Biden to tap Bill Nelson as NASA administrator

If confirmed, Nelson, 78, would replace acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk, who took on the role upon Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20Nelson was the second sitting member of Congress to go into space, traveling on the space shuttle Columbia to orbit the earth for six days in 1986.

Satellite News

Airbus pioneers first satellite factory in space

Airbus has been selected by the European Commission to study spacecraft manufacturing in space through the Horizon 2020 Programme. The PERIOD (PERASPERA In-Orbit Demonstration) project focuses on satellite assembly and manufacturing in orbit. This A/B1 phase study contract, worth 3 million euro, will last two years, with the objective to continue with a demonstrator in orbit. To achieve this goal, Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen, is leading a team of seven European innovators, bringing their own expertise in fields such as robotic operation, virtual reality, and in-space assembly: DFKI, EASN-TIS, GMV, GMV-SKY, ISISPACE, SENER Aeroespacial and Space Applications Services.

NASA awards Rapid IV On-Ramp 1 Contract for Spacecraft Systems, Services

NASA has awarded contracts to Thales Alenia Space France of Cannes, France, and Thales Alenia Space Italia S.p.A. of Rome, Italy, under the On-Ramp feature of the Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition IV (Rapid IV) contract. The work will be performed at the contractors’ facilities in Cannes and Rome. Rapid IV is a multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that allows the federal government to place firm-fixed price delivery orders for spacecraft and related services. 

City under pressure to invest into UK space industry

Last November, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a $22 billion investment into British defence with an aim to create Britain’s own Trump-like ‘Space Force’. The country is planning to send its first rocket into space from British soil next year.America’s aerospace giant Lockheed Martin will develop UK launch operations from Shetland, while Scottish firm Orbex will keep operating at Sutherland 

America’s Virgin Orbit also plans to release a bunch of satellites from Spaceport Cornwall.

Lockheed Martin well-positioned with Aerojet Rocketdyne acquisition

“If Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne is successful, the company will be well-positioned to capitalize on the maturation of key technologies such as hypersonic propulsion.

Exploration News

Keeping up with Thomas

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will serve as commander of the International Space Station towards the end of his second mission, called Alpha, currently slated to begin on 22 April this year.Thomas will be the fourth European to hold the post of commander, after ESA astronauts Frank De Winne, Alexander Gerst and Luca Parmitano. Thomas will be the first ESA astronaut to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon launching on a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, USA.

With SpaceX, ISS enters ‘Golden Age’ But what comes next

Private company Axiom Space wants to build the world’s first commercial space station — first by attaching its modules to the ISS, before eventually detaching and commencing orbit by itself.China plans to start work on its own big space station, Tiangong, this year and hopes to complete it by 2022.

Launcher News

NASA performs full-duration SLS Green Run static-fire test

NASA completed a successful static-fire test of the core stage of the Space Launch System March 18, two months after a similar test was cut short by technical problems.

Inmarsat gets funding to develop satellite-based telemetry relay network for rocket launches

The UK Space Agency will partly fund the development of an in-orbit telemetry relay system called InRange, which will use British satellite operator Inmarsat’s L-band constellation to guide rocket launches.

NewSpace  News

Exotrail signs license with Thales Alenia Space for ExoOPS

Exotrail signed a license contract with Thales Alenia Space for ExoOPS, its simulation and operation software dedicated to space mobility. Thales Alenia Space, becomes a customer of ExoOPS – Mission Design. Thales Alenia Space and Exotrail signed the contract in January. ExoOPS – Mission Design is Exotrail’s simulation and mission design environment commercialized as part of the ExoOPS software suite

As Astroscale prepares to launch debris-removal demo, UK eyes in-orbit servicing leadership

Astroscale expects to start performing its first end-to-end test of key technologies for in-orbit debris removal around the end of May, assuming a successful launch this month of the Tokyo-based startup’s ELSA-d demonstration mission.

Pixxel To Build World’s Highest Resolution Hyperspectral Satellite Array

The new funding enables us to build a health monitor for the planet through the world’s most advanced hyperspectral small-satellites… Pixxel, India’s first private Earth imaging company said.

Sateliot And Open Cosmos Ready To Launch First Smallsat In Preparation Of A Constellation

Open Cosmos experts integrate Sateliot’s nanosatellite into the deployer to be carried aboard the Soyuz rocket. Sateliot, the satellite telecommunications operator, is finalizing with Open Cosmos, the company that operates end-to-end space missions, the launch of its first smallsat

Space Safety News

Decommissioned NOAA weather satellite breaks up

A polar-orbiting weather satellite decommissioned nearly eight years ago has broken up, adding to the growing debris population in a key orbit. The Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron said it was tracking 16 pieces of debris associated with the satellite, and that there was no evidence the breakup was caused by a collision nor detailed the cause of the break-up. However, NOAA-17 is similar to other polar-orbiting satellites that suffered breakups. DMSP F-13 and DMSP F-12.The failure of DMSP F-13 was blamed on a design flaw in the satellite’s battery that is also found on other DMSP satellites. Those satellites, along with NOAA-15 and NOAA-17, were built by Lockheed Martin.

Space Force to push conversation on spaceflight safety, orbital debris

As more satellites are launched into space, there is a growing conversation about the need to keep the cosmos safe and establish rules of the road for orbital activities.

ISS crew once again uses tea leaves to locate air leak in Russian module Zvezda

The tea leaves were suspended in microgravity and examined closely by the crew. Due to the leak, which is equivalent to a hole with a diameter of 0.2 mm, the air pressure at the station drops by 0.4 mm of mercury per day, but this is far from the emergency values ??of 0.5 mm per minute. To compensate for the leak, the ISS must be regularly filled with air, nitrogen and oxygen.

NASA, SpaceX Sign Joint Spaceflight Safety Agreement

SpaceX has agreed its Starlink satellites will autonomously or manually maneuver to ensure the missions of NASA science satellites and other assets can operate uninterrupted from a collision avoidance perspective. NASA is supporting growth in the U.S. commercial space sector through the release of the “Spacecraft Conjunction Assessment and Collision Avoidance Best Practices Handbook,

Science & Technology News

Large asteroid to (safely) zip past Earth

The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year will swing closest on Sunday, giving astronomers a rare chance for a good look at a space rock that formed at the dawn of our solar system. Due to the leak, which is equivalent to a hole with a diameter of 0.2 mm, the air pressure at the station drops by 0.4 mm of mercury per day, but this is far from the emergency values ??of 0.5 mm per minute. To compensate for the leak, the ISS must be regularly filled with air, nitrogen and oxygen.

Russia to test world’s 1st ultra-light optics for nanosatellites in space

Russia’s Samara University has said that its pioneer ultra-light optics for nanosatellites will be sent to space for testing. “Ultralight optical systems for remote sensing of Earth.

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