Coronavirus information

This is a list of official websites with information on COVID-19 coronavirus in the region.

If you need general information not specific to your area, Ars Technica has published an excellent series.

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New ISS batteries top a suborbital week

ISS EVA 226 wrapped up after astronauts attached the last of the uninstalled Nickel-Hydrogen batteries to an inactive storage site on the exterior of the International Space Station, 20 January 2020. (NASA TV)

Orbital and Suborbital News
19 Jan 2020 – Canaveral Falcon 9 Crew Dragon Launch Escape System test
20 Jan 2020 – ISS EVA 226 (Koch, Meir) completes battery replacements

Regional News
17 Jan 2020 – Rachel Senft (U Wisconsin – La Crosse) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
17 Jan 2020 – 2 hurt in Cessna 172 N96145 at Big Timber MT
17 Jan 2020 – None hurt in Delta A319 runway slide in Kansas City
18 Jan 2020 – Shawna Pandya of Edmonton returns to Mars Desert Research Station
19 Jan 2020 – None hurt in Fairchild Metro III runway slide in Shamattawa MB
19 Jan 2020 – Shamattawa residents decry airline monopoly, CAD 900 ticket price
20 Jan 2020 – Labs in Winnipeg and Saskatoon ready to fight 2019-nCoV Wuhan coronavirus
20 Jan 2020 – U of North Dakota will make oil safety report system inspired by aviation standards
20 Jan 2020 – CGAS Traverse City explains “low-vis” flight campaign
21 Jan 2020 – Amy Reines (Montana State U) announces results of black hole research
21 Jan 2020 – Mae Jemison speaks at U Wisconsin – Madison
21 Jan 2020 – Amazon Prime Air takes over Pinnacle Logistics base at Rockford airport
21 Jan 2020 – Rocket-powered sled will try to break speed record at Bear Lake WI, 16 Feb 2020
23 Jan 2020 – Montana pilot killed in C-130 crash amid Australian wildfires
23 Jan 2020 – Fire at Churchill MB airport destroys warehouse leased to Calm Air

Further News
17 Jan 2020 – Canso NS spaceport breaks ground soon, signs research deal with St. Francis Xavier U
20 Jan 2020 – Diplomats negotiating first NASA-CNSA summit since 2017
21 Jan 2020 – Tethers Unlimited deorbit ribbons working well in orbital tests
23 Jan 2020 – Firefly Aerospace puts out fire on test stand for Alpha rocket
23 Jan 2020 – JAXA continues EOS work with UN FAO, signs agreement focused on forestry

Late News
16 Jan 2020 ~ Historian William E. Dubois retro-flies between Omaha, Cheyenne, and Salt Lake City
17 Jan 2020 ~ Dunn Mountain crash killed support group
17 Jan 2020 ~ Details of 2018 location shoot for Lost in Space in the Drumheller badlands
23 Jan 2020 ~ JPL features 2018 work at Palomar by North Dakotan Michelle Creech-Eakman

Ariane 5 ends the week

Orbital news
15 Jan 2020 0253 UT – Taiyuan CZ-2D ÑuSat x2 Jilin-1 Tianqi-5
15 Jan 2020 – ISS EVA225 (Koch, Meir) fixes battery system
16 Jan 2020 0302 UT – Jiuquan KZ-1A Yinhe-1
16 Jan 2020 2105 UT – Kourou Ariane 5 KONNECT GSAT-30

Regional news
10 Jan 2020 – Lucas Bauer (U Wisconsin-Madison) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
10 Jan 2020 – Space Force commander visits U North Dakota, Cavalier AFS
12 Jan 2020 – Cessna TR182 N736YU crashes near Dunn Mountain, MT, 4 dead
13 Jan 2020 – USGS EROS “Eyes on Earth” Podcast 14 released
13 Jan 2020 – Safe emergency landing in Calmar, AB
14 Jan 2020 – Bismarck Career Academy to buy its own plane
14 Jan 2020 – Allegiant announces seasonal flights
14 Jan 2020 – Iran crash casualites revised, investigators now cooperating
16 Jan 2020 – Joseph B. Habeck (U Minnesota-Twin Cities) featured by Minnesota Space Grant

Further news
10 Jan 2020 – Graduation of NASA Astronaut Group 22, “The Turtles”
12 Jan 2020 – Maesawa puts gameshow in critical path for moon flight
12 Jan 2020 – SLS test article reaches Stennis Space Center

Late news
06 Jan 2020 – 44th Air Race Classic will fly between Grand Forks and Terre Haute June 2020

Long March 5 success highlights the week

A Long March 5 rocket carried the SJ-20 saellite from Wenchang to orbit, 27 Dec 2019 1245 UT (Weibo)

Orbital News
27 Dec 2019 1245 UT – Wenchang CZ-5 SJ-20 commsat
29 Dec 2019 – Christina Koch sets an orbital endurance record

Regional News
27 Dec 2019 – 12 injured in LN2 breach at Beechcraft plant in Wichita
28 Dec 2019 –

Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg of Winnipeg named to the Order of Canada, for work on genetic disorders.
Also named, three from Ontario and B.C. for aviation matters, and
James Cameron of Saskatoon, for achievements in film.

29 Dec 2019 – Kauaʻi tourist flight crash killed two from Wisconsin
29 Dec 2019 – Starlink satellites spotted over Manitoba
30 Dec 2019 – Bismarck offers $4000 scholarships for new pilots
30 Dec 2019 – MDA splits off from Maxar in 1 G$ CAD deal
30 Dec 2019 – Sun Country Airlines may add Sioux Falls to express bus network
30 Dec 2019 – Honeywell cuts 90 aerospace jobs in Minnesota
31 Dec 2019 –

Colin O’Brady of Jackson Hole,
Andrew Towne of Grand Forks,
and 4 international adventurers,
reached Antarctica after rowing from South America

31 Dec 2019 – Billings adds flights to Dallas, Portland on American, Alaska
31 Dec 2019 – Colorado-based planes to track GHG emissions
02 Jan 2020 – United flight slides off runway at Bismarck Airport
02 Jan 2020 – Unidentified drones fly after sunset in Colorado and Nebraska

Further News
29 Dec 2019 – Boeing updates public on Starliner recovery and checkout
30 Dec 2019 – Iridium wonders aloud about how to deorbit 30 dead commsats
30 Dec 2019 – SLS test slips to perhaps April or later
02 Jan 2020 – Japanese Momo rocket test postponed

Late News
19 Dec 2019 – New (?) spaceport licence sought for the local airport near Cape Canaveral
22 Dec 2019 – Myrtle Cagle, pilot of Mercury 13 fame, dead at 94
23 Dec 2019 – Alaska Airlines upgrades Bozeman to mainline 21 May 2020
23 Dec 2019 – FAA ends untrained ATC quota, U of North Dakota pleased
25 Dec 2019 – Sioux Falls crash revisited one year later

Rokot finale ends the week

Regional News
20 Dec 2019 – Midwest Express Airlines misses relaunch schedule, again
20 Dec 2019 – Space Force started – Cavalier AFS may be renamed

Orbital News
20 Dec 2019 1136 UT – Canaveral Atlas V Starliner, mission error
22 Dec 2019 1258 UT – Starliner lands early
24 Dec 2019 1203 UT – Baikonur Proton-M Elektro-L weather satellite
26 Dec 2019 2312 UT – Plesetsk Rokot Gonets x3 (last Rokot flight)

Late News
10 Dec 2019 – JPL gets first 36 M$ for new Near Earth Object mission
11 Dec 2019 – Andrew Jones on what 2020 holds for Chinese launch

KZ-1A flew twice in less than a week

A KZ-1A rocket lifts off from Jiuquan with two commsats from German company KLEO Connect, 1000 UT 17 Nov 2019. (Weibo)

Orbital News
17 Nov 2019 ~1000 UT – KZ-1A KL-Alpha x2

Regional News
Recently – Lance Nichols (Montana State University) featured by Montana Space Grant
11 Nov 2019 – Mary Claire Mancl (University of Wisconsin-Madison) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
13 Nov 2019 – Kelsey Mueller (Iowa State University) named Iowa EPSCoR coordinator
15 Nov 2019 – Jack Stutler (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) featured by Minnesota Space Grant
15 Nov 2019 – Omaha NOAA WSR-88D Weather Radar refurbished
18 Nov 2019 – Nicholas Hennigan (Milwaukee School of Engineering) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
19 Nov 2019 – South Dakota Space Grant awardee Brad Goff (Lake Area Technical Institute) featured by KELO-TV
21 Nov 2019 – Skies features Natalie Esser, Albertan kit-plane builder and sport-flyer

Further News
15 Nov 2019 – Structural failure caused SARGE crash
19 Nov 2019 – SNC fêtes ‘Shooting Star’ external cargo module for Dream Chaser
20 Nov 2019 2126 UT – Starship Mk 1 suffers BLEVE during Liquid Nitrogen fill, SpaceX will move on to Mk 3 model

Late News
11 Nov 2019 1456 UT – CCAFS F9 Starlink
13 Nov 2019 0105 UT – Hayabusa2 departs from asteroid Ryugu
13 Nov 2019 0340 UT – Jiuquan KZ-1A Jilin-1 Gaofen-02A
13 Nov 2019 0635 UT – Taiyuan CZ-6 Ningxia-1 x5

Starliner launch date set as IAC headlines the week

Chirstina Koch (red) and Jessica Meir service the Battery Charge Discharge Unit on the International Space Station, 18 Oct 2019. ISS EVA221 was the first spacewalk performed by two women. (NASA TV)

Regional News
18 Oct 2019 – University of Nebraska DC Space Law Conference
20 Oct 2019 – Wisconsin Science Fest ends
23 Oct 2019 – Ryan Bowers (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) featured by Minnesota Space Grant

Further News
18 Oct 2019 – EVA 221: BCDU fixed in 7h17m, 2-woman EVA (Koch, Meir)
18 Oct 2019 – NASA shuts down last operational Van Allen Probe
21 Oct 2019 ~ Rocket Lab Photon offers 30 kg to lunar orbit
21 Oct 2019 – Japan joins Artemis, Russia plans to join Lunar Gateway
21 Oct 2019 ~ Arizona State’s MILO Institute marks first year as it teams up global universities to reach lunar surface and (99942) Apophis
22 Oct 2019 – First tweet sent over SpaceX Starlink network
22 Oct 2019 ~ NASA HLS lunar lander won’t use sea level pressure
22 Oct 2019 ~ UK-built ESA Solar Orbiter must arrive at KSC pre-Brexit
22 Oct 2019 ~ Astra Space left as sole contender for DARPA responsive launch ‘competition’
22 Oct 2019 ~ Maxar, Thales to compete, not cooperate, on Telesat LEO
22 Oct 2019 – ESA launches new online television channel
23 Oct 2019 ~ NanoRacks will reuse spent upper stages on-orbit, signs with Maritime Launch Services
23 Oct 2019 ~ Crew Dragon to test new fuel system, parachutes
23 Oct 2019 ~ Out of 199 smallsat launchers – 40 dead, 41 buried
24 Oct 2019 – Boeing CST-100 Starliner launch planned 17 Dec 2019
24 Oct 2019 ~ Eutelsat 5WB Solar Array half-stuck, may be 173 M€ failure
24 Oct 2019 ~ House Armed Services concerned about sole-source procurement of Minuteman III replacement

Late News
3 Oct 2019 – Four Latin American nations represented in recent University of North Dakota space habitat mission
17 Oct 2019 – Spektr-RG X-Ray instrument acquires first images
10 Oct 2019 – GEM63 SRB completes third and final test in Utah

University of Nebraska launches United States Center for Space Law

Dr. Stacey Henderson (University of Adelaide) speaks 18 Oct 2019, in a panel session on the topic of the Woomera Manual, at the 12th Annual University of Nebraska DC Space Law Conference (Credit: The Fargo Orbit)

The creation of the United States Center for Space Law, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the study of the laws of outer space, was announced 18 Oct 2019 at the 12th Annual University of Nebraska DC Space Law Conference. The announcement was made between panel sessions held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The new institution will carry forward the work of the University of Nebraska Space Law Network, as well as facilitate a US-based institution similar to the International Institute for Space Law, and with no small amount of inspiration from the operations of the European Centre for Space Law, which is based at the ESA in Paris.

While ESA and the European Centre for Space Law have a clear and established relationship, the USCSL will be an independent 501c3 non-profit organization. It is not directly funded by NASA, but will be assigned some funds previously received by the University of Nebraska. The effort builds upon the University of Nebraska’s efforts to create law programs focused on space and telecommunications law, as well as efforts to build a national network of space law professionals.

The remainder of the conference was largely a conventional view on United States Space Policy, with a general sense of the need for American action to settle outstanding questions, with the sense of Europe and Japan as partners and fellow innovators, though there was also a sense that European policy was also expanding without clear focus, and centres of authority were proliferating.

Though the first session’s insights into developing commercial space legislation in the US and Europe were somewhat hampered by the unplanned absence of a SpaceX representative, it was left to Audrey Powers of Blue Origin to speak plainly about how the space industry felt about the FAA’s recent effort to rush new commercial spaceflight rules out the door.

The panels continued with a featured panel of space lawyers from NASA, JAXA, ECSL, and CNES, who provided a comparative understanding of the complexities of international space cooperation. Japan’s approach, somewhat like the US, often requires policy changes to international initiatives at the space agency to pass through multiple government agencies for final approval. On the other hand, in France, CNES is authorized to sign, and change, space agreements on behalf of France.

The conference also included insight on the spectrum issues in the satellite communications industry, and the unique challenges when space-based networks compete against terrestrial networks, and the vagaries of negotiations at the ITU.

Finally, the conference included updates on efforts to the Woomera Manual, an effort of four universities, lead by Stacey Henderson at the University of Adelaide, to create a clear and complete compendium of the active, existing laws of war in space – an effort limited by the unclear positions of many states on key space policy questions, and by the propensity of many states to cloud their space programs, especially military space operations, in secrecy. Another challenge comes from how the field of space law continues to draw creative minds with active imaginations, which often spend valuable conference time not on settled law, but on other, as-yet unresolved questions, like whether astronauts could become prisoners of war, even when treaties presently accord them a diplomatic status.

The event was capped off by a lounge event celebrating Women in Space Law, on the very same day the first all-female spacewalk took place in orbit at the International Space Station. Overall, the conference demonstrated the continued leadership of Nebraska Law on legal matters in space. The evolution of the United States Center for Space Law will certainly be a factor in next year’s conference, already scheduled for 2 October 2020 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

United States Space Command resumes

Space Command ceremony, 29 Aug 2019
(Credit: WH.gov)

The United States Space Command, which first operated 1985-2002, resumed 29 Aug 2019. President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary of Defense Esper joined Gen. John “Jay” Raymond and CMSgt. Roger Towberman in a brief ceremony at the Rose Garden of the White House, about 2020 UT.

After a brief speech from the President, the Defense Secretary signed an order establishing the United States Space Command. Raymond presented the President with a commemorative plaque, and Towberman unfurled the new flag for the Unified Combatant Command.

United States Space Command is presently headquartered with its major component, Air Force Space Command, at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Midwest locations that will participate in the new command include Offutt AFB, Nebraska and Cavalier AFS, North Dakota.

Midwest Express takes flight with Milwaukee – Grand Rapids charter

Midwest Express Airlines has returned to service with a flight between Milwaukee and Grand Rapids on 28 Aug 2019.

The inaugural flight departed General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee at 1631 UT and landed at Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids at 1655 UT. The 24-minute flight reached a maximum altitude of 5200m and speed of 222 m/s.

Midwest Express MKE-GRR, 28 Aug 2019 1631 UT (FlightAware)

The plane then returned to Milwaukee in 29 minutes, with takeoff at 1826 UT and landing at 1855 UT, with the same top speed of 222 m/s and a peak altitude of 4875 m.

Midwest Express GRR-MKE, 28 Aug 2019 1826 UT (FlightAware)

For its initial operations, Midwest Express is leasing N96EA, a CRJ200 from charter operator Elite Airways, painted plain white with blue and yellow cheatlines and the old M-E logo on the tailplane.

The new Midwest Express will fly from Milwaukee to Grand Rapids, Omaha, and Cincinnati. Reservations are not yet open, though an August 6 press release from the airline stated that revenue service will begin by the end of 2019. In the meantime, Elite Airways has returned the plane to charter flight service.