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Happy Birthday, T-Minus.

Happy 1 year T-Minus! ICEYE raises $93M. US DoD awards $14.4M to 5N Semi for satellite solar cell development. NASA seeks feedback on tech needs. And more.




Earth Observation company ICEYE announces an oversubscribed $93M growth funding round. The US Department of Defense has announced an award of $14.4 million to 5N+ Semiconductors to sustain and expand the capability to produce germanium substrates used in solar cells for defense and commercial satellites. NASA is asking the American aerospace community for feedback on nearly 190 national space technology needs or shortfalls it has identified for future space exploration and science endeavors, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Troy Morris, Co-founder and CEO at Kall Morris Inc.

You can connect with Troy on LinkedIn and learn more about KMI on their website.

Selected Reading

ICEYE Raises Oversubscribed Growth Funding Round to Expand Global SAR Leadership

Seraphim Space Q1 Index

DOD Awards $14.4 Million to Sustain and Enhance the Space-Qualified Solar Cell Supply Chain

NASA Space Tech Priorities

NASA Selects New Crew for Next Simulated Mars Journey

NASA Leadership to Visit Mexico, Strengthen Cooperation

China prepares to launch Shenzhou-18 crewed spaceship - CGTN

ABS “Agility Beyond Space” announces Appointment of Mark Rigolle as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Dead satellites are filling space with trash. That could affect Earth’s magnetic field | Sierra Solter | The Guardian

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team Says Goodbye … for Now

Space Experts Debate How To De-Escalate Russian Threats Of Orbital War

ESA - Sleeping giant surprises Gaia scientists

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How do you organize a T-minus anniversary party?


You planet!


Yes, we are celebrating our one-year anniversary on the air today, and our host Maria couldn't miss the milestone without sharing some thoughts with you as well.


Thanks Alice.


And hi everybody.


Even though I'm out this week on a badly needed post-symposium vacation, I wanted to pop by really quick to celebrate our T-minus one-year anniversary.


And wow, what a year it has been!


When I embarked on being the show's host a year ago today, I never could have imagined the incredible conversations and experiences that would follow.


So my deepest gratitude to every guest that I've spoken with, to our incredible T-minus production dream team here at NTUK, Alice, Brandon, Jen, Liz, Elliot, and Trey, and most of all, to you dear listeners for tuning in, sending us your feedback, sharing our show, and letting my voice be a part of your day.


It really means a lot to me, so thank you.


And here's to many more years of T-minus space daily.


Ad Astra!


And back to you, Alice.


Thanks Maria, and happy anniversary to us.


Today is April 17th, 2024.


I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-minus.


ICI raises 93 million in their latest funding round.


USDOD awards 14.4 million to 5N Semi for satellite solar cell development.


NASA seeks feedback on tech needs.


And our guest today is Troy Morris from Cal Morris, Inc.


Troy shared with Maria some exciting new partnership announcements for KMI at the Space Symposium last week, so stick around to hear more about their new space debris costing solutions in the second half of the show.


Let's dive into today's briefing, shall we?


And we're starting with some big financial news.


Earth observation company ICI has announced an over-subscribed 93 million dollar growth funding round.


The synthetic aperture radar company says that the financing will further accelerate investment in their constellation of star satellites and expand the company's portfolio of data and subscription products.


The round builds on the success of the Series D round in February 2022, bringing the total amount raised to 438 million.


The Finnish headquartered company reported over 100 million in revenue in 2023 and has stated that the company is on the road to profitability.


This new investment aligns with the growth that we're seeing across the space industry.


UK-based venture capitalist firm Seraphine Space shared their quarterly VC investment index.


The report states that in Q1 of this year, the space sector maintained its output trajectory with a notable $2.4 billion invested, marking a steady increase from Q4 2023's $2.1 billion.


The report states that this is part of a larger trend of $7.2 billion invested over the trailing 12 months to Q1 2024, compared to $6.6 billion in the preceding period, all pretty good numbers and indicators of growth for this year.


The US Department of Defense has announced an award of $14.4 million via the Defense Production Act Investment Programme to five M+ semiconductors.


The award is to sustain and expand the capability to produce uranium substrates used in solar cells for defence and commercial satellites.


The DOD states that this effort supports the 2024 National Defence Industrial Strategy to continue and expand support for domestic production within the resilient supply chain strategic priority area.


This is the latest of 13 awards made by the programme across multiple areas, totaling $322 million since the beginning of fiscal year 2024.


NASA is asking the American Aerospace Community for feedback on nearly 119 national space technology needs or shortfalls it's identified for future space exploration and science endeavours.


Over the next month, NASA's key technology stakeholders, including industry, academia and other government agencies in the US, will participate in virtual meetings, provide feedback and submit their shortfall priorities to the agency.


NASA plans to ask for community feedback and conduct workshops annually to reassess its investments and ensure that it is productively engaging stakeholders and incorporating end-user feedbacks into its future planning.


The US Space Agency says it will continuously refine the process to guarantee it remains valuable to all involved parties.


NASA plans to process the data and aggregate a final list in order of priority and make it available to stakeholders and the public.


You can follow the link in our show notes to share your thoughts.


The US Space Agency has selected four volunteers to participate in a simulated mission to Mars within a habitat at the agency's Johnson Space Centre in Houston.


The crew will step into the agency's Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA, on Friday May 10.


Once inside, the team will live and work like astronauts for 45 days.


NASA says the HERA programme enables scientists to study how crew members adapt to isolation, confinement and remote conditions before the agency sends astronauts on deep space missions to the moon, Mars and beyond.


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy will visit Mexico City early next week.


The Space Agency's leadership plans to meet with Mexican government officials to strengthen bilateral cooperation across a broad range of innovation and research areas.


NASA and Mexico's Space Agency AEM are collaborating on nanosatellite technology demonstrators that will contribute to the future of space exploration.


And in a surprise update on social media, NASA announced that Sweden followed Switzerland from earlier this week and signed on to the Artemis Accords.


Administrator Bill Nelson took to the platform X to announce the news and share that "our list of global allies in space keeps on growing."


The launch is scheduled to China now and the China manned space agency says it's preparing its next Shenzhou-18 crewed spaceship ahead of launching to the Tiangong Space Station.


The vehicle has been transferred to a launch pad atop a Long March 2F carrier rocket at the Jiangzhou Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.


According to the state agency, the facilities and equipment at the launch site are in good condition and various pre-launch function checks and joint tests will be carried out.


The launch is currently planned for April 25.


Dubai-based satellite operator Agility Beyond Space, or ABS, has appointed former Ravada Space COO Mark Rigoyle as its new CEO.


ABS operates a fleet of satellites that cover the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and CIS.


The company has officers in the Middle East, United States and Asia.


And that concludes our intelligence briefing for today.


Head to the selected reading section of our show notes for further information on all the stories I've mentioned.


Today we've added extra stories on space debris potentially affecting Earth's magnetic field, a final goodbye to NASA's ingenuity team and insights from space experts on how to de-escalate Russian threats of orbital war.


Hey T-minus crew, if you find this podcast useful, please do us a favour and share a five star rating and a short review in your favourite podcast app.


It will help other space professionals like you find the show and join the T-minus crew.


Thank you, we really appreciate it.


Hey folks, this is Trey Hester, one of the audio engineers for T-minus space, wanting to wish Alice, Maria, Jen, Liz, Brandon and Elliot a happy one year anniversary.


Hey everyone, this is Jen Iban, I'm the executive producer here at T-minus space on the N2K Network.


I wanted to share my birthday wishes to the team here at T-minus as we turn one year old today.


Congratulations to our host Maria Varmasus, producers Alice Karuth, Liz Stokes and Brandon Karth and our audio team, Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester.


We did it.


Congratulations to many more.


Let's keep reaching for the stars.


Today we're continuing to share some of the great chats we captured last week in Colorado Springs.


T-minus host extraordinaire Maria Varmasus called up with Troy Morris from Cal Morris Inc. to find out more about their offerings.


My name is Troy Morris.


I'm co-founder and CEO at Cal Morris Inc.


We go by KMI.


Thank you so much for joining me today.


I'm so happy to meet you and great to see you here at Space Symposium.


So tell me about your company.


Let's start there.






So KMI, it's the brainchild of three co-founders who all men there undergrad and realized we want to do something in space.


And this was the summer of 2019 and we started to realize, okay, all of these great ideas we have are stopped by this growing at the time unaddressed problem of space debris.


And so fast forward through many years, tribulations, trials, the pandemic.


And so we are now a space company that is going up to the ISS later this year.


We're on contract with multiple elements of the United States government working on our international partnerships.


And our focus is the model we started with, keeping space clear for all.


We do that with the proprietary hardware, the exclusive software that we're working on, all of this for a spacecraft that can go rendezvous, retrieve and relocate unprepared objects and Leo.


Tell me a bit about what makes your approach different because there's a lot of different companies trying to approach the space debris problem.


So tell me a bit about what you're doing.




So our focus is really, we first start with first principles.


What's out there?


What's already happening?


Right when we were standing up the company and getting our ideas, one of my co-founders, our director of engineering, he came from a background in rapid prototyping is, okay, if you're going to build it, what's going to go wrong?


And my other co-founder was a big data nerd.


And I love to say that with all the love, big data nerd, big data nerd.


So Adam, if you're hearing this, you know it's true.


And so he had cut his teeth at NASA was doing massive AI programs there.


And so we were able to take a lot of what was happening around the world.


So our approach is focusing on those legacy assets, the residence based objects that have no docking systems, don't have a transponder.


No one's had control of them since they launched them in 67.


That's our focus.


That's our niche because there's wonderful, I'd say more peers than competitors who are working on the new things launching with one web that it's got a, you know, important system that we can now be able to start to service and collect objects that are working with the unfortunate recent scrub of the OSAM 1 Landsat mission.


But there was these known states where we can try and do something a little bit better.


Our focus was, all right, if there's a group of brilliant people around this planet working on debris in the, I'll say, quote, easy area, how can we focus at the far end?


How can we develop the technologies and start to meet in the middle?


And that's where you see it's not just R and D anymore, but it becomes a market.


And so that's where we're pushing forward is how do we do this effectively, efficiently and economically?


Oh, excellent.


So tell me a bit about your customers who you're working with.


So customers primarily on the public side is going to be the United States Space Force.


We've done very well and very big fans and appreciative of the orbital prime program.


So that's something that has really helped grow our company and accelerate multiple of our technologies.


We're partnered with NASA and the CASIS group.


That's how we're getting to the International Space Station later this year.


We've also done contracts with the United States Air Force.


We're in efforts with a few of the three letters.


And then on the commercial side is one of my favorite areas of growth because it's not easy.


Nothing in space is easy, but it's sometimes a little bit more challenging to really engage on that commercial world.


And so that's where we've done some great elements working with Nantirex for a very long time.


One of our recent partnerships that actually started last year at Symposium with Privateer Space has entered a whole new level of that relationship.


So it's something that we're working with space operators.


We're working with new launch companies.


We're working with downstream and upstream customers who either want to use components of our technology or are dying to be part of this tow truck in space we're making.


So it's something that we're very proud of, you know, being able to address multiple fronts of what's needed here.


That's so cool.


Can you tell me a bit about the ISS mission?


That's just like that to sound so neat.




So the ISS is super cool.


I mean, it's the space station that's been up there for me and my generation our entire lives.


It's just a it's in the sky like the moon and the stars.


And so the ISS is where we're using the Astrobe system.


It's a self contained drone inside the space station that we can use as a facsimile for our future spacecraft because what we're setting up is the critical payload of reach.


So for those visualizing this at home, that's going to be a tentacle mechanical linkage.


It's a soft robotic system that is going to be demonstrating the capacity to grab onto an object of unprepared services, unprepared shapes, unprepared control.


We're using the space station as that micro gravity playground with the astronauts right there so that they can help and monitor as we do some bleeding edge technology development.


We've tested in lab.


We've done contracts.


We've done as much as we can here on earth.


It's now got to fly.


So the experiment there will be demonstrating again and again that we can capture under different conditions, different rotations and different surfaces all preparing for that future mission.


Oh, that's exciting.


Do you know when about that's going to be going?


Launch Nakianwood has currently stayed scheduled for September.


But as we're not a launch company, that has been shifted on us before.


So it's been a frustrating thing for myself.


The engineers get happy when there's more time.


We all get a little worried when there's less time, but currently as long as launch stays on schedule, we're booked for September.


That's awesome.


I keep my fingers crossed for you.


I know how that is.


It's like always moves to the right.


It's all right.




We're talking about AstroVeas and tentacles.


It's just like, okay, that's a lot of forgetting for us in space.


So cool.


So since we are here at Space Imposium, I imagine maybe you guys have something you want to announce that's going on or anything, any news that you're releasing this week?




So one of them is we've done an update to that private-year relationship, as I mentioned before.


So private-year for those unfamiliar, a great group of people doing great things is one of their most public is the Wayfinder system that you can publicly access and see the true reality of debris overhead, the ISS, and working with KMI, debris.


And not just where debris is, but the price to remove it.


And so that's something that we worked very hard with our engineering team, our science team, Orbital Dynamisys, coordinating with what's happening in the U.S. government for what is the price of something.


And what we are announcing now is that we are developing that further to make it more like your Amazon shopping cart, is you can now go to kmi.privateere.com and select multiple objects in different regimes in different areas and build your cart of what debris you want to remove.


So it's something that we're trying to make this as easy as a click.


That's amazing.


And the Orbital Dynamics is so difficult, but it becomes a very pretty object once you look at it on the screen.




Sorry, that kind of blows my mind a little bit.


Just to think that that's where we are with Orbital Degree, that that, wow, that's incredible.


Thank you.




That's really cool.


So long-term vision, this is like the obligatory question I got to ask.


I mean, you are doing so much cool stuff already.


It feels unfair to ask you this question.


Isn't this all enough?


But seriously, what is your long-term vision?


And that's a great question.


And it's the reason the company isn't called 1-800 SPACE JUNK.


Our focus is far beyond space debris.


We just saw that as a major barrier that, again, at the time, wasn't being adequately addressed, at least in the United States.


Our partners in ESA, JAXA, the early rumblings, we're like, where's the American answer?


A majority of some types of debris are just U.S.-based.


And so we'd love to get to those dreams.


We'd love for debris to be solved.


Superman wakes up tomorrow and takes it all out.


That'd be great, because then we can move to those other things.


Really working as an interplanetary civilization, doing our developments and our expertise, providing it for lunar engagement, and really just seeing a growth of the sci-fi we grew up on.


It becomes real when you work on it.


And that's where we're looking at it, is we want to make space mundane.


We want to make the forsaken scientific wonders of our age even miniscule to the next generation.


So it's something we're very excited to move forward with our partners, our competitors, and really just bring it all together so that we can move on to those bigger, grander things.


That's so awesome, Troy.


It's been a joy speaking with you.


Thank you so much.


Thank you so much for having me.


If you want to find out more, you can always go to callmores.com.


Follow our hashtags across social media.


We're @CallMorris or the forever hashtag of Keeping Space Clear for All.


Thank you so much.


Hey, T-Minus Crew, Brandon Karp here, Vice President of Programming at N2K Networks.


I would just like to thank you, the T-Minus Crew, for being here with us and making this a reality.


When we set out on this journey a little over a year ago, we did not know what to expect.


Most of us came from the cybersecurity industry, and we just knew we wanted to be in the space industry with you.


Over the last year, we have met so many of you at events and conferences.


You all have welcomed us with open arms.


You've been honest with us and generous with us.


It has made all the difference.


We literally could not do this without you.


So thank you.


Congratulations, T-Minus, on our first anniversary.


But most importantly, thank you to you, the listener, the T-Minus Crew, who makes this a reality.


We value you.


We could not do it without you, and we are so happy you are here with us on this journey.


Happy one year, and here is to many, many more.


We'll be right back.


Welcome back.


When I used to conduct STEM outreach, the one question I would always count on, aside from how do astronauts poop in space, is where is the nearest black hole, and are we going to get swallowed up by one?


I quickly learned to respond that the nearest is over 1,500 light-years away, and it's only nine times the mass of the sun, so we're safe.


But it turns out that Gaia BH1 has a big brother, and that it's been located hiding in our galaxy.


These scientists working on the Gaia mission have discovered a rather large black hole.


I say that with a little sarcasm, as this one has a mass of nearly 33 times the mass of our sun, and they're calling it a sleeping giant, as it was hiding in the constellation Aquila, less than 2,000 light-years from Earth.


This is the first time a black hole of stellar origin this big has been spotted within the Milky Way.


So far, black holes of this type have only been observed in very distant galaxies.


ESA says that the discovery challenges our understanding of how massive stars develop and evolve.


So I guess I'll now be the inquisitive STEM student and ask, should we be worried?


Reading reports that state that nothing can escape this immense gravitational pull does put me a little bit on the edge.


According to ESA, Gaia BH3 is a dormant black hole, which is when a black hole does not have a companion close enough to still matter from, so it does not generate any light and is extremely difficult to spot.


ESA says that this discovery is very exciting because of the mass of the object.


Yep, 33 times the mass of our sun is rather large indeed.


In this case, size matters.


Boom, boom. .


That's it for T-miners for April the 17th, 2024.


Happy anniversary to us once again for additional resources from today's report.


Check out our show notes at space.intuk.com.


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


You can email us at space@intuk.com or submit the survey in our show notes.


Your feedback ensures we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry.


N2K's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people.


We make you smarter about your team while making your team smarter.


Hey, I'm Liz Stokes and I am the associate producer for T-Minus Space.


Happy one year anniversary T-Minus and congratulations to our stellar hosts, Maria and Alice, who's out of this world delivery and dedication has made every episode an astronomical delight to listen to every day.


Your guys' passion through this last year has turned every episode into a cosmic journey.


Here's to many more years of success and exploring the universe.


Congrats you guys.


Happy birthday T-Minus, Alice, Maria, Brandon, Jen, Liz, Trey, me, this is Elliot, I compose the music and mix the show every single day.


Congrats on seeing all of your hard work pay off.


Most restaurants don't make it this long.




A massive thank you to the T-Minus team for one year on the air.


This episode was mixed 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 Eiben.


Our VP is Brandon Karpf.


Our regular host, Maria Valmarzis, is normally with us but is on vacation this week but we'll be back.


I'm Alice Carruth.


Thanks for listening. .


T-Minus. .


Thanks for watching!!!

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