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Hey Sailor, try before you buy.

OneWeb launches a free trial offer for maritime customers. Boeing sued for allegedly stealing IP US aerospace defense contractor PowerDrop’d. And more.





OneWeb launches a free trial offer for maritime customers. Musk makes moves on Mongolia. A private Chinese company breaks the record for launching satellites to orbit. An unnamed US aerospace defense contractor falls victim to PowerDrop malware. COSMIC opens its doors, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Liam Kennedy, Inventor of ISS-Above and education partner with the ISS National Lab for the second part of our conversation about the recent resupply mission to the ISS.

You can follow Liam on LinkedIn and ISS-Above on Twitter and on their website.

Selected Reading

OneWeb targets maritime market with expanded satellite coverage- SpaceNews

​​Boeing sued for allegedly stealing IP, counterfeiting tools used on NASA projects- CNBC

Elon Musk discussed a possible Mongolia expansion with the country’s prime minister- CNBC

Chinese commercial rocket firm launches 26 satellites, sets national record- SpaceNews

US Aerospace Contractor Hacked With 'PowerDrop' Backdoor- Dark Reading 

New US Spy Satellites to Track Chinese, Russian Threats in Orbit- Bloomberg

Along with new office, Space Force plots new funding pot for commercial buys by 2025- Breaking Defense

Pulsar Fusion Enters Research Partnership with Princeton Satellite Systems to Apply Nuclear Fusion Propulsion to Future Space Travel- PR Newswire

York Space Systems Acquires Emergent Space Technologies- PR Newswire

1st-ever private Venus mission delayed until at least 2025- Space.com

UK Space Agency Deputy CEO to step down- UK Government

Slingshot Aerospace Hires Former Spaceport Cornwall Head Melissa Quinn and Former Axiom Space Counsel Megan Sieffert- Slingshot


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>> The battle for ultimate satellite communication domination is on. In one corner, you have the colossal Viasat conglomerate. In another, you have Elon Musk's Starlink constellations. And entering the ring is OneWeb, with an offer you can't refuse.

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>> Maria Varmazis: We're keeping it safe for work, don't worry.

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Today is June 7, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is T-Minus.

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OneWeb launches a free trial offer for maritime customers. Musk makes moves on Mongolia. An unnamed US aerospace defense contractor falls victim to malware. And we'll be bringing you the second part of my conversation with Liam Kennedy, inventor of ISS-Above and education partner with the ISS National Lab. Stay with us.

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But first for some breaking news as we start our show, CNBC is reporting that Wilson Aerospace is suing Boeing for a wide range of claims concerning allegedly stolen intellectual property. The lawsuit centers around custom-designed tools that Wilson says it created for Boeing. The company's lawyer, Peter Flowers, told CNBC, the scope of the damages is "hard to quantify" and that Boeing's actions have hurt Wilson to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. You can read more about that story in our show notes at space.n2k.com. And now let's take a look at today's intel briefing. No, we're not bringing WrestleMania to your local port of call. Now that its satellite broadband constellation is online, OneWeb has announced its new entry into the ever-competitive world of satellite Internet by launching an enterprise "try before you buy" deal for maritime customers. OneWeb has 634 satellites in low Earth orbit (or LEO), and its coverage encompasses much of Europe and the upper United States down to about the 35th parallel north. The antennae for this service are made by Kymeta of the United States and Intellian of South Korea. Speaking of satellite companies expanding their customer base, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been discussing Starlink connectivity in Mongolia. Musk and Mongolia's prime minister held a virtual meeting earlier this week to discuss potential expansion and investments in the Asian country. SpaceX registered Starlink as a company in Mongolia in 2022 and is expected to launch regionally this year. Now staying in Asia, and a Chinese commercial launch company has conducted its second orbital mission. According to Chinese state media, the launch sent a record 26 satellites into orbit, surpassing the previous national record of 22 launched in February last year. The rocket launch from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. The Lijian-1 rocket developed by CAS Space was reportedly carrying experimental satellites, technology demonstrations, and commercial remote-sensing. Now, coverage of this next story comes courtesy of our colleagues over at the CyberWire. Researchers at security company Adlumin discovered machines at an unspecified US aerospace defense contractor were infected with malware. The malware, called "PowerDrop," is a new malicious PowerShell script. Adlumin says this of the attack: "What is novel about this malware is that another code like it hasn't surfaced before, and it straddles the line between a basic off-the-shelf threat and the advanced tactics used by advanced, persistent threat groups." Now, we don't know who carried out this attack -- in other words, there is no attribution yet -- but Adlumin says that based on the target and the tactics used, it is likely that the threat actors are operating on behalf of a nation-state. Mark Sangster, vice president of Strategy at Adlumin, said this: "While the core DNA of the threat is not particularly sophisticated, its ability to obfuscate suspicious activity and evade detection by endpoint defenses smacks of more sophisticated threat actors. The fact that it targeted an aerospace contractor only confirms the likelihood of nation-state aggressors." Details on this attack are still a bit scarce at the moment. Thus far, it seems that only one aerospace contractor has been affected, and we don't yet know the extent of the impact of the attack. Right now, it's still unknown whether this incident is part of a larger campaign targeting multiple organizations. But as for mitigation for other aerospace companies, Adlumin says the aerospace defense industry should remain vigilant against this new malware, and also recommends that organizations run vulnerability scanning at the core of Windows systems, and stay on the lookout for unusual pinging activity from their networks to the outside. And, of course, we here at T-Minus, along with our friends at the CyberWire, will keep an eye on the story for any new developments for you. The US Space Systems Command's Commercial Space Marketplace for Innovation and Collaboration (also known as COSMIC) has opened its doors in Virginia. SSC's lead, Colonel Rich Kniseley, used the opportunity to announce that the branch is working to establish a commercial space budget line for 2025 to purchase commercial tech for the Space Force. Kniseley also discussed the need for new marketplaces and innovation labs to speed work with industry. UK-based startup Pulsar Fusion is partnering with Princeton Satellite Systems to study fusion propelled spacecraft that could make interstellar space travel a reality. The collaboration aims to help scientists better understand the behavior of plasma under electromagnetic heating and confinement when configured as an aneutronic fusion propulsion system. The results of the research will determine how a nuclear fusion plasma will behave as it exits a rocket engine, emitting exhaust particles at hundreds of kilometers per second. Scientists believe that fusion propulsion could provide the ability to travel meaningful distances in space within months and years and not in lifetimes. York Space Systems has completed the acquisition of space systems and software company Emergent Space Technologies. Denver-based manufacturing company York Space is a supplier of small satellites, components, and space mission operations. Emergent has been awarded multiple contracts from the US Space Force's Space Development Agency for modeling, simulations, and digital engineering. And York is one of the agency's prime contractors, building satellites for SDA's transport layer. The companies have not disclosed the value of the acquisition. TechCrunch is reporting that Rocket Lab's mission to Venus that was scheduled for this year has slipped to 2025, its original backup date. Rocket Lab announced last August that it planned to go to Venus in May 2023 with what will be the first fully private mission to our neighboring planet. The company is funding the mission, while a team of researchers from MIT and other organizations are contributing to the scientific payloads. The Venus mission will see Rocket Lab's Electron rocket and Photon spacecraft send a tiny probe close to the surface of Venus, where atmospheric conditions are most similar to that of Earth. Rocket Lab sees this mission as key to answering the question, are we alone in the universe, with a specific goal to search for habitable conditions and signs of life in Venus's cloud layer. This will be the first step in Rocket Lab's campaign of small missions to better understand our rocky neighbor. And before we finish today's intel briefing, there's been some movement in leadership roles in the UK aerospace sector. Deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency, Ian Annett, has announced that he is leaving his role in the Civil Service in August. And a huge congratulations to former head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Quinn, for her appointment as general manager at Slingshot Seradata. You can read more about Melissa's appointment and all of the stories we've covered in today's intel briefing at space.n2k.com. And that concludes our intel briefing for today. Hey, T-Minus crew, if you find this podcast useful, please do us a favor and share a five-star rating and a short review in your favorite podcast app. It'll really help other space professionals just like you to find the show and join the T-Minus crew. Thank you so much, we really appreciate it.

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Today we're including the second part of my conversation with Liam Kennedy, inventor of ISS Above and education partner with the ISS National Lab. Liam starts by telling us about the Genes in Space experiment that just arrived at the Space Station earlier this week.

>> Liam Kennedy: It's a long-time experiment program that is based around a national competition. It's funded by the ISS National Lab and also Boeing. And I first met the Genes in Space folks, who'd come from MIT, I believe in 2015, when I was at my very first ISS R&D conference, and I followed very closely their development. And they launched a program that allow students and schools around the country to put their submission ideas in for experiments that are related to checking out what happens to DNA in space. And the person who has won that competition this year, she has come up with an experiment that's designed to test something that she was inspired by, the one-year mission, which was the Twin Study, and was the study that happened between Scott Kelly and Mark Kelly. Scott Kelly went to space for nearly a year, and Mark Kelly, his twin brother, stayed on the ground. But what that allowed NASA to do, researchers to do, was to monitor the difference between twins from someone who spent nearly a year in space to someone who didn't. And there was a very particular and surprising result that they discovered. And it's to do with part of the genes called telomeres. And these are genetic structures that protect our chromosomes. And they shorten with age and wear. And the surprising thing is that, when Scott Kelly came back, they measured these and they discovered that Scott's grew. So in space, somehow, they seem to have the opposite effect of aging. So that bonkers result means, well, how did that happen? Well, Genes in Space, the new experiment that's launching up, is designed to measure that in space. Because here's the thing. They didn't know to look for this while Scott was in space until they came down. So this experiment in Genes in Space is designed to use a florescent sensor. And I'm probably just killing exactly what it actually does. But they have now the ability to measure this in space. So that's going to be the different thing is being able to check out this change. They don't have a human being to test this on. There's some kind of biological material they're testing this on. There's a really great experiment to do with plant growth. Plant growth is a very important aspect of long-duration human spaceflight. Because when you're on a long-duration spaceflight, there's a lot of things that don't maintain themselves well over a long duration. The food sources, they deplete their vitamin nutrition effect over, you know, a year or so. So they have to some way to grow these plants. Well, this particular experiment is on the Plant Habitat-03. And it's designed to check out second generation seeds. What that means is, these are plants that have been grown on the space station once before, and the seeds that come from those have been returned to the Earth, and now they're going back again for the second generation. And they want to check, do the changes that happen to them in space result in continued changes with new generations of these plants? So it's really about, you know, growing multiple generations of plants, which will have to happen if we do this stuff of long-duration spaceflights to Mars and such like.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah, do those plants retain their nutrients; do they grow differently; are they mutating? I can't wait to see what happens. I'm always fascinated by simple things like picture of a flower growing in space is just -- or lettuce, you know, things like that. I just find it fascinating.

>> Liam Kennedy: Yeah, or chilis.

>> Maria Varmazis: Chilis, that's right, yes.

>> Liam Kennedy: Where you then eat them.

>> Maria Varmazis: I'm sure they were happy to have the flavor.

>> Liam Kennedy: Yeah. In fact, it was Mark Vande Hei who was the astronaut who had the job of eating the first chili. And I think it was a version of a chili that would be considered quite hard. But in space, the hardness of things is somewhat diminished for some reason. I think -- I saw the video of him testing it, and yeah, I think it was pretty hard.

>> Maria Varmazis: Had a kick to it in space too?

>> Liam Kennedy: Yeah, it did.

>> Maria Varmazis: Capsaicin waits for no man.

>> Liam Kennedy: Yeah, astronauts love their hot sauces. It's one of the ways to really add some variety to the food that you're eating. They often eat their food in taco form because it's nice way to contain your food that would otherwise, you know, be spinning out of control.

>> Maria Varmazis: It makes sense.

>> Liam Kennedy: Yeah. So there's a lot of hot sauce that gets added to their food. One final thing, if I can mention, and that is a great experiment by ESA, which is Thunderstorm Watch. Have you ever heard of kinds of lightning effects that are little well-known? They're called "blue discharges." Sounds very medical. Storms in space have blue discharges. And what these are are lightning discharges that go up instead of down. So they're above the clouds, and we don't often get to see them. But the space station has, obviously, the perfect vantage point to see these kinds of things. I've got to say, I've seen something that looks like this kind of effect in some of the live video feeds that show lightning storms. But this is a very particular way of monitoring those from the ISS. Because these kinds of lightning effects, they go up a long way into the stratosphere. They're very energetic. And this whole experiment is designed to really better understand this and its impact on climate and weather.

>> Maria Varmazis: I want to make sure we cover ISS-Above first. I want to give you a chance to talk about that, because it is an amazing thing.

>> Liam Kennedy: Part of what the ISS-Above does -- and really, this was its original purpose -- was to let you know every single time the space station is above you. Which, you know, a lot of people will be aware that you can run outside and see the space station occasionally in the night sky when it's passing by close to sunrise or sunset. But what is often missed is this space station passes you by at least five times every day somewhere in your skies. And it can be in the middle of the daytime. It's a device -- you can think of it as being in over 4,500 locations worldwide -- science centers, classrooms, private homes, in some astronaut homes as well, who shall remain nameless. So that's one thing. But the other thing is, it plugs into a TV and then it shows you a whole load of information about the space station, so including all the details on every pass of the space station when it's above your horizon, and shows you the crew. So currently, there's seven crew up there. There's a lovely view of exactly how many crew are up there and who they are. So anyone who's looking at this gets that information. But one of the key things about the ISS-Above is that it displays live view of the Earth from cameras on the space station. So wherever it is, in daylight, you get to see the view that astronauts have when they're looking out of the cupola. And adding all of that together into this neat little package, you know, provides students and anyone at NASA really great opportunity to get connected with what the space station is all about and also connected with the over effect, if I may say. "Overview effect," made famous by the person who created the book and the term "overview effect," that's Frank White. And it really describes what can happen to astronauts as a result of them going to space. Well, I am of the belief that merely looking at views of the Earth and getting present to what you are seeing provides that kind of aha moment, if it's made available to enough people, and you really get present to what's going on. So, for instance, over the weekend -- I also capture a lot of these live video clips and post them to my Twitter at ISS-Above You -- and that's YOU on the end there. And over the weekend, the space station went over areas of Quebec, Canada, that currently experiencing some of the most extreme wildfire season, or at least the start of it, that they've ever had. And the space station just had amazing views of these multiple wildfires across the region. And the smoke from that is now very much heading into the Midwestern, north Midwestern states. I saw smoke plumes all over Wisconsin, Illinois, Lake Michigan. It's quite a thing to see. And, you know, it's a reminder of that, but there's many other parts of Earth viewing that play a part in really our understanding of climate change and the impact of what we do as human beings to that.

>> Maria Varmazis: And you can check out Liam's work on the ISS-Above at issabove.com. And our thanks to Liam Kennedy for joining us for both yesterday's and today's show. We'll be right back. Welcome back. You know, the pathway to a love of space has many entry points. I know for some folks, it's the thrill of the build of rocketeering and exploration, the allure of the endless unknown. And for many of us also, it's that profound odd feeling you get when you're in a place with proper dark sky and you get totally lost staring up at the stars, feeling tiny but also wondering what the heck is out there. And that feeling never really goes away. And that's what hooks a lot of us from a young age to be fascinated by space, isn't it? And that experience on steroids is how some of the web images make me feel, for whatever it's worth. And if you enjoy diving deep into deep field images, there's a new website you should definitely spend some time getting lost in. It's the new interactive website for JADES (the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey). Now, the URL for this one's a bit tricky, it's jades.idies.jhu.edu. Don't worry, we'll put that link in the show notes for you. You might have seen some static images from JADES before, but this new feature specifically, well, you can scroll and scroll and scroll and dive into an incredible deep field image, stitched together from lots and lots of deep fields, and go back a mere 13 billion years in time. So many points of light in this image, and when you zoom in on them, they're not stars with galaxies. Scroll on through and maybe think on the Fermi paradox a bit. And I'm not going to tell you what to do, but maybe have a little existential crisis while you're there if you're feeling up for it, you now, just for fun.

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And that's it for T-Minus for June 7, 2023. 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 our podcast. You can email us at space@n2k.com, or submit the survey in the show notes. Your feedback ensures that we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry. N2K strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people. We make you smarter about your team, while making your team smarter. This episode was produced by Alice Carruth. Mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Tre Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. Our chief intelligence officer is Eric Tillman. And I'm Maria Varmazis. Thanks for listening, we'll see you tomorrow.

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