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A Symposium, a wet dress, a new fund, and it’s only Monday.

Brace for Symposium week! Starship’s wet dress. UK's space fund. More capital for Orbit Fab. Boeing’s anti-jam. FAA balances air and space travel. And more.





Brace yourselves, it’s Space Symposium week! Wet dress rehearsal for Starship. UK launches the International Bilateral Fund. Orbit Fab gets a series A round. Boeing announces their anti-jam payload for WGS. The FAA wants to balance air travel and space travel. Our interview with Steve Luczynski, Board Chair of the Aerospace Village, on their mission, programs, and upcoming activities at the RSA Conference next week. All this and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our featured guest is Steve Luczynski, Board Chair of the Aerospace Village, on the Aerospace Village nonprofit, their mission, their programs, and their upcoming activities at the RSA Conference next week.

You can follow Steve on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Selected Reading

SpaceX's launch of Starship could remake space exploration | Washington Post 

UK Space Agency funding for international space partnerships | GOV.UK

SpaceX launches seventh Transporter rideshare mission | SpaceNews

Exolaunch’s 21 rideshare smallsats deployed during the SpaceX Transporter-7 mission | SatNews

HawkEye 360’s nexgen Cluster 7 smallsats are successfully launched | SatNews   

TrustPoint Announces Launch of First Commercially-Funded, Purpose-Built PNT Microsatellite | Business Wire 

China claims its Space Station has achieved 100% oxygen regeneration in orbit | Interesting Engineering 

Boeing Unveils Anti-Jam Payload For Next Space Force Wideband Global SATCOM Satellite | Via Satellite

As counterspace weapons ‘proliferate,’ the new cold war for space races forward: studies | Breaking Defense

The Moon is the Best Place to Transport Rocket Fuel | Universe Today 

US aviation authorities may delay some space launches to avoid air traffic disruption | Reuters 

NASA launches stadium-sized balloon from New Zealand | SpaceConnect  

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>> Maria Varmazis: Hello, everyone, converging upon Colorado Springs, Colorado for this year's space symposium. The 38th annual space symposium kicks off today, and it is the biggest international event for all things space across commercial government and military sectors, with over 10,000 space professionals expected to attend this year. Major international space agencies and companies will be in attendance, though we imagine there may have been some last minute detours to a certain southern Texas location for some starshippy kind of reason. Today is April 17th, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is T Minus. It's Space Symposium Week, wet dress rehearsal for Starship, the UK launches the International Bilateral Fund, Orbit Fab gets a Series A round, and my interview with Steve Luczynski, Board Chair of the Aerospace Village on their mission, programs, and upcoming activities at the RSA Conference next week. And lots more today, so stick around. But first a big welcome to the new T Minus show producer Alice Carruth. Alice, I'm thrilled to have you join us. Okay, as we said at the top of the show, it's Space Symposium Week. And I probably don't even need to tell you this, but it's a very busy week for space professionals. We expect to hear plenty of new stories breaking this week from the big event. And if you were there in person, no doubt you've got a busy couple of days. And a special hello to the folks hanging out down in Boca Chica and on South Padre Island. SpaceX's Starship got its much, much awaited FAA launch license late last Friday. And this morning, the team got things started for Starship's first integrated flight test. First attempts rarely result in a launch, though, and Starship was not an exception to this. A frozen pressurization valve in the first stage of the super heavy rocket today forced a scrub. But this wasn't a waste. The planned flight test became a wet dress rehearsal instead. It will be at least 48 hours until another launch attempt can occur, so perhaps Elon Musk's launch date of choice on Thursday might actually happen. I'll let you look up that date on your calendar. The 33 Raptor engines powering the massive Starship's super heavy use a combination of liquid oxygen and methane as a propellant. While Relativity Space's Terran 1 may have technically snatched the crown of being the first rocket to get to orbit thereabouts using methane, it's not a crowded field just yet. Methane is often called the next generation rocket fuel. But no new technology is without its teething problems, and so far methane has proven to be kind of tricky. So, if Starship's flight test hopefully later this week is a success, it won't just be the massive scale of this ship that's a big win, the rocket fuel will be quite a success story too. And we're already getting news out of space symposium this week. And that's going to be a theme this week for sure. The UK Space Agency today announced that 20 million pounds will be available for its International Bilateral Fund, or IBF, and that will specifically be to support international relationships in the space sector. IBF funds will support research by international partners and industry research and academia in countries that are already strong space partners, like the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan, as well as what the UK is calling quote emerging space nations. In the first year, up to 30 projects could get up to 75,000 pounds in a Phase I proposal. And if successful, there could be up to 1.5 million pounds in second round funding. It sounds somewhat similar to the [inaudible] program in the U.S. And the IBF is open to proposals until June 9th. Gas stations in space just got a funding round. Orbit Fab today announced they've raised 28 1/2 million dollars in Series A funding, led by 8090 Industries, with additional funding from Stray Capital, Industrious Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Tribe Capital, Good Growth Capital, and Massive Capital Partners. Orbit Fab is working on extending the life of satellites on orbit by offering refueling services. And this Series A funding will help them grow as they get ready to deploy their first on orbit services, including a mission for the Defense Innovation Unit, expected to launch in early 2024. And after a few delays, SpaceX's Transporter 7 rideshare launched over the weekend on Saturday, delivering over 50 spacecraft to a Sun synchronous orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base. Most of the craft aboard were microsatellites and nanosattelites. And many were sent to augment existing constellations. Transporter 7 is launch number 23 for 2023 for the SpaceX Falcon 9 Series. And little surprise here that SpaceX is still dominating the market for Smallsat launches, even with a price increase last year, launch costs on a Transporter rideshare for a 200 kilosatellite is still something of a bargain at 1.3 million dollars. This next story now from China Daily. At a recent conference in Harbin, Chinese officials said that the Chinese Space Station can now produce 100% of its oxygen supply and recycle 95% of its water resources. Ian Chang, Director of the Environmental Control and Life Support Engineering Office under the Astronaut Center of China, said the six regeneration systems that make this oxygen regeneration possible reduce the amount of supplies needed to the Chinese Space Station from the ground by six tons a year. Recently, Boeing has announced that they've been working on the Protected Tactical SATCOM Prototype, or PTS P, which is an anti jamming payload that will be integrated aboard the U.S. Space Force Wideband SATCOM 11 satellite, scheduled for launch next year, with a PTSP coming online in 2025. According to the story from Via Satellite, the technology behind the PTSP will automatically counter various GPS jamming techniques from jammer geolocation, real time adaptive nulling, frequency hopping, and other methods. GPS jamming is no mere nuisance. And it's been an imperative for quite a long time to improve the resilience of physician navigating and timing systems that we all rely on. And especially the military. And FAA says that as space launches continue to ramp up the cadence, they may need to play fair with commercial air travel and share the airspace near launch sites. As the 2023 travel season ramps up here in the United States, there's concern from the FAA that the already very crowded skies over Florida specifically don't need any more disruption, and the launches from the space coast might just make things worse. As a result, the FAA says they're considering delaying commercial space launches if they could be potentially too disruptive to commercial air travel, or if they are too close to major holidays or sporting events. Launches and launch scrubs mean a lot of planes idling on the Tarmac, and that's not good for anybody or the planet. According to a story in Reuters, a memo from four major U.S. carriers said the March 11th Terran 1 launch attempt and subsequent scrub caused 99,000 incremental flight delay minutes, impacting 303,000 customers, resulting in an additional 227,000 gallons of fuel burn for three of the four U.S. carriers, which Reuters estimates was worth about 4.9 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Coming up next, my interview with Steve Luczynski of the Aerospace Village right after this break. From April 24th to April 27th, the 2023 RSA Security Conference is happening in San Francisco. And it's one of the biggest professional cybersecurity events in the world. And there will be aerospace experts there laser focused on the current state of space systems security and what can be done to improve it. To do that, they'll be teaming up with some of the best minds in cybersecurity research at an ongoing event at RSA called the Aerospace Sandbox. Facilitating this cross functional collaboration is Steve Luczynski, who is the Chairman for the Board of Directors at the Aerospace Village, which is running the Aerospace Sandbox. Here's Steve with more on what the Aerospace Village is doing at RSA to help with the space sector.

>> Steve Luczynski: The very short version of the Aerospace Village, it's a group of volunteers from all over the world, lots of folks in Europe and the United States, of course, but also Japan. And we continue to grow. And these folks give their time to support our mission. And the mission is very simple. Build, inspire, promote. The idea is building relationships and growing trust amongst government, industry, and hackers, security researchers who find these problems and want to get them fixed, because a lot of them have safety implications. The inspire is to inspire folks to get into the workforce, whether it's just into cybersecurity, or it's cybersecurity in the aviation and space sector. We're happy to bring them in, because we know those folks are out there, they want to get in. They don't always know how. And we know we need them in the workforce. Then the final part is promote. It's promoting awareness of what's going on, why is it okay to trust all of these systems, why is it safe when we hear these different claims, and what's really going on. And anywhere that we can help with that to make sure the public knows, yes, these are trustworthy systems, there are smart people working on them, and it's okay to continue relying on them as much as we do.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah, so let's dig in a little bit on what specifically is happening at the Aerospace Village at RSA this year. So, tell us a little bit what we can see there.

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah, you bet. So, this is our fourth year back. And the idea is RSA saw the value of what we do at other conferences, and bringing in that technical expertise, not vendor pitches, nobody is selling a product, I'm sure they're happy to take your money if you really want to buy something, but it's a chance to get hands on with a business conference and a business audience, and show them what's being done, not only in our area, but there's industrial control systems, there's car hacking, there's internet of things, all these groups are in the same box. And so we are bringing in our partners. We have Boeing, who's talking about some supply chain security and how they maintained security of aircraft throughout its lifetime. Pen Test Partners has an Airbus simulator. And they use that, that they built that, and they use that to demonstrate some of the work they've done on vulnerabilities and electronic flight bags. IntelliGenesis is another partner, and they have a demonstration about industrial control system security using a runway lighting scenario and some gear that they have built. And also we have CTQ that's a small company. They have built real and virtual a Mars Rover demonstration model and a drone demonstration model. And what they're focusing on is the building cybersecurity when you're doing pure engineering to design something. So, that is using a space based system to demonstrate that. And then we're also very fortunate because we have all these things on both the space and aviation side. We have two speakers. We have one that's from the FAA talking about the FAA's role in aviation and cybersecurity efforts there. But also another speaker that I think your audience from a space perspective will enjoy if they're out there, he's a researcher from the University of Finland. And his team does a lot of research associated with satellite gear, not just the satellite vehicles themselves, but also the ground control systems, and specifically some of the emergency beaconing systems that we might take advantage of if we're out lost hiking, there's an aircraft crash, these automatic beacons go off. And the things that they're finding, again, because they find these vulnerabilities, and they want to make sure they get fixed. And he's going to be talking about his experiences. So, a wide range of things that hopefully your audience is able to come out and enjoy with.

>> Maria Varmazis: That sounds fantastic. Yeah, I hope so. That sounds great. What are you seeing in terms of how cybersecurity is being built into the engineering processes? Is this something where there's greater maturity, or is there still sort of a resistance to it, or convincing needed?

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah, it depends answer, unfortunately, it depends on who you're talking to and where. There are, there are opportunities for improvement, let's put it that way. There's certainly some areas that we see in industry, in government, where things are going really well. There's lots of talk and cooperation, things like that. And, of course, there's other areas where things are lagging behind. Right? Not everybody has the resources to invest. But when we are out talking to folks, and we're received very well in the sense of being able to get the government and industry side who don't always cooperate and want to talk to each other for a variety of reasons, to understand, hey, these security researchers, these hackers, whatever stereotypes you have, this is the value that they bring. And so once those conversations get started, we've seen tremendous benefits that the understanding of meeting somebody face to face, which, you know, we had a little bit of a gap there, but as we start to see that come back, the value of that, having the conversations before a crisis, so that folks can reach out to one another. And there's a number of efforts. Boeing has a tech council that they invite these security researchers in to talk about issues and topics that are current and pertinent to what's going on in this field. We also see that on the government side. There's an aviation cybersecurity initiative. Again, those are two aviation examples. But even CIZA, they have a public private working group for space cybersecurity, as does AIAA. And that is the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. They have an aerospace cybersecurity working group made up of their members and outsiders. And the village is a part of all of those. Because that's where we see the folks interacting and the goodness of having the conversation and being able to propagate that further and get others to understand the value in bringing cybersecurity into the conversation early.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah, I was going to that's a great segue into my next question is what would be your advice to a space firm that maybe has little to no understanding of where they need to get started on something like this?

>> Steve Luczynski: So, there's plenty of resources in the sense like some of those agencies and groups that I mentioned before that they put out a public notice, I want to, they're inviting folks to join their events, to listen and learn, to come in and present. There's a space iSAT that invites folks in. There's also membership there. But, again, they invite in for different discussions and presentations. And then even as simple as events like DEFCON, where DEFCON is a wide variety of things. It's the biggest hacker conference in the world. It happens in the U.S. out in Vegas in August for folks who may not be familiar. But they have just a tremendous range of things that they do. And then when you have a village like ours, you can focus on aerospace topics. You can come by, and we're already thinking about this year's DEFCON, but what we've done in the past, we've had AWS brought in, a segment of their ground control network, and they had a capture the flag contest. So, anybody could walk up, learn how to use their network, and try some games that help them learn what's going on. We had folks from Hack A Sat who bring in CubeSats and [inaudible] are teaching and demonstrating. And so it's a chance to interact with those folks. It's a chance to learn what is going on in the field, and to talk to experts who are doing this. So, for folks in a startup mode who are trying to learn more about the cybersecurity aspects, or where to go to learn more, who to talk to, that's another great venue.

>> Maria Varmazis: And one thing we were talking about before we got started was sort of debunking real threats versus ones that maybe we hear about in the media that aren't as relevant. Any examples there you want to chat about?

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah.

>> Maria Varmazis: Any little favorites.

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah, I don't know if I need to go into specific examples. But I think typical and incident happens. Everybody reacts. The first news reports say one thing, and a lot of times that's not actually what's going on. And so that's why we made sure to highlight that as part of our mission. There is so much goodness out there, goodness as far as smart people, who do know what's going on most of the time because they're there firsthand, or others who have the expertise to understand while there may not be a lot of information, this is the more likely cause behind things. So, when you start bringing them together with media and cybersecurity smart reporters who want to learn more and present the story correctly, you give them a venue to talk to one another, that, as a connector, is what the village does, so we can help bring those smart voices together to make sure the right information gets out there, the right information as in getting to the level of detail so it's easy to understand for the general public, because most of the time the folks we're talking to are absolutely not in depth technical experts. So, let's make it something easier for them to understand. Let's make sure, is this really cybersecurity? Think back to the FAA NOTAM's issue that happened not too long ago. That was a mistake. That was not a hack in some massive movie scenario of things to worry about. That was just bad process. Or other events where I don't know the details of Viasat, but there's a lot going on there in the background between what happened on the satellite and what happened in the ground control network. And the reporting that's coming out appears to be good solid background and details. And Viasat, how they're talking about it. We haven't been a part of that, so I'm not trying to claim any of that. But just seeing that happening, the willingness to talk about those things is very encouraging.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah, indeed. And certainly since the Viasat incident last year, I've incidentally been hearing a lot more interest in this, so I hope that you'll see that interest reflected in attendance, RSA and DEFCON this year. And I look forward to following up with you on how both events go, and what happens this year, what's new.

>> Steve Luczynski: Happy to talk any time. And if anybody has questions, you know to get in touch and be able to reach out and learn more.

>> Maria Varmazis: Steve, it's been a pleasure. Thanks so much for speaking with me today. You can find out more about the Aerospace Sandbox at RSA and the Aerospace Village at aerospacevillage.org. We'll be right back after this quick break. Hello again. We've got a balloon story for you today. Now, don't roll your eyes. It's nothing nefarious or mysterious. This one is all science. NASA this week launched a pumpkin shaped super pressure balloon from Wanaka Airport in New Zealand. This balloon is football stadium sized, and I assume we mean U.S. football and not a football pitch. And we'll hit an altitude of 110,000 feet. It's 100 day mission, to test the balloon's super pressure technology, and to seek out new large galaxy clusters with a new telescope onboard, provided by Princeton University. The balloon is fully enclosed, which adds to its longevity. Oh, yeah, this is new balloon technology. NASA's Scientific Balloon Program Chief Debbie Fairbrother said this. The super pressure balloon technology is a real game changer for conducting cutting edge science at the edge of space at a fraction of the cost of flying into space. And that's it for T Minus for April 17th, 2023. T Minus is a production of N2K Networks, your source for strategic workforce intelligence. For additional links and resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. Elliott Peltzman composed our theme song, mixing by Elliott Peltzman and Tre Hester. Alice Carruth is our producer. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. And I'm Maria Varmazis. See you tomorrow.

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