The New Space Race Is Fusion Energy

Space is exciting.  The idea of finding life elsewhere in the solar system or visiting another planet captures the imagination.  Private companies like SpaceX getting involved to carry cargo and now crew to the International Space Station are freeing up NASA scientists to focus on more ambitious goals.  The sense of exploration, the grand challenge, inspires us to achieve the incredible.

But the grand challenge of our generation is not space.  It’s not getting to Mars, though that is exciting and will undoubtedly lead to numerous technological advances.  Our new space race is a planetary one—our race to reliable, sustainable energy. And the energy of the stars—fusion—is our great hope.  

Why fusion?

Fusion safely produces energy with no greenhouse gases and no long-lived radioactive waste.  The waste product

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Cutting-edge cyber tech will be essential for protecting new ‘war fighting domain’ of space

When the U.S. Space Force was created by an act of Congress in 2019, it was an acknowledgement by government leaders that the country needed military-level protection on more than just the ground. A combination of technology advancement and cybsersecurity threats had forced the U.S. to protect public and private assets orbiting the Earth — and potentially other planets in the not-too-distant future.

“We now see space as a war fighting domain,” said Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw (pictured, left), commander of the Combined Force Space Component Command, U.S. Space Command and Commander of the Space Operations Command, U.S. Space Force, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. “There’s nothing that we do on the cutting-edge of space that isn’t heavily reliant on the cutting-edge of cybersecurity. Space and cyber are forever intertwined.”

Shaw spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the Space & Cybersecurity

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NASA turns to 3D-printed construction for outer space infrastructure

Taking its name from the mythological home of the gods, an Austin, Texas startup firm is focusing its unique methods of housebuilding in a team-up with NASA for an expansive space-based construction system that will deliver a wide array of landing pads, storage facilities, fuel depots, access roads, laboratories, and living habitats for missions to the Moon and Mars.

ICON is mostly known for its proficiency at creating 3D-printed houses on Earth and will now extend their expertise in this arena with the launch of Project Olympus, an ambitious effort to develop needed infrastructure as humanity ventures forth from the planet and begins to establish permanent bases and sustained scientific programs off-world.

“Building humanity’s first home on another world will be the most ambitious construction project in human history and will push science, engineering, technology, and architecture to literal new heights,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON. “NASA’s

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Astronomers just spotted a planet floating freely in space without a star

  • Scientists have used gravitational lensing to detect a so-called ‘rogue planet’ that doesn’t orbit a star and floats freely in space.
  • The planet is relatively small, but researchers can’t tell for certain how far away it is from Earth.
  • It’s possible that the Milky Way is home to trillions of these free planets.

We think of our solar system as typical, or even “normal,” but in the universe, there’s really no such thing as normal. So many circumstances exist with regard to planets, stars, moons, and other objects that there’s no clear arrangement that the cosmos favors over any other, and there are even free-floating “rogue planets” that have escaped the systems they developed in and are just sort of doing their own thing.



fireworks in the night sky: rogue planet


© Provided by BGR
rogue planet


A new discovery of one such rogue planet was just described in a lengthy research paper. The planet was spotted

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Britain Is Getting Ready for Its Space Race

Cornwall, in England’s far southwest, is known for antique fishing villages and snug, cliff-lined beaches. Soon it may be the scene of something very different: a small but growing space industry.

One day in a year or two, a modified Boeing 747 is expected to lift off from the long runway at the region’s airport, head out over the Atlantic Ocean and soar into the stratosphere. There, a rocket will drop from below a wing, fire its engines and ferry a load of small satellites into orbit, while the plane returns to the airport.

After six years of planning and fund-raising, construction of a bare-bones spaceport, budgeted at about 22 million pounds ($28 million), is beginning this month at the airport in Newquay.

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SpaceX, L3Harris win Space Development Agency contracts to build missile-warning satellites

SDA Director Derek Tournear said SpaceX “came in with an extremely credible proposal” that leverages the Starlink assembly line

WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency awarded SpaceX a $149 million contract and L3Harris a $193.5 million contract to each build four satellites to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles.

The contracts announced Oct. 5 are for the first eight satellites of a potentially much larger Space Development Agency constellation of sensor satellites known as Tracking Layer Tranche 0. This is SpaceX’s first military contract to produce satellites. 

Both companies have to each deliver four satellites by September 2022, Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear told SpaceNews.

Each satellite will have a “wide field of view” overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensor capable of detecting and tracking advanced missile threats from low Earth orbit. Each satellite also will have an optical crosslink so it can pass data to relay satellites. 

Tournear

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Sharpness of star-forming image matches expected resolution of Webb Space Telescope — ScienceDaily

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is still more than a year from launching, but the Gemini South telescope in Chile has provided astronomers a glimpse of what the orbiting observatory should deliver.

Using a wide-field adaptive optics camera that corrects for distortion from Earth’s atmosphere, Rice University’s Patrick Hartigan and Andrea Isella and Dublin City University’s Turlough Downes used the 8.1-meter telescope to capture near-infrared images of the Carina Nebula with the same resolution that’s expected of the Webb Telescope.

Hartigan, Isella and Downes describe their work in a study published online this week in Astrophysical Journal Letters. Their images, gathered over 10 hours in January 2018 at the international Gemini Observatory, a program of the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, show part of a molecular cloud about 7,500 light years from Earth. All stars, including Earth’s sun, are thought to form within molecular clouds.

“The results are stunning,” Hartigan

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We need to shield the US space program from election cycle chaos

Space exploration is a long-term endeavor. It takes many years and boatloads of money to get a single spacecraft off the ground and out of Earth’s atmosphere. Getting it to destinations outside the planet’s orbit is even trickier. And if the plan is to send humans along for the ride, you can expect development to take longer than most US presidential terms.

That’s a problem, given that the executive office is in charge of shaping the US space program and its overall goals: when different administrations have different ideas on what to prioritize, the space program faces whiplash that creates chaos and slows projects down. In just this century, NASA has seen its focus shift from the moon to Mars and back to the moon. In 2005, President Bush said we were gearing up to go to the moon with the Constellation program. In 2010, President Obama said we were

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Camera that will film a spacewalk in VR delivered to the International Space Station

One of the payloads aboard the International Space Station resupply mission that launched last Friday will providing a new perspective on one of the most enervating human experiences – the spacewalk. It’s a custom-made, 3D camera designed to capture content in 360-degrees while in space, and it will be used to film a spacewalk in immersive, cinematic VR for the first time ever on an upcoming ISS astronaut mission.

The camera is the result of a collaboration between Felix & Paul Studios, Time Studios, and in-space technology expert Nanoracks. It will ultimately be used to capture the footage that will then be used to produce a culminating episode of a series called Space Explorers: The ISS Series. To do that, it’ll be mounted on Nanoracks’ Kaber MicroSatellite deployer device, which will provide it with power, and allow it to be controlled via the Canadarm2 robotic arm that the ISS

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NASA, space industry seek new ways to cope with space debris

Oct. 5 (UPI) — NASA’s official watchdog panel has renewed calls for the agency to move faster on a plan to better track and mitigate dangers posed by orbiting debris in space.

Members of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said during a regular meeting last week that the agency has made some progress, but it needs to focus on space debris as a top priority.

At stake is the safety of astronauts, anyone going into space on planned private missions and the nation’s growing fleet of satellites used for national security, communications and scientific observation.

Because debris orbits at thousands of miles per hour, even tiny pieces of space trash can puncture spacecraft.

The panel’s comments came on the heels of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine telling a Senate Committee on Wednesday that the agency needs Congress to fund a comprehensive strategy for debris tracking and management, including international outreach.

“I

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