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Introducing Artemis II. Plus Lockheed down under, SDA, Starship, Space Pioneer, and cybersecurity.

Artemis II crew announced. Starship moved to the launch site. Liquid-propelled Space Pioneer reaches orbit. Successful launch of SDA’s tranche 0. And more.





Artemis II crew announced. Starship moved to the launch site – booster tests imminent. Liquid-propelled Space Pioneer reaches orbit. The successful launch of SDA’s tranche 0 satellites and what it means for the program. Lockheed bags the largest contract ever from down under. NSC meets with industry for new talks on the cybersecurity of space. And the Space ISAC launches a new space for cybersecurity ops. All this and more in today’s episode of T-Minus.

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Selected Reading

Normalizing satellite servicing | Aerospace America 

Opening Up the Space Community | Aerospace America 

SpaceX moves Starship to launch site, and liftoff could be just days away | Ars Technica

Space Development Agency Successfully Launches Tranche 0 Satellites | Department of Defense  

China’s Space Pioneer reaches orbit with liquid propellant rocket | SpaceNews 

Lockheed wins Australia's biggest ever space contract, worth estimated $4B AUD | Breaking Defense

Administration, Private Sector Meet On Space Systems Cybersecurity | Via Satellite

Space ISAC Stands Up Operational Watch Center to Keep Pace with Proliferating Threats to Space Systems | Space ISAC

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Maria Varmazis:    Space is hard, it's often said. And while we've been launching humans into space for some decades now, we usually stay close to home in LEO. It's been a long while since humans have ventured as far out as the moon, a really long time, honestly. It's hard, but a lot of plans for humans' future in space involve a lunar base camp so we can do some development there and beyond. And we've got to get humans back there first to do it. So yes, today's announcement of the Artemis 2 crew for a lunar flyby is huge for human spaceflight and for making all the next giant leaps on the Moon, Mars and beyond. Today is April 3rd, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is T-Minus. Meet the crew of Artemis 2. Starship's launch draws ever closer. China makes a big leap for private spaceflight, and the SDA Tranche 0 gets rolling, all this and more. Stay with me

Maria Varmazis:    Here are today's headlines. We have a crew for the Artemis 2. They are Mission Specialists Christina Koch, Mission Specialist Jeremy Hansen of Canada, pilot Victor Glover, and Commander Reid Weisman. This is the second spaceflight for three of the Artemis 2 crew. It's the for Mission Specialist Hansen, and this will all serve them well for this arduous flight test. Their lunar flyby mission is expected to last about 10 days on the now-spaceflight-tested Orion, and it will take this crew further away from Earth than any humans have ever traveled. It's expected to have an apogee of about 230,000 miles or 370,000 kilometers away from Earth. Humans haven't left LEO, let alone visited the moon, since 1972.

Maria Varmazis:    This crew will not land on the moon, no. But putting humans that close to the moon and that far from Earth is a mission we haven't seen the likes of in generations now. Certainly, it's never happened in my lifetime. The goal for the Artemis 2 crew? According to NASA, it's to prove the Orion spacecraft's life support systems and to validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space. These tests will pave the way for a lunar landing for Artemis 3 and future lunar development. Right now, NASA says they're expecting Artemis 2 to head to the moon by the end of 2024, but of course we'll see.

Maria Varmazis:    Some words from NASA Johnson Director Vanessa Wyche, "For the first time in more than 50 years, these individuals, the Artemis 2 crew, will be the first humans to fly to the vicinity of the moon. Among the crew are the first woman, the first person of color, and the first Canadian on a lunar mission. And all four astronauts will represent the best of humanity as they venture for the benefit of all. This mission paves the way for the expansion of human deep space exploration and presents new opportunities for scientific discoveries, commercial, industry, and academic partnerships, and the Artemis generation."

Maria Varmazis:    A little further south in Texas, things are happening in Boca Chica. Starship Ship 24 moved to a launch site on April 1st. No fooling. And Booster 7 rocket tests might be happening today. These are all encouraging signs for progress on a Starship launch later this month, hopefully. Plus, marine warnings for a Starship's flight were posted over the weekend, and those warnings are running from April 6th to April 12th. Areas under notice include a part of the Gulf of Mexico for the launch and booster return, as well as a swath just north of Hawaii for the splashdown, which is expected about 90 minutes after a successful launch happens. And this is all pending the FAA license of course, which has not yet been granted. We are all still waiting on that.

Maria Varmazis:    The three-stage Tianlong-2 launched April 2nd from Jiuquan, and it successfully reached orbit. Tianlong-2 was made by a private company called Space Pioneer, and it's the first private Chinese launch firm to get to orbit using liquid propellant. In this case, specifically, it's kerolox, which is for them, a cold-derived kerosene. There was no payload in this launch, but the Tianlong-2 can carry up to 2,000 kilograms to LEO, or 1,500 kilograms to SSO. Space Pioneer has raised several funding rounds, equivalent to about 438 million USD since its founding in 2018. This is expected to be the first of many private launches in China this year with more than 20 already planned for 2023 alone.

Maria Varmazis:    The Space Development Agency Tranche 0 made it to orbit yesterday after launching from Vandenberg. You might remember it hit a bit of a delay last week with an unexpected abort from the Falcon 9. This first launch for Tranche 0 contains 10 satellites, and it's just the start of the SDA's proliferated warfighter space architecture or PWSA, a LEO constellation for low-latency communications and hypersonic missile detection and tracking. From this weekend's launch, eight of the 10 satellites were built by York Space Systems and they are transport layer satellites, and the other two satellites are tracking layer satellites made by SpaceX. There will be another launch expected this June for the remainder of Tranche 0 satellites, which will bring the total constellations number to 28. After Tranche 0 is complete, the SDA plans on launching Tranches at a two-year cadence.

Maria Varmazis:    Going back a few days on the 31st of March, there was a forum hosted by the White House Office of the National Cyber Director (the ONCD), and the National Space Council. The goal was to align investments in cybersecurity for space systems. It's great timing, because March 30th also marked the launch of the Space ISAC Operational Watch Center and initial kickoff of operations. "Protecting space systems as critical infrastructure is incredibly rewarding," said Hector Falcon, cyber and Space Intelligence Integrator at Space ISAC. "Given that all 16 critical infrastructure sectors use these assets, we are defending not just an array of touch points, but our livelihood. The analysts monitor data feeds and visualizations, detecting anomalies and correlating this information with other sources to produce comprehensive reports for our members."

Maria Varmazis:    Lockheed Martin just announced it landed a major deal with the Australian Department of Defense worth 4 billion Australian dollars or about 2.86 billion US dollars to shore up Australia's own military satellite program. According to the Australian Department of Defense, the contracted system will include satellite communications in geo, multiple ground stations in Australia, an integrated satellite communications management system, and two new satellite communications operations centers. Blacktree Technology of Australia will be supporting the ground segment, and DXC Technology will be working on the cybersecurity architecture on the software side.

Maria Varmazis:    And speaking of Australia, just a shout out to acknowledge the Australian Space Awards 2023, whose list of nominees just dropped this morning. Space Connect makes a great point to note that about half the award nominees of the 150 finalists this year are women, and that is pretty darn awesome. Best of luck to all of the nominees. ClearSpace and LeoLabs are partnering up to collaborate in making LEO safer and more sustainable in the long term. Both organizations have been working towards this goal on their own, and with this new memorandum of understanding, the hope is that they can collaborate by sharing data and technology as well as advisory board appointments and better amplify each other's efforts to keep LEO usable for everyone. And finally, a quick shout out to everyone attending C Airspace this week in Maryland. We'll have a bit more on this expo later this week, but for today we just wanted to say hello.

Maria Varmazis:    We'll be back with our fun fact for today right after this quick break. Stick around. Welcome back, it's kind of a rule that if you add the word space to any job title, it automatically becomes cooler. Space engineer, space venture capitalist, space podcast host, mm-hm. And now we can add space archaeologists to that ever-growing list. Yes, space archaeology. A new story from Ars Technica profiles a new project called Sampling Quadrangle Assemblages Research Experiment, or SQuARE, which is taking a traditional archaeologist approach to what life on the ISS is and has been like, not just the tools used, but also how the astronauts behave, well, in space. This kind of archaeology is studying years of the ISS records and reams of photographs for their studies to find out what exactly on board gets used a lot, what gets neglected and why.

Maria Varmazis:    So far, the most surprising find the space archaeologists have found so far about real life aboard the ISS? Well, one of the most frequently touched items aboard is a red and white tin of Altoids. Space halitosis is not so fun. And that's it for T-Minus for April 3rd, 2023. T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, the news and knowledge platform for professionals. For links to all of today's stories and more, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. Original music and sound designed by Elliott Peltzman, mixing by Tré Hester. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. and I'm Maria Varmazis. See you tomorrow.

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