This Month in SpaceFlight – July 2020

Multiple stations pledge: Editor David Baker casts a critical eye over the management of the International Space Station, reflecting that definitions of successful operation need to change in the era of space commercialisation.

The man behind the ISS: We look at the life and career of former NASA Administrator Jim Beggs, the man who, it has been said, did more than anyone else to get the International Space Station in orbit.

Why don’t we just wing it? The predictions of the 1950s and 1960s of reusable spaceplanes have not come to fruition, and many of the rising generation of human-crewed spacecraft are capsules. Nick Spall asks whether the technology for winged spacecraft has reached the point of enabling safe, routine operation.

Parallels with Apollo: David Baker compares and contrasts the Apollo programme which first took humans to the Moon with Artemis, which, it is hoped, will see humans return to the lunar surface by 2024.

Probing further in the Kuiper Belt: Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator, tells of how the New Horizons spacecraft is in still in perfect condition 14 years after launch, of how three of the largest telescopes on Earth will soon be used to find new Kuiper Belt objects for New Horizons to investigate, and of the possibility of increasing the capabilities of the spacecraft’s sensor package by software upgrades.

And in our usual features…

Behind the news: NASA Human Spaceflight boss Jim Loverro resigns; Three lunar lander options for NASA; New options for Lunar Gateway station; Troubled British satellite communications company OneWeb may be bailed out by US Department of Defense; Branson sells 50% of Virgin Galactic; Skyrora successfully ground-tests Skylark-L rocket; Annie Glenn, wife of John Glenn, dies of Covid-19 complications; Aeojet Rocketdyne to build 18 more RS-25 engines; Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover delayed due to Coronavirus interference with preparations; 5G may interfere with GPS; X-37B returns to orbit to test orbit-to-ground beamed power.

Space UK: The UK Space Agency celebrates 10 years of existence, and looks forward to the post-Coronavirus future of “Britspace”; New Ka-band
communications unit for the European Columbus module aboard the ISS; Astroscale partners with Professor of Space Law Chris Newman on satellite
end-of-life practices; Our regular ISS Report and Satellite Digest.

Obituary: We remember Dr Fred Singer, of MOUSE and Project Farside fame.

Reviews: Mat Irvine looks at a classic space model kit, and Henry Philp writes of “Kerbalising” Artemis!

Society News:
Mark Hempsell’s “Scorpion” lecture
Virtual World Space Week
Results of the IAF Student Paper Competition
BIS Italia gives lectures online
We welcome new Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Anderson.




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