OneWeb | SpaceX | Blue Origin | Accion Systems | Kinéis | XKCD

issue 3

Hi friends;

You may have noticed in the media that spacemen are called different names depending on their nationality. Thus the term astronauts are reserved for the American space travellers, cosmonauts for the Russians, spationauts for the French/Europeans, taikonauts for the Chineese and vyomanauts for the Indians.

Even if only the first two are officially recognized, it is customary today that space powers show a particularly strong patriotism when it comes to naming their spacemen. This goes back to the Cold War period: the first human to go into space being a cosmonaut, the Americans did not want to use the same nomenclature.

Today there are 195 countries recognized by the United Nations... I let you imagine the number of terms that dictionaries of the world's languages must accept if these countries send their citizens into space.... In this sense, and according to wikipedia, in 2008 linguist Frédéric Allinne asked the question:

[...] Some have propagated the idea that different terms should be used depending on the nationality of the spaceman [...] This would be the only example in the entire French language of a trade name adapted to the nationality of the professional! A dancer, a cook or an architect do not change their name according to their country of origin. Nor in sport - a hotbed of chauvinism. In journalistic French, a skater and a swimmer remain a skater and a swimmer regardless of nationality.

I must admit that it is hard to disagree: in english we would call anyone going into space an astronaut, in french a spationaute, in Russian a kosmonaut and so on. For the great comfort of the future generations and their mental health, maybe we should start an international petition to remedy all this…Just my two cents…

Have a great week!


🛰 News of the week

👉When Starkink attacks, OneWeb strikes back. 34 OneWeb satellites were successfully launched from Baïkonur. These 34 will join their 6 siblings already on orbit. For 2020, OneWeb has contracts with Arianespace for 20 Soyuz launches plus the inaugural flight of the Ariane 6 rocket late this year. Then, Adrian Steckel, the CEO, affirmed the company will take a launch break once it has 588 satellites in orbit, the minimum needed to provide global service.

👉A Russian satellite seems to be tailing a US spy satellite. The spying Russian satellite (Cosmos 2542) has synchronised itself very close (around 200km) to the American spying satellite (USA 245). Many agencies speculate that the former is performing some sort of spying or inspection.

👉SpaceX is now accepting bookings for shared launches for small satellites. Customers can book a mission online by selecting their desired orbit, earliest launch date, and payload mass.

👉Blue Origin is testing their lunar lander at the a U.S. Air Force rocket lab.  This lander was developed in the context of the NASA call for proposals for the Artemis program: the NASA future second crewed missions to the moon. However, journalists highly suspect that there are some tourism projects under the carpet. At the start of this year, Jeff Bezos sold more that 900,000 shares, generating $1.84 billion in cash, in order to fund Blue Origin activities. He conducted similar sales of stock in 2019 and 2017.

👉Space propulsion startup Accion Systems has raised $11 million in a new round of funding designed to allow the company to increase production of its smallsats electric thrusters. The investment brings the total funding raised to $36 million. The company’s thruster first flew was on a high-school student-built cubesat, Irvine 01, back to November 2018.

👉French Internet of Things company Kinéis has raised 100 million euros from private and public investors to fund a constellation of 25 cubesats (next generation of Argos). “The money will also allow Kinéis to grow to 45 people from 25 by the end of the year” affirmed Alexandre Tisserant, CEO of Kinéis. Hemeria will build Kinéis’ satellites, Thales Alenia Space will manufacture the payloads and ground stations, and the Austrian startup Enpulsion will provide the electric propulsion systems.

👉After delays caused by a nitrogen leak, Japan launched an optical reconnaissance satellite from the Tanegashima Space Center. The payload specifications are kept secret by the Japanese government. The satellite will be operated by the governmental Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center. The main target is probably monitoring China and North Korea military sites.

👉The XKCD issue of this week is about satellites. Check it here! With the advent of hundreds of space startups and megaconstellations projects, launching these programs may indeed seem at first glance to be on a whim.

Here you are debriefed 👌. Rendezvous next week! Until then, if you have a comment/question/suggestion, do not hesitate to reply to this email or leave a comment in the newsletter website.