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John Deere Partners SpaceX for Rural Farming Connectivity

Global Internet Satellite Communication. Credit Starlink/Space Foundation

Deere & Company has announced an agreement with SpaceX to provide cutting-edge satellite communications service to farmers. Utilizing the industry-leading Starlink network, this solution will allow farmers facing rural connectivity challenges to fully leverage precision agriculture technologies. This partnership will subsequently enable John Deere customers to be more productive, profitable, and sustainable in their operations as they continue to provide food, fuel, and fiber for their communities and a growing global population.

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Impulse Space Unveils Design Specifications for Helios

Impulse Space

Impulse Space has unveiled design specifications for its latest vehicle: Helios, a high-performance kick stage. Using a medium-lift launch vehicle, Helios will take payloads of over 5 tons directly from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) in less than 24 hours. Paired with affordable launches to LEO, Helios aims to dramatically cut the costs of accessing MEO, GEO, and beyond by many tens of millions of dollars.

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The Space Café Podcast #98: Nearly There: The Quest for Another Earth — A Conversation with Director Lisa Kaltenegger (Cornell University’s Carl Sagan Institute)

In this enlightening episode of the Space Cafe Podcast, Markus engages in a fascinating conversation with Lisa Kaltenegger, Director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University. As a renowned astronomer and leading expert in the field of exoplanet research, Kaltenegger offers a compelling perspective on the search for planets beyond our solar system, particularly those that might harbor life. She delves into the cutting-edge technologies and methodologies that are propelling this quest forward, sharing her enthusiasm for uncovering the mysteries of the universe.

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Sierra Space Wins SDA T2TL Contract

Northrop Grumman

Sierra Space has announced winning a significant contract by the Space Development Agency (SDA) for 18 missile warning and tracking satellites. The prime contract, valued at $740 million, through an Other Transaction Authority (OTA), is for the design, production, delivery, operations and sustainment of 16 missile warning and tracking satellites and two satellites for missile defense and fire control. The contract also includes two operational ground segments as well.

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Spaceium Partners Space Machines for Space Cryogenic Refuelling

Orbital Servicing Vehicle

Space Machines Company and Spaceium have announced a partnership to embark on the first-ever cryogenic refuelling mission in space in 2025. Under this agreement, Spaceium will showcase its cryogenic storage capabilities on the Space Machines Company’s platform. Following this demonstration, Spaceium will refuel Space Machines Company spacecraft’s tank with cryogenic fuel using the stored reserves to highlight Spaceium’s refueling capability.

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UKSA, CSA and Challenge Works launch Aqualunar Challenge

UKSA

The UK Space Agency (UKSA), in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Nesta’s Challenge Works, has launched the Aqualunar Challenge - a £1.2m challenge prize to reward the development of new technologies that can purify water ice found in the Moon’s soil. As part of their contribution to the Artemis Missions, the UKSA and CSA hope these technologies will go on to support a permanent crewed lunar base, providing a source of water for drinking and growing food, as well as a source of oxygen for air and hydrogen for fuel.

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#SpaceWatchGL Economy | ARTEMIS DELAYS AND ESA: CONNECTING THE DOTS

ESA held its Annual Directors General Press Conference at its PARIS HQ on 11 January 2024. A recording is available here  and a slide deck here. Among the many topics covered, one generated several burning questions: NASA having just a few days earlier announced Artemis II and III delays, would that impact ESA, and if yes, how? 

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Peregrine to End Mission by Re-entering Earth’s Atmosphere

ULA

In light of the Peregrine spacecraft's propellant leak and subsequent 32 hours of life before running out of propellant, Astrobotic has decided that the safest and most responsible course of action is to end the Peregrine mission. Noting that the final decision of Peregrine’s final flight path is in the Company's hands as it is a commercial mission, Astrobotic will act upon the recommendation to let the spacecraft burn up during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the Company will maintain the current spacecraft’s trajectory to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere to preserve the future of cislunar space. 

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JPL Scale Back Mars Return Sample Mission

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is scaling back its activities around the Mars Return Sample mission in anticipation of potential budgetary cuts to the program in light of the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill. According to JPL director Laurie Leshin, NASA is anticipating a federal budget that could limit spending on the Mars Sample Return mission at $300 million for the 2024 fiscal year, 36% of the previous year’s $ 822 million budget.

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Voyager and Airbus Finalize Starlab Space LLC Joint Venture

Voyager space

Voyager Space and Airbus have completed the transaction to create Starlab Space LLC, a transatlantic joint venture that will design, build, and operate the Starlab commercial space station. Alongside the joint venture execution, the Starlab team completed the station-level System Definition Review (SDR), a critical milestone assessing the technical and programmatic accountability of the program.

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