Space industry endorses Commerce Department to manage traffic work

A recent report commended the Commerce Department to assume responsibility for civil space traffic management (STM). Firms and organizations in the space industry endorsed the recommendation. However, the industry’s concern is the government’s delay in choosing an agency and proceed. 

The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) released a report on August, 20 which deduced that the Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce is well suited to handle the civil STM work, topping the list among Defense Department, NASA and Federal Aviation Administration. 

The Congress approved the report in the budgetary year 2020 omnibus spending bill. In 2018, the White House commissioned STM to the Commerce Department in Space Policy Directive 3, but some Congress members doubted the department’s capability to take on the work. These congressional appropriators requested the NAPA study before allocating the department’s funds to start STM activities. 

Chris Kunstadter said that the Department of Commerce became strongly involved in space safety and space stability, during a panel session on August 24 at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Propulsion and Energy Forum. 

Chris further explained that the department relates well with the government and has the right people and technologies. Chris said that the main focus is for the government to decide on an agency in charge of the civil STM activities and receive the necessary funding to execute those responsibilities. 

In a statement on August 24, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation expressed support of the NAPA report, including the Commerce Department’s endorsement to team up with other agencies and the private sector on STM. Eric Stallmer, the organization’s president, applauded the NAPA’s comprehensive and intelligent analysis of the need for harmonized efforts on STM activities. 

The Commerce Department continues to plan for space traffic management amidst the progressive NAPA study. Kevin O’Connell, director of the Office of Space Commerce, said that this gives them more time to prepare. Kelvin said this during an August 24 podcast by AIAA, Mitre Corporation, and the US Chamber of Commerce. According to O’Connell, the preparations involved Commerce’s plans to unfold an “open architecture data repository” to host space situational awareness data from the government and commercial sources, including relevant policy and regulatory issues. 

Finally, although the NAPA report does not give the final verdict on which agency is to handle the civil STM and the resources, Commerce Department officials hope that the report convinces the congressional appropriators to dispense the funding needed by the department to conduct the STM activities. The department asked for $15 million for the Office of Space Commerce in its budgetary year 2021 proposal, stating that much of the funds are for STM. Darren McKnight, technical director of Centauri Corporation and the AIAA conference panel’s moderator, acknowledged the need for the Congress to act.


NASA satellite prepares to complete a successful green propellant demo operation

A NASA-funded booster lifted off from SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket has commenced on thruster firings operation. Those thrusters will then fall out of the orbit following its successful illustration of how sufficient the non-toxic fuel will fly the future space operations.

The Green Propellant Infusion Mission spaceship is in its last phase of the in-orbit test movement aimed at asserting how useful the non-toxic fuel is and if it can replace hydrazine. Liquid hydrazine needs proper care before lifting off any ship into space. 

In recent years, ground teams tested the five thrusters across various models found on the GPIM spaceship. The modes will be tested to determine the thrusters’ ability to control the spaceship’s height and to point. 

Brian Marotta, GPIM’s principal chief at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., which manufactures spaceships for NASA, said that GPIM has managed to carry out its designated operation. He added that his company flies an advanced technology on a competent platform. 

The spaceship has started its final phase of burning the thrusters to lower the trajectory of the satellite to about 180 kilometers. At the start of this month, during the 34th Annual Small Satellite Summit, Marotta confirmed that the journey would be made by the end of August. While on the 180 kilometers-altitude, the spacecraft, shaped like a refrigerator, will succumb to aerodynamic pull back to space during re-entry and then burn up after some weeks. 

The GPIM mission costs $65 million, and its primary function is to examine how hydroxyl ammonium nitrate fuel works together with AF-M315E. The fuel could replace the hydrazine that was used to drive satellite structures. On many occasions, hydrazine is mixed together with nitrogen peroxide, a very poisonous compound to drive little moving thrusters aboard the satellite.

Technicians can fill up the AF-M315E blend onto a spaceship without self-contained protective suits, which prevents any poisonous leakage from reaching their bodies. The greens blend has a high viscosity and denser, enabling the AF-M315E to fit in the same tank volume space. As a result, the satellite propulsion system gets improved. 

The AF-M315E fuel cannot freeze while in space than hydrazine, which needs more heat to remain in a liquid state. Hydrazine quickly burns with other chemicals such as aa nitrogen peroxide upon mixing. The AF-M315E fuel requires more and intense heat to cook, proving its safety while handling.


The satellite servicing sector is advocating for the inception of the interfaces standards on satellites

Even as the space industry prepares to launch another satellite into space, the commercial customers and operators in this industry are hoping to stipulate irreducible minimums below which a spacecraft will go back to the drawing board.

Northrop Grumman’s MEV 2 mission will be heading for space on Ariane 5 rocket. The mission was initially slated for June before the lousy weather, and technical malfunctions halted the launch. Other hosts that will be enjoying the Ariane 5 rocket services include Intelsat’s Galaxy 30 and the BSAT-4b satellites, which will be venturing the low-Earth orbit.

MEV-2 will service Intelsat 10-02 spacecraft to increase the lifespan of the Intelsat satellite. The two firms have been in a collaborative mood with another similar mission being launched earlier this year. 

The MEV space vehicle will help the satellite safely enter its orbit after detaching from the GEO linkage. Joseph Anderson states that the MEV procurement director is lucky to offer satellite servicing to Intelsat’s communications satellite. He adds that the MEV is suitable for these congruent tasks of deploying payloads to their orbits since the vehicle’s attachment engineering can link with different engines.

Intelsat’s vice president of space systems engineering, Jean-Luc Froeliger, reminded Northrop Grumman’s innovation department to integrate the electric attachment system into the MEV. This move is considering that future trends will favor the transition to fully electric propulsion systems.

Anderson anticipates a future where the satellites will be moving along with their interconnection devices to enable the servicing vehicles to land appropriately on them. He explained that this system would help lengthen a satellite’s lifetime, given that their lifespans deteriorate with the various inevitable servicing procedures.

The CEO of Altius Space Machines, Jonathan Goff, stated that the introduction of standard linkage devices on the satellites would minimize the manual handling of the vital components like communication signals on the payloads. This move will help engineers focus on developing other projects rather than rethinking the administration of the satellite in the GEO after deployment.

Jonathan hopes that the move to adopt the standard interface in the industry becomes aggressive as the way companies compete for funding contracts. For this reason, Altius will be convincing OneWeb to attach the interface to its satellites before launching them in the upcoming launches.

To sum up, the lead satellite servicing engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Ben Reed, supported this idea saying that all space industry stakeholders should participate in the standardization of the satellite interface. He said that this move would allow the inception of innovative ideas on the development of the interface rather than allow the government to frustrate this good idea by inducing competition for contracts.


COVID-19 a prospect for Electric Vehicles, and could India eventually move into an initiation that encourages clean transportation?

The current year 2020 is advertised as an intonation point for Electric Vehicles by commerce experts and most analysts if the product launches during the Auto Expo 2020 were anything to consider.

As a sign for the Indian market future, Auto Expo 2020 was fundamentally centered on the tendency of Indian transportation, the electric vehicles. 

Every market player beginning with Maruti Suzuki to recent entrants such as Great Wall Motors and MG Motor put their most exceptional electric concepts and models forward from their particular arsenal. They never saw coming as an indefinite and unheard-of cyclone (COVID-19) emerging to disrupt the whole ecosystem. 

The story changed after a few days of its coming into our lives and has since taken the whole world by storm with the Indian automobile industry not being spared after the pandemic struck. 

The business that was already struggling with BS-VI emissions customs limit was not scheduled to pact with yet another disaster, a harsh one when a shutdown that lasted for 21 days was imposed on holding the extensive spread of the deadly virus. 

Preventive measures such as lockdowns, curfews, quarantine, and social distancing were put in place across nations, communities, and governments. India did not get left behind; they came out loud as the biggest democracy all over the world to have gone a  step ahead in bringing normalcy to a standstill. It came after they imposed a shutdown that has never been experienced before, possibly only during times of war. 

COVID-19 brought the auto industry to a standstill all over the world, and the Electric Vehicle business was not spared with sales of NEV plummeting to a massive low in the world’s biggest Electronic Vehicle hub in China. Business leaders were compelled to assess the way the disruption would change the electrification drive of China. 

With so much confusion around, China’s electrification drive has lost its impetus, and a delay is looming.

Currently, it is not a matter of COVID-19 hitting the industry; the more significant impact was also experienced due to the crude oil price and its performance in the last 100+ days. It is evident that futures plunged to subzero levels for the initial time, which was referred to as unexpected and unanticipated, yet a feeling driven by industry demand and consumer sentiment. 


Benchmark for propulsion of Sherpa-NG in Spaceflight

Satellite acceleration company Benchmark Space Systems reported a deal on Aug. 5 supply non-toxic chemical fuel for the next-generation orbital fuel tanker for rideshare company Spaceflight Inc., Sherpa-NG. At the same time, Vermont-based Benchmark Burlington announced a permanent licensing agreement with the California-based propulsion company Tesseract Space. Under the provisions of the deal, the Vermont-based Benchmark would combine Tesseract’s trade secrets, assets, and personnel to forward the goal of supplying the regional satellite communications market with non-toxic chemicals propulsions.

Benchmark’s executive vice president told SpaceNews Chris Carella that the collaboration with Tesseract would let Benchmark deliver different non-toxic satellite propulsion systems varying in price between one-unit cubesats to Sherpa-NG from Spaceflight. He also said that he hoped people would realize they could still operate with one partner and obtain the appropriate green propulsion remedy for each mission.

 Ryan McDevitt, CEO of Benchmark said that  Benchmark raised upwards of $3 million in an investment campaign concluded in May, after closing the deal with Tesseract. With the new funding drive, Benchmark will increase its 21-man team.

For perhaps the first time, later this year, Benchmark aims to demonstrate its spacefaring civilization in flight. The firm’s Starling hot-gas thruster slated to commence from Vandenberg airbase in October on such a cubesat ride on the test flight of Firefly Aerospace ‘s Alpha spacecraft. Benchmark’s Halcyon elevated-test peroxide rocket projected to reach orbit in December for the first time. Founded in 2017, Benchmark aims to help rideshare aircraft people visit and keep their preferred orbits. Additionally, Benchmark’s main engines could even support satellites relocate out of the realm after their missions.

McDevitt said that one of the core tenets would be to help individuals become accountable actors in the space. One distinct advantage of Benchmark propellers is a platform that provides customers to start uncrewed fuel that heated into orbit. He also added that they had been the only ones who use that specific method, and it has a significant impact mostly on agnostic launch. 

Tesseract co-founder Erik Franks joins the leadership team at Benchmark. He said that the demand for Rideshare and [orbital transfer vehicles] is a significant catalyst for the development of the propulsion industry. 

In conclusion, SpaceX and Arianespace announced its intention for devoted, comparatively tiny satellite launches at the 2019 Small Satellite Conference. By building substantial investment in infrastructure and rudders to produce space vehicles to their ultimate destinations, that news has started to change the space launch propeller market.


BP’s green energy ambitions will be difficult to fulfill

London (Reuters): BP (BPL) will have to make billions of dollars in the next ten years, and the entity will expect to receive lower profits as opposed to what it receives from the oil. That is the only way the firm will become the first generator of renewable energy globally. 

The British situated entity requires 50 gigawatts (GW) of renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower in its portfolio by 2030. The power is up from 25 gigawatts (GW), which is more than the UK’s current renewable electricity. 

Activists, banks, authorities, and investors have exerted more pressure on European oil industries to work on drifting away from fossil energies. The trouble is all about getting efficient business prototypes that petition massive margins. 

In the previous week, BP pursued ENI (ENI.MI) to dedicate its efforts towards reducing oil generation by 2030 and set a bigger goal for deductions than Italian entities.   

According to research conducted by analysts, huge coastal wind farms could ultimately provide the best way for BP to improve. Although the firm will require more time to grow and, at the same, need more funds to start over, making the whole thing costly. 

BP has an existing debt of $41 billion. As stakeholder transition from fossil fuel manufacturers to favor greener energy industries, BP’s stakes have split since 2018, reducing its market value to below $80 billion. On the contrary, stakes of ORSTED.CO has increased to 135% while gaining a market value of $80 billion. 

Currently, Orsted has established 10GW of wind power energy, and it has agreed to add extra 3.8 gigawatts. 

Iberdrola (IBE.MC), a Spanish utility entity, has established 33 gigawatts of renewable power and has other projects in progress. The utility has jumped to 78% since 2018 registering its market capitalization at 80%. 

According to the Renewable Energy Agency, universal renewable capacity has surpassed the 2500 GW mark. The market is anticipated to develop faster since most nations plan on reducing carbon emissions by 2030. 

According to data released by International Energy Agency, renewable energy sources such as solar, hydropower, and wind have enabled the production of 1/4 of electricity in nations under the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. 

Since renewable power industries carry out their ventures at costly prices, BP could use that chance to develop wind farms from scratch. However, they would come with expensive upfront expenses. 


Bosch purchases additional solar energy

The Germany electric company’s RWE Supply & Trading division will provide Bosch’s locations in the country with solar energy under a 16-year power buying contract. The electricity will be produced by 50MW of solar capability in Southern Germany, scheduled to embark online in the next year. 

The Chief Commercial Officer for origination as well as gas supply at the RWE Supply & Trading, Andree Stracke, stated that they contribute to the execution of Bosch’s determined climate protection program with the agreement. He also claims that its German locations have been climate neutral ever since in the previous year. It targets accomplishing a similar feat for its global missions in the current year.  

The engineer also has signed solar PPAs deals with Norwegian recyclables company Statkraft and Swedish power business Vattenfall with the trio contracts summing to the supply of 100 GWh annually of solar energy the engineer. The firm confirmed that the capacity volume secured would, under best solar generation conditions, provide enough clean power to energize Bosch’s Bamberg and Feuerbach, Homburg plants concurrently, for at most an hour.

The PPAs 12 to the 16-year contract signed by Bosch will reinstate a section of the green energy currently bought by the company from recyclable industries. The Statkraft agreement has already started, with power being provided since May.

About 50 solar industries at Bosch locations already offer about 60 GWh of the clean energy to the company that brags the most significant such system in Indian Automotive Industry, at Nashik.  The company is preparing to produce 1.3 GWh annually from a PV scheme, which is scheduled for installation at its Hemaraj factory in Thailand this year as well as strategizes to hit 400 GWh annually of yearly onsite solar energy provided by 2030.

The tech brand and the engineer is also getting clean power from third parties such as latest three PPAs illustrate as well as already gets 80 percent of its power needs in Mexico from recyclables. Huge thanks to 15-year PPA with Enel, an Italian clean power related to the wind farm that generates 105 GWh annually.  

Bosch also manages biomass and hydropower facilities and intents to integrate hydrogen for heat as well as power. In the previous year, the firm began using a model stationary fuel cell. It had expanded at its sites in Homburg and Bamberg, and the device currently covers the crest demand for electricity in the entire region.  


Chinese Electric Car Company Xpeng Motors in Latest Financing negotiations for another $300 million

Sources confirmed to Reuters that Xpeng Motors is growing as one of China’s most modern new electric car startup, earlier in the current month; the firm reported a $500 million financing round. Presently, Xpeng is in dialogue to get an additional $300 million.

People known to the matter said that taking part in the recent funding round is Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Qatar’s supreme wealth fund is among the world’s most significant wealth funds, with approximately $300 billion in assets under the supervision.

Xpeng, launched in 2014, received $400 million in a financing round in November 2019. The latest $300 million financing round will be equivalent to $1.2 billion contributed by Xpeng since November, as the electric car manufacturer anticipates competing with the automaker giant, Tesla, in China, which is the global biggest auto market. 

The sources told Reuters, not including additional details, that the fresh funding will be aimed at research in areas such as smart vehicle technologies.

During April, Xpeng Motors started releasing its latest, entire-electric flagship P7 sedan in China, and it is the second electric car for the company. The P7, which Xpeng terms as a “Smart Sedan,” is a massive competitor to the Model S and Model 3 of Tesla in China. The vehicle accomplishes a 439 Miles NEDC Range, the greatest of all Electric Vehicles China has ever sold.

Xpeng collaborated with Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd, a battery manufacturer of China, to build up the P7’s pouch cell (prismatic) lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NCM) battery cells. The super-thin battery set is just 110 mm in height, getting to 170 Wh/kg power densities while giving 80kWh of energy. 

Unlike vehicles from Tesla that sell at a first-rate in China, Xpeng aims at younger, tech-savvy customers, and it is more inexpensive, yet highly sophisticated electric cars. The auto manufacturer states that they provide a similar level of expertise, connectivity traits, and performance in the P7 for close to $50,000 less compared to the Model S of Tesla.   

Xpeng is operating on its own sophisticated autonomous driving method dubbed “XPilot” set to provide autonomous cars. The entire auto manufacturer’s independent driving expansion is done in-house. For the company to uphold control over the whole stack of software, comprising the operating system of the vehicle and other features such as automated driving, this will lead to more product sales in the industry.


Shell plans on carrying out Floating Solar tryout to Generate Hydrogen at the current ranch

The Royal Dutch Shell-led Crosswinds has earned lease agreements on creating a new offshore wind ranch on the North Sea of the Dutch region. 

The wind ranch of 760 megawatts will use practically 70 Siemens Ganesa turbines. 

As confirmed by Eneco and Shell, on that particular locale, there will be a floating solar park, storage of short-term batteries, turbines set to minimize the ‘wake impact’ and renewable Hydrogen through electrolysis. The consortium aims at delivering the power amidst power outrage. 

One of the businesses run by Shell NortH2, some substantial portion of its energy, may eventually sustain a renewable electrolysis factory situated in Rotterdam. In the next three decades, Shell aims at becoming a net-zero carbon emission enterprise. 

Let us conclude that a feasibility study was conducted. The results turned out to be positive; Gasunie, Shell, and Groningen will be ready to provide their first green Hydrogen in 2027. They will manage to generate about 800,000 tons of green Hydrogen to almost every consumer in those regions. 

In a statement, Maarten Wetselaar, the Director of Shell Integrated Gas and New Energies, stated that the wind ranch means a lot to the new value chain. It varies from wind to Hydrogen. The main endeavor here is to construct a green hydrogen factory in NortH2 and Rotterdam. The venture goes in line with the anticipation of Shell that aims at delivering competitive and cleaner energy. 

The consortium contract does not require any government funds, making the consortium the third unsubsidized ranch nationwide. In the next three years, the power grid of the Netherlands will manage to derive a total of 6.7 gigawatts, which is equivalent to 16% of the dam. Wind capacity is anticipated to reach 14%, an equivalent of 40% of the entire need. 

Shell and Equinor are among many firms who are on the front line of embracing offshore wind space. In 2019, Shell acquired the French Floating offshore wind developer by the name EOLFI. Currently, the developer is carrying out a floating wind technology on Brittany. Another pending part of the project remaining for authorization is putting in three wind turbines on a semi-submersible float in deep water where standard towers need to be installed. 

The costs of green Hydrogen are determined by the price of electricity consumption and how electrolyzes control the electricity used. 


Astra prepared for the initial orbital launch venture

Astra, a small launch vehicle manufacturer, announces its preparedness to the orbit launch, although it admits on the possibility of the deployment failing to reach the orbit. The company’s Rocket 3.1 spacecraft is currently in its final stages of the launch. The launch will occur in Alaska’s Kodiak Island on August 2nd with an allowance of five days in case of unfavorable weather. That is the first launch among the sequence of three in aims to display the rocket’s ability to reach the orbit. This launch will get geared towards evaluating the functionality of the rocket’s initial phase. 

Chris Kemp, Astra’s co-founder, stated that the company intends to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the total success of the operation. He further mentioned the importance of the three flights to ensure that the chances of success get elevated. 

Additionally, the first rocket will consist of five engines that will power the rocket in all the flight phases. The initial flight excludes the integration of payload due to limited chances of success by the firm. The margin of the accomplishment would get gauged by the competency of the flight to enhance further development in the following series of launch.

The launch will provide much information that could not get obtained during the developmental stage. In March, the firm planned on launching a different version of the vehicle, but it scrubbed its attempt due to technical concerns. However, the company believes that the current venture will provide more concrete accomplishment than the earlier version. 

Also, the coronavirus pandemic posed some level of difficulty in the company’s operations. The epidemic stalled the ongoing activities since most employees got dismissed. However, the firm got sufficient time to recuperate from its previous failures and also in raising more funds. 

Astra’s goal is to remain viable in flourishing its operations. The company’s change of plans has resulted in more desirable performance and efficiency. Also, Kemp addressed the competition concern and aimed at providing more affordable services despite the numerous competitors in the market. Most rivals are in the last stages of their operations, although the company’s objective offers a sustainable base for efficient operations. Also, most clients complain about Rocket Lab’s expensive services, so the firm intends to provide quality service at affordable prices.

In conclusion, Astra’s three-phase series of launch will progress as expected due to the increased investments and information that will get acquired from the first launch. Rocket 3.0’s failure enabled the firm to discover its weaknesses and realize its strengths.