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TEMPO hitchhikes to GEO.

NASA’s TEMPO launches. Axiom’s second mission. SpaceCom demands domain awareness. True Anomaly raises $30mil. Stoke has software for hardware. And more.





NASA’s EO instrument TEMPO launches. Axiom Space’s second mission AX-2 announced. US Space Command wants way better space domain awareness. True Anomaly raises $30 million. Stoke Space is making software for hardware. And more.

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Selected Reading

NASA Earth science hosted payload set for launch on Intelsat satellite | SpaceNews 

NOAA seeks funding increases for next-generation satellite programs | SpaceNews

SPACECOM ops head 'tired of the the excuses' about satellite tracking gaps | Breaking Defense

Space Force’s responsive space strategy taking shape | C4ISRNET 

Space Force embraces unconventional ways to attract and retain talent | SpaceNews

Space Security Company True Anomaly Emerges From Stealth With $30M In Financing | Via Satellite 

Quantum Space Introduces Ranger Orbital Transfer Vehicle | Via Satellite

Axelspace Raises New Capital, Joins Space Compass Initiative | Via Satellite 

D-Orbit’s IRIDE satellite observation program receives €26-Million contract with ESA | SatNews

NASA Awards Iceye 5-Year Blanket Purchase Agreement | Via Satellite 

Northrop Grumman Expands Space Technology Capabilities in Huntsville | NGC



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Maria Varmazis:     Now this is overly simplified, but there are pros and cons to launching your payload on a satellite that's yours. Namely, you control everything, but it's a lot more expensive. But if you put your payload on someone else's satellite, like a hosted payload, you're saving a lot of money but then you're at the mercy of someone else's specs and timelines. Still, NASA has been trying out the hosted payload approach in the past few years. And today, NASA Earth Science's TEMPO instrument, hosted on an Intelsat satellite, successfully launched and is on its way to geostationary orbit. Today is April 7, 2023. Happy Friday! I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is T-Minus. TEMPO is on its way. Axiom Space's second mission is announced, US Space Command wants better space domain awareness, True Anomaly is getting ready, Stoke's making software for hardware, and lots lots more today. Stay with me. With the launch this morning of SpaceX's 23rd mission of 2023, the satellite Intelsat 40e, which was built by Maxar for Intelsat, is now on its way to its home in space in geostationary orbit, or GEO, and a payload hosted aboard this satellite is NASA Earth Science's much awaited Earth observation, or EO, instrumentation called TEMPO. Now, TEMPO stands for Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution. "TEMPO was built by Ball Aerospace and is a UV-visible spectrometer with the ability to provide measurements down to," says NASA Earth Science, "the neighborhood scale." And because TEMPO will be up in GEO, it'll be able to provide hourly measurements from its high perch. And TEMPO can measure atmospheric pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and formaldehyde across the continental United States, parts of Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. TEMPO is the second part of a three-part semi-global air quality measurement constellation. The first component, called GEMS, which measures air quality over Asia, launched in 2020. And the third and final component will cover Europe and North Africa with a targeted 2024 launch. Once Intelsat 40e reaches GEO, TEMPO is expected to come online in late May or early June with observation starting hopefully by October. We're learning that Axiom Space will launch its second private astronaut mission, Ax-2, to the International Space Station on or after May 9 on a SpaceX Crew Dragon. This will be about one year after Axiom Space's first private astronaut mission, the Ax-1. The four-person crew will spend 10 days on the ISS conducting scientific research experiments and educational outreach. Two of the astronauts are from Saudi Arabia and one of them, Rayyanah Barnawi, will be the first Saudi woman to go to space. Last month, Axiom signed a mission order with NASA for a third mission, the Ax-3, which could go up to the ISS as soon as November. "All of these missions," says Axiom, "give crucial data for refining Axiom's planned Commercial Space Station with hopes for the first modules launch in 2025." US Space Command Director of Operations, Training, and Force Development, Major General David Miller, says he's not happy with the current state of space domain awareness. In a new story by Breaking Defense, Major General Miller said this. "I'm tired of the excuses. I'm not even interested to hear how hard it is anymore. It has to happen. US Space Command doesn't have the complete real-time information on all objects on orbit," says Miller. "And that's exactly what they need just about more than anything else." A combination of outdated systems and not enough sensors either on the ground or in space to give useful information have created a bit of a perfect storm that Space Command finds itself in. Right now, a lot of the information about what's up in space comes from taking data collected from ground-based systems which can only see those space objects for a limited amount of time, and then figuring out the predicted path through those objects using some good old math-based elbow grease and extrapolation. Models are great and all, but not nearly good enough or fast enough for Battle Management, Command, Control, and Communications, or BMC3, or what Miller calls "keeping custody of adversary spacecraft, who and what and where they are at any given moment," especially when those spacecraft can change their trajectories and maneuver, which is a capability a lot of nations are working on right now. Space-based sensors of data ground systems. These are just some of the components that Space Force is working on to fulfill US Space Command's requirements for tracking objects in space. In 2024 alone, Space Force is investing over $100 million into this effort. And speaking of Space Force, some bits of news on that front. Space Force already has combatant command components in US Central Command and Indo-Pacific Command. And this week, the service says they are working on strengthening its integration into more combatant commands, including European Command, Cyber Command, and Special Operations Command. Lieutenant General DeAnna M. Burt, the Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, says Space Force being a more integrated partner in combatant commands allows them to "do security assistance and security operation and talk space with our coalition and allied partners by being at the table in all of those meetings with the combatant commands in each of the theaters." Also, just as the talent pipeline is always a challenge even in the private sector, US Space Force is trying to figure out creative ways to recruit and retain people with the expertise they need. Space Force being new on the scene, they don't really have a deep bench of talent to pull from just yet. While they also need to scale up fast, they need talent with a lot of technical expertise, quite a formidable challenge. So they're getting creative. One possible approach being floated is allowing some Space Force guardians to serve part-time. This could mean Space Force members could have more flexible careers, perhaps being able to move to a part-time status while actively working in the private sector, and then being easily reactivated to return to full-time duty should the need arise. Congress has to approve this idea for it to happen though, but Space Force Chief of Space Operations, General Saltzman, says he's optimistic it will happen. Space security company, True Anomaly, says they've officially raised a total of $30 million in funding so far. And they'll be launching their first satellite pursuit vehicle, the Jackal Autonomous Orbital Vehicle, this October as part of the Transporter 9 rideshare. Last year, the company opened a factory in Denver, and True Anomaly's most recent funding round was for $17 million, led by Eclipse Ventures in partnership with Riot Ventures, Champion Hill Ventures, Space.VC, and Narya. The company also received a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, contract back in January from Space Systems Command for what even Roger, co-founder and CEO, describes as this, "building an AI-powered tactical command and control system to help commanders and space battle managers understand and respond to the most challenging space operations issues. This technology will also aid them in directing the action of potentially thousands of satellites and other forces across the space domain." Now, here's a cool announcement from Stoke Space. Yes, they're hard at work at building reusable rockets, but it ends up they're doing some neat stuff on the software side of things too. They've been building the software to quickly track the physical parts needed to create their rockets no matter where they are in the production pipeline. And it ends up they're so happy with the inventory tracking and management software solution they built, called Fusion, that they're putting it up on the market for other hardware manufacturers to try. Right now, they're opening Fusion up for early access. So for more information on that, go to their website, stokefusion.com. Quantum Space, which received a $15 million investment in December from venture capital firm Prime Movers Lab, this week introduced its Ranger orbital Transfer Vehicle. Ranger will be a last-mile delivery service to take spacecraft to their final orbits, like GEO or Cislunar orbits. So those spacecraft don't have to burn their own propellant to get where they need to go. Ranger will be able to carry 1.5 metric tons to GEO and 2.5 metric tons of Cislunar space. Earth observation provider and small satellite manufacturer Axelspace has raised an undisclosed amount of new funds from Space Compass Corporation, Development Bank of Japan, Tokio Marine Holdings, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital. The company also announced that it's partnering with Space Compass on its space-integrated computing network, which will be a non-terrestrial network with craft and GEO, LEO, and high-altitude platform systems, or HAPS, with the goal of solving challenges and filling gaps in current Earth observation technology. The space-integrated computing network has a projected 2024 launch. And speaking of Earth observation, D-orbit just won a 26 million euro contract with ESA to provide one synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, satellite, and ongoing flight operations support. This will be for the IRIDE program which supports civil protection and infrastructure and air quality monitoring for Italian government organizations. And a little more on SAR, NASA made a five-year purchase agreement with ICEYE US to buy access to SAR data from the company. The data from ICEYE's constellation of SAR satellites will be used for NASA's Earth Sciences Division. And now, some news about people on the move. Northrop Grumman has officially opened their new expanded campus in Huntsville, Alabama, home to over 1,000 employees in the area. According to the company, this expands its launch and missile defense development capability. NASA has named its new agency director for the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Her name is Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, and she was sworn into the post yesterday. Lystrup was previously vice president and general manager of Civil Space at Ball Aerospace, where she led Ball's contribution to such notable missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope and many others. The new 2023 co-chair for the Space Generation Advisory Council, or SGAC, has been elected. And his name is Dr. Antonino Salmeri. He's a space lawyer specializing in the governance of lunar and space resource activities. And the SGAC, it's a network representing students and young space professionals to the United Nations, the space industry, academia, and governmental space agencies around the world. Slingshot Aerospace has appointed two new executives, Leslie Hildebrand as Senior Vice President of Government Business Development and Strategy and Pieter Kreuk as CFO. And lastly, Northrop Grumman says its next Cygnus resupply spacecraft, the NG-19, expected to launch in May, will be named the S.S. Laurel Clark in honor of the late Dr. Laurel Clark. Clark was one of the seven NASA astronauts who were lost on STS-107, the space shuttle Columbia, 20 years ago on February 1, 2003. This naming announcement was made by Tani Danny, Northrop Grumman's director of business development who knew Clark and trained with her in astronaut candidate class. What a touching tribute. We'll be right back after this break. Hi there. Welcome back. So this is one of those days I really wish this podcast had a video component because this one really has to be seen to be believed. But here's some relevant audio, and the spoken audio is in German, but actually, don't even worry about that part if you don't speak German. Listen closely for something that might be a little bit off. Shall we say something a little bit evil and breathy?

Major General Michael Traut:    [ Speaking in German ]

Maria Varmazis:    So, yeah, that was the launch of the German new Bundeswehr Space Command building with the Commander of the Space Command -- that is his title, the Commander of the Space Command -- Major General Michael Traut speaking, and also Darth Vader breathing. Yes, a whole troop of Star Wars cosplayers, members of the local 501st Legion, were invited to take part in the inauguration of the new Space Command building. If you're not familiar with the 501st Legion, they are a global Star Wars cosplay charity group, but they only play the villains, in other words, the evil Galactic Empire. You know, baddies like Darth Vader and the stormtroopers and the very Nazi-esque imperial officers. Yes, they're all there during an official German Space Command ceremony. I guess fair is fair with the French having their own space war games called AsterX, after the beloved Gallic comic book hero Asterix, and with the US Space Force Delta looking a lot like the Star Trek Delta, which was likely inspired by the US Air Force Delta. You get the picture. Sometimes you just have to give yourself to the nerd side. And that's it for T-Minus for this Friday, April 7, 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. Our theme song is by Elliott Peltzman. Mixing is by Elliott Peltzman and Tré Hester. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. And I'm Maria Varmazis. Have a wonderful weekend. See you on Monday.

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