Stoke Space Takes First Step with Successful Upper Stage Test Flight

On a quiet airfield in Eastern Washington, Stoke Space, a small launch company, achieved a significant milestone on Sunday by conducting its maiden flight of the upper stage of its rocket. While the flight was relatively modest, with the second-stage rocket ascending only about 30 feet (9 meters) and traveling a short distance downrange before completing the journey in a mere 15 seconds, it marks a crucial step in the company’s development.

Having successfully met all technical requirements for the upper stage, Stoke Space is now shifting its focus toward the development of a more conventional first stage for its yet-to-be-named rocket. Engineers at Stoke are actively working on a full-flow, staged combustion rocket engine that will power the booster, with component testing already in progress.

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Caltech’s MAPLE Project Achieves Wireless Power Transmission in Space

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have achieved a significant milestone in space technology by successfully demonstrating wireless power transmission in space and beaming detectable energy back to Earth. This pioneering achievement was made possible through an innovative method known as Microwave Array for Power-transfer Low-orbit Experiment (MAPLE).

Advancing Space-Based Solar Power

The successful wireless transmission of energy in space represents a crucial step toward harnessing space-based solar power, offering promising prospects for sustainable energy sources.

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The Uncharted Territory of Space Mining: Legal Ambiguities Linger

If you were to land on the moon today and conduct a meticulous survey of its surface, you would encounter several U.S. flags and a solitary Chinese flag, planted firmly in the lunar dust. These national symbols, however, carry little legal weight in the context of land claims and territorial jurisdiction in outer space. International agreements have established that no nation can assert ownership over land in outer space or on celestial bodies, including planets, moons, or asteroids. Such extraterrestrial realms are, in the words of the Outer Space Treaty signed by the U.S. and many nations in 1967, “the province of all mankind.”

Yet, as the world prepares for a new space industry race, a contentious issue looms large: Does the Outer Space Treaty prohibit private industry, particularly in the realm of space mining? If a company like Acme Moon Company were to embark on a mission to collect a moon rock from the Sea of Tranquility and return to Earth, would it gain full property rights over the rock, or would it be in violation of international law?

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AstroCardia: Pioneering Cardiovascular Research with Bioprinting and Space Exploration

A consortium of five Belgian entities, including Space Applications Services, SCK CEN (Belgian nuclear research center), QbD Group, BIO INX, and Antleron, has embarked on an innovative endeavor known as the AstroCardia project. This groundbreaking initiative addresses one of the most pressing global health concerns—cardiovascular disease—by leveraging the capabilities of 3D bioprinting, microfluidic chips, and outer space.

The AstroCardia project revolves around the development of a “heart-on-a-chip,” a miniature cardiac model crafted using bioprinting techniques and bioink derived from stem cells. These miniature heart models are currently under development, with one scheduled for deployment to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025, where it will undergo a minimum of six weeks of experimentation. The aim is to provide an innovative platform for studying heart aging and the potential applications of drug treatments.

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Orbital Composites: Pioneering Quantum Antennas and In-Space Manufacturing for Space Connectivity

California-based startup Orbital Composites has been making significant strides in securing federal funding, the latest being a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the U.S. Space Force. This contract is aimed at developing Orbital’s patented 3D printable quantum antenna, a technology that could revolutionize secure, high-capacity space and terrestrial communications.

Quantum antennas represent a niche and emerging field within the broader domain of quantum electronics. Traditional antennas convert confined electromagnetic energy into open, unbounded radiation modes, effectively translating guided-wave energy into forms that can travel far from the source. In contrast, quantum antennas possess the capability to transcend localized radiation patterns and achieve a global quantum state. Unlike conventional antennas, which have fixed spatial and temporal radiation patterns, quantum antennas are position-independent and can evolve over time.

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Britain’s Space Ambitions Soar: Reviving Rocket Launches and Satellite Deployment

A weathered metal ring, bearing the scars of space travel, stands proudly at the entrance of Skyrora’s rocket manufacturing facility in Cumbernauld, Scotland. This six-foot-diameter loop, retrieved from the Australian outback after nearly 50 years in space, represents the remnants of Britain’s sole satellite launch, conducted in 1971 via a Black Arrow rocket.

Now, the United Kingdom is poised to reenter the satellite launch arena, with multiple companies competing for a share of this burgeoning industry. Among them, Skyrora has commenced the production of its XL rockets in Cumbernauld, anticipating its inaugural launch next year from the SaxaVord rocket base on Unst, Shetland.

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ISRO’s Impressive Space Endeavors: From Moon’s South Pole to Solar Observations and Human Spaceflight

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has showcased its technological prowess on a global scale, achieving a remarkable soft landing near the Moon’s South Pole. Now, ISRO is setting its sights on even more ambitious missions that have been in development for several years.

One such mission is Aditya L1, India’s maiden space-based observatory designed to study our celestial host, the Sun. This groundbreaking endeavor is scheduled for launch on September 2, marking a significant stride in solar research.

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Breaking Boundaries: The Quest for High-Speed Space Travel and Interstellar Exploration

For nearly sixty years, humanity has gazed skyward with a burning desire to escape the confines of our planet, much like a person yearning to break free from an indoor space. Despite nearly 60 years of the space age, only a handful of astronauts have been fortunate enough to venture beyond Earth’s atmosphere. The balcony of our world, known as low Earth orbit, has been graced by a mere few hundred astronauts, while an even smaller group, a mere thirty individuals, have touched the surface of our celestial house-garden – the Moon. Among this elite group, a mere dozen have had the privilege of walking upon its ancient surface.

While a few unmanned spacecraft have managed to journey to our neighboring planets – Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – only three have embarked on longer voyages into the cosmos. The Voyager spacecraft, launched in the late 1970s, now reside on the fringes of our solar system. In 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft provided humanity with unprecedented images of Pluto, and in the current decade, it may even venture to the edge of our solar system. Yet, the grandeur of our solar system pales in comparison to the vast expanse of the cosmic tapestry that stretches across the universe.

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India’s Lunar Ambition: Chandrayaan-3 Aims for Moon’s South Pole and the Promise of Water Ice

India’s space agency, ISRO, is poised to achieve a significant milestone with its Chandrayaan-3 mission, a daring attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon’s south pole. This endeavor not only advances India’s space aspirations but also holds the potential to unveil the mysteries of lunar water ice, a resource that could play a pivotal role in future moon colonies, lunar mining endeavors, and even missions to Mars.

Unveiling Lunar Water Ice Potential The presence of frozen water on the moon has intrigued scientists and space explorers for decades, and its exploration is viewed as pivotal for the establishment of moon-based operations. Chandrayaan-3, India’s highly anticipated moon mission, is set to launch on July 14, 2023, aiming to unlock secrets of the moon’s south pole.

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Toyota’s Lunar Rover to Utilize Regenerative Fuel Cell Technology for Sustainable Moon Exploration

Toyota Motor has unveiled its ambitious plans to power a manned lunar rover, dubbed the Lunar Cruiser, using regenerative fuel cell technology, with the aim of eventually utilizing the moon’s water ice as an energy source. The move comes as Japan ramps up its space ambitions, participating in NASA’s Artemis program and planning to station an astronaut at the lunar space station called Gateway in the latter half of the 2020s.

Since 2019, Toyota has been collaborating with Japan’s space agency to develop the Lunar Cruiser, which they hope to deploy on the moon by 2029. The goal is to conduct long-term and stable research on the lunar surface, sourcing various items on-site over an extended period. NASA expects Japan to contribute a lunar rover to the Artemis program with a targeted launch date in 2029.

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Pulsar Fusion’s Nuclear Fusion Rocket Engine: A Leap Towards Faster Space Travel

Pulsar Fusion, a pioneering space company based in the UK, is making remarkable strides in the field of nuclear fusion by constructing an unprecedented fusion rocket engine that could surpass temperatures seen on the Sun. This cutting-edge project aims to create the largest-ever fusion rocket engine, capable of achieving exhaust speeds exceeding 500,000 miles per hour.

Nuclear fusion has long held promise as a potential solution to our energy and climate challenges due to its clean power generation capabilities. While scientists have made progress in generating record-high temperatures similar to those on the Sun, they have yet to produce more energy than they input into the fusion process.

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China Conducts First Open-Sea Testing of Low Earth Orbit Satellite Constellation

Chinese satellite manufacturer Galaxy Space, in collaboration with several scientific research institutions, recently participated in the inaugural open-sea testing of China’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. This groundbreaking endeavor aims to establish a formidable LEO network that can rival services like SpaceX’s Starlink and provide global internet coverage. With ambitious plans to deploy a 13,000-satellite constellation, China aims to assert its dominance in internet services, potentially impacting the plans of international satellite operators.

Transitioning to Low Earth Orbit: China’s satellite operator, Satcom, historically focused on local needs and relied on geostationary satellites. However, as it seeks to expand its global presence, Satcom is now transitioning to low Earth orbit satellites. By utilizing the Long March 5B heavy lift-off vehicle and Yuanzheng-2 second-stage propulsion technology, China plans to deploy satellites in LEO, enabling broader coverage and competitive internet services on a global scale. This strategic move positions China to compete with other leading satellite providers.

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