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Virgin Orbit will launch first Dutch defense satellite in mission that will demo rapid response capabilities

Virgin Orbit isn’t slowing down after joining the exclusive club of small launch companies that have made it to orbit – the company just announced that it’s flying a payload on behalf of customer the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF). This is the first ever satellite being put up by the Dutch Ministry of Defense, and it’s a small satellite that will act as a test platform for a number of different communications experiments.

A World of Emerging Space Ports

As the space economy continues to expand, nations around the world are staking their claim in every aspect of the industry.

The Saudi Space Commission, or SCC, is on the verge of announcing a set of partnerships that will significantly advance the Kingsom’s role in space.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the SCC and first Saudi astronaut to travel to space, said, “This agreement comes within the partnership and integration methodology adopted between government agencies enabling the space sector to fulfill the directives of King Salman to establish a space-linked integrated industry, which has become a promising sector with economic contributions.”

This comes on the heels of Saudi Arabia planning a $2 Billion dollar injection for its space program,

Another interesting development from Saudi Arabia is their unique construction project called, the LINE. A 500 billion dollar zero-emission mega city built in a straight line, 170 kilometers long. The announcement of Neom, and SCC were released around the same time and could be an indication of a much larger Middle Eastern vision for space.

On the other side of the world, UNSW Sydney, an Australian public research university, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japanese lunar exploration company ispace to partner in the development of new space tech, and open the door for joint space missions. UNSW students and staff would be able to participate in exchange programs as well.

Professor Andrew Dempster, (Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER), pointed out, “As society becomes more reliant on satellites for a range of industries including communications, agriculture, transport, defense and more, the future of humans in space is heavily reliant on their ability to use resources in space. UNSW and iSpace share this understanding and both believe the key to doing this is applying mining engineering discipline knowledge to space projects, and getting these two industries to talk to each other.”

iSpace and UNSW are both focused on research and development centered around tapping water resources on the moon.

“To achieve our goal to mine water on the moon, a raft of factors needs to be considered. In addition to the technology, we need to have the right legal frameworks, ethics, government policies and environmental standards in place. ispace shares this holistic approach to our work and I am excited about what we may achieve together,” said Professor Serkan Saydam of UNSW’s School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering.

Off-world mining and mineral extraction is just the beginning. For nations around the world, involvement in the space economy is not only lucrative, it’s a geopolitical and strategic necessity.

Upgraded Spacesuits have one Amazing New Feature

As we approach future moon missions, more innovation is happening the the spacesuit realm than ever before, both in technology and aesthetics.

The era of Pumpkin Suits, appears to be over. (On screen – Advanced Crew Escape Suit)

On the leading edge of wearable astronaut tech, is the SpaceX xEMU or ZeeMoo. (pronounced ZEE-MOO) – the eXploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit.

Richard Rhodes, a spacesuit engineer at NASA working on the xEMU stated, “Our main goal is that the crew doesn’t even think about us. They put the suit on, and they do their work—the science, the exploration—and do not even think twice about how mobile they are or how effectively they can work. That’s a tall order, but we’re trying to get as close to that as possible. We want to be invisible.”

Some of the biggest innovations are with mobility.
Bearings, similar to the ones used in the old Apollo suits will be utilized in the shoulders, waist, hips, thighs, and ankles to allow more movement in the lower body as well as limit the risk of injury to the upper. This alone has improved the walking experience, giving astronauts much more flexibility for science and research.

Designers of the suits also paid special attention to seams and gaps where dust can infiltrate. As we learned from Apollo, lunar dust is terrible, especially with design features such as zippers or wrist disconnects.

“We’re looking at more of a whole garment that goes over the entire assembly, with small features where you can still perform operational checks and disconnect things during a contingency,” says Rhodes. “It’s like a whole shirt and whole pants that’s all one piece, without breaks where dust can get inside.”

With thousands of advancements in literally every stitch, one feature could provide a unique dataset from extravehicular activities. Inside the helmet, along with a heads up display, HD cameras will record what astronauts see. Giving everyone on Earth the chance to experience the high frontier.

That would make a great channel 😉

As NASA continues to improve the xEMU, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are also engineering their own style for flight operations – more on that in future reports.

From the Saturn 5 to Teslas, touchscreens and HD video from the Moon – this is 21st century space.

Will you be a ZeeMoo for halloween? Let us know in the comments below!

Best of the US Chamber Space Summit

The rapidly evolving space sector is expected to grow into a trillion-dollar industry with the potential to create new markets and opportunities that will transform the economy as we know it. Now is the time for greater government and industry collaboration to chart our path forward into the economy of the future.

Next Level 3D Printing for SPACE

Roboze is re-shaping the manufacturing industry and revolutionizing the world of 3D Printing with the most precise technology, capable of processing super polymers and composite materials for the realization of finished functional parts to be used in the most extreme conditions and sectors.

The Roboze high technical ecosystem includes a complete range of advanced 3D printers for high temperature and high strength super plastics, developed with the collaboration of the best global players. It guarantees a real optimization of costs and time along the entire supply chain, while bringing Additive Manufacturing closer to the standards of traditional manufacturing.

Moreover, Roboze offers the chance to produce custom finished parts On Demand and Just-in-Time through its manufacturing as a service global network, Roboze 3D Parts, that allows companies to reduce cost and time by shortening the steps in their supply chain and digitalizing their inventory.

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