This Month In Spaceflight: August 2020

Gene genies: Epigenetics – the science of how organisms react to changing environments at a genetic level – has the potential not only to help us understand cellular adaptation and survival in the microgravity of space, but to help us control such changes. The Twin Study, involving astronaut twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelly, is vital for this research – Scott spent a year in space, while Mark remained on Earth, as a control. Experiments with plant genetics are also taking place on the ISS; this is, as one scientist says, “The kind of work that begs to be done.”

Open for Business: Derek Webber of Spaceport Associates looks ahead to the impending era of the resumption of human lunar exploration after a fifty-year hiatus, and speculates as to the types of regulation needed for lunar resource exploitation and the protection of Heritage Sites on the Moon.

Living Space: Stephen Baxter looks at the Avalon space habitat, designed by the British Interplanetary Society’s own SPACE project, showing us both technical data on the colony and details of its governance.

Rising to Demand: Griffith Ingram tells us of the successful test launch of the Near Space platform from Bristol-based company B2Space, intended for “near-space” tests of satellite hardware, in a “dress rehearsal” for space launch from Llanbedr Airfield Snowdonia Aerospace Centre.

Rewards of the Job: Karl H Winter tells of the presentation of two medals to Karlheinz Rohrwild, Director of the Hermann Oberth Museum in Bavaria, of his career, and of the work of the Museum in continuing the legacy of Oberth in supporting education and in the hosting of astronautical conferences. 

Regular Features: George Spiteri, in the ISS Report, tells us about the Crew Dragon first human-crewed flight to the ISS; In other news, China plans her own space station; ArianeGroup tests printed combustion chamber; Kathy Leuders is new NASA Human Spaceflight chief; upcoming Mars landers. Mat Irvine models the British MUSTARD spacecraft, Henry Philp builds Mars – or, rather, Duna! – rovers in Kerbal Space Program, plus reports on a virtual Sino-Russian Forum, on-line lectures on Space Elevators and Alcohol in Space, plus Satellite Digest and a final farewell to Al Worden by Mark Stewart.


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