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  • Asia’s satellite boom
  • Elon Musk’s Mars plans
  • New outdoor deck at ISS
  • Astronauts free to grow own food
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Nikkei
SINGAPORE – When Japan’s Rakuten announced this week that it had acquired a stake in AST & Science, the Texas-based outfit building the world’s first space-based mobile broadband network, it brought home a new reality: the satellite revolution is coming.

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Space News
A SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off March 6 and placed into orbit a Dragon spacecraft on the final flight of that version of the cargo vehicle.

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Spaceflight Now
An Airbus-owned, German-built outdoor science deck is set for launch Friday night from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule, heading for the International Space Station to make the orbiting research outpost more accessible for commercial space experiments.

Editor’s Note: The International Space Station is known as humanity’s home in orbit. Stephen Clarke reviews the deployment of a new deck just outside this home.

Economic Times (Times of India)
In December 2018, Mumbai-based Exseed Space created nothing short of history by being the first private commercial organisation in the country to launch a satellite in space via Elon Musk-led SpaceX.

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ESO
Astronomers have recently raised concerns about the impact of satellite mega-constellations on scientific research. To better understand the effect these constellations could have on astronomical observations, ESO commissioned a scientific study of their impact, focusing on observations with ESO telescopes in the visible and infrared but also considering other observatories.

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The New York Times
NASA will spend 11 months upgrading the only piece of its Deep Space Network that can send commands to the probe, which has crossed into interstellar space.

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Space News
The $15.4 billion request for the U.S. Space Force contains $10.3 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation of space systems, a funding category known as RDT&E.

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Scientific American
Automated spacecraft cost far less; they’re getting more capable every year; and if they fail, nobody dies

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Spaceflight Now
The Deep Space Climate Observatory has resumed regular observations after NOAA and NASA engineers uplinked a software patch to the spacecraft a million miles from Earth, restoring data on space weather and a daily series views of the sunlit side of our home planet.

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Ars Technica
How badly does Elon Musk want to get to Mars? Let me tell you a story. On Sunday, February 23, Musk called an all-hands meeting at the South Texas site where SpaceX is building his Starship spacecraft.

Editor’s Note: In recent times, Elon Musk has indicated how badly he wants to reach Mars. Here, Eric Berger of Ars Technica looks at the SpaceX CEO’s latest plans to colonize the red planet.

Washington State University
Organic compounds called thiophenes are found on Earth in coal, crude oil and oddly enough, in white truffles, the mushroom beloved by epicureans and wild pigs. Thiophenes were also recently discovered on Mars, and Washington State University astrobiologist Dirk Schulze‑Makuch thinks their presence would be consistent with the presence of early life on Mars.

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Bloomberg
NASA has begun an extensive probe of its role in Boeing Co.’s CST-100 Starliner program, after a review team found that the agency provided insufficient oversight of software and testing work before a botched voyage to the International Space Station.

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Associated Press
SpaceX successfully launched another load of station supplies for NASA late Friday night and nailed its 50th rocket landing.

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Ars Technica
David Giger bounded up 26 steel steps and emerged onto a rocket engine test platform. Off to his left, an unbroken stand of stately pine trees spread out over the Mississippi lowlands. Straight ahead, Giger had a clear view of two Apollo-era test stands through the trees. “It’s quite a view,” he said.

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Space News
HELSINKI – The European and Russian space agencies have delayed crucial ExoMars 2020 parachute tests to late March, with the mission also set to face review.

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University of Arizona
Many things change for astronauts when they leave Earth and head into space, but at least one remains the same: They need food and water. NASA recently awarded funding to two University of Arizona teams to search for water and grow food in space.

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Newsweek
The lettuce grown on board the International Space Station between 2014 and 2016 was just as safe and nutritious as crops cultivated on Earth, scientists have found.

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CNBC
The most expensive flying laboratory soon will moonlight again as a space hotel.

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Space News
The ongoing coronavirus epidemic has so far has only a limited effect on the space industry, with few cancellations or other major interruptions.

Editor’s Note: Although almost all businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus, the space industry has remained relatively safe till now. Here, Jeff Foust analyzes how the industry could protect itself from the threat in the medium term.

BBC
Europe’s flagship telescopes will be “moderately affected” by the new satellite mega-constellations now being launched, according to a new study.

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Food Ingredients First
For the new space race, astronauts and space tourists will want to eat better than the corn beef sandwiches, applesauce and high-calorie cubes of protein, fat and sugar consumed by astronauts in the 1960s.

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Gulf News
Dubai: UAE will announce two more astronauts under its UAE Astronaut Programme in January 2021, officials on Tuesday revealed at a press conference in Dubai.

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AFP
‘We’ve got a dream to put our own satellite-launching rocket 200 or 300 kilometers into space within 5 years,’ says head of Indonesia’s Rocket Technology Centre.

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Ars Technica
On Monday, Astra came within 53 seconds of launching its Rocket 3.0 from a spaceport in southern Alaska. With less than a minute to go in the countdown, a sensor delivered some data about the rocket that Astra’s chief executive, Chris Kemp, said “really concerned us.”

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Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI: Chandrayaan-3 will be launched in the first half of 2021, Union minister Jitendra Singh said, indicating that there could be a slight delay in the launch of the third moon mission.

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