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Boeing Starliner eyes the ides of March.

Boeing sets March 2024 readiness date for the Starliner. Amazon’s Kuiper satellites to launch on an Atlas V. Firefly debuts new Elytra Fleet. And more.





Boeing says its Starliner spacecraft will be ready by early March, but has not decided on a launch date with NASA. Amazon plans to launch the first Kuiper satellites on ULA’s Atlas V in September. Firefly Aerospace announces an expansion of its on-orbit services with its new Elytra fleet, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

We have the first of a two part interview with Kaylin Trychon and Steve Luczynski, from the Aerospace Village, on the nonprofit’s mission, their programs, and the upcoming DEF CON hacker convention.

You can connect with Kaylin and Steve on LinkedIn and find out more about the Aerospace Village on their website.

Selected Reading

Starliner undergoing three independent investigations as flight slips to 2024- Ars Technica

Amazon switches rockets for first test satellites to avoid launch delay- Reuters

Firefly Aerospace Debuts Elytra Orbital Vehicles with Enhanced On-Orbit Mobility and Services- Firefly Aerospace

Redwire Corporation Reports Second Quarter 2023 Financial Results

Billionaire Charlie Ergen merging Dish and EchoStar to expand mobile and satellite telecom empire- CNBC

NOAA Eliminates Restrictive Operating Conditions From Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite Licenses- Office of Space Commerce

Pioneering worldwide space partnerships to boost UK innovation- Gov.UK

Japan Selects Warpspace for Optical Communications SBIR Program - Via Satellite

Pale Blue expands partnerships in Asia to supply water-based propulsion systems for Yonsei University- Press Release 

Eutelsat and Thaicom Partner for New Satellite Over Asia- Via Satellite

Govt speeds up feasibility study into spaceport plan- Bangkok Post

Watch: Fiery ‘meteor’ over Australia probably Russian space rocket - BBC News

Global Launches: Trends, Observations, and Opportunities- Astralytical 

The moon is open for business, and entrepreneurs are racing to make billions- Business Insider 

Space Development Agency announces mission expansion at Grand Forks Air Force Base- Grand Forks Herald

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>> Alice Carruth: Scrub. Such an odd word to use for what is a postponement or delay. It can also be used in the past tense to mean a complete cancellation such as that launch was scrubbed. It is likely to date back to the Navy missions that preceded NASA and from which much of its history comes. Back then, flights were written on a chalkboard so that any mission that was no longer happening could be scrubbed off that list. It's also a guy that thinks he's flying, if you're of a certain age.

>> Unidentified Person: T-Minus 20 seconds to LOA. Go for the floor.

>> Alice Carruth: Today is August 8, 2023. I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-Minus.

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Boeing says the Starliner will be ready for crew launch by March 2024. Firefly debuts the new Elytra Fleet. Amazon's Kuiper satellites to launch on an Atlas V. And we have the first of a two-part interview with Kaylin Trychon and Steve Luczynski from the Aerospace Village on the nonprofit's mission, their programs, and the upcoming DEF CON hacker convention. On to today's intel briefing.

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NASA and Boeing held a joint conference yesterday to provide an update on Starliner. The program has seen a lot of delays over the years, a little more than what's implied by a scrub; but it can't be scrubbed from the board yet. Boeing's Starliner manager announced that the spacecraft will be ready by early March. Now, that doesn't mean that the first crewed mission will also be in the same month. The aviation giant is working with NASA and others to decide on a launch date, depending on the vehicle's readiness. As for the troubles on tape that caused the latest postponements for Starliner, it seems that they have found a workaround. And Boeing is expecting to hold further parachute testing in November. NASA's Commercial Crew Manager Steve Stich told media that Starliner is 98 percent complete in terms of progress towards the agency certifying the spacecraft to carry its astronauts. All good news to balance out the $1.5 billion overspend on the program, thanks to delays. Ouch. And speaking of delays to launch, Amazon says that they're switching out rockets for the first liftoff of their Kuiper satellites to avoid those pesky problems. The company plans to launch the first two prototypes of their internet satellites on an Atlas V rocket from the United Launch Alliance. Amazon had previously announced that they'd booked flights with the first ULA Vulcan launch, and before that they'd booked flights with ABL. Amazon says the move is to avoid further delay to the rollout of the Kuiper constellation, with half of their planned 3200 satellites needing to be in orbit by 2026. Now, if you've got kids of a certain age like I have, then you've probably heard them talk about Elytra wings in Minecraft. The name actually comes from beetle wings and apparently from fireflies, so it's an apt name for Firefly's new orbital vehicles. The space transportation company has announced an expansion of its own orbit services with its new Elytra fleet. Firefly Aerospace CEO says, Our robust vehicle line gives us a unique advantage to quickly launch, deploy, and service satellites on orbit in response to dynamic changes in space. Elytra's first mission is planned for next year and will launch on Firefly's Alpha rocket. Q2 continues to see good financial results across the board, with Redwire being the latest to share their updates. The space infrastructure company says that they've nearly raised net losses from the second quarter. Redwire brought in $60.1 million in second quarter revenue, up 64 percent from the same time a year ago. Its backlog of contracted orders increased nearly 70 percent year over year to over 272 million from 162 million a year prior. Shares in the company have climbed up 70 percent this year. Now, what happens when you merge a satellite giant with an even larger broadband company? A behemoth, of course. We see dollar signs in the future for Dish and EchoStar remerger, re as the two were under the same stock some 15 years ago. The old stock deal is a strategically and financially compelling combination that is all about growth and building a long-term sustainable business, according to the chairman of both Dish and EchoStar. At the time of the announcement, EchoStar had a nearly $2 billion market value, while Dish's market value was just above $4 billion. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also known as NOAA, Office of Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs, has modified the operating licenses of multiple commercial satellite systems. The license conditions had previously restricted the operations of commercial satellites, preventing them from offering their full remote sensing capabilities to the public. NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said that NOAA is fulfilling the commitment made to the industry in 2020 regulations, which stated these temporary restrictions would last no more than three years. And, three years later, we lifted them. US capabilities lead the world in this important market, and this licensing change will maintain that lead. The first to take advantage of the modified rules is Umbra, who has shared a 16-centimeter resolution synthetic aperture radar image, calling it the highest resolution commercial satellite image ever released. The UK Space Agency has announced the recipients of the first phase of its 20 million pound international bilateral fund investments. The funding is aimed at helping UK organizations link up with the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, Singapore, South Africa and more to form collaborations that will progress space research and catalyze investment in new technologies. The International Bilateral Fund is the agency's first fund dedicated to building and strengthening international relationships to help advance the island nation's goals in space. Each recipient will receive up to 75,000 pounds of the initial 2.1 million pound pot. The full list of winning partnerships can be found on our show notes at space.n2k.com. And we'll wrap up today's intel briefing with a series of stories across the Asia Pacific region. Japan's government has chosen Warpspace for an SBIR project focused on creating interoperable optical communication modems and routers for satellite. Warpspace, a private Japanese company is developing an inter-satellite laser communication system. This move bolsters Japan's position in the niche but critical area of inter-satellite optical links, a field where both Europe and the US are heavily investing. Warpspace's CEO emphasized their selection as a major vote of confidence, preparing the company to compete globally with made in Japan technology. Pale Blue, a Tokyo-based company specializing in water-based propulsion systems, has partnered with South Korea's Yonsei University. This collaboration will supply the resistor jet propulsion system for two 6U satellites from the University, facilitating formation flying and enabling advanced laser communications testing. The thrusters offer an eco-friendly solution exempt from regulatory challenges. Sang-Young Park from Yonsei and Jun Asakawa from Pale Blue express their enthusiasm for this venture, highlighting the significance in promoting sustainable space technologies. Pale Blue strategy focuses on strengthening Asian partnerships and globally promoting their innovative propulsion solutions. This deal also comes during a period of warming relations between South Korea and Japan, a historically tense geopolitical partnership since the Japanese imperialist occupation in the early 20th century. Growing economic and political aggression from China in both the space economy and elsewhere, has pushed South Korea and Japan closer than ever. Eutelsat and a Thaicom subsidiary are collaborating to boost satellite services over Asia. The partnership involves Eutelsat leasing 50 percent capacity of a forthcoming software defined satellite, increasing its Asia coverage by 50 gigabytes per second. Set for delivery in 2027, this advanced geostationary satellite positioned at 119.5 degrees east, will enhance connectivity across the entire Asian region. Both CEOs highlighted the strategic nature of this deal, anticipating continued growth and collaboration in the Asian space market. And for our last story from Asia, Thailand is fast-tracking a spaceport feasibility study, leveraging its equatorial location for optimal rocket launches. With two suitable coastal sites, the nation aims to capitalize on space tourism and related industries. This move positions Thailand as a potential leader in South Asia's growing space economy. And we've left you three additional stories in the selected reading section of the show notes. The first is an Analysis and Trends Report from Astralytical on global launches so far in 2023. The second is an opinion piece on lunar business opportunities, and the third is a short update from the Space Development Agency on a mission expansion in North Dakota. You can find the links in our show notes at space.n2k.com.

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We have the first of a two-part interview with Kaylin Trychon and Steve Luczynski from the Aerospace Village on the nonprofit's mission, their programs, and the upcoming DEF CON hacker convention.

>> Kaylin Trychon: I'm Kaylin Trychon. I am the Director of Communications for the Aerospace Village. So I run all of the social promotion that you're seeing and all of the engagement and kind of messaging and press outreach and just kind of making sure that everyone knows what's going on with the Village and we really are connecting and bridging those community gaps between the security community and that aviation space ecosystem.

>> Maria Varmazis: Awesome. Thank you, Kaylin and Steve. You're a friend of the show. And for those who may not know you, would you mind introducing yourself as well.

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah. Absolutely, Maria. And thank you again for having me back on and Kaylin joining in and giving us some time to talk about what we're doing with Aerospace Village. My name is Steve Luczynski, prior Air Force. Spent a majority of my career as a pilot. Got into cybersecurity in between building on my nerd penchant and enjoyment of those things and, you know, happily claiming that. But got into cybersecurity throughout my career. Last few years in the Pentagon really getting to focus on aviation cybersecurity. And then even as I went in the private sector as a CISO working at CISA, the agency, and as a consultant now, being connected to aviation cybersecurity as the Village was forming back in 2019 and becoming the Aerospace Village where I helped out as the deputy executive director, was the director for a little while. And now I'm the board chairman on the nonprofit side. So helping make those connections and building the partnerships that our team then executes and puts on these amazing events.

>> Maria Varmazis: Awesome. Kaylin, Steve, I know right now is a really busy time for you preparing for DEF CON. So I just want to say thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak with me about all the cool stuff that you guys are working on. So let's get to it. So Steve and Kaylin, last time Steve was on the show, it was right before RSA. I'd love to know how the sandbox went, all the cool things that went on. Unfortunately, I was not there, so I missed it. So selfishly I'm asking for me. What did I miss out on?

>> Steve Luczynski: Yeah, absolutely. So RSA, that is -- DEF CON is one of our big feature key events. RSA is right up there with it. It's a different audience. And, for us, we put on a mini version of what we do at DEF CON in the sense of, when we bring in partners like Boeing IntelliGenesis, CT Cubed, and we have them next to us demonstrating cybersecurity concepts, some hands-on activities. For RSA, that business crowd, giving them a more technical experience and flavor of what's going on and also being able to educate what's happening in the aerospace sector. I was able to do a talk with -- and I'm sorry. I knew I'd forgot somebody else. Pen test partners, one of our good friends, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Hector Morales from the FAA. That was one of the talks that we did and getting the perspective of what he sees in government and addressing things about what FAA does with aviation cybersecurity and aerospace elements. And also the fact of, you know, here's the stereotype. But here's also the reality of what's going on. So it was just such a great time that we were there and the discussions and the connections and the folks that we met. And, you know, when you get to host two folks from the National Cyber Director's office and OMB, getting to show them around and talk to them about what's happening. And that was, if you recall, you know, right after the National Cybersecurity strategy had come out, knowing that the Workforce Strategy that just recently got published came out. But being able to talk with them, and again, getting to show them around the Village was --

>> Maria Varmazis: That's fantastic. I hate to put you on the spot asking about an event so many months ago, but any takeaways from that you want to share? I know this was a while ago. But if anything still filters through all these months later, I'd love to know. Kaylin, as well, for you. I know you were there, too. So if any anything comes to mind.

>> Kaylin Trychon: I echo a lot of Steve's sentiments. What I think about RSA and our involvement in the sandbox, it really does give me and I think the Village a little bit of a prep for all of the work that goes into DEF CON. We see a lot of themes. We get to meet a lot of folks that, you know, are going to be going to the show in the summer, and we can kind of get some feedback and some ideas. One of the things that I loved that the sandbox did this year was actually bring a badge into play, which I think saw a ton of engagement. And you traveled to the different sandboxes. And at each sandbox that you went to and if you listened to a talk or you engaged, they would actually, like, connect your badge. So the goal was to get all corners of your badge connected and represent, like, you visiting all of the sandboxes. And I thought that was a great way to kind of bring the energy because a lot of these sandboxes are villages or village adjacent. And so it's kind of tying that theme together and showing that, you know, RSA is a place that is a bit different. It's a different audience and crowd, but it brings some of the same people in the -- you know, that badge, that community and connection, I thought it was a great idea. And I think it did a great job.

>> Maria Varmazis: That DEF CON badge culture at RSA, that's really clever. Yeah.

>> Steve Luczynski: A fun, blinky toy, but grown adults who were like, yes, I want one. Yes, please make it light up and do things. That absolutely was fun. And the other thing I'll throw out, too, is probably not so surprising at RSA but what we've seen in the Village and it continues to grow at RSA, of course, is the government agencies, the willing to interact, right. I mentioned the idea that being able to do a talk on stage with the FAA and host folks like Chris DeRusha coming through the villa -- the sandbox at RSA because the government's there. They want to engage. They want to learn. And, really, what that also is, is a bridge because of the presence that we're seeing at DEF CON, the things that between the talks and the partnerships and what we're doing that we'll get into with DEF CON, it just continues to grow. And I think it's just showing their -- not only their recognition of that, of course, but the willingness to show up where these folks are, where the technical experts are, where they can ask for help, where they can meet the people who can help. And the fact that the Village can be a part of that, help facilitate that is -- that's very important to us as part of our mission.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's fantastic. And DEF CON's ears are burning. We've been mentioning it a bunch. So let's switch over to -- for our listeners who may not know the massive hacker conference that happens in Vegas in early August. It's happening pretty darn soon. I know the two of you are busy prepping for that. So, Kaylin, I'll start with you. There's a lot going on at the Aerospace Village at Def Con this year. If you could, start us somewhere and walk me through it. That'd be awesome.

>> Steve Luczynski: And, remember, it's only a 30-minute podcast.

>> Kaylin Trychon: I know. I -- honestly, this undertaking is now that I've been in a bit overwhelming because we have so much going on this year. I will say one of the things that I am just super proud of and excited for is the wide range of talks that we have in the Village this year. You know, when we started this five years ago, we were the Aviation Village. Now we are the Aerospace Village. And we are really seeing that come into itself. We have tons of talks for space, satellites, aviation. We also have one that has to do with weather and weather satellites.

>> Steve Luczynski: And weather balloons.

>> Kaylin Trychon: And weather balloons.

>> Maria Varmazis: That's super cool.

>> Kaylin Trychon: I think that what this -- what this shows us is that we really are bridging that gap and reaching the different communities that we are trying to reach by seeing the diversity in these talks. A few that I'm super excited for and I think that our listeners will be excited to mark their calendars for is one talk called Wingin' It - Pentesting a 737. I'm a bit fearful of that, but I think it's going to be a really engaging talk.

>> Maria Varmazis: That feels like very DEF CON to talk about something terrifying and cool at the same time.

>> Kaylin Trychon: Exactly. And I think, you know, one of the things that we always say, and we really do promote it through our messaging, is that, you know, we don't want people to cause hysteria and think planes are falling out of the sky. We want to actually show the real-world security challenges that this ecosystem faces. And so having, you know, a talk and a discussion about this I think brings that into reality and into focus. I'm also really excited to see that Pete Cooper is going to be back in the Village with us this year and doing a fireside chat with one of the CISOs from Boom Supersonic. And so I think, you know, in addition to the talks, we have Hack-A-Sat. We have a host of activities that our partners are bringing that we know that they're going to love and engage with. But one thing I do -- I do want to raise is that it is our five-year anniversary. It's really exciting. It's a big milestone for us. And we've done some really cool things to --

>> Maria Varmazis: Congratulations.

>> Kaylin Trychon: Thank you. I'm proud of the work the Village has done and how we've grown. And I think we have some, you know, amazing milestones and ways that we're going to celebrate it. We had a limited edition badge we put out into the world a few weeks ago. We -- it is very limited edition. There are at the time of this recording, very few left in stock. So, if you happen to be listening to this and you are lucky enough and act fast enough, you may be able to get one of the limited edition five-year anniversary badges if you -- have tons of cool challenges. You can look it up on our social channels. We've been promoting it. Get it before you can't get it.

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>> Alice Carruth: We'll be right back. Welcome back. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's not Superman. And, apparently it's not a meteor either. Imagine you're in Melbourne, Australia enjoying the night air when a fireball descends across the sky. Panic ensued with many residents taking to social media to ask, What is that? The BBC has a great video with one resident exclaiming, Oh, my God, when filming the fiery debris. According to the Australian Space Agency, what they were seeing was not a UFO, either, or a UAP, whatever they're calling them now. The Aussies say that what they were witnessing was likely the remnants of a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket reentering the Earth's atmosphere. I guess some were not convinced that the story of a Soyuz rocket launching a satellite to orbit the same evening was more likely than the UAP story, so we've included the video in our show notes for you to decide. The truth is out there.

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That's it for T-Minus for August 8, 2023. 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 mixed by Elliott Peltzman and Tré Hester, with original music and sound designed by Elliott Peltzman. Our executive producer is Brandon Karpf. Our chief intelligence officer is Eric Tillman. And I'm Alice Carruth. Thanks for listening.

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>> Unidentified Person: T-Minus done.

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