Max Q: NASA signs up new Moon delivery companies

Sign up here to receive Max Q weekly in your inbox, starting December 15. There were lot of highlights in the space industry this past week (even though a rocket launch that was supposed to happened is now pushed to Monday). The biggest news for commercial space might just be that NASA signed on five […]

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explains how startups can help with Artemis Moon missions

At this week’s International Astronautical Congress, where the space industry, international space agencies and researchers from around the world convene to discuss the state of space technology and business, I asked NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about what role he sees for startups in contributing to his agency’s ambitious Artemis program. Artemis, named after Apollo’s twin […]

Blue Origin’s passengers will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a ticket on New Shepard

After committing to having a first crewed launch of its rocket ship in 2019, Blue Origin, the rocket manufacturer and launch services company backed by Jeff Bezos, is likely going to have to push that timeline back to 2020. Speaking onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, Blue Origin chief executive Bob Smith said that the […]

Why Maxar CTO Walter Scott thinks now is the time to address the orbital traffic boom

The number of objects in orbit around Earth has been growing, and growing fast. Before 1957, of course, there were a total of zero human-made objects in the orbital region of outer space just beyond Earth’s atmosphere. There were 4,987 satellites orbiting the globe at the start of this year, according to the U.N. Office […]

Fleet Space Technologies raises $7.35M for its space-based IoT tech

Australian satellite startup Fleet Space Technologies has raised a $7.35 million round of funding to help launch its next generation of nanosatellites, extremely small satellites it employs to delivery Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity to customers globally. Fleet’s satellites are roughly the size of shoeboxes, which are much cheaper and easier to launch than traditional […]

Near miss between science craft and Starlink satellite shows need to improve orbital coordination

A European satellite that measures the Earth’s winds using lasers had a close encounter with one of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation yesterday in a situation that illustrates the growing inadequacy of existing systems for global coordination of orbital issues. It’s getting crowded up there, and email and phone calls between HQs soon won’t cut it. The […]

Orbion raises $9.2M to mass-produce plasma thrusters for small satellites

Michigan-based startup Orbion has secured $9.2 million in Series A funding, which it will use as it undertakes the mass-produced manufacturing of its plasma thrusters for use in small satellites. Orbion’s thrusters are Hall-effect thrusters, which use an electric field to accelerate their propellant and create thrust. Hall-effect thrusters are nothing new, but Orbion’s approach, […]

Japan’s ispace now aims for a lunar landing in 2021, and a Moon rover deployment in 2023

One of the private companies aiming to deliver a commercial lunar lander to the Moon has adjusted the timing for its planned mission, which isn’t all that surprising given the enormity of the task. Japanese startup ispace is now targeting 2021 for their first lunar landing, and 2023 for a second lunar mission that will […]

NASA taps SpaceX, Blue Origin and 11 more companies for Moon and Mars space tech

NASA has selected 13 companies to partner with on 19 new specific technology projects it’s undertaking to help reach the Moon and Mars. These include SpaceX, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin, among others, with projects ranging from improving spacecraft operation in high temperatures to landing rockets vertically on the Moon. Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin will […]

Is space truly within reach for startups and VC?

Elon Musk’s SpaceX managed to pull off something very few people thought it could — by disrupting one of the most fixed markets in the world with some of the most entrenched and protected players ever to benefit from government contract arrangements: rocket launches. The success of SpaceX, and promising progress from other new launch […]