<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=205228923362421&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Godspeed Starliner.

Starliner is ready for launch. NASA is assessing Wallops for possible expansion. Two NASA veterans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And more.




It’s launch day for Boeing's Starliner and its two crew. NASA is reportedly assessing its facilities on Wallops Island, Virginia, to increase the number of authorized rocket launches by 200%. Two NASA veterans will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and more.

Remember to leave us a 5-star rating and review in your favorite podcast app.

Miss an episode? Sign-up for our weekly intelligence roundup, Signals and Space, and you’ll never miss a beat. And be sure to follow T-Minus on LinkedIn and Instagram.

T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Dr Sharon Lemac-Vincere, Academic at the University Of Strathclyde.

You can connect with Sharon on LinkedIn and learn more about the Space Cyber Executive Course and Conference on their website.

Selected Reading

Boeing prepares for Starliner's first crewed launch into space after several setbacks

NASA is expanding its Wallops Island facility to support three times as many launches- TechCrunch

Former NASA Center Director, Scientist to Receive Presidential Medals

RTX's advanced ground system for space-based missile warning now operational

RTX's new generation of commercial satellite imagers launches with Maxar's WorldView Legion

Muon Space and Earth Fire Alliance Unveil FireSat Constellation, a Revolutionary Space Mission to Transform Global Wildfire Response

China-France space cooperation benefits global scientific research - CGTN

Samples from China's Shenzhou-17 mission delivered to scientists - CGTN

‘China’s Cape Canaveral’ is booming, fueled by moon mission and space program- CNN

ARMD Solicitations

VC-backed start-ups aren’t getting rocket fuel from the government, says Gilmour Space founder

Universities Space Research Association Elects Three Universities to the Association

NASA Is Helping Protect Tigers, Jaguars, and Elephants. Here’s How.

T-Minus Crew Survey

We want to hear from you! Please complete our 4 question survey. It’ll help us get better and deliver you the most mission-critical space intel every day.

Want to hear your company in the show?

You too can reach the most influential leaders and operators in the industry. Here’s our media kit. Contact us at space@n2k.com to request more info.

Want to join us for an interview?

Please send your pitch to space-editor@n2k.com and include your name, affiliation, and topic proposal.

T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, your source for strategic workforce intelligence. © N2K Networks, Inc.

[MUSIC] Today, no doubt, there are a lot of excited and nervous folks at NASA and Boeing.

What with the crewed flight test for Starliner finally happening later today.

One made up online flight in the nerdy world of space fans often asks which side you're on, Team SpaceX or Team Boeing.

But yes, friends, that is a very false dichotomy because I'd wager, most of us are on team the more the merrier when it comes to spacecraft capable of taking crew to orbit, aren't we?

[MUSIC] Today is May 6th, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmausis and this is Team Minus.

[MUSIC] Boeing Starliner is ready for launch.

NASA is assessing Wallops Island for possible expansion.

Two NASA veterans receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

And our guest today is Dr.

Sharon Lamak-Vinseer.

We'll be talking about the Space Cyber Executive Course and the conference that she's hosting in Scotland next week.

So stay with us for that, Sharon.

[MUSIC] And it's Monday everybody, let's get into it.

The big day is finally here for Boeing Starliner and it's two crew, Mission Commander Butch Wilmore and Pilot Sonny Williams.

After many technical setbacks and timeline delays, putting it mildly.

Today at 10.34 Eastern Time or 2.34 AM GMT Tuesday, Wilmore and Williams, who are both highly experienced astronauts and Navy test pilots, will launch atop a ULA Atlas V in the Starliner for its very first crewed test flight.

As part of putting the crew capsule through its paces, Starliner will dock with the ISS.

With its initial rendezvous with the ISS, expected about two hours after launch.

And the coverage of the aforementioned launch starts with NASA a few hours before launch time.

And there will also be a NASA debrief of how the mission went around midnight tonight Eastern Time or again, that's 4 AM GMT on Tuesday.

Starliner should dock with the ISS on Wednesday.

And then the crew will spend 10 days aboard the ISS before their return home.

So we wish fair winds and following skies to the crew and to Starliner.

And I know I will definitely be glued to my TV tonight for this launch.

And of course, launch is a subject of concern with NASA as they are currently exploring options for different locations as backups to both Florida and California and to help with easing congestion at both sites.

TechCrunch is reporting that NASA is kicking off a formal environmental assessment of its facilities on Wallops Island, Virginia to increase the number of authorized rocket launches at the site by almost 200%.

This isn't the first time that the US Space Agency has alluded to expanding launch capabilities at other sites.

But this is the first time that the scale of the proposed changes has been published.

And according to slides seen by TechCrunch, the Wallops Island Southern Expansion Environmental Assessment, also known as Y's EA, will study the potential consequences of a massive increase in annual launches.

The study will also consider other critical changes to the site like water barge landings of rockets first stages and on-site storage of liquid methane.

NASA will be working with contractors who will conduct acoustic analyses and look at air emissions impacts and impacts to marine and local wildlife.

The analysis will also consider the construction of up to four new launch pads and the installation of a suborbital launcher conducting up to 30 firings per year.

And staying with NASA, Dr.

Ellen Ochoa, who is the former center director and astronaut at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Dr.

Jane Rigby, senior project scientist for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, both received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the USA's highest civilian honor award, and these two NASA recipients are among the 19 awardees who were announced last week.

Ochoa is recognized for her leadership at NASA Johnson and as the first Hispanic woman in space, and Rigby is recognized for her work on leading the Webb Space Telescope.

Congratulations to them both.

An advanced ground system for space-based missile warning developed by Raytheon, an RTX business, is now operational at the US Space Force's overhead persistent infrared battle space awareness center, also known as O-BAC.

The system is used to process overhead persistent infrared satellite data from both the US Space Force's space-based infrared system constellation and the future next-gen OPIR constellation, as well as processing data from other civil and environmental sensors.

To next generation, imaging instruments designed by Raytheon launched last week as part of Maxar's worldview Legion satellites.

These are the first two of six planned worldview Legion satellites, which will provide advances in Earth observation capabilities, offering improved surveillance and monitoring for a wide range of applications.

Muon Space has announced a new initiative in partnership with Earth Fire Alliance to improve global wildfire response and enhance climate resilience worldwide.

The organizations are collaborating on the Firesat constellation, which has been developed over the last five years with the expertise and support of Google Research and leading non-governmental organizations.

The constellation aims to provide the most comprehensive high-fidelity data to protect Earth's ecosystems from the escalating threat of wildfires.

The first phase of the Firesat constellation will include three Muon satellites that are launching in 2026.

And last week, we discussed the Chang'e-6 mission launched by China, but today we're just finding out details about other payloads that the Lunar Probe is carrying.

We did mention a payload from Pakistan that was joining the mission, and we've now heard that the probe is also carrying payloads from four countries, including one from France.

The French payload will be used to measure radon gas and its decay products on the lunar surface.

The Chang'e-6 mission is not the first time that China and France are exploring space together.

We should note, in 1997, the two governments signed an agreement for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space, marking their first cooperation in the space field.

And staying with China, the Shenzhou-17 mission returned a total of 31.5 kilograms of samples, making up the new batch of research samples brought back to Earth from the Chinese space station.

The samples have been delivered to the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

They include 23 scientific experiments involving 32 kinds of life experiment samples, including human bone cells, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, I don't know what that means, protein crystals, living organic molecules, and seeds, those I know. 18 kinds of material samples, such as containerless materials, high temperature materials, and extra cabin exposure materials, are also included.

And some interesting reading for you.

CNN has released a report on China's Hainan Island and their booming tourism trade thanks to the proximity to the nation's Space Launch Center.

You can read that report, along with further information on all the stories that we've mentioned in our show notes.

And today, we've also included a NASA solicitation from the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, a piece on Australia's space startup, WOS, and an announcement on new universities initiated into the University's Space Research Association.

Hey T-Minus Crew, every Monday we produce a written intelligence roundup.

And that written intelligence roundup is 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.

And you can sign up for Signals and Space in our show notes.

Or at space.n2k.com.

[Music] Our guest today is Dr.

Sharon Lamak-Vinseer, and she is the senior teaching fellow at the University of Strathclyde.

Now Sharon is leading a space cyber executive course in conference next week, and I asked her to tell me more about it.

I teach at the International Space University in Strasbourg.

I'm a visiting academic there and a teaching in Scotland as well.

And I suggested to the team that I assured that we should be doing an executive course in cyber security.

And to my pleasure, they really hand us that and wanted to do it.

So we're having the executive space course in Scotland.

And the reason that we're doing it in Scotland is because, I don't know if you know this, but outside the US, Scotland builds the most satellites than anywhere else in Europe.

I just found that out this week.

Yeah, I did not know that.

I did not know that.

That's such a great fact.

It is, isn't it?

So it makes sense to kind of go to where that kind of manufacturing capability is and think about secure by design and resilience and from a cyber security perspective.

So that's a rationale.

What we know from kind of research and background is that if you can get executives to prioritise cyber security, then you've got a really good chance that it will cascade throughout the organisation and it'll be a priority.

So that's kind of the first thing why we're prioritising the executives.

That's where we're aiming.

But in terms of the kind of space sector as well, we need to kind of harness more leaders.

So new space is growing significantly over the last couple of years.

We need to make sure that we're kind of supporting those that have got those leadership capabilities.

So for us, building an executive space course, the prioritised cyber security kind of touches on both of those kind of key pillars of how to kind of make sure that the space sector is both resilient and ambitious in the future.

So that's kind of where we're coming from.

The course is three day long and on day one, we're going to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

So we'll give an introduction and background to space and a background into cyber and kind of set the landscape.

Then in the afternoon, our delegates will have the opportunity to build CubeSat and programme them and then pressure test them to see how they work and what the challenges are.

We're using traditional CubeSat designs.

Although the market is very much expanding quite quickly and looking at different approaches.

Then after that, there's a simulation that I'll be running.

So there's a case study that will wave its way through the three days.

And that means that the delegates can actually apply the learning straight on into this case study and pressure test to see if they agree with what they're learning or what the challenges are because we want that critical thinking.

Then to day one, it's over for some drinks and canopies and some food.

That's what you need.


Do you know, we need to team build and we need to bond and we need to kind of understand different people's perspective.

So I think it's important to have downtime as well in our courses.

Oh, I agree, especially if it's, if I would imagine for many of these executives, they have the executive understanding, maybe, you know, very high level understanding of cybersecurity, especially.

But if they're getting thrown in with a lot more information day one, they're going to need that down time.

Need some decompression, right?

So, yeah.

And you know yourself, don't you, that is that time where connecting with your peers, that you actually build kind of really important business connections.

We know that, don't we?

So it is actually important.

And then into day two, we're taking the delegates to the National Manufacturing Institute in Scotland.

And the delegates will then be able to see how you actually build a CubeSat.

So looking at all the latest developments, what the R&D is.

And actually the tools that are used and is it cost efficient, is there different ways to look at that?

They'll then get some input on some of the legal frameworks and policy and engage a lot with the academics.

Then it's back to working on the simulation and the case study, pulling all of these different parts together.

And then in the final day, day three is really about consolidating that learning.

And one of my colleagues has done some work on a spacesuit and analysed the spacesuit from an international law perspective.

So we're actually going to take that and look at what the cybersecurity challenges are from the spacesuit and unpick that.

We're looking at launch codes and launch locations across the world.

And what that means in a geopolitical context.

And that takes us really into that geopolitical environment, because you can learn how to programme and build a CubeSat.

You can learn how space and cyber works.

But actually that's all academic.

You can't place it within the complexity of the geopolitical context that we live and work in.

So I'm hoping that the delegates are going to have a great time.

As I said, there's some amazing surprises that I can't share with you, because I'd be telling somebody the Christmas present before Christmas.

But tell me after, because I want to know what you surprised them with.

Because this is what a robust curriculum, honestly.

And you keep mentioning the geopolitics.

And that is really fascinating because there's the considerations in space.

And there's also a whole set of considerations in cybersecurity.

So having to deal with both of those sets at the same time to say nothing of, I'm sure, a whole bunch of other geopolitical considerations.

I mean, executives must know how to navigate this, but it is a lot.

And it's not for wimps.

Definitely not.

And I think you touched on something really good there, or really interesting there as well.

So my PhD is in law, so I've got a legal background.

I'm fascinated by how the law operates in society.

And certainly that's kind of what we're turned to when things don't work out.

Is it that we start to go, well, what's our legal rights?

What's the legal frameworks?

What's the regulation?

But within the cyber domain and a kind of global perspective, there isn't a legal framework that applies across the world.

And then we've got the outer space treaty, which is also coming under pressure that we can't rely on either.

So it's really interesting in terms of the context in which we're looking at that, because those foundations that we would normally expect.

Are not there.

So that kind of, in my mind, raises the question of diplomacy and international relations and that human factor.

So that's why I'm hoping that the delegates are all joking aside, but I really do hope because they're coming from across the world, I really do hope that they build those relationships.

Because I think space really needs to continue to work in collaboration.

And with the cyber space domain, I think it's even more crucial.

I can totally see that.

And I mean, I imagine many of the executives who are signing up for this course are cyber curious.

They want to know more, but they don't know where to start.

All of us in the cyber domain, this probably comes as no surprise, have heard the phrase executive buy-in is like the big thing.

If you can't have that culture change of cyber security in an organization, unless it really comes from the top, the days of it being directed from your IT department and everyone sort of complying are very outdated.

I mean, sorry, IT guys, but it's true.

When those executives go back to their organizations, I mean, I don't think, are their heads going to be on fire?

Or are they going to be like, hey, I've got new religion about cyber?

What are you hoping they come back to their teams with?

Well, I think you've touched on two points.

I'm going to be a typical academic of that.

So I think you're right.

I think you're right.

So I did some research and my research last year identified that within the cyberspace, cyber and space kind of domain, what we find is there's a disconnect between language and understanding.

So the cyber professionals use their technical language and they assume that you know that people understand that.

Space is very technical and has its very own language as well.

And then when you work where I am at the intersection of both domains, then what you find is that there's often miscommunication and a lack of understanding because they're speaking at a juxtaposition.

So there's that misunderstanding.

So I think one of the important things is to try and get some common language and common phraseology.

I think that's what we need to work on within the cyberspace domain.

And then I think what you're completely right, you're on the money there, is that we need to make sure that when we're educating and supporting executives that we give them a language that is actually translatable across an organization so that they don't go back because they've had the benefit of the expertise and the experience to take those technical skills because actually that's just continuing that kind of exclusion and challenge within an organization.

So I'm hoping that in terms of taking part in this course that we give them the tools and the articulation and the examples that are more user friendly and so that there's an examples there that can relate to people in their organization, such as how do you get your pizza, right?

You need GPS to get your pizza.

If that's hacked, that's got a link to space.


So it's just making the content relevant to the executives, but giving them takeaways that they can in cascade through the organization and get everyone around the table to understand at a starting point.

I often wonder about what you just mentioned about is the language that we're using either in the cyber world or space world, confusing the other party.

How can we get clarity there and what can we do to, I don't know, I talked to a lot of folks from the cyber world who are trying to come into the space world and be like, "Hey, this is why you need to be aware of what's going on in the cyber world."

And I'm wondering, is some of that lack of traction, is it a matter of people just not understanding what the cyber folks are saying and is there something we can do to make their language more relevant?

I don't know.

This is a bit of a communications wonk question.

I don't know if there's a good answer to this, but I figure if anyone knows Sharon, you probably would.

I would love to get your thoughts.

I guess for me, one of my approach at the moment, right, and I'm not saying that this is the right answer or the only answer, but for me, it's about visualization and about experiential, right, because language is problematic and we can actually take a, we can look at different verticals and different domains, and there's linguistical problems in different contexts.

So this is not immune or this is not only limited to space and cyber, okay?

So we can accept that.

But I do think that the beauty of space and cyber domains is that they can be very visual.

So they can actually be that kind of context that you can bring together, that even if you're not understanding the technicalities, then there's definitely an accessibility way if you're using images.

And one of the ways that I'm hoping in the space of the executive course, and actually in my teaching now, is to use simulation so that the scenario base putting people in the context and saying, okay, you may not have the right words just now and that's okay.

But actually, you know how your problem solve, you know how to work together.

So let's actually just look at the problem, go through the scenario and we can pick up the kind of language and we can ask each other, what do you mean by that and have that dialogue?

Whereas at the moment, we've got two domains that are not interacting.

And if it's a language barrier, then that's one thing that we can work on.

But actually it doesn't need to be a barrier because there's different ways that are really cool and fun.

[Music] We'll be right back.

Welcome back.

You know, we do love a good story showcasing how space is doing good for life here on Earth.

And it doesn't get more feel good than when we're talking about animal protection.

That definitely gives us the warm and fuzzies.

NASA has released details on how their satellites have been tracking wildlife habitats.

NASA has been using satellite data to monitor vulnerable animals like tigers and jaguars and elephants.

Oh my, thanks to the ever expanding footprint of us humans, endangered animals are losing their historical range.

But the US Space Agency is working with conservation organizations like the Wildlife Conservation Society to develop tools that use Google Earth Engine and NASA Earth observations to monitor changes to habitats, especially for endangered tigers.

And for jaguars, they're using data on land use and infrastructure plus Earth observations from MODIS, which is a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer and Landsat to map priority conservation areas for the big cats and other important animals.

They've also been monitoring how deforestation in Latin America is threatening the species and using new spatial information to see where current forest zoning is protecting key animals and where it may need re-evaluation.

And when it comes to elephants, NASA is using satellite derived vegetation indices and other data to study the big mammals in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve.

Researchers found that especially in unprotected areas, elephants prefer dense canopy forest, particularly along streams, and avoided open areas like grasslands, especially when more people are present.

Makes sense.

The research suggested that prioritizing elephants' access to forest in unprotected areas should be of the utmost importance for land managers.

And because the elephants avoided grasslands, some of those areas could be used for development or livestock, balancing the need for economic development and elephant habitats.

It is always good to see Earth observation being put to good use like this, and we still believe that the potential to do more good with the data collected is there, and we hope to hear more on these projects and even more going forward.

That's it for T-Minus for May 6th, 2024, brought to you by N2K Cyberwire.

For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com.

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

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

And if you like the show, please share a rating and a review in your favorite podcast app.

Also, please fill out the survey in the show notes, or send an email to space@n2k.com.

We're privileged that N2K Cyberwire is part of the daily routine 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.

N2K makes it easy for companies to optimize your biggest investment, your people.

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

Learn how at N2K.com.

This episode was produced by Alice Carruth.

Our associate producer is Liz Stokes.

We're mixed by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester, with original music by Elliot Peltzman.

Our executive producer is Jennifer Iben.

Our executive editor is Brandon Karpf.

Simone Petrella is our president.

Peter Kilpe is our publisher.

And I'm Maria Varmausus.

Thanks for listening.

We'll see you tomorrow.


Similar posts

Stay in the loop on new releases. 

Subscribe below to receive information about new blog posts, podcasts, newsletters, and product information.