The Lunar Space Station of NASA

NASA’s quest to get detailed know-how about the moon never seizes, and with the advent of the lunar “Gateway” program, the whole process gets strengthen. NASA could be seen returning to the moon in the year 2019.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway program could become one of the best platforms to study the deep-space environment. Also, with its help, it could become profoundly easy for the astronauts to move to and fro from Mars. So, it would be a dual area of study and would help in other programs as well.

The Space Symposium conference held in Colorado Springs, Colorado was attended by many distinguished scientists. Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier present there told that NASA would first of all spend for power and propulsion elements. After that, the next steps will be taken. With the advent of 2022, the moonward launching will be initiated.

As per William Gerstenmaier, “By 2025 the platform would start orbiting the moon. It is intended that it will comprise a crew of four astronauts. The whole expedition will be of 30 days and hopefully be a success.”

The whole program will help NASA to land another human in the moon where a detailed study can be done on different aspects. The Gateway will be operated to work more on the issue of Mars, and how to and fro movements can be made. It will help to make clear whether the water near the surface is useful for making propellant or not. If yes, the deep space missions could be accomplished easily. It will also help to reveal how the re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere could be facilitated.

He further added that The Gateway could become the ultimate way to understand the complexities of orbital mechanics around the moon. Since gravity didn’t play a much significant role in the place, operating things become completely different as what is done from the Earth’s deep gravity points.

Lockheed Martin Corp. that has assembled the spacecraft Orion will be used for the trips to the Gateway. Orion will first leave to the destination without any crew member most probably in the next year. Later with the success astronauts will board the craft and will leave for the mission.

Since the lunar platform comes under the NASA’s budget extra funding won’t be required. NASA believes on strategic principals, and this is the reason why its deep-space missions are exclusive added Gernstenmaier.

Wondering when you can go to space?

Elon Musk’s space company is helping Earthlings since a long time to discover little-known facts about the space and the solar system. And after launching TESS satellite with great success, SpaceX along with NASA is on the verge to get a detailed insight beyond it. However, the common people who are wondering when they can go to space, the answer is yet to be given.

As per Loren Grush, one of the most renowned science reporters from The Verge- to get the answer people had to wait until the next year. Earlier it was said that the mission to take people to space was set to be in 2017. But he told that if more than cargo and satellites are on the list, then a lot more time would be required.

SpaceX is making changes every day, and NASA is very particular about implementing the new ideas. She added, “When you are launching a rocket, utmost safety is required but when there are astronauts, keeping an eagle eye on every step become highly important as their life is on the stake.” In her new podcast, Loren stated about the ways SpaceX and its rival Blue Origin has made progress in the recent past.

Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. The company is on the verge of selling tickets to people on sub-tropical vehicles. This would be a short trip on a capsule attached to New Shepherd rocket. This ride is expected to be highly expensive. Told by Loren, as you enter the space the capsule gets detached from the rocket and you float freely in the space inside your capsule for few minutes. After some time, both capsule and rocket come back separately. This gives a complete privilege to feel being in the space all by your own and see the curvature of the earth.

On the other hand, SpaceX is planning to send people into the orbit and to the Mars as well. The safety concern of people going to the orbit is the foremost priority of SpaceX. This is the reason why it is reliable and trustworthy, but Blue Origin is also making progressive steps in the field. So, the answer to the question as to when the common man can visit the space and the orbits still require some time to get answered by these two tech giants.

Russian Military Satellite Blagovest No. 12L: Now in Orbit!

What comes as important news is that Russia has successfully launched an all-new satellite for military-related communications. With the deployment of the satellite, it’s now possible to send and receive streams of data to over 22000 miles in the outer space. The Proton rocket carried the satellite into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome space center located in Kazakhstan.

The satellite has been named as Blagovest No. 12L by the Russian Ministry of Defence. Launched precisely at 4.12 am (local time) on Thursday, the satellite made a booming entry into space. Both, a Breeze M upper stage as well as the important Blagovest No. 12L were delivered by the proton amidst a preliminary suborbital trajectory. It was hoped that the satellite would be placed at the 22000 miles above the equator with the help of four engine burns generate by the main engine of the Breeze M.

ISS Reshetnev is the company responsible for developing and building the Blagovest No. 21L. According to the company, Breeze M upper load took 9 hours to release its payload into the pre-planned orbit. Hence, after that, the Russian Defence Ministry which is the main contractor for the business confirmed the success of the mission.

Talking about the specifications linked with the Blagovest No. 12L, the same will be placed precisely at 128 degrees E longitude for 15 years. The satellite is expected to hover and move around a fixed geo position. What comes as a fascinating fact is that, the satellite will match tits orbital velocity with that of the Earth’s rotation. Adding more to the insights, the Blagovest No. 12L is the second in the array of four dual-purpose relay platforms purchased by the Defence Ministry of Russia. Blagovest No. 11L was deployed successfully in space in August last year.

You’d be fascinated to know about the features of the Satellite; the technical outer-space innovation would lead to high-speed internet access, unparalleled data communication access, radio & television broadcasting as well as video-calls for soldiers. The official name of the satellite given by the Russian Govt. is Kosmos 2526. Do you know since 1963, there are more than 417 launches by a Proton booster executed by Russia?

Nano-Satellites: The Future of Space Warfare

In a recent development amidst the U.S. Army, the defense forces of the country are innovating and further developing an array of advanced nano-satellites which can play a significant role when it comes to space warfare. Speaking of the development, Lt. Gen. Dickinson had mentioned that through these satellites, the country can gain an edge out over their in space. Exploring the space and gaining unparalleled control is what, everything is really about.

Stressing greatly about the threat that jamming of U.S. Satellite signal is possible by potential enemies, the Army is now trying to go out of the box with their new invention. It would be wise to mention that the character of warfare has changed. The current deployment of Army is capable of taking over 3000 pieces of satellite gear with them. In the times of crisis, the combat brigade is now ready with an advanced array of gear.

There comes a time when a soldier might encounter some problem on the ground just because someone is manipulating the satellite from space. Therefore, in lieu of that, the U.S. Army has made its priority to develop a state of the art satellite for the defense forces. Gaining access to secured and seamless signal transition are what is hoped for. The U.S. Army is also proposing ways to train soldiers when their space gear isn’t functional for ‘N’ number of reasons.

Therefore, to compensate the damage done to the country’s larger satellites, U.S. Army Space & Missile Defence Command is determined to innovate an array of nano-satellites which can prove to be a game changer. These nano-satellites might encapsulate a potential to stay in orbit for various months, unlike the ordinary ones which stay for around a decade. The Defence group is looking towards making a constellation of nano-satellites.

According to the official sources, U.S. Army is training the forces in deserts of CA to fight and survive without any help from the satellites. Coping up the war pressure without any aid from the technology is vital. Though, development of satellites can aid the U.S. Army to its very core. Innovations in Space Technology is the new boon at the United States of America. The country’s recent funding to N.A.S.A. as well as other outer space explorations has increased manifolds. Hence, space warfare is gaining a new definition of the launch and deployment of these nano-satellites.

NASA’s TESS Unveils Satellite To Discover New Alien Worlds   

NASA confirms that they have the latest planet hunter to discover new alien worlds. Its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) revealed on April 18 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket around 6:51 pm. The latter spacecraft was deployed into the Earth’s orbit. 

TESS is about to have a mission on hunting alien worlds around the stars that are nearby in the sun. In addition to this, the spacecraft is said to be creative as it will go based on a well laid out plan. According to George Ricker, TESS’ principal investigator in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they are going to increase the number of planets that they are going to study with. 

Ricker added that they are going to double the number of planets referring to the Kepler space telescope that has currently found 2,650 exoplanets. The 70 percent of which are worlds that are beyond the solar system. 

TESS will be using transit method in searching for the alien planets. In this method, they will notice the tiny brightness dips as they cross the host stars’ faces. Unlike its mission way back in 2009 to 2013, Kepler has a new mission known as the K2. It will study various phenomena and cosmic objects especially exoplanets. 

Moreover, TESS will also conduct a wide sky survey on its two years prime mission that covers the 85 percent of the sky. The satellite will be focused on the brightest and nearest stars with the use of four cameras that will look for new alien worlds. Additionally, they will also depend on different telescopes on space and on the ground to distinguish its candidates like bona fide planets and new alien worlds. 

The TESS will be partnering with NASA’s $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope that will be launched in 2020. James Webb is expected to probe the atmospheres of TESS planets for methane, oxygen, and other potential signs of life. 

With the upcoming mission, the team said that in 50 to 100 years, humanity could make tiny robotic spacecraft that can be used to explore a great number of nearby exoplanets. MIT’s Ricker stated that they would be using technology that is more likely to be developed by the $100 million Breakthrough Starshot project.  Meanwhile, TESS will launch its final orbit in mid-June, and all of these are according to plan. 

Commerce Secretary Lays Out Plans to Streamline the Commercial Space Regulations 

Wilbur Ross, a commerce secretary, had laid out his plans to streamline the space regulations and pledged to make out outer space a more business-friendly section as part of his campaign of turning his department into “one-stop shop space for the space business.” 

The speech takes place in the 34th Space Symposium, and he pointed out to the previous month’s cutoff of video from the Falcon 9 rocket launch of the SpaceX as the issue he addressed. 

“This is the greatest example of how any commercial activity outpaces the government regulation in space,” Ross said. “No more!” 

One of the notable shifts made by the Trump administration is to put the Commerce Department in the leading position for the regulation of the space industry, instead of Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. And as part of these shifts, Ross told there would be a new director to be appointed for Office of Space Commerce. It is a position left vacated for almost ten years. 

“Anyone who will be lucky to land the position will serve the as the US space companies’ ambassador, “Ross said. Also, he will be the one to advocate for the business opportunities all around the world.”

Furthermore, the Commerce Department will set up their “mission authorization framework” which will adequately cover all aspects of the activities in the commercial space – other than the national security missions, as well as spectrum issues, which are regulated by Federal Communications Commission. 

“This framework will effectively give the industry in the United States a stamp of approval from the government, which is needed to embark on the non-traditional and novel opportunities in the space, requiring significant investment,” said Ross. 

He also said that this kind of opportunity would range from the satellite servicing and manufacturing to refueling, space tourism, lunar habitation and asteroid mining. Aside from that, the department is preparing a new policy to be used as a guideline for the export regulations – that has been a long-time sticking point when it comes to space venture. By the end of the year, the recommendations for changes on all these will be due. 

Ross referred to the comment of the Vice President, Mike Pence an made at Space Symposium earlier, which he highlighted that the Commerce Department will be putting in charge of the new system that is aimed to distribute data regarding the space circumstance awareness, as well as space traffic management. 

Space Law Seminar Reveals the Rift in the Legal Community Over the National Authority to Permit the Mining of Space Resources 

On April 16, the international space experts had conducted a vigorous debate about the topic whether the national or the international laws should rule the space mining at Space Law Workshop at 34th Space Symposium. 

“The issues, certainly are there is no lo legality about the permission,” according to Tanja Masson-Zwaan, a former president of IISL or International Institute of Space Law. “In Outer Space Treaty, it does not vividly answer the question of whether a certain person can own an extracted resource.”

There are passed laws from the United States and Luxembourg, which offers the companies with rights to own any space resources that they have extracted. To attract the investment, the companies are depending on the legal authority for their plans in the case of mining not only in the asteroids but also to the moon. 

“I am a running a company under the law of United States, I am responsible for following the law of the country,” said George Sowers, a professor from the Colorado School of Mines and a former vice president and a chief scientist from the United Launch Alliance. 

Not all of the international space experts agree, but the individual nations possess the authority to allow the companies to extract the resources in orbit.

“All of the objects in the outer space, together with other non-man-made objects there are all subjected to international regulations – I repeat, international regulations and not a national regulation,” said Stephan Hobe, a director of Institute of Space Law at the Germany’s University of Cologne.

He said that is not against the idea of space mining, but he firmly believes that before that activity started, the international representative needs to conduct negotiation and have the rules for it.  

Among the things, the Moon Agreement is affirming that the resources found in the lunar space are the humanity’s common heritage and that the international regime needs to be established to rule their exploration. 

Hobe added that his dream is that the countries like the United States, Russia, and others would sit together in Vienna to devise the regime that relates to the space resources.

Hague Space Resources Governance Working Group, which is led by Netherland’s Leiden University, is finding ways to promote the dialogue with the help of a document that it launched in September. 

Blue Origin might make Trip to Space possible this Year

The CEO of Blue Origin said that there is a chance for visitors to be able to travel to space with them in 2018. Bob Smith said this at the 34th Space Symposium held at Colorado on Tuesday while exchanging conversation with Morgan Brennan of CNBC. Blur Origin is a space company owned by Jeff Bezos.

After that, Smith said that there are a lot of developments and operation to be carried out. The safety of the passengers is the most important while carrying out such a trip. So, even though he said a space tour could be expected this year, he also pointed that they will only be going, when they are fully ready.

At the end of December last year, a video was shared by Jeff Bezos from the inside of a rocket of Blue Origin, with a dummy named Mannequin Skywalker placed inside it. The video was to provide an overall sense of an individual on how his visit to space with Blue Origin would feel like.

The capsule which is being developed to take visitors to space has not been specifically named yet. It has a space of 530 cubic feet and will be able to carry six people as stated on the website of Blue Origin. The capsule will be big enough for the passengers to float as well as do somersaults. The capsule will be carried 62 miles away from the Earth’s surface on a rocket after which it will get detached from it. Once the capsule gets separated, there will be perfect stillness, and the passengers can release their harness and experience the above Earth weightless experience. After the time is passed, the capsule will move towards Earth and will be slowed down by parachutes before landing.

The price for having this wonderful experience has not been released by Blue Origin yet. However, last year Fast Company estimated that a trip to space for a single individual would cost between $100,000 and $200,000. Tourists interested in making the space visit with Blue Origin will have to travel to West Texas, which is the launch site of the rocket, two days prior to their space visit. On the day before launch, the guests will be given important instructions for the whole trip. Mission simulation and safety training on how to move around in the zero gravity environment of the space will also be provided.

Rideshare opportunities onboard two small satellite missions via Vega rockets have been secured by Spaceflight Industries

For those who aren’t familiar with the Spaceflight, they are a company which offers cost-effective launch services and mission management to entities wishing to get equipment such as satellites into space without having to fully invest in a vehicle capable of doing so.

A few days ago, on April 17th, Arianespace, a launch provider based in Europe, announced that Spaceflight industries are set to launch a handful of CubeSats along with a microsatellite. A new adapter created specifically for CubeSats and other little satellites will be used during the operation. The adapter was designed in order to equip Vega with the much smaller than normal satellites. Arianespace also announced a second Vega flight scheduled in roughly a year from now.

The Vega endorsement is a huge success for Avio and Arianespace, the builders and marketers of Vega, as well as for the European Space Agency in general. The ESA has been providing funds as well as aiding in the product development department in order to ensure Vegas ability to compete in launching these smaller yet very lucrative satellite missions. These two recently announced SSMS missions are the first contract between Arianespace and Spaceflight. The later being an organizer of rideshares which has so far procured and launched over 120 small satellites on Indian, Russian, and U.S. rockets.

Arianespace and Avio how to increase the competitiveness of the Vega rocket, specifically with the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. 104 small satellites were launched in a single mission by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle last year alone, so the hopeful backers of Vega have their work cut out for them, to say the least. The contract for the upcoming two rideshare opportunities is only the beginning.

The ESA began working on the new modular carbon fiber dispenser two years ago with the approval of the European Commission. The first SSMS mission being initially planned for the latter part of 2018, has since been moved back to sometime next year due to a large number of the companies previously established commitments to other customers.

To date, Vega has carried out 11 successful operations. Most of which were government funded science missions. The most eye-catching of these missions were launched in 2016 when Vega carried a satellite for the government of Peru into space as well as four SkySat satellites for then Google-owned Terra Bella 

NASA ready with Lunar Space Station

NASA has all the plans ready to reach the moon by the early part of the year of 2019. This will be totally fulfilled when the agency awards the very first contract meant for lunar “Gateway Program”. The name for this mission is given as “The Lunar Orbital Platform- Gateway” is said to be the stage which is being developed for the purpose of studying the moon as well as the deep space environment. Finally, the idea is that it will function as a way station which will help the astronauts to go to Mars and come back.

The mission in details

NASA will be spending a huge amount for the development of the power and propulsion requirements within the early phase of next year. This spending will be followed by habitation components. This confirmation was given by the Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier at the Colorado Springs, Colorado. These will probably be launched in a sequential order, starting from 2022.

The Space Agency has plans to position the station within the orbit of the moon by 2025. Mr. Gerstenmaier, who is a highly experienced person in the field of operations and human exploration. He further added that a team of four astronauts will go to the moon on a 30-day mission. This platform will also be used for the purpose of yet another landing of the humans on the moon. This will in turn help to find out whether water accumulated near the surface can be utilized to build up propellant for the purpose of deep-space missions. Moreover, the moon’s gravity will, in turn, help the spacecraft to reduce the tremendous speed for the purpose of six month’s voyage from and to Mars, which in turn helps to re-enter into Earth’s Atmosphere.

Preparation for the mission

Last November NASA had selected five companies for the purpose of studying a high power solar electric propulsion system which can be used for the purpose of deep-space missions. This is mainly done because of the fact that subsequent human missions will need a power system which will generate the energy three times than that of the current system.

In addition, the trips to the “gateway” will be done by Orion. It is a spacecraft which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp while the service modules will be given by European Space Agency. The first flight of Orion will be scheduled early in the next year and it will be without the crew.