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The Space Safety Coalition takes on sustainability.

Space Safety Coalition’s best practices. The White House looking at LEO. Kenya’s first satellite heading to orbit. US Navy makes strides in space. And more.





The Space Safety Coalition publishes its best practices 2.0. The White House is taking a look at LEO. Kenya’s first satellite is heading to orbit. The US Navy and Marines are making new strides in alignment on space systems. New CEO at ArianeGroup and new director at DoD DIU.

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Selected Reading

Event: From Surviving in Space to Thriving In Space: Closing the Human Factors “Technology Gap”

The Road Dragon Paved For Starship | Supercluster 

India is Taking on China in the $447 Billion Space Economy | Bloomberg

Best Practices | Space Safety Coalition 

A Q&A with Artemis II Astronaut Christina Hammond Koch | Payload 

White House taps DoD, State to ensure US access to low Earth orbit | Breaking Defense  

Agency Director Discusses Multi-Pronged Approach to Resiliency in Space | DoD

Navy's first 'space summit' focuses on shoring up Space Force support for maritime mission | Breaking Defense

Space Development Agency enters demonstration phase after first launch | C4ISRNET

NRL seeks EO/IR, ISR tech | Intelligence Community News 

Kenya to launch first operational satellite next week | Al Jazeera  

Exolaunch is Ready to Launch Over 15 Customer Satellites on SpaceX’s Transporter-7 Mission from Vandenberg. | Space Watch Africa 

Arianegroup’s new CEO comes from Safran Electronics & Defense | SatNews

Apple executive Doug Beck tapped to lead the Defense Innovation Unit | SpaceNews 

Northrop Grumman Wins Collier Trophy for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope | NGC 

Baltimore County native Reid Wiseman will command NASA’s first manned moon mission since 1972 | Baltimore Sun 

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Maria Varmazis:    So lots of space strategy and policy announcements recently. In yesterday's episode, we were talking about the new planetary defense directive from the White House. And today, there's another policy out, this time focusing on developing and protecting LEO. And it's not just about the US or even LEO today, the Space Safety Coalition is bringing together space industry from around the world to coordinate best practices on space sustainability for every imaginable orbit class, basically, saying if international governments aren't going to work out the space debris issue, international companies will. Today is April 5, 2023. Happy First Contact Day to all who celebrate. I'm Maria Varmazis. And this is T-Minus. Let's check out the Space Safety Coalition best practices, 2.0. The White House is taking a look at LEO. Kenya's first satellite is heading to orbit. And a conversation with T-Minus Executive Producer, Brandon Karpf, about the connection between the US Navy and Space Systems. And more, of course. So stay with us. Now, here are your headlines for today. Twenty-seven companies including major players like Inmarsat, SCS, the Aerospace Corporation, and Airbus have signed on to the Space Safety Coalition's version 2.0 of the best practices for the sustainability of space operations. The Space Safety Coalition is an international working group with members in the space industry, primarily, in the private sector, who are all concerned about space sustainability and the lack of international coordination and established rule sets on standard operating procedures, especially in regards to space sustainability and mitigating the space debris problem. So with coordinated governmental guidance or regulation on this front still lacking, they decided to come up with their own set of standards to address space safety, which in their words includes, physical safety, communication safety, and space weather awareness. Physical safety includes avoiding launch and on-orbit collisions, minimization of human casualty from spacecraft or debris reentry, and the long-term sustainability of the space operations environment. Communication safety includes minimizing the incidence and severity of Radio Frequency Interference or RFI events. If you want to read the entire best practice document, their website is spacesafety.org. And we also have a link in our show notes for you. While the Space Safety Coalition's guidance is orbit agnostic, a lot of eyes on space debris are especially concerned about ever-crowded LEO. The White House certainly is, as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy quietly announced the National Low Earth Orbit Research and Development Strategy, a product of the National Science and Technology Council or NSTC, along with the LEO Science and Technology Working Group. The goal of this strategy is to start better coordinating private/public use and access up to LEO for all kinds of use, especially in the strategy's words, "In a post-ISS world," a timely goal as a number of satellites and LEO was basically just exploding in number. The strategy has outlined five objectives, but the one I really want to highlight right now is the second objective, which is strengthen US government collaboration and partnerships by encouraging new entrants in R and D through a LEO National Laboratory, promoting data sharing, and prioritizing sustainable access to LEO. So that objective recommends that NASA start coordinating all US federal activities and LEO for one thing. And secondly, as for prioritizing access to LEO for scientific research, the strategy says the DoD and State Department should take the lead there, and, "Continue to support the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes, including the use of LEO for R and D." As such, the US government promotes best practices, guidelines, and other rules of the road, as well as technological improvements that enable the enduring use of the LEO ecosystem. The US government will continue scientific and technological research and development to prevent and address orbital debris, as well as to develop novel technologies to increase spacecraft endurance. Lots, and lots to dig through there. And as always, link is in the show notes. It's been an interesting week for space here in the US for yet another reason. And that is because of the Sea-Air-Space Conference that's been happening. This conference has been happening for quite a while now. But this year mark the first time it held a "Naval Space Summit," which was marked by senior leaders of both the US Space Force and US Space Command, meeting with Navy and Marine Corps leaders to better coordinate space systems and operations that support the Navy and the Marines. Okay. So what does that all mean and why is it significant? Let's dig into that a bit. And with me now is T-Minus Executive Producer, Brandon Karpf. Brandon, walk us through this a little bit. So what's going on here?

Brandon Karpf:    Yeah, so the context that we see is when the Space Force was created, ultimately, the Navy signed over the ownership of the space assets that support maritime operations to the Space Force. And then at the same time, about a year and a half ago, the Navy also created a officer designator called the Maritime Space Operations Officer. And that is a whole community of officers within the Navy, whose whole purpose is to leverage and employ space assets to support maritime operations. And so you see the Navy League here bringing in that focus, and ensuring that in these conversations at the strategic and operational level, that the space assets that, of course, are owned and operated by the Space Force are still being leveraged, and employed, and integrated into maritime operations.

Maria Varmazis:    Right. So how -- this is probably really stupid question, but I'm just going to ask it. How integrated are space operations with the Navy right now? I mean, is it -- are things still kind of terrestrial-based? Or is space where most operations have sort of -- in terms of communications and tracking, that kind of thing is -- has most stuff moved to space? Or is it 50/50? I mean, do we have a sense of that? Is that, do we even know --

Brandon Karpf:    Really, it's mostly space. When you think about maritime operations, ships are going out to sea, the Pacific is a huge place, you know, oceans are gigantic. The only way to really get backhaul communications to and from the ships, whether those are voice communications, or IP-based communications, is through space assets. So for the communications part of the architecture, space operations are critical to naval operations. There really is no separation between the two. Ships need access to the space assets to do their work. So that's just on communications, right? We can also talk about PNT position navigation and timing, --

Maria Varmazis:    Yeah.

Brandon Karpf:    Where GPS is a core function of all maritime operations, whether it's through navigation, which, of course, is a critical component, and proficiency of all naval officers at sea, as well as the positioning and timing, like those signals from the GPS constellation that go into everything from the workings, the inner workings of the ship network, the timing of encryption signals, and ensuring that the timing of IP networks matches up all the way to the actual employment of weapons systems like missiles that require both timing as well as GPS signals in order to function properly.

Maria Varmazis:    Okay. Last dumb question for me. So given the importance and the integration of space systems and what the Navy does, the only question I can ask is, how, is this the first time that there's been sort of a naval space summit? Is it just a function of the fact that Space Force hasn't existed until recently? Or I mean, how is this new?

Brandon Karpf:    I think so. It's probably a couple of things going on here. First, the Navy League, which is the organization that leads the Sea-Air-Space Summit. They've really revamped over the last year and a half, two years, under the leadership of Admiral James Foggo. When he came on board to lead the Navy League, the Navy League was more of a drinking club. At this point, they're really starting to kind of come back to the forefront of naval strategy and naval operations. And really understanding time power in the 21st century is critical to our national security and our national interest. And so what you see is Sea-Air-Space over the last two years has really started turning around, whereas the premier naval conference was always WEST, which is put on by the Naval Institute. Now, you see Sea-Air-Space kind of starting to come to the forefront again. WEST always had participants from space operations. And then the second component is what you said, which is that Space Force is now a thing. They are really coming online in terms of full operational capability, in terms of managing and equipping the joint force with space assets, and then integrating those space assets into the regular operations of those services. So I think it's a couple of those things all coming online around the same time, that is really making the focus a little bit broader and more at the forefront of everyone's mind of how critical these space assets are to the operations of the entire joint force.

Maria Varmazis:    I appreciate it, Brandon. Thank you so much for walking me through it.

Brandon Karpf:    You're welcome.

Maria Varmazis:    There's a great summary of the Navy Space connection from Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, Vice Admiral Jeffrey Trussler. He said this, "We don't have Cat5 Ethernet cable connecting us to anything. We're dependent on that spectrum to do our distributed maritime operations. So we're looking at how best to utilize and take advantage of all that capability. Because in the end, everything we do depends on spectrum." Speaking of spectrum, an opportunity here that might be of interest. The US Naval Research Laboratory has issued a request for information to support the optical sciences division for the development, testing, and assessment of electro-optic infrared advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems and technology. And if you speak acronym, that's an NRL/EO/IR/ISR/RFI. Questions are due April 12, and responses, April 21. We'll link to the statement of work or SOW for you in the show notes. And two bits of executive news worth mentioning today. The new CEO of ArianeGroup is Martin Sion, who was previously the CEO of Safran Electronics and Defense. His key focus, like his outgoing predecessor, Andre-Hubert Roussel, is on the maiden flight of the Ariane 6, which is currently targeting a late 2023 launch. And the other executive news is the Defense Innovation Unit or DIU of the US Department of Defense has selected Apple vice president, Doug Beck, to be its next director. As part of his role as DIU director, the DoD says this, "Beck will oversee efforts to accelerate the department's adoption of commercial technology throughout the military, and also serve as a senior adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on technology innovation, competition, and strategic impact." Now, for some SpaceX News about a date, you might have been hearing about in whispers and in rumors, April 10. No, nope, we're not talking about Starship. No, this is a Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg expected to launch no earlier than April 10. It'll be for the Transporter 7 mission, a rideshare sending a number of small SATS into SSO. Fifteen of the satellites on the mission are a manifest of XL launch of Germany, many of whom are repeat global customers in this rideshare, including the Colombian's Air Force, the Norwegian Space Agency, and TUBITAK UZAY of Turkey. And a new customer on Transporter 7 is a landmark, first, for this nation. The observation satellite Taifa-1 is Kenya's first operational satellite, fully designed and developed by Kenyan engineers. "Taifa-1 will collect data for agriculture and food security purposes," said the Kenya Space Agency and Defense Ministry in a joint statement. According to Space in Africa, there are 55 African satellites in orbit, but none have been launched from Africa itself just yet, as the continent does not have a spaceport. However, that's going to change sooner rather than later. Earlier this year, Djibouti signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to build the continent's first spaceport. And speaking of spaceport, SaxaVord Spaceport is hopeful that they'll have all the licenses they need so they can start launches later this year, especially since they already have two rocket launches planned for late 2023. SaxaVord Spaceport is located in Shetland, UK, which is situated off the north of Scotland between the Faroe Islands and Norway. Once they're up and running, SaxaVord, notably, will be able to support vertical orbital rocket launches, unlike Spaceport Cornwall, whose fortunes are unfortunately tied to the now bankrupt Virgin Orbit. SaxaVord CEO, Frank Strang says this, "Given that Virgin Orbit has ceased activity for the time being and that the Cornwall Spaceport license is only applicable for two virgin orbit launches a year, SaxaVord Spaceport is the only one able to support the government's ambitions for a buoyant space economy for the next 30 years or so." High honors for Northrop Grumman today. The company has won the highest award in the United States for Excellence in Aerospace and Aeronautics, the National Aeronautics Association's Collier Trophy. The award is for Northrop Grumman's work on the design and build of the feat of engineering and science, that is the James Webb Space Telescope. It's extremely well deserved. Go Webb, and congratulations to Northrop Grumman. And a friend of the show of the Beyond Earth Institute is hosting a free event that you might be interested in. It's called From Surviving in Space to Thriving in Space: Closing the Human Factors "Technology Gap." It's a deep dive into understanding the impact of the space domain on the human body and how policy can positively affect research in this area. The webinar is on April 26, 2023 at 11:00 AM Eastern Time, and it's free to attend. And again, link is in our show notes. Okay. That's it for our stories today. And as always, our show notes are at space.n2k.com. And we also have selected reading, cool stories, and features that we think you'd like to check out. There's a piece in there from Bloomberg today about how India is taking on China in the space economy. And there's a wonderful Q and A from payload with Artemis 2 astronaut, Christina Koch, that I really enjoyed and frankly found kind of moving. I highly encourage you to check it out. We'll be right back after this quick break. Welcome back. Okay. For today's fun fact, I'd be absolutely remiss in the eyes of my proudly Maryland base coworkers if I didn't mention this. Artemis 2 mission commander, Reid Wiseman, is proudly a Baltimore County native. Last time, he was in space, he was aboard the ISS, and he wore an Orioles jersey, and that's the baseball team for Baltimore if you didn't know. And he took a photo from space of Baltimore's famous Inner Harbor. Commander Wiseman graduated from Delaney High School in 1993. And apparently, this year is his graduating class's 30th reunion. I don't envy anyone else showing up to that class reunion who thinks they can top his answer to us. So what have you been up to? And that's it for T-Minus for this First Contact Day, April 5, 2023. T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, the news-to-knowledge platform for professionals. For links to all of today's stories, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. Original music and sound designed by Elliott Peltzman, mixing by Trey Hester. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. And I'm Maria Varmazis. Live long and prosper.

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