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Odp: The Space Review
« Odpowiedź #405 dnia: Wrzesień 07, 2022, 13:05 »
1/X 2022/51

Review: The Whole Truth
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 3, 2022

The Whole Truth: A Cosmologist’s Reflections on the Search for Objective Reality
by P. J. E. Peebles
Princeton University Press, 2022
Hardcover, 264 pp.
ISBN 978-0-691-23135-8

Three years ago, cosmologist Jim Peebles won a share of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for “theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,” as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences described it. Peebles spent his career working on models to explain the formation of the universe, from the cosmic microwave background to the roles played by dark matter and dark energy. His work, the announcement of the prize stated, “laid a foundation for the transformation of cosmology over the last fifty years, from speculation to science.”

Sputnik’s effect on Vanguard
by Richard Easton Monday, October 3, 2022

A replica of the Vanguard satellite. The launch of Sputnik caused engineers working on Vanguard to turn their attention to tracking the satellite. (credit: National Air and Space Museum)

Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4, 1957. The strong reaction from the West showed Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev that space could contribute to soft power competition in the Cold War.

NASA-SpaceX study opens final chapter for Hubble Space Telescope
by Christopher Gainor Monday, October 3, 2022

The Hubble Space Telescope after release on the final shuttle servicing mission in 2009. NASA and SpaceX are studying the feasibility of sending a Crew Dragon mission to reboost the telescope. (credit: NASA)

This year the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has dominated astronomical news as it went through its commissioning process and then began producing its first images and other data from around the universe. In the eyes of many people the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), now in its 33rd year of operations, has moved into the shadow of JWST.

Applied planetary science: DART’s bullseye
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 3, 2022

A illustration made before last week’s impact showing DART about to collide with Dimorphos, with the larger asteroid Didymos in the foreground. (credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)

For a time last month it appeared NASA was going to have an unusual doubleheader. The agency was working towards a September 27 launch of the Space Launch System and Orion on the Artemis 1 mission, after a tanking test confirmed that they had resolved a hydrogen leak and after getting approval from the Eastern Range for the rocket’s flight termination system, which exceeded its 25-day certification earlier in the month.

2/X 2022/51

Review: A Traveler’s Guide to the Stars
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 10, 2022

A Traveler’s Guide to the Stars
by Les Johnson Princeton Univ. Press, 2022

hardcover, 240 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-691-21237-1

Tucked away on the inside of the adapter that connects the Orion spacecraft to the upper stage of the Space Launch System are ten cubesats, patiently awaiting launch on the Artemis 1 mission. One of those ten is Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout, a NASA cubesat that will, after deployment, unfurl a solar sail and use that to send the spacecraft on a flyby of a near Earth asteroid in two years. NEA Scout was intended as a technology demonstrator for larger solar sails, explained Les Johnson, principal investigator for the solar sail part of the mission at NASA Marshall, during a talk at the Conference on Small Satellites in Utah in August.

Making a modern military service

The US Space Force knows it needs to be fast, lean, and agile, but how?
by Coen Williams and Peter Garretson Monday, October 10, 2022

Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, the first chief of space operations of the Space Force, speaking at a conference in September. (credit: US Air Force photo by Eric Dietrich)

The Space Force needs new individual and organizational frameworks. Simply applying the tools of the last century will not be effective. This means recreating the space-minded joint warfighter as the Guardian-Designer, enabling increased freedoms to make changes to software, hardware, and operations. Advancing US Space Force (USSF) organizations through the OADE Loop is critical to the creation of the nation’s first 21st century military branch. (...)

Commercial space stations: labs or hotels?
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 10, 2022

Voyager Space used the IAC to announce research partnerships for its Starlab commercial space station, but also an agreement with Hilton to design accommodations for it. (credit: Voyager Space)

One of the more unusual side events associated with last month’s International Astronautical Congress (IAC) took place not at the Paris Convention Center but instead several kilometers away at the historic Paris Observatory. The purpose of the event was not related to astronomy—although one could look through telescopes there on the clear fall evening—but instead something quintessentially French: champagne.

Arms control and satellites: early issues concerning national technical means
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 10, 2022

Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev signing the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Interim Agreement, or SALT I, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in May 1972. The satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office were used to monitor the treaties. They were euphemistically known as “national technical means.” (credit: Richard Nixon Library, White House Photo Office Collection)

In 1972, the United States and Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement, collectively known as SALT I. A phrase that appeared in the treaty is “national technical means of verification.” This was an agreement by the two parties that they would verify the treaty without on-site inspections, using their own assets. Both sides also agreed not to interfere with these “national technical means.”

3/X 2022/51

Review: Boldly Go
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 17, 2022

Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder
by William Shatner with Joshua Brandon
Atria Books, 2022
hardcover, 256 pp.
ISBN 978-1-6680-0732-7

One year ago, Blue Origin’s New Shepard performed its second crewed flight, taking four people just beyond the Kármán Line on a ten-minute suborbital flight. The most famous person on that flight was William Shatner, Captain Kirk from the Star Trek television series and subsequent movies. He had, as widely reported at the time, a very emotional reaction to the flight immediately after landing, comparing the Earth to life and the blackness of space to death (see “Black ugliness and the covering of blue: William Shatner’s suborbital flight to ‘death’”, The Space Review, October 18, 2021).

#MeToo in space: We must address the potential for sexual harassment and assault away from Earth
by Maria Santaguida, Judith Lapierre, Simon Dubé, and Emily Apollonio Monday, October 17, 2022

For humankind to safely take its next steps into the universe, the culture of space exploration must change. (credit: CH W/Unsplash)

A new dawn of space exploration is upon us. NASA aims to land the first woman and person of color on the Moon by the end of 2025 and send a crew on a year-and-a-half-long mission to Mars in the 2030s.

FOBS, MOBS, and the reality of the Article IV nuclear weapons prohibition
by Michael Listner Monday, October 17, 2022

The Outer Space Treaty faced a challenge months after its 1967 signing when the Soviet Union tested a FOBS weapon. (credit: UN Photo)

Author Note: This essay is based on some of the research and analysis from a Special Issue of the author’s space law and policy briefing letter discussing the PRC FOBS test, which was distributed to subscribers October 21, 2021. Citations to documents and illustrations from the LBJ Library are from the digital collection of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library.

The Defense Policy Board held a classified meeting September 6 and 7 to discuss the development of fractional orbital bombardment systems (FOBS) by the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China as well as to consider options to a demonstrated FOBS capability. The meeting drew media attention and comes a year after Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announced the test of FOBS with a hypersonic glide vehicle that could carry a nuclear warhead. The test of the FOBS reignited the question of whether such a test or deployed weapon system violates the Outer Space Treaty. This is a knee-jerk issue where contemporary interpretation of the Outer Space Treaty assumes Article IV prohibits the presence of nuclear weapons in general in outer space and even their very existence. This essay will discuss FOBS, multiple orbit bombardment systems (MOBS), and other nuclear weapons that could potentially intersect outer space and discuss the operational realities and realpolitik of the interpretation of Article IV and its effect on nuclear weapons in space.

Who wants to fly around the Moon?
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 17, 2022

A full Starship vehicle—Ship 24 and Booster 7—on the pad at Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, last week, for testing. At some point in the future, another Starship vehicle may launch Dennis and Akiko Tito, among others, on a flight around the Moon. (credit: SpaceX)

More than 20 years ago, Dennis Tito was a pioneer in commercial human spaceflight. Tito flew on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station in April 2021, becoming the first non-government astronaut to visit the station and the first self-funded individual to go to space (previous non-government astronauts had been sponsored by governments or corporations.) It opened the door for a new era of space tourism, although one that did not open as wide as first thought given the slow pace of visitors to the station and a long gap than only recently ended.

4/X 2022/51

Screens and spaceships: inside the renovated National Air and Space Museum
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 24, 2022

The revamped main entrance to the National Air and Space Museum, featuring one of Robert Goddard’s early rockets. (credit: J. Foust)

When I moved to Washington, DC, more than 20 years ago, one of the things I looked forward to was to be able to visit the National Air and Space Museum regularly. I had been to the museum a few times before during trips to DC, but now it was just a Metro ride away. And indeed, in the years that followed I visited the museum many times, sometimes for special events other times just to kill time between meetings downtown.

Recycling in the ultimate high ground
by Ben Ogden Monday, October 24, 2022

Satellite life-extension and servicing technologies being developed commercially by companies like Northrop Grumman open up new possibilites for the US military to support operations in Earth orbit and beyond. (credit: Northrop Grumman)

Eight months before the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, Air Force Major General Bernard Schriever made an ominous prediction: “Several decades from now the important battles may not be sea battles or air battles, but space battles.” It took the United States 60 years to follow through on Schriever’s vision and declare space a separate warfighting domain. However, despite this acknowledgement, the Department of Defense (DoD) has not fully embraced Schriever’s idea. The dominant view remains that space technology is meant to revolutionize terrestrial conflict rather than for use in its own right on the orbital battlefield. Fortunately, the commercial space sector has presented a window of opportunity through the advent of reusable technology that the DoD can pursue to ensure victory in these inevitable battles.

The space investment crunch
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 24, 2022

Astra’s Rocket 3.3 tips and begins to drift sideways seconds during a launch in August 2021. Astra’s share price has fallen by more than 95% from July 2021 and the company received a delisting warning from Nasdaq earlier this month. (credit: Astra/

First came the space industry stock listings as companies went public in the last two years. Soon may come the delistings.

Astra, a company best known for small launch vehicle development, announced that it received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq exchange, where the company’s stock had been traded since going public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in mid-2021. Astra’s stock had closed below $1 per share for 30 consecutive business days, triggering the notice. The company now has six months to get the stock up above that $1 threshold for at least ten straight days or be taken off the exchange.

Aiming for the Moon, crashing on Earth: The rise and fall of the 1989 Space Exploration Initiative (part 1)
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 24, 2022

President George H.W. Bush in July 1989 announcing a bold new plan to return humans to the Moon and send them on to Mars. It was not successful. (credit: NASA)

NASA is currently planning on returning humans to the Moon this decade. This is not the first time the agency has had this goal. In fact, it is the third. In 2004, President George W. Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, which ended by 2010 and a new administration. Before that, on July 20, 1989, while marking the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, President George H.W. Bush stood in front of a giant American flag at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, and proposed a bold new program of human exploration of space. America should return to the Moon to stay and send humans to Mars, Bush said, citing destiny and America’s need to lead the free world.

5/X 2022/51

ISRO’s LVM3-M2 mission: an expansion of India’s commercial activities
by Ajey Lele Monday, October 31, 2022

An Indian LVM3 rocket, also known as GSLV Mark III, lifts off October 23 carrying three dozen OneWeb satellites. The launch was the first commercial mission for that rocket, India’s largest. (credit: ISRO)

On October 23, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 36 satellites on a mission called LVM3-M2 for a UK-based company, OneWeb. This company, in which the UK government is a minority shareholder, is partnering with India’s Bharti Group to provide broadband connectivity for government and commercial customers from space.

The debate about who should regulate new commercial space activities
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 31, 2022

Companies developing new space services, like satellite life extension, are seeking certainty about which government agency or agencies will regulate them. (credit: Astroscale)

A small step towards reducing the growth of debris in low Earth orbit could trigger a much bigger debate about who in the federal government regulates space activities.

Aiming for the Moon, crashing on Earth: The rise and fall of the 1989 Space Exploration Initiative (part 2)
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 31, 2022

The cover of the July 1989 issue of Popular Science. At the time of the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, there was public discussion that NASA needed an organizing mission to regain momentum and meaning.

In summer 1989, President George H.W. Bush announced a new initiative to return Americans to the Moon and eventually send them to Mars. NASA was charged with responding to this sudden new plan. NASA’s response was the “90-Day Study,” which came with a substantial price tag. Although the impetus for the new mission had largely come from the Space Council’s staff, some members of the National Space Council—in addition to the staff—were shocked by NASA’s response to Bush’s challenge.

Russia and Iran expand space cooperation
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, October 31, 2022

Hassan Salarieh, the head of the Iranian Space Agency, poses next to a model of the Russian-built Khayyam remote sensing satellite.

Russia and Iran are gradually expanding their cooperation in space, but doing so without much fanfare. Last August, a Russian-built remote sensing satellite for Iran was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and three more are expected to follow in the coming years. There is also compelling evidence that a Russian company is building a communications satellite for Iran that will be placed into geostationary orbit in 2024. Russia’s efforts to keep the details of these projects under wraps, though, have been largely ineffective.
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« Odpowiedź #406 dnia: Październik 04, 2022, 22:47 »
1/XI 2022/52

Review: Good Night Oppy
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 7, 2022

Good Night Oppy
directed by Ryan White
105 mins., not rated

On the surface of Mars, a spacecraft is dying. NASA’s InSight spacecraft is nearing the end of its extended mission as its power levels drop due to dust accumulating on its solar arrays. The agency has been warning for months that the spacecraft would soon see its power levels drop below the minimum needed to keep it operational. In a release last week, JPL said it would declare the mission over when the spacecraft misses two consecutive communications passes. “There will be no heroic measures to re-establish contact with InSight,” JPL said, adding that the mission will likely reach that end in the next few weeks.

Does the Moon mean Mars is next?
by Roger Handberg Monday, November 7, 2022

NASA has its sights set on the Moon with the Artemis program as part of a long-term effort to send humans to Mars, even though exactly when, and how, humans will get there remains highly uncertain. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The American Artemis program and the Chinese lunar program embody the promise that, after reaching the lunar surface, the next logical step for human spaceflight will be proceeding onward to Mars. The time frame for that to occur is likely several decades, not immediate. The Cold War and the Apollo program, which drove space for several generations, are long dead except as historical icons and actual memories for a dwindling number of people. The suggestion here is that the time frame now may prove much longer than currently projected, never mind the dash to Mars by 2029 advocated by Elon Musk. This new date represents a delay from Musk’s earlier predictions, the last being 2026. Funding this Mars mission would in fact come from the government; building on the similar process through which SpaceX was able to develop and fly its Falcon 9 launch vehicle while relying on contracts from NASA.

In the shadows of lunar landers
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 7, 2022

A Starship vehicle is lifted into place on top of its Super Heavy booster at Boca Chica, Texas, for testing ahead of a first orbital launch attempt as soon as December. SpaceX conducts such work out in the open, but shares few details about the testing activities or why it’s conducting them. (credit: SpaceX)

Near the point where the Rio Grande flows into the Gulf of Mexico, SpaceX is building what may be the future of spaceflight. The company released last week a promotional video for its Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas, showing off not just the work being done on the Starship launch system but other aspects of the facility, from mission control to a coffee bar and even a sea turtle rescue effort. Company fans pored over the video, looking for hidden details and other clues about what SpaceX is up to.

Buccaneers of the high frontier: Program 989 SIGINT satellites from the ABM hunt to the Falklands War to the space shuttle
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, November 7, 2022

The Argentine aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo was a major target for British forces during the 1982 Falklands War. There is new evidence indicating that a British plan to attack the carrier may have included targeting data from an American satellite. (source: Wikipedia)

In May 1982, the Royal Air Force developed a rather ballsy plan: launch two Buccaneer strike aircraft from Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, fly them 5,000 kilometers in the dark, refueling multiple times, and then approach the Argentine coast. They would launch anti-ship missiles at the aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in Argentine territorial waters, sinking it or at least damaging it enough to remove it from Argentina’s ongoing effort to defend the Falkland Islands that they had seized from the United Kingdom in April. The Buccaneers would have received intelligence on the location of the Veinticinco de Mayo from a Royal Air Force Nimrod long-range patrol aircraft. The Nimrod crew would obtain an estimated search area from “collateral intelligence,” according to a declassified Royal Air Force document, which also stated that “It cannot be overstressed that location and identification by a third party is essential to the completion of the task successfully.”[1]

2/XI 2022/52

Review: Space Craze
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 14, 2022

Space Craze: America’s Enduring Fascination with Real and Imagined Spaceflight
by Margaret A. Weitekamp
Smithsonian Books, 2022
hardcover, 304 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-58834-725-1

The reopened wing of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum includes many artifacts from the real history of space exploration, but also imagined histories (see “Screens and spaceships: inside the renovated National Air and Space Museum”, The Space Review, October 24, 2022). The model of Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise remains in place near the main entrance, but now is joined by a full-size model of an X-wing fighter from one of the more recent Star Wars movies, handing from the ceiling near the planetarium and with a placard giving its technical specifications. In another gallery devoted to solar system exploration, there are a couple of smaller, but still well-known, sci-fi artifacts: Vulcan ears worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock, and a tribble.

Evaluating America’s green energy options including astroelectricity (part 1)
by Mike Snead Monday, November 14, 2022

Space-based solar power can play a key role in the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources. (credit: ESA/Andreas Treuer)

In 1959, American anthropologist Leslie White wrote “No culture can develop beyond the limits of its energy resources.” White based this observation on his studies of food energy production per person in ancient cultures. To grow and expand, the available food energy produced per unit of human effort had to be increased. The great Egyptian civilization created 4,000 years ago, exploiting the tremendous food producing potential of the Nile River, is a testimony to this truism.

A pivot point for space startups
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 14, 2022

In the fall of 2021, Terran Orbital announced it would build a giant satellite factory at the Kennedy Space Center. A year later, the company abandoned those plans to instead expand an existing California factory. (credit: Terran Orbital)

The concept of the pivot is almost as central to the folklore of startups as starting a company in a garage. Silicon Valley is replete with stories of companies that made significant changes in direction—new products and new markets—after their original plans suffered setbacks or the founders discovered new, more lucrative opportunities. All pivots are efforts to stay alive; not all succeed.

A mystery, wrapped in an enigma, surrounding an explosion: US intelligence collection and the 1960 Nedelin disaster
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, November 14, 2022

In October 1960, a new ICBM exploded on its launch pad in Kazakhstan, killing dozens of people, including the head of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces. Information on the explosion became public by December. Five years later the CIA produced a report summarizing what the agency knew about the event. (credit: Russian archival footage)

In October 1960, at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a missile blew up. It was a spectacular explosion that killed dozens of men, including the commander of the Soviet Rocket Forces, Mitrofan Nedelin. Western intelligence forces learned of this disaster, but it took many years before they were able to assess its importance and impact on the Soviet Union’s missile programs. A recently declassified CIA report from 1965 provides a snapshot of what the US intelligence community believed happened, and why they thought it was important.

3/XI 2022/52

Review: The Art of the Cosmos
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 21, 2022

The Art of the Cosmos: Visions from the Frontier of Deep Space Exploration
by Jim Bell
Union Square & Co., 2022
hardcover, 224 pp., illus.
ISBN 9781-4549-4608-3

There’s no shortage of books published over the years that have illustrated the beauty of the universe. Often they’re large-format books with glossy pages and colorful images of galaxies, nebulae, planets, and moons, attracting the reader. The imagery is beautiful—like works of art—but they’re intended primarily to illustrate the science of the solar system or the universe.

Evaluating America’s green energy options including astroelectricity (part 2)
by Mike Snead Monday, November 21, 2022

Space-based solar power can play a key role in the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources. (credit: ESA/Andreas Treuer)

Recognizing that fossil carbon fuels are non-sustainable, America will need to successfully transition to abundant, robust, affordable, environmentally acceptable, and sustainable energy—“green energy”—this century if our children and grandchildren are to remain free, at peace, energy secure, and prosperous. Obviously, this will be a demanding undertaking, requiring careful consideration and a well-organized plan. Unfortunately, at this time, the United States does not have a carefully developed national energy security strategy to guide America’s transition to green energy. As a consequence, for decades, America has been limping along, jumping from one ineffective transition “plan” to the next while substantially remaining dependent on fossil carbon fuels. The purpose of this four-part article is to evaluate America’s green energy options to determine what can practicably be used to meet America’s future energy needs. To move beyond just rhetorical handwaving, this article quantitatively delves into details to bring needed understandings to the forefront.

Lessons from a university’s first cubesat
by Fergus Downey Monday, November 21, 2022

Binar-1 was one of three cubesats deployed from the Internation Space Station last October. (credit: JAXA)

Last month marked a milestone for Western Australia’s Binar Space Program as its first satellite Binar-1 lived up to its name.

Binar is the word for “fireball” in the Noongar language spoken by the Aboriginal people of Perth. Binar-1 became a real “Binar” as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in early October. Although the chance of it being seen over Australia was low, with the right amount of luck it would have appeared as a shooting star in the night sky.

SLS showed up, at last
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 21, 2022

The Space Launch System lifts off early November 16 on the long-anticipated, and long-delayed, Artemis 1 mission. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

For a time as late Tuesday night became Wednesday morning, it appeared the hydrogen demon had returned to delay another Space Launch System launch attempt.

Ever since the second Artemis 1 launch attempt was scrubbed in early September because of hydrogen leaks during fueling of the core stage, NASA worked to find solutions to the problem (see “Of hydrogen and humility,” The Space Review, September 6, 2022). That ranged from replacing damaged seals in the hydrogen fuel lines to creating what officials called a “kinder, gentler” approach to fueling. In mid-September, NASA went through a tanking test, filling the core stage with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, this time without any leaks.

4/XI 2022/52

Review: Back to the Moon
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 28, 2022

Back to the Moon: The Next Giant Leap for Humankind
by Joseph Silk
Princeton University Press, 2022
hardcover, 304 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-691-21523-5

NASA is one small step closer to returning humans to the surface of the Moon with the successful launch of the Artemis 1 mission earlier this month (see “SLS showed up, at last”, The Space Review, November 21, 2022). Orion entered a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon after a brief maneuver Friday, where it will remain for several days before departing to swing by the Moon and return to Earth December 11. Orion, NASA officials say has been performing well other than a few minor glitches.

Assembly lines in space

Enabling construction of rotating space settlements
by John K. Strickland, Jr. Monday, November 28, 2022

The jig factory: a cutaway view of rail supply lines from docking area to ring trusses with robot workstations. (credit: Anna Nesterova)

To be able to efficiently and rapidly fabricate large rotating space settlements in microgravity and in a hard vacuum, we will need in-space assembly lines staffed with lots of assembly line robots. We do not want construction of one settlement to take a decade or more, since a shorter assembly period will make it easier to get funding for settlement construction.

Evaluating America’s green energy options including astroelectricity (part 3)
by Mike Snead Monday, November 28, 2022

Space-based solar power can play a key role in the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources. (credit: ESA/Andreas Treuer)

Many American political, financial, and social leaders are pushing America to rapidly “go green”. The result—through legislation, regulation, judicial decisions, and intense social obedience pressure—has been the adoption of a menagerie of efforts trying to rapidly reduce the use of non-sustainable fossil carbon fuels through the use of green energy technologies. However, little real progress has been made. From 1977 to 2020, US reliance on fossil carbon fuels has only declined from 91% to 79% with much of this decline due to the construction of now-obsolete nuclear power plants in the 1970s and 1980s.

For ESA, a good enough budget
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 28, 2022

Representatives of ESA’s 22 member states, along with associated states and other observers, attend the opening session of the 2022 ministerial meeting November 22 in Paris. (credit: ESA/P. Sebirot)

As officials arrived in Paris last week for the triennial ministerial council meeting of the European Space Agency, the agency’s leadership was confident despite the turmoil on the continent. Earlier in the fall, ESA put forward an ambitious plan calling for a 25% budget increase over the last ministerial in 2019 even amid challenges facing European nations that include high inflation, an energy crisis and the ongoing war in Ukraine (see “Europe seeks to stay in the space race,” The Space Review, September 19, 2022.)
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« Odpowiedź #407 dnia: Listopad 08, 2022, 17:34 »
1/XII 2022/53

The growing importance of small satellites in modern warfare: what are the options for small countries?
by Donatas Palavenis Monday, December 5, 2022

A small satellite being assembled by Lithuanian company NanoAvionics, one of several in the country involved in smallsats in some way. (credit: NanoAvionics)

The very first satellites launched into orbit were small, such as Sputnik-1 (USSR) which was 58 centimeters in diameter and weighed 83 kilograms, and Vanguard-1 (US), 16 centimeters in diameter and weighing only 1.6 kilograms. The size of the first satellites was determined by the technical capacity of the available rockets and the desire to receive a radio signal from space, so they were not very complicated. Over time, systems improved, and user needs and expectations changed, so satellites grew and reached unprecedented sizes. Most of the large satellites were launched during the Cold War like the reconnaissance satellite Hexagon (US), whose length was 16.2 meters and mass was more than 13 tons.

Europe selects new astronauts as it weighs its human spaceflight future
by Jeff Foust Monday, December 5, 2022

The new class of 17 ESA astronauts, including career and reserve astronauts and one “parastronaut” study participant, are revealed during an event in Paris November 23. (credit: ESA/S. Corvaja)

When European space officials gathered in Paris last month, it was for a two-fer. The business of the two-day meeting at the Grand Palais Éphémère was to set the budget for the European Space Agency for the next three years (see “For ESA, a good enough budget”, The Space Review, November 28, 2022). ESA member states ultimately approved 16.9 billion euros ($17.8 billion) for the agency, a 17% increase over the previous budget in 2019.

Evaluating America’s green energy options including astroelectricity (part 4)
by Mike Snead Monday, December 5, 2022

Space-based solar power can play a key role in the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources. (credit: ESA/Andreas Treuer)

Part 1 of this article opened with the following observation by American anthropologist Leslie A. White:

No culture can develop beyond the limits of its energy resources, and the cultures of primitive man would have been circumscribed by the boundary of human energy for ages without end had not some means been developed for augmenting energy resources for culture building by harnessing solar energy in a new way and in a new form. This was accomplished by the domestication of animals and by the cultivation of plants, especially the cereals. (Leslie A. White, The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1959. Emphasis added.)

Analyzing the deployment of BlueWalker 3
by Brad Young Monday, December 5, 2022

The BlueWalker 3 satellite, with its array fully deployed, during ground testing. Now in orbit, the satellite’s brightness has alarmed astronomers. (credit: AST SpaceMobile)

I have the pleasure of being a member of the International Astronomical Union Center for the Protection of Dark and Quiet Skies (CPS). The main purpose of this group is to monitor and advise on the megaconstellations of satellites that are being launched by several entities. The concern in the astronomical community began with the launch of the Starlink satellites. With these and other launches, the number of satellites in low Earth orbit have increased dramatically over the past few years, with no sign of slowing.

2/XII 2022/53

Review: Before The Big Bang
by Jeff Foust Monday, December 12, 2022

Before The Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe and What Lies Beyond
by Laura Mersini-Houghton
Mariner Books, 2022
hardcover, 240 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-328-55711-7

Last week, NASA announced that astronomers, using spectroscopic data from the James Webb Space Telescope, had confirmed that some early galaxies the telescope had detected dated back to just 350 million years after the Big Bang. That makes the galaxies the oldest detected to date as astronomers seek to push back the curtain shrouding the early universe.

The first photograph of the entire globe: 50 years on, Blue Marble still inspires
by Chari Larsson Monday, December 12, 2022

The “Blue Marble” image from Apollo 17 is one of the most iconic images in history. (credit: NASA)

December 7 marked the 50th anniversary of the Blue Marble photograph. The crew of NASA’s Apollo 17 spacecraft—the last human mission to the Moon—took a photograph of Earth and changed the way we visualized our planet forever.

Taken with a Hasselblad film camera, it was the first photograph taken of the whole round Earth and is believed to be the most reproduced image of all time. Up until this point, our view of ourselves had been disconnected and fragmented: there was no way to visualize the planet in its entirety.

Launching with cost-plus, landing with fixed-price: the financial underpinnings of a lunar return
by Tarak Makecha Monday, December 12, 2022

The Space Launch System , seen here before the Artemis 1 launch, used cost-plus contracts to fund its development, but such contracts may not be appropriate going forward. (credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

NASA’s attempt to return to its ambitious traditions and establish a long-term presence on the Moon kicked off on November 16 with the launch of the Space Launch System (SLS). That launch was the first step in NASA’s Artemis program that should ultimately set the stage for a human mission to Mars. It is not off to a good start.

All’s well that finally begins well
by Jeff Foust Monday, December 12, 2022

The Orion crew capsule descending under its parachutes just before splashdown December 11. (credit: NASA)

December 11, 1972, featured a landing that marked the beginning of an ending. The Apollo 17 Lunar Module, Challenger, touched down on the surface of the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow region, delivering astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt for the sixth and most ambitious—but also final—Apollo lunar landing mission. The astronauts would spend the next three days on the Moon, conducting three moonwalks that, to this day, mark the last time humans have walked on the lunar surface.

3/XII 2022/53

Satellite bombs, gliders, or ICBMs? Krafft Ehricke and early thinking on long-range strategic weapons
by Hans Dolfing Monday, December 19, 2022

Kraft Ehricke posing with spacecraft models in 1957, the same year he wrote a memo about tradeoffs among missiles and other long-range weapons concepts. (credit: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

During recent historical research at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Archives, I located a document as part of the Krafft Ehricke Papers titled “Basic Analysis of Global Weapon Systems & Space Weapon Systems” from 1957.[1] At that time, ICBMs were still under development and satellites had not yet flown. There were questions on how to achieve the best deterrence to protect the United States. There were even questions regarding whether and how to position nuclear bombs in orbit. This newly discovered memo provides an interesting perspective on these issues.

Starship, Twitter, and Musk
by Jeff Foust Monday, December 19, 2022

A unique perspective on a SpaceX Starship static fire test last week in Boca Chica, Texas. While those tests continue, it’s not clear when SpaceX will finally be ready for its first orbital launch attempt. (credit: SpaceX)

By most accounts, 2022 has been an incredibly successful year for SpaceX. It has performed 59 launches so far in the year, nearly double the number it conducted last year, with one or two more launches planned before the end of the year. Those launches have ranged from commercial communications satellites to NASA science missions, from a private astronaut mission to the International Space station to a commercial Japanese lunar lander. More than a quarter of all Falcon 9 launches, dating back to the vehicle’s introduction in 2010, took place this year.

The secret payloads of Russia’s Glonass navigation satellites
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, December 19, 2022

The fourth-generation Glonass-K2 navigation satellites are expected to host two new military payloads. Source

Aside from their primary mission, Russia’s Glonass navigation satellites are being used for a number of little publicized secondary objectives. Instruments to detect nuclear explosions have been flown on Glonass satellites since early this century and two new payloads are expected to be introduced on the next generation of satellites in 2023. One will help locate and rescue military personnel in distress and the other likely is part of a signals intelligence system that will provide targeting data for sea-launched cruise missiles. Despite the secretive nature of these payloads, a significant amount of information on them can be gathered from publicly available sources.

Apollo 21: Upgrading the Lunar Module for advanced missions
by Dwayne A. Day and Glen E. Swanson Monday, December 19, 2022

In the late 1960s, Grumman Aerospace studied various Lunar Module (LM) upgrades that could be flown for later Apollo missions, including dual-launch missions. Here a Taxi LM sets down near a Shelter LM.

On December 19, 1972, the Apollo 17 astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and were recovered aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga. It has now been more than 50 years since Americans walked on the Moon. NASA had planned for three more lunar landing missions that were canceled. Those were the only missions actively considered by the space agency. If NASA had continued missions beyond Apollo 20, they undoubtedly would have added increased stay times on the lunar surface, longer traverses, and more scientific equipment.

Note: Happy Holidays! The Space Review will not publish the week of December 26. We will be back on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.
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1/I 2023 [1-4]

1) Space resilience and the importance of multiple orbits
by Matthew Mowthorpe Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The OneWeb constellation, an example of a proliferated LEO system.

A LEO constellation is hugely expensive to build and maintain, with much shorter lifespans than GEO satellites. While the US and EU have a scale that can potentially justify such sovereign constellations, most nations can’t justify this level of expense, which is likely to mean using one of the commercial providers, such as OneWeb or SpaceX. This puts a reliance in supporting the mission into the hands of a commercial operator, potentially reducing freedom of action. This is still of value to de-risk operations through diversification, but for resilience and to meet the threat requirement it still requires sovereign GEO satellites at the core.

2) The critical importance of resiliency for US missile warning satellites
by Brian Chow Tuesday, January 3, 2023

As the US military shifts from existing SBIRS missile-warning satellites to a new architecture, it cannot overlook the importance of resilience amid growing ASAT threats. (credit: Lockheed Martin)

The first force design from the Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC) includes a transition to a proliferated missile-warning (MW) & missile-tracking (MT) architecture. Thus far, announcements about the design have been focused on the promise of resilience in the new architecture, while little is known about the more urgent and important resilience during the transition to the new architecture. Let’s hope that the center will soon shed light on how to make the currently vulnerable MW constellation resilient during the transition, which will persist throughout this decade and likely into the 2030s. Otherwise, China, our pacing challenger, will have plenty of opportunities, including seizing Taiwan even without firing a shot well within this decade.

3) M is for MONSTER ROCKET: the M-1 cryogenic engine
by Dwayne A. Day Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The M-1 was a powerful hydrogen/oxygen engine under development in the first half of the 1960s. Had it been pursued to flight test, the rockets it powered would have dwarfed the Saturn V. (credit: NASA)

By the mid-1960s NASA was on a roll. The agency was consuming nearly four and a half percent of the federal budget—compared to less than half a percent today—and going full-bore to build Apollo and its required infrastructure in time to meet President Kennedy’s deadline for landing men on the Moon by the end of the decade.

4) After all, it’s rocket science (and bureaucracy)
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The Vega C on the pad before its ill-fated launch December 20. (credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique vidéo du CSG - JM Guillon)

Last year was the most active one ever for spaceflight, in terms of launch activity. There were 186 orbital launch attempts worldwide in 2022, of which 179 were successful. That’s more than double five years ago, when there were 86 successful launches out of 90 attempts. That increase is thanks primarily to China and SpaceX: the country went from 18 orbital launch attempts in 2017 to 64 in 2022, while the company went from 18 to 61 launches in the same span.

2/I 2023 [5-8]

5) Review: A Brief History of Black Holes
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 9, 2023

A Brief History of Black Holes: And Why Nearly Everything You Know About Them Is Wrong
by Becky Smethurst
Macmillan, 2022
hardcover, 288 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-5290-8670-6

Black holes probably exist. That was the conclusion of a study publicized last week that examined whether the phenomena widely believed to be black holes might instead be an ultracompact object formed of exotic matter, dubbed a “boson star”. The analysis, though, concluded that such a boson star would last for only a fraction of a second before exploding into a less dense object or collapsing into—you guessed it—a black hole.

6) A COTS-like alternative for planetary exploration
by Louis Friedman Monday, January 9, 2023

Concepts like Rocket Lab’s private Venus mission might be a way to get around the budget pressures on NASA’s planetary science program. (credit: Rocket Lab)

The recent projection presented by Dr. Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, at the Fall Meeting of the AGU was sobering and should serve as both a warning and a call for action to the planetary science community. She projected a flat budget for planetary science to at least late this decade, despite the growing requirements for the two flagship missions, Mars Sample Return and Europa Clipper, and the broader infrastructure issues raised by the Psyche program delay and post-pandemic supply chain issues. Already we have delays initiated in the smaller, but still large, planetary programs in Discovery and New Frontiers.

7) To go to Mars, do a backflip at Venus
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 9, 2023

While a human mission to fly by or orbit Venus would be designed to gain experience for a future human mission to Mars, there is also significant science it could do, such as teleoperating vehicles on the surface and in the atmosphere of the planet. (credit: JHUAPL/Caleb Heidel)

NASA has made clear its long-term human spaceflight aspirations in recent years. The agency’s Artemis campaign will fly a series of crewed missions to the Moon that will become increasingly ambitious: larger crews, longer stays, and more infrastructure. Those missions, along with experience built up on the International Space Station and commercial successors in Earth orbit and on the lunar Gateway orbiting the Moon, will enable human missions to Mars, perhaps as soon as the late 2030s. The schedule and the specifics have yet to be worked out, but the framework is in place.

8 ) Moon denied: the 1993 Early Lunar Access proposal
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, January 9, 2023

In January 1993, General Dynamics unveiled its Early Lunar Access proposal for returning Americans to the Moon. The company hoped that a new presidential administration would embrace its cheaper method of returning humans to the Moon using existing launch vehicles. But the Clinton administration was already skeptical of NASA's space station program and wary of new civil space expenditures. General Dynamics' study demonstrated that it was difficult to repeat Apollo without much larger launch vehicles. (credit: General Dynamics)

Getting to the Moon is hard.

It has been more than half a century since the last humans walked on the lunar surface, or even ventured beyond low Earth orbit. Since that time there have been many proposals to do it again. In January 1993—30 years ago this week—there was a proposal known as Early Lunar Access, and it was an attempt to demonstrate that the Moon could be reached faster, and at less cost, than other proposals during that time period.

3/I 2023 [9-12]

9) Review: Dinner on Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 16, 2023

Dinner on Mars: The Technologies That Will Feed the Red Planet and Transform Agriculture on Earth
by Lenore Newman and Evan D.G. Fraser
ECW Press, 2022
paperback, 232 pp.
ISBN 978-1-77041-662-8

Most of the focus on human exploration of Mars has been how to get people there and back: rocket engineers, after all, like to talk about rocket engineering. Far less has been said, though, about how people will live and work there, particularly as initial expeditions evolve into permanent settlements.

10) China’s new space station opens for business in an increasingly competitive era of space activity
by Eytan Tepper and Scott Shackelford Monday, January 16, 2023

China’s space station serves as both a research outpost and a geopolitical symbol. (credit: China Manned Space Engineering Office)

The International Space Station is no longer the only place where humans can live in orbit.

On November 29, 2022, the Shenzhou 15 mission launched from China’s Gobi Desert carrying three taikonauts, the Chinese word for astronauts. Six hours later, they reached their destination, China’s recently completed space station, called Tiangong, which means “heavenly palace” in Mandarin. The three taikonauts replaced the existing crew that helped wrap up construction. With this successful mission, China has become just the third nation to operate a permanent space station.

11) From the sand to the stars: Saddam Hussein’s failed space program
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, January 16, 2023

The Al-Ta’ir satellite built by Iraqi scientists and engineers between 1988 and 1990. The satellite would have conducted communications experiments. (credit: Sarmad D.S. Dawood)

During the 1980s, the government of Saddam Hussein sought to develop an indigenous space program and then ran head first into external political roadblocks that made this impossible. Although more than three decades have passed since the end of the Iraqi space program, and Saddam has been dead since 2006, there is still relatively little information available on the Iraqi space program. This article summarizes what is publicly known.

12) Unlocking the next great observatories
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 16, 2023

The success of JWST, exceeding requirements in nearly every way, allows NASA to focus now on development of future large space telescopes. (credit: NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez)

When astronomers gathered in Seattle last week for the 241st Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), one of the largest conferences of astronomers, there was a celebratory mood among many there. The meeting was the first by the AAS since the release last July of the first science images from the James Webb Space Telescope that marked the start of a new era in the field after years—decades, really—of anticipation.

4/I 2023 [13-16]

13) Mawu and Artemis: Why the United States should make Africa a priority for space diplomacy
by Nico Wood Monday, January 23, 2023

Officials from Rwanda and Nigeria sign the Artemis Accords during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington in December. (credit: NASA)

The Artemis missions represent the most ambitious human spaceflight program in history, demanding international contributions and coordination. As a prerequisite for participation, member countries are obligated to sign the Artemis Accords, a broad-based set of principles and guidelines to advance peace, transparency, and responsibility in space. Representatives from Rwanda and Nigeria signed the Artemis Accords in December 2022, becoming the first African nations to join the international program. The economic, social, and geopolitical potentials of the African continent pose a major opportunity for US space diplomacy, yet the United States has not adequately engaged with African nations. This diplomatic vacuum stems from a general lack of US prioritization of Africa and leaves it open to competition by China and Russia. By pursuing more African nations as partners in the Artemis Accords, the United States can capitalize on Rwanda and Nigeria’s momentum, demonstrate a sustained presence on the continent, and inspire a new generation of Africans through space.

14) What the United States should do regarding space leadership?
by Namrata Goswami Monday, January 23, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi signed a space cooperation framework agreement January 13 at NASA Headquarters, but the two countries have offered different strategic visions for space. (credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The domain of space is changing fast. Once the realm of elite astronauts and space scientists who had access based on state sponsorship or university-funded programs, today space is truly democratizing, being adopted by almost anyone with a passion and an inclination to do space, creating companies, networks, and investing in the development of space. Look no further than countries like India or Japan, long dominated by elite state-sponsored space institutions but now creating enabling structures, be it in regard to new organizations, regulations, and investment opportunities for private citizens to develop space capacities and collectively take their societies forward.

15) Not-so ancient astronauts and Area 51: the Skylab Incident
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, January 23, 2023

This photo of the secretive Groom Lake facility in the Nevada desert was taken by the Skylab 4 astronauts—who were instructed to not photograph the facility. Its existence created a stir within the US Intelligence Community in 1974. (credit: NASA)

[Editor’s Note: This is an extensively revised and updated version of “Astronauts and Area 51: the Skylab Incident” from January 9, 2006.]

On April 19, 1974, someone in the CIA sent the Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby, a memorandum regarding a little problem.

16) Persistent cooperation on the space station
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 23, 2023

A robotic arm inspects the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft after the Soyuz suffered a coolant leak December 14. (credit: NASA TV)

Ever since Russia started an all-out invasion of Ukraine last February, the space community has wondered what it would mean for the future of the International Space Station. Russia is an essential partner on the station, but at the same time Russia and the West were rapidly unwinding cooperation elsewhere, from commercial launch to the Russian-European ExoMars mission.

5/I 2023 [17-20]

17) Review: Apollo’s Creed
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 30, 2023

Apollo's Creed: Lessons I Learned from My Astronaut Dad Richard F. Gordon, Jr.
by Traci Shoblom
G&D Media, 2023
paperback, 196 pp.
ISBN 978-1-7225-0640-7

Most astronaut biographies and memoirs follow a similar trajectory. Such accounts start with childhood and, perhaps, the first inklings of desire for traveling to space. That’s followed by pursuing a career in military, industry, or academia that sets the stage for applying to become an astronaut. Then there’s the astronaut selection and training process and the mission or missions they fly. At the end, perhaps, is a discussion of life after being an astronaut.

18) Our solar system is filled with asteroids that are particularly hard to destroy
by Fred Jourdan and Nick Timms Monday, January 30, 2023

An image of the asteroid Dimorphos captured by NASA's DART mission minutes before impact last September, revealing it to be another “rubble pile” asteroid. (credit: NASA/JHUAPL)

A vast amount of rocks and other material are hurtling around our solar system as asteroids and comets. If one of these came towards us, could we successfully prevent the collision between an asteroid and Earth?

19) Space-to-ground capabilities are the answer to deterring invasion of Taiwan
by Christopher Stone Monday, January 30, 2023

An illustration of a Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle. Such a vehicle, combined with a FOBS system, could pose a major threat to US forces in the Pacific and beyond. (credit: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance)

In September 2022, the Defense Policy Board met for “classified deliberations” on how China’s “fractional orbital bombardment systems and space-to-ground weapons could impact U.S. deterrence and strategic stability.” These systems were demonstrated in August 2021 when China launched a hypersonic glide vehicle, designed to defeat US missile tracking and defense systems, into an orbital path and then de-orbited to hit a target at a test range in China. While the board considered US response options, one option likely not included was the rapid development and deployment of a superior US equivalent space-to-ground weapon as a means of deterrence. This response option should be the direction the Defense Department pursues if the US intends to keep its defense treaty commitments to friends and allies in the Indo-Pacific and, indeed, plan to keep air and sea force projection capabilities as options in an anti-access fight.

20) Human spaceflight safety in a new commercial era
by Jeff Foust Monday, January 30, 2023

NASA administrator Bill Nelson lays a wreath during ceremonies last week at Arlington National Cemetery as part of NASA’s annual Day of Remembrance. (credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Every year in late January, NASA reflects on its tragedies. The annual Day of Remembrance ceremonies across the agency commemorate the three human spaceflight fatal accidents that clustered in the same place in the calendar despite being spread out over decades.
« Ostatnia zmiana: Październik 11, 2023, 11:35 wysłana przez Orionid »

Polskie Forum Astronautyczne

Odp: The Space Review
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« Odpowiedź #409 dnia: Styczeń 04, 2023, 18:32 »
6/II 2023 [21-24]

21) Review: The New Guys
by Jeff Foust Monday, February 6, 2023

The New Guys: The Historic Class of Astronauts That Broke Barriers and Changed the Face of Space Travel
by Meredith Bagby
William Morrow, 2023
hardcover, 528 pp.
ISBN 978-0-06-314197-1

Other than perhaps the original Mercury Seven astronauts, no astronaut class was more influential than what NASA formally called Group 8, announced in 1978. Until that group, nearly all of NASA’s astronauts were pilots with military experience; all were white men. The 35 members of Group 8—dubbed TFNG for “Thirty-Five New Guys” (with a more explicit alternative)—included the first women and people of color, as well as many more researchers and doctors, as reflecting changing expectations for the spaceflight with the impending introduction of the shuttle as well as a desire, if not an imperative, to have the astronaut corps be more representative of society.

22) Comparing the NASA Advisory Council and NASA’s external advisory bodies
by Joseph K. Alexander Monday, February 6, 2023

Les Lyles, chairman of the NASA Advisory Council (left) and NASA administrator Bill Nelson meet virtually with members of the NASA Advisory Council last February. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

As one looks across NASA’s history, the roles and the operating styles of the agency’s internal and external advisory bodies have been distinctly different in some ways but alike in others. This article examines the principal internal advisory entity, the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) and its committees, versus a major external advisory body, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies)‚ to explore those differences, all from the historical perspective of advice on NASA’s science programs.

23) National Reconnaissance Program crisis photography concepts, part 2: PINTO
by Joseph T. Page II Monday, February 6, 2023

PINTO camera configuration (courtesy of the NRO)

This is the second part in a series on early National Reconnaissance Program satellite concepts for crisis management.

On January 27, 1971, the National Reconnaissance Program (NRP) Executive Committee held a meeting at the Pentagon to discuss conceptual adjuncts or alternatives to the development of an Electro-Optical Imaging (EOI) system. The concepts discussed included both National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) funded conceptual studies (Film Read-Out Gambit, SPIN SCAN) and independently developed contractor ideas (PINTO, FASTBACK, AXUMITE) to bridge the capability gap between Corona and Gambit film-based satellites and the next generation digital (EOI) satellite program.

24) What is the environmental impact of a supercharged space industry?
by Jeff Foust Monday, February 6, 2023

A Falcon 9 heads to orbit. Launch emissions like carbon soot are a concern to some atmospheric scientists as launch rates increase. (credit: SpaceX)

There has been a surge in the number of launches, and of satellites launched, in the last several years, thanks to the rise of megaconstellations and less expensive launch options. Last year set a record for orbital launches, with 186 attempts worldwide. This year is on a similar pace, with 16 orbital launch attempts in January alone.

7/II 2023 [25-28]

25) Galactic dissonance for the Space Force
by Matthew Jenkins Monday, February 13, 2023

The Space Force is studying new initiatives, like tracking objects in cislunar space, even as there are gaps in its existing capabilities. (credit: AFRL)

In the early days of airpower, foresighted theorists like Billy Mitchell petitioned hard to demonstrate the value that airpower could bring to the warfighting abilities of the United States. Ardently campaigning, Mitchell got permission from Congress to illustrate this capability when in July 1921, his airmen sank the captured German ship Ostfriesland. It was, without question, a defining moment in the infancy of airpower that would pave the way for the eventual creation of an independent Air Force.

26) India’s space security policy, part 1: history’s second cut
by Pranav R. Satyanath Monday, February 13, 2023

India tested an aSAT in 2019 after decades of support for efforts to ban ASATs. (credit: DRDO)

How does India think about the international security of outer space? India has been a spacefaring nation for more than 40 years. Its ambitions and interests have reached beyond Earth orbit. More importantly, the country has developed counterspace capabilities to defend these growing interests. Understanding India’s space security policy, therefore, is critical to reaching a consensus on any outer space arms control and risk reduction measures negotiated in international fora.

27) Trends in NASA authorization legislation
by Alex Eastman and Casey Dreier Monday, February 13, 2023

President Trump signs the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, the last standalone NASA bill enacted. A NASA authorization was included as part of the larger CHIPS and Science Act in 2022. (credit: NASA)

NASA authorization legislation has become less frequent and grown significantly longer since the early 1980s. This represents a marked departure from the first two decades of NASA’s history, in which Congress passed annual authorizations of consistent length. We suggest that this reflects increasing political polarization in Congress, which reduces the frequency of non-critical legislation. Other factors likely driving growth are the legislative response to disasters, such as the loss of Challenger and Columbia, and the growing scope of the space program itself.

28) Too many or two few? The launch industry’s conundrum
by Jeff Foust Monday, February 13, 2023

ABL Space Systems launched its first RS1 rocket January 10. Seconds after liftoff, though, the vehicle lost power and crashed in an explosion that damaged its launch pad. (credit: ABL Space Systems)

After months of anticipation, the first orbital launch from UK soil took off from Spaceport Cornwall in southwestern England late in the evening of January 9. Virgin Orbit’s “Cosmic Girl” 747 aircraft, with a LauncherOne rocket slung under its left wing, headed out over the Atlantic for its mission. The event attracted a large crowd despite the late hour and the fact that there was little for them to see other than the airplane’s takeoff, since the release of the rocket and its climb to orbit would take place off the coast of southern Ireland, far out of view. (Attendees were entertained by other things, including a “silent disco” where they could dance away to tunes played on wireless headphones.)

8/II 2023 [29-33]

29) Review: Wild Ride
by Jeff Foust Monday, February 20, 2023

Wild Ride: A Memoir of I.V. Drips and Rocket Ships
by Hayley Arceneaux
Convergent Books, 2022
hardcover, 208 pp.
ISBN 978-0-593-44384-2

The future of commercial human spaceflight involves a lot of governments. A week ago, the Saudi government announced the two astronauts who will go to space as soon as May on Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission, commanded by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson with one commercial customer, John Shoffner, rounding out the crew. It was widely believed that Saudi Arabia would fly astronauts on that mission after signing an agreement with Axiom last September, although neither the company nor the country would confirm those plans until last week. Moreover, Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini said in a recent call with reporters that its next two missions after Ax-2 will primarily fly government astronauts from various countries, with perhaps a single private customer.

30) Making something from the great balloon incident: space policy at the fringes
by Roger Handberg Monday, February 20, 2023

sailors recover the remnants of a Chinese balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast. Heightened awareness and tracking of balloons could provide data for use understanding unidentified aerial phenomenon. (credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Thompson)

The events around the shooting down of a Chinese surveillance balloon may prove to be boon for those who are searching for evidence of alien life coming to the planet Earth. UFOs, or unidentified flying objects—or, now, unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP)—have been the subject of public interest mostly at the periphery of public attention due to the persistent lack of hard evidence. The US Air Force released a report (declassifying years of reports of unidentified objects) called the Project Blue Book covering the years 1947 to 1969 when that program was terminated. There were 12,618 sightings reported to Project Blue Book; 701 remained “unidentified.”

31) Will a five-year mission by COPUOS produce a new international governance instrument for outer space resources?
by Dennis O’Brien Monday, February 20, 2023

The UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has started a five-year effort to develop an international regulatory framework for space resource utilization. (credit: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs)

During its 2022 session, the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) created a Working Group on the Legal Aspects of Space Resource Activity and gave it a five-year mandate to gather information, study the current legal framework, and “assess the benefits of further development of a framework for such activities, including by way of additional international governance instruments.” (emphasis added). A survey was sent to the LSC’s member states and official observers, with a response due by December 30.

32) Trials and tribulations of planetary smallsats
by Jeff Foust Monday, February 20, 2023

Lunar Trailblazer is now scheduled to launch later this year after cost overruns prompted a NASA review last year. (credit: Lockheed Martin)

The growing adoption of smallsats is best known through constellations of communications and remote sensing satellites or the seemingly ubiquitous use of cubesats by schools and startups alike. But small satellites have been adopted in science as well, with cubesats and somewhat larger smallsats gaining use in Earth science and heliophysics in particular. Even in astronomy, where large telescopes would seem to be preferred, astronomers have developed small satellites for focused investigations.

33) India’s space security policy, part 2: getting space security right
by Pranav R. Satyanath Monday, February 20, 2023

India’s space policy should account for the capabilities of small satellites and responsive launch, and not just anti-satellite weapons, when considering space security. (credit: ISRO)

How should India shape its space security in the near future? The first part of the essay provided an overview of India’s existing policy on space security. Further, it also analyzed how the current policy shaped India’s decision to abstain from voting on the United Nations (UN) resolution to ban debris-creating direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) testing. This essay asks a different question: how should India’s decision-makers think about their nation’s space security?

9/II 2023 [34-37]

34) Assessing NASA advisory activities: What makes advice effective
by Joseph K. Alexander Monday, February 27, 2023

Effective outside advice played a role in both developing the Hubble Space Telescope and conducting a final servicing mission of it decades later. (credit: NASA)

NASA inherited a culture of inviting outside advice from its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and that culture has persisted to this day. The long history of interactions between NASA and its scientific advisory bodies provides a rich experience base from which to examine how and why some advisory efforts have been successful and why others have flopped. This article draws on a review of more than 50 case studies[1] of advisory activities that were conducted by both standing and ad-hoc panels created by NASA or by entities that were formally established under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies). We ask what common attributes or recurring themes can one discern that help distinguish between effective efforts and run-of-the-mill communications?

35) Three rules for peace in orbit in the new space era
by Brian G. Chow and Brandon W. Kelley Monday, February 27, 2023

An increasingly congested space environment is driving interest in space traffic management regimes, but those proposals need to ensure they don’t undermine space security for nations who participate. (credit: ESA)

The United States and its partners clearly recognize the need for a space traffic management (STM) regime capable of managing 21st-century space security challenges. Expectations are high ahead of the United Nations Summit of the Future in September 2024. Policymakers and diplomats are hard at work preparing the ground, partly via unilateral policy changes but also through sessions of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and the upcoming preparatory ministerial meeting this September.

36) New rockets spring to life
by Jeff Foust Monday, February 27, 2023

Relativity Space has scheduled a March 8 launch for its first Terran 1 rocket. (credit: Relativity Space/Trevor Mahlmann)

Spring is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, bringing with it the promise of new life and renewal. That traditionally involves plants and animals (and, perhaps, baseball) but this year it extends to launch vehicles.

37) Journey to a cold and curious moon
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, February 27, 2023

A view of Triton and Neptune taken by Voyager 2. The Trident mission could have observed Triton both in sunlight and bathed in “Neptuneshine”. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Jason Major)

Four hours and six seconds after they had been taken at Neptune, the images from Voyager 2 reached Earth in August 1989, and they showed something weird. Triton, a large moon that orbits Neptune backwards, opposite the direction that most of the other moons in the solar system do, had some dark splotches on its cold icy surface. Planetary scientists enhanced them and processed them and saw what looked like plumes of gas geysering up from the moon and then bending at a 90-degree angle as they hit upper-level winds. Triton, which by all means should have been a cold, dead icy rock at the edge of the solar system, was active; way more active than anybody would have ever thought.
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« Odpowiedź #410 dnia: Luty 07, 2023, 19:16 »
10/III 2023 [38-41]

38) Review: Original Sin
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 6, 2023

Original Sin: Power, Technology and War in Outer Space
by Bleddyn E. Bowen
Oxford Univ. Press, 2023
hardcover, 256 pp.
ISBN 978-0-19-767731-5

Last week, Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts, the head of Australia’s year-old Defence Space Command, told reporters that the country was pursuing an anti-satellite capability of sorts: a “soft-kill” system intended to disable satellites without creating debris, like a kinetic ASAT would. “I think it’s a really important part of where we're going to is just looking at how we can have that electronic warfare capability to allow us to deter attacks, or certainly interfere,” she said.

39) The Falcon 9 achieves the shuttle’s dreams
by Francis Castanos Monday, March 6, 2023

A Falcon 9 lifts of on its most recent launch March 3. SpaceX has already performed 15 launches this year as it seeks to fly up to 100 times in 2023. (credit: SpaceX)

One fascinating way of looking at Falcon 9 is to compare it to the late Space Shuttle. While completely different from a technical standpoint, they nonetheless have three basic objectives in common:

partially reusable: check
places up to 23 tons into orbit: check
launches once a week: check.
The last point is worth closer examination.

40) Managing ocean sustainability from above: leveraging space capabilities to combat illegal fishing
by Cody Knipfer Monday, March 6, 2023

Satellite data, such as synthetic aperture radar imagery provided by satellites like Radarsat-2, can help identify illegal fishing. (credit: CSA)

The oceans are integral to our global ecosystem. As a source of nutrition and livelihood for much of the world’s population,[1] ocean health is critical for UN development goals.[2] Activities that jeopardize the sustainability of marine resources, particularly illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing,[3] are therefore a major international issue. Fortunately, space capabilities such as satellite radar[4] and multispectral imaging[5] are making it easier for the international community to track, characterize, and combat illegal fishing.[6]

41) Suborbital spaceflight’s next chapter
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 6, 2023

VMS Eve, the carrier aircraft for Virgin Galactic's suborbital spaceplane, returned to Spaceport America in New Mexico last week as the company prepared to begin commercial operations in the second quarter. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

The last time the suborbital research field gathered in the Denver suburbs for the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) three years ago, the field seemed to be on the verge of a new era amid ominous shadows of the looming pandemic. At the meeting, officials with both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic said they were preparing to soon start flying people after years of anticipation, which meant that, soon, researchers could fly with their experiments: a goal of conference organizers since the first such meet a decade earlier (see “What is the future for commercial suborbital spaceflight?”, The Space Review, April 6, 2020).

11/III 2023 [42-45]

42) Suborbital spaceflight and the Overview Effect
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 13, 2023

Sara Sabry, who became the first Egyptian in space on a New Shepard flight in August 2022, said the flight showed her the interconnectedness of Earth and space. (credit: Blue Origin)

One of the selling points for commercial human suborbital spaceflight over the last two decades has been the opportunity to experience what’s known as the Overview Effect: the change in perspective that comes from seeing the Earth in space that many professional astronauts have reported after going into orbit or to the Moon. The question, though, has been whether the brief flight, going no more than about 100 kilometers high, would be enough to trigger it.

43) Building a catalog to track the trash around the Moon
by Vishnu Reddy Monday, March 13, 2023

The Orion spacecraft spent only a few weeks in cislunar space on last year’s Artemis 1 mission, but debris from other missions could linger in this region for decades. (credit: NASA)

Scientists and government agencies have been worried about the space junk surrounding Earth for decades. But humanity’s starry ambitions are farther reaching than the space just around Earth. Ever since the 1960s with the launch of the Apollo program and the emergence of the space race between the US and Soviet Union, people have been leaving trash around the Moon, too.

44) Searching for life and grappling with uncertainty
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 13, 2023

As astronomers discovery more potentially habitable exoplanets, like TOI 700 e (illustrated above), other scientists see a growing pool of worlds to test hypotheses about the development of life. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Robert Hurt)

One of the biggest developments of the last few decades in astronomy has been the explosion of exoplanet discoveries. The first planet orbiting a Sun-like star was discovered only in 1995 (a few had been found earlier orbiting pulsars). Today, the number of known exoplanets exceeds 5,000, with many more potential worlds awaiting confirmation.

45) Russia returns to the Moon (maybe)
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, March 13, 2023

Russia has been preparing its Luna-25 mission for over seven years. Luna-24 was launched in the 1970s and was the culmination of a series of impressive lunar missions. However, Soviet and Russian planetary science missions have had a poor track record for decades. (credit: Lavochkin)

The Russian space agency Roscosmos recently announced that it plans to launch its long-delayed Luna-25 mission to the Moon in July of this year. Maybe, just maybe, they will launch the robotic spacecraft this summer, but it seems doubtful that the mission will succeed at its ambitious goal of landing at the Moon’s south pole.

12/III 2023 [46-49]

46) Review: NACA to NASA to Now
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 20, 2023

NACA to NASA to Now: The Frontiers of Air and Space in the American Century
by Roger Launius
NASA, 2023
ebook, 292 pp., illus.

There is no shortage of histories of NASA. Some are high-level overviews of NASA’s activities since the start of the Space Age in the 1950s, while others dive deep into specific programs, missions, or careers. Do we really need another overview of the agency?

47) A solution to the growing problem of satellite interference with radio astronomy
by Christopher Gordon De Pree, Christopher R. Anderson, and Mariya Zheleva Monday, March 20, 2023

While the Green Bank Observatory is located in a radio quiet zone to shield it from terrestrial interference, it and other radio telescopes facing growing interference from satellites. (credit: Green Bank Observatory/Jee Seymour)

Visible light is just one part of the electromagnetic spectrum that astronomers use to study the universe. The James Webb Space Telescope was built to see infrared light, other space telescopes capture X-ray images, and observatories like the Green Bank Telescope, the Very Large Array, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array and dozens of other observatories around the world work at radio wavelengths.

48) Space storm rising
by Joseph Horvath and Christopher Allen Monday, March 20, 2023

As SpaceX and other companies in the industry continue to grow, companies struggle to hire and retain workers. (credit: SpaceX)

There is a storm coming for the space industry. The workforce is not large enough to support the needs of the current commercial and government landscape. Without quality talent entering the space workforce quickly, the near vertical trajectory of economic growth will drastically miss estimates. In fact, the storm is already here, as most organizations are consistently competing for the same talent, rather than investing in new professional development models capable of creating sustainable talent pipelines. Stuck in an outdated paradigm for learning and professional development, the space industry must grow out from under this to solve this problem.

49) The hard truths of NASA’s planetary program
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 20, 2023

NASA postponed the launch of the VERITAS mission to orbit Venus by at least three years because of budget pressures and institutional problems, rather than anything with the mission itself. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

One of the biggest scientific findings from last week’s Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference (LPSC) came from decades-old data.

Scientists announced at the conference that they had found the most compelling evidence yet of recent volcanic activity on Venus based on observations by NASA’S Magellan orbiter in the early 1990s. Two radar images of a region, taken eight months apart, showed changes in a volcanic vent consistent with an eruption.

13/III 2023 [50-53]

50) Review: Comet Madness
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 27, 2023

Comet Madness: How the 1910 Return of Halley’s Comet (Almost) Destroyed Civilization
by Richard J. Goodrich
Prometheus, 2023
hardcover, 282 pp.
ISBN 978-1-63388-856-2

There is a steady stream of stories, in at least some parts of the media, about asteroid close calls and potential impacts. Over the weekend, for example, an asteroid called 2023 DZ2 passed less than half the distance of the Moon from the Earth. NASA noted the asteroid posed no impact threat. A few weeks earlier, a similarly designated asteroid, 2023 DW, was found to have a very small chance of hitting the Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046.

51) Space policy: why a step-by-step plan matters
by Namrata Goswami Monday, March 27, 2023

A US National Space Council meeting in December 2021. While the processes countries follow to develop space policy differ, they follow a similar series of steps. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

We want to go to space! Escape Earth’s gravity, get to orbit, and then travel to cislunar space, establish a presence on the Moon, and utilize the Moon as our eighth continent before we venture out into our solar system. It appears as a dark void, and yet the unknown does call to us. Earth itself is a spaceship, which for now, is the only habitable planet in our solar system. We may discover Earth-like planets that might sustain life in other solar systems, but even if we do, we might not be able to ever know or visit them given the enormous distances.

52) Europe contemplates a space revolution
by Jeff Foust Monday, March 27, 2023

An independent committee commissioned by ESA says Europe should develop an ambitious human spaceflight program, one with a goal of an ”independent and sustainable” European human lunar landing in a decade. (credit: ESA/Olivier Pâques)

The current head of the European Space Agency has made clear his interest in giving Europe an independent human spaceflight capability, rather than relying on partners like the United States. “I’m restarting the debate on whether Europe should have such a capability,” Josef Aschabcher said shortly after ESA’s ministerial meeting last November where the agency also unveiled its new class of astronauts (see “Europe selects new astronauts as it weighs its human spaceflight future”, The Space Review, December 5, 2022.)

53) Indian ASAT: Mission Shakti should be a comma, not a full stop
by Ajey Lele Monday, March 27, 2023

Four years after India tested a direct-ascent ASAT, questions remain about India’s space deterrence strategy and what other ASAT capabilities the country’s military may be developing. (credit: DRDO)

On March 27, 2019, India tested an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) during an operation codenamed Mission Shakti. Now four years have passed since India emerged as the fourth state in the world to achieve such capabilities after the US, Russia, and China. This could be an opportune time to do some kind of audit about India’s effort towards evolving a space deterrence mechanism. On the face of it, no significant activity has been observed by India to take any next steps towards developing an effective space deterrence mechanism since the test. Here, it is important to give some margin to the scientific community and policymakers since not only India but the entire world had faced unforeseen challenges owing to Covid-19 crisis, which ended up delaying various programs, including in India.
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« Odpowiedź #411 dnia: Marzec 07, 2023, 15:26 »
14/IV 2023 [54-57]

54) Review: Reclaiming Space
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 3, 2023

Reclaiming Space: Progressive and Multicultural Visions of Space Exploration
edited by James S.J. Schwartz, Linda Billings, and Erika Nesvold
Oxford University Press, 2023
hardcover, 392 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-19-760479-3

The rise of commercial space ventures, and the people running them, has been remarkably divisive. Some see those companies and their founders as leaders opening a new era of opportunity to explore space and harness its resources; other see them as profiteers despoiling the cosmos, be it through filling the sky with satellites or mining the Moon, while exacerbating inequalities on Earth.

55) Exploitation beyond our planet: the risks of forced labor in space mining
by Julia Muraszkiewicz Monday, April 3, 2023

Future plans to mine resources from the Moon or asteroids raises questions about who will do that work. (credit: ESA)

I work in two subjects: human trafficking (or modern slavery, as that increasingly seems to be the preferred term) and space law (here, last time I checked it is still called space law). Currently, they are dominated by two issues that link the two fields together: forced labor and mining.

56) Sustainability lessons from Artemis: How SLS and Orion succeeded
by Frank Slazer Monday, April 3, 2023

SLS and Orion had to survive a variety of political changes to make it to the launch of Artemis 1 last November. (credit: NASA/Isaac Watson)

In the wake of NASA’s November 2022 Artemis 1 mission success, it’s worth examining how its two major elements, the Orion and Space Launch System programs, have endured despite two changes in the White House, several changes in party control of the House and Senate, and efforts by the Obama Administration to cancel them. If any NASA program is a study in sustainability, it’s Artemis, and in our politically divided time, its lessons of stability are needed now more than ever.

57) Robotic Mars exploration after sample return
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 3, 2023

New missions are needed not just for science but also to maintain relay capabilities as spacecraft like Mars Odyssey, launched in 2001, near the end of their missions. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

For the Mars science community, all eyes are on Mars Sample Return (MSR), the campaign of missions by NASA and ESA to collect Martian rock samples to be returned to Earth in the early 2030s. At last month’s Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference (LPSC) outside Houston, scientists celebrated the recent completion of a sample cache by the Perseverance rover as the rover headed up the delta in Jezero Crater to collect more samples.

15/IV 2023 [58-61]

58) Review: Off-Earth
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 10, 2023

Off-Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space
by Erika Nesvold
MIT Press, 2023
hardcover, 304 pp.
ISBN 978-0-262-04754-8

A session at last month’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) was devoted to the ethics of space. One person on the hour-long panel examined the ethics of exploration, while a second focused on planetary defense issues, such as the ethics of using a weapon of mass destruction—a nuclear weapon, whose use in space is prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty—to deflect an incoming asteroid.

59) How satellites and space junk may make dark night skies brighter
by Jessica Heim Monday, April 10, 2023

An increase in satellites and debris in orbit could add more than $20 million to the cost of one survey at the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile. (credit: Todd Mason, Mason Productions Inc. / LSST Corporation)

Since time immemorial, humans around the world have gazed up in wonder at the night sky. The starry night sky has not only inspired countless works of music, art, and poetry, but has also played an important role in timekeeping, navigation, and agricultural practices in many traditions.

60) The spaceport bottleneck
by Tom Marotta Monday, April 10, 2023

Two Falcon 9 rockets on neighboring pads in Florida for launches last year. The growing pace of launches and limitations of current spaceport infrastructure is becoming a bottleneck. (credit: SpaceX)

Why does the United States have so many unused spaceports?

Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia is regularly congested with traffic. The source of the problem is a short section of the highway that abruptly narrows from five lanes to three. Fast-moving highway traffic slows to a crawl resulting in snarled commutes, missed deliveries, and ruined vacations.

61) First four
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 10, 2023

The Artemis 2 crew of (from left) Jeremy Hansen, Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Christina Koch on stage at Ellington Airport in Houston April 3 after being named as the crew of Artemis 2. (credit: NASA/James Blair)

There were two big events in Houston last Monday, and both involved the number four.

Over the weekend, Houston’s NRG Stadium hosted the Final Four, the conclusion of the NCAA men’s college basketball playoff. Monday night was the final, pitting the University of Connecticut against San Diego State University to wrap up a tournament that lived up to its “March Madness” moniker.

16/IV 2023 [62-65]

62) Review: The Space Economy
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 17, 2023

The Space Economy: Capitalize on the Greatest Business Opportunity of Our Lifetime
by Chad Anderson
Wiley, 2023
hardcover, 256 pp.
ISBN 978-1-119-90372-7

It is far from the best of times for the entrepreneurial space field. Earlier this month, Virgin Orbit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after running out of money, a situation exacerbated, but not directly caused, by its launch failure in January (see “Go big or go home”, The Space Review, this issue). It, like many other space companies that went public in the last two years through mergers with special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), raised far less money than expected and saw their share prices plummet. Another launch company, Astra, said last week it won a 180-day extension from Nasdaq to get its share price above $1 or else be delisted from the exchange; as of the end of last week, it was trading at 38.6 cents per share.

63) Internet of Things: the China perspective
by Henk H.F. Smid Monday, April 17, 2023

China could start launching later this year a satellite constellation that would support its efforts to be a world leader in Internet of Things technologies. (credit: CNSA)

The interconnection of physical and virtual things through information and communication technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), is emerging as the next front in global network infrastructure, impacting a wide range of applications and services. Due to its potential application in virtually all economic sectors, analysts expect the IoT to grow exponentially in the coming years, eventually involving billions of connected devices and dozens or more verticals around the world. However, pressing questions about the operation, safety, and security of the IoT have yet to be answered. Which international standards will guide the development of IoT technologies and supporting infrastructure, such as 5G networks and the necessary satellite networks? How secure is the IoT and what are the risks of the vulnerabilities? How is consumer data used and protected?

64) Go big or go home?
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 17, 2023

Virgin Orbit’s last launch was from Spaceport Cornwall in England in January; its failure exacerbated existing financial problems. (credit: Virgin Orbit)

In the end, the air-launch company ran out of runway.

In the early morning hours of April 4, Virgin Orbit announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court in Delaware. The company, which days earlier had laid off 85% of its staff, said the filing would help expedite a sale of the company after months of efforts to raise money failed.

65) The truth is up there: American spy balloons during the Cold War
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, April 17, 2023

The Chinese reconnaissance balloon designated Killeen-23 by the US intelligence community, photographed from a U-2 aircraft in early February. Balloons, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2, and satellites, all collected intelligence during the Cold War, and developed technology that was shared among them. (credit: US Department of Defense)

In early February, the US military tracked a Chinese intelligence collecting balloon that it had designated Killeen-23, named after a notorious murderer, before eventually shooting it down off the East Coast. An early assessment by the US intelligence community indicated that the balloon’s payload was sophisticated and may have included a radar, among other intelligence collecting systems, and sent its data back to China via a satellite link. Balloons, aircraft, and satellites have long been used by the United States for intelligence collection. But they have also been intertwined when it came to technology development, with balloons perfecting technology that was later adopted for both aircraft and satellite intelligence use, and occasionally being promoted as a means to cover gaps in American satellite intelligence collection.

17/IV 2023 [66-69]

66) Review: The Space Law Stalemate
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 24, 2023

The Space Law Stalemate: Legal Mechanisms for Developing New Norms
by Anja Nakarada Pečujlić
Routledge, 2023
paperback, 244 pp.
ISBN 978-1-032-30072-6

A recent essay published by Foreign Policy made a provocative claim: China was attempting to do an end-run around the Outer Space Treaty. The basis of that argument was an announcement earlier this year that a Chinese company, Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group, had signed an agreement to build a spaceport in the African nation of Djibouti for launches of Chinese vehicles. Because Djibouti is not a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty and related accords, the essay argued, “China may see this new partnership as an opportunity to enable a potentially rogue actor and reshape global expectations of responsible behavior in space.”

67) Is the US in a space race against China?
by Svetla Ben-Itzhak Monday, April 24, 2023

A Chinese concept for a lunar base. Despite extensive rhetoric, any race to the Moon between China and the US is a one-sided race. (credit: CAST)

Headlines proclaiming the rise of a new “space race” between the United States and China have become common in news coverage following many of the exciting launches in recent years. Experts have pointed to China’s rapid advancements in space as evidence of an emerging landscape where China is directly competing with the US for supremacy.

68) India’s space policy and national security posture: what can we expect?
by Namrata Goswami Monday, April 24, 2023

An Indian PSLV launch of two satellites for Singapore April 22, days after the release of a new national space policy that encourages commercialization. (credit: ISRO)

India is a major space power in Asia. With its independent launch systems, satellites, spaceport, and long-standing space agency called the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has launched hundreds of Indian and foreign satellites since 1975, and sent missions to the Moon and Mars. India’s space program has long been a state-funded and state-led enterprise led by ISRO not only in research and development (R&D) but also in manufacturing of space systems.

69) Grading on a suborbital curve
by Jeff Foust Monday, April 24, 2023

SpaceX’s first integrated Starship vehicle lifts off April 20 from Boca Chica, Texas, on a brief test flight. (credit: SpaceX)

For most launches, determining success or failure is fairly straightforward. If the rocket places its payload (or payloads) into its desired orbit (or orbits), then the launch is a success. If the rocket fails to reach orbit, it’s a failure. The only shades of gray emerge in those occasional cases where the rocket places a payload into something other than a desired orbit. There, the degree of partial success depends on how the payload can be salvaged and the effects on it on its mission, a debate that involves the launch provider, customers, insurers, and their lawyers, among others.
« Ostatnia zmiana: Kwiecień 25, 2023, 14:52 wysłana przez Orionid »

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« Odpowiedź #412 dnia: Kwiecień 06, 2023, 21:15 »
18/V 2023 [70-73]

70) Review: The Possibility of Life
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 1, 2023

The Possibility of Life: Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos
by Jaime Green
Hanover Square Press, 2023
hardcover, 304 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-335-46354-8

Prospects for life beyond Earth have varied wildly between two extremes. On the one hand, discoveries ranging from the thousands of exoplanets in our galaxy to extremophile life on Earth make it seem, for many, that life may be commonplace in the universe provided the right combination of ingredients—organic compounds, water, and energy—is present. On the other hand, we have yet to find any evidence of extraterrestrial life, including decades of searches for radio signals and other technosignatures of intelligent life.

71) Starship after the dust settles
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 1, 2023

The first integrated Starship launch “was roughly sort of what I expected,” Elon Musk said, despite its early end and the mess it made of the pad and surrounding landscape. (credit: SpaceX)

In the days after SpaceX’s Starship/Super Heavy vehicle finally took flight for the first time on an abbreviated launch (see “Grading on a suborbital curve”, The Space Review, April 24, 2023), there were celebrations by the company’s fans and debate among others about how successful this launch was. There was far less information, though, about exactly what happened on that April 20 launch from Boca Chica, Texas, including the issues that ultimately doomed the rocket.

72) Building telescopes on the Moon could transform astronomy, and it’s becoming an achievable goal
by Ian Crawford Monday, May 1, 2023

The LuSEE-Night mission to the far side of the Moon is one example of the astronomy enabled by lunar exploration. (credit: NASA)

Lunar exploration is undergoing a renaissance. Dozens of missions, organised by multiple space agencies—and increasingly by commercial companies—are set to visit the Moon by the end of this decade. Most of these will involve small robotic spacecraft, but NASA’s ambitious Artemis program aims to return humans to the lunar surface by the middle of the decade.

73) The Moon is harsh on missteps
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 1, 2023

Executives with Japanese company ispace watch an animation of the company’s first attempt at an ultimately unsuccessful landing on the Moon last week. (credit: ispace webcast)

The scene was both familiar and disappointing. A crowd had gathered in the middle of the night at a Tokyo museum to watch HAKUTO-R M1, the first spacecraft by Japanese company ispace, attempt a soft landing on the Moon. The lander, launched in December, had entered orbit around the Moon in March after following a low-energy trajectory, and was now making its descent towards Atlas Crater.

19/V 2023 [74-77]

74) Review: Photographing America’s First Astronauts
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 8, 2023

Photographing America’s First Astronauts: Project Mercury Through the Lens of Bill Taub
by J.L. Pickering and John Bisney
Purdue Univ. Press, 2023
hardcover, 340 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-61249-856-0

Last Friday marked the 62nd anniversary of Alan Shepard’s suborbital spaceflight that made him the first American in space, a milestone that went largely unnoticed. Over the years there have been halfhearted attempts to make May 5 a holiday of sorts, but the fact there’s no agreement on even what to call the day—National Space Day, International Space Day, and National Astronaut Day have all been proposed—shows the limited success of those efforts. For most Americans, May 5 is Cinco de Mayo, an excuse to eat tacos and drink Corona.

75) How government and industry should reshape the business of space
by Adam Routh and Brett Loubert Monday, May 8, 2023

Development of satellite servicing and other advanced services in space requires improved coordination between government and industry. (credit: Northrop Grumman)

America’s space industry continues to reach new heights. The public and private sectors are making significant investments in space, and technological innovations are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. But despite recent optimism and momentum, the space industry cannot count solely on new technology to guarantee a bright future. To grow the space industry, government and industry stakeholders must also catalyze the business of the space.

76) Strategizing planetary defense
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 8, 2023

Both the White House and NASA planetary defense strategies support efforts to improve the rate of discoveries of near Earth objects (NEOs) through missions like NEO Surveyor. (credit: NASA/JPL)

It can seem like planetary defense—protecting Earth from asteroid impacts—is now a solved problem. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission successfully collided with a moon orbiting a near Earth asteroid last September (see “Applied planetary science: DART’s bullseye”, The Space Review, October 3, 2022) and in the months since, planetary scientists have concluded that the impact was even more effective than expected in altering the moon’s orbit.

77) Stonehouse: Deep space listening in the high desert
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, May 8, 2023

The STONEHOUSE National Security Agency listening post in Ethiopia (now Eritrea) was operational from 1965 to 1975 and intercepted signals from Soviet lunar, planetary, and communications spacecraft. It also had a secondary role of communicating with US intelligence spacecraft, probably intelligence collection spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit. (credit: NSA via Cryptologic Quarterly)

During the Cold War it became common for the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) to establish listening posts around the world to listen in on the communications of America’s adversaries. When the Soviet Union began launching satellites into space, the NSA sought to intercept their signals, building antennas that pointed up rather than across a border. These stations had to be located in spots where they were most likely to intercept signals coming down from Soviet missiles, rockets, and satellites, and one of the most specialized and unique of these stations was designated STONEHOUSE.

20/V 2023 [78-81]

78) Review: When the Heavens Went on Sale
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 15, 2023

When the Heavens Went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach
by Ashlee Vance
Ecco, 2023
hardcover, 528 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-06-299887-3

Many in the public perceive the space industry as being filled with, well, boring people. Engineers and scientists have reputations for being introverted nerds, after all. Anyone who has spent some in the industry, though, or has gone to conferences or other events knows that caricature doesn’t hold up. The field is full of characters, much like any other, with unconventional backgrounds and quirks that are sometimes beneficial and other times destructive.

79) Falcon Heavy to the rescue
by Ajay Kothari
Monday, May 15, 2023

A Falcon Heavy lifts off last month. The vehicle could serve as a stopgap for NASA’s lunar exploration plans while SpaceX works on Starship. (credit: spaceX)

It may take SpaceX some time to surmount all the legal challenges involving its Starship vehicle as well as proving that it is satisfactorily reliable. It will happen, eventually, but it may take a while. But all is not lost.

80) Congress must reject the Defense Department’s hope-based strategy in space
by Christopher Stone Monday, May 15, 2023

Pentagon officials like John Plumb (above), assistant secretary of defense for space policy, have discussed the threat posed by China, but there are disagreements about how to deal with it. (credit: Space Foundation)

In the last few years, the Space Force has established itself as a separate military service made from separate and longstanding parts of the Department of Defense (DoD). Having its own command structures and budget demonstrate that the service is moving toward the vision Congress had for it upon establishment in late 2019.[1] Unfortunately, the service continues to be fettered by the policy and strategic frameworks instituted decades ago. More troubling is the current administration’s misguided understanding of China’s strategy in space, as well as DoD’s continuing, inaccurate understanding of what makes a space deterrent credible. As a result, the Space Force is stuck implementing a deterrent strategy based on “hope” and not on warfighting capabilities.[2] If not corrected by Congress soon, this threat will continue to imperil our nation’s critical space infrastructure and vital national interests.

81) A vastly different approach to space stations
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 15, 2023

A Crew Dragon spacecraft approaching Haven-1, the space station Vast said last week it could launch as soon as August 2025. (credit: Vast)

Fifty years ago Sunday, NASA launched its first space station, Skylab. In a single Saturn V launch, it placed into orbit a full-fledged space station with everything needed to support three missions by three-man crews, lasting from a month to nearly three months each. No assembly required—or, at least, none intended; damage Skylab suffered during its launch necessitated emergency repairs by the first crew to visit it.

21/V 2023 [82-85]

82) Review: Destination Cosmos
by Jeff Foust
Monday, May 22, 2023

“Destination Cosmos” can at times make it looks you’re on, or near, the Sun. (credit: J. Foust)

Destination Cosmos
at Hall des Lumières, New York
through June 4
$25 per adult

There has been a wave of “immersive” experiences related to space in recent years that have gone on display in museums and other locations. They’ve even showed up on smaller scales. At last September’s International Astronautical Congress in Paris, a portion of the large NASA exhibit was a room where images from the James Webb Space Telescope were projected on the walls: “a moment of zen,” one person staffing the exhibit said. It was indeed a welcome respite from the exhibit hall crowds.

83) The dawn of the age of DART
by Daniel Deudney Monday, May 22, 2023

A illustration showing DART about to collide with Dimorphos last September. Demonstration of the ability to redirect asteroids opens new possibilites for humanity, both good and bad. (credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)

Within the cascade of wondrous–sometimes astounding–space discoveries and activities, the recent successful NASA DART mission can plausibly make claim to marking a new threshold of epochal historical magnitude, not just for the often painfully slow human movement into outer space, but to the larger prospects for the survival of the human species.

84) A lunar lander makeover
by Jeff Foust Monday, May 22, 2023

Blue Origin won a $3.4 billion NASA award to develop this new version of its Blue Moon lunar lander to carry astronauts to the lunar surface, starting on Artemis 5 at the end of the decade. (credit: Blue Origin)

Two years ago, NASA surprised many in the space industry when it selected SpaceX, and only SpaceX, for its Human Landing System (HLS) program, awarding the company $2.9 billion to develop a lunar lander version of its Starship vehicle to carry astronauts to the lunar surface on Artemis 3 (see “All in on Starship”, The Space Review, April 19, 2021). That prompted the two losing bidders, teams led by Blue Origin and Dynetics, to file a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). When the GAO rejected the protest three months later, Blue Origin then went to federal court, only to have the Court of Federal Claims rule against the company that November (see “Resetting Artemis”, The Space Review, November 15, 2021.)

85) Saving Skylab the top secret way
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, May 22, 2023

The Skylab orbital work shop, photographed by the crew that came to repair it. One of the two main solar panels was completely torn away, and the other was partially deployed, as seen here. A top secret reconnaissance satellite photographed the station shortly before the launch of the rescue mission, confirming the damage. (credit: NASA)

On May 14, 1973—50 years ago last week—NASA launched Skylab atop its last Saturn V. During liftoff, the workshop’s meteoroid shield broke loose and ripped off one of its two main solar panels. Problems were immediately apparent to NASA technicians monitoring the launch.

Note: Because of the Memorial Day holiday, next week’s issue will be published on Tuesday, May 30.

22/V 2023 [86-90]

89) China’s spaceplane returns: is this a new weapon in their counterspace arsenal?
by Ajey Lele Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Many Western observers speculate that China’s spaceplane is similar in both design and its use to the Space Force’s X-37B, sene here after its latest flight. (credit: US Space Force/Staff Sgt. Adam Shanks)

On May 8, China’s reusable spaceplane touched down at the Lop Nor military base. It was a flight lasting 276 days, launching last August from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The vehicle is known to have released an object in space in late October, which possibly could be a small satellite. This was the second spaceplane launch by China, after a brief flight in September 2020. Chinese sources had revealed that this system is known as Chongfu Shiyong Shiyan Hangtian Qi, which means a Repeat-Use Test Spacecraft.

90) Navigating space bioethics
by Vanessa Farsadaki Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Human spaceflight, including extended exposure to microgravity and other aspects of the space environment, poses biomedical and ethical issues. (credit: NASA)

The topic of space medicine acquires utmost relevance as humanity continues to push the bounds of exploration and journeys further into space. The fascinating nexus between bioethics and space travel raises interesting issues and concerns. In this opinion piece, I wish to investigate the ethical issues that occur in this uncharted territory and dig into the complex web of bioethics surrounding space medicine.

91) The case for space ethics
by Magdalena T. Bogacz Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Defense Department has released its list of tenets for responsible behavior in space, without defining the ethical basis for being “responsible”. [larger version] (credit: Defense Department)

While conceiving of space as human destiny, space settlement advocates often use rhetoric on behalf of all life on Earth. Space enthusiasts provide multiple reasons why we must categorically expand our civilization into space, ranging from the biological—to ensure the survival of the species in the event of a natural catastrophe or scarcity of resources—to the ethical or otherwise spiritual: to achieve our destiny.

92) Red planet reality
by Dwayne A. Day Tuesday, May 30, 2023

“Stars on Mars” was filmed in the Australian desert. A group of celebrities lived in this habitat and each week they voted somebody out the airlock. (credit: Fox)

Here we go. All over again.

On June 5, Fox premieres a new reality show called “Stars on Mars.” The premise is that a group of C-list celebrities are stuck together in a simulated Mars habitat and go on various missions in fake spacesuits to compete for prizes. William Shatner—Captain Kirk himself—is back in “mission control,” overseeing the entire effort. This is the latest in a long list of space-themed reality shows, most of which never blasted off.

93) Death of a launch company
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Virgin Orbit hoped a bankruptcy auction would bring in a new investor to rescue LauncherOne. Instead, its assets were bought by several companies. (credit: Virgin Orbit)

LauncherOne made its public debut, like so many other things associated with Richard Branson, in a blaze of publicity. Branson and Virgin Galactic used the Farnborough International Airshow in England in July 2012 to announce the company’s plans to develop a small launch vehicle that would use the same WhiteKnightTwo plane developed for its SpaceShipTwo suborbital space tourism vehicle. (It switched a couple years later to a Boeing 747.)
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23/VI 2023 [91-95]

91) Review: For the Love of Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 5, 2023

For the Love of Mars: A Human History of the Red Planet
by Matthew Shindell
University of Chicago Press, 2023
hardcover, 248 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-226-82189-4

It should be little surprise that humanity’s perceptions of Mars have changed over the years, centuries, and millennia. Our knowledge of the planet has changed, from a wandering red star in the night sky to a world with its own geological history and potential for life. At the same time, humanity’s knowledge of the broader universe, and the place of Mars within it, has changed.

92) A review of Japan’s space policy after the H3 launch vehicle failure
by Junji Miyazawa Monday, June 5, 2023

The first H3 lifts off March 7 on its ill-fated mission. (credit: JAXA)

On March 7, 2023, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) tried and failed to launch the first H3 launch vehicle. The H3 is Japan’s first new major rocket in 12 years and is expected to replace the current H-2A launch vehicle in terms of high-cost performance and flexibility. The main reason for its failure was that the second-stage engine did not ignite due to electrical problems. JAXA is working to determine the problem’s cause and resolve it immediately. However, the next launch date has yet to be set. This article discusses the losses suffered by Japan due to this failure and some of the contributing causes of these losses. Finally, a mechanism for ensuring a better balance of costs and risks for all Japanese space stakeholders is discussed for a positive way ahead.

93) Cultural considerations in space exploration: Insights for NASA’s Artemis 2 mission
by Deana L. Weibel Monday, June 5, 2023

The Artemis 2 astronauts will see things through their own eyes that no human has since the last Apollo mission to the Moon. (credit: NASA/James Blair)

NASA missions tend to be thought of as celebrations of hardware and technology but those missions that include crews also, and unavoidably, contain a human element. As a cultural anthropologist who has spent many years studying the human aspects of space exploration, including religion, socialization, and other astronaut perspectives and experiences, I have a few suggestions for things that NASA personnel and the people journeying to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years should keep in mind.

94) Whither Starliner?
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 5, 2023

Boeing said Thursday it was delaying its first crewed flight of Starliner, which had been scheduled for July 21, because of parachute and wire harness tape problems. (credit: Boeing/John Grant)

The gaping chasm between the two companies NASA selected nearly nine years ago to develop commercial crew vehicles was clearly illustrated last week.

95) Barbarian in space: the secret space-laser battle station of the Cold War
by Dwayne A. Day and Robert Kennedy Monday, June 5, 2023

The Skif-DM experimental weapons system was launched from Baikonur in May 1987. The large black cylinder attached to the Energia rocket contained a system for pointing and controlling a laser weapon. This spacecraft did not carry the laser, but was equipped with pressurized tanks to test the system that would eventually power the laser with CO2. Although the rocket performed as planned, the Skif-DM did not reach orbit. “Mir-2” was painted on its side. “Mir” means “peace” in Russian, and there were future plans to use Energia to launch a follow-on Mir space station. (credit:

The night skies over Kazakhstan lit up on May 15, 1987 as a powerful rocket roared off its pad at the Soviet launch complex at Baikonur. The Energia launch vehicle consisted of a core stage with four engines and four liquid-fueled strap-on booster rockets. A long cylinder mounted on the side of the rocket contained the payload, a massive spacecraft with “Polyus,” or “pole”—as in north or south pole—painted in Russian on its side, and “Mir-2” painted on its front. “Mir” means “peace” in Russian, a name that was possibly advertising, a cover story, or an ironic joke.

24/VI 2023 [96-99]

96) Review: After Apollo
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 12, 2023

After Apollo: Cultural Legacies of the Race to the Moon
by J. Bret Bennington and Rodney F. Hill (editors)
University Press of Florida, 2023
hardcover, 210 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-68340-357-9

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings on the Moon was an opportunity for historical reflection and reassessment as well as thinking about the future. But surely, six months after the golden anniversary of the last Apollo landing, Apollo 17, that opportunity has passed.

97) A case for space in the Caribbean: a historic and strategic perspective
by Kaylon J. Paterson Monday, June 12, 2023

A view of part of the Caribbean taken from the International Space Station. (credit: NASA)

The dawn of the new space economy has brought with it ample opportunity for the private sector to participate in what was originally a government-dominated race for space supremacy. Where large nations—mainly the US, Russia, and the European Union—dominated the industry for decades, we find that the new space age has made room for emerging powers like China, India, and middle powers like Japan, Canada, and North and South Korea to take front stage. With this, even nations with little to no previous space ties have found their footing in the industry, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, and various other nations across the African and Asian continents.

98) Mars 2033: can we do this?
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 12, 2023

An earlier Boeing concept for a Mars transport. Even with time running out, some Mars advocates still think a 2033 crewed mission to orbit or fly by Mars is feasible. (credit: Boeing)

It’s a slogan that not only could fit on a bumper sticker, it was a bumper sticker.

For several years, Ed Perlmutter, a congressman who served on the House Science Committee, pushed NASA and others to accelerate plans for a human mission to Mars. At many hearings, the Colorado Democrat would brandish a bumper sticker with an image of Mars and the words “2033: We Can Do This,” the “this” being a human mission to Mars.

99) Why laws and norms matter in space
by Senjuti Mallick Monday, June 12, 2023

Growing numbers of satellites and debris illustrate the need for laws and norms to ensure safe space operations. (credit: ESA)

Space may be the final frontier and at times may feel like the untamed Wild West, but it is not outside the purview of the law. Consider that, at the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russian-state actors launched a cyberattack against ViaSat’s KA-SAT commercial satellite network, disabling thousands of modems across Ukraine and Europe. Subsequently, SpaceX stepped up to provide Starlink services to Ukraine, which was instrumental in the Ukrainian military’s ability to defend itself. Failing in their attempts to jam Starlink, intelligence indicates that Russia planned to target Starlink through kinetic means. This gives rise to the question as to whether Russia could legally use this clandestine weapon to target Starlink. The brief answer is no.

25/VI 2023 [100-103]

100) Review: From the Earth to Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 19, 2023

From the Earth to Mars: The Surprising History of the Rocket Pioneers Who Launched Humanity Into Space
by Jeffrey Manber
Multiverse Media, 2023
paperback, 106 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-960119-67-4

The Space Age is conventionally defined as starting with the launch of Sputnik in 1957. There was, of course, an extensive history leading up to that launch, with some preferring to define the era as starting with the first successful suborbital V-2 launch almost exactly 15 years earlier. But even before that there had been decades of development and dreaming about rockets for space travel.

101) The implications of the UK’s National Space Strategy on special operations
by Jack Sharpe, Fotios Moustakis, Markos Trichas, and Damian Terrill Monday, June 19, 2023

The United Kingdom is focusing more on both civil and military space, including establishing a UK Space Command. (credit: UK Space Command)

Space capabilities have become an integral part of our daily lives, yet their significance often goes unnoticed by many. While space has captivated generations and driven nations to push technological boundaries, it remains an unsung enabler of modern life. The National Space Strategy (NSS) of the British Government is a testament to the criticality and potential opportunities presented by space. This document positions Great Britain as a pioneering force within the international spacefaring community, showcasing the UK government’s commitment to space exploration, technology, and research. However, the NSS falls short in terms of signaling increased capital expenditure, setting concrete milestones, and establishing realistic outcomes. This article will discuss the NSS, its potential impacts for UK special operations, and why UK Defence must integrate space with special operations planning and activity.

102) A chaotic trajectory for NASA’s budget
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 19, 2023

NASA administrator Bill Nelson made his case for the agency’s 2024 budget proposal to House appropriators in April, who are now considering significant cuts in their spending bills. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The federal appropriations process is never easy, but some years are more difficult than others. This year appears to be shaping up to be one of the more difficult ones, particularly for NASA.

103) From the sky to the mud: TENCAP and adapting national reconnaissance systems to tactical operations
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, June 19, 2023

The Tactical User Terminal was used to process electronic intelligence data from Program 989 satellites during the 1980s. This was part of the larger Tactical Exploitation of National CAPabilities (TENCAP) program. (credit: US Army)

Throughout the 1960s, the United States invested billions of dollars in developing various intelligence satellites to collect imagery and signals data on the Soviet Union and its allies. From the start, this data was intended to serve “national” level leaders, starting with the president, his senior advisors, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other parts of the intelligence community. It was also intended for the National Command Authority and strategic forces by providing images, maps, and electronic data for bomber and submarine crews to increase their ability to perform their missions. The US Air Force’s Strategic Air Command was a major customer for the signals intelligence as well as imagery produced by these national-level systems.

26/VI 2023 [104-107]

104) Review: Under Alien Skies
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 26, 2023

Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe
By Phil Plait
W. W. Norton & Company, 2023
hardcover, 336 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-0-393-86730-5

Astronomers provided a bit of disappointing news last week about an exoplanet. Observations of TRAPPIST-1 c, one of seven planets known to orbit a red dwarf star, led astronomers to conclude the Earth-sized planet either has a tenuous atmosphere of carbon dioxide or no atmosphere at all. Before the James Webb Space Telescope observations, astronomers suspected the planet, while unlikely to be habitable, might have a dense Venus-like atmosphere. That could mean more distant planets could also lack atmospheres, if they formed in the same environment.

105) How artificial photosynthesis may be key to sustained life beyond Earth
by Katharina Brinkert Monday, June 26, 2023

Artificial photosynthesis could be an alternative to traditional environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) technologies like this hardware. (credit: NASA)

Life on Earth owes its existence to photosynthesis, a process that is 2.3 billion years old. This immensely fascinating (and still not fully understood) reaction enables plants and other organisms to harvest sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide while converting them into oxygen and energy in the form of sugar.

106) A veteran astronaut adjusts to a new era of private spaceflight
by Jeff Foust Monday, June 26, 2023

Peggy Whitson spent 665 days in space on three long-duration ISS missions before a much shorter visit in May commanding the Ax-2 private astronaut mission. (credit: Axiom Space)

Peggy Whitson is America’s most experienced astronaut, having spent 665 days in space on three long-duration missions to the International Space Station in 2002, 2008, and 2016–2017. But returning to the station as a private astronaut, commanding Axiom Space’s Ax-2 mission in May, still required some adjustments.

107) India joins the Artemis Accords
by Ajey Lele Monday, June 26, 2023

Taranjit Sandhu (second from right), India’s ambassador to the US, signs the Artemis Accords June 21 as NASA Administrator Bill Nelson looks on. Also participating are Nancy Jackson, deputy assistant secretary of state for India, and Krunal Joshi, ISRO space counsellor. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Collaboration in space between India and the United States has some six decades of history. It is often mentioned as collaboration between two powers who share values like vibrant democracies and open society. The Indian space program was born in 1963 with the launch of Nike-Apache sounding rockets from the India’s first spaceport, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station. In the first few years this relationship was thriving, with joint collaborations between NASA and ISRO like the Satellite Instrumental Television Experiment (SITE). Under this program, satellites beamed educational content to television sets for more than 2,000 remote Indian villages.
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27/VII 2023 [108-111]

Nie tylko LIGO, ale i martwe gwiazdy mogą służyć do detekcji fal grawitacyjnych

108) A subtle symphony of ripples in spacetime
by Chris Impey Monday, July 3, 2023

Gravitational waves create ripples in spacetime that alter the precise timing of pulsars that are then detected by astronomers. (credit: Aurore Simonnet for the NANOGrav Collaboration)

Astronomers use dead stars to measure gravitational waves produced by ancient black holes

An international team of astronomers has detected a faint signal of gravitational waves reverberating through the universe. By using dead stars as a giant network of gravitational wave detectors, the collaboration, called NANOGrav, was able to measure a low-frequency hum from a chorus of ripples of spacetime.

109) What does the People’s Republic of China’s space program mean for Great Britain and the West?
by Jack Sharpe, Fotios Moustakis, Markos Trichas, and Damian Terrill Monday, July 3, 2023

Growing Chinese military and civil space capabilities create challenges and opportunities for the West. (credit: Xinhua)

Despite its relative infancy operating in space, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has become increasingly successful in launching satellites and has become the only country to successfully launch a space vehicle to the far side of the Moon (Jones, 2021). These achievements have consolidated the PRC’s reputation as a spacefaring nation. Speaking in 2021, President Xi Jinping stated “to explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is our eternal dream” (China’s Space Programme: A 2021 Perspective, 2022).

110) Regulating a maturing commercial spaceflight industry
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 3, 2023

VSS Unity glides overhead on its way back to Spaceport America during the Galactic 01 flight June 29. (credit: J. Foust)

For a change, the significance of the flight was bigger than the spectacle.

Compared to nearly two years ago, when Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson got his long-awaited suborbital spaceflight just days before rival Jeff Bezos (see “The suborbital spaceflight race isn’t over”, The Space Review, July 11, 2021), the atmosphere at Spaceport America last week was relatively subdued. There were no huge crowds of media or invited gusts, no celebrities or musical performances. Even Branson himself appeared to be absent, at least not making any public appearances at the spaceport.

111) Spinning towards the future: crisis response from space
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, July 3, 2023

SPIN SCAN was a satellite studied from 1967-1970 and intended to provide imagery to the ground within 24 hours. The satellite would spin edge toward the ground while imaging, and then edge-on while recharging its batteries. SPIN SCAN was rejected in spring 1971, and it was not until late 1976 and the advent of the KH-11 KENNEN satellite that the United States acquired a near-real-time reconnaissance capability. (credit: NRO)

In the early morning of June 5, 1967, hundreds of Israeli aircraft took off from their bases and headed out over the Mediterranean and the Red Sea before turning toward Egypt. They attacked multiple Egyptian airbases, and soon more than 300 Egyptian aircraft were smoking wrecks with their airfields torn to shreds. Shortly thereafter, the Six-Day War was over.

28/VII 2023 [112-115]

112) Review: Matariki: The Star of the Year
by Joseph T. Page II Monday, July 10, 2023

Matariki: The Star of the Year
by Rangi Matamua
Huia Publishers, 2017
paperback, 128 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-77550-325-5

Since the Northern Hemisphere contains the largest portion of Earth’s human population, general astronomical texts tend to focus on the stars viewable by these peoples. One focus area that does not receive much attention outside of hard-core astronomy books are those star groupings viewable from the Southern Hemisphere, and the mythologies surrounding them.

113) Reality is underrated: Fox’s “Stars on Mars” takes off
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, July 10, 2023

The summer space-themed reality show “Stars on Mars” sends its participants on missions inspired by the 2015 movie The Martian. The show is more clever and watchable than you would expect. It airs Monday nights on Fox and streams on Hulu. (credit: Fox Television)

I was wrong.

Five weeks ago, I wrote about the Fox space-themed “reality” TV show “Stars on Mars” and predicted that it would be awful. I based that assessment on the commercials and the advertising, and my biases against reality television, most of which is—to borrow a trope from one of the more notorious examples—garbage. I expected to hate-watch the show.

114) Don’t jeopardize national security in the name of competition
by Jonathan Ward Monday, July 10, 2023

While the Space force is looking to provide opportunities for new launch providers, like Blue Origin and its New Glenn rocket, a Senate proposal to accelerate that process could create national security risks. (credit: Blue Origin)

The establishment of the US Space Force marked a significant milestone in America's commitment to maintaining its dominance in space. As the guardians of the final frontier, it is imperative that the Space Force maintains the highest standards when it comes to the launch of mission-critical satellites. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s recent proposed changes to the launch services procurement process, however, risk undermining the Space Force’s ability to deploy our most crucial space-based defense assets.

115) A crisis and an opportunity for European space access
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 10, 2023

An Ariane 5 lifts off for the 117th and final time July 5 from French Guiana. (credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique video du CSG/P. Piron)

Two launches this month illustrated the current state of European access to space.

Last Wednesday, an Ariane 5 lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana. It was, in many respects, a typical Ariane 5 launch, carrying two communications satellites bound for geostationary orbit. One, Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit, was built by German company OHB for the German government to test advanced communications technologies. The other, Syracuse 4B, was built by a consortium of Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space to provide communications for the French military.

29/VII 2023 [116-119]

116) Could a 500-year-old treaty hold the key to peace in space?
by Daniel Duchaine Monday, July 17, 2023

As more countries pursue exploration of the Moon and Mars, it creates increasing opportunities for geopolitical conflict in space. (credit: CNSA)

Space is changing again. Much has been made about the “Second Space Age” where launch costs are cheaper and more countries have access. This is all correct, of course and we are right to think about it. We are not there yet, but the discourse around space is changing from merely a support system for Earth to providing value by itself.

117) The Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon is underway
by Ajey Lele Monday, July 17, 2023

An LVM3 rocket successfully launched India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander mission July 14. (credit: ISRO)

On July 14, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) started its latest mission to the Moon. For India, this is an important mission because an earlier mission Chandrayaan-2, launched four years earlier, was only a partial success. That mission had two elements: an orbiter and a lander and rover system. ISRO was successful with the orbiter, but the lander crashed attemping a soft landing in September 2019.

118) For Mars Sample Return, more serious repercussions
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 17, 2023

A conceptual illustration of NASA’s current plans to implement the Mars Sample Return program in cooperation with ESA. NASA is facing new pressure to get the costs of the program down. (credit: NASA)

An event in Washington last Thursday evening marked the first anniversary of the release of the first science images from the James Webb Space Telescope, a declaration that the nearly $10 billion telescope was ready to deliver on the promises made over its decades of development (see “The transformation of JWST”, The Space Review, July 18, 2022.)

119) Smashing satellites as part of the Delta 180 Strategic Defense Initiative mission
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, July 17, 2023

Declassified photo of the Delta 180 spacecraft launched in September 1986 as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. This was the first in-space test for SDI and it was successful, possibly bolstering the resolve of President Reagan one month before the Reykjavik Summit. The mission was classified until after it was successful, and was clearly intended to impact public perception of the prospects of the “Star Wars” anti-ballistic missile program. (credit: SDIO)

In September 1986, two American satellites smashed into each other high in the skies over the Pacific Ocean, creating a spectacular shower of sparks and streaks, and making a powerful statement. This was no accident, but a deliberate test as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)—nicknamed “Star Wars” by opponents and the media—and one of the most impressive examples of rapid spacecraft development of the Cold War.

30/VII 2023 [120-123]

120) Access to Venus
by John Strickland Monday, July 24, 2023

Images of the surface of Venus taken from the Venera 13 mission. (credit: NASA)

Venus is the opposite of Mars in regard to terraforming. In fact, you would practically have to terraform Venus before you could land humans on it. It has a planetary surface almost as large as the Earth’s. However, removing the 90 atmospheres of carbon dioxide, even at the very high volatile transfer rates proposed for terraforming Mars, would probably take many millennia and an enormous amount of energy. A low energy, faster alternative would be to build a 15,000-kilometer-wide sunshade for Venus which would cause the carbon dioxide atmosphere to collapse into a liquid carbon dioxide ocean or frozen dry ice layer, at Antarctic-like temperatures.

121) Another technique to identify “unknown” satellites
by Charles Phillips Monday, July 24, 2023

The three CERES satellites, seen here before launch, are among those whose orbital elements are not included in public catalogs. (credit: Airbus)

A long-time interest of mine has been to look at satellite catalogs and see what is in them—and what is not.

The (default world official) satellite catalog is maintained by the US Space Force. They assign numbers to each known satellite and they assign the “COSPAR” designator (see below for a little more about that), which is one way that the international community labels satellites. They normally do an adequate job; the satellite catalog is at Space Track and many organizations and people use it.

122) The value of public interest in spaceflight
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 24, 2023

Despite the success of, and attention surrounding, the Artemis 1 mission, only a small percentage of those polled thought returning humans to the Moon was a top priority for NASA. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The space community has long had an interest, bordering on an obsession, with public opinion of space initiatives. That interest can be healthy and necessary: publicly funded space projects, like those of NASA, do require some degree of public support to continue. But it also at times can become a mania: if only more people knew what NASA was doing and supported it, advocates argue, NASA could get the budget increases it needs to carry out those ambitions.

123) The new era of heavy launch
by Gary Oleson Monday, July 24, 2023

SpaceX’s next Super Heavy booster on the pad last week for tests ahead of a launch later this year. Vehicles like Starship/Super Heavy have the potential to reshape the industry based on their price and performance. (credit: SpaceX)

Three new commercial heavy launch vehicles with test launches scheduled during the next year may usher in a new age of space, depending on which succeed. The new heavy launchers are the Vulcan by United Launch Alliance (ULA), New Glenn by Blue Origin, and Starship-Super Heavy by SpaceX.

31/VII 2023 [124-128]

124) Review: Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 31, 2023

Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine
directed by Shai Gal
Netflix, 2023
64 minutes, TV-14

It’s been more than a year since the release of the first science images from the James Webb Space Telescope, demonstrating that the $10 billion spacecraft has met, if not exceeded, the expectations of astronomers who waited decades to use it. The 12 months that followed have only reinforced those conclusions as the telescope has trained its mirror on the distance universe and worlds in our solar system, generating a cascade of discoveries with only a few minor technical glitches.

125) Is China’s rise in space over? Indexing space power for the next space age
by Daniel Duchaine Monday, July 31, 2023

China has emerged as a major space power in part because of its rapidly increasing launch rate, but will the country cotinue to rise at the expense of other nations? (credit: Xinhua)

We will soon enter an age where space is not merely a domain to support Earth but another region, with regional great power competition. As space becomes a true region, international relations tools will become increasingly more enlightening. In this paper, I seek to introduce a way to track “Space Power” by creating an index showing which countries are great powers in space, which countries hold the greatest share of this power in space, and tracking this over time and into the future. Understanding these dynamics is vital for understanding the most likely sources and periods of conflict and cooperation.

126) Should the loss of the Titan submersible impact space tourism?
by Dale Skran Monday, July 31, 2023

The loss of a submersible with five people on board has drawn parallels to commercial spaceflight and the risks people flying on such vehicles face. (credit: Blue Origin)

With the recent loss of the Titan submersible on a voyage to visit the Titanic, voices have been raised suggesting that the nascent space tourism industry requires immediate regulation. Before jumping on this bandwagon, let’s take a minute to compare the space tourist “industry” with the usage of submersibles and submarines for tourist voyages.

127) The highs and lows of extreme tourism: The Titan accident and commercial expeditions to space and the deep sea
by Deana L. Weibel Monday, July 31, 2023

The loss of the Titan submersible with five people on board has triggered discussions about the differences between deep-sea and space travel, and between tourism and research. (credit: OceanGate)

On June 18, 2023, the OceanGate submersible Titan imploded in the midst of an expedition to view the remains of the Titanic, the famous ocean liner that sank after striking an iceberg on April 15, 1912. Between the Titan’s demise and the discovery of the submersible’s debris on June 22, speculation spread far and wide about the fate of the five participants. They were OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Action Aviation chair and recent Blue Origin astronaut Hamish Harding, Pakistani business executive and SETI Institute trustee Shahzada Dawood, and Dawood’s 19-year-old son, university student Suleman Dawood. Conversations proliferated across news stations and social media about whether the five might be stuck in the submersible with a dwindling oxygen supply or whether some or all had of the passengers had already died.

128) Nuclear space gets hot
by Jeff Foust Monday, July 31, 2023

Lockheed Martin and BWXT will develop a nuclear thermal propulsion demonstration spacecraft for NASA/DARPA’s DRACO program. (credit: Lockheed Martin)

Many in the space community had long recognized the value that nuclear power provides, particularly for missions beyond Earth orbit. It can generate electricity regardless of the distance from, or visibility of, the Sun, useful for both missions to the distance solar system or the Moon and its two-week lunar night. Nuclear propulsion, either thermal or electric, offers much higher efficiencies than chemical systems, and nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) in particular can significantly shorten travel times for crewed Mars missions.
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32/VIII 2023 [129-133]

Książka o publicznym wizerunku kosmonautów.

129) Review: Cosmonaut: A Cultural History
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 7, 2023

Cosmonaut: A Cultural History
by Cathleen S. Lewis
University of Florida Press, 2023
hardcover, 324 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-68340-370-8

The impact of American astronauts on society has been documented since the announcement of the Mercury 7 astronauts nearly 65 years ago, as some rose to prominence while others carried out their spaceflight careers out of the limelight. What is less well known, though, is the cultural impact of their Russian counterparts. Yuri Gagarin rose to international prominence, as did, to a lesser extent, Valentina Tereshkova, but how were they perceived by the Soviet public and used by the Soviet government?

130) Meanwhile, on Mars…
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, August 7, 2023

“Stars on Mars” requires the celebronauts to work together to solve problems loosely (very loosely) analogous to those that astronauts would encounter on Mars. The problem-solving aspects of the show are its greatest strength. (credit: Fox)

We’re in the waning days of the long, hot summer of 2023. The Hollywood writers and actors are on strike, movie debuts are being delayed and, while some new shows are still debuting on streaming services, there will not be much of a fall television season other than game shows and maybe some new cartoons. But “Stars on Mars” is still chugging along.

131) Effect of upgrades to Starlink Generation 2 satellites on visual brightness
by Brad Young and Jay Respler Monday, August 7, 2023

A recent Falcon 9 launch of Starlink satellites. Astronomers have been tracking how effective SpaceX has been in reducing the brightness of those satellites. (credit: SpaceX)

The rise of large constellations of small communication satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) over the last four years has, with it, led to concerns about the effect on space situational awareness, ground-based visual and radio astronomy, and the effect on the health and well-being of the natural world, including humans. Several studies have published the measurable effects of these concerns, and several more studies are ongoing. The issue has brought efforts, including new laws, to retool the licensing process for LEO in a new era of hundreds of thousands of small satellites instead of hundreds of large objects.

132) Debate and hopes for consensus at UN space resource meetings
by Dennis O’Brien Monday, August 7, 2023

Themeeting hall in Vienna that has hosted UN COPUOS meetings, including on space resources. (credit: UN)

The United Nations’ Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) recently hosted closed meetings of the Legal Subcommittee’s Working Group on Space Resource Activity at its headquarters in Vienna. The Working Group has just completed the first year of its five-year mandate to review the regulation of such activity, including possible “additional international governance instruments.” Although it had planned to meet only during the Legal Subcommittee’s annual two-week session earlier this year, the Working Group failed at that time to agree on even a preliminary statement.

133) Minding the space station gap
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 7, 2023

A Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrives at the International Space Station August 4. As the ISS hits its stride in research, concerns about its retirement and transition to commercial stations ar eon the minds of government and industry. (credit: NASA)

Attendees at last week’s International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Seattle got a small goodie bag of trinkets: pens, stickers, and notepads. It also included a small tape measure designed to fit on a keychain, one emblazoned with a logo representing plans to operate the ISS through 2030.

Note: The Space Review is on a reduced schedule this month and will not publish an issue the week of August 14. Our next issue will be August 21.

33/VIII 2023 [134-138]

134) Review: How Space Physics Really Works
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 21, 2023

How Space Physics Really Works: Lessons from Well-Constructed Science Fiction
by Andrew May
Springer, 2023
paperback, 157 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-3031339493

Scientists, engineers, and others in the space community usually have one of two reactions when they see bad science or engineering in a sci-fi movie or TV show. One is to simply let it go: it’s entertainment, after all, not a documentary. The other, of course, is to loudly complain about it on social media. When the movie 65 made its way to Netflix recently after a brief flyby of movie theaters, curious people tuned in—space and dinosaurs, after all—only to quickly complain that the movie was messing up its portrayal of spaceflight or asteroids (never mind aliens that, 65 million years ago, looked and acted just like humans.)

135) 1569 and 2023
by Bob Werb Monday, August 21, 2023

Just as Mercator’s map ushered in a new era of geography, society is ready for a new understanding and appreciation of space. (credit: Peter Thorpe)

The NewSpace community loves to use historical analogies and, as a charter member of that community, I’ve compared opening the space frontier to the European conquest and settlement of the Americas, Lewis and Clark’s travels, Roman road building, and probably others I don’t remember. Now, approaching my twilight years, I’m ready to admit that while these may well have been rhetorically useful, all are pretty weak analogies. There is, however, one historical analogy that I think is quite strong and compelling, as well as useful.

136) The fault in our Mars settlement plans
by Isabella Cisneros Monday, August 21, 2023

Popular visions of humans living on Mars often overlook serious technical and social challenges. (credit: SpaceX)

Think about the first human settlement on Mars. A constellation of images from science fiction, NASA, or SpaceX likely spring to mind: white cylindrical habitation units dotting a rusted desert landscape; an astronaut donning a futuristic skintight spacesuit to perform an EVA; inside, a botanist tending to a Martian greenhouse teeming with fruit and vegetables. But what aren’t we thinking of? Even with all our plans for Mars there are problems we’re stubbornly avoiding, like the dangers of radiation, the ethics and perils of reproduction in space, and handling of settlement resources. We imagine things working out because there are parts of the challenge we haven’t considered. We’re long overdue for a Red Planet reality check. In 1967, following the fatal Apollo 1 fire, NASA astronaut Frank Borman blamed the tragedy on “a failure of imagination.” NASA hadn’t fully considered the possible problems with their new spacecraft and paid a heavy price. Today, when it comes to Mars, our imaginations appear to be failing us again.

137) For smallsats, two ways to orbit
by Jeff Foust Monday, August 21, 2023

A Falcon 9 launches a Transporter rideshare mission in 2022. Such launches have become a leading way for companies and organizations to get smallsats into orbit. (credit: SpaceX)

This month’s annual Small Satellite Conference was the biggest yet. Nearly 4,000 people descended on the Utah State University campus for the event, packing the student center, field house, and various other buildings for nearly a week of presentations, meetings, and exhibits about the state of the field. It showed that the smallsat industry was as vibrant as ever, from increasingly ambitious student cubesat projects to new developments in larger commercial and government missions.

138) Despite the Luna-25 failure, Russia is not a declining space power
by Daniel Duchaine Monday, August 21, 2023

An image returned from the Luna-25 spacecraft days before a malfunction caused it to crash on the Moon. (credit: Roscosmos)

In the aftermath of the Luna-25 failure, a cacophony of voices from major news outlets and space pundits have been quick to paint Russia as a great power in decline. This viewpoint, while emotionally satisfying given Russia’s abhorrent actions in Ukraine, is not based in reality. But it is vital, both for understanding and for strategy, that we refrain from making sweeping conclusions based on isolated events. In the last decade, Russia has rebuilt and reinvested in its military space capabilities and has stabilized its share of space power.

Note: The Space Review is on a reduced schedule this month and will not publish an issue the week of August 28. We will return to our regular weekly schedule on Tuesday, September 5.

34/IX 2023 [139-143]

139) The international community is not prepared for a future in space
by Austin Albin Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Mechanisms like the United Nations and its space-related committees can’t keep up with the growing challenges of spaceflight. (credit: UN)

International politics is undergoing a seismic shift. China is challenging the United States for global leadership, Russia is haphazardly asserting itself through reawakened imperial ambition, and states like India seek to go from regional to world powers. This competition is progressively spreading into space, as governments and their citizens increasingly depend on space for vital services such as telecommunications, navigation, and banking. Space has become foundational to modern society and will be key to future prosperity. As such, states and ambitious corporations are jostling for access to space and pushing outwards to distant celestial bodies like the Moon and Mars.

140) It’s not easy being a Martian
by Dwayne A. Day Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The 2015 movie The Martian has led to a number of television shows about humans living on Mars. Many of them have been grim, but the recently-concluded “Stars on Mars” was more fun. Even so, the show had some interesting lessons about the difficulties of sending humans to the Red Planet. (credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

For years, Popular Science magazine compiled its list of the worst jobs in science. Many of them involved the collection and analysis of disgusting samples. But one of the surprises on their list was astronaut. Yes, being weightless seems like a dream, and the ability to stare out the window at the blue Earth sounds romantic. But there are severe drawbacks to the job, from the inherent danger, intense training, separation from family, deleterious effects on the body and, of course, hygiene (the most common question people ask astronauts is how they go to the bathroom in space, and the answer is never pleasant.) It’s not easy being a spaceperson. That has been a theme of Fox’s recently concluded reality TV show “Stars on Mars”. You can stream it on Hulu, or watch it online. What looked like the kind of show that would cause space enthusiasts to roll their eyes has turned out to be entertaining, visually interesting, and provides some useful lessons about what it could be like living on the Red Planet.

141) The opportunities and challenges for science at NASA and ESA
by Jeff Foust Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Nicola Fox, named NASA associate administrator for science in February, says she is working to lower the boundaries to science at NASA while also dealing with budgetary challenges. (credit: NASA/Keegan Barber)

Earlier this year, two women from the United Kingdom took over as leaders of the science divisions of the two largest Western civil space agencies just days apart. In late February, NASA announced it selected Nicola Fox as associate administrator for science after serving for several years as director of the agency’s heliophysics division. She took the post just days before Carole Mundell started on the job at the European Space Agency as its new director of science. She had been a professor of astrophysics at the University of Bath and chief scientific adviser for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

142) India is on the Moon, but needs to avoid the “Moon Race” trap
by Ajey Lele Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Vikram lander of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission on the surface of the Moon, as seen by its Pragyan rover. (credit: ISRO)

The North–South divide in a global context is well-known. The Global South gets viewed as a grouping of states that are classified by low income, inadequate infrastructure, and large populations. This grouping is known to constitute the developing countries in the world. But today, one of them has reached the Moon!

143) Soviet television reconnaissance satellites
by Bart Hendrickx Tuesday, September 5, 2023

A television reconnaissance satellite studied by the Chelomei design bureau in the 1960s. (Source)

Starting in the early 1960s, the Soviet Union launched hundreds of photoreconnaissance satellites that returned exposed film back to Earth in capsules. It was not until 1982 that the country orbited its first electro-optical reconnaissance satellite, capable of sending imagery back to Earth in near real time. As a stopgap measure, proposals were tabled in the 1960s and 1970s for achieving the same goal by using reconnaissance satellites carrying television cameras. Such cameras were ultimately flown on two uncrewed versions of the Almaz military space station in the late 1980s/early 1990s, but by that time the technology was already outdated. While some information on these projects has emerged in the past 20 years or so, the details remain sketchy.[1]

35/IX 2023 [144-147]

144) Review: Interstellar
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 11, 2023

Interstellar: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Our Future in the Stars
by Avi Loeb
Mariner Books, 2023
hardcover, 256 pp.
ISBN 978-0-06-325087-1

Some authors mark the release of a new book with a book tour or magazine profile to gain publicity. Avi Loeb published a scientific paper. The Harvard astrophysicist led a team that published a preprint August 29 summarizing efforts to find pieces of a potential interstellar meteor that fell into the Pacific Ocean in 2014. That work, which involved dredging a portion of the ocean floor off the coast from Papua New Guinea, yielded five spherules whose composition, they concluded, was so different from terrestrial materials that it could be best explained if they were from an object, designated IM1, that came from outside the solar system based on its high atmospheric entry speed.

145) Key issues for the Japanese government regarding exploration and development of space resources
by Akira Saito Monday, September 11, 2023

LUPEX, a joint mission of India and Japan, will send a rover to the Moon to look for water ice deposits. (credit: JAXA)

In June 2021, Japan enacted the “Act on the Promotion of Business Activities for the Exploration and Development of Space Resources (Space Resources Act).” This act includes provisions on the ownership of space resources. Japan is the fourth country to have a space resources act, following the United States, Luxembourg, and the United Arab Emirates, which have similar acts.

146) Putting the private into private spaceflight
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 11, 2023

Virgin Galactic waited until after its VSS Unity spaceplane landed on the Galactic 03 mission to annouce the three customers who had been on board. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

After years of waiting, Virgin Galactic has finally gotten into a rhythm of suborbital spaceflights. The company’s latest flight of its VSS Unity spaceplane, Galactic 03, took place September 8, and was the third flight in a little more than two months, after the inaugural commercial flight, Galactic 01, June 29 (see “Regulating a maturing commercial spaceflight industry”, The Space Review, July 3, 2023) and Galactic 02 August 10. The company had vowed to conduct monthly flights of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle and, so far, it is sticking to that cadence, with the next tentatively scheduled for early October.
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« Odpowiedź #416 dnia: Wrzesień 13, 2023, 09:29 »
O nadużyciu art. V Traktatu o przestrzeni kosmicznej przez Chiny w odniesieniu do satelitów Starlink.

147) China, Article V, Starlink, and hybrid warfare: An assessment of a lawfare operation
by Michael J. Listner Monday, September 11, 2023

How China responded to alleged close approaches of Starlink satellites to the Tiangong space station may be more telling that the incident itself. (credit: CMSA)

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”[1]

An odd event occurred on December 6, 2021 when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) filed a notification with UN Secretary General under Article V of the Outer Space Treaty. Specifically, the PRC complained on two occasions Starlink satellites, belonging to the non-geostationary satellite orbit system being deployed by SpaceX, allegedly nearly collided with the PRC’s space station. The notification was unprecedented in that such a notification had never been previously invoked and curious given the PRC used Article V to address its concern to the Secretary General directly instead of engaging with the authorizing state directly.

36/IX 2023 [148-151]

148) Review: The Six
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 18, 2023

The Six: The Untold Story of America's First Women Astronauts
by Loren Grush
Scribner, 2023
hardcover, 432 pp.
ISBN 978-1-9821-7280-0

More than 45 years ago, NASA announced a new class of astronauts, the first chosen for the shuttle era. Those 35 people included, famously, NASA’s first six women selected to the astronaut corps, who became instant celebrities as they made history, subject to countless articles, news stories, and other accounts over the decades since their selection. Is there more to add to that historical account?

149) How to land a space gig
by Daniel Duchaine Monday, September 18, 2023

My “lessons learned” from more than 60 informational interviews

Those looking for non-technical careers in the space field often involve working on Capitol Hill or in government affairs for companies or organizations. (credit: J. Foust)

Over the last three months, I met with more than 60 leaders, doers, thinkers, experts, and newcomers in the space community. I interviewed space policy think-tank researchers and civil space bureaucrats. I connected with prime contractor space business strategists. I sat down with “new space” visionaries.

150) SpaceX launches a debate on monopolies
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 18, 2023

As SpaceX continues to launch its own Starlink constellation, such as this launch late Friday, it says it remains willing to launch satellites for competing companies. (credit: SpaceX)

Last week, a store window in Smith & Son, an English-language bookstore in the heart of Paris, featured copies of Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Elon Musk. Some showed the front cover and others the back, which displayed a Starship vehicle on the pad at Boca Chica, Texas. The store also printed an enlarged copy of the front cover, a photo of a pensive Musk, along with perhaps the question of our time: “Genius or Jerk?”

151) Live, from orbit: the Manned Orbiting Laboratory’s top-secret film-readout system
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, September 18, 2023

MOL carried a high-resolution camera whose film could be returned to Earth on the attached Gemini, but the NRO also studied ways to transmit images using film-readout systems. (credit: NRO)

What good is warning of enemy attack that arrives after the attack has occurred? That was one of the dilemmas facing the operators of American intelligence satellites during the 1960s. The satellites used film, which had to be returned to Earth, processed, and analyzed, which could often be a week or more after the photograph was taken. Some members of the satellite reconnaissance community sought to reduce that time, to get the images to the ground faster. This was the subject of a subsystem for the expensive and complicated Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) of the 1960s, but this aspect of the program has been overlooked since MOL was declassified eight years ago.

37/IX 2023 [152-155]

152) Security dimensions of space economics and finance
by Jana Robinson Monday, September 25, 2023

Chinese and Russian space efforts may be supported by private equity and other financing from Western sources, particularly Europe.

As of May 2023, there were more than 5,400 active satellites on orbit, and almost 3,000 of those are commercial. Some experts predict over 100,000 active satellites by 2030.[1] This, together with a significantly greater number of public and private actors in space, will lead to much greater pressure to keep the space environment viable and safe for commercial, civilian, and military activities.

153) Hiding in plain sight: Is China’s spaceplane a co-orbital ASAT in disguise?
by Carlos Alatorre Monday, September 25, 2023

Little is known publicly about China’s spaceplane development, but its activities in orbit suggest it is testing capabilities that could be used as a co-orbital ASAT.

On August 4, 2022, a Chinese reusable autonomous spaceplane was launched into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on a Long March 2F (CZ-2F/T) rocket. Several weeks later, on August 26, a second spaceplane launched on a suborbital flight. Although the suborbital flight was relatively short, the orbital spaceplane flew a mission that lasted 276 days before returning to Earth on May 8, 2023. During its flight, the spaceplane, known as Shenlong, released an object that moved in coordination with its orbit.

154) Honoring and dishonoring the dead in outer space
by Deana L. Weibel Monday, September 25, 2023

How a Virgin Galactic spaceflight sparked a scandal in anthropology

Customers on a Virgin Galactic flight float in the cabin. Among them is Timothy Nash, who brought with him hominid fossils. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

On September 8, Timothy Nash, a South African billionaire, flew to the edge of space in a Virgin Galactic suborbital spacecraft, the VSS Unity. Virgin Galactic began operating tourist flights in earnest this past summer and Nash participated in the company’s most recent excursion. Nash’s flight was not without scandal, however.

155) A capsule’s fall marks the start of Asteroid Autumn
by Jeff Foust Monday, September 25, 2023

The OSIRIS-REx capsule and its parachute shortly after landing at the Utah Test and Training Range on Sunday. (credit: NASA/Keegan Barber)

Most scientists leading planetary science missions attend the launch of their spacecraft, seeing them off on journeys across the solar system. Few scientists, though, are present for those missions’ landings.

38/X 2023 [156-160]

156) Review: Elon Musk
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 2, 2023

Elon Musk
by Walter Isaacson
Simon & Schuster, 2023
hardcover, 688 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-9821-8128-4

It’s hard to imagine, at this point in time, anyone not having an opinion of Elon Musk. That is, in part, because of his growing profile, from SpaceX and Tesla to last year’s acquisition of the social media network Twitter (which Musk has since renamed X.) It is also because Musk can be polarizing in his words and deeds: some see him as nothing short of a savior of the planet and humanity, using electric vehicles to combat climate change and space to make humans multiplanetary, while others are repelled by how he runs his companies and his public statements. Just this weekend, for example, Musk tweeted (er, posted) memes critical of the Covid vaccine, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the media. Excitement guaranteed, as Musk would say.

157) How orbital refueling will unlock humanity’s potential in space
by Manny Shar Monday, October 2, 2023

In-space refueling of satellites can extend spacecraft lifetimes and enable new capabilities. (credit: Orbit Fab)

The last half century has witnessed unprecedented growth in our understanding of space, both as a frontier and a domain of endless opportunities. Yet, as with any frontier, there are challenges and barriers that must be overcome. One such challenge is the current limitation of space vehicle endurance and mobility. The solution? In-space refueling.

158) An ambitious decadal survey for research in space
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 2, 2023

NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara work on the Cold Atom Lab research payload on the ISS, one of the key facilities there for supporting physical science research in space. (credit: NASA)

In other space-related scientific disciplines, the decadal surveys used to guide planning for research and investment have often recommended ambitious missions. Past astrophysics decadals backed what would become the James Webb Space Telescope, which is now delivering on that promise after extensive delays and cost overruns. Planetary science decadals recommended Mars Sample Return, which is facing its own cost and schedule challenges even as scientists continue to advocate for its importance.

159) Secrets of ExoMars
by Brian Harvey Monday, October 2, 2023

ESA decided to cancel cooperation with Roscosmos on ExoMars just days after the invasion of the Ukraine, and weeks before the Rosalind Franklin rover was due to ship to Russia for launch. (credit: ESA)

When we think of the secrets of Mars, we think of life there, possibly hidden below its surface. A European-Russian rover, ExoMars, was built to go there. It was due to land on June 10, 2023, and might even have found signs of life there by now. Instead, its secrets remain locked up—but on Earth.

160) Crisis in space: The 1973 Yom Kippur War and “crisis reconnaissance”
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 2, 2023

A burning ammunition storage site photographed by an SR-71 Blackbird during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. This was some of the very limited reconnaissance the United States had during the conflict. This is a poor photocopy of the original photograph, which has not been released. (credit: CIA)

On October 6, 1973, tanks from Syria and Egypt rolled on Israeli-occupied territory as artillery bombarded Israeli military targets. At the same time, aircraft from these countries launched multiple strikes. The attack came during the Yom Kippur holiday, catching the Israelis—and America’s political leaders—by surprise.

39/X 2023 [161-164]

161) Review: A Million Miles Away
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 9, 2023

A Million Miles Away
directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella
Amazon Prime Video, 2023
121 minutes, rated PG

We are used to a steady, if low volume, stream of astronaut memoirs. People who became NASA (or sometimes ESA or CSA) astronauts describe their journeys to space, recounting the paths they took to realize dreams, often dating from childhood, about becoming astronauts. The individual stories are unique even if they share common traits and characteristics, like perseverance and persistence.

162) With a tweet, America has joined the race to develop astroelectricity—hopefully!
by Mike Snead
Monday, October 9, 2023

As the European Space Agency and other governments fund space solar power initiatives, the US government may be showing renewed interest. (credit: ESA)

In a September 21 tweet, US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested that space(-based) solar power (SSP) was now a part of the clean energy mix DOE is pursuing. This off-the-cuff announcement followed preliminary work begun last year by NASA—for the third time—to study SSP. While this announcement has not yet been characterized as an admission by DOE that their decades-long quest for practicable terrestrial sustainable energy has failed, this is exactly what the formal expansion of DOE’s clean energy mandate to include SSP really is. The world is now entering the “Age of Astroelectricity” where SSP-generated astroelectricity will not only substantially power the world (and America) with abundant clean energy, but it will, as Gerard O’Neill forecast a half-century ago, necessitate the permanent human settlement of the central solar system.

163) NASA’s Mars rovers could inspire a more ethical future for AI
by Janet Vertesi Monday, October 9, 2023

Mars rovers like Perseverance show how artificial intelligence can augment, not replace, human capabilities. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Since ChatGPT’s release in late 2022, many news outlets have reported on the ethical threats posed by artificial intelligence. Tech pundits have issued warnings of killer robots bent on human extinction, while the World Economic Forum predicted that machines will take away jobs.

Trwa tworzenie systemu koordynacji ruchu w przestrzeni kosmicznej TraCSS (Traffic Coordination System for Space).
TraCSS będzie w porównaniu z obecnym systemem skanował niebo w celu identyfikacji bliskich podejść satelitów lub potencjalnych kolizji dwa razy częściej (co 2 godziny) niż obecnie.
System będzie składał się z 3. elementów (OASIS, SKYLINE, HORIZON).

164) Getting a new civil space traffic management system on track
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 9, 2023

The growth in both active satellites and debris emphasizes the need for improved space traffic management systems. (credit: ESA)

More than five years ago, the White House released Space Policy Directive 3, which established a national policy for space traffic management (see “Managing space traffic expectations”, The Space Review, June 25, 2018). One key element of the policy was direction that the Commerce Department take over the responsibility for providing civil space traffic management (STM) services, like warning satellite operators of potential close approaches, or conjunctions, with other objects.

40/X 2023 [165-168]

165) Maybe space shouldn’t be for all
by A.J. Mackenzie Monday, October 16, 2023

The International Astronautical Federation held its annual conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, this month despite concerns about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. (credit: IAF)

Space advocates have for decades been trying to expand the audience for their broad vision of a bold a future for humanity in space or for specific programs and projects. At one level, it’s a laudable effort. Getting more people interested in space helps build support for programs, particularly when trying to get funding. Broadening support also helps expand the pool of potential scientists, engineers, and others who seek to work on them.

166) The brave new world of space
by Aditya Chaturvedi Monday, October 16, 2023

The increase in space access enabled by SpaceX and others is reshaping views of what can be done in space, and also how it should be regulated. (credit: SpaceX)

“Who controls low Earth orbit, controls near Earth space. Who controls near-Earth space dominates Terra. Who dominates Terra, determines the destiny of humankind.”

— Everett Dolman, Author of Astropolitik: Classic Geopolitik in the Space Age, and Professor, Strategy, US Air Force War College

167) Commercial lunar landers prepare for liftoff
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 16, 2023

Intuitive Machines showed off its IM-1 lunar lander at its new Houston headquarters before shipping it to Florida for launch as soon as mid-November. (credit: J. Foust)

Houston Spaceport is not a spaceport in the traditional sense of the term. While the spaceport, located at the city’s Ellington Airport, has an FAA spaceport license, it has yet to host a launch or landing, and no companies have announced firm plans to carry out launches from its modest runways in the suburbs not far from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Instead, the focus has been on turning the airport into an aerospace business hub, including a new business park that’s home to companies like Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace.
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168) Roads not taken in satellite photo-reconnaissance: Part 1, the 1960s
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 16, 2023

An Atlas-Agena launch in the 1960s carrying a KH-7 GAMBIT reconnaissance satellite. During the decade there were numerous proposals for reconnaissance satellites that were never built, including some that would have used GAMBIT hardware. (credit: USAF)

Today digital cameras are everywhere and most people under 30 will have no concept of what a film camera was. But film was a powerful storage medium for more than a century, and from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s American reconnaissance satellites depended upon it. During this period, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which oversaw the procurement and operation of American reconnaissance satellites, studied numerous alternative reconnaissance satellite designs to meet new requirements.

41/X 2023 [169-174]

169) Phil Pressel
Monday, October 23, 2023

Phil Pressel, one of the designers of the HEXAGON reconnaissance camera, standing next to the engineering mockup of the satellite in 2011. (credit: Roger Guillemette)

Philip Pressel passed away on October 18 at the age of 86. Phil was among the designers of the reconnaissance cameras carried aboard the HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite from 1971 to 1986. In addition, he worked on other national security programs during his long career at Perkin-Elmer Corporation. He was an immigrant and Holocaust survivor.

170) ISRO prepares for human spaceflight
by Gurbir Singh Monday, October 23, 2023

Liftoff of the TV-D1 mission October 21 to demonstrate the crew escape system for the Gaganyaan spacecraft. (credit: ISRO)

In 2025, India is planning its first crewed spaceflight, carrying astronauts on an Indian launch vehicle, launched from India. On October 21, ISRO conducted an uncrewed in-flight abort test. One minute into the flight, the Crew Escape System fired for just over two seconds, pulling the crew module away from the launch vehicle. The momentum took the crew module to an altitude of 17 kilometers, where the Crew Escape System itself separated from the crew module. Neither the launch vehicle nor the Crew Escape System were recovered. The crew module descended to a safe splashdown ten kilometers downrange, first using a pair of drogue parachutes and then three main parachutes. About nine minutes after launch the mission concluded having met all the mission objectives successfully.

171) ISRO develops its agenda for the future
by Ajey Lele Monday, October 23, 2023

The Gaganyaan capsule prototype used in the abort test is recovered from the ocean after splashdown. (credit: ISRO)

On October 21, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested the Crew Escape System (CES), part of its progress on the human space travel program called Gaganyaan. ISRO will be analyzing the data generated during the entire mission and is expected to undertake three more such tests to validate various technologies required to ensure the crew safety.

172) My suborbital life, part 1: Childhood’s end, perseverance pays
by Alan Stern Monday, October 23, 2023

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo on ascent to space. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Late next week, I’m scheduled to launch aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity on a suborbital spaceflight. I’m not flying as a private astronaut, though, as most Virgin Galactic customers are, but as a researcher, headed to work in space.

173) My suborbital life, part 2: Objectives, timeline, training
by Alan Stern Monday, October 23, 2023

Inside the VG VSS Unity cabin in flight, where my work will take place. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Late next week I’ll be undertaking my first spaceflight, flying a training and “risk reduction” mission funded by my employer, the Southwest research Institute (SwRI). This flight is in preparation for a NASA-SwRI suborbital research mission that is coming up for me as well, hopefully next year. That research flight will feature two experiments: one to assess the efficacy of the spacecraft for doing suborbital astronomy, and one to take physiological data on an experimenter undergoing suborbital spaceflight.

174) The launch industry strains launch licensing
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 23, 2023

SpaceX is continuing pad tests of its second integrated Starship/Super Heavy vehicle as it awaits an updated FAA launch license. (credit: SpaceX)

There is always some degree of tension between companies and regulators in almost any industry. That tension can be healthy as both companies and government agencies seek the right balance between ensuring safety and allowing progress.

42/X 2023 [175-180]

175) My suborbital life, part 3: The suborbital revolution is here
by Alan Stern Friday, October 27, 2023

A Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceship at release from its carrier aircraft for ascent to space. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

As I write this blog, I’m about to leave on a business trip to Boston, to lead a science team meeting of the NASA New Horizons mission, which I serve as Principal Investigator (PI) for. The meeting is a typical business trip, one of over a thousand that I’ve made in my career.

176) My suborbital life, part 4: My research spaceflight training countdown to launch
by Alan Stern Saturday, October 28, 2023

The central hub of Spaceport America in New Mexico. (credit: Spaceport America)

It’s just T-5 days to launch on my first space mission, which is set for liftoff on Thursday, November 2, from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. Spaceport America is Virgin Galactic’s operations base for commercial suborbital missions.

177) Review: Deep Sky
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 30, 2023

Deep Sky
directed by Nathaniel Kahn
IMAX, 2023
40 minutes, unrated

It was inevitable, perhaps, that a very big space telescope would end up on a very big screen. Once it was clear that the James Webb Space Telescope was both a technical and scientific success, putting its dramatic images on an IMAX screen was something close to a no-brainer. “It has to be on an IMAX screen because only that giant screen is making you fully immersed in these worlds,” said Nathaniel Kahn at a National Academies event in July.

178) Shaking up the commercial space station industry
by Jeff Foust Monday, October 30, 2023

Northrop Grumman is joining forces with Voyager Space on the Starlab space station (above), dropping plans to develop its own. (credit: Voyager Space)

The early years of a new industry can be a bit chaotic. A wave of new entrants rush in, far more than can be reasonably supported by demand. The companies compete vigorously for customers and investment, while also forming—and breaking up—partnerships with one another. Ultimately, only a few will survive, with the rest subsumed by the winners or disappearing entirely.

179) Roads not taken in satellite photo-reconnaissance: Part 2, the 1970s
by Dwayne A. Day Monday, October 30, 2023

The HEXAGON program lasted from 1971 until the loss of the last vehicle in April 1986. Throughout the life of the program there were various proposals to launch and/or retrieve it using the Space Shuttle. (credit: NRO)

Throughout the 1960s, American aerospace companies proposed and/or studied various reconnaissance satellites that were never put into development. These were intended to fulfill various requirements, often not very well-defined, to improve ground resolution, area coverage, or timeliness. (See part 1 here.) That continued into the 1970s. The early part of the decade included numerous proposals for satellites to produce imagery on a much quicker basis—a day or less—than existing systems.

43/X/XI 2023 [180-185]

180) My suborbital life, part 5: Hi Five!
by Alan Stern Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Virgin Galactic’s patch for the upcoming Galactic 05 mission. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic’s Galactic 05 suborbital mission I am flying on, still set for November 2, is the fifth commercial suborbital revenue mission for Virgin Galactic.

181)My suborbital life, part 6: Anticipation
by Alan Stern Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Spaceship Unity on a recent Virgin Galactic flight. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

My rookie spaceflight is so close now that it’s hard to believe that its time is really here. We plan to fly on Thursday, launching aboard Virgin Galactic’s Unity spacecraft. As the flight nears, I’m hearing from a lot of friends and colleagues, with both questions and good wishes for the mission, which I really love.

182) My suborbital life, part 7: Of risk and reward
by Alan Stern Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Earth from space. (credit: NASA)

My reflections for today, launch day, are on risk and reward.

In my view, both are integral parts of what it means to be human. Risk and reward are also sides of a single coin comes up in so many ways across the days of our lives.

183) My suborbital life, part 8: Welcome to space!
by Alan Stern Saturday, November 4, 2023

Virgin Galactic 05, nicknamed “High 5,” initiating the climb uphill to space on November 2. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

On Thursday I flew to space, and what a ride it was!

From the hurtling ascent, to the jam-packed three minutes of otherworldly microgravity to get our real work done, to the washboard deceleration of entry, and then the steep glide to a greased landing, it was simultaneously thrilling, fulfilling, and enchanting. And, there’s no contest, it was the single best work day I have ever had!

184) The FCC’s authority in regulating orbital debris
by Leighton Brown and Paul Stimers Monday, November 6, 2023

The FCC fined DISH for failing to move a satellite at least 300 kilometers above the geostationary belt as outlined in the company's orbital debris mitigation plan. (credit: ESA/ID&Sense/ONiRiXEL)

In a first for space debris enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that it had entered into a negotiated Consent Decree with DISH Operating LLC (DISH) to resolve an investigation into whether DISH had failed to properly deorbit its direct broadcast satellite service EchoStar-7 geostationary orbit satellite. During the course of that investigation, the FCC determined that DISH had violated the Communications Act, the FCC’s rules, and the terms of DISH’s license by relocating the EchoStar-7 satellite at its end of mission to a disposal orbit below the elevation specified in its orbital debris mitigation plan and required by the terms of its license.

Problematyczne staje się użycie SLS do dużych misji naukowych.
Mimo rozważania użycia SLS do wyniesienia sondy Europa Clipper to ostatecznie zostanie zastosowana FH.
Na razie nie odrzuca się opcji użycia tej rakiety do MSR.

185) Big rockets for big science?
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 6, 2023

Scientists working on future large missions are turning to vehicles like SpaceX’s Starship to provide more capability at lower costs. (credit: SpaceX)

For the last few years, a handful of scientists have asked their colleagues to consider designing missions to take advantage of a new generation of very large launch vehicles. Those vehicles offer greater mass and volume at potentially lower per-kilogram prices, opening up opportunities for things like large space telescopes or missions to the outer regions of the solar system.

44/XI 2023 [186-189]

186) My suborbital life, part 9: Anticipation, revealed
by Alan Stern Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Left: Myself and Kellie Gerardi on flight day, just before boarding spaceship Unity. Right: Myself during pre-flight parachute donning a few minutes later. (credits: Virgin Galactic)

This is the ninth and next to last essay I’ll write surrounding my inaugural spaceflight, which took place as a research and training mission that flew last week on Virgin Galactic.

187) Review: A City on Mars
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 13, 2023

A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through?
by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

Penguin Press, 2023
hardcover, 448 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-9848-8172-4

Perhaps the first sign that A City on Mars would not be the typical spaceflight book was its dedication page. Rather than brief comments thanking spouses, parents, or other friends and family, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith thanked the “space settlement community,” but with a disclaimer: “We worry that many of you will be disappointed by some of our conclusions, but where we have diverged from your views, we haven’t diverged from your vision of a glorious human future.”

188) A small step forward for space-based solar power technology
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 13, 2023

An image from Caltech’s SSPD-1 mission, showing arrays for transmitting (right) and receiving wireless power mounted on the Vigoride-5 bus. (credit: Caltech SSPP)

Space-based solar power (SBSP) is one of those concepts endlessly debated without little obvious progress or resolution of those debates. For more than half a century, advocates have described SBSP as a solution to growing energy demands while also serving as a source of green energy in an era of growing alarm about climate change. Critics describe the severe technological challenges and costs that make large-scale SBSP unrealistic to them.

189) Something goes boom in the night: the explosion of a Cold War secret
by Dwayne A. Day and Asif Siddiqi Monday, November 13, 2023

The famous launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome that was the launch site for Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin. It was the site of a fiery on-pad explosion in 1983 that nearly killed two cosmonauts. American satellites spotted the rocket on the pad and later the damage from the explosion. It was photographed over two decades earlier by a U-2 reconnaissance plane. (credit: CIA)

In the fall of 1983 American reconnaissance satellites spotted preparations for a space launch at the sprawling Soviet missile and space launch range known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome, then popularly called “Tyuratam.” The satellites photographed activity at what the CIA labeled “Launch Site A1.”

45/XI 2023 [190-193]

190) My suborbital life, part 10: Looking Up, WAY Up
by Alan Stern Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Burt Rutan and Richard Branson unveiling the initial design for Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spaceship, 2008. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Years ago, whenever I got an email from Burt Rutan, the legendary airplane designer and the mastermind behind the foundational spaceship designs at Virgin Galactic, Burt would always close with, “Looking up, WAY up!” Today, having finally flown to space myself just under two weeks ago in a spaceship that Rutan first conceived, I find myself thinking a lot about “Looking up, WAY up.”

191) Why you should care about life beyond Earth
by Tyler Bender Monday, November 20, 2023

Space settlements could ensure a future for life beyond Earth in the event of natural or human-made catastrophes. (credit: Blue Origin)

Life on Earth has faced five mass extinctions over the past 500 million years. Ensuring the long-term survival of life as we know it will require humanity learning how to migrate the myriad species of Earth off their home planet, because, as its long history shows, this planet can sometimes be a very dangerous place for life to be.

192) Starship flies again
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 20, 2023

SpaceX’s Starship/Super Heavy vehicle lifts off on its second test flight November 18. (credit: SpaceX)

The plume had not yet dispersed from Saturday’s launch of SpaceX’s Starship/Super Heavy vehicle on its second test flight when the debates began about how to grade the outcome. Many hailed the launch as a success, demonstrating advances over the first flight seven months ago.
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193) Olimp and Yenisei-2: Russia’s secretive eavesdropping satellites (part 1)
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, November 20, 2023

A Proton-M rocket stands poised to launch the Luch/Olimp satellite from Baikonur in September 2014. (credit: Roscosmos)

On March 12 this year, a Proton-M rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, punching its way through a dense layer of fog that only thickened the veil of secrecy surrounding the launch. Although Baikonur is now a civilian launch site that is no longer used for military launches, Roscosmos did not stream the launch live and afterwards reported only that a satellite named Luch-5X had been placed into orbit to test “advanced relay and communication technology.”

46/XI 2023 [194-197]

194) Oxygen for Mars
by John K. Strickland Monday, November 27, 2023

Terraformed Mars being greened with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere. (credit: Kevin Gill)

There is a lot of attention in our community on creating a backup location for humanity and, along with pressurized in-space settlements, Mars is one of the best locations for that. But along with the human race and its civilization, we should also include the important requirement that we need a backup for life itself.

195) Searching for the ice hidden on the Moon
by Paul Hayne Monday, November 27, 2023

India’s Chandrayaan-3 lander detected sulfur at its landing site, which could provide clues for the origins of water ice at the lunar poles. (credit: ISRO)

Building a space station on the Moon might seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but each new lunar mission is bringing that idea closer to reality. Scientists are homing in on potential lunar ice reservoirs in permanently shadowed regions, or PSRs. These are key to setting up any sort of sustainable lunar infrastructure.

196) Olimp and Yenisei-2: Russia’s secretive eavesdropping satellites (part 2)
by Bart Hendrickx Monday, November 27, 2023

The FSB’s Military Unit 51952 near Chekhov may be part of the ground infrastructure for Olimp and Yenisei-2. (Google Earth, September 2018)

As outlined in part 1, Russia is operating two satellites in geostationary orbit that have been parked close to various non-Russian commercial communications satellites with the apparent goal of eavesdropping on them. They were launched in September 2014 and March 2023 under the official names Luch and Luch-5X.

197) Europe turns to competition to improve its launch industry’s competitiveness
by Jeff Foust Monday, November 27, 2023

An Ariane 6 test model during a static-fire test November 23. ESA member states agreed earlier in the month to support that rocket while opening the door to future competition. (credit: ESA/M. Pedoussaut)

European officials have acknowledged for months that the continent is in a “launcher crisis” caused by problems with new rockets like the Ariane 6 and Vega C (see “A crisis and an opportunity for European space access”, The Space Review July 10, 2023). But sometimes it seems like any mode of transportation in Europe is fraught with difficulty.
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