International Space Station marks 20 years of continuous occupation

The space station is old. It leaks from time to time, requiring patches like the ones the astronauts installed last month. The toilet breaks. The batteries need to be replaced. It has to dodge micrometeorites — this year alone the station has had to maneuver three times to avoid getting hit. And sometimes it does get tagged, like the time in 2016 when a piece of space debris cracked a window.

But despite the inherent dangers of space, the airless void, the radiation, the bits of debris shooting around in orbit several times faster than a speeding bullet, astronauts have somehow managed to live aboard the outpost continuously for 20 years.

On Nov. 2, 2000, NASA astronaut Bill Shepard and his Russian counterparts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev became the first crew to live and work on the station for an extended period, starting a streak that continues today. This

Read More

After 20 years of service, the Space Station flies into an uncertain future

The essentially complete International Space Station in 2010, as seen by space shuttle Atlantis.
Enlarge / The essentially complete International Space Station in 2010, as seen by space shuttle Atlantis.


The Cold War had been concluded for less than a decade when NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, crammed themselves into a Soyuz spacecraft and blasted into orbit on Halloween, 20 years ago.

Two days later their small spacecraft docked with the International Space Station, then a fraction of the size it is today. Their arrival would herald the beginning of what has since become 20 years of continuous habitation of the laboratory that NASA, leading an international partnership, would continue to build for another decade.

Born of a desire to smooth geopolitical tensions in the aftermath of the great conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, the space station partnership has more or less succeeded—the station has remained inhabited despite the space shuttle Columbia

Read More

NASA releases Halloween playlist of ‘sinister’ space sounds

Just in time for Halloween, NASA has released a playlist of spooky sounds from space.

“You may have heard some of the creaks, cracks, and cackling noises of our universe before,” explains NASA in a statement. “Using data from our spacecraft, we’ve gathered a NEW collection of sinister sounds from the depths of space in time for Halloween.”

The Halloween playlist, which is posted to Soundcloud, is filled with eerie “moans” and “whistles,” the space agency notes.

The creepy sounds include a possible “Marsquake” recorded on the red planet by NASA’s Mars InSight Lander, sounds from the ancient universe, the center of the Milky Way and plasma waves from Jupiter’s ionosphere captured by the Juno spacecraft.


Earlier this week, NASA also highlighted an image of a very spooky sun.

The image of the "halloween" sun.

The image of the “halloween” sun.
(Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO)

In the remarkable image, the sun

Read More

Space station marking 20 years of people living in orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station was a cramped, humid, puny three rooms when the first crew moved in. Twenty years and 241 visitors later, the complex has a lookout tower, three toilets, six sleeping compartments and 12 rooms, depending on how you count.

Monday marks two decades of a steady stream of people living there.

Astronauts from 19 countries have floated through the space station hatches, including many repeat visitors who arrived on shuttles for short-term construction work, and several tourists who paid their own way.

The first crew — American Bill Shepherd and Russians Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko — blasted off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 31, 2000. Two days later, they swung open the space station doors, clasping their hands in unity.

Shepherd, a former Navy SEAL who served as the station commander, likened it to living on a ship at sea. The three

Read More

Listen: NASA offers ‘creepy’ playlist of space sounds for Halloween

NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy, serving as commander of the Expedition 63 mission aboard the International Space Station, took these photos of Hurricane Laura as it continued to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico on August 25. Photo courtesy of NASA | License Photo

Read More

Space industry seeks continued progress on regulatory reform

WASHINGTON — The commercial space industry hopes to continue recent progress in regulatory reform even if there is a new president or a change in party control in Congress after the election.

The last six months have seen two major milestones in government regulation of commercial space activities: the publication of revised commercial remote sensing regulations in May and streamlined launch and licensing rules Oct. 15.

Both sets of regulations were long awaited by much of the commercial space industry, who complained that existing rules added cost and complexity to their activities, or even uncertainty that they would be licensed by the government at all. That was particularly the case in the commercial remote sensing industry, where companies said that getting licenses for some new capabilities was difficult, putting U.S. companies at a disadvantage to competitors in other countries.

Since the publication of the new commercial remote sensing rules, NOAA’s

Read More

How Elon Musk Is Revolutionizing Space Force Operations (Again)

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower began the development of the MIDAS program, a satellite constellation that would carry infrared sensors to detect hostile ICBM launches. The architecture of this nascent mission and the companies that provisioned it have continued to this day as America’s missile defense surveillance system. Over the decades, this system has been developed, fielded and evolved much like the rockets that once launched those satellites into orbit – by a government-directed industry. The companies, operating under simple cost reimbursed contracts, have diligently built and operated these exquisite systems for generations. Their biggest challenge to success became less technical over time and more focused on keeping Congressional funding to ensure sufficient funding to counter an evolving threat. This industrial construct created by venerable legacy contractors has provided an early warning

Read More

Two weeks left to score early-bird savings at TC Sessions: Space 2020

NASA just made history by landing a spacecraft on an asteroid. If that kind of technical achievement carbonates your glass of Tang, join us on December 16-17 for TC Sessions: Space 2020, an event dedicated to early-stage space startups.

We’ve launched early-bird pricing, and $125 buys you access to all live sessions, plus video on demand. Don’t procrastinate. Buy your pass now before the early-bird reenters Earth’s atmosphere (and prices go up) on November 13 at 11:59 p.m. (PT).

More ways to save: Go further together with early-bird group tickets ($100) — bring four team members and get the fifth one free. We also offer discount passes for students ($50) and government, military and nonprofits ($95). Looking for out-of-this-world exposure? An Early-Stage Startup Exhibitor Package ($360) includes four tickets, digital exhibition space, a pitch session to attendees and the ability to generate leads. Bonus savings: Extra Crunch subscribers get a

Read More

Parsons to acquire space and cybersecurity firm Braxton Science & Technology Group

Braxton, based Colorado Springs, will be merged into Parsons’ space and geospatial business.

WASHINGTON — Parsons announced Oct. 29 it will acquire Braxton Science & Technology Group for $258 million. The acquisition broadens the company’s footprint in space and cybersecurity. 

Braxton, based Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be merged into Parsons’ space and geospatial business, adding more than 370 employees, 80% of whom hold security clearances, the company said. Parsons, a more than $3 billion government contractor, is headquartered in Centerville, Virginia.

This acquisition “complements our space portfolio, increases our product offerings in high-growth markets, and adds critical intellectual property that complements and expands our capabilities for the U.S. Air Force, Space Force, and research laboratories,” said Chuck Harrington, Parsons’ chairman and chief executive officer. 

Braxton in recent years has secured a streak of military and intelligence agency contracts for space ground systems, satellite cybersecurity and other space technologies. For 2021,

Read More

Astronaut Jack Fischer talks spacesuit challenges and the International Space Station in ‘Virtual Astronaut’ panel

A retired NASA astronaut will discuss how the International Space Station helps us model good teamwork on Earth, in an online panel discussion Friday (Oct. 30).

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer gives a thumbs-up sign while wearing an extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) spacesuit ahead of a May 12, 2017 spacewalk at the International Space Station.

© Provided by Space
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer gives a thumbs-up sign while wearing an extravehicular mobility unit (EMU) spacesuit ahead of a May 12, 2017 spacewalk at the International Space Station.

Expedition 51/52 astronaut Jack Fischer will participate in the panel discussion by The Virtual Astronaut series, which is bringing online talks by astronauts to the general public. The panel discussion will review the importance of 20 years of continuous human occupation on the International Space Station (ISS), and will be moderated by founder and contributor Robert Pearlman. You can buy tickets here.


Load Error

Fischer, who is also a retired United States Air Force colonel, said that he found the ISS was helpful in bringing a greater value to cooperation

Read More