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An ode to Odie.

SpaceX launches IM-1 to the Moon and carries satellites for the MDA and SDA in a separate launch. Varda gets approval to land the W-1 capsule. And more.




Intuitive Machines’ IM-1 mission Nova-C class lunar lander has launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and is heading to the Moon. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Space Development Agency (SDA) confirmed the successful launch of six satellites to low-Earth orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Varda has received long-awaited approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to bring its first spacecraft W-1 back to earth, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Dr Yarin Eski, Associate Professor in Public Administration at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 

You can connect with Yarin on LinkedIn and learn more about his work at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on their website

Selected Reading

IM-1 Mission Nova-C Lunar Lander Successfully Enroute to the Moon Following its launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9

MDA, SDA Confirm Successful Launch of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor and Tranche 0 Satellites- U.S. Department of Defense

US Space Force Cancels Northrop’s Multibillion-Dollar Military Satellite - Bloomberg

An update on Varda’s W-1 Mission

BlueHalo and Eqlipse Technologies Combine to Create Global Defense Technology Leader

Vast selects Addvalue for Haven-1 Space Station Connectivity

Millennium Space Systems Awards Contract to Voyager Space to Build Star Trackers

New funding ensures UK role in global exploration to the Moon, Mars and Venus - GOV.UK

Thales Alenia Space will provide communication equipment to NASA’s NEO Surveyor mission

Russia launches a Valentine's Day Progress supply ship to the ISS-  Space

Russia National Security Threat: Everything We Know About Space Rumors

Water found on the surface of an asteroid for the 1st time ever

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[MUSIC] All right, you know we have to address the major issue splashed across the flora pages right now.

And that's the one that's rumors and speculation coming from the US political world involving Russia, space and nukes.

That's guaranteed media hysteria when you put those three things together.

Now we don't wanna add any fuel to that fire because there's nothing really to go on here.

If that changes and we have credible publicly sourceable claims to report on, we will share that with you.

But in the meantime, we're moving on.

[MUSIC] >> Today is February 15th, 2024.

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

[MUSIC] SpaceX launches the Intuitive Machines Lunar Lander mission and carries satellites for the Missile Defense Agency and Space Development Agency to Leo in a separate launch.

VARDA finally gets approval to land its W1 capsule.

And our guest today is Dr.

Yaren Eski, Associate Professor in Public Administration at VRA University Amsterdam, talking about space criminology.

Yeah, who's gonna commit crimes in space and when that happens, how do we deal with them?

Join us for that really fascinating chat in the second half of today's program.

[MUSIC] Let's take a look at our Intel briefing for today.

And another lunar landing attempt by a commercial space company has launched this morning.

This time it's Intuitive Machines and their mission IM1 lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 this morning at 1.05 a.m.

Eastern time from launch complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

And the company has confirmed that the mission has successfully established radio contact with mission ops in Houston, as well as reaching a stable attitude and starting solar charging.

The goal is to have its Nova Sea class lunar lander, the Odysseus, land at the crater of Malapur A near the lunar south pole.

IM1 is part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Service Program and is carrying five NASA payloads aboard as well as commercial cargo.

Now Odysseus, or OD as it's also being called, will be studying plume surface interactions, radio astronomy, and space weather interactions with the lunar surface.

It will also demonstrate precision landing technologies and communication and navigation node capabilities.

Should all continue to go nominally for OD, NASA says we can expect to see a lunar landing attempt on February 22.

Go OD!

Yesterday we mentioned a planned secretive, SpaceX launch from Florida, and today we have more details to share.

The Missile Defense Agency, also known as MDA, and the Space Development Agency confirmed the successful launch of six satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base by a Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch included two satellites for MDA's Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, as well as the final four SDA Tronch-0 tracking layer satellites for the SDA's proliferated warfighter space architecture, and all of the satellites were safely delivered to orbit and are conducting initial testing.

The US Space Force has reportedly cancelled a multi-billion-dollar Northrop Grumman program to develop a classified military communication satellite because of increased costs, difficulties developing its payload, and a schedule delay.

According to an exclusive Bloomberg report, Northrop was formally notified last month of the termination within the organization's restricted space business.

The company's filing offered no details on the classified satellite or the reasons that this was called off.

VARDA has received long-awaited approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to bring its first spacecraft back to Earth.

The vehicle was launched in June last year and the company has been working with the FAA to receive approval for a Part 450 reentry license to land the spacecraft back on US soil.

VARDA is expected to reenter its small W-Series 1 capsule down to the Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range on February 21st.

The W1 mission is a demonstration of the company's automated in-space manufacturing process, which successfully produced the drug Ratonovir.

Blue Halo has announced its intentions to acquire Eclipse Technologies, which is a leading provider of differentiated products and solutions to the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.

According to the press release, the combined entity will have a total employee count of nearly 2,400 across 11 states and annual revenue approaching $1 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2024.

VAST has selected Singapore-based satellite communications company AdValue to provide radio frequency communication system for its Haven-1 space station.

VAST's Haven-1 is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than August 2025 and is expected to be the world's first crude private space station.

VAST plans to use inter-satellite data relay system transceivers that are made by AdValue, which can provide on-demand real-time connectivity with Haven-1 through the Viasat in Marsat Alera network.

Voyager Space has been awarded a contract by Millennium Space Systems to build 13 flight model Star Trackers and two engineering models.

Phase delivery is slated for late 2024 through early 2025 to support Millennium's small satellite constellation programs.

The UK space agency has announced £7.4 million in funding for research institutions working on missions to the moon, Mars, and Venus.

The projects that will receive a share of the funding include research at Royal Holloway that's looking to develop software for the Indian Space Agency's Chandrion-2 orbiter to detect ice under the surface of the lunar south pole.

Open University and the Universities of Sussex, Aberdeen, and Cambridge are also teaming up with NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, and JAXA.

Telesolenia Space has signed a contract with Prime Contractor Ball Aerospace, while still named that, to supply communications equipment for NASA's NEO Surveyor mission.

The five-year mission aims to advance efforts to defend our planet against near-Earth objects like asteroids and comets.

NEO Surveyor will employ an infrared space telescope designed to discover and characterize at least two-thirds of the near-Earth objects, more than 460 feet across, capable of causing significant damage should they impact the Earth.

Telesolenia Space will provide S-Band transponder, K-Band modulator, and K-Band traveling wave-tube amplifier equipment for the NEO Surveyor spacecraft.

And a new supply of cargo is heading to the International Space Station, courtesy of the Russian Progress 87 cargo ship.

The capsule was launched atop of a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan and is carrying about three tons of food, propellant, and other supplies, and it's all expected to reach the ISS on Saturday.

That concludes our briefing for today.

We've included links to further reading in our show notes and added in an additional story on the one we all know about the space Russian nukes rumors, and a story from Space.com on water found on an asteroid for the first time.

Those links and more can also be found on our website space.n2k.com and just click on this episode title.

Hey T-Minus crew, if your business is looking to grow your voice in the industry, expand the reach of your thought leadership, or recruit talent, T-Minus can help.

We'd love to hear from you.

Just send us an email at space@n2k.com or send us a note through our website so we can connect about building a program to meet your goals.

Our guest today is Dr.

Yaren Eski, Associate Professor in Public Administration at VRA University Amsterdam.

I spoke to Yaren about his research in space criminology, and started by asking him just to explain what that is.

So space criminology, which is actually for criminology itself, is an interesting wording because within criminology we look at space as in like streets and the environment and how it might lead to certain crime or what makes a space criminogenic.

So how does it create crime?

Whereas actually when we talk about space criminology we go back to the original meaning of the word outer space, outer space criminology.

Sounds like semantics but it matters for for criminology as a whole.

But then what does it do?

Well the most simple explanation I would say is looking at crime that takes place on earth but then in space.

That's quite basic.

We can start with that.

But it also looks at how to control it then in in space or via space, policing it, what kind of criminal justice systems may we need, but and also how to research this, how to get to space or at least as close as possible.

And as you can imagine it's a very young area of study also for criminology but also I would say in general.

I think it follows the footsteps of space anthropology, space psychology, space sociology, space philosophy, space law and we're all trying as space criminologists we're trying to combine these space social sciences together with the space sciences so the beta side of it because space has its own characteristics of course which may or may not be the criminogenic end of themselves.

For example what does it do to someone living in outer space for quite a while and yeah getting bored or frustrated or you know these are quite essential questions and to which extent may it lead to transgressive conflictuous situations or a harmful, harmful behavior and perhaps also the law-breaking behavior.

Yeah I especially and I know this is getting into very long-term thinking but again this is all a lot of thinking about the future.

When we're talking about civilians living in space not necessarily somebody who is a trained you know military personnel what laws govern their behavior?

I mean I guess that is my first question what laws are even applicable in that situation?

I mean is everything just going back to the outer space treaty?

Does that even apply here?

I don't even know where to start it's I'm so fascinated.

Yeah this is more of a I would say legal scholar question but I can answer to an extent.

Again I'm a criminologist and we tend to be pride in the fact that we're not legal scholars.

Fair enough.

No but you say a few words about that there's the outer space treaty and there's the ISS regulations and there is now also I believe Canada has proposed to criminalize any criminal behavior on the loan still in a proposal phase I believe.

There are other kind of tenets designed how to behave proper and how to behave according to law and it's implied also based on the outer space treaty that each nation has its own responsibility to take responsibility for proceeding in court or to investigate in case something might go wrong but it's not really set in stone this is the interesting bit.

So yes we've got rules and there are laws and we also kind of have an idea of how we could go about but as you've seen or maybe you've noticed when the whole Anne McLean case came up the first space crime ever the headings were in in the US which turned out to be a well a false accusation I believe but it did stir up the the whole legal discussion like oh now what you know how do we deal with that yeah so there's that and I think space criminologies even before that that phase of how to deal with it out prosecuted also it's about how can this start and this is where it becomes interesting because there are tons and tons of libraries full of literature for centuries now on what could cause crime and how does it manifest itself and how does it lead to potential damage on earth ensuring this all matters and we can learn a lot from that but me it's specific I am specifically also interested in how does that relate to to specifics of space both in terms of the hostile environment that it is but also that in space we can only live in confined spaces which is quite quite weird if you think about it what does that do and are those confined spaces different in space than for example in the submarine or in a prison or I mean there's all this knowledge definitely but how does that apply to the space environment and are we talking about planetary new spaces or what are we talking about out of orbit or what are we talking about so these very basic questions that are probably very important in the meantime for space sciences themselves are fundamental to explore for space criminology from my point of view regarding space criminology there are already things going on that we might consider quite problematic in terms of criminal or at least not in compliance with earth's criminal justice and criminal laws can you elaborate a little bit on that like what what are you thinking of specifically space debris I think it's the one that's very clearly not environment friendly to the space environment I would say but also think of the point nemo and where they basically bring back all the non-functioning or non-operational space craft so it's like a space craft graveyard down there which is also limiting the environment it's back on earth but you know even the active space stuff that is out there it's blinding literally blinding our sight into space this is why we need you know floating telescopes to have a better view for us also but so we are doing what we are doing on earth for centuries we are polluting the environment and we're also doing so in outer space also on the moon on Mars oh there's like a piece of maybe it's an alien equipment or something now it turns out that it's debris just floating around on Mars so it's a reading message also with with space exploration perhaps not crime in a strict sense of the word but it is in a way an eco crime and then even further maybe not even a crime in that sense and not even eco crime but just the fact that we as a human species or species from earth go elsewhere interplanetary contamination for example is a real thing and astrobiologists are quite worried about that like who are we to do that and contaminate it on a planet and not only then for example discover bacteria that that actually comes originally from earth but also we can go back pick up this Mars dust dust for example and as safely as possible we we try to research this but what if we really make a bacteria that we are simply incapable of seeing hearing smelling because we are from earth these are not sci-fi questions anymore these are these are actual questions and worries and I think space criminology has tasked to also explore these kind of damages that are already taking place next to the the known crimes that the everyday person knows like oh yeah yeah crime is like robbery and then assault and murder and and I think also for that category of crime that that is also going to happen at some point when more people are enabled to go into space in fact there are worries in in the astronaut community that next to these companies can that are going to do whatever they want to do apparently I mean it's in starlings terms and conditions like we're not gonna care about what earth's regulations are I believe it's still stated as such but what about people going up there like what are they gonna care and even if we have laws in place right even if there's a abortion criminal justice system if we don't have an actual organization to uphold and enforce yeah yeah what does anything mean without teeth right yeah yeah exactly you're gonna catch me here so I think not necessarily the lawlessness because to be very honest and that's very very blunt I think creating new laws is not even that hard I mean you need to get intentional agreement it might take a couple of decades but having an actual capable space criminal justice system or a space police you know as lego used to used to create again as we get more people on earth we're going to bring our very human behaviors with us sorry off of earth off of earth it is inevitable in a way it's it's very nihilistic and sad in a way of course and but there are worries that also because the elites that are most likely to be the first ones that are enabled and can enable themselves to go to other planets or the moon as the civilians with this way yeah it's it's white-collar crime yes you know and who's going to stop them I was gonna stop them yeah yeah yeah they probably have their own security in detail as well so so this is I would say next to the worries about space debris and also satellite destruction which is more war related of course the old-fashioned crimes the everyday crimes they may not be as uh as much as volume taking place of of these crimes in space as we have on earth right now but then again um it might happen and I also hypothesize I absolutely wonder to which extent this also has like immediate geopolitical consequence like on earth if one is not from a certain country to another astronaut um yeah commits a violent act you know or assaults the other person and so there are as you can hear there are so many basic criminological questions as well as basic common sense questions but I do think that they require a scientific and evidence-based approach and knowledge creation but also methods like how the hell am I like this clean criminologists with a normal income it's impossible and I don't think any company is going to fund a space criminologist so the the closest we can get is through virtual reality and I would say the studies of analog missions how are you going to do that you know how are you going to instruct people to like what how enact a crime or something or um in VR how far can you go not everything that is possible to research is should be researched there are many many many questions involved here but not doing anything would let the luxury go yeah having the luxury of doing something before the act so for the first time I would say compared to the aviation domain the maritime domain the cyber domain where we waited until something happened we'll be right back welcome back it's been a few weeks since japan landed its slim craft on the moon and we figured it was time for an update slim which you might remember stands for smart lander for investigating moon has been actively using its multiband spectral camera to analyze the composition of rocks and is conducting examinations of lunar rock samples jacksa says it's looking for data that could point to the origins of the moon and the vehicle has collected data from 10 rock samples which have been given the names of dog breeds such as akita inu beagle and sheba inu and we imagine that they found a rock that looked like a dog and thus the naming convention was started and by comparing the mineral compositions of moon rocks and those of earth jacksa is hoping to find out if the rocks have common elements to support the giant impact hypothesis you know the one that says uh the theory that the moon is formed as a result of the earth colliding with another planet slim is now in hibernation that will last until late february it remains unknown if the probe and its spectroscope will be able to survive the severe cold night temperatures and then be able to wake up when sunlight returns the two transformers by the way that we were so lighted up about have now completed their mission of recording slim's initial work and sadly have since stopped working so for now the japanese space agency has the information that it has collected thus far and they'll get back to all of us on what they find that's it for t-minus for february 15th 2024 for additional resources from today's report check out our show notes at space.entuk.com we're privileged that n2k and podcasts like t-minus are part of the daily routine of many of the most influential leaders and operators in the public and private sector from the fortune 500 to many of the world's preeminent intelligence and law enforcement agencies this episode was produced by alice caruth mixing by elliot peltsman and tre hester with original music and sound design by elliot peltsman our executive producer is jen ivan our vp is brandon carp and i'm maria varmazas thanks so much for listening we'll see you tomorrow t-minus [ kinds of music * im not elated

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