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Nelson’s at the helm in India and UAE.

NASA visits India and UAE to discuss space cooperation. Kratos wins an IDIQ contract from Space Systems Command. Axiom goes all in with AWS. And more.




NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is visiting India and UAE to discuss space cooperation. Kratos Defense and Security Services has been awarded an $579 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract from Space Systems Command to provide satellite communications support to the U.S. Space Force and Space Systems Command. Axiom Space has announced that it is going all-in on Amazon Web Services in support of its terrestrial information technology infrastructure, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Tim Reid, CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port.

You can connect with Tim on LinkedIn and find out more about Mojave Air and Space Port on their website.

Selected Reading

NASA Administrator to Travel to India, UAE; Discuss Space Cooperation

Kratos Wins $579M Satellite Services Contract From Space Systems Command - GovCon Wire

STARCOM Releases Space Domain Awareness Doctrine Publication 

Request for Information: National Plan for Civil Earth Observations

Axiom Space Goes All-In on AWS for Its Enterprise Cloud Services Needs on Earth

ESA - Hot fire: Ariane 6 ready to rumble

New UK funding for space technology projects - GOV.UK

Kim Jong Un inspects satellite photos of US, South Korea, state media says- Al Jazeera

Aerospace New Zealand Announcement 

Space race 2.0: why Europe is joining the new dash to the moon

How These Guardians Avoid Satellite Collisions At 17000 Miles Per Hour

Vikings QB Joshua Dobbs talks love of space, giving back and his parents going viral

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>> Maria Varmazis: If you spent any of your Thanksgiving Holiday traveling, I hear yah, and spare a thought for NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who hit the road the weekend after Thanksgiving, such a notoriously busy travel weekend, and took long-haul flights to see his friends in India and the United Arab Emirates. There's no time for a turkey-induced trip to fan food coma when we're talking about cooperation between nations on space initiatives.

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Today is November 27th, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis and this is "T-Minus."

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NASA visits India and the UAE to discuss space cooperation. Kratos wins an IDIQ contract from Space Systems Command. Axiom goes all-in with AWS. And our guest today is Tim Reid, CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port. Stay with us.

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Happy Monday everybody, let's dive into our "Intel Briefing" to kick off the week. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is spending some quality time with fellow space officials in India and the UAE this week. While in India, Nelson will be visiting multiple locations in the country including several ISRO facilities. One of them is in Bengaluru where the first joint ISRO and NASA Satellite Mission, an Earth-observing Synthetic Aperture Radar Spacecraft called NISAR, is currently being tested prior to its 2024 launch. And after his visit to India, Nelson will be stopping by COP28 in Dubai and that's the United Nations' Climate Change Conference which is starting just two days from now. It will be the first time a NASA administrator will be at the Climate Change Conference, and Nelson will be there to talk about how space assets and, specifically NASA-provided space assets, give Earth science data to help make decisions relating to climate change and its impacts. Kratos Defense and Security Services has been awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity or IDIQ, contract from Space Systems Command to provide satellite communications support to the U.S. Space Force and Space Systems Command. The potential 8-year, $579 million U.S. dollar contract includes a $146.3 million dollar task order for the continuation of command and control sustainment services, as well as systems and software engineering and modernization. The contract will also seek to address challenges in data sharing and obsolete technologies within the Space Force's Military Satellite Command. The U.S. Space Training and Readiness Command, also known as STARCOM, has released its latest space doctrine publication and that's the first operational level doctrine publication developed by STARCOM for the U.S. Space Force. The document presents the U.S. Space Force's approach to establishing and maintaining space domain awareness as part of unified action to support the freedom to operate in, from, and to space. The full document can be found in our Show Notes for yah. The White House Office of Science and Technology policy has released a request for information to inform the development of the congressionally mandated National Plan for Civil Earth Observations. The office has released a draft of the 2023 national plan with the RFI, and they're seeking public input on how to leverage civil Earth observations to increase access to Earth data and address global changes. And as with the earlier story, we have included the RFI in our Show Notes for you. Axiom Space has announced that it's going all-in on Amazon Web Services or AWS in support of its terrestrial information technology infrastructure. Axiom says, "By migrating its enterprise IT to AWS, the company will provide its engineers ground operations and business development teams the terrestrial Cloud infrastructure necessary to enable development of its next generation commercial space station, Axiom Station." Axiom Space and AWS say they will continue to collaborate on validating Cloud-based hardware and software capable of supporting in-space workloads. These include scientific research and discovery that Axiom Space supports on orbit to benefit new pharmaceuticals development, stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and other areas of study in the microgravity environment. Axiom Space and AWS are also collaborating on the development and demonstration of in-space cybersecurity solutions that set the foundation for operating a cybersecure Axiom Station -- very cool. We look forward to sharing more details and updates in the coming months. Europe's Ariane 6 heavy-lift rocket passed a crucial engine burn last week keeping it on track for a debut liftoff sometime next year, fingers crossed. The teams conducted a complete launch countdown followed by a 7-minute full firing of the core stages engine just as it would fire on a launch into space. The trial was conducted with a test model on the launch pad at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana and it was the longest "full-stack" run yet for Ariane 6's Lower Liquid Propulsion Module with a Vulcain 2.1 engine. The U.K. Space Agency has announced new funding for 23 space projects to boost sovereign space capabilities. And amongst the recipients is, Orbit Fab, who have received $228,000 pounds to enhance satellite servicing solutions that support sustainable space operations. Say that 5 times fast. Orbit Fab will be using the funding for the development of a new in-space refueling system known as the GRASP. Now, GRASP stands for grasping and resupply active solution for propellants -- kind of an acronym. Other recipients include university research programs; MDA Space and Robotics, UK; Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, UK; and Oxford Dynamics. According to the Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's first military satellite is operating nominally following its launch last week. The state media reported that, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has inspected spy satellite images of major target regions, including the South Korean capital and the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor. Analysts say that it is too early to determine the capabilities of the satellite. South Korean intelligence officials have said that Pyongyang was able to launch the satellite after 2 failed attempts with assistance from Russia. And Aerospace New Zealand has appointed its first Minister for Space, Judith Collins will play a pivotal role in driving the space sector forward in the country focusing on nurturing space-related activities boosting advanced aviation and streamlining the efficacy of regulatory frameworks. New Zealand is among an elite group of just 11 countries capable of orbital launches and they're aiming to grow the space sector's value to $10 billion New Zealand dollars by 2030.

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That concludes our briefing for this Monday. You'll find links to further reading on all of the stories that we've mentioned in our Show Notes, and as always, we've included a few extra stories for you. One is on why Europe is joining the new dash to the Moon. There's another on the work of guardians monitoring space debris, and there's a third on football [brief laughing], and Alice says that I should mention that I'm referring to American Tchoukball. Listen, I'm not getting into that whole fight. I'm not. Anyway, Viking's quarterback, Joshua Dobbs gave an interview on his love of space and if you like football and space, you should check that one out, all of this and more at space.n2k.com. Hey "T-Minus" crew, every Monday we produce a written intelligence roundup and it's called, "Signals in Space." So, 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.

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Our guest today is Tim Reid, CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port. I started off by asking Tim to tell us, what a day is like at the California space port.

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>> Tim Reid: Every day is different, and that's what I love about Mojave, and that's what really attracted me to Mojave, is I don't know how to put it any other way. If you're an aviation or space geek, it's your dream come true. We work with so many different aircraft and so many different testing vehicles and we're paving the way of the future for both space travel and high-speed flight. I mean, we're the proving ground for these types of concepts. I've never worked anywhere that in my career where instead of saying "no," there's a rag on that, you say "Hey, let's see how we can do this so it's as safe as humanly possible." So, let me have a change of pace.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's so cool. Oh, my gosh. For someone like me who's heard about it but never been, can you -- can you maybe give me a like a little like audio virtual tour, like what -- what's there, what would I see if I go?

>> Tim Reid: Okay, I'm going to -- I'm going to play it to you like how I was introduced to Mojave on my very first day and it was wonderful. The fuel's guy comes in, the fuel's director and says, "Hey, you want to see something cool?" Now, if you work in aviation, that's always an entry to an awesome thing, right? He takes up to the taxiway -- we watch a couple of FAA teams takeoff that did a hot fuel. I know gee-wiz ooh, FAA teams, but we get practice aircraft in from Edwards Air Force Base, so F-35s, F-22s, also with China Lake. I remember Theo going down to Strato and having their first taxi test I experienced and, I mean, huge aircraft, Roc -- the world's largest aircraft; 6, 747 engines. That plane is so wide the engines overhang our 200-foot wide runway which is amazing; Virgin Galactic in the [inaudible] Hangar. We have several other type of testing entities and companies mixed in such as like, Northrop Grumman, the Stargazer, the only L-1011 in operation in the world, at Mojave and it's a horizontal launch vehicle for the Pegasus rocket. So, I mean just seeing the L-1011 -- oh my god, I've never even seen one before and it's like in Mojave. We have a National Test Pilot School -- these guys, is the only test pilot school in the United States -- impressive. They fly all sorts of aircraft and these guys are all aeronautical engineers. They earn their master's degrees and become flight test pilots and engineers and that's fascinating to me. We have Universal Hydrogen; we have [inaudible], both of those entities are just testing at Mojave right now. [Inaudible] which is another [inaudible] entity that's testing at Mojave, of course Scaled Composites, [inaudible] Burt Rutan. I didn't even know that that's where the Long-EZ's were designed and not manufactured, but where they made the kits, right? I mean, you know, just like the hangar for the Voyager aircraft that flew around the world nonstop. It's still in existence today and used. You know, we have a company called Gaunlet that flies L-39 Chase aircraft for various types of missions. Lots of things going on at Mojave. Actually, we just got a flying school too which kills me. It's -- there's so much demand for flight instruction there. I almost forgot, BAE is also based at Mojave as well. And then we do have a couple of really interesting industries that -- like Progress Rail which is a big name in the railroad industry.

>> Maria Varmazis: Railroad!

>> Tim Reid: They have fix -- yeah, believe it not, there's a company that fixes the railcar wheels and reconditions them on the property. Along with Incotech that makes -- they do a certain type of dying or process with tools that are used in aviation, but not directly. So, yeah we have all sorts of things going on there.

>> Maria Varmazis: One of the most recent things that we heard about Mojave in the news was in relation to the Virgin Galactic layoff news. You gave some really great context about what that means for you guys. Could you sort of refresh my memory on what Virgin Galactic's layoffs mean for Mojave?

>> Tim Reid: I'm just going to start this off with that an airport, I probably gave more concern and at Space Port I'm noticing a trend in the industry where there's ebbs and flows, so but one of the things I really want to point out with Virgin Galactic is, they were intending to move most of their operations over in New Mexico anyways and some production in Arizona, so this isn't a surprise to us. Mojave is a test site, a proving ground. So, our tenants are supposed to be transient in a lot of ways. There are some Inco tenants and I, you know, I'd hate to see a company go because we're not going to work with them anymore, but they've completed their mission at Mojave and they're moving on to the next stage which is passenger transportation and Mojave is just not suited for passenger service at any level.

>> Maria Varmazis: The thing that strikes me talking to you and I've spoken to a number of people about different space ports, they're all so different. What's going on is like different personalities, different activities, and I'm going to ask oh probably a question you're probably sick of being asked, but you guys are also close to L.A. and the entertainment industry; what is that like trying not only manage all these clients, but then I'm sure you get all these requests from people to film stuff?

>> Tim Reid: Oh, yeah.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's got to add a layer to doing your job.

>> Tim Reid: Well, and you know that's what's kind of cool about Mojave, we don't really advertise this too much, but you know the Bone Yard? It's utilized for filming lots and lots of requests and they make money off of that which is great. the Bone Yard also believe it or not, is not just an aircraft storage place or a place for aircraft destruction, it's used for training, for law enforcement entities, military entities to learn how to egress or ingress aircraft. The Bone Yard is by far the most popular attraction and, believe or not, I get a lot of requests from KLM flight crews to tour, because one of their former -- their last were their first MV-11 is in the Bone Yard and they always want to come by and see it. So, actually giving tours I've learned an awful lot from our visitors about the aircraft and what they flew and this is interesting if you're an aviation geek. KLM has combination 747s or combi 747s, so they had the front part with passengers and the back part with cargo. Can you imagine what that cargo was? Arabian horses. I asked [laughing], "Has anybody complained about that?" They said, "I occasionally get somebody that says it smells like a barn in here."

>> Maria Varmazis: What would you want to share with people about what they should know about Mojave maybe that we haven't touched on, because I kind of have like my interests and like my own personal pet interests, but yeah?

>> Tim Reid: No, you know, Maria you hit the nail on the head. Each space port has its own kind of unique mission that ties into the entire space and testing and launching operations. So, it -- Mojave is out of all the space ports, we're the proving the ground. We're the testing facility. So, we operate differently. We have the R-2508 Complex right above us that's joint use with the Navy and the Air Force. We have a high-speed corridor access, actually 2 high-speed corridor accesses. So, in the near future, both supersonic and hypersonic testing will probably be something that is in high-demand at Mojave. So, like we see with Boom Supersonic right now and they're preparing for their first flight the XB-1 at Mojave. So, I anticipate that being more of our thrust in the future, and so we're kind of changing how we approach the types of customers that we want to serve. When I came onboard I noticed, hey if everybody's testing, then you need to kind of anticipate transient operations. So, we need to increase the number of facilities that are available like hangars, they're simply used for temporary bases for testing and modifications as necessary.

>> Maria Varmazis: So, you mentioned hypersonic, so do you anticipate this is specifically like point-to-point testing that is on the horizon for you guys?

>> Tim Reid: Yes. I can see that Mojave has a very good future with hypersonic and supersonic testing, because hypersonic testing speeds -- you need to exceed I think its Mach 5 to Mach 7. So, get this -- in the United States any kind of high-speed corridor that's over land, it is regulated to Mach 1. Now there's some work that's being done to work on that, because the environmental hazard with sonic boom. Well, at Mojave, and Edwards Air Force Base, China Lake, there's 2 high-speed military corridors that can be used for flight testing; it's a little tricky, but we're trying to figure out a process right now to streamline it. Those high-speed corridors because they're military, do not have speed limits, period. So, if you're one of the only airspace ports in close proximity to that it just makes sense that our thrust really needs to be more on the experimental side in testing of hypersonic aircraft.

>> Maria Varmazis: So, a lot of this we are talking about is horizontal. Any thoughts on vertical launch?

>> Tim Reid: Vertical launch is really challenging in Mojave, because of the property and the amount of property that you need for a vertical launch, a singular vertical launch. Where we're located, we would have to close down 2 highways, a railroad, and clear out an awful lot of the airport in order to do a vertical -- a singular vertical launch. So, it's -- it's very limited. But that's fine, you know, we are a licensed horizontal launch facility, so that makes sense with Stratolaunch even though Stratolaunch is really focusing on hypersonic testing right now which is hilarious when you see this huge airplane and this tiny little article in the middle.

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It's cute. I don't know. It's -- I don't know how to put it any other way, but it's.

>> Maria Varmazis: I've never heard it described as cute and I kind of love that.

>> Tim Reid: But they did acquire Virgin Orbit's assets including the 747 which they're going to repaint and then do a naming ceremony here very soon. We'll be sure to keep you guys in the loop. I anticipate that will be used for horizontal launch operations with some modifications as well.

>> Maria Varmazis: Oh, that's -- that's I mean, it's not shade on vertical or horizontal, I think like horizontal is really cool as well, so I think it's just it's -- I just think it's neat, so [multiple speakers].

>> Tim Reid: I agree. I -- I just, I don't know why it's not taking off, no pun intended. But no, there just seems to be a little bit of a lull in horizontal launch operations, but that's fine. There's, you know, other things that we're focusing on as well, so. There is an Amateur Rocketry site, Friends of Amateur Rocketry. It's about 11 miles north of Mojave, but you can get up to the Kármán Line with the clearance if they have to the R-2508 Complex. This ties in very, very important for Mojave because we have potential tenants that need to launch small rockets that want to base their operation at Mojave, but need the test bed at that test site. And the Friends at Amateur Rocketry tend to be pretty amicable to that kind of testing. But the reason why it's so important is we are actually hosting our first collegiate amateur rocketry competition. I think we have 360 entries so far.

>> Maria Varmazis: Ooh.

>> Tim Reid: So, it'll be the first.

>> Maria Varmazis: Alright.

>> Tim Reid: It will be the first in June. We'll get the word out. We're still getting the word out to colleges and universities, but we also in the following week have another collegiate competition, a 3D model printing and UAV course competition that's hosted by CSULA. So.

>> Maria Varmazis: Nice.

>> Tim Reid: Yeah, we're bringing the community and the public out and trying to educate them more especially college students with the different tenants and people that they can potentially work for in the future, while at the same time, giving our tenants the opportunity to scout talent.

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

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Welcome back. You might have noticed over the course of the show that we really like highlighting student rocketry here at "T-Minus." Yeah, it is the cool factor of getting to launch your own rocket and there really is nothing like hands on learning to inspire the up and coming leaders of tomorrow. So, in that spirit, if you are or know a university student in Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, or any of the 22 ESA member states, and getting the chance to launch a rocket is of interest, listen up. The ESA Education Office is looking for up to 100 eligible students to fly a rocket! That's what's it's called, "Fly a Rocket!" And this program provides an online course about rocketry at the undergraduate level and the top 24 students who take that course will then be eligible to try a hands on sounding rocket launch over a week at Andoya's Space Port in Norway. So, you have to apply for the program by December 3rd to take the course and then you have to be in the upper quartile of students in that course, but yeah, do all that and you can launch your own rocket. And not to bury the lead here, well yes you do have to be able to do some higher level math in this program, go figure. You do not have to be studying aerospace, engineering, or even science to apply for this program. ESA says they are specifically looking for a wide variety of interested students from all areas of study. So, my fellow humanities space geeks, I know you're out there. This is your opportunity. Don't miss it.

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That's it for "T-Minus" for November 27th, 2023. For additional resources from today's report, checkout 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 a 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 while making your team smarter. Learn more at n2k.com. This episode was produced by Alice Carruth, mixing by Elliott Peltzman, and Tré Hester with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltzman. Our Executive Producer is Brandon Karpf, and I'm Maria Vermazis. Thanks for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.

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