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Signals and Space | V2 | Issue 2 | 01.16.24

We’re out of our Vulcan minds. NASA setbacks for Moon and Mars missions. Basking in Aditya’s glow. Europe’s flush with funds. And more!



Good morning,

It's a rapidly changing world out there so let's get to it. Here’s what happened last week and why it matters...


  • John G. Bluck, a retired NASA public affairs official and author, discusses his book "Murder at NASA"
  • Anurita Chandola, a textile artist turned spacewear designer, discusses her journey and work in designing apparel for space missions.

  • John Rendon, CEO of The Rendon Group, discusses his involvement in the Inter Astra Event and his background in the space industry.

  • Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo discusses her role in space communications and her involvement with Foundations for the Future.

  • Daniel Pérez Grande, Co-founder and CEO of IENAI Space, discusses their innovative palm-sized propulsion system for small satellites.



Space Force is crafting in-house cyber teams but sees need for closer work with USCYBERCOM

  • What: The US Space Force is developing in-house cyber teams and planning closer collaboration with US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM).
  • Who: US Space Force, USCYBERCOM.
  • Why: This move highlights the critical importance of cybersecurity in space operations. As space becomes increasingly contested and congested, ensuring the security of space-based assets and communications is paramount. Collaborating with USCYBERCOM signifies an integrated approach to national security, where space and cyberspace are increasingly interconnected.



Voyager Space and Airbus Finalize Starlab Space LLC Joint Venture

  • What: Voyager Space and Airbus create Starlab Space LLC for the Starlab commercial space station.
  • Who: Voyager Space, Airbus.
  • Why: The formation of this joint venture marks a pivotal step in commercial space station development, indicating a shift towards private sector involvement in space infrastructure. This collaboration between major aerospace players sets a precedent for future public-private partnerships in space exploration and commercialization.

Arka Shines and Rudra Roars

  • What: Bellatrix Aerospace successfully launches Rudra and Arka propulsion systems.
  • Who: Bellatrix Aerospace, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Why: The successful deployment of these propulsion systems marks a significant achievement in sustainable space technology. Bellatrix Aerospace's development of green propulsion systems aligns with global efforts to make space missions more environmentally friendly. This advancement showcases India's growing capabilities in space technology and its commitment to sustainability in space exploration.

ArianeGroup to Increase MaiaSpace Investment to €125M

  • What: ArianeGroup reportedly increases its investment in MaiaSpace to €125 million.
  • Who: ArianeGroup, MaiaSpace.
  • Why: The significant investment in MaiaSpace by ArianeGroup highlights the growing interest and confidence in the development of partially reusable microlaunchers. This move is indicative of the evolving European space industry and its commitment to innovation, enhancing competitiveness in the global space market.

Regulatory filing reveals ABL Space Systems targeting $100M in new funding

  • What: ABL Space Systems targets $100 million in new funding, following a recent $40 million capital raise.
  • Who: ABL Space Systems.
  • Why: ABL's fundraising efforts reflect the dynamic nature of the private space industry and its need for continuous investment to fuel growth and innovation. The company's success in securing significant funding underscores investor confidence in the commercial space sector and its potential for lucrative returns, emphasizing the vital role of private capital in advancing space technology.

Enlightenment Capital Announces New Space Platform Auria- Boecore

  • What: Enlightenment Capital announces the formation of a new space platform, Auria, in partnership with Boecore.
  • Who: Enlightenment Capital, Boecore.
  • Why: The creation of Auria represents a strategic move in the space industry, signifying the growing interest of financial players in space technology and infrastructure. This partnership illustrates the evolving landscape of the space sector, where investment and innovation converge to drive new developments and commercial opportunities.

D-Orbit Raises Over $100 Million in Marubeni-led Round

  • What: D-Orbit raises over €100 million in a Series C funding round led by Marubeni.
  • Who: D-Orbit, Marubeni.
  • Why: This significant investment in D-Orbit reflects the growing interest in space logistics services, including debris cleanup and satellite servicing. It underscores the potential of the space economy and the role of private capital in advancing space technology and infrastructure.

Sateliot Secures €6 Million Funding from Banco Santander

  • What: Sateliot secures €6 million in funding for its 5G nanosatellite constellation.
  • Who: Sateliot, Banco Santander.
  • Why: Sateliot's funding for its low-Earth orbit nanosatellite constellation is pivotal in enhancing global 5G connectivity, particularly for IoT devices. This development signifies the expanding role of nanosatellites in telecommunications and the growing interest of financial institutions in space-based technology.



Spire Global Awarded $9.4 Million Contract by NOAA for Satellite Weather Data

  • What: Spire Global has received a $9.4 million contract from NOAA to provide satellite weather data.
  • Who: Spire Global, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Why: This contract underscores the growing importance of private satellite operators in enhancing weather prediction and climate monitoring capabilities. It illustrates the shift towards leveraging commercial satellite data for public services, enhancing the accuracy and timeliness of weather forecasting, crucial for addressing climate change and disaster response.

ESA's Environmental Security Project EO4Security Goes Live

  • What: ESA's EO4Security project, focused on environmental monitoring and crime detection, becomes operational.
  • Who: European Space Agency (ESA), e-GEOS.
  • Why: The launch of EO4Security highlights the critical role of space-based technologies in addressing environmental challenges and regulatory compliance. It showcases ESA's commitment to leveraging satellite data for environmental protection and the fight against illegal activities like mining and trafficking.



NASA, United Arab Emirates Announce Artemis Lunar Gateway Airlock

  • What: NASA and the United Arab Emirates have announced a partnership to provide an airlock for NASA's Gateway lunar space station.
  • Who: NASA, Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (UAE).
  • Why: This collaboration exemplifies the international dimension of lunar exploration, particularly under the Artemis program. The UAE's involvement in providing a critical component for the Gateway station not only strengthens diplomatic ties but also demonstrates the global interest and investment in space exploration beyond Earth's orbit.

UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi appointed Minister of Youth

  • What: Sultan Al Neyadi, an astronaut from the UAE, has been appointed as the nation's new Minister of Youth.
  • Who: Sultan Al Neyadi, UAE government.
  • Why: Al Neyadi's appointment reflects the growing trend of integrating space professionals into governmental roles, emphasizing the increasing relevance of space exploration and technology in shaping national policy and youth development. It underscores the importance of space sector experience in broader socio-political contexts.

U.S. Aims to Prevent Space Conflict Through Deterrence

  • What: The U.S. focuses on preventing space conflict through deterrence strategies.
  • Who: U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Why: This approach underscores the growing recognition of space as a strategic and potentially contested domain. The emphasis on deterrence reflects the need for policies and agreements to ensure space remains a peaceful and collaborative environment for all nations.



NASA Adjusts Agreements to Benefit Commercial Station Development

  • What: NASA has modified agreements with commercial partners to accelerate the development of low Earth orbit (LEO) destinations.
  • Who: NASA, Blue Origin, Starlab.
  • Why: This adjustment signals NASA's commitment to fostering a commercial economy in low Earth orbit, which is crucial as the International Space Station approaches retirement. The involvement of private companies like Blue Origin and Starlab in developing new space stations indicates a significant shift towards a more commercially driven space exploration era, preparing for a sustainable human presence in space.

More delays for NASA's astronaut moonshots, with crew landing off until 2026

  • What: NASA delays Artemis 2 to September 2025 and Artemis 3 to September 2026, with Artemis 4 planned for September 2028.
  • Who: NASA.
  • Why: These delays, while disappointing, underscore the complexity and challenges of human spaceflight. They reflect NASA's commitment to safety and thorough preparation, ensuring the success of these historic missions. This development is a reminder of the intricate balancing act between ambitious space exploration goals and the practical realities of technology and safety.



Rocket Lab Makes its Defense Prime Debut with $0.5 Billion Contract to Design and Build Satellite Constellation for Space Development Agency- Business Wire

  • What: Rocket Lab secures a $515 million contract with the Space Development Agency to design and build a satellite constellation.
  • Who: Rocket Lab, Space Development Agency.
  • Why: Rocket Lab's contract with the Space Development Agency represents a significant milestone in the company's evolution and the broader space industry's shift towards more versatile, privately-developed satellite networks. This deal highlights the growing role of private aerospace companies in national defense and security, showcasing the increasing reliance on commercial entities for critical space infrastructure.

Muon Space Selected by AFWERX for SBIR Phase I Contract

  • What: Muon Space awarded an SBIR Phase I contract by AFWERX for a weather intelligence project.
  • Who: Muon Space, AFWERX (U.S. Air Force program).
  • Why: This contract signifies the increasing intersection of emerging technologies and defense needs, specifically in weather intelligence for national security. The collaboration between innovative small businesses and the military reflects the growing importance of advanced technologies in strategic planning and operations, highlighting the crucial role of startups in the evolving space industry.

USSF Announces Selections for Space Strategic Technology Institute 2

  • What: The United States Space Force announces selections for the Space Strategic Technology Institute 2.
  • Who: United States Space Force.
  • Why: The Space Force's initiative underscores the increasing importance of technological innovation for national security in space. The selections reflect a commitment to advancing the military's capabilities in space, ensuring the U.S. remains at the forefront of space defense technologies.



United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches First Next Generation Vulcan Rocket

  • What: United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its first Vulcan rocket from Cape Canaveral, carrying Astrobotic's Peregrine lander and other payloads.
  • Who: ULA, Astrobotic, NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.
  • Why: This marks a significant milestone in commercial lunar exploration and showcases ULA's advancement in rocket technology. The successful launch of Vulcan with Peregrine underscores the growing collaboration between public and private sectors in space exploration, highlighting the increasing role of commercial entities in advancing lunar missions.

Mitsubishi Heavy Launches H-IIA Rocket Carrying Japan's Spy Satellite

  • What: Japan successfully launches the H-IIA rocket carrying the IGS Optical-8 spy satellite.
  • Who: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
  • Why: This launch demonstrates Japan's advancing capabilities in space technology and national security. The successful deployment of a spy satellite signifies Japan's commitment to enhancing its space-based surveillance and intelligence-gathering capabilities, crucial in a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape.

Gravity-1 Vehicle's Successful Debut Launch in China

  • What: China's Gravity-1 rocket successfully completes its inaugural launch, carrying commercial weather satellites.
  • Who: Orienspace.
  • Why: The debut of the Gravity-1 vehicle marks a significant milestone for China's private space sector. This successful launch reflects the growing commercialization of space activities in China and the expansion of the country's capabilities in satellite deployment and space technology.



China says it will launch its next lunar explorer in the first half of this year

  • What: China prepares to launch its next lunar explorer in the first half of the year.
  • Who: China's space agency.
  • Why: China's continued focus on lunar exploration underlines the increasing global interest in the Moon, particularly for scientific research and potential resource utilization. This mission further positions China as a significant player in the new era of lunar exploration, contributing to the understanding of the Moon's environment and potential for human habitation.



Venus Aerospace Partners With Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center On New Engine Technology

  • What: Venus Aerospace collaborates with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center on testing Rotating Detonation Rocket Engines.
  • Who: Venus Aerospace, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
  • Why: This partnership is a significant step in the advancement of rocket engine technology. It represents a convergence of commercial innovation and government resources, potentially leading to breakthroughs in engine efficiency and performance. The collaboration could pave the way for more efficient space travel, demonstrating the critical role of public-private partnerships in pushing the boundaries of aerospace technology.

University of Glasgow - Self-eating rocket could help UK take a big bite of space industry

  • What: University of Glasgow engineers develop a 'self-eating' autophage rocket engine.
  • Who: University of Glasgow.
  • Why: This innovation represents a potential breakthrough in rocket technology, offering a more sustainable and efficient approach to space launches. The development of such technology is crucial for reducing the environmental impact of space exploration and could position the UK as a leader in sustainable space technology.

Sidus Space Achieves Critical AI and Hardware Contract Milestones as it Nears the Launch of LizzieSat-1

  • What: Sidus Space nears the launch of LizzieSat-1, achieving significant milestones in AI and hardware.
  • Who: Sidus Space.
  • Why: The advancement of Sidus Space's LizzieSat-1 project is indicative of the increasing integration of AI in space technology. This development is significant for the space industry as it demonstrates the growing capabilities and complexities of satellite technology, enhancing the potential for more sophisticated space missions.

NASA Funds Laser Communications Tech for Artemis II

  • What: NASA funds the development of laser communication technology for the Artemis II mission.
  • Who: NASA, Fibertek Inc.
  • Why: The investment in laser communication technology demonstrates NASA's commitment to enhancing communication capabilities for space missions. This technology is expected to enable high-speed data transmission, crucial for future deep space exploration and providing high-resolution images and video from lunar regions.

SpaceX and T-Mobile Demonstrate Text Messaging via Starlink

  • What: SpaceX and T-Mobile successfully test text messaging through Starlink satellites.
  • Who: SpaceX, T-Mobile.
  • Why: This successful test represents a significant advancement in satellite communications, merging satellite and cellular technology. The ability to send text messages via satellite could revolutionize communication, especially in remote areas lacking traditional cellular coverage.

Digital Spaceport of the Future Initiative by SPACEWERX and AATS

  • What: SPACEWERX and AATS launch an initiative for digital transformation of U.S. spaceports.
  • Who: SPACEWERX, Assured Access to Space (AATS), U.S. Space Force.
  • Why: This initiative aims to modernize and enhance the operational capabilities of spaceports. The focus on digital transformation and hardware modernization is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in space launch operations. It represents the U.S. Space Force's commitment to leveraging technology for efficient and advanced spaceport infrastructure, crucial for future space missions and commercial space activities.

NASA's Report on Space-Based Solar Power

  • What: NASA releases a report on the potential and challenges of space-based solar power.
  • Who: NASA's Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy.
  • Why: The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the feasibility of space-based solar power, a concept that could revolutionize energy generation. While the report identifies current limitations, it also highlights areas for future research and development. This effort by NASA indicates a proactive approach to exploring innovative solutions for sustainable energy production.

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