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Geopolitics

Space Café Recap: “Law Breakfast with Steven Freeland” #16

In the latest (16th) “Space Café Law Breakfast with Steven Freeland”, host Steven Freeland, Emeritus Professor at Western Sydney University, and Professorial Fellow at Bond University, and Co-Host Torsten Kriening, SpaceWatch.Global’s Publisher, welcomed Anne-Sophie Martin and Duncan Blake to a sensational breakfast discussion at the famous Caffe Palombini in Rome.

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JAXA Confirms Successful Precision Landing for SLIM

JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed the successful precision soft-landing of its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft on the moon. JAXA employed the mission to demonstrate its new precision technology by landing in an unprecedented 100-metre landing area. However, because SLIM's solar cells failed to generate power for the spacecraft, it had to shut down its operations.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: IRIS2 – The Elephant(s) In The Room

IRIS2 (pronounced “iris square”) is the new EU secure satellite constellation project, which stands for Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity, and Security by Satellite. Touted as “the European Union’s answer to pressing challenge of tomorrow, offering enhanced communication capacities to governmental users, businesses, while ensuring high-speed internet broadband to cope with connectivity dead zones,“ IRIS2 is the result of a brilliant vision at the intersection of European “strategic autonomy,” orbital economy and policy, space industry majors, innovative startups, bureaucratic agendas, and a European Union space strategy for security and defense. Like many brilliant visions, it runs the risk of being eaten for breakfast by the tyranny of execution. Could it be different this time?

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Dr Ouattara to Head AUC’s Science, Technology and Space Division

Dr Tidiane Outtara

The African Union Commission has appointed Dr Tidiane Ouattara as the Head of the Science, Technology and Space Division at the Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, African Union Commission, as reported by Space in Africa. Prior to this, Dr Ouattara was (and still remains) the Space Expert in charge of the development and implementation of the African Outer Space Program, including implementing the African Space Policy and Strategy and establishing the African Space Agency. He also remains the Program Coordinator for the GMES and Africa program.

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JAXA Lands on the Moon Albeit with Limited Power Supply

JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced the successful soft-landing of its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft on the moon, on January 20, 2024, at 0:20 am (JST). This feat makes Japan the fifth country to soft-land on the moon, joining the USA, China, the former Soviet Union, and India. Despite the historic landing, however, JAXA may not achieve full operationalization of the spacecraft as its solar cells are currently not generating power. 

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Viasat Demonstrates UK Sovereign Satellite Navigation Overlay

Viasat

Viasat, Inc. has demonstrated a UK satellite-based augmentation system (UK SBAS) for the first time, showing how highly accurate GPS data can maximize safety and improve efficiency. The test flight, from Cranfield Airport using the National Flying Laboratory Centre's Saab 340B aircraft showcased a UK-based SBAS that delivers more precise, reliable navigation data.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Beyond Hegemony – Rethinking Partnerships in a Multipolar World

In the present era, the global landscape is shifting towards increased multipolarity. The world has been fractured in antagonizing spheres of political and economical hegemony, resulting in both competition and conflict. The Russo-Ukrainian war continues. China is broadening its economical and geopolitical influence through grand-investments and the support of evolving economies. The BRICS have doubled their members and a variety or regional alliances appear to take shape. Europe faces the task of adjusting to the evolving power dynamics.

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NASA and UAE Announce Artemis Lunar Gateway Airlock

NASA

NASA and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have announced plans for MBRSC to provide an airlock for Gateway, humanity’s first space station that will orbit the Moon. Under a new implementing arrangement expanding their human spaceflight collaboration with NASA through Gateway, MBRSC will provide Gateway’s Crew and Science Airlock module, as well as a UAE astronaut to fly to the lunar space station on a future Artemis mission.

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SKAO to Welcome India as Permanent Member

SKAO

The Indian Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), which is jointly funding India’s contribution alongside the Department of Science and Technology, has announced that plans are now underway to sign the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) Convention, the intergovernmental organization’s founding treaty. The observatory had anticipated full membership as the Indian Government was a party to the negotiation of the SKAO Convention and participated in the preparatory activities that led to the creation of the Observatory in early 2021.

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