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Is it a bird? A plane? Or space trash?

Space trash lands in Florida. SwRI to work with Astroscale US on a refueling spacecraft. Terran Orbital regains compliance with NYSE. And more.




Space debris, potentially from the International Space Station, lands on a house in Florida. The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will build, integrate and test a small demonstration spacecraft as part of a $25.5 million Space Mobility and Logistics prototyping project funded by the US Space Force and led by prime contractor Astroscale US. Terran Orbital received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange stating that they have regained compliance with the minimum stock price and will be removed from the NYSE’s noncompliant issuers list, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Joseph Horvath, CEO Nova Space.

You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn and learn more about Nova Space on their website.

Selected Reading

Trash from the International Space Station may have hit a house in Florida - Ars Technica

SwRI to build the spacecraft bus for in-space refueler servicer program

Terran Orbital Regains Compliance with NYSE Continued Listing Standards

Terran Orbital's Tyvak International Secures European Defense Agency Contract for Pioneering VLEO Satellite Project

HawkEye 360 Secures $40 Million Debt Commitment

AST SpaceMobile Provides Business Update and Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Results

SKY Perfect JSAT Announces 10 Billion Yen Investment to Accelerate Collaborations with Space-related Startups

Colorado Air and Space Port Receives $555,555 in grants

Space is essential for infrastructure. Why isn't it considered critical?- CyberScoop

True Anomaly Appoints Former Palantir Leader as First Chief Revenue Officer

Helioviewer Eclipse Watch

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Let's go into the T-minus wayback machine for a second.

You might remember early last month, there was a story about a nearly 3-ton palette of used up batteries that was jettisoned from the ISS and reentering the Earth's atmosphere, with warnings going out across its reentry path, especially in Germany, that the debris was so big that it might not entirely burn up in orbit and that it actually could fragment as it came back down.

But statistics to the rescue as Earth is mostly water, so chances are that it'll just splash down in the water somewhere, right?

Well, it all sounds good enough, until statistics land squarely in your living room and nearly hit your kid.


Today is April 2nd, 2024.

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

Space trash lands in a house in Florida.

The Southwest Research Institute will collaborate with AstroScale US on a refueling spacecraft.

Terran Orbital regains compliance with the New York Stock Exchange.

And our guest today is Joseph Horvath, CEO of NOVA Space.

We'll be discussing workforce development strategies to attract and retain talent, a critical need in the space industry, so stay with us for that chat.

Here's our Intel briefing for today.

Space debris, when we talk about it in the space industry, is usually a concern of how it will affect orbits and the spacecraft using them and how we need to make sure we prevent the Kessler effect.

A phenomenon that would basically render low Earth orbit unusable for quite a long time.

But again, sometimes space debris does mean the stuff that doesn't burn up as it screams through our atmosphere.

And just about a month ago, March 8th, the nearly three-ton battery pallet EP9, which was jettisoned from the International Space Station in 2021, made its unguided reentry through Earth's atmosphere.

And while the heat of reentry did burn up most of that pallet, some of that space trash did survive the reentry process, possibly likely the extremely dense nickel-hydrogen batteries.

And it looks like a decent chunk of whatever made it through reentry went straight through the house of Mr.

Alejandro Otero of Naples, Florida.


Otero responded to a post on X about the EP9's reentry with this response a few days later.


Looks like one of those pieces missed Fort Myers and landed in my house in Naples.

Tore through the roof and went through two floors.

Almost hit my son.

Can you please assist with getting NASA to connect with me?"

I've left messages and emails without a response.

In fact, Mr.

Otero even has a video from one of his home security cameras that captured the sound of the object going through his house's roof and two floors.

And it was at 2.34 pm Eastern time on March 8th, which was the right time and the right path for the battery pallet reentry.

Here's the sound from that video.

The object itself is a grayish machine cylindrical thing.

Definitely does not look at all like a meteorite in case you were wondering.

And since the item crashed through his home, happy to report that Mr.

Otero has been able to get the debris to NASA and they are now analyzing it.

As for who is responsible for paying for the damages to his house, that is where it gets a bit tricky.

NASA owned the batteries, but the pallet was Jax's.

So once the object's origins are confirmed, hopefully Mr.

Otero will be summarily compensated for the damages to his home.

And more importantly, let's hope this incident advances the discussion somehow on uncontrolled object reentry and safety for all of us on the ground.

Moving on to other items for today now, the Southwest Research Institute has announced that it will build, integrate, and test a small demonstration spacecraft as part of a $25.5 million space mobility and logistics prototyping project, which is funded by the US Space Force and led by Prime Contractor Astroscale US.

The vehicle, called the Astroscale Prototype Servicer for Refueling, or APSR, aims to refuel other compatible vehicles while in geostationary orbit.

The spacecraft plans to carry hydrazine propellant from a depot, also in geostationary orbit, to vehicles in need of fuel.

Over the next 16 months, Southwest Research Institute will construct the host vehicle for the APSR in the Institute's new 74,000 square foot space system, spacecraft, and payload processing facility.

When the host spacecraft bus is complete, Southwest Research Institute will integrate the Astroscale supplied payload and perform system-level environmental testing to prepare the vehicle for launch.

The APSR is aiming to be ready for deployment by 2026.

Now onto some financial updates starting with big news for Terran Orbital.

The satellite manufacturing company have received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange stating that they have regained compliance with the minimum stock price and will be removed from the NYSE's Non-Compliant Issuers List.

Terran Orbital had previously received a non-compliance notice from the New York Stock Exchange because the average closing price of the company's common stock was less than $1 per share over a consecutive 30 trading day period.

On March 28, 2024, the company's common stock closed above $1 and had an average closing share price of at least $1 over the prior 30 trading day period.

And the Italy-based subsidiary of Terran Orbital Corporation, Tyvek International, has secured a subcontract for the European Defense Agency's hub for EU defense innovation, Proof of Concept Prototype 2023.

This project focuses on very low Earth orbit or V-LEO satellite exploration, marking a significant leap forward in military space technology.

The contract encompasses Phase A of the LEO to VLEO spacecraft, culminating in a preliminary design review.

Tyvek International will play a leading role within a consortium, including Prime Contractor CNIT, collaborating with FlySight and Polytechnico de Milano.

Geospatial Analytics company Hawkeye360 has secured $40 million in debt financing.

Over the last 12 months, Hawkeye360 has raised $108 million across its Series D1 round and this debt financing, which the company says has underscored the support and confidence from investors and lenders regarding its business and financial momentum.

The debt financing has come from Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank.

Hawkeye360 says the debt financing will play a crucial role in furthering the company's efforts to enhance its technological infrastructure and continue the build-out of its satellite constellation.

AST SpaceMobile originally wanted to launch the first batch of Bluebird satellites in Q1 before rescheduling them to Q2, but their latest earnings report said that the 700 square foot satellites won't arrive at the launch site until July or August.

The company ended the first quarter of 2024 with cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash of approximately $210.8 million.

Tokyo-based SkyPerfectJSAT Corporation has announced its decision to invest $10 billion and that's approximately over $65 million for domestic and international space-related startups and SpaceVenture funds.

The company also announced a collaboration with the acceleration program Xcela, provided by SpaceTide Foundation.

According to the press release, this collaboration aims to combine SkyPerfectJSAT's accumulated insights and assets with the new technologies of startups, fostering the co-creation of new space businesses for a sustainable future.

This investment is part of SkyPerfectJSAT's broader commitment to leverage new technologies and expand its presence in the space industry, as outlined in a 2022 announcement to invest $150 billion by 2030.

The Colorado Air and SpacePort has received a half a million dollar grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation and another $55,555 specifically in an Adams County grant match, and that's to rehabilitate the pavement on taxiways and parking ramps.

Colorado's SpacePort is licensed for horizontal takeoff and operates as a general aviation airport surrounding both private aircraft and commercial cargo operations.

The facility also hosts a Colorado National Guard Armory, the Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautical Division, and a Colorado State Patrol office.

Paving project is scheduled to start later this spring or early summer.

And that concludes our briefing for today.

Stay with us for some critical workforce development insights from Nova Space's CEO Joseph Horvath.

You'll find further information on all the stories that we've mentioned today by following the links in our show notes.

We've also included a piece from Cyberscoop on why space should be classed as critical infrastructure and an appointment announcement from True Anomaly.

Hey T-minus crew, N2K Space is working with Amazon Web Services, Aerospace and Satellite to bring the AWS in orbit podcast series to the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs from April 8th to 11th.

We'll be broadcasting from the AWS booth by the way, number 1036 in the North Hall, Tuesday through Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Come by the booth to catch us in action and share your story or email at space@n2k.com to set up a meeting with our team.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

[Music] Our guest today is Joseph Horvath, CEO of Nova Space.

And I started by asking Joe what the nexus was for starting Nova Space and what their mission is.

[Music] Nova Space was started with focus on providing training and professional development opportunities for the space industry on both the commercial and government side.

And then we've worked to expand that to make it a really a whole workforce solution where we're not only doing training and education but now we've expanded to doing sourcing and placement and other custom courseware development and things of that sort that isn't only focused on expanding the individual's experience with regards to being able to support the space industry but then also helping companies with their products or their services in educating the workforce on how they use those and how they may impact the way they do their job.

And when I say training, I'm really talking about skill development.

There are certainly college degree programs to get, you know, a bachelor's or master's or PhD in a field that is specific to space such as astrophysics or rocket science or any of those types but then also related fields as well.

Engineers is a great example.

If you're a software engineer or mechanical engineer, there's a need for you in the space industry but the honest reality is you're going to get very little space background in those types of programs at the college level.

Even if you add some focus there at the college level, the reality is that the university system is built around research.

I mean, that's how we use the higher education system.

It's very theoretically focused and very research focused.

That's great when you're looking at those very advanced niche areas that we need experts in but for the majority of people working in the space industry, they don't need a college degree.

They need to take skills that they have in whatever their area of expertise is, whether it's one of the STEM related things, which is certainly a possibility but it might not really be STEM rated.

It might be you're going to go be a graphic designer working at a space company because now that it's all commercial, every commercial company needs all of those supporting functions.

They need law and they need the finance and human resources and all those things.

Those people have those skills in other industries.

We need to be bringing them in with that expertise and giving them the space skills that they need in order to be successful.

The next thing that we started to discover was really focused around just the absolute lack of people to fill roles within the space industry period.

I mean, there's tens of thousands of open roles and they can't get filled because all that's happening is that the same individuals are getting recycled and poached back and forth over and over again.

This really stems from the history of being a government focus for space.

When we had NASA and the DOD as the main focus is with those large prime contractors supporting, space was a real niche industry to work in and the workforce was relatively static.

You had a few people retire and a few people come in and overall you didn't see a whole lot of growth.

With the launch of the Falcon 9 for SpaceX becoming successful, to me, the inflection point on the commercial side that we've just seen that explosive growth since then.

We will not be able to support all those companies with the people and the human talent to accomplish all these things unless we open up that pool and get a lot more people into the space industry.

I can't think of anything more important than that, honestly.

When I speak to people who aren't going to retire because they love this industry so much but are of the age where they could, that is the number one thing they are concerned about is there aren't many people following up behind them and they are wondering where are those folks.

I have to wonder, because you gave a really great explanation about the historical reason for why some of this is happening.

Do you think, is there a cultural component to this as well, like people self-selecting out who don't realize that there is even a career path for them?

Yes, absolutely.

Part of the problem is we are dealing with four generations in the workplace.

As we've studied this, there's a lot of similarities culturally between boomers and Gen X and how they expect work to go for them, what their career would be like, how much of their training and education that they need to be successful was on them to accomplish and how much was provided for them by the company or onboarding or upskill training within.

All of those kind of things, I think that there's a bifurcation that exists between boomer and Gen X and their learning style and their workforce preferences and things.

Then Gen Z millennials, they have a different view on that.

I think that's part of the problem is that, for one, as those boomers leave, the Gen Z and millennials are not coming into fill the way we would have expected.

One of the problems that we're seeing comes from the university side.

We've got a really interesting study that said that of individuals who are getting a STEM degree from a university right now, only about 25% of those graduates are then going out and entering a STEM career. 75% of them are going into a non-STEM career.

That is a scary thing not only for the space industry, but really just for the entire STEM-related technological growth and industry of the United States.

We think part of that has to do with a combination of difference in expectations from those younger groups that I was talking about in what the workforce should be like and what their experience should be like.

Leadership at a lot of these companies not paying attention to those needs and providing things like professional development within their company.

As an example, one of the struggles you just brought up was not understanding that there was roles at a place for them in the space industry if they're not the traditional engineer or scientist.

Not only communicating that, but then also providing them either early in their career or as a transitory thing, the right kind of upskilling and support and giving them that confidence that they don't have to be the rocket scientists to go work in the space industry.

They just have to understand some of the basic fundamentals not even at a real technical level, but to be able to speak the language.

When I say that language, that standardization of knowledge within the space industry is one of the areas that we're trying to use to help with the problem we're discussing right now.

A sales person is an example.

Sales and business development is important to these commercial companies.

They have to have that to survive.

The worst thing I can think of doing is taking an engineer and trying to teach them to be a salesperson.

That is not a personality thing that most engineers would want to do.

What I need to do is take a really good salesperson from maybe the aviation industry or the cyber industry or something, teach them the space stuff that they need to know to be successful.

Now, I've got somebody with maybe years and years of experience that can really hit the ground running for my space company.

The problem is we're not bringing that talent in here.

We're just recycling the talent we already have, searching for unicorns.

So much of what you said really is resonating with me.

I grew up seeing basically the space program wither away.

I didn't think a career in space was even a viable thing for those of us who never saw that, who are very much in the workforce now.

How do we even make people aware that if you're a space interested person or if you're thinking that's a career venue for you, how do you even make inroads there?

It's funny you bring up some of those requirements for job roles and things like that.

I deal with these companies every day that are looking for talent to fill roles.

So often what I'm seeing in the space industry is what they're asking for is such a unicorn that I can go on and find it for them probably, but it's going to cost them twice as much as they think it's going to cost them to get that person with that decade of experience with these really specific requirements.

By the same token, I can probably find them the person that has 80% of that who has a wealth of experience in say, like I said, like aviation or auto industry or cyber and say, look, I can get that next 15% to match this one through some really good onboarding and upskilling and you're going to pay half the amount and you're going to be bringing in these people that really want to be in the industry and fill these roles.

I'm going to be on a panel at the Space Symposium talking about workforce.

And one of the things that I'm going to talk about is this effort.

And it's kind of a space education gap analysis, if you will, but we're not just looking at K through 12.

We're looking from K through retirement because one of the things that we've discovered is whenever I'm at a workforce panel or talking about Space Workforce, listening to others talk about it, historically, and we still do this, we talk about inspiring the next generation.

And how do we inspire the next generation to want to be in these STEM careers and things like that?

I think the problem is there are programs out there for that type of a thing.

Some of them are through NASA, some of them are through nonprofits, different things like that.

The problem is they're all, for the most part, one or two touch kind of experiences where it's a summer program where a teacher follows some thing that they've learned, they do it for a month or a week or whatever it is, and then it's over.

And who knows what the result is of that?

Who knows how that impacted somebody?

Who knows if that actually gave them additional STEM skills that are going to help them up the ladder as they go through their, all that kind of stuff.

Those touches are great, but we need to get past just this idea of we need to inspire.

What we're looking at is, okay, we need to approach this more holistically and say, where are the gaps for these companies in the workforce?

And how do we apply that both right now to help them with bringing in current working adults to help with these problems that they're having and get more people in?

And then for the next generation that's coming up, how do we support them in the K through 12 fashion where they're getting STEM and space inserted into their education all the way K through 12?

We need a better job of a program that understands that we're moving them towards specific skills and abilities that they're going to need.

And then now we've prepared them for college or trade school.

That's another huge gap is the skilled trades in space.


That's a group that we're really focused on bringing in the welders, electricians and seamstresses and even all kinds of skilled trades that are needed in the space industry.

There's no college degree.

I need them come out of community college.

I get them.

I give them the space they need to understand what's unique about welding for spaces, an example.

And then now we've got this whole group that is ready to go.

They know what they're doing and they're ready to start contributing on day one instead of traditionally what has taken years of on-the-job trading to get them up to the level that they need to be at.

We'll be right back.

Welcome back.

It feels like the United States has gone a bit eclipse crazy and we're all here for it.

On April 8th, parts of North America will experience a total eclipse while the rest of us will see a partial eclipse.

And now a new online tool will allow you to see eclipses every day.

It'll certainly lead you to appreciate all that you're going to see ahead of the big event.

The new Helio viewer eclipse watch data visualization tool displays images captured by the solar and heliospheric observatory called SOHO, a joint NASA ESA mission stationed a million miles from Earth.

So each time you refresh the page, you can see the latest image from the spacecraft.

These images showcase some of the features of the sun that you may also be able to see from the ground on Earth when the moon completely covers the sun during the total solar eclipse.

You can also use the Helio viewer eclipse watch tool to observe eclipse-like images that are captured over 100 times each day by the Lascaux C2 coronagraph on the SOHO.

The instrument creates artificial eclipses by using a disc to obscure the brightest light from the sun.

This enables the instrument to observe the sun's corona and identify coronal mass ejections that erupt from the sun, and it'll look just like the real deal honestly.

So there goes my spare time.

We've included a link to the tool in our show notes for you also.

You know, I'm going to be in Colorado Springs for the space symposium next week where I will only see a partial eclipse and not at home in Massachusetts where there's going to be a total eclipse, well not in my part of it, but it's okay.

But still, now I don't feel like I'm missing out on too much.

That's it for T-Minus for April 2nd, 2024.

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

We're privileged that NTK 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 Carruth, 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 of our MAUSES.

Thanks for listening.

We'll see you tomorrow.


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