The Jack Benny Show – November 4, 1951

An evening pause: This was the first episode in Benny’s second season on television, following nineteen years doing a regular radio show. The first singer is Bob Crosby, brother of Bing. The taxi driver is Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny and almost all of the characters in Warner Brothers best cartoons.

Almost everything in this episode works, but make sure especially you stay with it to see the Benny’s performance as lead fiddler of a hillbilly band.

Above ground and underground Martian drainages

Overview map

Cool image time! Today we are going to zoom into our cool image. The overview map to the right provides us the context. Our target is the small white rectangle inside the small box just below the north rim of 185-mile-wide Newton Crater, located 200 to 800 miles from the southwest edge of the lava plains dubbed Daedalia Planum that flowed down from Mars’s biggest volcanoes.

Newton Crater has a number of interesting features. Only two weeks ago I featured 4-mile-wide Avire Crater in Newton’s western quadrant, long known to have many gullies on its interior slopes as well as glacier features on its floor. Scientists have been monitoring those gullies now for more than a decade to see if they change seasonally, in a attempt to figure out their cause.

Today’s cool image looks at the very intriguing meandering canyons that appear to flow south from Newton’s north rim.
» Read more

Range gives NASA waiver to launch SLS on September 27th, despite a questionable flight termination system

In a briefing today, NASA officials confirmed that they are proceeding with their September 27, 2022 first launch of the SLS rocket, having obtained a waiver from the Space Force’s range office on testing the batteries for the flight termination system that would destroy the rocket should it begin flying out of control.

During a Sept. 23 teleconference, NASA announced an extension for the flight termination system battery certification, which expired after 25 days on Sept. 6. Now the Space Force’s Eastern Range has granted a waiver to allow the rocket to launch as late as Oct. 2 before needing to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly building to recertify the batteries.

The flight termination system is only used in the event the rocket veers off course during a launch anomaly.

Note that the 25 day use-by limit was actually an extension itself, as these batteries had been previously required testing every 20 days. Now the range is willing to let them go for as long about 50 days without testing, a two and half times increase.

If the rules before — based on engineering — said the batteries were not reliable after 20 days, why are those batteries now considered reliable up to 50 days? What facts or data does NASA or the Space Force have to allow this waiver? And if they have no data, it seems almost criminal to allow the go-ahead of this launch of a giant untested rocket on its first lift-off. Should something go seriously wrong — which is not that unlikely — and the flight termination system fails to work, we could see a very big rocket careening out-of-control into populated areas.

We all hope SLS launches with no problem on September 27th. We now have a really serious reason for that desire.

Regardless, the launch is now scheduled for a 70-minute launch window that opens at 11:37 am (Eastern) on September 27th, with a back-up launch window on October 2nd of 102 minutes beginning at 2:52 pm (Eastern).

Meanwhile, a developing tropical storm could put a kabosh on all these plans, forcing NASA to roll SLS back to the assembly building anyway. NASA managers plan to meet again before launch to make a decision.

Pushback: Professor fired for making joke wins $165K settlement from university

Speech that is forbidden at the University of North Texas
Speech that is forbidden at the University of North Texas

Nathaniel Hiers, fired by his boss as a math professor at the University of North Texas for daring to express a political opinion, has won a $165K settlement from the university.

This story is a follow-up on a previous column from March, when a judge had ruled that Hiers’ lawsuit could go forward. The judge also dismissed the university’s claim of qualified immunity for its officials, thus leaving them personally liable under any settlement.

The background: Hiers’ was fired when, having found flyers in math department’s lounge warning faculty against triggering “microaggessions” in their conversations, responded as shown in the picture to the right, placing one flyer on the chalk rack of the blackboard and wrote his own opinion of it above.

It appears that though the settlement was a victory for Hiers, paying him for damages and his attorneys’ fees, it does not get him his job back. Nor does it appear the officials who fired him wrongly will pay any of the settlement. Instead, the University of North Texas is picking up the tab.

Thus, this victory is not the triumph Hiers’ legal team, the Alliance Defending Freedom, claims it is. » Read more

A hot wave in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere has been discovered, flowing away from the pole

Jupiter heat wave

Using data obtained by ground-based telescopes, scientists have discovered a hot wave, with temperatures in the range of 700 degrees Celsius (about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit), rolling outward from Jupiter’s hot polar atmospheric regions, believed caused by the gas giant’s intense aurora.

Jupiter’s atmosphere, famous for its characteristic multicoloured vortices, is also unexpectedly hot: in fact, it is hundreds of degrees hotter than models predict. Due to its orbital distance millions of kilometres from the Sun, the giant planet receives under 4% of the amount of sunlight compared to Earth, and its upper atmosphere should theoretically be a frigid -70 degrees Celsius. Instead, its cloud tops are measured everywhere at over 400 degrees Celsius.

…Just like the Earth, Jupiter experiences auroras around its poles as an effect of the solar wind. However, while Earth’s auroras are transient and only occur when solar activity is intense, auroras at Jupiter are permanent and have a variable intensity. The powerful auroras can heat the region around the poles to over 700 degrees Celsius, and global winds can redistribute the heat globally around Jupiter.

The graphic above, adapted from the research presentation [pdf], shows that wave propagating away from the pole. The wave’s width is about the size of the Earth, with different sections moving from about 1,000 feet per second to 8,000 feet per second.

Watching DART impact asteroid on September 26, 2022

A NASA planetary probe, dubbed DART, is on course for a planned impact of the asteroid Dimorphos this coming Monday, September 26, 2022, at 4:14 PM (Pacific).

DART was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA on November 23, 2021 PST (November 24 EST) headed to the asteroid Didymos and its tiny moon Dimorphos 7 million miles away. The plan is for DART to ram itself into Dimorphos while scientists on Earth measure whether its orbit around Didymos changes.

Dimorphos is about 525 feet in diameter, while Didymos is much larger, about a half mile in width. The goal is to see if this method can be used in the future to adjust an asteroid’s orbit enough to shift it away from hitting the Earth.

The impact will be observed by a camera on DART, as well as an Italian cubesat dubbed LICIACube.

NASA TV will be live streaming the event, and I will embed that live stream here when it goes live. Once DART gets close, its camera will record the asteroid’s approach through impact.

Voyager Space signs cooperative deal with Azerbaijan

Capitalism in space: Voyager Space, the subsidiary of Nanoracks that is building its Starlab private space station, has signed a cooperative agreement with Azercosmos, Azerbaijan’s space agency.

The press release is very vague about what the deal entails.

This strategic multi-year collaboration paves the way for Azercosmos and Voyager Space to proactively develop mutually beneficial space infrastructure, technology, and manufacturing initiatives, research programs, and further opportunities for innovation. With the potential to exchange experience and knowledge, the organizations will focus on commercial and educational opportunities in-country to foster a thriving local space ecosystem.

I suspect it will eventually lead to Azerbaijan sending research payloads to Starlab, once it is in orbit and operational.

The number of recent deals made by American private space companies, either to fly foreign astronauts in space, provide payload space on planetary missions, or provide space station capabilities for foreign science research, is beginning to be difficult to count. With at least four different American private space stations under construction, with at least one more proposed, the rush to sign up customers by these companies is accelerating.

Expect the business to be very brisk once these get launched. It appears that practically every government on Earth wants to claim it has a space program, and buying space and seats from these American commercial companies is going to be the quickest and cheapest way to do it.

Astrobotic gets ESA’s first commercially purchased lunar lander payload

Capitalism in space: Astrobotic yesterday announced that the European Space Agency (ESA) has purchased payload space on the company’s Griffin lunar lander for a commercially produced camera.

This is the first commercial payload ESA has purchased for a lunar mission. The camera will fly as a secondary payload on Griffin’s first mission, which will deliver NASA’s VIPER rover to the Moon’s south pole in 2024. The camera is being built by a French startup called Lunar Logistics Services.

Confirmed: Saudi Arabia buys two seats on next Axiom commercial flight to ISS

Capitalism in space: Saudi Arabia’s official press yesterday confirmed an earlier Reuters story that it has purchased two seats on an Axiom commercial flight to ISS, using a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The twist is that the Saudi government says one of those astronauts will be a woman, and the mission should fly in 2023. It will include Axiom’s pilot, two Saudi passengers, and a fourth passenger, all as-yet unnamed.

The mission is part of what the Saudi government calls a new astronaut training program.

September 22, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay, who trolls Tweeter so I don’t have to.

  • Want a NASA rocket engine once intended for SLS? GSA has seven for sale!

The engine is the J-2X, a supposed upgrade of the Saturn-5’s J-2 upper stage engines. GSA is selling the components for seven, the auctions to be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Its proposed rocket family will look very familiar to those familiar with SpaceX.

FAST is essentially a larger version of the now-shuttered Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. It is hard to say if it is being used to its full potential at this time, as China right now doesn’t have that many qualified radio astronomers. This is why for a long while it tried to get foreigners to run it, unsuccessfully. With time, however, this will change.

It also appears they plan to fly it past both Venus and some asteroids on its way to the outer solar system.

It is is Chinese, so it would be nice if one of my readers who can read Chinese provides some explanation.

How private enterprise is solving the vulnerability of satellites to military attack

Link here. The essay provides a nice overview of the U.S. military’s present conundrum on protecting all American satellites in orbit, not just military ones, and what it is beginning to do to solve it, now that the Space Force exists.

The approach is following three paths, with only the last two having any hope of success. First, the Biden administration is trying diplomacy to convince space-faring nations to ban future anti-satellite tests. This approach has really little chance of success.

The other two avenues involve innovations from private enterprise, launching many small satellites as part of a large constellation and in-orbit servicing, repair, and refueling. The first creates redundancy, making it difficult for any enemy power to easily destroy U.S. assets. The second provides capabilities for both fixing important satellites as well as attacking our enemy’s without causing space junk. Both will become common in the coming years, and thus will become very viable tools for military use.

Today’s blacklisted American: Google, Paypal, Venmo team up to blacklist a gay organization

Google loves blacklisting, along with its teammates Paypal,Venmo, and Twitter
Google loves blacklisting, along with its teammates
Paypal,Venmo, and Twitter

Blacklists are back and big tech likes ’em: Apparently because the homosexual advocacy group Gays Against Groomers opposes the exposure of queer ideology to little children, this week the big social media companies Google, Paypal, and Venmo did a coordinated crack down on the group, shuttering its accounts all within one day’s time.

Google, Paypal and Venmo shut down accounts affiliated with Gays Against Groomers, a Twitter account that is critical of gender ideology, particularly in regard to children. Venmo shut down the account early Tuesday morning, and Paypal blocked the account from its services minutes later, according to an email shared by the account’s founder Jamie Michell; Google shut down her account, including her email address, the following morning, according to a screenshot and an email.

Google reinstated the account the next day, but provided no credible explanation for its actions, at all.

In July this same organization had also been suspended by Twitter. The account was only reinstated when the group agreed to replace the letter “o” in “Groomers” with graphic eyeballs. It appears Twitter did not like the use of the word “groomers”, since it described precisely what queer advocates are doing when they espouse their perverse sexual behavior to young children.

The organization had been using its Twitter account to publicize examples where queer advocates performed sexually in front of kids. As it notes on its webpage:
» Read more

Musk: Starship orbital attempt by November, at the latest

According to a tweet yesterday by Elon Musk, SpaceX engineers will likely have the first orbital prototypes of Starship and Superheavy ready for the orbital attempt either late in October, or by November. His full tweet:

Late next month maybe, but November seems highly likely. We will have two boosters & ships ready for orbital flight by then, with full stack production at roughly one every two months. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words are the most significant. SpaceX is not building one rocket for test, like NASA has done with SLS. It is building an assembly line of test rockets, so that it can do a fast series of test launches plus upgrades, leading to quick and reliable operations. Should any one rocket launch fail, the company will speedily move on to the next, with little or no delay.

Should SLS fail in its first test launch sometime in the next month, NASA has no back-up. The entire program will be shattered, with no easy way to recover.

Roscosmos head: Russia likely to remain ISS partner through 2028

According to a statement made by Yuri Borisov, the head of Roscosmos, during a press conference today, Russia now will definitely remain an ISS partner through 2024, and likely through 2028, assuming the station remains safe and operable.

These statements fit well with the “kinder, gentler” approach that Borisov seems to be taking in his relations with Russia’s international partners in space, compared to the bellicose and often hostile attitude of Roscosmos’s previous boss, Dmitry Rogozin. Borisov has been trying to ease the tension. He quickly signed the barter agreement with NASA allowing for crew exchanges on each other’s spacecraft, and has made it clear almost immediately that the ISS partnership was solid.

I strongly suspect Borisov will eventually offer OneWeb the return of its 36 satellites that Rogozin confiscated. This is not likely to regain Russia OneWeb’s commercial business, but it would do a lot to make it less a pariah in the international launch market.

Nova Scotia spaceport signs deal with British rocket startup

Capitalism in space: Maritime Launch Services, the company that is building a spaceport in Nova Scotia, has signed an agreement with the British rocket startup Skyrora, naming its Skyrora-XL rocket as one of the launch providers for that spaceport.

As part of the agreement, Maritime Launch will purchase the vehicles and vehicle support staff from Skyrora for their satellite clients. Spaceport Nova Scotia will provide Skyrora a launch pad, ground and operations support, public safety services, regulatory approvals and mission integration facilities and staff. Skyrora will supply the launch vehicle, mobile launch complex, and launch operations support team to Maritime Launch.

Unlike other new spaceports, Maritime is running Spaceport Nova Scotia a bit differently. Most new spaceports simply provide a launch site for rocket companies. Maritime instead wants to offer satellite companies a full service spaceport, including the rocket. Initially the plan was to use a Ukrainian-built rocket, Cyclone-4M, as part of the service, but the Russian invasion of the Ukraine has made its availability uncertain.

This deal gives Maritime a new option to offer satellite companies. However, the Cyclone-4M was already somewhat tested, as it was an upgrade of the Ukrainian Tsiklon-4 rocket, which has already launched. Skyrora is only a startup, and has not yet flown.

SLS fueling test completed

NASA engineers today successfully completed the tanking test of the agency’s SLS rocket, completing all objectives after successfully dealing with a hydrogen fuel leak at the beginning of fueling.

The four main objectives for the demonstration included assessing the repair to address the hydrogen leak identified on the previous launch attempt, loading propellants into the rocket’s tanks using new procedures, conducting the kick-start bleed, and performing a pre-pressurization test. The new cryogenic loading procedures and ground automation were designed to transition temperature and pressures slowly during tanking to reduce the likelihood of leaks that could be caused by rapid changes in temperature or pressure. After encountering the leak early in the operation, teams further reduced loading pressures to troubleshoot the issue and proceed with the demonstration test. The pre-pressurization test enabled engineers to calibrate the settings used for conditioning the engines during the terminal count and validate timelines before launch day to reduce schedule risk during the countdown on launch day.

Teams will evaluate the data from the test, along with weather and other factors, before confirming readiness to proceed into the next launch opportunity. The rocket remains in a safe configuration as teams assess next steps. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words are key. NASA has proposed a September 27, 2022 launch date. For that launch to occur, the rocket must remain on the launchpad, where it is impossible to check the batteries for operating the flight termination system used by the military range office to destroy the rocket should it go wildly out of control during launch. To check the batteries they need to roll it back to the assembly building, and one week is simply not enough time.

The vagueness of the highlighted language suggests that NASA has not yet gotten a waiver from the range for that date. Nor should it. Those batteries normally have a 20-day limit. On September 27th they will been unchecked for about 42 days, well past their use-by date.

This will be the first test launch of this rocket. Such first launches very frequently go wrong, and if SLS goes wrong, it would go wrong in a very big way, considering the size of the rocket. To do such a risky launch with a questionable flight termination system would not simply be improper it would be downright criminal.

September 21, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay, who trolls Twitter so I don’t have to.

The powerpoint presentation can be viewed here [pdf]. Lots of interesting details, including the revelation that Rocket Lab is considering the construction of its own manned capsule.

To make sure there is no confusion, the satellite did not break apart. Instead, it appears to have been made of two spacecraft that have now undocked from each other and are testing automatic rendezvous and docking procedures, similar to the tests that Astroscale was doing.

The project is targeting 2030 for launch. The picture of the “hopper” at the link looks more like a Boston Dynamics robot dog.

Based on the deal with the UAE on the lunar Chang’e-7 mission, China is looking for other countries to sign on, and will likely get a few.

The deal doesn’t appear to include anything specific, only for both to explore future cooperation, including flying Canadian astronauts on Axiom’s station. Also, this deal suggests Canada will get the contract to build the robot arm for Axiom.

The company had previously done a 20 second test fire, and is still hoping to launch by the end of the year.

Martian layers everywhere!

Layers in Argyre Basin
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the left, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on June 1, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows the rim edge to a fifteen-mile-wide canyon, with many apparent layers exposed on the high plateau.

The layers are intriguing in that they suggest several things. First, they give us a glimpse into the top and youngest layers that make up the interior canyon wall. Second, they tell us that erosion has removed much of those top and youngest layers, resulting in the mesas on that plateau.

Finally, the gullies flowing down into the canyon indicate further erosion processes, eating away at the canyon wall over time.

The location of this canyon is also intriguing.
» Read more

Pushback: NY cops fight city’s COVID jab mandate

NY Mayor Eric Adams: an enthusiastic tyrant
NY Mayor Eric Adams: an enthusiastic tyrant

Bring a gun to a knife fight: In the past week three stories from New York City suggest that the willingness to fight against the irrational and abusive COVID shot mandates imposed by the one-party rule of the Democratic Party in that city can win.

First, a state judge in New York on September 13, 2022 ruled in favor of a lawsuit by police officer Alexander Delito, stating that the city cannot fire him for refusing to get the jab. Delito had apparently been arbitrarily denied a religious exemption, with no explanation. As the judge noted in his decision:

“The hollow and generic phrase ‘does not meet criteria’ cannot be rational because not a single item particular to [Deletto] was discussed and not a single reason for the decision was given,” Justice Arlene Bluth ruled. “There is no indication that anybody even read [Deletto’s] arguments. It is the duty of the agency to explain why it made the decision,” the judge added.

The ruling sets a precedent that will make it difficult for New York City to continue the mandate. Not surprisingly, a week later the city’s Democrat mayor, Eric Adams, announced he is lifting the mandate on the private sector and on school children, even as he refused to remove it from government workers.

The response from the leaders of various government unions was immediate. Here is just one example:
» Read more

Another model attempts to show how liquid water could have once existed on Mars

The uncertainty of science: Scientists today published a new model that attempts to show how it was possible in the distant past for liquid water to have existed on the surface of Mars.

New research published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters suggests that Mars was born wet, with a dense atmosphere allowing warm-to-hot oceans for millions of years. To reach this conclusion, researchers developed the first model of the evolution of the Martian atmosphere that links the high temperatures associated with Mars’s formation in a molten state through to the formation of the first oceans and atmosphere. This model shows that — as on the modern Earth — water vapor in the Martian atmosphere was concentrated in the lower atmosphere and that the upper atmosphere of Mars was “dry” because the water vapor would condense out as clouds at lower levels in the atmosphere. Molecular hydrogen (H2), by contrast, did not condense and was transported to the upper atmosphere of Mars, where it was lost to space. This conclusion – that water vapor condensed and was retained on early Mars whereas molecular hydrogen did not condense and escaped – allows the model to be linked directly to measurements made by spacecraft, specifically, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity.

As a model, this theory proves nothing, though it is very intriguing. The scientists propose that the heat from the planet’s interior replaces the known lack of energy that came from the Sun in Mars’ far past. While this could work, what makes it very uncertain is that its surface data is based on a single measurement from Curiosity, hardly a deep and convincing baseline.

Ingenuity completes 32nd flight

According to a tweet from JPL, Ingenuity successfully completed its 32nd flight on Mars on September 18, 2022.

The 55.3-second flight covered 93.74m at a max speed of 4.75 meters per second.

That is about 308 feet distance, comparable to the helicopter’s previous flight. Though it probably continued to the west, as with that last flight, JPL’s tweet did not provide any directional information.

This second short hop in a row however suggests that the team’s focus has definitely shifted from scouting for Perseverance to practicing precision landings, thus gathering data to help build the future Martian helicopter that will be used to pick up Perseverance’s core samples some time in the future.

Hilton chosen to design hotel suites on Nanoracks’ Starlab private space station

Nanoracks' Starlab space station
Nanoracks’ Starlab space station

Capitalism in space: Hilton has been chosen to design the hotel suites inside the Starlab private space station that Nanoracks is building and hopes to launch sometime this decade.

Voyager and Hilton will partner in the areas of architecture and design, leveraging Hilton’s word-class creative design and innovation experts, to develop Space Hospitality crew headquarters aboard Starlab, including communal areas, hospitality suites, and sleeping arrangements for the astronauts.

The announcement was made by Voyager Space, the Nanoracks’ division that is building Starlab, and already has a $160 million development contract from NASA.

Want to do a virtual hike in Jezero Crater on Mars? You can!

Using data from Mars orbiters, Perseverance, and Ingenuity, scientists have now created a virtual hiking map of Jezero Crater, allowing anyone to explore in detail the same places that the rover and helicopter have visited.

You can view the map here. From the press release:

The map allows virtual hikers to zoom in and out, and pan rapidly across scenes, so that they can explore the landscape from large scales down to centimetre-detail. Some of the 360° panoramas integrated with the waypoints have been synthetically rendered from orbital image data. Others are real panoramas stitched together from a multitude of single images taken by the Mastcam-Z camera instrument onboard the Mars 2020 Rover Perseverance, which have been provided by the University of Arizona. The sounds have been recorded by the SuperCam instrument on that same rover mission.

I’ve played with the map only a little, but find it quite amazing and useful, especially because it seems to work well on my relatively ordinary desktop Linux computer.

Launch startup Spinlaunch raises $71 million more in private investment capital

Spinlaunch prototype suborbital launcher
Spinlaunch’s prototype launcher

Capitalism in space: The radical launch startup company Spinlaunch announced yesterday that it has raised an additional $71 million in private investment capital, bringing the total it has raised to $150 million.

Unlike the many rocket startups, Spinlaunch proposes launching payloads using a centrifuge. The image to the right is of its prototype smaller scale launcher, which has already completed several test launches.

The company claims its full scale launcher will begin operations by 2026, but it has not yet revealed where it will be built, which means construction has not yet begun.

Such a launch system cannot be used by any satellite with delicate equipment. The g-forces during launch are too high. However, for getting bulk cargo, like water and fuel into orbit, such a system could become very profitable, if it can be made operational.

Saudi Arabia buys two seats on Dragon for Axiom commercial flight to ISS

Capitalism in space: According to an as-yet unconfirmed story today by Reuters, Saudi Arabia has purchased two seats on a SpaceX Dragon capsule as part of an Axiom commercial flight to ISS.

The sources for the story are all anonymous, and no one from Axiom or SpaceX or Saudi Arabia has confirmed it. Nonetheless, it seems entirely plausible, since Saudi Arabia has made it clear it is considering such a mission and Axiom and SpaceX are eager to sell tickets.

Webb’s first infrared image of Neptune

Webb's infrared view of Neptune
Click for full image.

The science team for the James Webb Space Telescope today released that telescope’s first infrared image of Neptune.

That image is to the right, cropped and reduced slightly to post here. It is, as the press release touts, the best view in decades of Neptune’s rings. From the caption:

The most prominent features of Neptune’s atmosphere in this image are a series of bright patches in the planet’s southern hemisphere that represent high-altitude methane-ice clouds. More subtly, a thin line of brightness circling the planet’s equator could be a visual signature of global atmospheric circulation that powers Neptune’s winds and storms. Additionally, for the first time, Webb has teased out a continuous band of high-latitude clouds surrounding a previously-known vortex at Neptune’s southern pole.

The dots around the gas giant are the heat signatures of seven of its fourteen moons.

OneWeb announces delivery of 36 satellites to India for launch

Capitalism in space: OneWeb yesterday announced the delivery of 36 satellites to India for launch on that nation’s biggest rocket, the GSLV-Mark3.

Though no date for launch was mentioned, the press release did say this:

One additional launch will take place this year and three more are targeted for early next year to complete the constellation.

This suggests two launches before the end of the year, one by India with the second already contracted to SpaceX. As for the three launches next year, it is unclear yet who will launch them. OneWeb has contracts with SpaceX, Relativity, and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of India’s government space program which is doing this year’s GSLV launch. While Relativity has not yet launched, either SpaceX or NSIL could handle those launches for sure next year.

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