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NASA’s Bennu sample contains carbon and water.

Carbon and water found in the Bennu Asteroid sample. IN-SPACe forecasts a surge to India’s space economy. Relativity to launch Intelsat satellites. And more.





NASA scientists find evidence of carbon and water in the Bennu Asteroid sample. The Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, (IN-SPACe), is forecasting India's space economy to reach $44 billion by 2033. Relativity Space has signed a multi-year, multi-launch Launch Services Agreement with Intelsat, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Today is International Day of the Girl and we wanted to highlight a female role model in the aerospace industry that is pushing boundaries and agendas. Dr. Norilmi Amilia Ismail is a University Lecturer, an entrepreneur focusing on building satellites and a UN mentor for the Space for Women program based in Malaysia. 

You can connect with Norilmi on LinkedIn and find out more about her company SpaceIn Sdn Bhd on their website.

Selected Reading

NASA’s Bennu Asteroid Sample Contains Carbon, Water

India’s space economy has potential to reach $44 billion by 2033 with about 8% global share - The Hindu

Relativity Space and Intelsat Sign Multi-Launch Agreement for Terran R

Skyrora, Viasat, and CGI partner to develop a commercial space-based launch vehicle telemetry solution

China’s STAR.VISION AI Satellite to Use Rwandan-Developed Technology - Space in Africa

Lockheed Martin Selects Australian Firms Axiom And Nupress For Orion Spacecraft Program

NRO plans 10-fold increase in imagery, signals intel output - Breaking Defense

Evolution Space to Produce and Test Solid Rocket Motors at NASA Stennis

NRO, Space Force Partner to Craft New Moving Targeting Strategy- Air and Space Forces

Astra Space Is Exploring Options, Including Asset Sales- Bloomberg

Towards an agenda for gender perspectives in space security | SIPRI

Space shuttle's rockets will be trucked through SoCal roads Tuesday and Wednesday- LA Times

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>> Maria Varmazis: You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the space industry that isn't interested in the origins of the universe. It's what NASA is hoping to discover with samples collected from an asteroid almost 60 million miles away. We've waited three years to find out the secrets hidden in the regolith on Bennu, and initial findings have finally been released. [Music]

Today is October the 11th, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is "T-Minus." [Music]

NASA finds carbon and water in the Bennu asteroid sample. In space forecasts, India to account for 8% of the global space market by 2033. Relativity signs a multi-launch agreement with Intelsat. And we're highlighting International Day of the Girl today with our guest, Dr. Norilmi Amilia Ismail, who is a university lecturer, an entrepreneur focusing on building satellites in Malaysia, and a UN mentor for the Space4Women program. [Music]

Let's dive into today's intel briefing. It's the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid, and OSIRIS-REx has struck gold. No, not the metal kind -- the liquid kind. The most desirable material that supports life as we know it -- water. OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security - Regolith Explorer" -- yep, that is a mouthful -- returned to Earth on September 24th, after collecting samples from the near-earth asteroid known as Bennu. The asteroid is said to date back to the birth of our solar system, and the samples are expected to help researchers find out more about how our solar system formed. And for the last 10 days, scientists have been analyzing the material in the capsule that touched down in the Utah desert. And initial studies have found evidence of high carbon content and water. And they haven't even opened the main sample chamber yet. Black dust and particles were scattered around the outside edge of the chamber, which NASA is calling scientific treasure. Although more work is needed to understand the nature of the carbon compounds found, NASA says the initial discovery bodes well for future analyses of the asteroid sample. The secrets held within the rocks and dust from the asteroid will be studied for decades to come, offering insights into how our solar system was formed, how the precursor materials to life may have been seeded on Earth, and what precautions need to be taken to avoid asteroid collisions with our home planet. These initial findings are exciting, but we think they're just the tip of the iceberg for what is to come from this mission.

A vision and strategy report for the Indian space economy has been released by the Indian Space Promotion and Authorization Center, also known as IN-SPACe. The organization is forecasting India's space economy to reach $44 billion by 2033, which is a massive surge from the current $8.4 billion. Now India accounts for just 2% of the global space market in 2023, but IN-SPACe says they see it jumping to 8% of the worldwide market share in the next decade. The country has attracted an increase in private investment following its successful soft landing on the lunar surface in August. IN-SPACe's comprehensive strategy aims to shape India's space economy and solidify its standing on the global stage.

Relativity Space has signed a multi-year, multi-launch services agreement with Intelsat, operator of the largest integrated space and terrestrial network in the world. Under the agreement, Relativity will launch Intelsat satellites on Terran R as early as 2026. The cost of the launch agreement was not mentioned in the announcement, but Relativity says it has a total of nine signed customers for Terran R, including multiple launches, and totaling more than $1.8 billion in backlog.

The European Space Agency has awarded Skyrora, Viasat, and CGI a contract under the Commercial Space Transportation Services program that demonstrate a space-based launch vehicle telemetry relay system. The system known as InRange aims to benefit launch vehicle providers across the industry globally. Skyrora says InRange will enable the company to achieve continuous transmission of telemetry data during flight, from launch to payload deployment. InRange will connect to Viasat's global Elera L-band satellite communication network. The initial stage of the project will include Viasat conducting ground testing of the InRange solution with Skyrora's launch vehicle system. And CGI will undertake a market study and analysis of ground stations to determine the commercial potential of the solution within the wider launch service provider market.

Some news from Africa now. And the Rwanda Space Agency and STAR.VISION Aerospace Limited have announced the successful completion of the Algorithm Rideshare Program aboard China's first artificial intelligence satellite, WJ-1A. The vehicle was launched in August as part of China's Wonder Journey constellation, a next-generation aerospace enterprise that combines artificial intelligence and aerospace technology. A team of six students from the Rwandan universities collaborated with mentors from the country's space agency to work on the mission. The algorithms on the satellite enable the vehicle to independently process images, eliminating the need for data downloads, and facilitating real-time land usage assessment.

Australian companies Axiom Precision Manufacturing and the Nupress Group have been selected as global supply chain partners by Lockheed Martin for the Orion spacecraft program. The companies have previously partnered with Lockheed on the F-35 program, and the latest contracts were awarded under Lockheed Martin's Global Supply Chain Program agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia.

The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office or NRO says it plans to quadruple the size of its satellite fleet over the next decade. The intelligence agency says the expansion will allow it to deliver "10 times as many signals and images as it is today." Space Force Major General Christopher Povak told the Mitchell Institute that "NRO is already building the largest and most capable, diverse and resilient overhead constellation in our history. We're also putting new capabilities on orbit, on ground, and everywhere in between." Povak went further to explain that the planned satellites will be of diverse size stationed across diverse orbits. The NRO's future architecture will include the continued use of commercial satellites to obtain unclassified, shareable data.

Evolution Space has announced plans to establish production and testing operations for solid rocket motors at NASA's Stennis Space Center. Evolution will be given access to previously vacant Stennis facilities to mix, cast, and store propellants. They also plan to use the E-3 Test Complex to conduct the solid rocket motor hot fires onsite for the first time. Evolution Space plans to work with NASA personnel to test the motors, and this will be the first time that production and testing of solid rocket motors will be held at Stennis. Evolution's production facility is expected to be operational by spring 2024. [Music]

That concludes our briefing for today. We've added links to further reading on all the stories we've featured in our Show Notes. We've included a few extra stories for you as well. One from the NRO, which has announced that it's working with the Space Force to develop next-generation moving target tracking capabilities in space. There's another on Astra Space's possible asset sales, and a third story on space security. They're all at space.n2k.com.

Hey, T-Minus crew, if you find this podcast useful, please do us a favor and share a five-star rating and a short review in your favorite podcast app. That will help other space professionals just like you to find the show and join the T-Minus crew. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it. [Music]

Now today is International Day of the Girl, and we wanted to highlight a female role model in the aerospace industry who is pushing boundaries and agendas. Dr. Norilmi Amilia Ismail is a university lecturer, an entrepreneur focusing on building satellites, and a UN mentor for the Space4Women program. She is also the President of the Malaysian Space Initiative, which is a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization that aims to promote collaboration between the Malaysian government, industry, and academia to advance the country's space industry. She's very busy, as you might imagine. I started off by asking her opinion on the Malaysia Space Exploration action plan for 2030.

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: When we talk about space in Malaysia, it should be a really connect to the Malaysian. So we have experienced some sort -- I can't really say it's failure, but in 2009 we launch our own satellite, RazakSAT. It was the first satellite that SpaceX -- the commercial satellite that SpaceX launch, actually.

>> Maria Varmazis: Oh, really? I didn't know that.

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: And -- yeah.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's cool.

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: Yeah, you should read the book on the [inaudible] actually talking about this RazakSAT, which is the first commercial customer for them. And this RazakSAT is not ran in long -- on -- in orbit. And when [inaudible] for nearly a year on the operations. And when this no longer operate, Malaysians feel that this is kind of failure, and we're not supposed to put lots of money to the space. So we have met very silent long wait for the industrial wrong from 2009 to 2012. So nobody dared to do something extravaganza for the space, because we know that it's very sensitive to the Malaysians. But then when we have this time of we call that new space, when the private sector entering this industry, then we see that it's attract that people. Because when people say that, oh, you use this tax money, but you can just -- they can also see that, oh no, this is private. This also is coming from the private funding. So it's not really touching on the tax money from the Malaysian. So this perspective actually changes. But then when the draft on the Malaysia Space Exploration, it base on the Malaysia's Space Policy actually. In 2017 they already dropped this policy. So this policy is more on looking what kind of the exploration for Malaysia need to go for the space. It's not like you go to the moon. It's not like you go for the [inaudible] mine, something like that, but it's more on the economical value. So they look on the remote sensing satellite. This is where actually we think that this will create more economical value, but also more on the scientific value, so we can learn from all the scientific exploration from this satellite development. And from this Malaysia Space Policy in 2017, then they have this Malaysia Space Exploration, when they have more than satellite. So now they have in the line, they're going to study about the launcher, maybe the fascinate this, what the launcher having a space spot, and also having setup for the incubator for the space -- specifically for space. And more small satellite -- focusing on more development of small satellite. And this is based on two things. The first one on the contribution to the economy itself, which they think that it should be -- contribute around 0.3. This is the objective or the aim for all this space industry, 0.3 of the Malaysian GDP, is around, yeah, 3.2 billion in ringgit Malaysia, or 1 billion for the USD. And --

>> Maria Varmazis: Oh, thank you.

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: Yeah, sorry. And also it's supposed to contribute around 5,000 job opportunities in Malaysia. So this is something that -- 5,000 is not a small number for us, for the space industry. Because probably I can just count with my finger how many engineers actually focusing on the space copies and involved in development of satellite or anything related to the space. And this -- on this too, they see that oh, if you want the space industry here, meaning that you need to contribute the economy, and also not hurting the pocket of the government.

>> Maria Varmazis: Of course, yes. It's showing that value, yep. Yep, absolutely.

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: That's the reason why I think all the policy are looking how to develop the company to step up, and also how to bring more investment to Malaysia, specifically on the space-related company, that comes Malaysia, how to ease them to be in Malaysia. So all the policy is direct to this kind of more on development of Malaysia industry to 2030. So at least now we have something to look for and also to refer or the gut line for us, and also the gut line for the government itself. This year I think they're going to announce on the budget for Malaysian -- the spend next year. So we heard that aerospace industry is one of the mainstream that men feel that they're going to focus, in order to develop more economy-related activities, so that they can achieve on the Malaysia Space Exploration 2030 objective. So industry is the main player for this. But we can avoid that to have the industry, meaning that we also need a very good academy institutions in other research, yeah, the [inaudible] And in Malaysia for information, we have only three universities having a program that can feed to the talent of the spacecraft, anything related to the space. So now we think that we need more. We need to have more industry that offer this program, and also maybe other institution, private institution that can help us together to fit the talent for this industry.

>> Maria Varmazis: And I would imagine that wouldn't be just -- and I'm -- not to minimize this -- not just satellite manufacturing, as important as that is, but also how to use the data that the satellites provide, and maybe how to propagate that into use in different applications.

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: Yeah, but for your information, to start off, to kick off these kind of activities, they actually have like, a focus area on this satellite development. This is the kickoff of this Malaysia Space Exploration. But at the same time, work cost, if you have the satellite development, all the data you have then, I think those people also need to be there. So they're finally, this is one of them.

>> Maria Varmazis: Absolutely. And I want to go back to something that you mentioned, because it's something that I was reading about a few months ago, that I really wanted to talk to you about a little bit, was discussions about developing a space launch facility in Malaysia. Given its physical location on the globe, very well positioned to benefit from a space launch facility. And I imagine the satellite industry in Malaysia would also really appreciate having a domestic launch site. Thoughts on that?

>> Norilmi Amilia Ismail: I thought about this actually a few years ago, when I start talking to a few industry. And actually, this being pushed by industry too. I kind of just feel it's originally idea from the government, because the demand is there. Really, really happy to have this kind of launcher in Malaysia. It's easy for me to launch more satellites, but -- because I'm [inaudible] Then when we heard about theirs, and we know some of reaction of Malaysia still, have the very conventional reaction, where you're really not supposed to put money on space, and all this. But I think the government doing a very good promotion for this, and even they now having influencer to talk about this, that this is not really from the taxpayer. This is actually the government private partnership. Then this is actually the demand come from the private sale. So this is exciting, because we know that we need a cooperation between private and government. Government [inaudible] policy, and also academia, just ID the right place to have this kind of launcher facilities. Even though we know that Malaysia isn't a good [inaudible] but still we are very near to our neighbors. So geopolitical things need to be solved by the government. The facility they will provide by industry, but this project also need to be include on the academia. So we need to mesh when this happen, by include all these entities to work together. So this is the most, I think, important roles that will be played by our Ministry of Science and Technology, to make sure that this will happen, that all this three entities working together to come up with the best proposal for the launch facility. I think the most important now for Malaysia is to work together with others too, because we still need to learn from other country how we can develop our own space industries. So we still open for the collaboration, so I think we are now in the map of the space industry. So look at us and try to work together with us, so that it's taught us [inaudible] [Music]

>> Maria Varmazis: We'll be right back.

Welcome back. And I do love any excuse to talk about the old Space Shuttle program, and especially about the ongoing work for Endeavour's home at the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. If somehow you have never seen the photos of Endeavour making its way to and through the streets of L.A. in 2012, they are really incredible. Same thing for the bright orange external tank in 2016. Both the Endeavour orbiter and the tank don't quite easily fit along standard roads, so there were lots of road closures and the like, to get them to their new home.

Well yesterday and today, more components of the full Endeavour assembly made the 160-mile trek through the City of Angels from the Mojave Desert. That would be the twin solid rocket motors. They are very big, yes, but thankfully, these narrow white components, while as long as a 757 plane and wider than one car lane of traffic, didn't require shutting down tons of roads, and could easily fit under freeway bridges as they reached their new destination. So yes, while there were some road closures, it was nowhere near the scale of the other Shuttle components in their journey from the Mojave Air and Space Port to Cal Science. The twin rocket motors traveled at a comparatively modest speed of 45 miles an hour, which is a snail's pace, compared to the multi-thousand miles per hour speed the Shuttle used to reach, back when, you know, it was actually in use.

The rocket motors are some of the last components to be assembled and later installed on the Endeavour, before the entire Endeavour exhibit at Cal Science shuts down at the end of this year, for a good few years. In that time, Endeavour will be fully assembled once again in a vertical orientation, and its new home will be built up around it. I cannot wait to see that. [Music]

That's it for T-Minus for October 11th, 2023. For additional resources from today's report, check out our Show Notes at space.n2k.com. We'd love to know what you think of our podcast. You can email us at space@n2k.com, or submit the survey in our Show Notes. Your feedback ensures that we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry. N2k's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people. We make you smarter about your team, while making your team smarter. This episode was produced by Alice Caruth. Mixing by Elliott Peltzman and Trey Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltzman. Our Executive Producer is Brandon Karpf. Our Chief Intelligence Officer is Eric Tillman. And I'm Maria Varmazis. Thanks for listening. We'll see you tomorrow. [Music]

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