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Space Education and Strategic Applications

Space Education and Strategic Applications is a peer reviewed, international, multidisciplinary, open-access journal intended to serve and inform the space community of most recent advances in Space Education, Space Research, and Space Applications in this rapidly expanding field. The Journal is published bi-annually. As an academic journal, SESA encourages the publication of advances in space research, education and applications.

Call for Papers

Current Issue:
Volume 9, Number 1 – Summer 2020

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Gina Pittington
doi: 10.18278/sshj.9.1.1

Special Inaugural Issue Featured Article

Introduction To Our Featured Article

Melissa Layne
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.2

A Transformative Paradigm of Cosmic Life

Chandra Wickramasinghe
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.3

When it is finally accepted that life is a truly cosmic phenomenon and that we are part of a vast cosmic biosphere, the implications for humanity will be profound. Even more important would be the acceptance that alien life in the form of microbes—bacteria and viruses—exist in our midst even now and continually rain down on our planet. Such microbes could be responsible for devastating pandemics, but more positively we should recognise cosmic viruses and bacteria could have the potential to augment our genomes—the genomes of all terrestrial lifeforms—and over long periods of time unravel an ever-changing panorama of life. The emerging facts pointing to the cosmic nature of life, when they are fully acknowledged, will mark an important turning point in human history.

Q & A with Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe

Melissa Layne and Chandra Wickramasinghe
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.4

A Moment in Time: Images Capturing the Historic SpaceX Demo-2 Launch

Melissa Layne
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.5

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This English adage could not ring more true than during the recent SpaceX NASA Demo-2 launch on May 30th, 2020. How so? This launch was markedly different from other historic launches—in many aspects. One stark difference, is that the American public was strongly discouraged to physically attend the event due to potential spread of COVID-19. The COVID-free environment of yesteryear allowed Americans to physically gather and share the excitement, pride, and enthusiasm of such a momentous event.

American Public University System Observatory

Ed Albin
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.6

The American Public University System observatory is located on the main center campus in Charles Town, West Virginia, standing atop the tallest building on the site with a bright, silver 22 and a half feet wide dome. Within its protective cavern the CDK 24 inch diameter telescope is housed, mounted on a PlaneWave, A200 equatorial pier that stands at an overall height of 10 feet. There are not one but two telescopes attached to the central pier, with a 5 inch diameter Tele Vue refractor fastened on top of the 24 inch using additional brackets. Both telescopes use an SBIG type of CCD camera, the CDK uses a model ST 16803 and the Tele Vue uses an ST 8300, each with full set filter wheels for different research and photographic needs. The power of this set up lies in its equipment as much as its remote operations capabilities, wherein faculty, professors and even students may access and control the telescopes from vastly different and far away locations in pursuit of any astronomical objects.

Invited Articles

Bringing Space to the Classroom Through STEM Education Providing Extreme Low Earth Orbit Missions Using ThinSats

Brenda Dingwall, Joyce Winterton, Dale Nash, Sean Mulligan, Brian Crane, Robert Twiggs, Matt Craft, Hank Voss, and Matt Orvis
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.7

The future of Space Science depends on our ability to attract and engage students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Authentic, hands-on experience with space applications enhances engagement and learning in the STEM disciplines and can help to attract disinterested students to STEM careers. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space), Twiggs Space Lab, LLC (TSL), Orbital ATK, NearSpace Launch, Inc. (NSL), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility have collaboratively developed the ThinSat Program, providing student teams with the opportunity to design, develop, test, and monitor their own experimental payload that will be integrated into a pico-satellite and launched from the second stage of Orbital ATK’s Antares Rocket.

Modeling and Simulation of a Long-Wave Infrared Polarimetric Sensor for Space Object Detection and Characterization

Kevin Pohl, Jonathan Black, Jonathan Pitt, and Edward Colbert
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.8

Long-wave infrared (LWIR, wavelength > 8 um) polarimetric measurements can be used to characterize space objects under certain conditions. Both visible and LWIR polarimetry have been demonstrated extensively in terrestrial applications for characterization and detection of objects of interest. Visible polarimetry has also been demonstrated for space object detection. A simulation of a camera and telescope for collection of LWIR polarimetric signatures of space objects has been assembled using three software packages: Systems Tool Kit (STK), MATLAB, and FRED. Characterization of space objects is generally possible across a wide range of target surface temperatures and emissivities, and at a sub-pixel level; characterization is reliable in a narrower range. This approach represents an initial step forward in optical systems for space situational awareness (SSA) in that it offers a wider field of view than equivalently sized visible light collectors, and it can be used both day and night, regardless of target illumination.

Tailored Systems Engineering Processes For Low-Cost High-Risk Missions

Jared Clements, Tyler Murphy, Lee Jasper, and Charlene Jacka
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.9

Given the low cost of most CubeSat missions, a full implementation of the traditional space systems engineering process to CubeSat missions can be detrimental to the programmatic success of the CubeSat. At the other extreme, CubeSat missions often suffer predictable consequences from the omission of standard systems engineering processes, such as risk management, configuration management, and quality assurance. In this paper, we discuss a scaled systems engineering approach to CubeSat missions implemented on a programmatically constrained mission. We also discuss each of the standard systems engineering processes and options for tailoring the processes for a constraint-based mission and how this varies from typical top-down mission processes. The intent is to inform the decisions of mission developers in determining what level of rigor is appropriate for each process in their unique circumstances and mission needs. Examples of tailoring processes utilized with missions currently underway at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Small Satellite Branch (AFRL/RVEN) are used to illustrate the application of the information presented.

Will a Global Reliance on Space Technology Inevitably Lead the United States to Conflict?

Iván Gulmesoff
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.10

This analysis aims to provide an assessment of the emerging global threat to the United States satellite infrastructure. Additionally, the analysis provides an understanding of how the greater reliance on satellite infrastructures around the world will increase the threat. While a satellite can be defined as any object orbiting a planet or a star, for this analysis, a satellite will be defined as a man-made machine sent into orbit for a specific purpose. This analysis will begin with a brief comparative analysis between the current dispute over the Spartly Islands in the South China Sea through the lens of the social dominance theory. The following sections will introduce the current threat to the US satellite infrastructure followed by the policy recommendations.

Disaggregating The United States Military: An Analysis of the Current Organizational and Management Structure of U.S. National Security Policy as it Relates to Military Operations In Space

Joseph Myles Zeman
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.11

This article was written to provide the reader with a comprehensive assessment of the realities of the current organizational and management structure of US national security policy as it relates to the conduct of military operations in space. To create an encompassing argument, this article considers the current organizational structure of US space policy while acknowledging that space has, in fact, become a warfighting domain. A reorganization of this magnitude has the potential to generate a succinct chain of command for military space operations while condensing the space acquisitions process and ultimately providing military space operations with the attention and resources needed to keep America and its allies safe. However, this article examines whether reconfiguring the current organizational and management structure of US national security space components does, in fact, have the power to accomplish such objectives. This article relies heavily upon the testimonies and documentation derived from both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Congress. In addition, it is acknowledged that US policymakers have turned this into a largely bureaucratic and inherently politicized issue. This article ultimately concludes that some degree of reconfiguration to the current organizational and management structure of US policy as it relates to military operations in space has the potential to positively affect the national security space establishment.

Why Students and Recent Grads Should Seek an Internship with SpaceX Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and What to Expect

Melissa Layne
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.12

COVID-19 has left global economies struggling as they continue to enact strict measures to slow the pandemic from spreading. Despite many industries making an abrupt but successful transition from face-to-face to virtual, home-based work environments, many others have not been as fortunate and are barely keeping their businesses afloat. There is one industry, however, that is doing an exceptional job of weathering the economic turmoil— the space industry.

Book Reviews

A Review of Understanding Space Strategy: The Art of War in Space by John J. Klein

Mark Peters II
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.13

The US Space Force, founded December 20, 2019, recognizes high frontier conflict and poses sufficiently different challenges from land, air, or naval war to require space domain specialists. Winning conflict requires developing effective strategies early and a change from terrestrial to celestial will require extremely specialized strategies. Strategy development traditionally begins with historical founders like Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Mahan. Those three, among others, are extensively referenced by John J. Klein throughout his book, Understanding Space Strategy: The Art of War in Space. Beginning with strategy basics and unique space elements before presenting four case studies, Klein firmly ties historical approaches to modern conflict. Those with limited strategic backgrounds will find this book immensely helpful. Understanding Space Strategy contributes an effective primer, perhaps suitable for newly minted Space Force personnel to link celestial domain possibilities to terrestrial concerns.

A Review of Apollo Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings

Roger D. Launius
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.14

On December 19, 1972 in the South Pacific, I watched from the deck of USS CVS 14, Ticonderoga1 three large red, white, and blue parachutes deploy and slowly bring down the Apollo 17 command module to a perfect splashdown off the bow of the aircraft carrier. The NASA team and sailors were exuberant and proud of the country’s achievements and were looking for a brighter future for space exploration. Little did we suspect that this was the last lunar crewed mission and that the next forty-eight years would be destined for low Earth orbital missions. The United States (US) was embroiled in a protracted and costly “police action” in Southeast Asia, significant social events were challenging established governance, and the novelty of the Apollo program was relegated to history. Further resources for the Lunar and Mars crewed missions were redirected instead to the US first Orbital Space Station, the US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project détente mission, and the follow- up Space Shuttle. The first decade of post-World War II East-West competition for world supremacy created serious concern and a sense of insecurity for US defense and technological supremacy.

A Review of Essentials of Public Health Biology: Biologic Mechanisms of Disease and Global Perspectives

Loretta DiPietro, Julie Deloia, and Victor Barbiero
doi: 10.18278/sesa.1.1.15

Advances in human genome and availability of large-scale population health databases promise a more rational approach to workers’ health, disease prevention, and treatment, based on individual biological variability. The environment has become a significant health factor in triggering a genomic response and occasionally inducing pathological changes.

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