SpaceX and the Ukraine resolve funding issues for Starlink terminals

According to a Ukrainian official, the Ukraine has worked out a method to pay for another 10,000 Starlink terminals by obtaining funding from several European nations.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov has announced that over 10,000 additional Starlink terminals will be sent to Ukraine in the coming months, confirming that issues regarding how to fund the country’s critical satellite internet service have been resolved.

The governments of several European Union countries are ready to share payment said Fedorov (who is also Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation) in an interview with Bloomberg, affirming that “As of now all financial issues have been resolved.” Fedorov did not publicly identify which governments are contributing towards the payments but confirmed that there’s currently no contract in place and that Ukraine will need to find additional funding by spring 2023.

Elon Musk had threatened to end Starlink support without some form of payment. It appears his threat, which was almost immediately retracted, forced some action by these governments.

ISS spacewalk postponed because controllers had to maneuver station to avoid space junk

An American spacewalk to install new solar panels to ISS yesterday was suddenly scrubbed when ground controllers identified a piece of space junk that was going to fly within a quarter mile of the station.

While flight control teams were preparing for today’s U.S. spacewalk, updated tracking data on a fragment of Russian Fregat-SB upper stage debris showed a close approach to station. Based on this new data, flight control teams directed the crew to stop spacewalk preparations as the ground team stepped into procedures to perform a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM.)

Russian controllers successfully used the engines on a docked Progress freighter today to complete the avoidance maneuver, firing those engines for 10 minutes and 21 seconds.

It appears the station was never in any danger.

Virgin Orbit finally receives launch license from British bureaucracy

We’re here to help you! The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has finally issued a license to Virgin Orbit to launch nine satellites from a Cornwall airport.

The launch date however has not yet been set, because it appears licenses for the nine satellites still need to be issued, though according to the article at the link, approval appears “imminent.”

The press release from the UK Space Agency brags about the speed in which this license was issued:

The UK Civil Aviation Authority granted the licences within 15 months, well within the expected timescales for these types of licences, putting the UK’s regulatory framework on a competitive footing with other international space regulators.

Hogwash. If the licensing process for every commercial launch in the UK is going to take this long, rocket companies are going to quickly find other places to launch from.

Launch failure for Arianespace’s Vega-C rocket

The second launch of Arianespace’s Vega-C rocket, an upgrade from the Vega rocket that has launched previously, failed yesterday when a problem with the second stage occurred at 2 minutes 27 seconds into the flight.

Designated Vega Vehicle 22 (VV22), the rocket was the second Vega flight of the year and Arianespace’s fifth mission of 2022. VV22 was originally set to launch in November 2022, but a component in the upper composite in the payload fairing needed to be replaced. The launch failure occurred during stage 2 flight, with CEO Stephane Israel citing an “underpressure” indicated during that stage’s burn.

I have embedded video of the launch below, cued to T-30 seconds, just before launch. The rocket was carrying two Earth observation satellites built by Airbus.

The rocket itself has four stages, with the failure occurring when the second stage clearly did not maintain the rocket’s correct path. Though it appeared to be working, it was not providing enough power, so instead of continuing upward into space, the rocket fell back into the atmosphere.
» Read more

Pushback: Blacklisting Virginia Tech soccer coach loses effort to get lawsuit dismissed

Kiersten Hening, blacklisted by Virginia Tech
Kiersten Hening

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Charles Adair, the soccer coach for the woman’s team at Virginia Tech, has lost in his effort to dismiss a lawsuit against him by former player, Kiersten Hening, who he blacklisted from playing because she refused to kneel in support of Black Lives Matter during the National Anthem before a game.

Hening filed a lawsuit against Virginia Tech and Coach Adair in 2021 but Virginia Tech immediately attempted to file a motion to have the suit tossed. The athlete stated that when she refused to take part in the kneeling, which at the time was a virtue signal statement indicating public support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Adair began to insult and demean her as well as limiting her time to play during matches.

According to [U.S. District Judge Thomas T. Cullen], “Hening, who had been a major on-field contributor for two years prior to the 2020 season, also asserts that Adair removed her from the starting lineup or the next two games and drastically reduced her playing time in those games because she had engaged in this protected First Amendment activity. As a result, Hening resigned from the team after the third game of the season.” [emphasis mine]

You can read Cullen’s full decision here [pdf].

Cullen’s decision is intriguing not only because he not only threw out Adair’s effort to get the lawsuit dismissed, he also threw out Adair’s claim that he deserves “qualified immunity” as a public official. » Read more

Rocket Lab reschedules first Wallops launch to January

Having had to scrub the launch on December 18th and December 19th due of weather, Rocket Lab has now officially rescheduled its first Wallops launch to January.

The move of the planned launch window from December 2022 to early 2023 was driven by weather and the additional time that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Wallops and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required to complete essential regulatory documentation for launch. The delay in documentation left only two days in the originally scheduled 14-day launch window and both of those final remaining days were unsuitable for launch due to bad weather. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is now closed for launch activity for the remainder of the December due to holiday airspace restrictions, preventing further launch attempts in 2022.

Rocket Lab originally wanted to launch from Wallops two years ago, but has been repeatedly stymied by government red tape. At that time the company wanted to use the software of its own flight termination system, a system that it has successfully used in New Zealand more than two dozen times, including several times where launch failures actually required the system to destroy the rocket. NASA said no, and instead insisted on spending two years apparently creating its own software which also requires the added presence of NASA officials during launch.

Russians preparing replacement Soyuz for launch to ISS

ISS as of November 28, 2022
ISS after November 28, 2022 docking of unmanned Dragon freighter.
MS-22 is the Soyuz capsule that is leaking.

Though a final decision will not be made until the completion on December 27, 2022 of their investigation into the leak in the coolant system of the Soyuz capsule docked to ISS, the Russians have begun preparing a replacement Soyuz for launch.

A backup spacecraft to bring cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) back to Earth will be prepared by February 19 and the spaceship is currently undergoing tests at the Baikonur spaceport, Roscosmos Chief Yury Borisov said on Monday.

That replacement Soyuz was supposed to launch in March, which means they can only accelerate its preparation by about a month. Assuming it is determined that the leaking capsule cannot be used safely as a lifeboat, this means that until February the station does not have its standard complement of lifeboats.

Should something happen that requires an immediate evacuation before February, it might be possible to get an extra three people into the two Dragon capsules presently docked to ISS, since each was designed to carry a maximum of six passengers, though generally four is considered their maximum capacity.

Today’s blacklisted American: Law firm fires lawyer of 44 years for expressing the wrong opinion

Hogan Lovells: blacklister

They’re coming for you next: The law firm Hogan Lovells recently fired a partner lawyer with 44 years of experience, Robin Keller, simply because she dared at a company meeting to express some rational reasons why Roe v Wade should have been overturned.

As Keller wrote, “I was invited to participate in what was billed as a ‘safe space’ for women at the firm to discuss the decision. It might have been a safe space for some, but it wasn’t safe for me.”

She recounts how “Three weeks later I received a letter stating that the firm had concluded that my reference to comments labeling black abortion rates genocide was a violation of the antiharassment policy.”

Apparently, “a participant complained that she could not breathe and others called her a racist.” These crybabies then demanded she be fired, and the company quickly acquiesced.

The company’s blackballing of Keller should surprise no one. A quick review of Hogan Lovells’ website shows us that this is a very politically correct leftist law firm. On its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion website, the company proudly tells us that:
» Read more

Weather forces Rocket Lab to scrub first launch from Wallops

High altitude winds yesterday forced Rocket Lab to scrub its first Electron launch attempt from Wallops Island in Virginia yesterday.

The weather also forced the company to cancel a launch attempt today.

Teams are now evaluating the next possible launch window while coordinating with holiday travel airspace restrictions. The flight will lift off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex-2 (LC-2) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

This could mean that Rocket Lab will not be able to launch before the end of the year. The company very much wishes to do this, however, as it would give it ten launches in 2022, as well as a launch pace of one per month for most of the year.

This first launch from Wallops is also important, as it would give Rocket Lab three launchpads, including one in the U.S. for launching classified military payloads. It had hoped to launch from Wallops two years ago, but red tape at NASA delayed the launch.

L3Harris to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.7 billion.

The space and defense contractor L3Harris Technologies has announced a deal to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.7 billion.

L3Harris is buying Aerojet at $58 per share in an all-cash transaction. Aerojet shares traded at $54.89 on Dec. 16. The deal is expected to close in 2023, pending regulatory approvals.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, based in Sacramento, California, manufactures rocket engines and propulsion systems for space vehicles, ballistic missiles and military tactical weapons. The company generates approximately $2.3 billion in annual revenue. L3Harris, headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, is a global defense and aerospace firm with $17 billion in annual revenue.

This deal could in the end save Aerojet, which in recent years has had problems both making and selling its rocket engines, while facing increasing competition from many new rocket engine startups. As an old space company, its engines have tended to be too expensive, and often produced behind schedule. L3Harris now has the opportunity to clean house and streamline operations there, thus making the engines it produces more competitive in the emerging new space market.

Temperature in leaking Soyuz capsule drops

According to Russia’s state-run press TASS, the temperature in its leaking Soyuz capsule on ISS has now dropped to between 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

The language of the report suggests this temperature drop was the result of actions by Russia’s mission control, but that is decidedly unclear. With the thermal control system now depressurized, the capsule’s temperature could fluctuate a lot, depending on whether it is in shadow or sunlight, a condition dependent on the overall orientation of ISS itself.

A second TASS report today said that two Russian working groups are reviewing the data, and will decide around December 27th what the next step will be, including the possibility of launching a Soyuz capsule unmanned to replace this capsule.

“I believe that at the end of December, somewhere on the 27th [of December], specialists – and now two working groups have been set up – will decide on how we will resolve this situation,” [Yuri Borisov] the Roscosmos head, said in an interview with the daily Izvestia.

There is plenty of time for making decisions and “there is no hurry,” Borisov stressed.

What Borisov was really saying is that there is no reason to panic, but action must be taken without unnecessary delay.

North Korea releases two images taken during suborbital missile test

North Korea images of South Korea

North Korea today released two images of two South Korean cities that it claims were taken from space during a suborbital satellite test flight this past weekend.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency also released low-resolution, black-and-white photos showing a space view of the South Korean capital [Seoul] and Incheon, a city just west of Seoul, in an apparent attempt to show the North is pushing to acquire a surveillance tool to monitor its rival.

The rocket carrying the test satellite was launched Sunday to assess the satellite’s photography and data transmission systems, KCNA said.

Those pictures are at the right, at the resolution released. Though poor compared to most satellite reconnaissance, the photos suggest that the control systems of the rocket and camera worked, pointing it properly.

North Korea continues to push its missile and rocket program hard, this year launching a record number of missiles. According to the article, analysis of the image showing the launch suggests yesterday’s test was a liquid-fueled rocket, meaning North Korea is truly working towards an orbital rocket.

South Korea’s Danuri orbiter enters lunar orbit

South Korea’s first lunar orbiter, dubbed Danuri, has successfully entered lunar orbit after a four-month journey designed to save fuel and weight.

The Danuri spacecraft was expected to begin entering lunar orbit at on Friday (Dec. 17) at 2:45 p.m. EST (1945 GMT, 2:45 a.m. Dec. 17 in South Korea), according to a statement (opens in new tab) from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The maneuver, the first of five planned engine burns through Dec. 28 to refine Danuri’s orbit around the moon, will clear the way for the probe to get started on its lunar science objectives.

Danuri, also known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), began its long and circuitous journey to the moon on Aug. 4, launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The moon probe has traveled over 3.3 million miles (5.4 million kilometers) on its journey so far, KARI officials have said.

Its six instruments, including one American camera designed to look into the permanently shadowed craters on the Moon, will study the Moon from a polar orbit.

More results from DART impact of Dimorphos

Didymos and Dimorphos as seen from Earth
Click for movie.

At a science conference this week scientists provided an update on the changes that occurred to the asteroid Dimorphos after it was impacted by the DART spacecraft in September, shortening its orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos by 33 minutes.

The image to the right is a screen capture from a short movie made from 30 images taken by the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in New Mexico, and part of a new image release of the asteroid pair.

It shows the motion of the Didymos system across the sky over the course of roughly 80 minutes, and features a long, linear tail stretching to the right from the asteroid system to the edge of the frame. The animation is roughly 32,000 kilometers across the field of view at the distance of Didymos.

According to the scientists, the impact displaced more than two million pounds of material from Dimorphos.

Observations before and after impact, reveal that Dimorphos and its larger parent asteroid, Didymos, have similar makeup and are composed of the same material – material that has been linked to ordinary chondrites, similar to the most common type of meteorite to impact the Earth. These measurements also took advantage of the ejecta from Dimorphos, which dominated the reflected light from the system in the days after impact. Even now, telescope images of the Didymos system show how solar radiation pressure has stretched the ejecta stream into a comet-like tail tens of thousands of miles in length.

Putting those pieces together, and assuming that Didymos and Dimorphos have the same densities, the team calculates that the momentum transferred when DART hit Dimorphos was roughly 3.6 times greater than if the asteroid had simply absorbed the spacecraft and produced no ejecta at all – indicating the ejecta contributed to moving the asteroid more than the spacecraft did.

This information is teaching us a great deal about these two particular asteroids, which could be used if for some reason their totally safe orbit got changed and they were going to impact Earth. However, NASA’s repeated effort to make believe this info would be useful for deflecting other asteroids is somewhat absurd. It is helpful, but each asteroid is unique. The data from DART is mostly helping astronomers get a better understanding of the geology of these specific asteroids, which will widen their understanding of asteroids in general. Planetary defense is really a very minor aspect of this work.

Russian official: Soyuz leak possibly caused by micrometeorite hit

According to Sergei Krikalev, who heads Roscosmos’ manned program, the leak of coolant from the Soyuz capsule docked at ISS could have been caused by a micrometeorite hit.

Sergei Krikalev, a veteran cosmonaut who serves as the director of crewed space flight programs at Roscosmos, said a meteorite striking one of external radiators of the Soyuz MS-22 capsule could have caused the coolant to escape.

The malfunction could affect the performance of the capsule’s coolant system and the temperature in the equipment section of the capsule but doesn’t endanger the crew, Krikalev said in a statement.

Krikalev said Russian flight controllers were assessing the situation and following temperature indicators on the Soyuz. “There have been no other changes in parameters on the Soyuz spacecraft and the station, so there is no threat for the crew,” he said.

The “equipment section of the capsule” is its service module, not its habitable orbital module or descent module.

Krikalev, the first Russian to fly on the space shuttle and occupy ISS, is a generally very reliable source. He is speculating, but not wildly but based on what is so far known. The upcoming inspection of the Soyuz using an ISS robot arm will soon tell us whether he is right or not. Krikalev also said that the inspection will tell them whether this capsule can be used to return its astronauts to Earth.

SpaceX launches oceanography satellite

SpaceX early this morning used its Falcon 9 rocket to successfully launch an oceanography satellite, dubbed SWOT, for both NASA and France’s space agency CNES.

The satellite it designed to measure the height of water on 90% of the Earth’s surface.

The first stage was making its sixth flight, and successfully returned to Earth, touching down on its landing pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

59 China
57 SpaceX
21 Russia
9 Rocket Lab
8 ULA

The U.S. now leads China 81 to 59 in the national rankings, but trails the entire world combined 91 to 81.

These numbers however should change again later today, as SpaceX has another launch scheduled.

December 15, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of Jay, BtB’s stringer. All the links today have to do with the Soyuz capsule that is leaking on ISS.

 

 

 

  • Details about the leaking coolant are described here and here.
  • The second link provides a description of the cooling system that is leaking. It appears the leaking material could be water, or “Isooctan LZ-TK-2”.

 

Today’s blacklisted American: Conservative students and pro-speech law firm slandered and threatened at University of Kansas

The University of Kansas Law School: Eager to blacklist

Today’s blacklisted American: When a chapter of the Federalist Society at the University of Kansas Law School scheduled an event featuring a speaker from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a pro-speech legal firm that has won many cases at the Supreme Court, the school’s “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee” falsely claimed ADF promoted “hate speech”, and two members of the school’s faculty then tried to get the chapter to cancel the event.

The story of what happened are outlined in detail by a justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, Caleb Stegall, in his resignation letter [pdf] in protest of the college’s unwillingness to defend the principle of free speech and open debate. As he wrote, first the law school administrator called a meeting with chapter’s board of students:
» Read more

France orders Eutelsat to stop broadcasting Russian channels

Arcom, the French television regulation agency, yesterday ordered the communication satellite company Eutelsat to stop allowing three Russian channels from broadcasting using the satellites.

In a news release, Arcom said the television stations’ coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine “include repeated incitement to hatred and violence and numerous shortcomings to the honesty of the information.” Eutelsat said in a brief statement that “it will no longer be involved in the broadcasting of the three sanctioned channels within the prescribed time-frame.”

Arcom’s decision comes a week after France’s top administrative court, prompted by a request from the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders advocacy group, ordered Arcom to review an initial decision to permit Eutelsat to continue carrying the stations.

Arcom’s claim, that it made this order because of the content of the broadcasts, is another example of the blacklisting/censorship culture we now live in. The French regulators could have simply stated that, as an ally of the Ukraine in the Russian-Ukraine war, it does not want French-regulated satellites to provide aid to the Russian side. There is a war going on, and this alone is a rational reason to block the Russian channels.

Instead, Arcom uses censorship as its justification. It doesn’t like what the Russians are saying, and therefore has the right to censor them. Remember this argument, because in the future Arcom will likely use it again, but next time against any one of the other broadcast channels under its control that simply says something it doesn’t like.

China launches classified remote sensing satellite

Using its Long March 2D rocket, China last night successfully launched a classified remote sensing satellite into orbit.

The launch was from an interior spaceport. No word on where the first stage crash-landed.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

59 China
56 SpaceX
21 Russia
9 Rocket Lab
8 ULA

The U.S. still leads China 80 to 59 in the national rankings, but now trails the entire world combined 90 to 81.

Though SpaceX led China in successful launches for most of the year, China historically tends to do a lot of launches in the November-December time period. This is why it has surged ahead in the past month. SpaceX can still catch up, however, as it still has five launches planned for 2022. Either way, we will not know who comes out ahead until probably the end of the year.

That a private American company however has even a chance of beating out the entire world in annual launches is quite remarkable, whether or not SpaceX ends up ahead.

The first launch of China’s Zhuque-2 rocket ends in failure

The first launch of China’s Zhuque-2 rocket, built by the pseudo-private company Landspace, ended in failure today when the upper stage had problems after separation of the first stage.

Apparent spectator footage posted on Chinese social media showed the rocket ascending into clear skies, trailed by white exhaust. While the first stage is understood to have performed well, separate apparent leaked footage suggests that issues affecting the rocket’s second stage resulted in the failure of the mission.

Data suggest an expected burn of the stage’s vernier thrusters, intended to carry the stage and payloads into orbit after a burn by the main engine, did not occur as planned.

If this launch had been successful, it would have made the Zhuque-2 rocket the first rocket to reach orbit using methane as a fuel, beating three different American companies, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Relativity.

Relativity has been preparing for the first launch of its Terran-1 rocket since October, with a goal of launching before the end of the year. At the moment however no launch date is set, though the company’s CEO seems confident it will launch soon.

In addition, SpaceX has also been targeting the first orbital launch of its Starship/Superheavy rocket by the end of this year. As with Relativity, no launch date has been set.

The first launch of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket meanwhile is nowhere in sight, as yet. It was originally supposed to launch in 2020, but even now has four launches scheduled on its manifest for 2023. None however have been scheduled, and the first launch will likely slip to late in the year, if that soon.

Today’s blacklisted American: Book touting Judeo-Christian values blacklisted from libraries

Kirk Cameron, blacklisted

They’re coming for you next: Librarians across America — the same ones running drag queen storybook hours with little kids — are routinely blacklisting television actor Kirk Cameron from doing his own library event reading his own book, As You Grow, because it tries to teach children traditional Judeo-Christian values.

It is common for community libraries to run story-hour programs for kids and parents that correspond with the release of a new book. In recent years, libraries have come under fire for promoting drag queens and other LGBTQ+ centric story hours for young children. It now appears to be the case that those same libraries, which are largely funded by taxpayers, have decided there is no space in their programming lineups for more traditional and faith-based titles.

Cameron’s book, As You Grow, ‘teaches biblical wisdom and the value of producing the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control,’ according to the author.

You can buy Cameron’s book here.
» Read more

Space Force and South Korea set up joint office to monitor North Korea

The U.S. Space Force has now partnered with a new South Korean Air Force space division to jointly monitor the space-based and military actions of North Korea, including its increasingly aggressive missile testing program.

From the first link:

[Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, commander of the U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific.] later told reporters the unit will undergo analysis in the coming months to assess its mission capabilities and said it is interested in holding discussions with South Korea regarding specific future missions, like missile warning and defense.

The new unit is expected to help monitor, detect and trace projectiles from the North and elsewhere in an operation likely to reinforce overall deterrence capabilities of the South Korea-U.S. alliance, observers said.

This new office really isn’t anything new, simply the renaming and reshuffling of the military bureaucracy from the American Air Force to the Space Force. The military has been present in South Korea since the Korean War in the early 1950s, monitoring North Korea. All that has really changed is North Korea’s growing ability to launch missiles, thus changing the focus of that monitoring, combined with South Korea’s recent effort to accelerate its own space effort, both civilian and military.

NASA, Boeing, and the UAE negotiating partnership for building Lunar Gateway airlock

According to press reports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), that country is negotiating with NASA and Boeing on a partnership to build an airlock module for NASA’s Lunar Gateway Moon space station.

US aerospace company Boeing said it has held discussions with Emirates officials about the UAE providing an airlock module on the Lunar Gateway. This is an airtight room that astronauts would use to enter and exit the space station.

John Mulholland, vice president and International Space Station programme manager at Boeing, told The National that the company was “actively working” with the UAE on the concept and design.

It appears the UAE is offering to pay Boeing to build it for NASA, and would expect in exchange a larger share in the use of the station.

If this deal works out, the UAE will essentially replace Russia as a Gateway partner. Russia had signed an agreement with NASA in 2017 to build that airlock, but that deal is now null and void following the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and its desire to partner with China instead.

For the U.S., this is a win-win, since it will now be an American company building the airlock, not Russia.

Rwanda and Nigeria to sign Artemis Accords

Rwanda and Nigeria have become the first two African nations to sign te Artemis Accords, bringing the number of signatories to this American-led alliance to 23.

Neither Nigerian nor Rwandan officials described in detail any plans to participate in Artemis at the signing ceremony, but at the Secure World Foundation event, a State Department official said that is not a condition for signing the Accords.

“We continue to encourage all responsible spacefaring nations to sign the Accords, and we also encourage countries that are just developing their space sector to also consider signing,” said Kristina Leszczak of the State Department’s Office of Space Affairs. “We stress that interested countries do not need to come to the table with existing space capabilities or even near-term plans to contribute to Artemis. We find this opens the conversation up to a much more diverse group.”

The full list of signatories so far: Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the Ukraine, and the United States.

The accords, bi-lateral agreements between each nation and the U.S., were designed during the Trump administration to emphasize the rights of private investors in space and thus do an end-around of the Outer Space Treaty. Under the Biden administration it is no longer clear if that remains the goal. The existence of a signed alliance led by the U.S. and the capitalistic west however gives the U.S. the political force to protect those rights, assuming the American government is interested in the future in doing so.

Ariane 5 successfully launches three satellites

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched two communications satellites plus a weather satellite today, leaving that rocket only two more launches left before it is permanently retired.

As this was only the fifth successful launch this year by Arianespace (representing Europe), the leader board in the 2022 launch race remains unchanged:

58 China
56 SpaceX
21 Russia
9 Rocket Lab
8 ULA

The U.S. still leads China 80 to 58 in the national rankings, but now trails the entire world combined 90 to 80.

Today’s blacklisted Americans: Archaeologists go underground to practice their research

What modern academia demands from teachers, researchers, and students
Mindless conforming robots: What today’s leftist academia demands

The modern dark age: In order to do their archaeological research free from the Marxist and bigotry tropes now required in academia — or else be blacklisted — many young archaeologists are now going underground, forming anonymous chat groups to discuss their work safe from blacklisting.

The essay at the link first outlines in detail the oppressive leftist culture that now makes honest and open scientific research difficult if not impossible among our intellectual class. Dare to say or write anything that even suggests some cultures are different or better than others and you will be ostracized so quickly you won’t know what happened to you.
» Read more

Research: Those who get the jab are intolerant and eager to discriminate

According to a new peer-reviewed research paper in Nature that studied more than 15,000 people in 21 countries, those who chose to get COVID shots are strongly intolerant of those who have not, and express that intolerance with an eagerness to deny others their human rights.

The research found that vaccinated people express discriminatory attitudes towards individuals who are unvaccinated at levels as high as or higher than discriminatory attitudes directed towards other common targets of prejudice, such as immigrant populations or people who struggle with drug addiction. On the whole, this prejudice tends to be one-sided; only in the USA and Germany do the authors find that unvaccinated individuals feel some antipathy towards those who are vaccinated, although no statistical evidence of negative stereotyping or exclusionary attitudes towards these latter individuals were observed. Researchers also found evidence in support of discriminatory attitudes against the unvaccinated in all countries except Hungary and Romania and find that discriminatory attitudes are more strongly expressed in cultures with stronger cooperative norms.

You can read the paper here.

I can guess that the higher level of anger by the unjabbed to the jabbed in the U.S. is directly because the discrimination and intolerance imposed by the jabbed, such as Joe Biden’s shot mandates, violated what Americans consider their fundamental Constitutional rights. Who wouldn’t be hostile to someone who illegally cost you your job, your career, or even all your social contacts, because you didn’t want to get a COVID shot?

The study however is in general very depressing, because it tells us that the open-mindedness and toleration that was the hallmark of western civilization is largely gone. The future, built by the intolerant attitudes of today’s majority populations, will be a vicious and narrow-minded place.

NASA approves $1.2 billion asteroid-hunting space telescope

NASA has given the go-ahead to build NEO-Surveyor for $1.2 billion, more than twice the cost of its original proposal, to launch by 2028 and then look for potentially dangerous asteroids.

Notably, NEO Surveyor was earlier estimated to cost between $500 million and $600 million, or around half of the new commitment. The NASA statement said that the cost and schedule commitments outlined align the mission with “program management best practices that account for potential technical risks and budgetary uncertainty beyond the development project’s control.” Earlier this year, the project’s launch was delayed two years, from 2026, due to agency budget concerns.

The mission is designed to discover 90% of potentially Earth-threatening asteroids and comets 460 feet (140 meters) or larger that come within 30 million miles (48 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit. The spacecraft will carry out the survey while from Earth-sun Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable spot in space about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) inside the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

A prediction: It will cost more, and not launch on time. NASA’s decision to double the budget and delay the launch two years suggests it did not trust the JPL cost and time estimates. Based on most NASA-centered projects, however, it is likely the new numbers will still be insufficient.

Another space station company, ThinkOrbital, enters the competition

Though it failed to win a NASA contract to build its manned space station concept, the company ThinkOrbital has instead won small two research grants from the Space Force.

Earlier this year ThinkOrbital — with partners Redwire, KMI and Arizona State University — won two research contracts worth $260,000 under the U.S. Space Force Orbital Prime program for in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing. Rosen said the plan is to refine the design concept for a space structure that could be used for debris removal and recycling.

“We’re working on a hub and spoke concept where smaller satellites would go out and gather the debris, bring it back to a central location, process it and we could either turn them into fuel or deorbit them,” said Rosen. “We could process debris at that hub, for example, and turn aluminum into aluminum powder that could be used for spacecraft fuel.”

ThinkOrbital is hoping to be selected for the next phase of Orbital Prime which could be worth up to $1.5 million.

This new concept would not be manned, but would instead be used by unmanned robots as service depot.

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