[Space] 2020.12.15

Challenges | Campaigns | Solicitations
Spaceloon is an A.I. based ultra-high altitude balloon controllable by you. It will allow you to launch your own personal satellite in space. Kickstarter closes Dec. 23. [Forward]
NASA seeks scalable ideas that can address how to unload payloads from lunar landers on the lunar surface. $25,000 in total prizes. Submit by January 19, 2021. [Forward]
NASA needs the software for small unmanned aircraft systems usable for live flight operations. There are multiple challenges with $30,700 in total prizes. Closes March 1, 2021. [Forward]
NASA seeks solutions for energy distribution, management, or storage developable for space flight and future operation on the lunar surface. Up to $500K in prizes. September 25 - March 25, 2021. [Forward]
NASA seeks innovative approaches for excavating icy regolith and delivering water in extreme lunar conditions to enable human presence on the Moon. $5,000,000 in prizes. Closes June 18, 2021. [Forward]
Join 62,361 volunteers and search for Planet 9 and new brown dwarfs in the backyard of the solar system using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. [Forward]
Write or draw your vision of why you think Earth needs Space on a postcard and have it launched into space and back on a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket. [Forward]
Join TechCrunch's editors in Los Angeles on December 17 for a day of fireside chats and panel discussion with the top investors, founders, and technologists forging the future of space. [Forward]
In this free talk, Robert D. Cabana will discuss how the Center is transforming to become the multi-user spaceport of the future as well as his experiences as an astronaut. [Forward]
Dr. Varoujan Gorjian will trace the history of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from its humble beginnings to becoming NASA’s center for robotic space exploration. Cost: Free [Forward]
In this free talk, Professor Aaron Roodman will describe the Rubin observatory and its camera, which will allow us to “see” the dark portion of our universe in unprecedented detail. [Forward]
ISDC 2021 will highlight the public and private efforts to push the boundaries of space exploration. Registration and pricing are pending. May 27-30, 2021 at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles. [Forward]
ISEC 2021 will focus on the Tether/Climber interface, Environmental Benefits of Space Elevators, and more. May 25-26, 2021 at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles. Price is pending. [Forward]

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// FYI
Space Ecosystem | Startups | Deals
The event featured 20 companies, including: HawkEye 360, MDA, PredaSAR, Planet Labs, Spire Global, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Telesat, ViaSat, SES, Virgin Orbit, ABL Launch Systems and Rocket Lab. [Forward]
Investors see vast potential in space manufacturing. Varda plans to manufacture commercially-viable products at scale in space and eventually build infrastructure capable of harvesting source materials via asteroid mining. [Forward]
This brings the total amount raised by Orbex to $69 million. Orbex is developing its small satellite launcher, Prime, to lift 200kg to low-Earth orbit. Orbex’s launch target is 2022. [Forward] 
Changguang Satellite has secured $375 million for its constellation of optical Earth observation satellites. The amount eclipses the total funding raised so far by U.S. remote sensing startup Planet. [Forward]
Photo Credit: Space Perspective 
Space Perspective plans to send passengers to the edge of space in a pressurized vehicle beneath a large balloon by 2024. Tickets, available in 2021, could be $125,000. [Forward]
Alabama-based startup Aevum developed the Ravn-X first stage. Without a pilot on board, the autonomous rocket can pull significantly higher g-loads and steeper ascent trajectories as it releases a rocket. [Forward]
Space Exploration | Development
Despite a crash landing caused by fuel supply issues, SN8 landed on target and was more successful than engineers dared hope. [Forward]
SpaceX’s Raptor engine uses a combination of liquid methane and liquid oxygen. It’s an efficient fuel capable of being produced on Mars, potentially enabling space travel to Mars and back. [Forward]
The capsule contained the first rock samples ever collected from the asteroid Ryugu. Japan’s breakthrough asteroid mission could shed light on the origins of our solar system. [Forward]
Astronomy | Astrophysics | Cosmology
The gas giants will appear closer and closer together in the sky each evening until Dec. 21st. They can be photographed easily on DSLR cameras and many cell phone cameras. [Forward]