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BAE agrees to a billion-dollar deal to buy Ball Aerospace.

BAE buys Ball Aerospace for $5.6b. Momentus cuts jobs as it releases Q2 financial results. Chandrayaan-3 separates from its propulsion section. And more.





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UK defense contractor BAE agreed to buy Ball Aerospace for $5.6 billion. Momentus announces layoffs and cuts to budgets in its Q2 financial report. The Indian Space Research Organization tweets “Thanks for the ride, mate!” after the Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander detaches from the propulsion section of the spacecraft, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guests today are Scott Sacknoff and Emily Carney from Space 3.0 Foundation.

You can connect with Scott and Emily on LinkedIn and find out more about Space 3.0 Foundation on their website.

Selected Reading

Ball Announces Agreement to Sell Aerospace Business for $5.6 Billion- PR Newswire

Momentus Inc 10-Q/A filing 

Indian moon lander module splits from propulsion section in key step- Al Jazeera

ELA Signs Multi Launch Contract with INNOSPACE from ASC- ELA

Crew-7 Starts Health Stabilization, Visits Dragon Ahead of Launch- NASA

Texas A&M to build facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston- KBTX 

SpeQtral selects Kongsberg NanoAvionics and Mbryonics as Key Partners for its SpeQtral-1 Mission- Press Release 

MyRadar Secures Two Year NOAA Grant for Satellite-based Wildfire Detection, Mitigation and Prevention- Press Release

Kodiak Pacific Spaceport Complex hosts tours for first time since pandemic - KMXT 

Astrobotic Collaborates With Nasa For Techrise Student Challenge- Astrobotic

NASA and Defense Department's $500 Million Rocket Gamble - Bloomberg 

DoD announces inaugural innovation challenge on talent management- Space Force

US Space Force creates 1st unit dedicated to targeting adversary satellites- Space

MQ-9 Pilots Learn To Take Off and Land Via Satellite in ACE Push- Air and Space Forces

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>> Gentlemen, it's come to my attention that a breakaway Russian Republic from Pakistan is about to transfer a nuclear warhead to the United Nations in a few days. Here's the plan. We get the warhead, and we hold the world ransom for $1 million.

>> Well, don't you think we should maybe ask for more than $1 million? $1 million isn't exactly a lot of money these days. Virtucon Loan makes over $9 billion a year.

>> Really?

>> Uh-huh.

>> That's a lot. Okay then, we hold the world ransom for $100 billion.

>> Alice Carruth: Millions? What's millions these days? Space is about billion-dollar deals. And boy, do we have a big one for you today.

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Today is August 17, 2023. I'm Alice Carruth, and this is T-Minus. BAE buys Ball Aerospace for $5.6 billion. Momentus announced job cuts as it releases Q2 financial results. Chandrayaan-3 separates from its propulsion section. And our guests today are Scott Sacknoff and Emily Carney from Space 3.0, on preserving space history. Stay with us for that one. Now onto today's briefing. Who knew that packaging could be worth so much money? Yes, the same folks that make packaging for global beverage and household brands are also a manufacturer of spacecraft components and instruments for national defense, civil space, and commercial space applications. And that side of their business is worth a lot, some $5.6 billion, according to the new acquisition by BAE Systems. The UK defense contractor BAE agreed to buy the aerospace division, which comprises of some 5,000 plus aerospace employees in the US, 60% of which hold US security clearances. Ball's CEO said, "the complementary cultural fit of Ball Aerospace and BAE Systems and their combined position as a pure play aerospace and technologies company will leverage Ball's recent investments in talent and facilities. BAE Systems is well-positioned to invest in Ball Aerospace to elevate the combined business to new heights, generate significant value to critical mission partners, offer customers more affordable solutions, and enable a safer world for all stakeholders benefiting from today's agreement." Ball announced earlier this year that it was looking for a buyer of its aerospace division to help the company trim its nearly $10 billion in debt. Ball said the transaction is expected to generate about $4.5 billion in after-tax proceeds. The transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and adjustments, but is projected to close in the first half of next year. We thought we'd put the Q2 financial reports to bed, but the aerospace industry continues to deliver updates that are really raising some eyebrows. The latest is from in-space transportation company Momentus. There is no sugar coating to their announcement that they have laid off 30% of their workforce in the last quarter in an attempt to control their expenses, but they did try, announcing that the company did make their first $1 million revenue quarter. A major jump up from the $50,000 that they reported for the same period in 2022. They, unfortunately, had to follow that bad news with more, disclosing in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that their current level of cash is not enough to fund operations for the next year. Momentus needs to raise substantial additional capital to continue operations. The company has landed a space development agency contract, worth over $740,000, with an option to add further work to the award. The contract will see Momentus tailor the capabilities of its Vigoride vehicle for DoD payloads and mission requirements. We wish them the best of luck. If you've been following the show this week or just the aerospace industry in general, then you know that we're all hooked on the latest Moon race between Russia and India. Yesterday I said that the Indian Space Research Organization planned to detach the Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander from the propulsion section of the spacecraft. And today I can say that it's actually happened. Israel posted, "Thanks for the ride, mate," to the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. India plans to attempt a soft landing of the vehicle at the Lunar South Pole next week. Equatorial Launch Australia has signed a multi-year, multi-launch contract with Korean aerospace company Innospace for a series of orbital launches from the Australian spaceport. Innospace is the first commercial company to become a resident launcher -- that's a long-term tenant and regular launcher -- at the Australian spaceport. The first launches by Innospace are expected to start in early 2025. NASA's SpaceX Crew-7, composed of astronauts from Roscosmos, ESA, NASA, and JAXA have ended quarantine -- a standard health protocol before their mission to the International Space Station. After a thorough familiarization tour in July at Kennedy Space Center, they're set to launch aboard the Dragon spacecraft Endurance on August 25th. This mission marks SpaceX's eighth human spaceflight and NASA's seventh crew rotation to the space station since 2020. Texas A&M University is establishing the Texas A&M Space Institute and a new facility adjacent to NASA's Johnson Space Center. Both projects supported by a $350 million state investment. Targeting mission training, advanced robotics, and lunar emulsion research, this investment reinforces the region's leadership in space exploration and the emerging space economy. SpeQtral, a quantum communication technology company, has partnered with Kongsberg NanoAvionics and Mbryonics for its SpeQtral-1 mission, an in-space demonstrated for quantum key distribution, also known as QKD services. The nanosatellite is based on NanoAvionics's M16P bus, which has been flight proven during multiple Earth observation missions. The satellite's quantum-optical terminal by Mbryonics will transmit QKD photons from the satellite's hardware down to optical ground stations. SpeQtral-1's success could add a new capability to global secure communications. MyRadar, known for its weather app, has secured a NOAA Phase II grant for its Orbital Wildfire Resilience project. This initiative harnesses compact satellite tech and AI to enhance wildfire resilience and alerts. The grant includes an orbital test, integrating multisensor data and AI alerts, and launching two precursor satellites to the broader 150 satellite HORIS constellation, dedicated to swift wildfire alerts and global coverage. Alaska Aerospace has reopened the Kodiak Pacific Spaceport Complex for public tours, showcasing their labs and launch sites. As they seek to renew their 3,717-acre land lease, which expires next year. The organization has also expressed interest in an old Coast Guard site, with potential expansion plans. CEO John Kramer is working to enhance public communication, using updated signs and radio announcements for launch-related closures. The public is invited to comment on the lease renewal by October 12th. 5 I mentioned earlier this week that Astrobotic, formerly Masten Space Systems, is building a new lunar simulator test bed in Mojave, and it seems that the initiative has its first customer. Astrobotic's has announced that it is collaborating with NASA's Flight Opportunities Program for the 2023 TechRise Challenge. The flight for the challenge will take place at Astrobotic's Mojave location and utilize its Lunar Surface Proving Ground -- a 100 meter by 100-meter high-fidelity test bed that will mimic topography and optical properties of the Moon's surface. Xodiac, Astrobotic's P&T's fifth generation rocket-powered lander, will fly 30 student payloads as part of the challenge. That concludes our briefing for today, but you can find links to further reading on all the stories we've covered in our Show Notes. We've included a piece from Bloomberg on NASA and the Department of Defense's $500 million rocket gamble and one on DoD talent management challenge. You can find them all at space.n2k.com and look for this podcast. Hey, T-Minus crew, we have a new survey out. It's one big important question: What new feature do you think we should add next? The link is at the top of the Show Notes and we'd greatly appreciate your feedback. And as always, you can also email us at space@n2k.com. Thanks, crew. We have two guests today from the nonprofit Space 3.0 Foundation. Scott Sacknoff and Emily Carney will introduce themselves and tell us why they're working to preserve space history.

>> Emily Carney: My name is Emily Carney, and I am the manager of Public Engagement and Social Media for Space 3.0 Foundation.

>> Scott Sacknoff: And Scott Sacknoff, and I am chair of the Space 3.0 Foundation.

>> Alice Carruth: Let's start with the basics. Explain to me what Space 3.0 is and how it came about.

>> Scott Sacknoff: Back in 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, we recognized that there was a need for a charitable nonprofit that could essentially support various aspects of space history that weren't necessarily being focused on. It needed to be something that was self-sustainable, because a lot of the nonprofit organizations spend more of their time soliciting money to operate than actually achieving their mission. And so our goal from day one was to build an endowment so that we could fund essentially a lot of the projects that fall through the cracks. Sometimes these just need a little bit of money to happen, such as digitizing documents or getting oral histories on tape transcribed. And we have a much broader mission over time, but initially what we wanted to do is identify and fund space history-related projects that researchers in the future will be able to leverage, such as performing oral histories, identifying where all the archives and special collections are, creating a digital collection of all of the commercially-produced space magazines, such as Space World. From what we understand, there's only two full collections from 1960 to 1988 that exist in the world. We borrowed them and then we funded essentially the digitization, so therefore there is materials essentially available for future historians. The second is gathering commercial space-related materials from the '60s to the present. Most historians, institutions, have focused on human spaceflight like the Apollo program to Moon. And the government, especially NASA, has done a great job preserving their history. But efforts to document the efforts of commercial companies and entrepreneurs over time has been lacking. So the other key aspect when we launched was, we didn't want to start from ground zero and say, hey, send us money, we're building an endowment. So we were able to get the oldest peer-reviewed history journal on space quests, that's part of Space 3.0. Our archives, which includes a special collections on space business and commerce materials, has over 2,500 books and nearly a million pages in digital form. We offer the Sacknoff Prize to encourage college students to research and write about space history. And we've gotten Emily Carney to relaunch our Mission Mail newsletter, which is free, so that she can broadcast interesting and fun space history tidbits. Because there's a lot of really cool stories that get buried into people's blogs and individual webpages that most people will never find, but they're just really great stories. And one of the greatest things about space history is there's a lot of really fun stories that are out there. Finding them is a little more difficult.

>> Alice Carruth: Emily, how did you get involved in Space 3.0?

>> Emily Carney: Basically, a few months ago, Scott kind of reached out to me, you know. And they had the Mission Mail newsletter, but during -- around the time of the pandemic, you know, they hadn't done a lot of social media like outreach. Like, honestly, not a lot of people out there I feel, I feel, were aware of what Space 3.0 was capable of doing. What space 3.0 is doing I think is -- I'm a little biased because I work for them, but I think we're saving space history, I really do. Pretty much anything you want to find out about the Moon landings, you can find it out. Or commercial spaceflight, which really started -- the idea of it started in the late 1970s, and it started in really the early 1980s with SSI and other private companies that were really, you know, okay, we're going to try to launch our own rockets and fund them ourselves, you know. At the time, that was a nuts idea. People were like, that's crazy, that's never going to work, no one's ever going to buy a private rocket or anything like that. Now, you know, fast-forward over 40 years later, and that's how things are being done now. Space history is happening now. It's not just something that happened 50, 40, 60 years ago, you know. It's happening now. It has to be documented. I think Space 3.0 is really going to be able to save a lot of that documentation so archivists and historians can look back and say, oh, you know, okay, this is a document about space services, or this is a document about Space America -- you know, which was another private venture in the '80s.

>> Scott Sacknoff: There's an old saying by naturalists on when is the best time to plant a tree, 20 years ago or today.

>> Emily Carney: Exactly, yeah. And that's what we're really doing.

>> Alice Carruth: So you've got all of this great information. Where are you hosting it all?

>> Scott Sacknoff: So we have a facility in Bethesda, Maryland, where these documents are all being held currently for researchers. Our ultimate goal is to be able to have everything that we have in a digitized form, where anyone can go onto the Internet, say I want this document, and then they'll get an email that says, click here to go and download. So right now on our website, there is an Excel spreadsheet with everything that we've catalogued. And if a researcher says, hey, can I get a copy of this document, we can just go and say, here's our record number and then just email them the document.

>> Alice Carruth: Wow, that's a really efficient way of doing things. And I'm sure for space historians like Emily, who has done a lot in space history, that's going to be a really helpful tool. But one of the other areas I found really interesting about Space 3.0 is that you're also looking at empowering entrepreneurs. Can you talk to me a little bit about what it is you guys are trying to achieve with that?

>> Scott Sacknoff: As I said, I come from an entrepreneurial background and I know that there's a lot of things, the small companies always talked about, we need the following. And so I wanted to make sure that the foundation essentially covered the concept of past, present, and future. How do we preserve the past? How do we essentially encourage companies/organizations; what do they need? And then sort of act as an intermediary to be able to go say, here's what really needs to happen to go forward. We're trying to develop something so that, over time, if something appears, it's, hey, Scott, here's a problem, we need a nonprofit to go organize a meeting or people talk about the following, can we do that? And so that's what I always envisioned is it being a vehicle for solving problems as they arise over time.

>> Alice Carruth: Emily, can you give me an example of where you've worked for somebody at Space 3.0 that approached you for research or for this entrepreneurship fund that you're looking to help support with?

>> Emily Carney: There are a lot of people out there who -- I wouldn't say they're getting older, but, you know, they're in their 60s/70s. And they're starting to think about, I have all this documentation, I have some things that are probably historic that should be preserved for other people to reference over time for books or for papers or for documentaries, TV shows, what-have-you, you know, whatever media there is. And a lot of them are like, well, if my family gets ahold of this, they're going to throw it out, because they don't know what it is. So yeah, just today, I had somebody approach me, you know, hey, I want to talk to you about possibly doing something with my papers and my archive just because, you know, I'm getting older and I don't want my family to throw -- because they're just going to throw it out. Another thing that I've been doing as well, and I'm really just getting started with this, and I hope this answers your question, is I've been doing oral histories as well. I've done two of them. And one of the people who I interviewed is a commercial spaceflight pioneer. And this is someone whose story really hasn't been told a lot. There's books about some of the stuff he participated in, but I don't feel like his story is really out there, and it's very unique. Because he didn't start from like a space background. Like he didn't start with the typical trajectory of, yeah, I went to engineering school and I got, you know, a degree in aerospace engineer. His background is very different. And to me it shows that you can have that background where you don't have a spaceflight background, but you still get very entrenched in it and you make history with it. And the other person is a big Apollo and space shuttle name. It's Fred Haise. I sat with him for a few hours, and he's a wonderful person, and we just talked about everything, like, you know, his aviation career. Because before he worked for NASA as an astronaut, he worked for NASA as a test pilot. And he had a lot of very crazy, unique experiences in test flying that a lot of people haven't heard about. And so he talked a lot about that. He did talk about his time as an astronaut before Apollo 13, you know, when he was testing the lunar module, as one does. I think it's an incredible oral history. And it'll be coming out soon. I'm very excited to have done that. And I'm doing other oral histories as well, it's not just stopping with those two. I have a few that I have in mind with a lot of diverse, different people from different backgrounds, different genders, who've worked in spaceflight, and to talk about, you know, their experiences and really to chronicle that. Because, again, you know, I think -- I do worry about history kind of disappearing when people go away. I worry about that. And I feel like part of our mission is to preserve that heritage so people can go back and look at something and say, oh, this is what this person did, okay, and this key piece of information is here.

>> Scott Sacknoff: Alice, just to highlight, you know, like something else, there's a gentleman in 1962 got a patent for space stations. And his family has had in their basement essentially this slideshow that they did on glass slides. And, you know, she essentially provided us 100 slides talking about space and the future of space from a Lockheed perspective in the early 1960s. And she'd just also provided us the -- he wrote a book on the space program from his perspective. And he was an early Soviet Space Program analyst as part of his job after he developed space stations. And we have his memoirs, which are now out for being typed up. Even though the book was written in 1974, it was never actually published. And so here is this space pioneer talking about the first 20 years of the space history from everything that he has analyzed, and it's never been seen. And if we didn't happen to identify it and connect with this gentleman's wife, you know, this would have been lost; stories would have been lost to history.

>> Alice Carruth: We'll be right back. Welcome back. Fun fact about me: I live in the land of enchantment in the new space valley. Spaceport America is just an hour's drive north. I can see NASA's White Sands Testing Facility from my backyard. And White Sands Missile Range is just an hour to my east. Holloman Air Force Base is just beyond the range and is home to the coolest drone you'll ever see in the skies. I'm not talking about one of those small buzzing backyard drones. I'm talking about the Reaper. The MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle, with its 84-foot wingspan, is now operational via satellite. Previously, Reapers have been flown by operators in faraway ground control stations but launched and recovered by airmen close to the runway. Now the autopilot function, known as the automatic takeoff and landing capability, can perform those tasks on its own. Though it still needs a human crew to ensure safety of the flight, which is where the satellites come in. Student operators at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico are training to man the Reapers via satellite communication control, reducing the need for local ground support. A super neat development in satellite communications and military capabilities.

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That's it for T-Minus for August 17, 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 this 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. 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. N2K's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment: your people. We make you smarter about your team while making your team smarter. Learn more at n2k.com. This episode was mixed by Elliott Peltzman and Tré Hester, with original music and sound design 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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