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New funding for space debris monitoring.

LeoLabs raises $29 million in new funding. Synspective to work with Vietnam on climate monitoring. Greece signs the Artemis Accords. And more.




Space traffic management company LeoLabs has raised $29 million in new funding to support commercial and government customers. Synspective has signed an agreement with Vietnam to advance the application of satellite remote sensing technology in monitoring natural resources and the environment, preventing natural disasters, and fostering economic development. Greece has become the 35th country to sign the Artemis Accords, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Bryce Kennedy,  President of the  Association of Commercial Space Professionals.

You can connect with Bryce on LinkedIn, and learn more about ACSP’s bootcamp on their website.

Selected Reading

LeoLabs Raises $29 Million to Deliver Enhanced AI-powered Insights for Space Operations

The first edition of the Space Debris Conference debuts in Riyadh, with the participation of 470 experts and speakers

Tāwhaki National Aerospace Centre provides mission-critical boost for aerospace sector

Synspective Signs MOU with the National Remote Sensing Agency of Vietnam and Fujitsu Vietnam to Enhance Natural Disaster Preparedness, Natural Resource Management, and Economic and Social Development

NASA Welcomes Greece as Newest Artemis Accords Signatory

NASA’s New Experimental Antenna Tracks Deep Space Laser

Two Startups Selected Through Technology in Space Prize to Leverage ISS National Lab

Aalyria, U.S. Gov’t, ESA & Others Conduct Demonstration of Technology That Enables Hybrid Space Architecture and CJADC2 Capabilities- Business Wire

Starlab Space Announces Leadership Team

Big solar flares recorded as 'space boomerang' lands

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Yesterday and today, a lot of space luminaries from around the world could be found in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


It was the inaugural Space Debris Conference that was being held there.


And not that there's any doubt from us at all, but indeed, Space Debris is a big enough issue that it requires its own international conference.


And the cast of international players at the forefront of this issue and global space concerns in general continues to expand.


Today is February 12, 2024.


I'm Maria Varmazis and this is T-minus.


Leah Labs raises $29 million in new funding.


It's inspected to work with Vietnam on climate monitoring.


Greece signs the Artemis Accords.


And our guest today is Bryce Kennedy, president of the Association of Commercial Space Professionals.


And Bryce will be talking about his upcoming boot camp in Albuquerque.


And stay tuned if you want a discount code to join him for that.


All this and more, stay with us.


Let's take a look at our Intel briefing for this Monday.


Space Traffic Management Company, Leo Labs, has raised $29 million in new funding to support commercial and government customers.


The company says they'll be using this influx of cash to build out end user applications and partner integrations, improving on its delivery of space object tracking data for customers operating in low Earth orbit.


The new investment round for Leo Labs was led by GP Bullhound.


And Leo Labs has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Space Agency to exchange relevant expertise and knowledge and explore future cooperation opportunities in the field of space situational awareness and surveillance.


Now this just happened on the sidelines of the Space Debris conference that we mentioned at the top of the show.


It was a two-day event organized by the Saudi Space Agency, and it just concluded today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


The conference brought together global voices to discuss the growing urgent challenge of space debris, and it's also a great platform for Saudi Arabia to shine a spotlight on its own growing space industry.


New Zealand has opened the Tawaki National Aerospace Center and a new runway at Qaitoriti.


According to the press release, the new infrastructure coupled with technical support aims to supercharge Aotearoa's fast-growing aerospace sector and help meet international demand.


Dawn Aerospace, Kea Aerospace and US-based WISC Aero operate out of the site, and it's hoped that the new runway will allow them to be able to conduct horizontal space launches and stratospheric flights from the new facilities.


The new runway and planned hangar facilities were funded by a $5.4 million grant from the New Zealand government's Regional Strategic Partnership Fund.


Japanese Earth Observation Company's SINSECTIVE has assigned an agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam and Fujitsu Vietnam.


The collaboration aims to advance the application of satellite remote sensing technology in monitoring natural resources and the environment, preventing natural disasters, and fostering economic development in Vietnam.


Vietnam is actively enhancing international cooperation and investment in climate change and monitoring.


This includes developing systems for image data collection, databases, and applications.


The country's goal is to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and leverage space science technologies for socioeconomic development by 2030.


And Greece has become the 35th country to sign the Artemis Accords.


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson participated in a signing ceremony on Friday with Greece's foreign minister, Yorgos Yerepetridis.


Nelson said at the ceremony that the U.S. and Greece are longtime partners and friends and were excited to expand this partnership in the cosmos.


Together, we are shaping the future of cooperation in space for the Artemis generation.


And the U.S.-led Artemis Accords aim to support safe, peaceful, and prosperous activities in space.


NASA says it has received both radio frequency and near-infrared laser signals from its "psychee" spacecraft as it travels through deep space.


The signals were received by a 112-foot radio frequency optical hybrid antenna called Deep Space Station 13.


NASA says the demonstration shows that it is possible for the giant dish antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network, which communicate with spacecraft via radio waves, to be retrofitted for optical or laser communications.


That is very cool.


NASA's Deep Space Optical Communications, or DSOC Technology Demonstration, aims to pave the way for higher data rate communications in support of humanity's next giant leap, sending humans to Mars.


The Mass Challenge Startup Accelerator Program has selected two companies to fund microgravity research in space.


SymphonyBio and FluxWorks will be sending their research to the International Space Station's National Lab.


SymphonyBio will be using the orbiting lab to develop a new cancer treatment that harnesses the immune system to fight tumors and prevent them from spreading.


And FluxWorks aims to develop and commercialize non-contact magnetic gearboxes for use in extreme environments in a wide range of applications.


The company's research will be funded by Boeing and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, also known as CASES.


The US government and Illyria recently conducted the first demonstration of the hybrid space architecture and combined joint all-domain command and control concept.


Both efforts seek to internet work commercial and/or government communications-equipped assets across land, air, sea, and space to create mesh networks that are impossible to disable.


Illyria's Spacetime Network Orchestration Software Program was used to operate a multi-vendor, multi-operator, multi-orbit, SATCOM network across Secure Department of Defense and multiple commercial provider locations.


According to the press release, realizing both capabilities ensures resilient, secure, and low-latency data communications networks anywhere on the globe.


And that concludes our briefing for today.


You'll find links to further information in the selected reading section of our show notes, and we've included today's announcement from Star Lab Space on their new leadership team.


Hey T-Minus Crew, every Monday we produce a written intelligence roundup.


It's 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.


And you can sign up for signals and space in our show notes, or at space.ntuk.com.


Our guest today is returning friend of the show, Bryce Kennedy, president of the Association of Commercial Space Professionals.


And I asked Bryce to tell us more about an event he has coming up to help space startups navigate the regulatory regime.


We're holding a boot camp March 4th through the 7th in Albuquerque, and we're bringing a bunch of subject matter experts to help space companies and people entering the market navigate the regulatory scheme, which is one of the largest points of failure for commercial space success.


And these boot camps have never been done.


I mean, outside of our organization, we're focusing on three parts, on education in the morning and training.


Second part is application, which we find is super important.


And then the third part is advocacy to allow companies and again, people to understand how they can advocate for their own business and reach different agencies on the hill.


So it'll be really interesting boot camp this one.


We've mixed up a little bit.


So folks who want to attend who haven't already signed up, they go to your website, which they head over to.


Yes, acsp.space and then go under training and then you'll see the March Boot Camp or just scroll down on the main website.


We would love to offer a discount code to anyone listening to 15% off, ACSP 15.


And yeah, please sign up.


It's a really great time.


One of the few opportunities and we developed it this way where networking is super intimate with very, I don't know if important is the right word, but impactful people in the industry.


And so I encourage students and anyone, you know, one of the things that I think ACSP does right is if you can't afford it or it's just not in the, well, whatever the reason is, please reach out to us.


We always accommodate.


We always make sure that no matter what your situation is, we will get you there in some fashion.


So please don't let the price tag be the barrier.


That's so great.


And that really speaks to the mission honestly and it's important.


So kudos to you all.


That's really wonderful.


This is not the first boot camp I'm trying to remember.


Your organization has done Desmond and DC as well.


Am I remembering that correctly?


So this one focused on export compliance.


We did this one last year in Albuquerque too.


Air Force Research Labs came to us and the whole nexus was two parks.


One was working for the law firm.


We were seeing a lot of commercial space startups fail because they didn't understand the regulatory.


And then Air Force Research Labs, their Ciber awardees were failing at a massive rate because they didn't know how to do government contracting or export compliance.


And they're like, we got to figure this out.


So that's where the original boot camp came.


But then we got a lot of feedback that many companies didn't understand.


They're like, okay, cool.


I understand the need to, you know, build out a licensing regime or export compliance control program all this other stuff.


But how do I talk to agencies?


So we went to DC, we brought people in from the hill.


And again, another round of subject matter experts, they were like, okay, this is how you actually talk to the agency.


So it was like a precursor to this type of boot camp, which is really impactful because there's a whole art into that.


I mean, we had a lobbyist and a deputy CFO of NASA com and he's like, this is how you speak to them.


We're getting down to like really nuanced facts of, hey, look, Bob at the FCC on a Friday in July, not going to be the most responsive.


So you got to put yourself into their shoes if you want your application and then really keep an eye out for different things that will help your application move faster through these agencies.




A lot of that knowledge is passed on this way.


Honestly, that are the really hard school of hard knocks.


Which yeah, that's great that that information is being shared because otherwise, I mean, those barriers are awfully high unnecessarily.


So sometimes yes, unnecessarily, especially if we're the US's position itself as a leader in commercial space.


I get it safety and whatnot.


And we're avoiding cybersecurity risks and all these other things.


But at the same time, the way I see a lot of the regulatory agencies and what they're doing is it's kind of like what the French did during World War II with the Majinot line.


It sounded so damn good.


It sounded so, you know, it was the thing.


It was so technically advanced at the time.


And what did the Germans do?


They just walked around.


Just walked around.


And so it's like, while we have export compliance to make sure that other nations still steal our IP and all this other stuff, half the time they just walk around our regulatory regime and get to exactly what they need to.


I have to say, since starting this job, I have heard the Majinot line brought up more times in this job than my entire life.


That is amazing.


I don't know why.


What about Rome?


Here's my question.


Has there been a lot of Rome throwbacks?


Well, not as many as I would have thought, honestly.


But the Majinot line has come up so many times.


That's such a great example of just complete and utter tunnel vision and like echo chamber with lack of really, you know, big picture of, you know, what nations are capable of.




All right.


So second topic area for today.


So you had sent this one over to me.


I think this is a fascinating area of discussion.


Want to pick your brain.


You wrote something about infrastructure needed ASAP, which I think a lot of our listeners would agree with you.


Many people have come on the show said the exact same thing.


Your head is that sounds like inland orbital launching.


Your thoughts around that.


Walk me through it.


Being here in New Mexico.


We have this great resource called the space board, but it has its limitations.


We don't have a reentry launch license yet.


We can't do orbital launch.


We have the white sands missile range though.


So we have this totally free airspace.


It's just, it's paradoxical, but it's also part of what space is like you have, you have two wins and a loss type thing.


And so I was reading this article, Scott McLaughlin, the executive director of the space board.


He had come up with this idea to put together a $2 million prize for any company that could successfully get an in-lant specifically out of space board.


FAA part four for the launch license for orbital orbital launch, which has never been done, and what's so funny is talk about tunnel vision.


I've been so focused on, because I'm a regulatory guy, like on a, how do we educate people on the regulatory regime, but also how do we advocate for it to change?


Scott, brilliantly enough was, he's not looking at it as a way to change it, but how do you work within the boundaries of it from a technological and engineering standpoint that makes it, I forget what the percentage is, you know, 0.99999% say for inland launch.


And it was one of the first things that I was, yeah, because, you know, I wrote a capstone paper in my master's program at Thunderbird.


I've written a few articles of space news on this type of thing.


So that beating the drums of, hey, we need to change our space boards over crowded, you know, we can only focus on the coast for so long.


There's a bunch of inland, the states that are now in the middle America looking for this.


And if we're only focusing, you can only do it over, I forget what the, I should know the specs a lot better, but over the ocean or whatever that is, so we don't hit, you know, a small town, that's fine.


But like we're really losing obviously a lot of ground to nations that don't necessarily have those high barriers of safety.


So I think, I thought it was a brilliant idea.


And it's something that I'm going to start advocating for a lot more.


If we can't change the FAA rules, then let's get super creative at the engineering side of how we can work within them.




And it doesn't mean that we have to lose our scruples about safety.


It's interesting to think of incentivizing the effort towards figuring out a way to do that is a really smart way of doing it because this, it has to be a multi-pronged attack, maybe attacks the wrong word, but approach.


I like that.


I mean, there's only so much the coasts can do.


They're quite built up in the United States unless we're talking about Alaska, sorry, Alaska, but the lower 48 coasts pretty crowded running out of space.


And then you have the hurricane.


I know I sound like a zealot for New Mexico, but it's one of the reasons I moved here is the weather is exceptional.


The climate allows for launch all year.


I mean, it's one of these things.


Every business that I've ever started and every business book that I've ever read, the great business has come from a need, your own personal need and scratching your own personal edge.


And every time I've ever started a business like my executive coaching company, it started because there was something so stupid in the industry that I just couldn't overlook it.


I was like, this is, I remember when I was a lawyer and we were working like a hundred hours a week and I noticed all the mental anguish that we were all experiencing.


I was like, this is a stupid way to live.


This is dumb.


And it really bothered me to the point where I was like, I quit and then I started my own company.


But this is the same thing that I'm now facing or looking at with Space4 and Inland Launch.


I'm like, this is dumb that we're not doing this.


Like, and we're relying on two areas of the country that are very small he's, it just, and it bothers me.


And so that's why, normally that's why I know it's a really good idea.




Spaceport America, it's right there.




It's already there.


Come on.


Yeah, I know.


Come on.


I get it.




And other parts of the country, which, you know, I would love to see spaceports built in like weather is definitely a concern.


I'm really excited about the idea of one being in Maine, but I mean, I'm in New England.


Our weather's not great.


Like it's not, that's going to be a challenge.


Even for the eclipse that's coming up, it's like, yeah, I have no hopes of seeing that because there's always cloudy.


Is it that bad?


I mean, it's been gray for like a solid month where I live.


I'm from Pittsburgh and it was just, it was gray, dark gray.


It gets in your soul.


It's like that, but worse is further north.




It's just bad.


I'm sorry.


No, it's fine.


Seasonal depression is, I'm just used to it now.


It's just here all the time.


So yeah, we've got the spaceport.


I know my producer Alice is like with you a thousand percent.


She's like, it's right there.


So when she's going to be listening to this later, she'll be nodding her head vigorously.






And New Mexico is gorgeous and beautiful.


And certainly spaceport America is right there.


So would, would be amazing.


And goodness, the airspace too.


So I hope the right people are hearing you and certainly you're going to be leading a big charge on this.


So looking forward to hearing more about how that's going.


I don't know if I mentioned, but yeah, we, so ACSP was awarded to lead the space valley coalition of New Mexico.


Oh, congratulations.




That's why this is really ramped up in a different way because we're a consortium that is bringing together a lot of the space communities in different organizations in New Mexico to focus so we can really move the needle in a bigger way.


And yeah, ACSP was awarded that, that grant is part of the build back better fun.


So that is why this is top of mind.


Oh, that's awesome.


Well, watch the space valley.


More stuff's going to be coming from that amazing part of the country.


So that's awesome.


Bryce, anything else before we close out for today?


That is it.


Just remember if you guys are interested, ACSP 15 for the code to the boot camp and in like I said, if there are any, any hurdles personally or I had one guy and it worked out really well from the international telecommunications union, the ITU, he reached out.


He's like, the bureaucracy is so hard that it will not be able to get a ticket in time and get it covered.


Would you mind give me a free ticket?


And I was like, absolutely.


And you know, I understand bureaucracy because of that, he is not one of our speakers and he's flying in from Geneva to talk about the ITU and then the mystery shrouded behind it in terms of the regulatory thing.


So it's like to me, the more we really help each other help move the needle and ball forward, whatever example we want to give that.


Imagine no line something.


Imagine how we can cross the imaginary line together.


Imagine no line.


There you are.


The more space we have.






Next month, I want to talk about Rome somehow.


I want to talk and we need to bring, I got to bone up on that.


Oh, I'm in.


I'm so in on that.




Let's do it.


All right.


Next month it is.


Thanks, Bryce.


Thank you, Maria.


We'll be right back.


Welcome back and we are approaching a solar maximum everybody.


Our local star goes through its own cycle of activity every 11 years and we are hitting its zenith of activity next year.


As our local star ramps up activity in its own magnetic field, those of us here on earth, all causally blanketed under our protective atmosphere and magnetic field, we see some really fantastic auroras.


And when a really big solar flare swells, well, those can be so disruptive that even our planet's magnetic field isn't quite enough of a shield.


Sometimes we hear about radio blackouts or power grid problems from a flare.


And that actually happened last week, February 9th in the South Pacific and Australia.


So expect to hear more headlines like that as we approach the solar maximum next July.


And that flurry of activity from the sun takes on a much more hazardous edge when you don't have as much of the earth's atmosphere protecting you or at all.


If you're wondering about what solar flares mean for astronauts, yes, an unshielded astronaut is very much in danger from radiation poisoning should a solar flare occur.


But space stations like the ISS are themselves shielded in both how they're built and also thanks to being in low earth orbit.


So there is that.


It's really long term cosmic ray exposure that is the real health hazard for astronauts.


But fun fact.


The magnetic force from a solar flare actually sweeps some cosmic rays away between a three and 20 percent decrease in cosmic rays over a few days thanks to a solar flare.


So in a way, those dangerous solar flares can actually make space safer for astronauts.


This phenomenon is called a forebush decrease.


And there is some thinking that timing interplanetary missions to occur during a solar maximum could help give a tiny bit of extra protection to astronauts who are way outside of the protection of low earth orbit.


It wouldn't be a lot.


And certainly interplanetary astronauts will need a lot half-deer shielding than hoping for a solar flare.


But in the harshness of space, I suppose every bit counts.


That's it for T minus for February 12th, 2024.


For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com.


And 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.


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Learn more at N2K.com.


This episode was produced by Alice Caruth, mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman.


Our executive producer is Jen Iben.


Our VP is Brandon Karp.


And I'm Maria Varmausis.


Thanks for listening.


We'll see you tomorrow.


[MUSIC] T minus.



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