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Signals and Space | V2 | Issue 8 | 02.26.24

The rise of the goddess of strife and discord. Hello, Beijing? What’s going on up there? Houston, Odysseus has a new home. And more!



Good morning,

It's good to be back on the Moon. Congratulations to all those involved in the successful Intuitive Machines landing. For the first time in over 50 years, the US has landed on the Moon, and it was a private company to do it. The space industry is changing rapidly.

We also published a deeply moving Deep Space interview with Keisha Schahaff on Saturday. If you haven't listened yet, I strongly recommend you check it out. Imagine being the first woman to fly to space with your child. Parents will love this conversation.

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


  • Keisha Schahaff, a Wellness Coach and Virgin Galactic Astronaut, discusses her groundbreaking journey as the first Caribbean woman in space and the first mother-daughter pair to travel to space together.

  • Tony Colucci, a Space Business Advisor and Strategist, shares insights on the evolving dynamics of the space industry and the role of strategic planning in space ventures.

  • Debbie Ramos Trainor, a former NASA Astronaut Trainer and Author, shares her journey from tortillas to astronauts in her book "An Unexpected Journey."

  • Sarvesh Garimella, Chief Scientist and CTO at MyRadar, discusses predictive weather data and its significance for space missions and Earth observation.


General John W. Raymond Joins Board Of Impulse Space; Company Recently Selected For Two SBIR Awards By SPACEWERX

  • What: Former US Space Force Chief General John W. Raymond has joined the board of Impulse Space, which was recently awarded two SBIR contracts to support tactically responsive space initiatives.
  • Why: General Raymond's appointment and the SBIR awards underscore the growing collaboration between the military and commercial space sectors, highlighting the strategic significance of responsive and innovative space capabilities for national security.

Voyager Vitality! Terran Orbital’s CAPSTONE Nanosatellite Exceeds Expectations

  • What: Terran Orbital’s CAPSTONE nanosatellite, supporting NASA's Artemis program, has exceeded performance expectations in lunar orbit, contributing to lunar navigation experiments.
  • Why: CAPSTONE's success underscores the critical role of nanosatellites in pioneering navigation techniques and supporting future lunar exploration missions, highlighting the increasing capabilities of smaller spacecraft.

ClearSpace secures another UK contract to develop refuelling capabilities

  • What: ClearSpace was awarded a contract by the UK Space Agency to explore the feasibility of an in-orbit satellite refueling mission, aiming to extend the operational life of satellites and reduce space debris.
  • Why: Developing satellite refueling capabilities is a crucial step towards sustainable space operations, addressing the growing concern over space debris and the sustainability of satellite constellations.

Space Tango Selected by NASA for Key Role in Artemis II Mission

  • What: Space Tango has been awarded a contract to support biological data collection for NASA's Artemis II mission, the first crewed test flight to lunar orbit since the Apollo missions.
  • Why: Space Tango's involvement in Artemis II highlights the importance of biological research in understanding human health and performance in space, contributing to the preparation for longer-duration missions and deep space exploration.

Space Circling Secures $13.9 Million in Series A Funding to Revolutionize China's Commercial Space Industry

  • What: Space Circling, a Chinese commercial space company, raised $13.9 million in Series A funding to accelerate the development of its Qiaolong-1 rocket engine and reusable launchers.
  • Why: This funding round highlights the dynamic growth and increasing capabilities within China's commercial space sector, signaling the country's intent to become a significant player in the global space industry, particularly in the development of advanced and sustainable launch technologies.

Fresh capital fuels Queensland’s space race as Gilmour eyes launch

  • What: Gilmour Space, an Australian space services company, raised 55 million Australian dollars (approximately 36 million US dollars) in a Series D funding round led by Queensland Investment Corporation. The funds are earmarked for the production of Gilmour's Eris orbital launch vehicle and satellites, with the aim of enhancing Australia's space sovereignty.
  • Why: This investment underscores the growing importance of national space capabilities and competitiveness in the global launch market. Gilmour's development of the Eris rocket and the establishment of the Bowen Orbital Spaceport represent significant steps towards achieving sovereign space capabilities, potentially transforming Australia into a key player in the space industry.


Cabinet approves amendment in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy on Space Sector

  • What: India’s cabinet has approved amendments in the FDI policy for the space sector, opening up the industry to foreign investment and aiming to foster innovation, employment, and technology absorption.
  • Why: This policy change is expected to boost the Indian space sector's growth, attract international partnerships, and integrate Indian companies into global value chains, enhancing the country's competitiveness in the global space market.

U.S., Partner Nations Strengthen Space Interoperability During Global Sentinel

  • What: The Global Sentinel exercise aimed to strengthen space interoperability among the U.S. and partner nations, focusing on enhancing collaborative efforts in space operations.
  • Why: Enhancing interoperability in space operations among allied and partner nations is critical for maintaining space security and ensuring a collective response to challenges in the increasingly contested space domain.

How a new space race could be harming the Earth’s atmosphere

  • What: An exploration of the potential environmental impacts of the increasing frequency of rocket launches on the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Why: This story highlights the importance of considering the environmental consequences of space exploration and the need for sustainable practices. As the space industry continues to grow, understanding and mitigating its impact on the planet's atmosphere is crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainability of space activities.

United Nations agrees to address impact of satellite constellations on astronomy

  • What: The United Nations' COPUOS has agreed to include "Dark and Quiet Skies, astronomy and large constellations" as an agenda item for the next five years, aiming to address the challenges posed by satellite constellations to astronomy.
  • Why: This decision underscores the growing concern over the impact of large satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy and the need for international cooperation to mitigate these effects. It highlights the importance of balancing space exploration and commercial activities with the preservation of astronomical research capabilities.


Moon landing: US clinches first touchdown in 50 years

  • What: The United States, through Intuitive Machines, achieves its first lunar landing in over 50 years with the Nova-C class lunar lander, Odysseus, marking a historic milestone in commercial lunar exploration.
  • Why: This successful mission underscores the pivotal role of public-private partnerships in advancing lunar exploration and sets the stage for NASA's Artemis program, aimed at returning humans to the Moon and establishing a sustainable presence.


Ariane 6 arrives at Europe’s Spaceport via Canopée

  • What: Ariane 6, Europe's next-generation launch vehicle, has arrived at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, signaling readiness for its inaugural flight.
  • Why: The arrival and upcoming launch of Ariane 6 represent a significant step for European space capabilities, offering enhanced flexibility, competitiveness, and performance for a wide range of missions.

JAXA | Launch Result of the second H3 Launch Vehicle (H3TF2)

  • What: JAXA successfully launched its second H3 rocket, H3TF2, delivering a pair of satellites into orbit. The H3 rocket, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, is intended to replace the retiring H-IIA rocket.
  • Why: This successful launch is a critical milestone for JAXA, as it seeks to establish a reliable and regular satellite launch program. The H3 rocket's development and operational success are vital for Japan's ambitions to maintain and enhance its position in the competitive space launch market.


Here's what just landed on the moon aboard Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander

  • What: Odysseus carried various payloads, including six from NASA focused on communications, lunar dust analysis, and navigation, alongside commercial payloads like art sculptures and a lunar data storage trial.
  • Why: These diverse payloads are designed to advance scientific understanding of the Moon, test new technologies for future missions, and explore innovative uses of lunar missions, highlighting the Moon's growing importance as a platform for research and commercial activities.

Rocket Lab Successfully Returns Spacecraft Capsule to Earth, Brings Back Pharmaceuticals Made in Space

  • What: Rocket Lab and Varda Space successfully returned a capsule containing pharmaceuticals manufactured in space, marking a milestone in space manufacturing and pharmaceutical research.
  • Why: This mission demonstrates the potential for manufacturing in space to revolutionize various industries by leveraging the unique conditions of microgravity, potentially leading to advancements in medicine and materials science.

Science and technology projects wanted for potential UK mission with Axiom Space

  • What: The UK Space Agency is seeking proposals for science and technology projects for a potential future mission with Axiom Space, offering up to £15 million in commercial funding.
  • Why: This call for proposals represents a significant opportunity for UK scientists, innovators, and businesses to contribute to space exploration and research. It highlights the UK's commitment to leveraging commercial partnerships to advance its space capabilities and the broader goals of scientific discovery and technological innovation.

Astroscale Successfully Launches World’s First Debris Inspection Spacecraft, ADRAS-J

  • What: Astroscale launched ADRAS-J, the world's first commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The mission aims to approach, characterize, and survey an existing piece of large debris in orbit.
  • Why: The ADRAS-J mission represents a significant advancement in space debris management and on-orbit servicing technologies. By demonstrating the capability to safely approach and inspect space debris, Astroscale is addressing a critical need for sustainable space operations and debris mitigation strategies.


Deputy Secretary General: NATO is strengthening its partnership with the space industry

  • What: NATO has held its first "Space Reverse Industry Day," emphasizing strengthening partnerships with the commercial space industry to address challenges and opportunities in space for alliance security.
  • Why: By engaging with the commercial space sector, NATO aims to leverage innovation, enhance interoperability, and ensure the security of its member nations in the rapidly evolving space domain, highlighting the strategic importance of space in global security frameworks.

Space Force: We need a hotline to China

  • What: The US Space Force has expressed the need for direct communication lines with China to prevent misunderstandings and potential conflicts in space, citing the lack of well-defined international norms for space operations.
  • Why: Establishing a hotline for space operations between major spacefaring nations like the US and China is crucial for avoiding miscalculations and ensuring space remains a domain for peaceful and cooperative activities, especially as space becomes increasingly congested and contested.


Skyroot Aerospace launches Kalpana fellowship for women interested in space tech

  • What: Skyroot Aerospace introduced the Kalpana Fellowship, aimed at supporting women engineers in India to pursue careers in space technology.
  • Why: Promoting diversity and inclusion in the space industry, particularly by encouraging more women to join the sector, is essential for fostering innovation and addressing the global challenges of space exploration and utilization.

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