ISU - Summer 2024

Asia Pacific

Chang’e-6 Returns Samples from Far Side of the Moon

Chang'e-6 touchdown.

The Chang'e-6 lunar probe has successfully returned to the Earth with unexplored samples from the lunar south pole, landing in the Inner Mongolia desert on Tuesday, after a 53-day-long mission. China is consequently the first country to return lunar samples from the previously unexplored far or dark side of the moon. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) described the mission as "a complete success" and said the probe is functioning normally.

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Synspective Secures 7 Billion Yen in Series C Funding

Synspective Inc., a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data and analytics solutions provider, has announced the successful raise of 7 billion yen (USD 43.9 million)  in a Series C funding round. The latest funding was led by Japan Growth Capital Investment Corporation, managed by Nomura SPARX Investment, Inc., and Investment Limited Partnerships operated by JAFCO Group Co., Ltd. and Investment Limited Partnerships operated by Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd., among others

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ispace-U.S. and SSC Space US Partner for Lunar Mission

SSC Space US

ispace technologies U.S., Inc. (ispace-U.S.), and Swedish Space Corporation (SSC Space US) have signed a collaboration agreement for ispace-U.S.’s upcoming Mission 3 with the APEX 1.0 lunar lander. SSC will provide critical communication links to the mission through its advanced SSC Connect lunar ground station network capabilities. ispace-U.S.’s Mission 3 will provide lunar lander services to Schrodinger Basin on the far side of the Moon as part of the Draper-led NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative

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Rocket Lab USA Successfully Deploys Satellites No Time Tolouse

Electron's 50th launch

Rocket Lab USA, Inc has successfully launched its 50th Electron mission, deploying satellites for French Internet-of-Things (IoT) company Kinéis. Electron has reached the milestone of 50 launches faster than any commercially developed rocket in history. The ‘No Time Toulouse’ mission lifted off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand at 6:13 am on 21 June NZST (6:13 pm, 20 June UTC), successfully deploying five satellites to a 635 km circular orbit.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Chandrayaan-3: India’s Foothold on the Moon

On Friday, 23rd August 2023, moments after confirming the successful soft landing of the Vikram lander with the words “we are on the Moon,” ISRO Chairman Somnath invited Indian Prime Minister Modi to speak. Unlike September 2019, during the unsuccessful Chandrayaan-2 lander mission, Modi was not in Bangalore but in South Africa, attending a BRICS meeting. This mission, a product of national political and financial commitment, attracted international acclaim.

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UNOOSA Hosts UN Conference on Sustainable Lunar Activities

UNOOSA

 The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has hosted the first United Nations Conference on Sustainable Lunar Activities, ahead of the 67th Session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). The Conference convened astronauts, heads of space agencies, the scientific and legal communities, and industry to address common approaches, priorities, and expectations for the peaceful, sustainable, and cooperative exploration of the Moon.

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US-India Second iCET Meeting Explores Space Collaborations

The United States and India have held its second meeting of the U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) with U.S. National Security Advisor (APNSA) Jake Sullivan and Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval chairing the meeting in New Delhi. Since the launch of iCET in January 2023, the United States and India have made significant strides toward deepening and expanding strategic cooperation across key technology sectors including space.

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Armenia Becomes 43rd SIgnatory to the Artemis Accords

NASA and Armenia

Armenia has become the newest signatory to the Artemis Accords, signing the instrument during a ceremony with the U.S. State Department at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Armenia consequently joins 42 other countries in a commitment to advancing principles for the safe, transparent, and responsible exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond.

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SOMA Package on Space Biology is Now Publicly Available

SOMA

The Space Omics and Medical Atlas (SOMA) package of manuscripts, data, protocols, and code has been publicly released. The package represents the largest-ever compendium of data for aerospace medicine and space biology with more than 100 institutions from over 25 countries working together for a coordinated 2024 release of molecular, cellular, physiological, phenotypic, and spaceflight data. 

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China Partners Egypt and Bahrain Towards Chang’e-7 Mission

China

China has signed a cooperation agreement with the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA), Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency, and the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics towards its upcoming Chang'e 7 lunar mission. The parties signed a Scientific and Technical Cooperation Contract for the joint development of a Hyperspectral Imager of the Lunar Surface Material on Chang'e-7. The camera will subsequently image and analyze lunar surface materials from orbit, including the moon’s polar regions. 

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