Killer asteroids are hiding in plain sight, and scientists have discovered an unusual neutron star: News Digest

Selection of space news for breakfast: The Stratolaunch hypersonic vehicle will be launched from the world’s largest aircraft. ILC Dover will supply spacesuits for the Boeing Starliner, and bad weather on Mars will limit the flights of the Ingenuity drone.

Stratolaunch reveals its first hypersonic design for high-altitude flights

Stratolaunch has finally presented a structurally complete Talon-A hypersonic vehicle, a modification of the TA-0, which is attached to the world’s largest Roc aircraft. “After completing TA-0 separation testing, the company will transition to flying its first hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1,” Stratolaunch stated, noting the news was first disclosed exclusively to Aviation Week. “The team has also started fabrication of TA-2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle,” company representatives added.

Rocket to launch China’s next space station module arrives at launch center

A Long March 5B rocket has arrived at Wenchang spaceport as China gears up to send its second space station module into orbit. This was reported by the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO). The launcher components were manufactured and tested in Tianjin, north China, and shipped to Wenchang, on the coast of the south island province of Hainan via specially constructed cargo vessels.

Assembly and testing of the launch vehicle is underway. The completed 849-metric-ton, 53.7-meter-long Long March 5B, which consists of a cryogenic core stage, four liquid boosters and an elongated payload fairing, is unofficially expected to launch around July 23.

Market News

Source: NASA

ILC Dover becomes a provider of spacesuits for Boeing’s Starliner

ILC Dover has announced that it was selected to be one of two providers of Boeing’s Ascent/Entry Suit (AES). The suit was designed for the Boeing Commercial Crew program. It developed a special AES spacesuit for the CST-100 Starliner. The company has been a leading supplier of spacesuits since the Apollo era.

Worldwide Remote Sensing Software Industry to 2027 

The global remote sensing software market reached a value of USD 1.46 billion in 2021. Looking forward, the market is projected to reach a value of USD 2.92 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.80% during 2022-2027.

Lawmakers seek another big increase for DoD ‘responsive launch’

Congress added $50 million to the Pentagon’s 2022 budget for responsive launch or services from commercial small satellite launchers that can fly payloads on short notice. Lawmakers are now proposing to increase that funding to $150 million in the 2023 budget.

Space Force identifies national security launches funded in 2022 and 2023

The U.S. Space Systems Command has identified which eight national security space launches were funded in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Of the eight missions, five were assigned to United Launch Alliance and three to SpaceX, the two companies that in 2020 won the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 launch services procurement contract, with ULA winning 60% and SpaceX 40% of the missions over five years. 

Axiom Space signed an agreement with the Italian government

Axiom Space signs MOU with Italy to expand commercial utilization of space. Axiom Space, currently building the world’s first commercial space station, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Italian government to further their existing collaboration, including the potential for the development of space infrastructure integrated with the future Axiom Station. The agreement was signed by the President and CEO of Axiom Space, Michael Suffredini, and Italy’s Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, Vittorio Colao, in Rome, Italy.

House committee questions proposed delay in NASA asteroid mission

​​Members of the House Science Committee used a hearing about the planetary science decadal survey to criticize a proposal in NASA’s budget request to delay work on a space telescope to track near Earth objects (NEOs). The fiscal year 2023 budget request, released March 28, proposed just $39.9 million for NEO Surveyor, compared to the request of $143.2 million for the mission in 2022. NASA had projected spending $174.2 million on the mission in 2023 in the runout included in its fiscal year 2022 budget request.


Ingenuity Martian helicopter. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Bad weather to limit Ingenuity flights

The season of dust storms and the approach of the Martian winter will limit the capabilities of the Ingenuity drone to perform flights for the next few months. This was stated by one of the project participants. Ingenuity’s last flight to date took place on April 29. In its course, the drone overcame a distance of 152 meters. Already on May 3, NASA lost contact with the device. A few days later, the contact was established. It turned out that Ingenuity switched to economy mode due to lack of energy. 

Unusual neutron star spinning every 76 seconds discovered in stellar graveyard

An international team led by a University of Sydney scientist has discovered an unusual radio signal emitting neutron star that rotates extremely slowly, completing one rotation every 76 seconds. The star is unique because it resides in the “neutron star graveyard,” where no pulsations are expected. The discovery was made by the MeerTRAP team using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa and is published in Nature Astronomy.

Killer Asteroids Are Hiding in Plain Sight. A New Tool Helps Spot Them

Researchers have built an algorithm that can scan old astronomical images for unnoticed space rocks, helping to detect objects that could one day imperil Earth.

On Tuesday, B612 Foundation, a nonprofit group that Dr. Lu helped found, announced the discovery of more than 100 asteroids. Researchers applied cutting-edge computational might to years-old images — 412,000 of them in the digital archives at the National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, or NOIRLab — to sift asteroids out of the 68 billion dots of cosmic light captured in the images.

Read also: Starlink got permission to work in Africa, and scientists told why Mars could dry out: News Digest

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time