OneWeb | SpaceX | CNES | ESA | AEHF-5 | Orbital Space | SA Cup | WORK Microwave | Venesat-1 | Iceye | Long March 2C |

issue 10

Hi friends;

Because of COVID-19, several countries have decided to close their borders to limit the spread of the pandemic. As a result, air traffic is severely impacted and several lines are simply suspended. The daytime sky is almost free of airplane trails and the night sky is almost free of bright and fast moving dots (except for a few Starlink satellites but that's another story). It is time to raise your head up and admire the sky as our ancestors once saw it.

Like that pandemic that came out of nowhere, I wondered, are there dangers that can happen to us from the sky and without us seeing them coming? I found two interesting ones:

  • A solar coronal mass ejection is a plasma bubble produced at the surface of the sun. This ejection, as long as the earth is on its trajectory, can cause real damage: disruptions of electrical networks, overloading of electronic circuits, disruption of telephones, GPS and other satellites..., This event happens to our sun periodically and experts say that the next one will occur before 2030!

  • For those who are not familiar with it, a gamma burst is a very brief (a few seconds) emission of very high energy gamma particles that appears randomly in space. The dominant theory is that these bursts are due to the gravitational collapse of a giant star. They are almost invisible, very unpredictable, super fast, and so energetic that they can wipe out life on earth.

Thank you for you time and as always, stay confined, stay safe and have a great week!

🛰 Here is what you missed

👉CNES, the French space agency donates 90,000 face masks to hospitals in Toulouse, south of France to help protecting the medical staff fighting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This stock is part of a procedure launched by the French government 10 years ago to build up emergency stocks in the event of a pandemic.

👉The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the 1st Space Force national security mission consisting of the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite. All six were manufactured by Lockheed Martin put in orbit by the same rocket in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019 and finally 2020. The aim of this constellation is to provide secure, jam-proof communications for U.S. military forces and other partners including Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia.

👉Orbital Space, a private cubsat company from Kuwait, is announcing “Code in Space,” an international online challenge for students. Selected projects will have the opportunity to send and execute their own codes directly in space. What a good opportunity In this period of containment… Constitute your teams and check here for more details.

👉 Remember the first space cookie made onboard the ISS (cf. issue 5)? NASA is now seriously considering the redesign of their astronauts’ suits in order to allow gaining weight when returning from the ISS. Indeed, personal space suits are custom-made to the centimetre level in order to fit tighlty the exact morpholigy of each astronaut.

👉Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup that was scheduled for June 16 is finally cancelled. For those who are new to this, it is the largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition in the world. Last year, The competition involved 124 teams, 1,500 students, and 14 countries.

👉The European manufacturer of advanced satellite communications equipment, WORK Microwave, announced that a geospatial company is using its DVB-S2 IP receiver, or SDD-IP (IP and ethernet over DVB-S2), to receive Earth Observation data from Antarctica. In addition to the big players like Starlink, we must not forget that there are quite few other players who rather target niche markets and who are doing an amazing job.

👉Venezuela’s only state-owned communications satellite, VeneSat-1, has been out of service since March 13. The cause? a series of manoeuvers put the satellite in a tricky orbit. VeneSat-1 was launched in 2008 for a 15-year mission to provide television and broadband services to Venezuela. Keep your fingers crossed that out-of-control satellite will not collide with another GEO satellite.

👉During their final parachute tests, SpaceX announced that one of the parachutes went sideways. The company is making great strides and its manned flight module will not be long in coming :-)

👉Coronavirus forced the ESA to suspend regular operations of four of its current missions, in order to reduce staffing onsite. The four missions include the Solar Orbiter, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Mars Express Orbiter.

👉The Finnish SAR satellite operator, Iceye, unveiled a new imagery product that is able to achieve a resolution of 25 centimeters. And this is achieved by processing the data acquired by a single satellite looking at some location during 10 seconds.

👉Despite the China's Long March 7A launch failure and the COVID-19 pandemic, China successfully launched three new military surveillance satellites into orbit with the Long March 2C rocket.

👉After its largest investor, Softbank, rejected an additional funding, it is confirmed now, OneWeb has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is also laying off some employees as it seeks to restructure its business.

🍪 Cookie of the week

You are stuck at home and you want to contribute to the community or you simply want to read an astronaut's diary during her training period, don't hesitate click here. Indeed, the American National Air and Space Museum has decided to begin the digitalisation of the personal notes of Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly into space. To this aim, the museum is asking the public to help transcribe/proof read these notes. It should be said that during her training, Sally Ride wrote very prolifically. The scan of the notebooks are also available on the site.

Here you are debriefed 👌. Rendezvous next week!

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