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

Nothing says true love like space and cybersecurity.

BAE finalizes approvals for acquisition of Ball Aerospace. SpaceX could launch a USSF mission today. SpaceX and Intuitive Machines delay IM-1. And more.




BAE Systems secures approvals for finalizing the acquisition of Ball Aerospace. SpaceX scrubs Wednesday’s launch of IM-1 due to methane issues and is now targeting the early hours of Thursday in Florida for launch. The launch window for the Space Force's classified USSF-124 mission opens  tonight, 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 is Veronica Moronese, Director of Legal Affairs at ThinkOrbital.  

You can connect with Veronica on LinkedIn and find out more about the Space Generation Advisory Council on their website.

Selected Reading

BAE Systems Secures Regulatory Approvals for Acquisition of Ball Aerospace- Business Wire

Aerospace Cyber Security Market to Reach $58.8 Billion, Globally, by 2032 at 8.4% CAGR: Allied Market Research

UPDATE 2: SpaceX scrubs Wednesday’s launch of Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission – SatNews

Japan space agency says test flight for new flagship rocket is rescheduled for Saturday

First Ariane 6 flight model ships to Europe's Spaceport

Exclusive: Airbus CEO tells staff Space losses 'not acceptable'- Reuters

Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Hearing - ISS and Beyond: The Present and Future of American Low-Earth Orbit Activities

Collins Aerospace Tests NASA Space Station Suit in Weightlessness

Quantum Computing Inc. Awarded Fourth Subcontract from NASA

Amateur Satellite Tracker Spots US Military's Classified Space Plane- Extremetech

What space stations of the future could look like : NPR

Saudi Arabia to monitor sustainability strategy from space

MDA Announces Appointment Of Yung Wu To Board Of Directors

Surgery in space: Tiny remotely operated robot completes first simulated procedure at the space station- CNN

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 not new news as much as it's a follow-up, but BAE now has the regulatory go-ahead to finish its acquisition of Ball Aerospace.

What's a dozen roses and chocolate when you can get a 5.5 billion dollar provider of spacecraft, mission payloads, and antenna systems, y'all?

Who says romance is dead?

Today is Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2024.

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

BAE finalizes approvals for acquisition of Ball Aerospace.

SpaceX could launch a USSF mission today.

SpaceX and Intuitive Machines delay the launch of IM-1.

And our guest today is Veronica Moronesi, Director of Legal Affairs and Space Law at Think Orbital, on the future of space colonization.

It is a really fascinating chat, so definitely stay with us for the second half of the show.

Now let's take a look at our Valentine's Day Intel briefing, and from the top of the show, a quick check-in with how the BAE acquisition of Ball Aerospace is going.

And yep, they have regulatory approval to complete the acquisition now.

No BAE acquiring Ball Aerospace should be an officially done deal within the coming days, with the expected purchase price of 5.5 billion dollars and the new business name within BAE, which will be space and mission systems.

So no, sadly, you won't be able to make those Mason's YAR and space telescope jokes anymore, people.

Womp, womp.

Now little plug for us here.

We here at N2K Networks are clearly very interested in both space and cybersecurity.

I don't know if you know this, but N2K stands for News to Knowledge, and we started podcast production with our sister show The Cyber Wire eight years ago, if you can believe it.

And N2K moved into the space world last year after identifying the need to share news from the industry as its own vertical, but while also identifying the many crossovers between the space and cybersecurity industries.

So I want you to imagine our delight when Allied Market Research published a report titled "Aerospace Cybersecurity Market Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast."

According to the report, the global aerospace cybersecurity industry generated $26.3 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to generate $58.8 billion by 2032, witnessing a compounded annual growth rate of 8.4% from 2023 to 2032.

So yeah, it's a growing area, and we plan to be your go-to source for unbiased news in both areas.

Okay, moving on to some launch news updates now.

And it got down to the wire last night before SpaceX called to scrub its Falcon 9 launch that was due to transport the intuitive machine's lunar lander in the early hours of the morning.

The notice went out about 45 minutes before liftoff with a message on the social media platform X from SpaceX stating that they were standing down from tonight's attempt due to off-nominal methane temperatures prior to stepping into methane load.

SpaceX and intuitive machines are now targeting the early hours of Thursday in Florida for launch.

But that isn't the only SpaceX launch that was expected today.

The company has yet to publicly announce a secretive launch for the Space Force's classified USSF-124 mission.

The launch window opens at 5.30pm tonight and lasts until 10pm at the Cape.

That information was shared from a federal aviation administration operations plan advisory.

And Japan's space agency JAXA says its H3 rocket will have a second test flight on Saturday, two days later than an initially planned liftoff that was postponed due to bad weather.

JAXA says that its H3 spacecraft will attempt a test flight on Saturday with alternative launch windows through the end of March.

Speaking of rockets, the Ariane 6 rocket is heading to Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.

The stages that make up the central core of the rocket have been loaded into the purpose-built hybrid sailing ship.

The ship, called Canobie, is scheduled to arrive in French Guiana by the end of the month.

Reuters is reporting that the head of Airbus in Europe has told staff that recent unexpected changes in its space business are "not acceptable."

The business is facing what he described as an "internal crisis."

In November, Airbus took a $320 million charge on unidentified satellite programs.

The company is facing an internal structure shakeup along with management changes in hopes to address the issues that it's been facing and "write the company's focus on the space side of their business."

The US federal government held a subcommittee hearing on the future of low-Earth orbit space stations earlier today.

The hearing heard from representatives from NASA, Axiom, Voyager Space, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Unlected officials were concerned about competition with China in low-Earth orbit, and the future of LEO research after the ISS is planned to be de-orbited in 2030.

They heard from both the US Space Agency and commercial companies that the future of LEO space stations will be commercial-led but will be continued to be used by NASA and the federal government.

Colin Zerro Space has completed a key mission in developing a next-generation space suit for use on the International Space Station.

The company tested a pressure-garment system for fit and functionality in a microgravity-like environment during a parabolic flight.

The test marked an important step towards developing a suit for NASA that can be used for continuing operations and advancing scientific discovery in low-Earth orbit.

Collins was selected by NASA to develop a new space suit that can replace the current space station space suit, known as an extravehicular mobility unit, which has been worn by astronauts to assemble and maintain the space station for over two decades.

Collins will continue testing its space suit system in the meantime, and the next test is planned in a vacuum chamber to see how the space suit performs in a space-like atmosphere.

Quantum computing incorporated has been awarded a fourth project from NASA.

QCI has been tapped by Analytical Mechanics Associates on behalf of NASA to provide a new approach to remove sunlight noise from lidar spectral mapping in lower-Earth orbit.

This technology improvement would be an effective and affordable method for NASA to measure the unique physical properties of clouds and aerosols to prepare for space missions at any time of day.

And amateur satellite trackers in Finland have been watching the US X-37B space plane, and the observations appear to confirm that last year's launch was intended to boost the X-37B to previously unseen heights.

The space plane appears to be orbiting at 201 miles at perigee nearest to Earth, but up to 24,000 miles at Apogee, farthest from the Earth.

X-37B manufacturer Boeing had previously said that the craft is only designed for orbits up to 500 miles.

The information was shared on the platform X and could not be independently verified.

All in all, this simply adds to the mystery surrounding the space plane's mission.

And on that stunning cliffhanger, we conclude our briefing for today.

Check out the show notes for links to further reading on all the stories that we've mentioned, and we've added, as always, a few additional stories for you today.

One is from NPR on what space stations of the future could look like, and there's another on Saudi Arabia's plans to monitor climate change from space, and an announcement from NDA on a new board appointment.

Hey, T-Minus Crew, if you find this podcast useful, please do us a favor and share a five-star rating and a short review in your favorite podcast app.

That will help other space professionals like you to find the show and join the T-Minus Crew.

Thank you so much for your support.

We really appreciate it.

Our guest today is Veronica Moronesi, Director of Legal Affairs and Space Law at Think Orbital.

And Veronica has just been appointed to lead research into space colonization.

And I started off by asking her to tell us more about that.

This research group has been established in the framework of the Space Genre Regional Advisory Council in the Space Law and Policy Project Group.

We just had our kickoff meetings, so I'm really excited to start working on this research in particular, as it was my proposal to the Space Genre Regional Advisory Council to include space colonization among the topics of the 2020 cohort.

The reason why I proposed space colonization is because I participated last year as a principal investigator in an analog mission.

It was aimed at investigating the possible framework for the life in lunar settlements.

And so my experiment was aimed at finding out whether or which kind of self-government people in space would think as more appropriate for their community.

It was a pretty interesting experiment.

It gave a lot of interesting results.

And so I wanted to bring that experience in the format of the Space Genre Regional Advisory Council as it is a broader association and it can include future lawyers and young professionals, of course, to think about possible solutions for the future of space law.

Can you tell me a little bit about that experiment with that?

Could you tell me the results?

Because you said it was really interesting.

I'd love to know what...

What was the outcome?


I could present the results during the upcoming IEC in Milan, but I can give you a little bit of spoiler and a problem.

The experiment was pretty simple.

We submitted two questionnaires to the astronauts which were confined in a little environment in the Swiss Alps for two weeks.

During those two weeks, we submitted some questions to them to understand if and in what sense the permanence in that environment changed their core values, their view on the possible legislation to give to space colonies.

And so the result was that the values didn't change.

So the people that were there didn't change their thoughts and their beliefs on the core values of people.

So they remained true to themselves.

But they changed a lot of their thoughts on how to manage resources, for example, on space settlements, how decisions should be made.

And so we understood that even a very brief permanence two weeks changed the perspective on the best solution to regulate the daily life of people in space.

Would it be appropriate to ask you to conjecture a little bit, a little bit of a guess of what we might expect?

Or I don't know.

I'd love to just...

Your thoughts from now.


I expect to know a lot from this research because this kind of research can help put a little input in those who are the real rule makers, of course, to let them understand that even if it can seem something very futuristic, we are talking about the most applicable for space colonies.

We do not have space colonies at the moment.

We do actually have a space community, which is the International Space Station, but this is a very different kind of settlement because space settlements will be inhabited by civilians.

The International Space Station is inhabited by astronauts.

So they carry out specific missions.

We are talking about settlements that will be inhabited by civilians living there, working there.

So we cannot replicate the model that is currently on the International Space Station because a military hierarchy is not acceptable for an upper-mine settlement, which will be inhabited by civilians.

So we hopefully won't be seeing a colony that is related by military hierarchy.

And another point of importance that drive me to propose this kind of research is that actually, to be honest, space colonies will never exist because the...

Let me explain.

This is my open line.

Whenever I talk about space colonies, space colonies are not possible because the other space treaty, which is the legal basis for the action of humans in space, prohibits any claim of sovereignty over space bodies and space matters, which means that whenever we will be inhabiting the cosmos, it won't be through national colony.

It is clearly prohibited that the constitution of national colonies in space.

So those kind of communities won't be United States nationalities or Italian or so on.

They will have to be international settlements.

And from this comes that those settlements cannot be regulated by national laws.

And so there is the need, the urge at the moment, to understand how to create the framework, the internationally agreed on framework, able to guide the daily life of people in those settlements and also the relationship between those settlements and Earth.

So it is a pretty interesting topic because we are in the Artemis era and we will return to the moment hopefully in the next two years, bring it there for the first time, women.

It is clear, it is stated that the ultimate scope of the Artemis program is to do the giant leap towards Mars.

And one day colonize both the moon and Mars.

And we do not know how it will go, but given that the interest is in colonizing, exporting, humanity, doing settlements, whatever we want to call that, it is necessary to start thinking about what laws will be applicable to those communities.

And the Artemis program already started thinking about that, to be honest, with the Artemis Accords, which are the legal basis of the Artemis program.

We can do another 10 minutes talk on the Artemis Accord, but it is pretty important to start thinking about how to coordinate internationally to agree on that kind of laws, but also to understand that those laws that we will implement for the first settlers, which will be very tied to Earth, cannot be acceptable for people that will be living those settlements in two, three, four generations, as they will need and want to self-govern themselves.

And they will create communities, think about themselves as people.

And so they won't accept their fate to be decided on a very distant place.

And everything that we can do as people on Earth, as professionals, as lawyers, as people that do want to export the best of humanity into space is to understand what are the very core values, human rights, other values.

We do have to agree on that.

And from those values, build the future of humanity into space.

This is such a fascinating area, because I know, and I'm sure you know, to sci-fi science fiction has explored this exact same issue many times where we've heard countless stories of this kind of governance not going well.

And as you said, people feeling like they're being governed from a distant world and they don't understand the context there.

It's a very familiar story, but we're talking about real life here.

Is there any looking backwards in terms of what's happened in history for the paradigm moving forward?

Or do you think when we're talking about space given that is about as brand new as it gets, it just, it calls for something completely new?

It should be completely new.

But in reality, we do see that the pattern is the same.

We are sadly exporting democracy in the worst sense that we can express.

We are treating space resources and the moon and other celestial bodies as we did in the far west.

So the first one had the power to regulate over those coming then over the natural resources to something that was essential for living.

It is a recurrent to be honest in the environmental space lawyer to call the far west of the space environment because we are letting those that are more powerful do whatever they want.

And we are doing it for a very simple reason, which is that the people that should be taking decision over space do not have enough power to do so at the moment because the right place to decide on space should be the United Nations.

But you understand it is pretty understandable that the decision way of the United Nations is very difficult.

And to combine different sensibilities but also different interests between powerful nations is very difficult.

And this is why the space, the productivity in space is still regulated by a treaty that was established more than 50 years ago and was never implemented again, renewed.

It is just because it is very difficult to create new laws on space.

The only topic of space law which has been constantly renewed is the one regarding space debris because space debris are treated so close to everybody that everybody wants them to be regulated.

And when it comes to US office of space resources or I think like that, the international forums stay silent.

And with international forums staying silent, national legislation came and took the lead.

Yes, it fills in that silence.

Yes, yes, yep.

We got the US regulation but we do also have very different regulations.

We have Luxembourg in Europe.

We have a lot of national regulations that combine, you know, JEPR dies the environmental space law.

And so hopefully we will find a solution for the international forum to gain power over space because you know, space is an international environment we took the box before.

No national can claim any kind of sovereignty over space matters.

And so maybe with the institution of an agency, maybe with international concerns.

So I do not know.

But again, to come back to what we were saying before, at the moment, the most accepted framework over the future of space law is the Artemis Accord, which is not actually an accord.

It is a set of rules that were implemented by the NASA and then accepted by the partner states of Artemis, which means that it is only the US vision of space law and the relationship between humans and the cosmos that is informing an international aspect of that kind of relationship.

So this is not the way that international laws should work.

But if the international community accepts the Artemis Accords as something that is good and they want to implement, a lot of nations want to implement those accords, those accords have the power to become source of international law.

And so at that point, we could see some nations, I'm thinking about China, Russia, that can, you know, reform a block over that kind of regulation.

And so this is not the most unspeakable scenario, let's say.

We'll be right back.

Welcome back.

Now let's check in with all the cool things that are going on aboard the International Space Station.

As always, there's a lot of fascinating experiments underway in low Earth orbit.

And here's just one example.

Remote surgery happened for the first time in space over the weekend, thanks to a small robot on the ISS that just completed its first demo on a thick rubber band that was a stand-in for tissue.

And I should say, actually, to be technically correct, six surgeons successfully completed this demonstration in space from Lincoln, Nebraska, using the surgery robot, which held the tissue taut with one pincer and cut it using the other.

The two pound robotic device is, yes, as you might imagine, small, compact and lightweight.

It's called a space mirror or miniaturized in vivo robotic assistant.

And it was made by a startup called Virtual Incision.

While a lot of us became familiar with telehealth during the worst of the COVID pandemic, this robot is tele-surgery.

It holds a lot of promise for remote places on Earth and in space for when surgery would be needed, but a surgeon is not available.

However, as you might imagine, in a setting like surgery where fractions of a second count, a time delay like what's commonly experienced between the ground and the ISS is a challenge for sure.

In this case, the delay was under one second, which is not bad at all compared to the usual two to three second delay, but we're still not quite there yet.

Still, this was a successful demonstration of the remote robotic tech that hopefully one day will be making a big impact in space and in remote corners of the Earth.

And the work continues.

That's it for Team Minus for February 14th, 2024.

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

And we'd love to know what you think of this podcast.

You can email us at space@ntuk.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.

N2K 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 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 Varmausas.

Thanks for listening.

Happy Valentine's Day.

We'll see you tomorrow.

[MUSIC PLAYING] Team, I live.


Similar posts

Stay in the loop on new releases. 

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