August 3, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

Smallsat
As all the papers cleverly note: small is the new big. This site contains my opinions and ideas only, not the opinions or ideas of any organization I work for. It’s my idea playground, and I’m inviting you in. Welcome!

32nd Annual Small Satellite Conference

This is a good conference in Logan, Utah. A really, really good conference. There are workshops kicking it off this weekend that are interesting (click on the “Pre-Conference Workshop” link).” There’s a lot of information, new and interesting, about small satellite experiments, technology, etc. There are great exhibitors and it’s international. Even better, just a lot of young people interested in space, because, you know, a college is hosting the event. And these folks are excited and full of great ideas. You can listen to a few of them in the conference’s technical sessions.

Totally worth it. And if you’re already there, be sure to ask where you can buy some “Aggie Ice Cream.”

What Really Happens When You Trigger an SOS?

Um, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition?

Do you know how satellites are transported?

Okay, for those of similar mindsets to mine, the immediate answer is probably: “With rockets, silly.” But the article might be illuminating for those who aren’t that familiar with this industry just to see how satellites are transported from a satellite manufacturer to a launch service provider. Some, like with the Europeans and Chinese, are transported by ship, too.

Believe it or not, though, FedEx transports satellites too. Not kidding–just go to this link. Honestly, it’s a little weird to see images of people packing sweets into boxes next to an article about why people should use FedEx to transport satellites. But it says something about how ubiquitous small satellites are when FedEx is offering a service to transport them.

And, I have heard that some people actually have transported small satellites in carry on while flying. These are very small satellites, folks.

Space Flight Laboratory to Highlight Autonomous Formation Flight Technology at Small Satellite Conference

Kludgey title, but it’s a cool concept. Just an example of one of the many, many presentations to be given at Small Sat next week. And the laboratory presenting is Canadian, too, eh?

China space launch plans for 2020s and 2030s are to catch up to SpaceX reusable rockets

When an underdog launch service provider realizes they are finally on top.

It should be eyebrow-lifting to certain space agencies and contractors building large rockets when China does not emulate either one’s efforts, but rather that China is building a smaller, commercial venture. Also, that China, a nation with a fairly large stake and earned credibility in the space industry, views reusability as something worth pursuing.

That said, the planned dates for some of China’s launches with newer vehicles are just vague enough to give that nation’s rocket scientists a little bit of wiggle room.

Bridenstine May Not Be Drinking That SLS Koolaid

A short analysis from NASA Watch noting some of the ways Bridenstine is going against the grain. While Bridenstine doesn’t have a space background comparable to other administrators, he does seem to have common sense. Sometimes that’s all you need to keep the trains running on time. Or in this case, to look very closely at underperforming programs.

It’s refreshing to see a NASA administrator without pom-poms.

Meet the Russian artist making a space blanket sculpture bigger than your house

Finally!! Someone has found a good use for space blankets.

Ceramics Aren’t Enough. Bring on the Spaceships, Italian Town Says.

Not sure if this article is a press release for Virgin Galactic or not. It kind of sounds like one. But the pictures are pretty, and the story of the Italian town of Grottaglie and its involvement in space tourism is a little interesting.

Radar in Space: The Gemini Rendezvous Radar

For some reason, Hackaday.com has an article describing rendezvous radar in the Gemini missions–specifically the rendezvous with the Gemini-Athena Target Vehicles. The U.S. space program learned a lot about rendezvous in space. It’s how the administration’s astronauts made rendezvous between the lunar landers and the Apollo command capsules look so easy: lots of learning, updating, and practicing.

Raspberry Pi space rover: NASA open-sources its mini Mars robot

For those with a Maker mindset, a Raspberry Pi, an Xbox controller, and slightly less than $2500, this project is for you. Actually, knowing you, you will be able to do this for less than $50. That’s just how Makers think.

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