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Russian actress, Japanese entrepreneur cleared for space station visits

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STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION

Russian actress Yulia Peresild participates in a press conference Thursday in Moscow. Credit: Roscosmos

Russian actress Yulia Peresild and filmmaker Klim Shipenko will join cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station on Oct. 5 to shoot scenes for an upcoming movie, the Russian space agency announced Thursday.

“At the end of 2020, an open competition was announced for the lead role in the first feature film to be filmed in space,” Roscosmos said on its website. Peresild, 36, and Shipenko, 37, were selected “based on the results of medical and creative selection.” Training will begin in June.

“They will have to go through, among other things, tests on a centrifuge, a vibration stand, to make introductory and training flights on an airplane in zero gravity, to undergo parachute training,” Roscosmos said. The training and the flight will be covered by Russia’s Channel One television network.

In a related development, Roscosmos and Space Adventures, a company that brokers commercial flights to the space station, announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and an assistant, Yozo Hirano, will launch aboard another Soyuz Dec. 8.

Maezawa, founder of ZoZotown, one of Japan’s largest retail websites, also has chartered an eventual flight around the moon aboard a SpaceX Starship rocket.

The two 12-day Soyuz flights were expected, but Thursday’s announcement makes it official, meaning NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, launched to the station last month with two Russian cosmonauts, will remain in orbit for nearly a full year before another seat is available to bring him back to Earth.

He knew when he launched April 9 that his planned six-month mission could be extended if Roscosmos approved the launch of an actress and director in September. But he said he was prepared for a longer stay.

“We try to make sure we’re ready for anything,” he told CBS News before takeoff. “I certainly feel emotionally prepared. … I’m going to try to really be meditative about the time, try to focus on positive things. I think you could end up in a tough spot if you don’t recognize that it’s a challenging environment.”

Former astronaut Scott Kelly holds the record for the longest U.S. spaceflight, logging 340 days aboard the space station in 2015-16. If Vande Hei returns next March 28 aboard the next available Soyuz as expected, he will set a new NASA record, spending 353 days in orbit.

Vande Hei is not the only station crew member getting a mission extension. Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, who launched with Vande Hei and Oleg Novitskiy, will remain aboard the outpost when Novitskiy departs Oct. 17 with Peresild and Shipenko. Dubrov also will log 353 days in space before returning to Earth with Vande Hei and Shkaplerov next March.

The upcoming Soyuz launches, along with two SpaceX Crew Dragon flights carrying all-civilian crews, are the latest milestones in a new era of commercial human spaceflight. If the current launch schedule holds up, 12 non-government “astronauts” will reach orbit over the next seven months, the same number of professional government astronauts from NASA, the European Space Agency, Roscosmos, and China.

SpaceX plans to launch four civilians to low-Earth orbit aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft in September in a mission, dubbed Inspiration4, to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

That flight, chartered by billionaire Jared Isaacman, will not visit the space station. But in January, Houston-based Axiom Space plans to launch four private citizens to the lab complex aboard another Crew Dragon, the first commercial flight to the outpost by an all-civilian crew.

Japanese fashion entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa will launch aboard another Soyuz on Dec. 8, joining cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and Yozo Hirano, Maezawa’s production assistant, for a 12-day flight to the space station. Credit: Roscosmos/Space Adventures

In addition, Blue Origin, owned by Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos, plans to launch a non-government crew on a sub-orbital space flight July 20, the company’s first piloted launch of its New Shepard rocket and spacecraft. Additional up-and-down flights to space are planned before the end of the year.

Virgin Galactic, owned by Richard Branson, also is gearing up to begin piloted sub-orbital spaceflights. Both companies plan to launch “space tourists” as well as government-sponsored crew members and microgravity payloads.

“This truly is a renaissance in U.S. human spaceflight,” Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight development, said earlier this week during a briefing about the Axiom mission. “I think that’s the perfect word for what we’re experiencing.

“This is a real inflection point, I think, with human spaceflight. I’m very bullish on the tourism market and the tourism activity, I think more people are going to fly, they’re going to want to do more things in space. The more things they want to do, that will attract more people. … It’s just what we envisioned for the Commercial Crew Program when we embarked on that about 10 years ago.”

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Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/05/13/russian-actress-japanese-entrepreneur-cleared-for-space-station-visits/

Aerospace

Aerospace manufacturer completes clean sweep of Nadcap audits

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RHH Franks, specialist subcontract manufacturer to the global aviation industry, has announced the successful completion of all four of its Nadcap audits.

Over the last six months, the New Milton-based engineering firm has undergone intense on-site audits of its Nadcap accreditations: non-destructive testing; heat treatment; chemical processing; and welding.

RHH Franks managing director Elsa Hogan with the accreditation certificates

Most recently, the company received merit status for welding for the 13th time in a row since first being accredited in 2004. This means RHH Franks benefits from a less frequent audit schedule, reducing costs and time pressures on internal resources.

RHH Franks’ commitment to ensuring the highest quality for its aviation clients was cemented in 2004 with successful Nadcap accreditation for non-destructive testing, TIG welding and torch brazing.

Heat treatment, including dip brazing, and chemical processing accreditations followed in 2006 and 2009 respectively. Since then, the firm has undergone almost 50 audits, passing with flying colours every time.

Such a significant track-record of audit success puts RHH Franks among a limited group of elite manufacturers who operate at the highest level and are recognised as trusted suppliers to the aerospace industry.

While a Nadcap audit is a defined moment in time for which auditees prepare in advance, actually creating and maintaining a culture of compliance within an organisation is a constant endeavour and often a thankless task. Consequently, and in recognition of their hard work, I am delighted to congratulate RHH Franks for maintaining Nadcap accreditation,” said David Schutt, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Performance Review Institute.

Managing director Elsa Hogan commented: “Achieving Nadcap accreditation is not easy but as a company, we were determined to obtain and maintain such an important stamp of approval.

“It not only gives clients confidence in our ability, but also ensures we are consistently reviewing our own performance and processes.

“I’m delighted that we’ve again completed another successful round of Nadcap audits and want to extend my gratitude to the entire team, whose engineering expertise and professionalism is critical to us delivering such a high standard of service and complaint products to our clients.”

www.rhhfranks.co.uk

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/rhh-franks-nadcap-accreditations-15062021/

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SkyWatch raises $17.2 million in Series B funding round

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SAN FRANCISCO – SkyWatch Space Applications raised 20.9 million Canadian dollars ($17.2 ) in a Series B funding round, less than 17 months after welcoming investors to its Series A round.

The rapid pace of fundraising was not in the Canadian startup’s original plan but necessitated by demand for TerraStream, a data management and distribution platform SkyWatch offers Earth-observation companies.

“We didn’t anticipate a company adopting TerraStream to run their full operation until 2022 or 2023” because of the extraordinary level of trust required to hand off critical business functions like operations, cataloging, archiving and tasking to another company, SkyWatch CEO James Slifierz told SpaceNews.

Customers, however, have quickly adopted TerraStream. “We have close to 40 satellites under contract to launch in the next 12 months,” Slifierz said.

As a result, SkyWatch plans to use the proceeds of its Series B round to ramp up operations to keep pace with demand.

Drive Capital led the SkyWatch Series B round. Existing SkyWatch investors Bullpen Capital, Space Capital, Golden Ventures, and BDC Ventures also participated.

SatRevolution is set to be the first TerraStream customer to launch. The Polish Earth-observation startup is preparing to send aloft two three-unit cubesats to collect multispectral medium-resolution imagery and data.

The SatRevolution cubesats, called Stork-4 and Stork-5, are scheduled to launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rideshare flight later this month. Mexican startup SpaceJLTZ and Wyvern of Canada are the other two TerraStream customers SkyWatch has named.

SkyWatch has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2018. In the first half of 2021, SkyWatch revenue surged more than 450% compared with the same period in 2020.

EarthCache, a software platform offering access to aerial and satellite data sources through an application program interface, was the startup’s first product. SkyWatch developed TerraStream after noting how customers struggled to build their data management systems and quickly monetize data.

TerraStream is designed to take away that struggle and allow Earth-observation companies to focus instead on the quality and affordability of their datasets, the two primary factors Earth-observation data customers consider, Slifierz said.

SkyWatch raised $7.5 million in its Series A investment round announced in January 2020.

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Source: https://spacenews.com/skywatch-series-b/

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GE and Safran launch radical new open fan aero engine design

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GE Aviation and Safran have launched a new aero engine development programme targeting more than 20% lower emissions than today’s engines. 

The CFM RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) programme aims to demonstrate and mature a range of new, disruptive technologies for future engines that could enter service by the mid-2030s.

The two companies have also signed an agreement extending the CFM International 50/50 partnership to the year 2050, declaring their intent to lead the way for more sustainable aviation in line with the industry’s commitment to halve CO2 emissions by 2050.

“The relationship between GE and Safran today is the strongest it has ever been,” said John Slattery, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “Together, through the RISE technology demonstration programme, we are reinventing the future of flight, bringing an advanced suite of revolutionary technologies to market that will take the next generation of single-aisle aircraft to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. We fully embrace the sustainability imperative.  As we have always done in the past, we will deliver for the future.”

“Our industry is in the midst of the most challenging times we have ever faced,” said Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran.  “We have to act now to accelerate our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. Since the early 1970s, breakthrough engine efficiency and reliability have been the hallmark of our historic partnership and our LEAP engine already reduces emissions by 15 percent compared to previous generation engines. Through the extension of our CFM partnership to 2050, we are today reaffirming our commitment to work together as technology leaders to help our industry meet the urgent climate challenges.”

Technologies matured as part of the RISE programme will serve as the foundation for the next-generation CFM engine that could be available by the mid-2030s. The programme goals include reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by more than 20% compared to today’s most efficient engines, as well as ensuring 100% compatibility with alternative energy sources such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels and hydrogen.

Central to the programme is state-of-the-art propulsive efficiency for the engine, including developing an open fan architecture. This is a key enabler to achieving significantly improved fuel efficiency while delivering the same speed and cabin experience as current single-aisle aircraft. The programme will also use hybrid electric capability to optimise engine efficiency while enabling electrification of many aircraft systems.

The programme is being led by a joint GE/Safran engineering team that has laid out a comprehensive technology roadmap including composite fan blades, heat resistant metal alloys, ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), hybrid electric capability and additive manufacturing.

The RISE programme includes more than 300 separate component, module and full engine builds. A demonstrator engine is scheduled to begin testing at GE and Safran facilities around the middle of this decade and flight test soon thereafter.

www.geaviation.com

www.safran-group.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/ge-aviation-safran-cfm-rise-15062021/

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Airbus creates zero-emission development centres in Germany and France

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Airbus has established zero-emission development centres (ZEDC) at two European locations to focus its efforts on metallic hydrogen tanks.

The ZEDCs are set up in Bremen, Germany, and Nantes, France. They will develop liquid hydrogen (LH2) tanks once operational by 2023. The initial flight test is planned for 2025.

When compared with kerosene, an LH2 tank requires specific systems engineering. It is liquified by cooling it to under -250°C and then stored in that state in tanks for increased density benefit.

The ZEDC centre in Bremen will concentrate on system installation and cryogenic testing of the tanks.

It will benefit from years of LH2 experience within Airbus Defence and Space and ArianeGroup, as well as hydrogen research ecosystem such as the Centre for Eco-Efficient Materials and Technologies (ECOMAT).

The Nantes site was selected due to its expertise in metallic structural technologies associated with the centre wing box. The Nantes Technocentre skills and capabilities and support of the local ecosystem such as the IRT Jules Verne will benefit the centre.

The Nantes ZEDC will also be able to handle metallic, composite technologies and integration, experience in co-design activities on nacelle inlets, radomes and centre fuselage complex work packages.

Airbus will also promote cross-industry collaboration to support the move to hydrogen-propulsion technologies and related ground-based infrastructure in the region.

Recently, Airbus Helicopters invited all major stakeholders in the industry to join its newly created Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) User Group.

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Source: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/airbus-germany-france-zero-emission/

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