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Canada to boost space-based broadband connectivity.

Telesat gets a big loan from the Canadian government. SpaceX launches EUTELSAT’s 36D satellite. Russia launches a remote sensing satellite. And more.




The Canadian government is lending satellite operator Telesat C$2.14 billion to help the company build out its Telesat Lightspeed low earth orbit broadband constellation. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 successfully launches a EUTELSAT 36D satellite into Geostationary Orbit. Russia launched a Soyuz-2.1b rocket carrying a remote sensing satellite from the Baikonur Spaceport, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Eleftherios Kosmas, Vice-Chairman of the Libre Space Foundation.

You can connect with Eleftherios on LinkedIn and learn more about Libre Space on their website.

Selected Reading

April Fool’s Day Video from N2K

Telesat and Government of Canada Agree to Terms on C$2.14 Billion Loan in Support of Telesat Lightspeed

Successful Launch of EUTELSAT 36D Satellite- Business Wire

Russia’s Soyuz 2.1b rocket carrying remote sensing satellite takes off from Baikonur - Science & Space - TASS

Senate bills seek to reform commercial space regulations - SpaceNews

AECOM to provide environmental restoration and compliance services for NASA facilities across the United States- Business Wire

NASA Names Finalists to Help Deal with Dust in Human Lander Challenge

Pluto is now Arizona's 'official planet' — whether a 'dwarf' or not

Orbital Reef and commercial low Earth orbit destinations—upcoming space research opportunities-  npj Microgravity

Putting Starship’s plasma in perspective - Aerospace America

Universities Space Research Association Appoints Robert O'Brien Director, Center for Space Nuclear Research

Astronomical pranks of April fools' past

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[MUSIC] Who amongst us remembers dial-up?

[SOUND] I'm sure a lot of us do.

That terrible or lovely tone, depending on your point of view, as we tried to enter the worldwide web from our landline connections.

For me, it's sweet nostalgia, taking literal weeks to download one MP3.

But still, how far we've come in just a few short decades.

And now we're increasingly looking to satellites to improve our connectivity still.

It's no surprise really that this expensive endeavor is being massively supported by governments around the world.

Because who doesn't want their citizens to have access to the internet from every corner of their country?

[MUSIC] >> T minus, 20 seconds to L-O-N, we're in front of the floor.

[MUSIC] >> Today is April 1st, 2024.

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

[MUSIC] The morse worm is back again for the third time.

Elite hacksawers have gone fishing.

You wouldn't download a car.

What's North Korea doing now?

>> Maria, what's going on?

>> Hang on a second, just a minute.

>> Alice, why am I talking about all this?

>> We have the wrong script.

Maria, this is the wrong script, wrong script.

We mixed up the T-minus and the cyberware scripts.

This is the worst case scenario.

Hang on, hang on, I can fix this.

[MUSIC] >> Yep, no problem, Alice, just take your time.

Okay, that is a lot of typing just to move one folder into another folder.

Alice, is everything okay?

>> No, it's broken, I can't fix this.

I think we need to bring in the cyberware people.

[MUSIC] >> You know, it's funny you say that, actually Dave's calling me right now.

[MUSIC] >> Hey, Maria, we seem to have mixed up scripts.

>> Yeah, kind of noticed that.

Well, I can move the T-minus script over to the right folder, and maybe you can move the cyberware script over to the right folder.

>> Yep, that works.

All right, have a great show, thanks for your help.

>> You too, talk to you soon.

[MUSIC] Okay, Alice, I think we haven't figured out.

Hang on, hang on, I almost got it, just give me one more second.

[SOUND] >> No, no, seriously, I think we've figured it out.

Alice, can we just start the music over again?

[SOUND] >> Yes, okay, I think you're right.

Let's go for launch.

[MUSIC] >> T-minus. >> 20 seconds to L-O-I, we're in for a report.

[MUSIC] >> Today is April 1st, 2024.

Happy April Fool's.

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

[MUSIC] Telesat gets a big loan from the Canadian government.

SpaceX launches U-Telsat's 36D satellite, and Russia launches its own remote sensing satellite.

And our guest today is Alefzerios Kosmas, Vice Chairman at the Libre Space Foundation.

And we're going to be discussing how the foundation works with companies to contribute to open source space technologies.

Stay with us.

[MUSIC] Happy Monday in, again, happy April Fool's.

Let's take a look at our Intel briefing.

The Canadian government is lending satellite operator Telesat $2.14 billion Canadian dollars to help the company build out its Telesat light speed, low-earth orbit broadband constellation.

In addition to building out satellite internet capabilities across Canada to bridge the digital divide, the goal of this loan is to help bring new space economy jobs across the country.

And as part of the loan repayment agreement, the government of Canada will receive 10% of the common shares of the new satellite constellation, which is currently in development.

Saturday's launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 successfully deployed a U-Telsat 36D satellite.

And this 36D will replace a 36B in geostationary orbit, where it will operate alongside a, when I guess, a 36C.

U-Telsat says the satellite will assure service continuity with optimized performance for its customers.

The satellite also includes additional flexibility and coverage options, enabling it to balance the loading between its different missions.

Russia launched a Soyuz 2.1B rocket carrying a remote sensing satellite from the Baikonur spaceport over the weekend.

Roscosmos says the resource P Earth #4 satellite entered its intended orbit.

The spacecraft is part of the resource P series of Russian satellites, designed for the remote sensing of the Earth, as well as the regional and local monitoring of its surface.

According to Russian media, the data received by the resource P satellite is used to study natural resources, monitor pollution and environmental degradation, and monitor water protection and protected areas.

Over to the US now and returning to policy discussions that we've previously mentioned in this show.

Two new bills were introduced in the US Senate recently to update regulations for commercial space companies.

Senator Eric Schmidt sponsored a bill to amend section 509.05 of Title 51 United States Code to extend and modify provisions relating to license applications and requirements for commercial space launch activities and for other purposes.

The bill, called the Commercial Standards Paramount to Accelerating Cosmic Exploration, or wait for it, Space Leadership Act, is seeking to extend the FAA's learning period.

In that learning period, restricts the ability of the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation to enact regulations for the safety of occupants on commercial spacecraft by five years.

The second bill, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, looks to streamline the application of regulations relating to commercial space launch and reentry requirements and licensing of private remote sensing space systems and for other purposes.

This is already being wrestled by the FAA, which announced that it is forming a committee to seek industry input on the current regulations.

That was a lot.

Did you get all that?

The US House is already debating their own version of the bills, which are not expected to be voted on until later this year.

And as soon as we have updates, we will provide them for you.

AEcom has been given a five-year contract by NASA to provide environmental restoration and compliance services at facilities across the US as part of the NASA Environmental Restoration and Compliance Contract, also known as NERC.

The NERC will also serve as the primary contracting vehicle for NASA's PFAS-related investigation and remediation efforts.

AEcom will also provide compliance and sustainability-related services across NASA facilities that include pollution prevention, recycling, and hazardous materials management.

NASA has selected 12 finalists teams to compete in the next round of the Human Lander Challenge Competition.

The competition is looking for innovative solutions to manage the lunar dust that a spacecraft stirs up when landing on the moon.

The teams are formed from undergraduate and graduate students from accredited colleges and universities in the United States.

And you'll find the list of selected finalists in the link in our show notes.

And believe it or not, this next story is not an April Fool's joke.

Arizona's governor has designated Pluto as the official state planet.

Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tumbaugh while observing at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

And the Arizona governor did not explicitly explain if the designation recognizes Pluto beyond its official dwarf planet status.

Arizona now joins New Mexico in elevating Pluto's status at the state level.

New Mexico passed legislation in 2007 that states, "As Pluto passes overhead through New Mexico's excellent night skies, it be declared a planet.

So it be."

As the only planet to be discovered in the United States, we can totally understand this need for recognition.

And are you wondering when the Delta IV is going to make its final launch after its launch was scrubbed last week?

Well, we all are.

And there's no news yet when the new launch window will be.

And there's no ETA as of the time of this recording about when we might even expect some news.

So, no, it's not just you.

We'll stay tuned and let you know if there's more.

And that's it for our Intel briefing for today.

You'll find links to further reading on all the stories we've mentioned in our show notes.

You'll also find a story from nature on the new commercial lunar destination project, a story on capturing new images of plasma during Starship's last test flight, and an appointment announcement from the university's Space Research Associations.

AT-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.

You can sign up for Signals and Space in our show notes or at space.n2k.com.

[Music] Our guest today is Eleftherios Cosmas, vice chairman at the Libre Space Foundation.

I started off by asking how the foundation works with companies to contribute to open-source space technologies.

[Music] When we started working on our project to say, man, what we are doing, that's totally out of the norm.

Sometimes I understand that because traditionally, there are little frameworks around that kind of stuff.

There's some protectionism of space technology.

We do provide open data as much as possible.

We understand that people might have their NDAs, their things, and yet their rights are, and we have to pursue the government about stuff, stuff like that, that's understandable.

But what I also see nowadays is that there are voices and there are people thinking inside the space community that maybe it would be a good idea to be open to collaboration and that in my humble opinion, I am biased, I know, but the best way in my humble opinion to collaborate is the framework of using open-source methodology to do so.

If you do follow that framework, and if you can actually have a business plan around that, because big organizations like our partners in AirBot, well, yes, they have to make money.

But on the other hand, they understand they also have to create useful projects, and they are answering the need and providing solutions to a community of engineers, researchers, or users.

And then they start to think about, yeah, it might make sense.

For example, I wouldn't expect the United States Air Force, the Space Force, actually, to sign a data sharing agreement with us.

Right, the military probably not, yeah, that's...

Yes, but they did.

Yes, but they did, because they do understand that the focus of sharing information that is crucial for the whole space community and maybe any perceived countries are capable of doing space operations, contracts, satellites by their own.

I stand very happily corrected that the United States Space Force was so open on that.

That is to be commended, because I would never have expected that.

I wasn't either, to be spoken about, but the idea is that when you share data that are crucial for a community, in my humble opinion, they should share it open source.

They should have an open source license, and they should be pioneers on that.

That's my own opinion.

There have been pioneers in open source on many other things.

There is a trend in industry, and I do believe that this trend also provides an opportunity for people that follow the industry, but not actively participate in the industry to get a chance of doing stuff in the industry.

For example, there are a lot of embedded dentists in the airshout there, and let's face it, space is a talent, a great talent, and great inspiration can provide a great engineering talent, and it's cool.

Yeah, yes it is.

An engineer might want to get their hands on open source technology.

So I've seen people that are doing other work.

There are embedded engineers in automotive or something else, but they follow or even contribute open source code to a certain project, because they're interested in the talent, participating in the space or industry in the future, and that's one way to do it.

Yeah, because I've also seen it in green.

Let's face it, very recently Greece had no pedigree in space.

We didn't build satellites in half-basement under Greek button-building.

That would be insane, wouldn't it?

Anyway, but some people did so.

Some crazy Greeks did that.

But the thing is that I have to admit, we are not on the Greek.

There are a lot of people from the United States, from Germany and from France.

Oh yeah, it's a global project.

Yeah, absolutely, yes.

For example, I was taking out the satellite the other day, and there is a really interesting satellite, it's called GRIFFEC, and it was really interesting to see an American satellite being tracked by satellites.

We are based in Greece, but it's a global project.

And the last reception of someone actually picking up the satellite was just over a few kilometers miles in Istanbul.

And that collaborative way is crazy sometimes.

And it provides a way to participate and then if we have other issues that may happen within certain people, then we have to be acknowledged.

But on the other hand, having an opportunity to work together and create useful stuff has always been the focus of space.

It has been an integral part of the Outer Space Treaty, and it has been an integral part of the policy, major powers in the past, like there was always some cooperation in space, because let's face it, space is so hard that you have to cooperate with others.

It forces the issue.

There you go.

It forces the issue because it's also a common, it's a global common.

It's kind of insane.

It's not just localized.

It's everywhere.

And in order for you to respect it, you have to follow several guidelines, several rules that we collaboratively are decided.

And you have to also figure out a way to collaborate.

What we do suggest is, yeah, we have to collaborate.

Why don't we use that model of collaboration that's already been used in the computer industry, in the network industry and whatever, so often in order to collaborate and work together and do cool stuff in space?

I do believe that in the long run, LSE would be inevitable.

Maybe it wouldn't be named LSE, but it would come.

It came from us a little bit early in a weird situation, in a country that's, well, not the United States of America, France or Germany, before huge industry and stuff like that.

It is a little bit weird.

Only one from us.

On the other hand, someone had to start.

I would believe it would be even more organization around open source.

And there are some around open source in space.

And if we're trying to push open source hardware, pre-software, the point we ask is that we do follow a manifesto.

I know that sometimes that sounds a little bit...

Oh, European.

I know.

It's okay.


But we do follow some ideas.

And these ideas are what drives us personally and what makes us push a little bit the limit on how we work and how many people are just volunteers.

Not just.

They are volunteers.

I may be working for LSE, but I'm part-time working for LSE, actually.

I'm on the white side of the board.

There are people that are working full-time.

There are people that are just...

Oh, this is a good project.

I'm going to show up this guy.

And they actually put so much time, energy, focus on creating awesome talk.

That's really interesting, my humble opinion.

I completely agree.

I've seen it many times where careers have been born from open source contributions and other way around.

So I'm just thrilled.

Lefthedios, this has been great.

I'm so happy we got a chance to talk.

I'm always excited speaking about what we do.

Mostly because I do believe that it's an interesting thing that people might want to join.

They can check out our website at Libre.Pay.

It has a lot of details about what we do and who we are and all the things about us.

And also the repository in the club because that's where the truth is in the code.

We'll be right back.

Welcome back.

And okay, it is April Fool's Day, a day where we celebrate misinformation and mirth.

And there are some good space-related jokes out there today.

I am personally really loving ConkSat's post on LinkedIn about FragSat, the only satellite dedicated to increasing space junk with a cloud of over 70 billion steel ball bearings packed into a load fairing.

Say goodbye to your competitor's mega constellations with FragSat, guaranteed to increase the rate of collisions in orbit by orders of magnitude.

Taking advantage of the increase in payload to orbit offered by new launchers, we're planning on up to 20 launches per year of pure steel, rendering entire families of orbits unusable for centuries.

Dystopia never seems so funny.

There are a lot of space-related pranks that have been going on and around for some time now.

You may have heard some variant of this one.

It still gets brushed off now and then about a supposed planetary alignment type event that will cause the gravitational field of Earth to weaken at a precise moment, usually coincidentally on April 1st, of course.

And so if you happen to throw yourself at the ground and miss, you might just fly.

That one's been around since at least the 70s.

Famously astronomer Sir Patrick Moore made this joking claim on the BBC in 1976.

This is true.

And many people called in later saying that they had actually experienced this phenomenon for themselves.

It is amazing, the power suggestion.

And another favorite from the vault is one that got me, by the way.

It's from March 31st.

Yes, March 31st, 2005, when NASA's picture of the day said, "What are on Mars with a teaser to pay attention to the April 1st photo?"

Did Spirit and Opportunity find what we had been looking for?

And then when the next day came, April 1st, it was a glass of water on a Mars bar.

Our har, NASA.

I do remember that real well.

I was so amped and then they got me good.

And then a few years later, NASA's Phoenix Mars lander actually confirmed the presence of water ice on Mars.

So, well, here's hoping Fragsat never becomes a reality.

[Music] That's it for T-Minus for April 1st, 2024.

No foolin'.

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

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

Our associate producer is Liz Stokes.

Our executive producer is Jen Iben.

Our VP is Brandon Karp.

And I'm Maria Varmasas.

Thanks for listening.

We'll see you tomorrow.

[Music] [Music] T-Minus.


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