commerce Department (see “Managing space traffic expectations”, The Space Review, June 25, 2018). (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #48 dnia: Sierpień 04, 2020, 02:15 »

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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #49 dnia: Sierpień 04, 2020, 02:15 »
35/IX 2020 [161-165]

161) Review: The Smallest Lights in the Universe
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir
by Sara Seager
Crown, 2020
hardcover, 320 pp.
ISBN 978-0-525-57625-9

Science is done by scientists. That may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s something often forgotten in the announcements of discoveries, including in astronomy and related space sciences. Discoveries are often attributed—particularly in news headlines—to the spacecraft or observatories used to make them. But those discoveries are made not by spacecraft and instruments, but by people who operate them and analyze the data they produce. Those researchers, like the rest of us, are people with their own motivations to do such work, and struggles to overcome to achieve those discoveries. (...)

162) Walking through the doors of history: unlocking a space tradition
by Kirby Kahler Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The shuttle mission stickers above the double doors at the O&C. (credit: K. Kahler)
In July 2019, I had the unique opportunity to revisit the astronaut walkout doors at the Neil Armstrong Operations & Checkout Building (O&C) at the Kennedy Space Center for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Fifty years ago, I was one of more than 3,500 journalists trying to get the “money shot” of the Apollo 11 astronaut walkout. (...)

163) The Artemis Accords: a shared framework for space exploration
by Paul Stimers and Abby Dinegar Tuesday, September 8, 2020

NASA plans to seek international partners for the Artemis lunar exploration program, making an agreement like the Artemis Accords critical. (credit: NASA)

President Trump has made quite a mark on US space policy by announcing the Artemis program to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon in 2024 and creating the Space Force. The recent developments continue the role America has always played in space: a leader and partner in peaceful, cooperative international efforts. This is the spirit that has led to 20 years of continuous human presence in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and that sent American astronauts to the Moon a half century ago, not to claim territory, but “in peace for all mankind.” President Trump’s initiatives build carefully and squarely atop a foundation of policy that stretches across decades of bipartisan leadership. (...)

164) Making the transition from the ISS
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Axiom Space won a NASA award early this year to add commercial modules to the International Space Station, but NASA has put on hold a similar competition to support a free-flyer commercial station. (credit: Axiom Space)

In less than two months, the International Space Station will reach a milestone. On November 2, 2000, the Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, and American astronaut Bill Shepherd, docked with the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. Since that day the station has been continuously occupied, meaning that, barring a calamity of some kind in the coming weeks, the station will soon surpass 20 years with people on board. That is a major accomplishment for a program that struggled for years to get off the drawing boards and into orbit. (...)

165) The future on hold: America’s need to redefine its space paradigm
by Stephen Kostes Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Constructing a cislunar infrastructure will drive renewed investment in education and training, and it will re-direct investment back into the historical drivers of job creation and economic growth.

A powerful school of economic thought today, led by economists such as Robert Gordon, suggests that, during the 1970s, the focus of technological innovation changed and, as a result, economic growth started to decline and wealth inequality began to rise. While there are many factors involved, it is interesting to note that this coincides with the end of the Apollo era. Along with severe budget cuts, this limited scope of innovation certainly took its toll on the space program. However, it also seems to have short-circuited our economy as well. (...)
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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #50 dnia: Sierpień 04, 2020, 02:15 »
36/IX 2020 [166-170]

166) Review: Space Dogs
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 14, 2020

Space Dogs
Directed by Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter
Icarus Films, 2019
91 mins.

Most readers are familiar with the tale of Laika, the first animal in space. A stray picked up off the streets of Moscow, Laika was flown on the second Sputnik satellite in November 1957, claiming yet another first for the Soviet space program. The flight was a one-way mission from the beginning, since Sputnik 2 has no capability to survive reentry. Laika, as later historical research revealed, likely died from overheating just a few hours after launch. (...)

167) The West needs bold, sustainable, and inclusive space programs and visions, or else
by Giulio Prisco Monday, September 14, 2020

A Chinese concept for a lunar base. China’s long-term vision for space exploration and utilization poses a challenge to the US and its partners. (credit: CAST)

China is planning an International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) in the lunar south pole region, and recently revealed that it is seeking international partners.

I hope there’ll be international ILRS partners, but I guess they’ll play only a token role. Since I’m not too optimistic on the US Artemis lunar program (I’ll come to that), going to the Moon as guests of the Chinese may become the only plausible option for aspiring astronauts in the rest of the world. But of course, foreigners will be kept far from the really important things that China wants. (...)

168) Star children: can humans be fruitful and multiply off-planet?
by Fred Nadis Monday, September 14, 2020

A Dutch startup, SpaceLife Origin, proposed a series of missions leading up to a baby being born in orbit, before backing off last year. (credit: SpaceLife Origin)

From his home in Cape Canaveral, Air Force pilot Alex Layendecker explained how he had been drawn to the study of sex and reproduction in space. “I had been immersed in the space environment in the Air Force, assigned to launch duty, and was simultaneously pursuing an M.A. in public health, and then at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, and I was looking for a dissertation topic,” he recalled. “I decided that sex and reproduction in space had not received the attention they deserved—if we’re serious about discussions of colonization, having babies in microgravity—on Mars or other outposts of the Earth, then more needs to be learned.” His general recommendation was that because of the squeamishness of NASA to study sex in space, a private nonprofit organization, or Astrosexological Research Institute, should be founded for this research critical to human settlement of outer space. (...)

169) Launch failures: fill ’er up?
by Wayne Eleazer Monday, September 14, 2020

A Proton launch in 2010 failed not because it ran out of propellant but instead because it had too much on board. (credit: Roscosmos)

One of the most common causes of airplane accidents is a pilot sitting there and letting the thing run out of gas. This type of mishap is much less common with space launches, but early propulsion system shutdowns due to the vehicle running out of propellant have occurred in some noteworthy cases.

The majority of liquid propellant space boosters ever launched have lacked a system with even as little sophistication as a bewildered pilot staring at a dropping fuel gauge. The engines were tested, the performance noted, and the required amounts of fuel and oxidizer calculated using simple formulas. For vehicles using liquid oxygen (LOX) as the oxidizer, that tank was topped off: a necessity since it kept boiling off until mere seconds before liftoff, when the vent valve was closed. The fuel was loaded based on the calculations, with a bit extra added to provide some margin. Thor, Titan, and Delta all used this approach, as did most foreign vehicles. (...)

170) Moon and Mars advocates find peace
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 14, 2020

NASA’s lunar Gateway, part of the agency’s Artemis program, could also be used to support Mars exploration through long-duration crewed missions there. (credit: NASA)

For decades, it seems, space exploration advocates have done battle over the long-term goals of human spaceflight, even as humans remained stuck in low Earth orbit. Some have argued for a return to the Moon, both for its own sake as well as a proving ground for missions beyond. Others, though, have pushed for going to Mars, often as soon as possible, fearing that a lunar return could be a costly, lengthy detour. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #51 dnia: Sierpień 11, 2020, 08:27 »
37/IX 2020 [171-175]

171) Review: The Last Stargazers
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 21, 2020

The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers
by Emily Levesque
Sourcebooks, 2020
hardcover, 336 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-4926-8107-6

Two historic observatories were in the news recently, not because of any new discoveries they made but instead due to threats to their existence. Last month, a wildfire in the early days of California’s horrific fire season approached Lick Observatory, on a mountaintop near San Jose. Last week, another fire encroached on Mount Wilson Observatory near Los Angeles, at one point coming within a couple hundred meters of its major telescopes. Fortunately, in both cases firefighters were able to halt the fires, with only minor damage at each observatory. (...)

172) Review: Orphans in Space
by Glen E. Swanson Monday, September 21, 2020

Orphans in Space is a two-DVD set with an eclectic collection of little-known space-related films.

Orphans in Space: Forgotten Films from the Final Frontier
2012, The Orphans Film Project

In early April, while doing research for an article (see “‘Space, the final frontier’: Star Trek and the national space rhetoric of Eisenhower, Kennedy and NASA”, The Space Review, April 20, 2020), I interviewed Megan Prelinger. During that interview, she mentioned that both she and her husband Rick helped assemble a collection of space-themed films that appeared in a DVD set called Orphans in Space: Forgotten Films from the Final Frontier. (...)

173) Venus: science and politics
by Ajey Lele Monday, September 21, 2020

An image of the surface of Venus taken by the Soviet Union’s Venera 13 mission.

For many years, the major focus for space exploration has been Mars and the Moon. Of course, the scientific community has been involved in missions elsewhere in the solar system, but the agendas for major space agencies have been dominated by the missions to the Moon and Mars. Now, there exists a possibility that another world could push its way into those agendas.

The discovery

Venus is known as the hottest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures as high as 470°C. In fact, Venus is even hotter than Mercury because Venus thick atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide, generating a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus is sometimes called the sister planet of the Earth, since it is very similar to the Earth in terms of size and mass. However, the problem is that the temperature and atmosphere of Venus makes it entirely different than the Earth. (...)

174) Why the detection of phosphine in the clouds of Venus is a big deal
by Paul K. Byrne Monday, September 21, 2020

The discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus could be a sign of life, as well as a sign of new life for exploration of thew planet. (credit: European Space Organization/M. Kornmesser & NASA/JPL/Caltech)

[This article was originally published by The Conversation, and is reprinted under a Creative Commons license.]

On September 14, a new planet was added to the list of potentially habitable worlds in the Solar System: Venus.

Phosphine, a toxic gas made up of one phosphorus and three hydrogen atoms (PH3), commonly produced by organic life forms but otherwise difficult to make on rocky planets, was discovered in the middle layer of the atmosphere of Venus. This raises the tantalizing possibility that something is alive on our planetary neighbor. With this discovery, Venus joins the exalted ranks of Mars and the icy moons Enceladus and Europa among planetary bodies where life may once have existed, or perhaps might even still does today. (...)

175) Where will Artemis 3 land? And when?
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 21, 2020

Comments last week suggested the Artemis 3 lunar landing might not take place near the lunar south pole, but NASA has since reiterated it still plans to go to the south pole. (credit: NASA)

NASA’s Artemis program faces many challenges to overcome to achieve its goal of landing humans on the Moon in 2024. There are the myriad technical problems that have already occurred, and will likely continue to crop up in the coming years as NASA completes development of the Space Launch System, Orion, one or more human lunar landers, and the lunar Gateway. Funding remains a challenge, as evidenced by a House bill that provides NASA with less than a fifth the funding it sought for the Human Landing System (HLS) program (see “Irregular disorder and the NASA budget”, The Space Review, July 27, 2020). And, there’s the possibility that a change of administrations next year will lead to a slowdown, or even abandonment, of the entire program. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #52 dnia: Sierpień 11, 2020, 08:27 »
38/IX 2020 [176-180]

176) Review: China in Space
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, September 28, 2020

China in Space: The Great Leap Forward, 2nd ed.
by Brian Harvey
Springer; 2nd ed. 2019
paperback, 564 pages
ISBN-13: 978-3-030-19587-8

Brian Harvey has long written about China’s space program as well as the space programs of India and Japan. This is a second edition of his book on China’s expanding space program, successor to the edition published in 2013. It provides a good overview of the breadth of Chinese space activities, as well as what has led up to China’s current projects and their future ambitions. (...)

177) Photons and phosphine
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 28, 2020

Rocket Lab’s Photon satellite bus will be used to support the launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE mission to the Moon next year. (credit: NASA)

On August 31, a Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s launch pad in New Zealand, placing a radar imaging satellite for startup Capella Space into orbit. The launch represented the return to flight of the Electron, which failed in its previous launch less than two months earlier (see “It’s (small) rocket science, after all”, The Space Review, July 6, 2020). An investigation tracked down the cause of the failure to an “anomalous electrical connection” in the rocket’s second stage that had evaded the company’s acceptance testing processes prior to launch. (...)

178) Battle of the Titans (part 1)
by Wayne Eleazer Monday, September 28, 2020

What would become the Titan IV faced challenges both before and after the Air Force selected the design for development. (credit: Lockheed Martin)

As has been described in various articles in The Space Review (see “When ‘about time’ equals ‘too late’”, October 11, 2005; “The engine problem”, August 3, 2015; “About those scrapped Atlas ICBMs”, July 6, 2010), the Space Shuttle was developed to be the sole US launch vehicle that would be supported by the US Government. All US government payloads eventually would fly on nothing but the shuttle and that meant American commercial payloads would also. All rocket engine development except that related to the shuttle was stopped in the 1970s and most rocket engine production ended as well. (...)

179) Reality bites
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, September 28, 2020

The website for the planned “Space Hero” reality TV show has a countdown clock but little else about the show that would send the winner to the ISS. (credit:

Two weeks ago, the Hollywood publication Deadline reported an exclusive that sounded a lot like déjà vu all over again:

“Space Hero Inc., a U.S.-based production company founded by Thomas Reemer and Deborah Sass and led by former News Corp Europe chief Marty Pompadur, has secured a seat on a 2023 mission to the International Space Station. It will go to a contestant chosen through an unscripted show titled Space Hero. Produced by Ben Silverman and Howard Owens’ Propagate, the series will launch a global search for everyday people from any background who share a deep love for space exploration. They will be vying for the biggest prize ever awarded on TV.” (...)

180) India’s Mars orbiter completes six years at the red planet, but where is the science?
by Jatan Mehta Monday, September 28, 2020

India’s Mangalyaan spacecraft arrived at Mars six years ago, but the scientific output of the mission has been a disappointment. (credit: ISRO)

September 24 marked six years since ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission, or Mangalyaan, spacecraft entered Mars orbit, making India the first Asian country to do so. What is even more impressive is that Mangalyaan was the country’s first interplanetary mission. Combined with the cost effectiveness for which it is lauded, Mangalyaan is often hailed as India’s most successful space mission. But is it? (...)
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« Odpowiedź #53 dnia: Sierpień 11, 2020, 08:27 »
39/X 2020 [181-185]

181) Review: Space Is Open for Business
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 5, 2020

Space Is Open for Business: The Industry That Can Transform Humanity
by Robert C. Jacobson
Robert Jacobson, 2020
paperback, 418 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-7342051-0-7

Despite the economic upheavals in the last year caused by the coronavirus pandemic, interest in space continues largely unabated (see “Commercial space, and space commercialization, weather the pandemic”, The Space Review, this issue). CNBC reported over the weekend on a recent analysis by Bank of America, which projected the global space economy would more than triple over the next decade, to $1.4 trillion in 2030. While the analysis was simplistic—Bank of America simply assumed the average annual growth rate of the last two years, more than 10%, would continue for the next ten—it exemplifies the bullishness the investment community has shown in space in recent years. (...)

182) Why addressing the environmental crisis should be the space industry’s top priority
by Loïs Miraux Monday, October 5, 2020

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station. (credit: NASA)

How can we give meaning to space missions in the context of a global environmental crisis? World Space Week 2020 (October 4–10) and its theme “Satellites Improve Life” will remind us of the numerous benefits that space-based assets bring on Earth. However, as climate change has been largely recognized as an existential threat in the 21st century, some space activities, such as space exploration or space tourism, raise important questions. Some projects continue to promise technological solutions to environmental issues in outer space. They won’t help. The environment should be space industry’s top priority. (...)

183) Commercial space, and space commercialization, weather the pandemic
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 5, 2020

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket lifts off October 2 carrying a Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. Included in the Cygnus was a commercial payload for Estée Lauder. (credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black)

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft that launched Friday night from Wallops Island, Virginia, bound for the International Space Station, carried a diverse array of cargo. There were science and technology demonstration payloads, ranging from testing cancer treatments to growing radishes in microgravity (yes, scientists said at a pre-launch briefing, the astronauts will be able to eat the radishes.) There were also some nitrogen gas bottles for the station’s air supply as the crew worked to trace the source of a small air leak, now thought to be in the Zvezda module. And there was the Universal Waste Management System, a next-generation space toilet that will be tested on the ISS before it’s used on the Orion spacecraft. (“When the astronauts have to go, we want to allow them to boldly go,” said one member of the team that developed it.) (...)

184) Battle of the Titans (part 2)
by Wayne Eleazer Monday, October 5, 2020

A converted Titan II ICBM launches the Quickscat mission for NASA. (credit: NASA)

It was a matter of national policy that the Space Shuttle would be the only new US launch system, but not everyone in the US Air Force agreed with that philosophy. The Complementary Expendable Launch Vehicle (CELV) procurement that began in 1984 and became the Titan IV program addressed back up launches for three very important Air Force payloads, all to be launched from Cape Canaveral (see “Battle of the Titans (part 1)”, The Space Review, September 28, 2020). Soon after CELV got underway in 1984, some Air Force officers began thinking about the problem of alternative launch capabilities for payloads using polar orbits launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (...)

185) Mars ain’t the kind of place to take your kid: Netflix’s “Away”
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 5, 2020

Netflix’s “Away” is about a crew on a journey to Mars, but much of the story takes place on Earth and feels no different than a typical suburban melodrama on basic cable.

How do we measure what is in the popular culture, what occupies the zeitgeist? Certainly some things are obvious. But what about the subjects that do not overwhelm popular discussion, but nevertheless occasionally rise up above the din? Subjects like Mars. Where is Mars in our popular culture today? (...)
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« Odpowiedź #54 dnia: Sierpień 11, 2020, 08:27 »
40/X 2020 [186-190]

186) Review: Neutron Stars
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 12, 2020

Neutron Stars: The Quest to Understand the Zombies of the Cosmos
by Katia Moskvitch
Harvard Univ. Press, 2020
hardcover, 304 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-674-91935-8

There’s too much gold in the universe. That’s the conclusion of a recent study that compared the abundances of gold measured in our solar system with the known mechanisms for producing gold. The primary way to create it, astronomers believe, is when two neutron stars collide (supernovae don’t help, since any star massive enough to produce gold through fusion will end up as a black hole, trapping the gold within it.) But, the study’s authors noted, neutron star collisions don’t appear to be frequent enough to produce the gold we do see. Either another process creates gold, or neutron star collisions create more gold than astronomers expect. (...)

187) Space entrepreneurs need to look to the stars but keep their feet on the ground
by Nicholas Borroz Monday, October 12, 2020

Many get into the space industry seeking to pursue interesting technologies, like reusable rockets; a sustainable business plan is only a secondary concern. (credit: SpaceX)

The space sector is one where technological marvels are widely celebrated. As private firms become more influential in the sector, there has been a veritable explosion of exciting plans for employing next-generation technologies. This creativity is inspiring, but it also has drawbacks. Entrepreneurs should continue pursuing their visions, but they should also make sure to ground their enterprises in reality. They should clearly understand how their activities benefit others. (...)

188) In the paler moonlight: the future’s past in “For All Mankind”
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 12, 2020

Note: This article contains spoilers for the first and second seasons of For All Mankind.

“For All Mankind’s” first season ended with an American base on the Moon. In season 2, set in the 1980s, the base has expanded, and become the focus of the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union.

The second season of Apple TV+’s “For All Mankind” was filming when reality intervened, halting production after eight episodes had been shot, although production resumed late in the summer. For a show about world events to be derailed by a world event is perhaps overly ironic, but despite the delay, the producers did release a trailer for season two, and it indicates that things are heating up on the Moon. (...)

189) The three administrators
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 12, 2020

Former NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, seen here at a 2019 conference, joined two of his predecessors in the Aviation Week webinar last week. (credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

NASA administrators get plenty of advice, solicited and unsolicited, while on the job. Politicians, executives, scientists, and others are more than willing to weigh in on what the agency’s leader should do. The best advice, though, might come from the people who previously held the job—if they’re willing to give it. (...)

190) Semantics in lexicon: Moving away from the term “salvage” in outer space
by Michael J. Listner Monday, October 12, 2020

As more efforts get started to repair and revive derelict satellites, the space industry needs to reconsider its use of “salvage” when describing such operations. (credit: Northrop Grumman)

The idea of salvage in outer space is one that evokes fervent discussions about space debris and recovering defunct satellites for possession. The idea of salvage in outer space is misunderstood and mischaracterized by private space enthusiasts, and is one I’ve discussed here before (see “Taking salvage in outer space from fiction to fact”, The Space Review, March 20, 2017). Moreover, I suggested that a form of salvage, akin to contract salvage in the maritime domain, might be an appropriate model for outer space and that a precedent has already laid the groundwork with the recovery of the Palpa B and Weststar VI satellites by NASA and the Space Shuttle.[1] The successful rendezvous and servicing operation performed on Intelsat 901 by the SpaceLogistics Mission Extension Vehicle 1 (MEV-1) earlier this year and a follow-on mission by MEV-2 with the Intelsat 10-02 next year lays the groundwork for opportunities for more of these activities in outer space. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #55 dnia: Sierpień 11, 2020, 08:27 »
41/X 2020 [191-195]

191) Review: Canadarm and Collaboration
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 19, 2020

Canadarm and Collaboration: How Canada’s Astronauts and Space Robots Explore New Worlds
by Elizabeth Howell
ECW Press, 2020
paperback, 240 pp.
ISBN 978-1-77041-442-6

For most people in the space field, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Canada’s space program is its series of robotic arms (with the possible recent exception of former astronaut/social media personality Chris Hadfield.) Over the last four decades, Canada has become synonymous with those systems, first with the Canadarm on the shuttle and then Canadarm2 and the Dextre manipulator on the space station. The back of the Canadian five-dollar bill includes an illustration of Canadarm2, while a model of a robotic manipulator was visible in the office of new Canadian Space Agency president Lisa Campbell last week when she participated in a virtual signing ceremony for the NASA-led Artemis Accords. (...)

192) Is the New Zealand commercial space success story a model for other countries?
by Marçal Sanmartí Monday, October 19, 2020

New Zealand’s Cook Strait viewed from the International Space Station. (credit: NASA)

These remotely located group of islands in the South Pacific with a population of just five million people has a tradition of punching above its weight. New Zealand is a primary industries powerhouse; probably hosts the best known and successful rugby team on Earth, the All Blacks; and is seen internationally as a champion in the fight against COVID-19. The space sector is emerging as another such area—ironic, considering that locals refer themselves as kiwis, the name of a local flightless bird! (...)

193) Rock-solid (Blue) Cube: Galileo and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
by Joseph T. Page II Monday, October 19, 2020

The US Air Force Satellite Control Facility circa 1984, located near Sunnyvale, California.

Thirty-one years ago, the United States space program placed a mark in the “win” column amidst a terrible terrestrial tragedy. On October 18, 1989, the shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 39B, carrying the Jupiter-bound Galileo space probe atop its Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster. While the Galileo saga included many epic twists and turns over the decades since its conception, one of the most inspiring stories came from the unlikeliest of places: a non-descript blue building in Sunnyvale, California less than 24 hours before the launch. (...)

194) TAG, Bennu, you’re it
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 19, 2020

An illustration of OSIRIS-REx, its sample gathering arm extended, approaching the surface of the asteroid Bennu. (credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

Some call it a fist bump. Others, a “boop.” But the formal name is “touch and go,” or TAG, which clearly illustrates what NASA will attempt to do Tuesday.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft—one of the more convoluted acronyms in NASA’s history—has been orbiting the asteroid Bennu since late 2018, studying the asteroid while scouting for a landing site. On Tuesday, the spacecraft will descend towards the selected site, dubbed Nightingale, extending a robotic arm with a sampling mechanism, called TAGSAM, on the end. If all goes well, that mechanism will touch down on the surface, collect at least 60 grams, and perhaps up to two kilograms, of material, in just five to ten seconds, before the spacecraft pulls away: touch and go. (...)

195) Applied witchcraft: American communications intelligence satellites during the 1960s
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 19, 2020

A TOPHAT communications intelligence satellite launched in 1970. This satellite was about the size of a small refrigerator and gathered up Soviet communications from low Earth orbit. (credit: NRO)

During the Battle of Midway in June 1942, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, monitored the battle from his command center in Pearl Harbor, picking up snippets of radio traffic from both American and Japanese forces. After hearing that American planes had spotted the Japanese carriers and started their attack, Nimitz and his officers heard nothing more from the Japanese carriers for a long period, but then intercepted a message from the Japanese force seeking the location of the American fleet. After another long silence, the Americans intercepted a coded Japanese message. The call sign on the message was Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, whose flagship was the carrier Akagi. But one of the American naval officers present had become an expert at identifying the styles of the Japanese operators who tapped out coded messages. This message was not tapped out by the Akagi’s heavy-handed warrant officer, but instead by the chief radioman in the cruiser Nagara. The Americans concluded from this small bit of evidence that the Akagi had been damaged too heavily to serve as flagship, and Nagumo had shifted his command to the cruiser. In fact, Akagi was in flames, Nagumo had barely escaped alive by climbing down a rope from the ship’s bridge, and the carrier, which had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor, would sink within the day. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #56 dnia: Sierpień 25, 2020, 03:44 »
42/X 2020 [196-200]

196) If we are going forward to the Moon, don’t go back to Apollo
by Christopher Cokinos Monday, October 26, 2020

Aristarchus crater might be a better alternative landing site for the first Artemis missions than an Apollo site, if the south pole of the Moon is ruled out. (credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

NASA Administrator James Bridenstine recently surprised the space community by suggesting that the first crewed Artemis surface mission to the Moon, slated for 2024, might not land at the south pole as previously discussed but instead could revisit one of the Apollo landing sites in the easier-to-reach lunar equatorial regions. (...)

197) From the Truman Proclamation to the Artemis Accords: steps toward establishing a bottom-up framework for governance in space
by Alfred B. Anzaldúa and Cristin Finnigan Monday, October 26, 2020

Should lunar governance for future exploration and other activities be done in a bottom-up or top-down way? (credit: NASA)

Humanity stands at the doorway of an astounding societal transformation. While many people worldwide pass time attending to urgent personal matters or frivolous entertainments, nation states and private parties harbor serious plans to launch missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond to establish permanent outposts and communities. Such extraterrestrial activity offers vast potential to unleash “infinite opportunity, boundless freedom, and unfettered creativity.”[1] (...)

198) The Artemis Accords take shape
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 26, 2020

Representatives of the US and seven other nations signed the Artemis Accords in a virtual ceremony October 13. (credit: NASA)

It was a signing ceremony for the Zoom era. On the screens of attendees of the virtual International Astronautical Congress October 13, as well as anyone who tuned in to NASA TV, was a three-by-three array of screens, a fancy version of video chats that have become commonplace. In each window, a government official put pen to paper; some matter-of-factly, others proudly showing off the document they signed. (...)

199) Swords into plowshares: the top secret PERCHERON project
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 26, 2020

One of the last KH-7 GAMBIT-1 reconnaissance satellites was launched in early 1967. General Electric proposed using the successful spacecraft for NASA missions, but ran headlong into secrecy issues, angering officials at the National Reconnaissance Office, which procured and operated GAMBIT. (credit: Peter Hunter Collection)

In the 1960s, NASA had the coolest stuff. They had Mars probes and lunar landers, Gemini spacecraft and spacesuits and the coolest of the cool, the Saturn V rocket. But NASA didn’t have everything. The top secret National Reconnaissance Office, with a budget that was probably only 15% as big as NASA’s, had some powerful camera systems, large high-quality optical mirrors inside spacecraft that the NRO routinely launched into low Earth orbit. NASA had fledgling astrophysics and Earth observation programs that could benefit from the NRO’s technology, but there were policy and secrecy requirements that prevented NASA from acquiring them. Nevertheless, companies that built this equipment for the NRO looked at NASA as another potential customer and sought out ways to sell it to them. And sometimes those efforts went badly. PERCHERON is one of those stories. (...)

200) Russia gears up for electronic warfare in space (part 1)
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, October 26, 2020

The Krasukha-4 electronic warfare system is used among other things to interfere with observations of radar reconnaissance satellites (source).

Russia is building up an impressive capability to conduct electronic warfare against foreign satellites. At the center of this effort is the development of a variety of mobile ground-based systems to interfere with the operations of both communications and radar reconnaissance satellites. There is also evidence for plans to perform electronic warfare from space using nuclear-powered satellites. Aside from that, work is underway at various locations in Russia to construct ground-based infrastructure to obtain signals intelligence on foreign satellites and apparently also to protect Russia’s own fleet of satellites against electronic attack from outside. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #57 dnia: Sierpień 25, 2020, 03:44 »
43/XI 2020 [201-205]

201) Review: Star Crossed
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 2, 2020

Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak
by Kimberly C. Moore
University Press of Florida, 2020
hardcover, 296 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-8130-6654-7

We’ve come a long way from the earliest days of the US space program, where the Mercury 7 astronauts were placed on a pedestal as clean-cut, All-American men. They, and the astronauts who followed, were far from perfect, as we have since learned: some carousing and unfaithful to their spouses, others suffering from alcoholism and depression. Marriages were shattered and careers derailed because these best-of-the-best had human weakness and frailties, like the rest of us. (...)

202) The Green New Deal for space
by S. Mike Pavelec Monday, November 2, 2020

Innovations in spaceflight and space markets can help achieve the goals of a Green New Deal. (credit: SpaceX)

As we approach yet another election in the US, a number of incredibly important issues will be decided. One is the future of American space power, the role of the government, military, and civilian sectors, and ongoing and increasing concern for the future health of the planet. There is an argument for why climate activists, political representatives, and anyone who supports radical change to mitigate global climate change needs to embrace US efforts in space now and into the near future. This argument is based on both the Green New Deal platform as well as current and near-future space capabilities. Environmentalists, politicians, and the population in general should support space exploration and access for the future of the planet and humanity. (...)

203) US space missions require bipartisan support for optimal long-term success
by Namrata Goswami Monday, November 2, 2020

If elected, a Biden Administration should press forward with many space initiatives, like a return to the Moon, to keep pace with China’s space ambitions. (credit: NASA)

Missions to explore and develop outer space necessitate long-term resource commitment and policy focus. This kind of long-term strategy formulation and identification of “decades out” space policy goals (2020–2049) and resource commitment is evident in China’s space program. Soon after China landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced plans to establish a permanent lunar research base by 2036. In February, China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission, launched July 23 of this year, will attempt to enter into Martian orbit, and later land on the Martian surface and release a rover to carry out a survey of Mars’ surface to include its soil composition. According to Chinese media, the scientific goals of China’s Mars mission are:

Mapping the morphology and geological structure, investigating surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution, analyzing the surface material composition, measuring the ionosphere and the characteristics of the Martian climate and environment at the surface, and perceiving the physical fields and internal structure of Mars. (...)

204) Russia gears up for electronic warfare in space (part 2)
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, November 2, 2020 [Part 1 was published last week]

A signals intelligence site (code-named 1511/2) under construction near Pionerskiy is intended to intercept signals from foreign satellites (Google Earth image taken on May 22, 2020).

Space-based electronic warfare

Russia may also be working on a capability to perform electronic warfare (EW) from space. Interest in this arose back in the 1980s as part of a large-scale effort to develop countermeasures against America’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which was aimed at forming a space-based shield against incoming Soviet missiles. One of many projects proposed at the time was a space-based EW system called OREST-02 (an unknown acronym), which is seen in a list of space-based systems intended to attack targets on land, in the oceans and in the air.[1] There are no indications that OREST-02 ever went beyond the proposal stage and the plans were likely shelved after the collapse of the Soviet Union. (...)

205) A dynamic ISS prepares for its future, and its end
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 2, 2020

The International Space Station will gain a set of commercial modules later this decade, a precursor for both commercial space stations and the end of the ISS itself. (credit: Axiom Space)

Twenty years ago today, the crew of Expedition 1—Bill Shepherd, Yuri Gidzenko, and Sergei Krikalev—arrived at the International Space Station, kicking off occupation of the station that has continued uninterrupted to this day. NASA and its partners have been celebrating this impending milestone for months, regularly remining the public that there is now a whole generation of people who have no memories of a time when there were not people in orbit. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #58 dnia: Sierpień 25, 2020, 03:44 »
44/XI 2020 [206-210]

206) Review: Luna Cognita
by Joseph T. Page II Monday, November 9, 2020

Luna Cognita: A Comprehensive Observer’s Handbook of the Known Moon 1st ed. 2020 Edition
by Robert A. Garfinkle
Springer Nature, 2020
hardcover, 1680 pp., illus. (three volume set)
ISBN 978-1-4939-1663-4

As the closest celestial object in our skies, the Moon has an amazing body of literature surrounding it. Primitive humans looked up into the sky and saw the mysterious orb appear and disappear in a timely (and predictable) manner. As civilization developed, the Moon became a natural target of attention. For the romantics among us, it invokes poetry and mythological lore about supernatural effects on both human and beasts. For scientists, the Moon is a literal playground for chemical and geologic processes that hold clues to our own Earth’s origins. Over the past few centuries, especially since the human exploration missions, the Moon has had a lot written about it. One might wonder, “Is another book about the Moon really needed?” (...)

207) Russia looks for actress to steal Tom Cruise space movie thunder
by Tony Quine Monday, November 9, 2020

An illustration for the movie Vyzov, which will include scenes filmed on the ISS involving an actress selected as part of a competition. (credit: Roscosmos)

Russia’s not-too-subtle effort to upstage Tom Cruise’s plans to film the first ever feature film in Earth orbit have taken a major step forward, with more details announced jointly by the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Channel One TV, from Moscow.

Vague details released in September have now been fleshed out, with the headline grabbing news being the decision to base the Russian movie plot around a woman, meaning that the filmmakers will need to find an actress willing to fly on a Soyuz rocket in October next year. (...)

208) How ISRO handled the pandemic
by Ajey Lele Monday, November 9, 2020

An Indian PSLV lifts off November 7 on the first launch by ISRO since last December. (credit: ISRO)

On November 7, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully undertook a ten-satellite launch. ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 51st flight (PSLV-C49), successfully launched EOS-01 along with nine international customer satellites. This was the first launch for ISRO this year. EOS-01 is an Earth observation satellite, intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, and should become operational in the coming days. (...)

209) Closing the business case
by Robert G. Oler Monday, November 9, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden faces tough questions about what NASA’s future direction in human spaceflight should be. (credit: Adam Schultz/Biden for President)

The American people have spoken. At noon on January 20, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration will end four years of chaos passing for governance. The new administration’s underlying goal must be making government work again.

Key to that goal is to regain social trust with both the citizenry of the United States and other governments of the world. Social trust forms when people and organizations accomplish the things that are proposed. In government it means organizations succeeding in making the lives of the people who pay the bills measurably better. (...)

210) Moon 2020-something
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 9, 2020

A 2024 human lunar landing, a goal many in the industry treated skeptically even before the election, may now be out of reach. (credit: NASA)

It can be hard to believe, in this era where the pandemic has warped our sense of time, that the centerpiece of NASA’s human space exploration plans isn’t that new. It was only in March 2019, a little more than 18 months ago, that Vice President Mike Pence announced that he was calling on NASA to return humans to the Moon by 2024. Prior to his speech, NASA was working towards a human landing in 2028, after first assembling the lunar Gateway. (...)
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« Odpowiedź #59 dnia: Sierpień 25, 2020, 03:44 »
45/XI 2020 [211-215]

211) George Low made the hard choices on Apollo: a review of “The Ultimate Engineer”
by Emily Carney and Dwayne A. Day Monday, November 16, 2020

The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA’s Visionary Leader George M. Low
by Richard Jurek
University of Nebraska Press, 2019
hardcover: 344 pages, illus.
ISBN 978-0-8032-9955-9

The Apollo program was an immensely complicated project that some estimates indicate involved nearly 400,000 people working on different aspects of it, spread all across the country. Despite the hundreds of books written about Apollo in the past half century, surprisingly, a number of key officials and aspects of the program have been, if not entirely overlooked, certainly not given the attention they are due. One of these people is George Low, a senior NASA official who made numerous key decisions in the program while based in Houston but frequently traveling to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. Low has often been relegated to the background in Apollo histories that focus on astronauts and rockets, despite playing a major role in keeping Apollo focused on its goal of beating the Russians to the Moon. Low, for instance, was the main driver of the gutsy decision to send Apollo 8 around the Moon in December 1968. Now, Richard Jurek has written a book focused on Low that gives him his due. (...)

212) The need for US leadership in remediating space debris
by Jessica Duronio Monday, November 16, 2020

The US can take the lead in establishing rules for orbital debris remediation, setting a standard for other countries to follow. (credit: ESA)

Some 150 million pieces of debris litter Earth orbit, and outer space is getting more crowded. Discarded rocket bodies, defunct satellites, lost instruments, even chips of paint circle the Earth at up to 25,000 kilometers per hour. They are capable of causing incredible damage.

So far, the international community has failed to address the problem of space junk. There are no rules for the remediation, or removal, of orbital debris, thereby leaving vital US space assets vulnerable to potential accident. The US should promote and uphold the safety and sustainability of outer space by establishing regulatory rules for the remediation of space debris. Those rules should be modeled after the United States Government Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices. (...)

213) Lunar commerce: a question of semantics?
by Derek Webber Monday, November 16, 2020

Can some lunar development activities, such as resource extraction, ever be considered a true commercial venture? And if so, when? (credit: Caterpillar)

Many planning professionals are working all over the globe on aspects of returning to the Moon, with an expressed focus this time on sustainability and commercial developments. Most are carrying out the design and development work for the necessary science and engineering technologies. Others are investing considerable thought to the issues of governance and international regulatory protocols. I want to consider here the commercial element, move toward some way of characterizing it, and thereby seek to provide a firm and stable basis for attempting to quantify the elements. We need to reach an understanding of the likely combination, scale, and timing of commercial contributions in developing the Moon. Such an understanding is important in coming to decisions about design, sizing, and costs of various infrastructure elements. There is a direct link between demand forecasts, design architectures, and overall costs. So, even though at present it is difficult to quantify, we must attempt to provide at least a basis for forecasting and budgeting. (...)

214) Spooks and satellites: the role of intelligence in Cold War American space policy
by Aaron Bateman Monday, November 16, 2020

A 1985 test of an anti-satellite missile released from an F-15 fighter. Intelligence on Soviet ASAT activities played a role in policy decisions in the 1970s and 1980s that led to the development of this ASAT weapon as well as support for SDI. (credit: USAF)

In 1978, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Admiral Stansfield Turner declared that the “Russians can kill us in space.” Shortly thereafter, President Carter approved the Pentagon’s request to test an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon to place greater pressure on the USSR over ASAT arms control. Reagan Administration officials regularly invoked intelligence on Soviet space activities to justify both the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and the Miniature Homing Vehicle (MHV) ASAT program. The declassified intelligence record reveals that the US Intelligence Community was less alarmist in its assessments of Soviet military space capabilities than some public statements suggested. Intelligence did, nevertheless, play a direct role in the decisions to develop US ASATs, and later to justify space-based missile defense. Perhaps most interestingly, the Reagan administration systematically released sanitized intelligence on Soviet military capabilities in the publication Soviet Military Power to garner greater support for SDI. Now, with the declassification of relevant national security documents on Soviet space activity, it is possible to better understand the role of intelligence in shaping American space policy during the Cold War. (...)

215) From development to operations, at long last
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 16, 2020

A Falcon 9 carrying a Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts on board lifts off November 15 from the Kennedy Space Center. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Launches are the aspect of space activities that often attract the most attention, and understandably so: they are dramatic spectacles, controlled explosions that on occasion become uncontrolled. But while important, their glare can blind us to more important issues. The launch industry, for example, is just a small fraction of the overall space industry, with communications and other services provided by satellites generating far more revenue. (...)
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Polskie Forum Astronautyczne

Odp: The Space Review
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