CONTINUUM FLUX [Space] 2020.01.15

Space Exploration 
2020 May be a Transcendent Year for SpaceX (Ars Technica) – Potential 2020 events: Crew Dragon first crewed orbital flight before summer, 30+ Falcon 9 launches, full-scale Starship launch, Starlink internet service (revenues to accelerate Starship development). Also see NSS preview.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Planet Hunter Finds Its First Earth-Size Habitable-Zone World (JPL) – Located just over 100 light-years away in the constellation Dorado, TOI 700 d is one of the few Earth-size planets discovered in a star's habitable zone.

NASA’s Bruie "Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration" Journey to an Icy Europa Starts Beneath Antarctica (NY Times) – Europa Clipper, the next mission to Europa, launches after 2024, though the lander mission was pushed back. Europa is considered a candidate to be inhabited by some form of life.

Astronomy | Astrophysics | Cosmology
The red giant Betelgeuse is the dimmest since precise monitoring began in the 1920’s, prompting speculation of a supernova (National Geographic) – Among the 10 brightest stars, Betelgeuse began dimming in October. A supernova would cast shadows at night, but at 600 light years it's not near enough to harm Earth. 

An 'unknown' burst of gravitational waves lit up Earth's detectors on January 14 (CNET) – Burst gravitational waves have not been detected before. Researchers think they may be linked to supernova or gamma ray bursts. Betelguese still appears to be intact.

Astronomers Race to Study Mysterious Fast Radio Burst (FRB) in Nearby Galaxy ( – The closest and only the fifth FRB traced back to its origins. Astrophysicists suggest FRBs emerge from supernovae or magnetars, but one-way extraterrestrial communication is unlikely.

Scientists Develop New Method to Detect Oxygen on Exoplanets ( – The technique will use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to detect oxygen, a possible biosignature or indication of life. Alternatively, oxygen might indicate a history of water loss.

Startups | Deals | Space Ecosystem
Earth observation startup Capella Space will launch a seven satellite constellation in 2020 – Backed by DCVC and Spark Capital, Capella will provide up to 0.5 meter resolution imaging,10 minutes of active image capture per orbital path and real-time satellite tasking.

Commerce Department to Develop New Estimate of the Size of the US Space Economy ( – The global space economy was estimated at $360 to $415 billion and growing at 3% or 8% in 2018, according to Satellite Industry Association (SIA) and Space Foundation reports.

Audacy defaulted on debt, shut doors in 2019 ( – Silicon Valley startup Audacy was building an inter-satellite communications relay network. CEO Ralph Ewig recommends startups understand the importance of finding appropriate investors.

Good Reads
The Deep Space Decade: How a New Era of Exploration Came of Age in the 2010s (Popular Mechanics) – Discovery of gravitational waves in February 2016 forever changed astronomy, revealing otherwise undetectable celestial events. Teams from LIGO and VIRGO in Europe announced ten black hole mergers in 2018.

Why Big Business Is Making a Giant Leap into Space (Knowledge@Wharton) – $1.7 billion equity invested into space companies in Q1 2019 ($2.1 billion in Q3 2019) according to Space Angels. Morgan Stanley expects $1.1+ trillion global space industry revenue by 2040.

Interesting Finds
Planet Hunters TESS: Join the Search for Undiscovered Worlds (
 – The site allows volunteers (over 15,000) to sift through data from recently launched Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and potentially contribute to an exoplanet discovery. Mobile version available.

Space Jobs
Electrical Design Engineer (SpaceX) – Rapidly design and test spacecraft electronics. Requires a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or related, and willingness to work extended hours. 5 openings in Hawthorne, CA.

Cloud Dev Ops (Spaceflight Industries) – Venture-backed geospatial company seeks Amazon Web Services / C2S cloud developer. BS/MS or equivalent in Computer Science and security clearance required. 3 openings in Herndon, VA.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Commercial Crew In-Flight Abort Test (Uncrewed) (Kennedy Space Center) – Scheduled for liftoff at Launch Complex 39A on January 18, the test will demonstrate Crew Dragon separating from Falcon 9 in an emergency and help certify for astronauts.

ULA Atlas V Solar Orbiter (Kennedy Space Center) – The sun-observing probe, a joint mission by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral on February 5 to study heliospheric physics.

International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2020: Continuing the Journey (National Space Society) – ISDC 2020 to be held at the Embassy Suites in Dallas on May 28–31. The focus is on getting humans back to the Moon, then Mars.

Techstars Allied Space Accelerator (Techstars) – The program will run in partnership with the U.S. Air Force and Norwegian Space Agency for 13 weeks from June to September 2020. Currently accepting applications through March 1, 2020.

Camp Kennedy Space Center (Kennedy Space Center) – Weeklong NASA-based day camp for students aged 7 through 16. Kids are exposed to hands-on STEM challenges, labs and astronaut-training simulations. ($350; Monday-Friday sessions from June 1 to August 7)