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Uruguay joins the Artemis Accords.

Uruguay signs the Artemis Accords. Viasat installs new satellite coms for the US Navy. Iridium sees growth in subscribers driven by commercial IoT. And more.




The Artemis Accords now have 36 signatories, with Uruguay joining the space exploration cooperation agreement. Viasat wraps up installing satellite communications on a US Navy Military Sealift Command ship, marking a milestone in their 10-year contract.  Iridium has reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2023 and issued its full-year 2024 guidance, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest is Daniel Fox, CEO and Founder of The Future of Space.

You can connect with Daniel on LinkedIn and sign up for his Future of Space newsletter.

Selected Reading

NASA Welcomes Uruguay Foreign Minister for Artemis Accords Signing

Viasat Announces First U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command Ship Installation

Iridium Announces 2023 Results; Company Issues 2024 Outlook

In-Space Missions awarded further UK Space Agency funding for Faraday Dragon

China eyes May 2024 launch for 1st-ever lunar sample-return mission to moon's far side- Space

Watch Japan launch its H3 rocket on return-to-flight mission tonight- Space

Rocket company inks MOU with Equatorial Launch Australia with plans to launch from Arnhem Space Centre as demand for launch in ‘Asia’s launch site of choice’ grows

AU Executive Council Appoints Dr Tidiane Ouattara as the President of the African Space Council- Space in Africa

Google to share oil and gas methane leaks spotted from space- Reuters 

Martians Wanted: NASA Opens Call for Simulated Yearlong Mars Mission

Long Beach hosting space industry job fair to snap up talent after NASA lab layoffs

We Have Liftoff EagleCam Successfully Launches into Space Bound for the Moon- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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[MUSIC] It was another fascinating week in space.

We had Artemis signatories, contracts galore, another lunar lander lift off, and then all of the hullabaloo about nukes in space.

And the weekend's gonna be busy too, it looks like.

So before we head off into our long weekend, how about a pallet cleanser, Joe Gallis?

I'm bracing myself.

>> Well, you said pallet cleanser, so I had to make it a bit of a food theme, right?

So why aren't astronauts hungry when they get to space?

>> I don't know, why aren't they hungry when they get to space?

>> Cuz they've just had a big launch.

>> [LAUGH] I actually like that one.

I like that one.

Yeah, I think I wanna adopt that one, I like it.

It's a nice one, pleasant.

[LAUGH] >> T-minus, 20 seconds to all of us.

[MUSIC] >> Today is February 16th, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmazes.

>> I'm Alice Karuth and this is T-minus.

[MUSIC] >> Uruguay signs the Artemis Accords.

Viacet installs new satellite comms for the US Navy.

Iridium reports growth in subscribers driven by commercial IoT.

>> And our guest today is Daniel Fox, CEO and founder of the Future of Space.

Daniel is a wildlife photographer and explorer and shares with us the compelling argument of why we should explore Antarctica, the moon and beyond.

[MUSIC] >> Some nice news to start this Friday's Intel briefing for you.

The Artemis Accords now have 36 signatories with Uruguay joining the Space Exploration Cooperation Agreement in a ceremony at NASA HQ in Washington DC just yesterday.

Viacet just wrapped up installing satellite communications on a US Navy military sea lift command ship, marking a milestone for their 10 year contract.

This means improved networks for 105 ships ensuring reliable global satellite communications.

They've adopted a user friendly approach and called SATCOM as a service combining KA and L-band services for secure and dependable worldwide communication capabilities.

The work falls under the next generation wide band follow on, 10 year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity or IDIQ contract awarded to InMarsat government by the Defense Information Systems Agency in 2022.

InMarsat government is now part of Viacet government's business following the company's acquisition of InMarsat which was completed in May of last year.

>> And staying with communications, Iridium has reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2023 and issued its full year 2024 guidance.

So Iridium reported fourth quarter total revenue of $194.7 million, which consisted of $148 million of service revenue and $46.7 million of revenue related to equipment sales and engineering and support projects.

Total revenue was in line with last year's comparable period and included an 8% increase in service revenue.

The company ended the quarter with close to 2.3 million total billable subscribers.

Total billable subscribers by the way grew 14% year over year driven by growth in commercial IoT or Internet of Things.

The company reported net income of $15.4 million in 2023 compared to net income of $8.7 million in the previous year.

Iridium is expecting total service revenue growth between 4 and 6% for full year 2024.

In Space Mission's LTD is a subsidiary of BAE Systems and has been awarded further funding from the UK Space Agency to progress its Faraday Dragon rideshare satellite program.

The funding from Phase 2 of the UK Space Agency's International Bilateral Fund will be used in the development of novel Asia Pacific payload technologies that will fly on Faraday Dragon, the first multi-agency Asia Pacific regional rideshare satellite mission.

The high profile project brings together established and emerging space entities from Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand.

It opens up additional opportunities for the UK to be at the forefront of future partnerships and procurement programs in the Asia Pacific region.

The funding amount was not included in the press release.

Chinese state media is reporting that the team working on the Chang'e 6 mission are intensively testing and adjusting the equipment ahead of a planned launch in May.

Chang'e 6 is planning to land and collect samples from the far side of the moon before bringing those samples back to Earth.

The vehicle arrived at Wenchang spaceport on Hainan Island in early January to prepare it ahead of launch.

Now if you're listening to this as we publish at the 5pm eastern US time zone then this is your two hour warning ahead of Japan's H3 rocket launch.

The H3 is scheduled to lift off from Japan's Tanga Gashima Space Centre tonight during a nearly four hour window that opens at 7.22pm eastern.

Japan says H3's success is crucial to prove to the world that it's capable of launching satellites continuously.

Godspeed, Yarl.

Equatorial Launch Australia has signed a memorandum of understanding with Singaporean rocket company Equatorial Space Systems for a series of launches of the Dorado family of suborbital rockets at Arnhem Space Centre, which is all planned for late 2024.

The MOU paves the way for a comprehensive spaceport services agreement which could see ESS possibly become a resident launcher at the spaceport in the future.

The Dorado launches are planned from the end of this year and will carry science experiments and technology demonstrator payloads.

The Executive Council of the African Union has appointed Tidiano Otara as the President of the African Space Council to facilitate the four operations of the African Space Agency.

Otara has become the inaugural President of the African Space Council which consists of 10 members with one male and one female elected from each of the five AU regions.

Their tenure will last four years during which Dr Otara will lead the African Space Agency governing body.

Google is partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund to expose sources of climate warming emissions from oil and gas operations that will be detected from space by a new satellite.

The new spacecraft called the MethaneSat will launch next month and it will be one of the several satellites to be deployed to monitor methane emissions around the globe.

The aim of the constellation is to pinpoint major sources of the invisible but potent greenhouse gas.

The MethaneSat program is a partnership led by the Environmental Defense Fund, the New Zealand Space Agency, Harvard University and others.

Data from the satellite will be available later this year and Google Cloud will provide the computing capabilities to process all the information.

Google also said it will create a map of oil and gas infrastructure using artificial intelligence to identify components like oil tanks.

MethaneSat's data on emissions will be then overlaid with the Google map to assist in understanding which types of oil and gas equipment tend to leak the most.

The Earth Engine data will be free to researchers, nonprofits and the news media.

Now NASA is looking for candidates for its next simulated one-year Mars surface mission.

The analog mission aims to help inform the agency's plans for human exploration of the red planet.

The second of three planned ground-based missions called Chapea, which stands for Crew, Health and Performance Exploration Analog, is scheduled to kick off in spring 2025.

You'll find further details by following the link in the selected reading section of our show notes.

And now, trust me, I'm going to go and sign up now.

And we have a wee PSA to close out the show with.

If you're one of the people affected by the layoffs in recent weeks in California, we have news of a space industry job fair coming up in Long Beach, which is follow the link in our show notes for more details.

You'll also find links there to all the other stories that we've mentioned in today's show, so you can go beyond the headlines at your leisure.

Hey T-miners crew, tune in tomorrow for T-miners Deep Space.

I'll show for extended interviews, special editions and deep dives with some of the most influential professionals in the space industry.

Tomorrow we have Daniel Fox talking about exploring Antarctica, the moon and beyond.

Check it out while you're grocery shopping or heading to your local watering hole.

It's bound to provide you with some great pub talk photo or family dinner, as you never know.

You don't want to miss it.

And also we have a programming note for you.

Monday is the President's Day holiday for us here in the United States, so all of us here at NTUK Networks will have the day off.

That means no T-minus daily intel brief on Monday, but we will have programming running for you in your podcast feed.

It's a reprise of episode one of AWS in orbit.

And that episode is about leveraging generative AI to do more at the rugged space edge.

So if you're curious about the many different use cases for AI in space applications, this is a great episode to help you get acquainted.

[Music] Our guest today is Daniel Fox, CEO and founder of the Future of Space.

Daniel is a wildlife photographer and explorer.

And we started our conversation talking about his upcoming return to Antarctica.

So on December of this year, we're going to Antarctica on a kind of, I mean, luxurious exploration vessel and we're bringing along William Shatner, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, and then we're going to have some other big names.

There are a lot of things for this voyage, but one of them is really to promote going to these places with a conscious and aware mind.

Because there's a narrative that is out there about not going to the moon, not going to space, not going to Antarctica and trying to preserve, as if to put them into a bubble and thinking that they exist better in a bubble.

And we want to promote the other way.

We want to promote the human experience, the physicality of what it does to go to these places in a mindful way.

So that we can learn, the world is made to be experienced and we need to remind ourselves that we can do it in a mindful way.

Yeah, I would love to hear you expand on that a bit.

It's the folks that you're going with also are, I mean, two fascinating ambassadors for space right there.

And I think that's a really smart intentional choice to be making, especially when many times when I speak to people outside of the space bubble, there's a lot of cynicism about who is at the forefront of that conversation and what their motivations are.

So I think it's fascinating that you have folks that are very well respected and loved at the forefront of this journey.

And I would just love to hear about the connection to Antarctica and also who you're going with and why, because I think that's so fascinating.

You know, going to these places is really important because that's, I mean, the hindsight and the perspective is only done once you go over there.

I mean, your Shatner got when he went to space, that perspective, that physicality cannot be replicated if you're just staying home.

So being able, like if you think about going to Antarctica up until very recently, it was only like hardcore research and limited to a small number of people who really want to push the other field of boundaries.

And now it's getting easier and more affordable.

It's still an expensive, you know, experience and you need to be committed, but more and more people are able to expand, you know, to connect to the remoteness.

And if it's put with the right frame, you know, in the right structure, the right context, it becomes a life-changing environment of experience and where you can come back and you can share with your family.

You can say, "Okay, now I understand how things are connected."

Because like it's, we're a physical species.

We need to experience things.

We don't do well with concept.

And I think that right now we rely too much on these concepts for people to change and it doesn't work.

So once you go over there and you get to experience the landscape, you get to experience these animals and you get to experience all of this within a structure that reminds you of the responsibility and the connectedness of everything.

It cannot but just be really powerful, you know, agent of change and the moon is the same thing.

And, you know, to your point about this being only to the ones who can afford it or to billionaires, unfortunately the curve of technology has always been the same.

Right now you and I were, you know, we're talking on computers.

Computers were only to the rich, you know, to the rich who could afford it back in those days.

It's the same thing with the cell phones.

And now it's ubiquitous, you know, everyone can have it.

So space, these travel destinations are often offered or available to the people that can afford it until it becomes available to the masses.

So it will, you're going to have the same kind of adaptation timeline.


I mean, even in my lifetime, just vacationing abroad for many people has gone from a once in a lifetime thing to multiple times a year for some folks.

I mean, it's a, it has changed a lot.

And you mentioned something very interesting about sort of, I'm going to use the word stewardship since it's the only word that comes to mind about the, the attitudes we take with us when we go to these places, Antarctica or one day the moon, you know, when people go with a certain mindset of taking care of these spaces in a responsible way versus just pure exploitation.

I'm just curious about your thoughts on that because you wrote this amazing piece that I really loved and we'll make sure to link it in the show notes.

But you get into some detail about that and I wanted to just sort of hear your thoughts on, on that.

Life is constantly moving forward, right?

It's like, it's like having children or having a family and always thinking that like the children are going to stay home and never go anywhere.

They are meant to go beyond you.

That's why we have children so that they can continue our legacy.

And every single generation is going to try to do better than a generation before.

But they need to go out and experiment and they will do their own mistakes.


But if you can give them the skills to move forward and to create their new life with the value, with the correct values, right?

This is why our society has been improving and we're not stuck in, you know, in 1920s with the hammer and ore.

I think we've forgotten that we take things, you know, for granted, but our society has been evolving because we're constantly trying to do things better.

And then we move forward.

So going to these places, right, you make a reference on the article that I wrote.

And in that article, I talk about maybe the most powerful insight we've ever had is, you know, from Carl Sagan when we look in the pale blue dot.

But this is what it does when you go beyond you've lived, you know, in the little village and then finally you climb up to the mountain and you look back and you saw and you start to see, OK, now, now I get it.


Different perspective.

We talk about the overview effect.

Seeing the earth in context of space.

That is what moving forward, going beyond us.

But we have the capacity.

This is what we do.

We have the capacity to always try to do better to do it in a mindful way.

If we prevent people to do it and we prevent the opportunity for us to try to do the right way.

And the status quo is always going to be easy for the status quo to point fingers because, oh, you know, you stay behind them.

You don't, you know, and you don't get your feet wet.

But then you prevent learning and creating the opportunity to do the right thing so that it breaks because ultimately you cannot prevent life from moving.

And if you don't, if you don't lead, right, you give the opportunity for others to come and take that lead and then they might not do it in a way that you want to have it done.

So that's why we have to go to the moon.

That's why we have to lead and go to Antarctica so that we can shape the narrative according to the values that we want.

Because if we don't, then it might not be that future that we envision.

I think that that's a very compelling case there.

And I found myself nodding a lot as I was reading it because it makes a lot of sense to me.

I have never been to Antarctica, but I know you have been many times.

And on this return that you are making later this year.

I'm so curious what you hope the other travelers on this journey will take away from when they go and see this incredible place.

Just how everything is connected.

The physicality of these places, the landscape, the mountains, the ice, obviously there's crossing the Drake Passage, which is becoming more manageable because we can work faster and then we have ships that can handle better.

But visiting these places, when you have people that remind you of, like, understand that a hundred years ago, you know, Shackleton was like in a set tall, a ship at the mercy of the elements and now we're able to do it and we have the internet.

But for people to experience nature, ultimately, it's what we have on Earth.

We get to see the penguins and their natural elements.

This is not a zoo.

This is not, you know, this is like we are, we have a team of experts, expedition team that have spent 10, 15, 30 years, you know, learning about their craft, whether they're a geologist or environmentalist or a penguin expert.

And they're there to share with us their knowledge.

So when you go to an experience in Antarctica in that way, it is having not only the visual, the connection, the excitement, but you get to do it while learning and being educated by people that are extremely passionate about their work.

And then, you know, and then you get to share it.

You get to tell that story to other people and you get to tell them, OK, this is why it matters because we're connected because I've been there because I've experienced it and I want to live in a world where this is available.

This is one of the things like in the U.S. that we forget.

We have this country that is that we love because people before have understood how to protect it and how to leave room to these places that we can go and enjoy.

And they came from a controversial people.

Teddy was a, you know, was a hunter and but he's the one responsible for a lot of the conservation.

So we need to experience these places, whether now it's Antarctica or whether it's Arctic.

We need to encourage exploring, even if it's remote, because we need people to understand and we need to give it the proper care to manage that expansion.

It's like, you know, saying, let's close out the Galapagos because, you know, it's it's it's a rich, you know, biodiversity.

No, it's there.

You need people and how many people have gone over there and said, this is amazing.


This is amazing.

So that's that's what we need to do.

We'll be right back.

Welcome back.

So, so far so good for the intuitive machines.

Nova Sea lunar lander, which is heading to the moon to attempt a soft landing at the lunar South Pole with an ETA of February 22nd next week.

And when it successfully soft lands on the moon.

Yes, not if but when we're manifesting this one of the payloads on the lander is a mini satellite camera system called Eagle Cam that represents a number of very cool firsts.

So Eagle Cam is a CubeSat camera system that will separate from the Nova Sea lander as it approaches the lunar surface.

In doing so, Eagle Cam will capture photos of the entire lander as it is landing.

So when this happens, Eagle Cam will be accomplishing a number of firsts.

It'll be the first device to capture third person imagery of a spacecraft.

The world's ultimate selfie.

They're calling it.

Ha ha.

It'll be the first device to use Wi-Fi on the lunar surface.

That's how the image from Eagle Cam is getting beamed back to earth via the lander.

Oh yeah, and most notably, it'll be the very first time ever a student built university project lands on the moon.

And no surprise here that the students are from none other than Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

I love that this is a student led project and it is seriously fantastic that we'll now finally get that moment of landing captured from a third person view for the very first time.

And even when something goes awry, getting that third person view on a lander was so important with JAXA's SLIM in understanding its orientation.

So here's hoping we get that glorious touchdown moment with Nova Sea.

Geez, Wi-Fi on the moon.

I can just hear it next time.

My home Wi-Fi network goes down.

We can put Wi-Fi on the moon, but I can't get it to work in my office.

And please tell me the network name for the lunar Wi-Fi is something funny.

Please say it's a classic like FBI surveillance van.

Ha ha ha ha.

That would be brilliant wouldn't it?

Well that's it for T-minus for February the 16th, 2024.

You'll find additional resources from today's report in our show notes or at space.ntuk.com.

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This episode was produced by Alice Carruth, 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 Karpf and I'm Marie of Armasis.

Thanks for listening and have a wonderful weekend.

[Music] T-minus.


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