Saturday, May 25, 2024

Short Takes – 5-25-24 – Space Geek Edition

Space Innovation; Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age. Federal Register FCC Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Summary: “In this document, the Space Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) seeks to refresh the record concerning the rules proposed in a 2020 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) adopted in the Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age rulemaking that sought comment on additional amendments to the Commission's rules related to satellite orbital debris mitigation.” Comments due June 27th, 2024. Full document here.

Boeing, NASA say Starliner astronaut launch will move forward despite spacecraft helium leak. article. Pull quote: “But after calling off the launch attempt, a “small” helium leak with Starliner was identified, causing Boeing and NASA to begin new assessments of the capsule and its safety for the mission. NASA Associate Administrator Ken Bowersox, one of the agency’s most senior officials, explained to the press on Friday that “it’s taken a while for us to be ready to discuss” the helium leak problem.”

SpaceX sets date for next Starship flight, explains what went wrong the last time. article. Pull quote: “For the next flight, SpaceX is focused on solving the technical issues observed on Flight 3: the filter blockages observed during Super Heavy's boostback and landing burns, Starship's attitude control during its coast phase, and managing reentry of that vehicle from orbital velocity.”

Northrop Grumman successfully tests first fully digital rocket motor. article. Pull quote: “Northrop Grumman states that these missions will include space travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere and other final propulsion stages. C50HP is the company’s inaugural large solid rocket motor system, developed digitally using model-based systems engineering.”

New warp drive concept does twist space, doesn’t move us very fast. article. Pull quote: “The researchers did indeed discover a warp drive solution: a method of manipulating space so that travelers can move without accelerating. There is no such thing as a free lunch, however, and the physicality of this warp drive does come with a major caveat: the vessel and passengers can never travel faster than light. Also disappointing: the fact that the researchers behind the new work don’t seem to bother with figuring out what configurations of matter would allow the warping to happen.” Actual journal article here.

SpaceX Engine Test Stand Blows Up After Likely Starship Raptor Engine Test. article. Pull quote: “However, immediately after the smoke clouds dissipated [after the motor test was stopped], a fire started to blow out from the bottom of the pad where the rocket engine's nozzle emits flame. During the test, this region had seen flames characteristic of a Raptor with the classic Mach diamonds. However, these new flames were orange, and they appeared to travel upwards before a second explosion engulfed the entire structure.”

European Space Agency selects two firms to build ISS cargo vehicle. article. Pull quote: “Out of seven proposals, the ESA selected those from French-German The Exploration Company and French-Italian company Thales Alenia Space, each of which will receive 25 million euros, the agency's chief Josef Aschbacher told AFP.”

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