<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=205228923362421&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

What’s Taylor Swift got to do with space?

Russian Cosmonaut breaks space stay records. Geespace launches seven new satellites into LEO. ISRO’s humanoid will be launched later this year. And more.




Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko sets a world record for total time spent in space, logging more than 878 days in orbit. China’s Geespace conducted its second successful satellite launch over the weekend, sending eleven satellites into low Earth orbit. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to send a robot called Vyommitra to space ahead of its first human spaceflight, and more.

Remember to leave us a 5-star rating and review in your favorite podcast app.

Miss an episode? Sign up for our weekly intelligence roundup, Signals and Space. And be sure to follow T-Minus on Instagram and LinkedIn.

T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Richard McCammon, Founder and CEO of C6 Launch Systems.

You can connect with Richard on LinkedIn and learn more about C6 Launch on their website.

Selected Reading

Russian cosmonaut sets record for most time in space - more than 878 days- Reuters

China's Geespace Launches Eleven Low-orbit Satellites to Build Geely Future Mobility Constellation 

Isro’s woman robot astronaut ‘Vyommitra’ to fly into space in third quarter of this year: Minister Jitendra Singh | India News

Secretive moon startup led by ex-Blue Origin leaders raises new tranche of funding

UK’s first space degree apprenticeship launched- BAE Systems

New Strategic Collaboration between University of Leicester and National Nuclear Laboratory links academia and industry

Dark side of the Earth

Egyptian Space Agency receives initial signals from the experimental satellite Nexsat-1

Asteroid the size of eight Taylor Swifts to pass Earth Tuesday - NASA

We Need Cybersecurity in Space to Protect Satellites- Scientific American

The Explorers Club Names 2024 Ec50 Class

India's space ambition takes a quantum leap

Satellites losing billions in value, Orbit Fab CEO says

Frustrated by the constraints of Earth, a team of California scientists took tumor research to space—and may have discovered a 'kill switch' for cancer  

T-Minus Crew Survey

We want to hear from you! Please complete our 4 question survey. It’ll help us get better and deliver you the most mission-critical space intel every day.

Want to hear your company in the show?

You too can reach the most influential leaders and operators in the industry. Here’s our media kit. Contact us at space@n2k.com to request more info.

Want to join us for an interview?

Please send your pitch to space-editor@n2k.com and include your name, affiliation, and topic proposal.

T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, your source for strategic workforce intelligence. © N2K Networks, Inc.

It's been another record-breaking week in space, but for once we're not talking about launches or SpaceX.

We're talking about records being set by a human being for the longest total time spent in space.

Can you imagine spending over 878 days in microgravity on board an orbiting lab that completes a rotation of the Earth every 90 minutes?

No, me neither.

Today is February 5th, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmausis, and this is T-minus.

A Russian cosmonaut breaks space stay records.

He space launches 7U satellites into Leo.

ISRO's humanoid robot will be launched later this year.

And our guest today is Richard McCammon, CEO of C6 Launch Systems.

He'll be chatting to Alice about why he's launching from Brazil and not from his native Canada.

Stay with us for more on that in the second part of the show.

On to today's Intel Briefing.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has set a world record for the total time spent in space.

Ross Cosmo says at 830 GMT on Sunday, February 4th, Kononenko broke the record, surpassing his compatriot, Gen.

Padelka, who held the record at 878 days.

Kononenko is expected to reach a total of 1,000 days in space on June 5th, but he won't be stopping there.

By late September, when his mission is expected to come to an end, he will have clocked 1,110 days in space total.


So, what did the cosmonaut have to say about reaching this milestone?

Kononenko told Russian media this, "I am proud of all my achievements, but I am more proud that the record for the total duration of human stay in space is still held by a Russian cosmonaut."

Now, this has us here at T-minus wondering if Kononenko has or is experiencing any long-term effects for being in microgravity for such a long time.

NASA has shared studies in the past, most notably the study of identical twins with the Kelly brothers, although it's been a while since they updated that.

Do we expect that Russia would share the study of long-term effects of microgravity on the body with the rest of the world?

Well, who knows.

But for now, we will join the celebrations and just exclaim, "Wow, human bodies are pretty darn amazing."

Chinese car manufacturing company Geely Technology Group has made a bold move into the aerospace market over the last few years.

It's a familiar tale to some of us here in the US.

Its subsidiary, Geespace, conducted its second successful satellite launch over the weekend, sending 11 satellites into low-Earth orbit.

The company also announced that it has finished the deployment of the second orbital plane of the ambitious Geely Future Mobility Constellation.

This constellation is touted as the world's inaugural commercial initiative to integrate communication, navigation, and remote sensing within a single satellite network.

The nine satellites of the first orbital plane were successfully deployed in June 2022, so Geespace has not only initiated mass production of satellites, but they've also accomplished orbital plane-level deployment, achieving constellation-level telemetry, tracking and command.

Hmm, maybe next they'll be producing the world's largest rocket.

Put a pin in that one, huh?

The Indian Space Research Organization is planning to send a robot to space ahead of its first human spaceflight.

The humanoid robot is called Vyometra and is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year.

And Vyometra is a name derived from two Sanskrit words, Vyoma meaning space and Mitra meaning friend.

The robot will monitor module parameters, will issue alerts, and execute life support operations.

The first crewed mission from India is scheduled for 2025.

JetCrunch has released a story on a so-called stealth space startup working on harvesting resources on the moon.

Interlude is the name of the company, and Interlude has reportedly raised $15.5 million in new funding and aims to close another $2 million.

The company is being led by former Blue Origin employees.

The CEO is Rob Meyerson, an aerospace executive and known angel investor.

The CTO is former Blue Origin chief architect Gary Lai, who also flew on a new Shepard suborbital flight with the company.

And over to the UK now, and we have two workforce development announcements.

And the first comes from BAE Systems and the University of Portsmouth, who have launched the UK's first ever degree apprenticeship in space systems engineering.

The executive dean for the Faculty of Technology at the University of Portsmouth said of the announcement that, in the midst of the UK's expansion and ambition within the space sector, addressing the critical challenge of a skills shortage is paramount to realizing our national aspirations.

Applications are now open for the first intake of space degree apprentices, who will be part of projects such as BAE's Xalia, which is due to launch its first multi-sensor low-earth orbit satellite cluster in 2025 to deliver intelligence in real time to military customers.

And the second announcement from the UK comes from the University of Leicester and the National Nuclear Laboratory, known as NNL, who have established a strategic collaboration between their two organizations.

The partnership will bring pioneering work and nuclear power to the university's education and research mission.

NNL is the UK's national laboratory for nuclear fission and is working with academics and industry partners to develop spacecraft systems for the European Space Agency that provide reliable, long-lived power for harsh environments.

It's hoped that the collaboration will play a vital role in the UK's ability to deliver the next wave of space-related nuclear power technologies, as well as supporting advances in transformative health and nuclear-related medicine.

The European Space Agency has released a request for proposals that explore the potential for satellite-based nighttime datasets.

The dark side of the Earth funding opportunity is seeking the development of new downstream applications that exploit existing and/or upcoming space assets during nighttime, mainly through the use of visible and infrared datasets.

The applications will be used in sectors such as maritime, environment, smart cities, and more.

If you're interested, more details can be found by following the link in our show notes.

Egypt has launched an experimental satellite called Nexstar-1.

The spacecraft was launched on a rocket off the coast of Yangjiang City in China's Guangdong province.

The initial signals from the first test satellite were successfully received at the headquarters of the Egyptian Space Agency.

This mission is part of the Egyptian National Space Program for the development of satellite technology.

It's the African nation's first experimental satellite for remote sensing and was developed in cooperation with the German company BST.

The Egyptian Space Agency developed the critical operating software and systems, as well as the functional tests of satellite systems and the subsequent integration, assembly, and testing procedures by a team of more than 60 engineers.

And you'd have to be living in a groundhog hole to not know that Taylor Swift is dominating the universe right now.

And yes, she has seeped into the space world, sorry and/or you're welcome.

No, she isn't planning a trip to space that we know of.

But she is now being used as a unit of measurement for asteroids.

Yes, the folks at the Jerusalem Post are at it again.

And yes, an asteroid the size of eight Taylor Swift's will be passing by the Earth tomorrow.

If you've got kids of a certain age, or if you are of a certain age, then I'm pretty sure you'll be familiar with some of Taylor Swift's back catalog.

Anyway, we suggest following the link in our show notes for the Jerusalem Post article on this matter.

And apparently, it'll have you seeing red.

And that concludes our briefing for today.

As always, you'll find links to further reading on all the stories we mentioned in our show notes.

And we also like to include a few stories that we didn't have time to cover today.

And one of them that we have today is an opinion piece on why we need cybersecurity in space.

We've been banging that drum for a while.

And there's a link to the Explorers Club EC 50 class and a piece from our friends at Druva space.

And there's also one from Orbital Fabs CEO on satellites losing billions of dollars in value.

All those links and more are under selected reading and also can be found at space.ntuk.com.

Hey T-minus crew, every Monday we produce a written intelligence roundup for you.

And it is called signals and 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 and space to land in your email inbox over in our show notes.

Or as always, at space.ntuk.com.

Our guest today is Richard McCammon, CEO of C6 Launch Systems.

Our producer, Alice Carruth, spoke to Richard and started by asking him to just tell us more about his company.

C6 Launch is primarily a launch company for small satellites.

So the differentiation we have is that we're launching small satellites, typically under 100 kilograms to lower Earth orbit.

But we're doing it using a specialized vehicle.

So we're doing it on a responsive basis, dedicated as well.

So that people get what they want.

The customer is focused exclusively with us so that we can achieve what they want to accomplish by getting to space.

Rather than trying to get onto a ride share where the primary payload, the one that's probably a ton or more, is what's really dictating what the launch is capable of doing.

So that means the orbit, the vehicle, the satellite dimensions, the launch time and launch schedule, those are huge because that can take two and three years upwards to actually get a window that is even close to what the secondary payload wants.

With us, it's a dedicated, responsive ride.

They're telling us when they want to go, they want to tell us where they want to go, and we're providing that launch service for them.

So when our paths crossed a few years ago, we were looking at you mating your vehicle with an Ursa Major Hadley engine down in New Mexico and you were getting ready to start launching.

What has happened since then?

You've had a lot of issues I know that you've come into with regulations.

I'd love you to talk us through it.

Yeah, regulations are a huge part of it, aren't they?

So the reason we went down to Spaceport America was, one, the fantastic people we had to deal with and certainly the support that we got all the way through from beginning to end was absolutely amazing.

But the other was, as a Canadian company, using an American engine, which is considered to be under MTCR, so that's the Missile Control Technology Regime, and it's a category one, which means that Canadians can't work on it.

It's illegal for us to actually have anything to do with that engine and any of its specifications.

So we had to bring on a secondary company in the US and then hire individuals down in the States to actually handle the engine itself.

The Canadian team was down there to handle all the other bits and pieces, so all the communications, all the control systems, the fluid dynamics, everything else, but it came to the engine.

We couldn't do anything on it.

And the other side of it is we couldn't bring that engine into Canada because we don't have a technology safeguards agreement.

Brazil, which we'll talk about a little bit later, United Kingdom and New Zealand, and I think soon Australia will have a technology safeguards agreement, which allows, again, Americans to work on the technology, but they can work on it in those countries.

Canada doesn't have one and it doesn't seem likely that we're going to get one soon, so we couldn't even bring that engine into Canada and fire it here.

We had to go down to the Spaceport America to actually do that work.

One of the great things that it did for us was it taught us how to work within the boundaries of MTCR and ITAR, the international trades in arms reduction.

And so we learned how to work within those regulations.

We certainly didn't break any of them.

We certainly followed all of the rules under the technology safeguards agreement or the TSA.

So that puts us in really good stead when we want to move down into launching from Brazil or from the Shetland Islands.

And you also had regulation issues in Canada because I believe you were originally planning to launch from Canada.

What's been the hold up there?

There have been a number of them.

We were looking at using maritime launch services out in Nova Scotia.

So we had some discussions with them back and forth.

They were slow primarily because of environmental regulations, also just getting some of the agreements locally for the construction and everything else.

Marine launch is they started construction early on.

They actually had a small rocket flight.

I mean, it's a student rocket flight there just last year.

So they are making some progress there.

So that was one of the ones is that we don't have a launch site here in Canada anywhere other than MLS.

And they're not ready for launch either.

The other is I said, bringing the engines into Canada, we can't.

So anything we wanted to do in Canada that was completely outside of the legal framework that we'd have to deal with.

So tell us about that workaround you've come up with.

I feel like I feel like this is a building into this really great story.

I didn't mean to interrupt you, but it sounds like you figured it out, which is really exciting.

We did figure it out.

So we didn't rely on the Canadian government.

Global affairs is not making any it's got no traction for getting the TSA in place, transport Canada the same way.

The Canadian regulations don't support space launch.

The United Kingdom has gone out and written the Space Act and followed up with regulations on that.

Canada hasn't even started that process.

So we had a lot of regulatory as well as just nightmares as far as construction goes and things like that here in Canada.

We had a real opportunity down at the IAC in Washington when that was held and we met a number of people from the Brazilian Space Agency.

Part of that spin off was a we got to a fantastic chief operating officer in Brazil, Paulo Vas Conchelos, a former major general with the Air Force and did a stint at the Brazilian Space Agency before joining us.

We were really lucky to get him on board.

He helped shepherd us through a public call and more importantly the contracting.

So when we made application to the public call for access to the El Contra Space Center in northeastern Brazil, we went after sort of the mid ground launch site.

There were four aspects to the public call.

One was for the rail launch, really small suborbital vehicles.

The other was for what's called the wind profiler area, which we're now changing from wind profile radar base into a small launch pad for our vehicle.

And the other was the larger TMI, which InnoSpace is now using.

And the last one was the horizontal launch capability through the runway that's in El Contra Air Force Base.

That was given to Virgin Orbit, but unfortunately they're no longer operational.

We have this really unique spot in the world that has a technology safeguards agreement in place so we can bring American equipment, particularly the Hadley, into Brazil, incorporated into our vehicle, which will be built either in Brazil or Canada or the UK, depending where we source all of the technologies from.

And El Contra's got a huge infrastructure already in place.

It is an operating space center.

So we don't have to build buildings.

We don't need to build white rooms.

We don't need to put in generators and electricity and internet and water.

We don't need to do all of that.

We've got that all in place because of the operational nature of the El Contra Space Center.

What we do need is we need to pour new concrete.

We need to build the space pad out.

We need to rejuvenate some of the electronics that are there, particularly with regards to control systems.

But the bunker that we're going to use for the command and control center is right next door to us.

It's about 500 meters away.

And it is a bomb-proof building.

And that's got full command and control.

It's dedicated back to the central command for the Air Force.

So all of this infrastructure is in place.

We don't have to rebuild it.

What about the policies in place to get a launch, though?

Brazil, they're not known for a launch country.

Have they got everything in place ready for you so you can go in and launch and get the licensing agreement set up?

That's the beauty is that we're dealing with the Air Force.

There is no civil aviation.

So all of the licensing that we need as far as launch capabilities are either through the Air Force or for the Brazilian Space Agency.

And we already have our operators licensed through the Brazilian Space Agency.

We will need to make application.

We're starting that process now for the actual launch licenses with regards to the vehicle.

But we're looking at that being probably a six-month process in the beginning.

But as we get through more and more of it and it becomes more cookie cutter, then I think we'll be able to cut that down to that responsive ride that we're looking for.

Our goal is to launch 24 times a year from Alcantara, which gives us that really dedicated responsive ride that we keep touting about.

And think of the things that are happening right now in the world.

People need to get satellites up, some of the things that are happening over in the Middle East and in the Ukraine and things like that, where people need to get satellites up and into place.

But even things that are happening throughout the world that aren't as obvious, but some of the security issues that happen anywhere, some of the illegal phishing that's happening, some of the illegal practices that are happening, it's a lot better to get these small satellites into play today rather than two years from now because that's just two years of lost opportunity.

[Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music]

Similar posts

Stay in the loop on new releases. 

Subscribe below to receive information about new blog posts, podcasts, newsletters, and product information.