Doug Lamborn explains that the US must strategize on the training of workers for the expanding space industry


Doug Lamborn thinks it would be best if the US Space Force and the space industry start training people for the different exploits in science and technology. This strategy will prepare people to work in this expanding industry. 

Numerous organizations ranging from the US military, the nongovernmental institutions, and academic experts are advocating for the uptake of people into the science-oriented programs. Lamborn advised the education experts to streamline their academic programs with what the space industry demands. 

Lamborn is serving his seventh term as a leader in the US. His hometown hosts the US Air Force Academy, Space Command, and other army units. Lamborn hopes that the homegrown talents can take up the jobs in the space industry by receiving the appropriate training from these institutions. 

Last week, Lamborn organized a joint meeting with various space industry stakeholders to discuss the integration of the training and academics with the job opportunities for the graduates coming from these institutions. 

The discussion narrowed around how they can integrate various departments to establish a dedicated workforce for space operations. Lamborn explained that each stakeholder is performing their duty to prepare the graduates for space jobs in various fields like engineering, scientific exploits, and control technicalities. 

Lamborn anticipates Colorado to become a hub of space workforce preparation since it hosts aerospace facilities and military details. Additionally, the discussion emphasized that space companies must create internship opportunities to train graduates for practical field operations, research, and technology development. 

Lamborn advocates for the Defense Department to authenticate security details for the military space programs to allow students to enroll for training as early as possible. The military should be aligning itself to start bringing in new energetic staff to resume operations on space projects. 

Lamborn has been an instrumental figure in Space Force operations and advocates for the Biden administration to increase its support for these operations. Lamborn hopes that the Biden administration will give the space industry more attention, if not the same as what the Trump administration did to ensure that the US retains its position as the space leader. 

To sum up, Lamborn is keen to ensure that Space Command leadership remains in Colorado to prepare the youth for this sector’s jobs. He added that he would abide by what the House and Congress come up with to accelerate the space industry’s expansion.


Virgin Orbit Acquires Shares in Sky and Space Global

The bailout for Sky and Space Global (SAS), a satellite constellation facing financial difficulties, came in the form of Virgin Orbit with the company planning to invest in SAS and partner in launch and satellite services. In a statement given on 28 October, SAS disclosed that Virgin Orbit would acquire not less than a 14.7 percent stake by purchasing each share at $0.20 Australian ($0.14). Virgin Orbit is also expected to have the option to buy a further seven million shares at $0.40 each in the coming three years and also have an observer in the SAS board of directors.

Although the magnitude made on the company by Virgin Orbit was not disclosed, a different filing in the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) stock market indicated that SAS intended to auction 11 million shares at $0.20 or $2.2 million Australian. To pave the way for the investment, the two parties will be required to terminate an earlier launch agreement valued at $55 million Australian. The two companies will then sign a three-year deal that will see SAS receive $ 1 million each year from Virgin Orbit. The companies are also expected to agree to and promote each other’s services. 

SAS chairman Xavier Kris echoed his delight to have partnered with Virgin Orbit both as a partner and a stockholder in this crucial time. The company is working on the recapitalization of its operations short-term commercialization of its nanosatellite communication technology. Kris joined the company July this year as part of a company shuffling after SAS entered voluntary administration, a form of bankruptcy fortification after failing to raise funds.  SAS had projected to launch a constellation of 200 CubeSats to offer communication services but were unable to raise the required funds after the initial launch of three satellites back in 2017. SAS, which had entered a contract with Danish smallsat builder GomSpace to construct its constellation, failed to make payments prompting the latter to cancel the contract. 

According to Stephen Eisele, the vice president of business development at Virgin Orbit, the new management at SAS had offered to allocate equity and options to Virgin Orbit as part of a new agreement that favors their current recapitalization efforts. Though Virgin Orbit confirmed its plan to invest in SAS, the company stated that the deal was yet to be completed.  According to Eisele, this intervention is meant to help SAS launch its satellites together with Virgin Orbit. He said that his company was thrilled with SAS’ mission and team and was eager to help them launch their satellites aboard the LauncherOne.


International Space Station value by astronaut Chiao Leroy

One of the most experienced though retired NASA astronauts addressed the world on the importance of the International Space Station. He shared his vast experiences in two talks that took place through an online channel. 

Leroy has flown into space four times, so he has a lot to share. The first talk was a panel discussion that was held on Friday, October 30, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. He talked of how he has served the International Space Station for 20 years. Among the panelists were astronaut Nicole Scott, Susan Helms, and Jack Fisher. The moderator of the panel was Pearlman Robert. The other was an individual talk that was held on Monday, November 2, at 7 p.m. EST.  

Leroy said that it is necessary to provide continued support on the International Space Station since it is a testing ground for life support systems and research, especially biomedical. He said that long period missions are faced with many challenges, one being the health of astronauts. Leroy said this is due to a lack of exercise, leading to weakened muscles, bones, and poor blood flow. When a long-time flyer is in this condition, he/she takes an extended period to come back to normal. 

Many devices have been tested by the International Space Station to help space flyers in better health. One of these devices includes the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) that helps astronauts carry weight-lifting in microgravity. 

For Leroy flying in space has helped him also gain cultural experience apart from the technical one. To participate in his first long time mission, Leroy was trained for three and a half years. He learned the Russian language to a high level of expertise. The space flyer has also taken part in spacewalks in both the Russian Orlan suit and the NASA Extravehicular Mobility Unit suit. Leroy said there are benefits and demerits of taking part in both spacesuits though he enjoyed the experience. 

Leroy said that he had an enjoyable experience when he voted from the space in the 2004 presidential election. The ISS American crew members also shared the same in the 2020 presidential election that ended on November 3. He said that the voting process was straightforward, as he only received an email from the voting registrar with an encrypted Word file. He opened it using a password, and it was the ballot paper. Leroy sent it back, and his vote got transcribed. 


SpaceX supports 100 Mbps transfer speeds and space lasers with the new Starlink update


SpaceX said previous tests in its fast-developing group of internet provision satellites are providing promising results. The tests are done internally on the beta type of services of the internet from the Starlink project from the company that shows the super low latency with a more incredible downloading speed, which is higher than 100 megabits in second. The information above came from Kate Tice, a senior certification engineer at SpaceX, during the live broadcast at Starlink’s launch last Thursday. 

Tice added that Starlink’s latency is low to watch online games, video, and fast downloading speed with the ability to stream several HD movies simultaneously and have the capacity to bandwidth to standby. Starlink’s initiative has hopes to more than ten thousand satellites with broadband in the orbit of the Earth, covering the Earth in fast internet speed that is affordable. The CEO of SpaceX, Musk Elon, stated that he has faith that Starlink will reach the remote and rural areas. Currently, more than 700 broadband satellites for the company are in the orbit of the Earth. 

Tice continued to state that SpaceX has finished the test for two orbiting satellites, containing inter-satellite links that were informal as space laser. The space laser technology makes Starlink satellite move the orbit’s orbit to the device other than beaming to the ground then to the phone.  With the space laser’s availability, the Starlink satellites can transfer many gigabytes of data. When the space laser functions totally, Starlink is among the fastest satellites available to move data worldwide, Tice stated.  

She said that Starlink is about to complete the first part of the separate beta planning and testing, and it will bring to the public trial schedules other times this year.  The SpaceX company is contacting people who have applied to be part of program beta. On Thursday, the launch was a record-breaking activity: 180 satellites launched within a single month, the fast launch of a satellite in the world’s history. The 180 satellites followed more than 300 satellites for SpaceX company to increase the Starlink activeness.  In May the year 2019, Musk said to have an economically viable system, it needs more than one thousand satellites in orbit. 

From there, SpaceX has plans to keep soaring towards floating internet backbone which can be able to offer high-speed web access to a large part of the planet. The company has asked for permission to put a combined total of 42,000 satellites into the orbit to create a ‘megaconstellation’ around the Earth. 


Russia could be preparing to resume Nuclear-powered Cruise Missile Testing


Satellite images are indicating that Russia is in preparation for resuming the nuclear-powered cruise missile test flights. That’s as far as experts who have analyzed the new satellite images. The testing area is the Pankovo launch site around the Arctic Circle that it dismantled before.

In September, Planet Labs captured the images. They showed a lot of activities happening on the site. The concern is that it was once the test site for the nuclear-powered cruise missile by the name Burevestnik. The findings are from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies researchers Michael Duitsman and Jeffrey Lewis.

According to the pair, the missile testing pause that Russia took in 2018 seems to have ended. They base the argument on the various activities, including new construction, including the launch pad’s rebuilding. Equally important, there has been a probable missile checkout building and many shipping containers in a pair of support areas.

According to the duo, Russia carried out a similar test flight from the same launch site in November 2017. After that, it carried out an array of similar tests for months. However, it did not register any successful test.

Claims about new construction are based on a video that Russian President Vladimir Putin released in March 2018. It was about a nuclear-powered cruise missile test, and comparing it with the new satellite images; there is a noticeable change.

Two U.S. officials commented on that, saying they are aware that in efforts to improve its advanced weapons program, Russia is preparing to resume nuclear-powered Cruise Missile Testing. Steps on the same include the Oniks cruise missile launch from Arctic’s military base and the White Sea’s test of a hypersonic cruise missile. Russian Ministry of Defense is yet to comment on the new findings.

At the moment, both Moscow and Washington are considering the extension of a key arms control agreement. The START treaty will expire in less than a year. The stagnation of the talk was evident from Marshall Billingslea’s, the top U.S. negotiator, tweet. However, hope was restored when Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the country is willing to pause its nuclear arsenals if that’s the only requirement that U.S. will table for the New START extension. The U.S. is also coming forward through the State Department spokesperson to say that the country is ready to meet and finalize the same as soon as possible under the new Russia’s condition.

According to reliable sources, Trump is eager to close a nuclear deal with Russia not later than the November election. His wish was to involve China, but that seems impossible as China keeps rejecting such talks.

Lewis says that the extension of the New START treaty is crucial to some extent. As much as it might not stop the nuclear-powered cruise missile testing since it is not part of the agreement, its absence would see the two countries begin an arms race.


SLS Core Stage Hot-fire Test scheduled for November

According to NASA, a hot-fire test of the Space Launch System’s core stage has been set for mid-November. If developments stay on course, NASA says, the agency will have its inaugural launch late next year. In a conference held on October 13th, NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Boeing revealed that they are making good progress on testing the core stage, currently being done at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. To complete the tests, there will be a full-during firing of the core’s four engines. 

John Shannon, SLS program manager, and Boeing vice president, said in the interview that they haven’t had any hitches so far and are ready to proceed to the next two steps. On October 5th, technicians had performed a practice countdown, the sixth out of eight scheduled tests. 

One of the remaining tests is a wet dress rehearsal, which involves filling liquid oxygen and hydrogen propellants to examine the fuel system and related systems. The other is the actual hot-fire test. According to Shannon, the wet dress rehearsal will be held on October 3rd, while the hot-fire test will be held on November 14th if no problems arise during the wet dress rehearsal.      

After this test is completed, technicians will renovate the central stage, remove it from the test stand, and deliver it to the Kennedy space center. The aim is to ship the core stage to the space center by January 14th, in time to commence preparations for the Artemis 1 launch planned for November 2021. The core stage is among the final components required to be ready on the Artemis mission, as the rest of the parts of the SLS, the Orion Spacecraft included, already at the KSC.  This is according to NASA SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt.  This implies that any hitches in completing the tests will impact the planned timeline of events of the Artemis 1 launch. 

Therefore, John says that it has been imperative for the team to keep within the schedule, adding a margin of 20-25 days for the shipping of the core stage from the proposed date, January 14th. So far, the two challenges that have threatened the schedule are the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused work for two months, and the active hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricanes have stopped work five times before, and the current program assumes that another storm would not shut down work, Shannon said. 


Contact between OSIRIS-REx and asteroid Bennu happened as expected

On October 20, OSIRIS-REx touched down on Bennu. However, the project scientists will only know the sample amount that the spacecraft collected from the asteroid after several days. The mission went as planned in all ways. For instance, it touched down on the intended location, which is the Nightingale. The sampling arm also extended as expected and touched the asteroid’s crater. Equally important, OSIRIS-REx retracted a soon as the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) contacted Bennu for several seconds. It was a touch-and-go (TAG) mission, no doubt. The exact time the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touched down on the Bennu asteroid was 6:12 p.m. Eastern.

Dante Lauretta, who works at the University of Arizona as OSIRIS-REx’s principal investigator, confirmed the mission’s success. His words while speaking on NASA TV were that the operation was perfect and flawless.

The capacity of the TAGSAM is 2 kilograms. However, all the scientists wanted to collect was 60 grams. Nevertheless, whether they achieved that or not remains a mystery. After all, according to the mission, the spacecraft would return neither data nor images then. Not until there was a safe distance between it and the asteroid.

After the touch-down, TAGSAM, which resembled a car air filter hard to go unnoticed, fired a nitrogen gas’ burst. The impact kicked up small surface material. At the same time, the gadget trapped the materials.

Lauretta can’t wait to see the impact of the touch-down on the surface. He said that it would be possible to witness all that from a series of images. They will show how the spacecraft ascended towards the asteroid and experiences of both the contact and the nitrogen gas burst.

Speaking from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Mike Moreau, in charge of OSIRIS-REx as the deputy project manager, discussed some probabilities. He predicted a considerable sample collection if the TAG’s disturbance on the satellite’s surface was massive. That would also be if the surface were sandy since a nitrogen gas burst did the collection. It would disturb a sandy surface significantly.

By measuring the moment of inertia before and after sampling, the team will have a rough idea of the collected sample amount. The measurement will occur once experts have slowly span OSIRIS-REx. Fortunately, the spacecraft can carry out another sampling if the collection turns out to be unsuccessful, or the sample size isn’t at least 60 grams.

However, the mission didn’t lack surprises either. Earlier images showed that Bennu was sandy, but OSIRIS-REx found a relatively rocky surface. The spacecraft will leave Bennu environs in March 2021. However, the samples won’t reach Earth until September 2023, when a canister carrying the spaceship will land in the Utah desert. Then, scientists will study the samples.



 SpaceX’s Global Positioning System (GPS) Agreement Altered to Permit Remodel of Falcon 9 Boosters

According to an announcement by the United States on the 25th of September declared that a SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft for the first time the following year will begin a military GPS space station with a formerly flown primary booster. Furthermore, SMC stated that the firm reached a covenant at the beginning of the month with space plus Missile System Centre; therefore, SpaceX can start dual Global Positioning System space station the following year utilizing past flown boosters. Additionally, SMC mentioned that this would secure the government with more than 52 million dollars’ worth launching.

Nevertheless, SpaceX consistently makes progress and reuses rocket devices during commercial launches. However, the United States of America army has currently begun to permit SpaceX to retrieve boosters in Global Positioning System assignments. On the 30th of June, the organization started the 3rd vehicle of the GPS3 collection with a new Falcon 9 booster and retrieved it. The quarter GPS3 vehicle set to begin on the 29th of September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Place in Florida will hover on a first-hand Falcon9 that SpaceX will try to retrieve. However, for the fifth and the sixth GPS vehicles the following year, SpaceX will utilize the past flown boosters.

Also, Lt. Gen. John Thompson, the senior officer of the Space and Missile Systems Centre, stated that he was excited to invite SpaceX’s creative reuse into the Country Security Space launch plan. Furthermore, on the 25th of September, the Division President of SMC Falcon Systems and Operations Sir Walt Lauderdale sated in a call that the agreement changes for the future GPS3 task will save the nation 52.7 million USD dollars. Conversely, the Co-founder and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, mentioned that they are thankful for the United States space force’s hard work towards evaluating. Also, he was happy that they had experienced the advantages of technology.

SpaceX’s present agreement to start GPS3 space stations is put to an end when vehicle 6. Lockheed Martin is manufacturing four different space stations; nonetheless, the launches are yet to be endowed. Ideally, Lauderdale stated that those assignments would receive an award during the second phase of the National Security Space Launch Program. Likewise, the United Launch Alliance plus SpaceX will contest each other for all the second phase assignments. Nevertheless, SMC has arranged to launch flying payloads on past flown Falcon 9s in the second phase but then decided to catch a timely start with the present GPS covenant.


Russia and NASA may not be paying Russia for a seat to ISS after the Soyuz Launch

On October 14, there was a launch of a Soyuz spacecraft from the International Space Station. As much as it may not be the last time NASA is flying its astronauts, there are high chances that it will not pay Russia to do that in the same.

The Soyuz-2.1a ricked lifted off the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. After its launch at 1:45 a.m. Eastern, the spacecraft was already into the orbit less than 10 minutes later. By 4:48 a.m. Eastern, it had already docked with the Rassvet module at the station. It achieved that by making a two-orbit approach, which was ultra-fast.

Its occupants included Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut, and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, Roscosmos cosmonauts. They will stay for six months. The ISS crew now has six members since there were already three before the recent trio’s arrival. Previous occupants are Chris Cassidy from NASA and Roscosmos’ Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin. They will be onboard on Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft when returning to Earth on October 21.

Rubins’ seat cost NASA $90.25 million and the agency at the same time announced that it was the last Soyuz seat that it was buying from Roscosmos. That entirely contradicts the NASA officials’ statement that they would be purchasing a seat and even an extra one for an upcoming launch next year around spring.

According to NASA, it will be the commercial crew’s responsibility to take astronauts to and from ISS. The first crewed mission, Space-X Crew-1 mission, is scheduled to take off in November either early or mid. Onboard will be an astronaut from the Japanese space agency JAXA and three from NASA. The other one, Crew-2 mission, will launch in 2021’s spring. Occupants will comprise astronauts from the European Space Agency, JAXA, and NASA.

Boeing has experienced delays in the developments of its CTS-100 Starliner. Therefore, come June, or after that, it will fly a crewed test flight. Three NASA astronauts will be onboard. There will be a second test in December 2021 or January 2022. After that, it will start its routine astronaut transport missions.

As much as NASA is not willing to pay for a seat, it doesn’t necessarily mark the end of its astronauts using Soyuz spacecraft in the future. Instead, it is advocating for mixed crews. Therefore, NASA is looking forward to a time when Russia cosmonauts would use commercial crew missions too. Russia is yet to agree, stating that it cannot commit to that before NASA registers a successful U.S. commercial crew flight. NASA is advocating for a mixed crew to help both America and Russia to have teams in the International Space Station at all times.