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The hitchhikers guide to LEO.

72 satellites rideshare to LEO. FAA faces possible workload expansion. US Legislators apply pressure for a final Space Command location decision. And more.





72 satellites rideshare to LEO. FAA faces possible workload expansion. . The draft text of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act pauses military construction on the temporary Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs. US Defense Secretary and Director of National Intelligence commission a study on how to separate responsibilities in intelligence gathering from space, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Susan Charlesworth, Director of Oxford Human Performance. Susan has worked with ESA astronauts on preparing for human spaceflight.

You can follow Susan on LinkedIn and learn more about Oxford Human Performance on their website.

Selected Reading

SpaceX just landed a rocket for the 200th time (and launched 72 satellites) on epic rideshare flight- Space.com

PREVIEW: Israel’s ImageSat, SpaceX launch satellite- Jerusalem Post


House’s draft defense bill pressures Pentagon on Space Command HQ- Air Force Times

Top-level study on Intel Community, Space Force satellite control coming soon- Breaking Defense

Pentagon Wants To Demo Space Internet Capabilities This Year- Defense One

How the Space Force Will Avoid a ‘Pearl Harbor’ in Space, According to Its No. 2 Officer- Air and Space Forces

Very Large Array to expand from 27 antennas to 260- KOB4

UK universities get £4.3m to drive space-based solar power sector- Yahoo Finance

He’s about to graduate college and join SpaceX as an engineer. He’s 14- LA Times

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>> Maria Varmazis: If you were listening to our show yesterday, you probably heard me say that SpaceX was going for a two-fer launch-wise: one launch in Florida and another in California scheduled on the same day. Now, Florida's launch of 52 Starlink satellites was already a success by the time we published our episode yesterday, but we were still waiting to see what was going to happen in California. So here we are today, and we can report now that both Falcon-9 launches from coast to coast were a success. The SpaceX Transporter 8 rideshare from Vandenburg Space Force Base lifted off yesterday at 2:35 pacific time, taking 72 satellites from a number of different organizations largely to a sun-synchronous orbit.

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

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Transporter 8 takes 72 small sats to orbit. Are changes afoot for the FAA? More space command HQ intrigue. EAU's outer net plans a demo for this year, and my interview today is with Susan Charlesworth, Director of Oxford Human Performance. She trains people on human behavior and human factors including future astronauts at ESA. Definitely stick around for that conversation.

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And now, let's take a look at our intel briefing for today. As we mentioned at the top of the show, SpaceX's Transporter 8 rideshare successfully launched yesterday afternoon from Vandenburg Space Force Base in California. Now, we won't review all 72 satellites in the Transporter 8 payload. They were mostly picoSATs and cubeSATs, but some larger ones, too. But still, going over all of them would be a lot for this show. But we've picked out a few highlights for you to just give you an idea of what went to space yesterday afternoon. Many of the satellites on the rideshare will get to where they need to go on their sun-synchronous orbit thanks to an orbital transfer vehicle or ATV, otherwise known as a space tug. The rocket gets you to space and then the space tug kind of puts you more precisely where the satellite needs to be, without the satellites themselves needing to spend fuel to get there. Three major OTV companies, Exo Launch, D Orbit, and Launcher are providing such services for Transporter 8 mission customers. The remote sensing Runner 1 satellite launched on the Transporter 8 rideshare, as well. This satellite, created by Terran Orbital and ImageSat International of Israel is for Chile's National Space Program. The Chilean government has a larger commitment with ImageSat of Israel for additional satellites in the coming years. And on the Transporter 8 was also the Tomorrow R2, a weather radar satellite for a Boston-based startup, Tomorrow.IO, which uses weather information with AI to help businesses predict and deal with weather related challenges. Their customers include transportation and utilities, as well as the New England Patriots. My fellow New Englanders would be rather deflated if I didn't mention that one. Perhaps the bigger story with Transporter 8 is that there were several missions aboard representing great steps forward in ISAM, which is in space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing. So let's take a quick look at two of them. First, in space manufacturing took another big step with this launch, as Varda Space grabbed a lot of headlines for sending the first manufacturing facility in space with the Transporter 8. So what does this mean? Many pharmaceutical companies have found that some drugs really like being in microgravity, or in other cases, can only be made in microgravity. And now that it's up in space, once it's up and running, Varda's W-series 1 satellite is going to spend 3 months on orbit manufacturing some kind of material and then sending it back safely to Earth in its reentry capsule. This will be a crucial demonstration of their capabilities, as they've got several more missions like this planned for later this year and next. And second, our friends at Starfish Space now have their OtterPop satellite servicer in space. The plan is for the OtterPop to perform the first commercial satellite docking in low Earth orbit with electric propulsion. The OtterPop's mission goal is to extend the life span of satellites already on orbit. As Starfish Space tweeted after the OtterPop headed to its new home in space, "Thanks for the ride, SpaceX! OtterPop is now in #otterspace". And before we leave this story, I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention this stat about yesterday's launches. With the return of the first stage for Transporter 8 back at Vandenburg, SpaceX has now successfully landed a rocket 200 times. And I should mention that tomorrow, we have an interview with Jack Cohen, who is program manager at Astro Digital, and he has worked on payload integration for various transporter rideshares, so definitely tune into that on tomorrow's show. Okay, let's move on to some other stories, now. The Federal Aviation Authority, or the FAA, is really feeling the heat following the fallout of the latest starship testing, and now they could be taking on more of the responsibility for space traffic management, among other things. A 770-plus page bill has been proposed in the US House of Representatives to expand on the agency's workload. The FAA, for its part, does not comment on proposed legislation, although we did ask. Can't say we didn't try. We at T-Minus Space will be watching the progress of this bill as it makes its way onto the floor and onto the Senate this week, and we'll do our best to keep you updated on the amendments and proposals that come out of it. And on to the topic that has come up every week since we started our program in April, where will space command HQ be? Yes, we know officially it's supposed to be Alabama, but it seems the administration is dragging its heels and is looking for a route out of the road to Red Stone Arsenal, and now the US House of Representatives has released a draft bill that they hope will push for a final decision. The draft text of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act pauses military construction on the temporary space command headquarters in Colorado Springs until Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall submits a report justifying its final location. There's nothing like forcing one's hand to make a big decision like tying the purse strings, and this bill extends to freezing half of Kendall's travel budget until Congress receives the justification and decision. Ouch. Now, T-Minus staff come from a varied background of former careers, and that includes intelligence officers from the NRO. So we know that the study commissioned by the Defense Secretary and Director of National Intelligence on how to separate responsibilities and intelligence gathering from space is long overdue. If you've ever requested satellite coverage and had to run it through the ranks, then you know it is a long, tedious process that heavily relies on a Gantt chart plotting the coverage. We look forward to the results of this needed study, and hope it leads to policy that streamlines the process and enhances our intelligence community's ability to use satellites for reconnaissance. The US Defense's Innovation Unit, or DIU, plans to test internet and space capabilities by the end of the year. The DIU is working with 7 companies on projects for various related capabilities, including remote sensing, cyber, communications, and cloud services. The move has bipartisan support for efforts to leverage commercial space networks to create an outer net for future military communications. DIU plans for hyperspace architecture, or space internet, to be accessible for the Earth and Moon first, then Mars and ultimately the Solar System. You know, we sometime struggle with coverage in rural US, but that seems like a solid plan. And we round up our military news with a plea. Dear Space Force, there's no need for clickbait headlines that compare modern-day missions to historic disasters. Take the question posed to Vice Chief of Space Operations, General David D. Thompson at a discussion at the Mitchell Institute's Space Power Advantage Center of Excellence. How does the Space Force plan to avoid a space Pearl Harbor? Now, dear listeners, we think you'll agree with us that while there is a valid concern over attempts to create operational or strategic surprise in the space domain, on the ground, or in cyberspace, we don't think comparisons to World War 2 battles are quite at the same level, and let's hope we're right and they're wrong. Now, on to other news. And if you've ever watched the movie Contact, probably you have, then you can be forgiven for having a mild obsession with a very large array in New Mexico like we do, and please, book purists, don't at me. Now, imagine our excitement when we discover that the next generation's very large array is on the horizon. The National Radio and Astronomy Observatory says the expansion will grow to 260 new antennae with about 160 replacing the 27 that are currently in New Mexico, and the rest to be scattered around the US. This brings our search for life in the universe to whole new levels at the small cost of 2 billion US dollars. In my opinion, totally worth it. Some good news from across the pond, with plans for UK universities to receive nearly 5.5 million US dollars in funding to study space-based solar power. Now, we've reported on this topic a few times in the last month with progress already being made in Japan, and most recently by CalTech here in the US. So it's great to see that our special friends are also looking to drive innovation in the space-based solar power sector. An independent study found that space-based solar power could generate up to a quarter of the UK's power needs by 2050, and potentially could create a multi-billion-pound industry with hundreds of thousands of new jobs. That word 'could' is doing a lot of heavy lifting, but still, it certainly looks like a win-win for all involved. And now, child labor. Child labor is something that we generally frown upon in western cultures, but in this case, it's something we're going to be celebrating here in the US. Stay with me with this one, it's a joke. A 14-year-old from California is about to graduate from the Santa Clara University School of Engineering and start working at SpaceX. Kairan Quazi will be going to work as a software engineer as a satellite communications and spacecraft manufacturer. Now, I don't know about you, but I was more concerned about the latest episode of Star Trek Voyager when I was 14. I'm dating myself there, but still, kudos to Kairan for aiming high at such a young age.

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And that concludes our briefing for today, and coming up next is my interview with Susan Charlesworth, Director of Oxford Human Performance on training people on human behavior and human factors, including future astronauts. Hey, T-Minus crew, our audience is growing rapidly and that's a big thanks to you. So if you're just joining us, be sure to follow T-Minus Space Daily in your favorite podcast app. And also, if you could do us a favor, please share your favorite episodes on social media. It helps professionals like you find the show and join the crew. You can find our social media profiles in the show notes and at space.n2k.com.

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My guest today is Susan Charlesworth, Director of Oxford Human Performance. Susan trains people on human behavior and human factors, including future astronauts. So I started off by asking what does it mean to train human behavior?

>> Susan Charlesworth: Yes. So very simply, it's when humans are interacting either with other humans, so that's where the kind of human behavior side of things comes into it. So what people typically think of are soft skills. So good teamwork, communication, leadership, decision-making, those kind of things, but also kind of more human factors can also get quite technical and look at how humans interact with technology and machinery. So in particular, this kind of discipline has come from aviation. So they found that a lot of aviation accidents were actually caused by the human factor, rather than any mechanical or technical problem. So this might be poor design of the interface or controls in the cockpit, and they were actually causing, incidents or accidents rather than anything technically going wrong.

>> Maria Vamazis: So that is a great segue to the reason why we invited you on this show is you have a fascinating career. Can you describe a little bit for our audience of what you'd been doing in your career?

>> Susan Charlesworth: Yes. So I'm actually a psychologist, but I got my pilot's license when I was 17 years old, so I've always been interested in aviation and aerospace. And when I was 25 years old, I went back to university to study human factors in aeronautics, so bringing together the psychology and aviation kind of passions and what I saw is that there was a role at the European Space Agency, which is based in Germany, for a human behavior and performance specialist to come and train their astronauts and their ground control team or mission control. So yes, I went over to Germany and was there for about 5 years training them on the human behavior side of things. Since then, came back and worked for the UK Space Agency, doing education and skills, but now I'm going back out to European Space Agency again to teach them the new set of astronauts all about human factors. So it's a surge of kind of, you know, how they interface with the spacecraft, the space station, and looking ahead to lunar and potentially Mars missions, as well.

>> Maria Varmazis: Your career sounds like one of those things that I would love to be a fly on the wall while you're doing the training because I just - to me, when I think of the professionals who become astronauts in my, you know, perception, that they're very unflappable, they've got a lot of great expertise. So what could we possibly be training them on that they don't already know? And of course, I know that there's a lot they need to be trained on, but I - what do you train them on? What do you walk them through, maybe what area surprised you that they didn't know?

>> Susan Charlesworth: So obviously, they go through - I don't know about NASA's selection, but for the European Space Agency astronauts, they go through, you know, a selection process. I mean, the last has taken nearly 2 years. So obviously, during selection, they're looking for specific characteristics, personality, and you know, skill-based characteristics, as well, that they're selecting them for. But when they come to us, I mean, they've come from quite a variety of backgrounds. They might be scientists all the way up to your, you know, typical military fighter pilot and actually, when they're looking at lunar and Mars missions, they are you know, also looking at now, skills such as, you know, a geologist. You know, going to the moon might be more helpful in certain situations than a military pilot. So they really do come from quite a broad background. So the training is kind of to bring them all up to speed in the same level of all those different skills that they're going to need for these future missions.

>> Maria Varmazis: Were there things that surprised you when you were training them that you maybe thought, "I would've thought maybe an astronaut would know"? Were you more comfortable with that or were there areas where maybe everybody needed some guidance or I guess walk me through some of the things you learned when you were training some of the astronaut teams.

>> Susan Charlesworth: Yeah, so I guess when I would be training them, they have literally - they have just started their basic training. So they've come from, you know, as I said, I think we've got a doctor, a scientist, a pilot, and so they've just started their basic training at ESA in April. So they, at the moment, they're learning all these things.

>> Maria Varmazis: Oh, all the things, oh yeah, okay.

>> Susan Charlesworth: Systems, and everything. At the moment, we're looking at the International Space Station, but so they're learning all these kind of side of things, so they haven't, at the moment, necessarily had the, you know, the psychological training, all the human factors training. So it's just to bring them all up to speed. You know, they might not have had this type of training before, but it's easier to bring them together as a team, you know, to be working together, potentially living together, etcetera. So you know, as much as certain organizations might, you know, bring in their sorts of training, they might never have had it before. I think that was one of the things more with the mission control when I worked with them, as I said, 5, 6 years ago was you know, they were coming from all different countries in Europe, and they might never have studied psychology before. So you know, I'd known from all my psychology backgrounds, you know, if you've got a very technical engineer, they might never have touched on even the most, you know, what I would consider sort of basic principles of psychology. So to them, it was all new and fascinating, and they were also quite skeptical, as well, and like oh, a psychologist. Are you going to be reading my mind? No, no. That's not what it means.

>> Maria Varmazis: And it's sort of explaining to them the benefit of what they're learning. So I'm imagining things like team cohesion is probably a big part of what you're helping them understand. Would it also be things like working under pressure and managing stress? Or what kind of things were you helping them understand?

>> Susan Charlesworth: Yeah, all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Stress management, conflict management, and as I said, like, you know, they are - maybe skeptical is a bit harsh, but you know, curious as to what I could possibly be teaching them and what, you know, psychology has to do with the, you know, flying into space. But as I explained at the beginning with human factors, the fact that it's come from, you know, a lot of - from the aviation industry initially, but now all safety critical industries. So nuclear, rail, oil and gas industry, healthcare now, anything where there's a real safety element to it, they've realized how important it is to take into account the kind of human fallibility and you know, errors that we might make. So that's kind of how we convinced them of the importance of it. So we have, you know, as I said, communication, teamwork, leadership, decision-making, problem-solving, all the you know, situational awareness. So as I said, the first thing is kind of to emphasize the importance and why we're teaching this, and then the consequences it can have, you know, if they don't understand these principles or work together or manage their stress, or whatever the issue might be. And then we also do a lot of practical exercise just to keep it interactive and interesting, but also so they can start practicing these skills, as well. So that's really important, too, as part of the training. And then they start going in simulations and working with, you know, a wider team with ground control and the engineers, and the scientists that might have payloads on the Space Station. And so, we kind of broaden it out that way, as well.

>> Maria Varmazis: And so after they've gone through training with you, what's your hope for sort of what they take away long term with them? Like a long-term goal or maybe a skillset that they can take.

>> Susan Charlesworth: Yeah, so I mean at the moment the astronauts are still going to the International Space Station, obviously with NASA astronauts and the Russians, as well. But I'm sure you know, we'll be hopefully going back to the moon next year, 2024.

>> Maria Varmazis: Hopefully, yeah!

>> Susan Charlesworth: With the Artemis mission, and then there's also a lot of talk about going to Mars, as well, further away in the future. But what I really hope is that they'll at least kind of remember and take on board some of the principles and skills that I'm teaching them so that, you know, especially when they're on the Space Station for the immediate future, but then further ahead when we're looking at building, you know, a lunar habitat or you know, the next spacecraft going to Mars that they'll kind of have these principles and skills in mind when they're going off on those missions.

>> Maria Varmazis: I'm imagining especially for those long-term missions, dealing with like emotional resilience, are those the kinds of things that you're working on with them or -

>> Susan Charlesworth: Yeah. I mean, not at the moment, but that is absolutely, a lot of people are working on exactly those kind of skills and kind of what team, you know, it's not just the individuals and them having the resilience, you know, and the stress management skills. But how are they going to, you know, what kind of team composition are you going to need to go on those long duration missions, you know, so that they all get on with each other and have complementary skills and things like that. So that's certainly something that they will need to be trained on.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's fascinating. For those of us, which is most of us who are never going to be going to space, what can we learn from maybe what you've been training the astronauts? Anything that maybe they can teach us? Or something that you've trained them on that maybe the rest of us could benefit from learning?

>> Susan Charlesworth: Oh. So obviously there's lots of things that they do in, you know, science-wise that from a psychology, one of the most and hopefully we'll never get into this situation again, but one of the interesting things was actually during lockdown. The people were then saying well, how do the astronauts cope? Because they're isolated in a confined environment, with, you know, obviously they can communicate with Earth and their family and friends, but can't necessarily, you know, physically see them and hug them, and that kind of thing. So there's actually some really interesting analogies there for us down on Earth. But as I said, hopefully the general population won't be going into these, you know, lockdowns ever again. But they're sort of resilience skills and being able to manage that stress and that side of things. It's really interesting to see how we can cope on Earth, as well.

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>> Maria Varmazis: We'll be right back.

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Welcome back, and we here at T-Minus wanted to shine a little light on a new-ish space related event that's worthy of your attention, especially this year. Perhaps you've heard of Yuri's Night, celebrating all things space related in big parties around the world on April twelfth. Well, this event is more US centric, but it's no less worthy. It's called Sally's Night, and it is a US-wide celebration of women in science, technology, engineering, and math - AKA STEM - centering around the remarkable achievements by the late astronaut Sally Ride, who is the third woman ever in space after Valentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya, and the first ever American woman in space. And it's held in June because her famous flight in the Challenger was on June eighteenth, 1983. And that means this year marks the fortieth anniversary of Sally Ride's historic flight. Much has changed since then in so many ways, but we still have a long way to go in welcoming more underrepresented groups in STEM. Now, Sally's Night, led by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is only 3 years old, but it has celebrations held around the country virtually and in person at 21 museums and major sites this year. On June eighteenth, baseball fans at Nationals Park in Washington DC will enjoy a space-themed game and Sally Ride's niece, Kate Ride, will throw the ceremonial first pitch, no less. The all-ages events continue throughout the month of June, like at the New Mexico Museum of National History and Science in Albuquerque, the California Science Center in Los Angeles, The McCollough Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, the Space Center in Houston, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the Science Museum in Oklahoma City, the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, you get the idea. And if you are in the US, there might just be a celebration of Sally Ride's legacy and incredible achievements in STEM near you. And if you can't make an in-person event, you can still celebrate online by sharing how science and space inspire you with the event's special hashtag #shinelikesally.

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And that's it for T-Minus for Tuesday June thirteenth. For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. We're privileged that N2K and podcasts like T-Minus are part of the daily routine of many 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. This episode was produced by Alice Carruth. Mixing by Elliott Peltsman and Trey Hester with original music and sound design by Elliott Peltsman. 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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