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India’s heyday in space.

Skyroot raises over $27M. Space Solar and Thales Alenia further partnership on space-based solar power. Starliner’s crewed flight pushed to April. And more.





Skyroot Aerospace raised $27.5 million dollars in a new round of funding led by Singapore's Temasek. UK-based Space Solar has announced an innovation partnership with Thales Alenia Space, to continue to collaborate on their commercial space-based solar power system. NASA says the first Boeing Starliner flight with astronauts to the International Space Station will happen no earlier than April, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Steve Luczynski, Board Chairman of the Aerospace Village.

You can connect with Steve on LinkedIn and learn more about the Aerospace Village on their website.

Selected Reading

Skyroot raises $27.5 mln, heating up India's private sector space race- Reuters

Astronauts hand over space station to new crew - Chinadaily.com.cn

Space Solar and Thales Alenia Space in the UK working together to deliver Space-Based Solar Power

Rocket Factory UK gets £3.5m boost to launch from Shetland Islands

ASES to Collaborate with ESA to Leverage Space Technology for Socio-Economic Growth in Senegal

Progress Continues Toward NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to Station

Intuitive Machines Sets January 2024 for Historic U.S. Lunar Mission

Message to the Moon. 

Smithsonian To Open First Public Display of Asteroid Bennu Sample Collected by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission

Space Bureau Kicks Off Satellite Applicants Transparency Initiative- Federal Communications Commission

NASA-ISRO Radar Mission to Provide Dynamic View of Forests, Wetlands

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[ T-Minus Intro ]

>> Alice Carruth: Last week India's government announced a long-term plan for its space program. It includes a Venus orbiter, a Mars lander, a crewed space station by 2035, and a crewed lunar lander by 2040. The India Space Research Organization also held a test for its first human space flight vehicle. The scope of New Delhi's space ambition is breathtaking, and the commercial space industry is also riding their nation's new era of success.

[ T-Minus Intro ]

Today is October the 30th, 2023. I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-Minus. Sky Root raises over $27 million in a new round of funding. Space Solar and Talus Alania Space further their partnership on space-based solar power. Steriliner's first crewed flight is expected no earlier than April, and I caught up with Steve Luzinsky, Board Chairman of the Aerospace Village at ASCEND. Find out his thoughts on cyber security in space later in the show.

>> On to today's intelligence briefing. India's space ambitions are finally getting the global intentions that they deserve. The nation has laid out an ambitious plan for the next 20 years to include the first human space flight in 2025. Indian space startups are also capitalizing on the nation's success. Sky Root Aerospace has raised $27.5 million in a new run of funding led by Singapore's Temesek. This news comes just days after another launch startup, Agnacore Cosmos raised a similar amount. Sky root launched India's first private rocket last year, and is set to launch its second commercial rocket, The Vickrum 1, next year. Rival space startup, Agnacole Cosmos says it's raised close to $27,000,000 in fresh funding ahead of its first rocket launch. Sky Root has so far raised $95 million, while Anicole has raised $40 million. The success of India's Chen Drian 3 moon mission has provided a boost to the country's private space Indistru, we expect to raise more before the year is out. Staying in Asia, and there's been a crew handover ceremony held on Tiangon Station. Chenzou 16 mission astronauts handed over the control "Space Station according to the China man space agency." The Shenzhou 16 crew are scheduled to fly back to Earth on Tuesday. UK-Based Space Solar has announced an innovation partnership with TELUS Alania Space to continue to collaborate on their commercial space-based solar power systems. Talus Alania Space in the UK and Space Solar have been working together for over six months on the UK government's department of energy security and Net Zero's innovation program developing the concept and assessing mission architecture for space solar system. This new agreement builds on the initial research goals to bring a product to market. In addition to the collaboration with space solar, TELUS Alania Space has been selected by the European Space Agency to lead to lead a feasibility study for this Alaris initiative, which I'll determine the viability of a project to provide clean energy for its space-born solar power plants. The Solaris studies aims to Europe to make an informed decision by 2025, on whether or not to embark on a development program for the commercialization of space-based solar energy with the initial objective of designing a small-scale, in-orbit demonstrator. And staying in the UK, news came out last week that the UK subsidiary of the German-based rocket factory, Augsburg AG, has received 3.5 million pounds in a funding booth from the nation's space agency to launch from the Shetland Islands. Rocket Factory UK has also been granted exclusive access to launch its rocket from the launch pad at Scotland's SaxaVord Spaceport. The company's first launch is scheduled for QT of next year, and we'll be speaking to the CEO of SaxaVord Spaceport, Frank Strang, on Friday's show and on our Deep Space episode for this week. The Senegalese Space Study agency has signed a letter of intent with the European Space Agency to collaborate on future space technology opportunities. This collaboration opens up new opportunities in agriculture, environmental monitoring, disaster management, telecommunications and more. It is hoped that these advancements will stimulate economic growth and improve living standards and sustainable development for the people of Senegal. NASA is testing progress with the Boeing Starliner crew flight program to the ISS. After years of delays since its failed test in 2019, NASA now says that the first flight with astronauts to the International Space Station will happen no earlier than April. In a statement on the US Space Agency's website, NASA says that while Boeing is targeting March to have the space craft ready for flight, teams decided during a launch manifest evaluation that a launch in April will be better to accommodate upcoming crew rotations and cargo resupply missions this spring. Boeing has been working on meeting NASA safety requirements after it was concluded that the company was using adhesive tape that could be flammable. The team had been working on tape removal from the upper dome of the Starliner crew compartment, and work continues to remove or remediate the tape in the lower dome of the spacecraft. And delays are also hitting intuitive machines. Liftoff of the IM1 Lunar Mission is now targeted for a multi-day launch window which opens on January 12 of 2024, a setback from its original target of November of this year. Steve Altama is cofounder, president, and chief executive officer of intuitive machines said, "There are inherent challenges of lunar missions. Schedule changes and mission adjustments are a natural consequence of pioneering lunar exploration. Receiving a launch window and the required approvals to fly is a remarkable achievement and the schedule adjustment is a small price to pay for making history. We couldn't agree more. Would you like to send a message to the moon? Lunar Outpost is offering an opportunity to do just that on their MAPP Rover. The vehicle was aiming to be the first to explore the lunar south pole later this year. The same location that IM1 is aiming for. And you can be part of the mission by adding your message to its flight computer. We've included a link to upload your thoughts in the show notes. The public will get their first glimpse of the Bennu asteroid samples next week when they go on display at the Smithsonian's Natural Museum of Natural Science in Washington DC. The samples were collected from the asteroid by NASA's OSIRIS-Rex mission, the first US space mission to sample the surface of a planetary body since Apolo 17 in 1972. Samples from Bennu may provide insights of how water and organic molecules first reached Earth. A core research focus of the OSIRIS-Rex mission and of the museum's new "Our Unique Planet" initiative. If only they could figure out how to open the taxum jar. And that concludes our intelligence briefing for today. Stay with us for insights from the aerospace village from the ASCEND conference. You'll find links to further reading on all the stories we've mentioned in our show notes. And we've included a link on a news release from the FCC on its transparency initiative for satellite applicants. Hey T-Minus crew, every Monday we produce a Britain intelligence roundup. It's called, "Signals and Space." If you happen to miss any T-Minus episodes, this strategic intelligence product will get you up to speed in the fastest way possible. It's all signal; no noise. You can sign up for Signals in Space in our show notes or at space.n2k.com. I caught up with Steve Luczynski, Board Chairman of the aerospace village, Atterson, last week and started off by asking him what their involvement was at the conference. So, let's start with what is the aerospace doing at A1AA's ASCEND conference?

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah. No. That's a great question. This is the third time we've been here at AIAA conference, ASCEND. We've done some of their aviation events and Sci-tech, and supported virtually. So, it's the relationship between what we do in the aerospace village of promoting cyber security in the aerospace sector. Some folks it's super easy because they know, they've been doing it a while and they want to grow; they want to build more relationships between government, industry, and hackers. But AIAA, it's a fairly new program and they're trying to grow that. And it's a matter of trying to get engineers and practitioners who don't have that deep, cybersecurity background to understand what it is. And I think appreciate it in the sense that most people are like, oh great, here comes the cyber guy. Making it no fun for me and difficult to do my mission. But being able to appreciate, no. This is why it's important; this is why it's a growing concern. And here's how you do it in a way that doesn't hurt your mission, it only supports it further and helps you be successful.

>> Alice Carruth: I think you've absolutely nailed it on the head what the industry is like when it comes to cybersecurity. We all know it's very important, but we so tend to stick our heads in the sand a little bit --

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah.

>> Alice Carruth: How are you trying to help nurture them to come towards the idea that they need to think about this from the offset and really start --

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah.

>> Alice Carruth: -- implementing it early on in their mission.

>> Steve Luczynski: So that notion's out there, but I think showing examples, having discussions. It's a matter here of, we're with the village, we are bringing government industry and hackers together. In this sense, put academia in there. It's bringing cybersecurity knowledge, government knowledge, the other parts of industry that do cybersecurity into their world. One example, what brought me here primarily was being part of a panel where you have folks who have government background, industry background, and they're talking about collaboration -- that's the theme of the conference -- the collaboration that they did that's going to be in the report that's soon going to be published by the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency. It's not out yet, but some of the thoughts and ideas that they have formed from the research they did from that report and sharing that with an audience. And one of the panelists asked a great question about who knew about this kind of activity, and there were like, three hands. No surprise, this is not a cybersecurity crowd. And so, hopefully by having these kind of talks, having these kinds of engagements, being able to just talk about it and getting people to think about it, next week we'll come back. We'll do something similar with another project and more hands will be raised and more people will be understanding and appreciating what's going on in that space. I think it's quite impressive that both NASA's brought it up in the opening remarks today and AIAA are thinking about cybersecurity and how we approach it. But it's still this kind of offshoot that people are getting involved in. Talked to me a little bit about the other panels you've sort of paid attention to. Are they doing enough? And if they're not, what could they be doing to really make it more of a public conversation?

>> Steve Luczynski: Oh, my God. Yeah. So, it's a growing program. And that's one of the things that we really appreciate in the village, having the relationship and helping them grow what they're doing. So, there's not a ton. But I don't know if there could be, because there's so much content here; there's so many things that have to be talked about. And I think that's the nature of cybersecurity. Everybody's trying to figure out, well, where do I add one more thing in a student's syllabus? Where do I add one more thing in my company for an employee to deal with. So, trying to get it where it's -- I call it second nature; it's just something you do. And cyberpeople have to understand it. In the mission context, mission people have to understand it and why it's important. Safety and security, that's a great thing that I think the operational engineers here are learning and can understand that it's not just securities over there to the side. By making your mission secure, it's also making it safe. And the safety word, that's something they deal with all the time with operational risk.

>> Alice Carruth: We've seen a lot recently, satellites have come very close to each other, possibly adversaries. There was a report that came out of Australia last week where a Chinese satellite that got very close to one of their vehicles. Do you think that there's a movement now? People are starting to realize that it's getting crowded up there and they're not all friendly. What can they be doing to really protect themselves in their -- in orbit assets?

>> Steve Luczynski: I say there -- that's a definitely recognized and known, but that's from hanging out with this crowd. This is a group that understands those issues very well. Part of what I think is helpful, you all coming in doing this, we do it in part of our mission in the village is to promote what's going on out there with security in the aviation and space sectors. So, I think part of that is just these things are happening. The common person doesn't know it. That's okay. They don't need to know it. They need to know it's being handled by smart people, and they need to know there is a security layer to all of that. So, the systems that make the satellites operate. The systems that do the monitoring that can detect those close passes, all of that coming together, it's just constant work to continue building on that throughout.

>> Alice Carruth: So, one of the things, the theme of this conference seems to be that there's not enough regulation in place for a lot of things. Do you think the US government could do more when it comes to cybersecurity regulation? Or do you think it's not -- shouldn't fall on the government's side?

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah. That's a tough one, because I see it both on the aviation side where there is lots of regulation, and there's goods and bads that come with that. And my experience of working in government and dealing with the government regulations is -- again, there are goods and bads; be careful what you wish for because you're going to get it. And if nothing else, what's really interesting to me here is, yeah, that's cool for you, but space is not the US. It is absolutely international. So, there's so many more issues. And again, conferences like this, being able to understand the full extent of those issues. The fact that it is well beyond just a US problem. Cybersecurity, similarly, yeah, there may be a niche that's specific to the US, but after that there's so many other considerations that it's very easy to see those cyber problems and then apply it in the context of what's being talked about here.

>> Alice Carruth: I know we've mentioned it before on the show, but if somebody who's new as a listener who hasn't heard you speak before. How do companies, when they're starting off, think about cybersecurity. At what point should they start -- be thinking about it?

>> Steve Luczynski: Oh, my goodness. So, I will answer from more of a personal background than what I do at the aerospace village. I was a chief information security officer. The fact that some companies do not have those. The fact that some companies have that very adversarial type of cybersecurity for the employees; they're going to punish them, things like that. Just having the conversation and thinking about it, that's a good step. And then being able to find the expertise, to incorporate it in a way that employees at a basic -- I'm just talking about a basic, called a typical company -- that they understand the security, I'm going to teach you what to do at home so you can benefit it in your personal life, and if you can carry that habit at work and protect that work stuff also, even better. Because they're going to respond to that. Now if I take that then in an operational context, which is not most companies, but from a flying background or here in a space background, understanding the operational implications. The value of security for the safety of the mission, the success of the mission. Those concepts, and again, just having those conversations and recognizing the value early on is the key step.

>> Alice Carruth: So, what's the next step for the aerospace village with the space community? What is it you're hoping to achieve with coming to conferences like this?

>> Steve Luczynski: So, just being here to meet so many people has been great. Making the connections. Reconnecting with folks that we've worked with in the past. New connections, we're always looking to bring in partners. When I talk about build, inspire, promote, building the relationships. Government, industry, academia in there and hackers. We always want folks that have expertise. They have a demonstration or activity to teach people what is going on. Whether it's on the engineering side or on the cyber security side. I love this event because there's tons of students and the inspire part of our mission is inspiring that next generation to come in. What can we do that they want to be a part of? That they want to learn from? And one of the things I'm going to do this afternoon is a quick pitch saying, hey, we want to develop this satellite, hacking, competition knowledgebase. And we want to grow that so that students and others can learn from it. And then just promoting awareness that we can come out here and say, "Yeah. There are cybersecurity things going on, like I mentioned before, the panel that I moderated.

>> Alice Carruth: We'll be right back. Welcome back. We opened the show talking about the success of the Indian space industry. So, it only makes sense that we close on news of their collaboration with NASA on NISAR. The NASA ISRO synthetic aperture rate omission on NISSA is a joint project to codevelop and launch a jewel frequency synthetic aperture radar on an Earth observations satellite. The NISAR Radar Satellite mission will offer detailed insights into two types of ecosystems: Forests and wetlands. Vital to naturally regulating the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are driving global climate change. Now, this isn't a new mission announcement. The partnership started in 2019, but given the success of both NASA and ISRO in the past year, it's a mission that many are looking at to see how the global powers work together, and as a baseline for future projects. NISAR will scan nearly all of Earth's land and eye surfaces twice every 12 days. The information the vehicle collects will help researchers understand two key functions of both ecosystem types. The capture and the release of carbon. Paul Rosen, the NISAR project scientist at NASA's jet propulsion lab says it will give us a really reliable view exactly how the Earth's land and ice are changing. This satellite will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual frequencies with a total cost estimated at $1.5 billion US, NASAR is likely to be the world's most expensive Earth imaging satellite. The spacecraft will be launched from India aboard a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle in October of next year. With a planned mission life of just three years.

>> Alice Carruth: That's all for T-Minus for October 30, 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 this podcast. You can email us at space.n2k.com or submit the survey in the show notes. Your feedback ensures that we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry. We're privileged that N2K and podcasts like T-Minus are part of the daily routine of many of the most influential leaders and operators in the public and private sector. From the fortune 500 to many of the world's preeminent intelligence and law enforcement agencies. N2K's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people. We make you smarter about your team or making your team smarter. Learn more at n2k.com. This episode waws mixed by Eliot Peltzman and Trey Hester. With the original music and sound design by Eliot Peltzman. Our executive producer is Brandon Kauff. Our chief intelligence officer is Eric Tillman, and I'm Alice Carruth. Thanks for listening.

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