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  • SpaceX’s 2nd astronaut launch (#1)
  • Using urine to build base? (#9)
  • Firefly to launch lander (#4)
  • Rise of anti-satellite weapons (#18)


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Teslarati

SpaceX’s second astronaut launch is a a step closer to flight after NASA and JAXA announced the third and fourth astronauts assigned to ride Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) on its first operational mission.


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Spaceflight Now

Veteran astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker have been assigned to fly to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s second piloted Crew Dragon mission later this year, joining commander Mike Hopkins and astronaut Victor Glover on a planned six-month expedition in orbit.


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The Register

As the European Space Agency flicked the standby switch on some of its long-lived spacecraft in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Register figured it was time for a look at how the agency has kept its fleet flying far beyond expectations.


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Spaceflight Now

A souped-up version of the Israeli Beresheet moon lander built in Texas could be ready to carry NASA science and technology payloads to the lunar surface before the end of 2022, according to officials from Firefly Aerospace.


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The Mandarin

While flying cars may someday deliver on the Jetsons-like promise of buzzing around cities in robotic air taxis, the future of commercial aviation is no less tantalising. Companies large and small are working on cleaning up the skies with electric airplanes, bringing back supersonic travel, and even flirting with the edge of space to transport passengers across the world.


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CNN

When it launches in 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, according to NASA.


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Syfy

I know. I know. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t make a Uranus joke ever again, because first of all it’s tired, and second they’re done. Tapped out. The last truly funny Uranus joke was done in 1999.


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Spaceflight Now

During a visit to Cape Canaveral this week, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken strapped in to the SpaceX crew capsule they will ride into orbit as soon as mid-to-late May.


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Ars Technica

Urea could serve as plasticizer for making concrete-like material out of lunar soil.


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Building a base on the moon has been a long-term goal for NASA. Jennifer Ouellette explores the idea that astronauts could use urea to serve as a plasticizer. But where could the urea come from? Their own urine!

ESA

Controllers at ESA’s mission control centre are preparing for a gravity-assist flyby of the European-Japanese Mercury explorer BepiColombo.


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Popular Mechanics

Other anti-satellite weapons include ground-based jammers to disrupt the signal from navigation and communications satellites.


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NASA

As NASA prepares for the first launch of Artemis I, the first mission of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Moon, one team will be there every step of the way: the aptly nicknamed “SLS Move Team.”


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Tech Times

NASA has always been know to pioneer technology in space exploration that has given scientists opportunities to explore worlds different from our own. This time, however, NASA will be looking more inward as they attempt to monitor volcanic activities on Earth using their CubeSats satellite.


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NASA

NASA researchers have developed new satellite-based, weekly global maps of soil moisture and groundwater wetness conditions and one to three-month U.S. forecasts of each product. While maps of current dry/wet conditions for the United States have been available since 2012, this is the first time they have been available globally.


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Innovation Origins

It all looks so simple in science fiction films. You get into a rocket-like contraption, strap yourself in and take off. Reality is more unpredictable.


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Space.com

The Hubble Space Telescope is tracking down a suspected black hole that shredded a wayward star that came too close for comfort.


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Ars Technica

This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype—SN3—onto a test stand ​at the company’s Boca Chica launch site.


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The Verge

Employees at Jeff Bezos’ aerospace firm Blue Origin are outraged that senior leadership is pressuring workers to conduct a test launch of the company’s New Shepard rocket — designed to take wealthy tourists into space — while the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the United States.


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The COVID-19 crisis has meant that various companies have had to halt their operations. Here, Loren Grush reports that Blue Origin plans to launch a tourist rocket during these uncertain times.

Space.com

Our solar system’s second known interstellar visitor doesn’t seem to be in one piece anymore.


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Syfy

The closest star in the Universe to the Sun is Proxima Centauri. It’s a red dwarf: Tiny, cool, faint, orbiting a pair of more Sun-like stars we collectively call Alpha Centauri. Unremarkable, even more so for being one of hundreds of billions of such stars in our Milky Way alone. Were it not so close to us — a mere 4.244 light years away, in a galaxy 120,000 light years across — we’d hardly pay it any attention.


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Universe Today

A year ago, the high-altitude launch company Stratolaunch flew the world’s largest aircraft. Now, Stratolaunch has revealed the designs of two hypersonic aircraft plus a reusable space plane that will be launched from its giant Carrier Aircraft launch plane.


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ESA

After a brief shutdown of science instruments and a period in ‘safe standby’, ESA’s planetary missions are getting back to what they do best, gathering science data from around the Solar System.


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Forbes

The New Space community had better hang onto its hat. It’s going to be a very rough ride, and only the strongest are likely to make it through to the other side.


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In recent years, multiple startups that have entered the Space Race on a relatively small scale. Fred Kennedy of the company Astra wonders whether they will be able to survive the coronavirus era.

The Nation

“I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual,” venture capitalist Peter Thiel declared in his 2009 essay “The Education of a Libertarian.”


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Tech Crunch

Starlink, the satellite branch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, has come under fire in recent months from astronomers over concerns about the negative impact that its planned satellite clusters have reportedly had — and may continue to have — on nighttime observation.


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