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CASC ends 2023 with Long March 2C/Yuanzheng 1S Launch

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Group (CASC) has successfully launched the Long March 2C/Yuanzheng 1S carrier rocket ignited. The rocket took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, successfully sending the satellite Internet technology test satellite into the predetermined orbit. This successful launch represented the 48th out of 48 successful launch missions by the CASC. 

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Japan inserts SLIM into lunar orbit

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on the 25th of December that the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) was successfully inserted into lunar orbit at 16:51 JST on the 25th of December. SLIM launched on the 6th of September alongside JAXA’s X-ray imaging and spectroscopy Mission (XRISM). Whilst XRISM remained in orbit around the Earth investigating cosmic X-ray sources, SLIM went to go in orbit around the Moon.

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NASA’s assessment for Next Generation Microgravity National Laboratory

NASA has released its initial assessment of models for a next generation microgravity national laboratory. In September 2022, the National Space Council directed NASA to develop a plan led by the Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) and the Office for Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS). NASA’s OTPS conducted a study of various candidate models of future operations between a National Laboratory and various Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD). Six models were identified ranging from high to low levels of government oversight with three different economic models. 

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Space Rider Completes Initial Ground Segment Testing

Space Rider pillars. Credit ESA

Teams from Telespazio, ALTEC and Thales Alenia Space successfully completed the first System Validation Tests (SVTs) this week for the European Space Agency’s reusable Space Rider spacecraft. The ground segment tests aim to validate the interfaces between the ground and flight segment elements. This testing is a key aspect of the Space Rider Phase D activities which began last July. 

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#SpaceWatchGL opinion: The Future of Living: Earthly Lessons for Martian Homes

Ever gazed at the stars and wondered how our interstellar abodes on Mars or the Moon might appear? The mere thought sends a pulse of excitement through us — not just because we imagine these galactic shelters as high-tech wonders, but as life sources in harsh terrains. The design intricacies of these extraterrestrial habitats will be the lifeline for the space pioneers of tomorrow. But let's bring our feet back to our home planet for a moment. How evolved are we in designing homes on Earth that resonate with our holistic well-being and health?

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Space Café Radio – CAMões Special – with Mission Controller Dr. Slavka Andrejkovičová

In this Space Café Radio - SpaceWatch.Global publisher Torsten Kriening spoke with Dr Slavka Andrejkovičová, CAMões Mission Control, and Principal Investigator at the GeoBioTec research unit at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. Torsten spoke with Slavka on the evening before the CAMões Mission analog astronauts left the cave. They have been on the mission for over 6 days already.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Is Humanity’s Future in Space Dependent on Starship?

Acrylic painting of an astronaut standing. Consulting surreal

In the first half of 2023 I conducted a study on the future of the global space economy for the future studies institute 2b AHEAD. Being based on in-depth expert interviews from both inside and outside the space sector, the study contains some wild predictions for the upcoming two decades: private space stations, modular, repairable satellites, a permanent Moon base, and nuclear propulsion. But many of these predictions stand on the assumption that SpaceX’s Starship will, as promised, dramatically ease accessibility to space. What if Starship fails? In this article, I would like to provide an overview of the consequences of Starship’s failure for future human activities in space.

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#SpaceWatchGL Economy Opinion: South-Korea in space: The Miracle on the Han River 2.0

Two major space events took place in South-Korea in November 2023: Space Forum Korea, hosted by the South-Korean government, in close cooperation with the US and major ASEAN economies. And an International Workshop on Space Resources with Perspectives of Emerging Space Programs, hosted by the Secure World Foundation, an American NGO. Then, on the first day of December 2023, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the country’s first spy satellite into orbit, from California’s Vandenberg Space Force base, just one month after North Korea had launched its own. Let’s review these events in context, and draw some observations on the global standing of South-Korea as an Emerging Space Country.

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Space Café Radio – from GLOC in Oslo – with NASA’s Susie Perez Quinn, Dr. Karen St. Germain and Dr. Kate Calvin

In this  Space Café Radio -  SpaceWatch.Global team's Dr. Emma Gatti and Torsten Kriening spoke with Susie Perez Quinn, NASA's Chief of Staff, Dr. Karen St. Germain,  NASA's Division Director of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate, and Dr. Kate Calvin, NASA's Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor. The episode was recorded in Oslo during GLOC -  Global Space Conference on Climate Change.

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