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Astra, Rocket Lab win launch contracts

Friday, 26 February 2021 16:10
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WASHINGTON — Astra has won a NASA contract to launch a small constellation of Earth science cubesats, while General Atomics selected Rocket Lab for the launch of a small satellite with a NOAA hosted payload.

NASA announced Feb.

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WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin is redesigning the bus used for Global Positioning System satellites so they can be upgraded with new hardware on orbit, a company executive said Feb. 25.

Eric Brown, senior director of military space mission strategy at Lockheed Martin, said this is significant because the thinking today is that “once something was on orbit you were done with it.

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A render of a satellite in low Earth orbit for the Geely satellite constellation for autonomous self-driving.

HELSINKI — Chinese private automaker Geely has got the green light to begin manufacturing satellites for navigation, connectivity and communications needed for self-driving cars.

Week in images: 22 - 26 February 2021

Thursday, 25 February 2021 14:24
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ExoMars orbiter images Perseverance landing site

Week in images: 22 - 26 February 2021

Discover our week through the lens

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Washington DC (UPI) Feb 25, 2021
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space company, Blue Origin, has delayed the first launch of its big New Glenn rocket until late 2022 because, the company said, it failed to win large government contracts recently. The company had planned to launch by this year, but lost billions of dollars in U.S. Space Force business to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance in an August decision by the governme
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Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 26, 2021
The giant canopy that helped land Perseverance on Mars was tested here on Earth at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Test. Test again. Test again. Testing spacecraft components prior to flight is vital for a successful mission. Rarely do you get a do-over with a spacecraft after it launches, especially those bound for another planet. You need to do everything possible

Imaging space debris in high resolution

Thursday, 25 February 2021 14:04
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Philadelphia PA (SPX) Feb 26, 2021
Litter is not only a problem on Earth. According to NASA, there are currently millions of pieces of space junk in the range of altitudes from 200 to 2,000 kilometers above the Earth's surface, which is known as low Earth orbit (LEO). Most of the junk is comprised of objects created by humans, like pieces of old spacecraft or defunct satellites. This space debris can reach speeds of up to 18,000

Keeping an eye on the fusion future

Thursday, 25 February 2021 14:04
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Boston MA (SPX) Feb 24, 2021
"That was your warmup. Now we're really in the thick of it." Daniel Korsun '20 is reflecting on his four years of undergraduate preparation and research at MIT as he enters "the thick" of graduate study at the Institute's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). The nuclear science and engineering student's "warmup" included enough fusion research on the SPARC tokamak to establish him as part of
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Washington DC (SPX) Feb 24, 2021
Over the past two years, DARPA's Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative (EEI) pilot program helped 30 pre-seed research teams raise over $100 million in U.S. investment, spin out a dozen new companies, establish numerous joint development agreements with corporate partners, and commission multiple manufacturing facilities. Today, DARPA is launching an expansion of EEI with the goal of accele
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Jiuquan, China (XNA) Feb 24, 2021
The third group of China's Yaogan 31 remote sensing satellites were sent into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China at 10:22 am (Beijing Time) Wednesday. The satellites were carried by a Long March 4C rocket. It was the 361st flight mission of the Long March carrier rocket series, the launch center said. Having entered their planned orbits, the satellites

SHiELD set to receive critical assembly

Thursday, 25 February 2021 14:04
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Kirtland AFB NM (AFRL) Feb 24, 2021
The Air Force Research Laboratory Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) Program is scheduled to receive the first major assembly of its three main subsystems later this month, with the remaining two subsystems set to be delivered later this year. The SHiELD program is developing a directed energy laser system that will reside in an air
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Boston MA (SPX) Feb 25, 2021
Electricity generated by fusion power plants could play an important role in decarbonizing the U.S. energy sector by mid-century, says a new consensus study report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which also lays out for the first time a set of technical, economic, and regulatory standards and a timeline for a U.S. fusion pilot plant that would begin producing
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Tokyo (AFP) Feb 26, 2021
Nami Hamaura says she feels less lonely working from home thanks to her singing companion Charlie, one of a new generation of cute and clever Japanese robots whose sales are booming in the pandemic. Smart home assistants such as Amazon's Alexa have found success worldwide, but tech firms in Japan are reporting huge demand for more humanlike alternatives, as people seek solace during coronavi
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SAN FRANCISCO – After 14 years at satellite communications fleet operator SES, Nicole Robinson is taking on a new role: president of Ursa Space Systems, a geospatial analytics firm based in Ithaca, New York.

Robinson was SES senior vice president of global government when she began talking in 2020 with Adam Maher, Ursa Space CEO and co-founder.

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Artemis: how ever changing U.S. space policy may push back the next moon landing
Illustration of the lunar gateway. Credit: NASA

Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan blasted off from the Taurus-Littrow valley on the moon in their lunar module Challenger on December 14 1972. Five days later, they splashed down safely in the Pacific, closing the Apollo 17 mission and becoming the last humans to visit the lunar surface or venture anywhere beyond low-Earth orbit.

Now the international Artemis program, lead by Nasa, is aiming to put humans back on the moon by 2024. But it is looking increasingly likely that this goal could be missed.

History shows just how vulnerable programs, which require years of planning and development spanning several administrations, are. After Apollo 17, Nasa had plans for several further lunar Apollo missions, even including a possible flyby of Venus. But budget cuts in the early 1970s and a reprioritising of human spaceflight to focus on the Skylab project precluded any further lunar missions at that time.

It was not until July 20 1989, the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, that President George H.W.

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