NASA Asteroid Deflection Spacecraft Now in Finishing Touches; Betsy Congdon Quoted


NASA and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory are in the final phases of building a spacecraft designed to demonstrate asteroid deflection for planetary defense. The space agency said Friday that its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will use kinetic impactor technology to alter the motion of an asteroid.

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NASA Tests Autonomy Software for Space Robots; Trey Smith Quoted

Astrobee Flying Robot

NASA has tested the performance of software that allows a spacecraft's robotic and operating systems to operate autonomously. Bumble, an Astrobee flying robot at the International Space Station, used the Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking or ISAAC to navigate through ISS and detect a simulated ventilation block in April. 

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Air Force Department’s New Innovation Arm to Focus on Space Tech Development; Lt. Col. Walter McMillan Quoted

U.S. Air Force Program

The Department of the Air Force will formally launch a new entity on Aug. 19th under the larger AFWERX innovation group to develop on-orbit technologies for the U.S. Space Force in collaboration with small businesses and university researchers. SpaceWERX will use existing AFWERX tools to connect space personnel and acquisition professionals with the commercial and academic sectors for development work. 

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Air Force Puts Minuteman III ICBM Through Operational Test

Minuteman III ICBM

A major command of the U.S. Air Force launched a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday in an operational test aimed to demonstrate weapon system readiness, safety and effectiveness. Air Force Global Strike Command conducted the unarmed ICBM test launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California after months of preparation with multiple partners across the government. 

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Space Development Agency to Study Earth’s Infrared for Missile Defense

Space Development Agency

The Space Development Agency (SDA), which is tasked to build a national space architecture, plans to conduct an experiment that studies planet Earth's infrared background. The Northrop Grumman-made Prototype Infrared Payload or PIRPL will gather data the Department of Defense intends to use for future missile-tracking algorithms. Northrop developed PIRPL under a $38 million contract with SDA and MDA.

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Flight Software Now Installed on Space Launch System Rocket; David Beaman Quoted

Space Launch System

NASA has installed software designed to facilitate the flight and guidance of the Space Launch System rocket, which will lift the Orion spacecraft for future exploration missions. Engineers from the agency's Alabama-based Marshall Space Flight Center are running tests and providing final checkout support to help the software achieve certification, NASA said Tuesday.

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Col. Eric Felt: Space Force Needs Balanced Strategy to Produce Short-Term Results

Eric Felt

Top military space researcher Col. Eric Felt has called on a balanced U.S. Space Force investment and planning strategy to produce short-term results and address long-term issues. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate chief spoke at the National Security Space Association event following recent Congress criticism of the nearly two-year-old military service's slow acquisition processes.

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Shawn Barnes: Space Force Should Handle Contracts by Portfolio

Shawn Barnes

Shawn Barnes, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, said the Space Force could improve contracting through an organized portfolio-based approach. He said Tuesday at the Sea-Air-Space conference that managing contracts by portfolio provides more agility compared to managing them per single program.

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AFMC Now Designated Servicing Command for Space Force-Attached Airmen; Commander Arnold Bunch Quoted

Arnold Bunch

The U.S. Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) has received the responsibility of being the designated servicing major command (MAJCOM) for airmen with the U.S. Space Force. AFMC will provide USSF-attached airmen with policy guidance, waiver authority, professional development opportunities, functional-specific roles and other support services, the Air Force said Wednesday.

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USSPACECOM Commander James Dickinson: Space, Naval Operators Must Cooperate in Defending US Communications

Gen. James Dickinson

U.S. Space Command chief Army Gen. James Dickinson has called on space and naval operators to cooperate in defending communications on their respective domains. Dickinson pointed out that his USSPACECOM and the U.S. Navy could learn lessons from each other to improve how they carry out their similar strategic-level missions. 

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