CAPCOM News – January 14, 2021

Conference on space and artificial intelligence technology

From the SGAC:
As many actors involved in the space industry are integrating or beginning to show their willingness to progressively integrate AI into their technologies, Euroconsult and Innovitech have created a unique event: AIxSPACE.

For the first time, this conference will bring together key stakeholders in space and artificial intelligence industries to allow everyone to obtain concrete information on these markets and connect with potential business partners, positioning themselves at the forefront of the sector.

To ensure the health and safety of participants, speakers and our teams, AIxSPACE will be held online on January 18 and 19, 2021, over two half days. The virtual format will offer a flexible event with plenty of networking time, content and participants! You can now register with a 10% discount, using the promo code AIXSPACE_AISSC. Register here.

Expert Review – WMO Research Board Task Team Statement on Meteorological and Air Quality factors affecting the COVID-19 pandemic

We are pleased to invite qualified experts to review the WMO Research Board Task Team Statement on Meteorological and Air Quality (MAQ) factors affecting the COVID-19 pandemic. We kindly ask for your help to share this draft with other qualified experts to encourage a strong technical review.

To participate in this technical review, kindly refer to the WMO Research Board COVID-19 Task Team website to download the document, access the review survey tool, and find descriptions of the scope, purpose, and intended audiences to assist your review. All comments should be submitted by 22 Jan 2021.

If you are unable to access Google Forms, a spreadsheet and email option is available on the above website. For additional questions, please contact

Please note: This is a “draft for technical review purposes only” and the information contained herein is subject to change. Information contained in this draft report should not be used by the media, governments or others for decision-making or other purposes until release of the final report in early 2021, following completion of the technical review process.

We sincerely thank you for your time and efforts to help improve our collective knowledge to address the global pandemic.

Kind regards,
The WMO Research Board Task Team on COVID-19, Air Quality and Meteorological Factors

7th Annual Space Traffic Management Conference – January 26-27, 2021

From the SGAC:
The Space Security and Safety (SSS) Program at The University of Texas at Austin’s Strauss Center and the Cockrell School of Engineering, in partnership with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), will hold the 7th annual Space Traffic Management conference, “Trust, But Verify: Incentivizing Compliance Through Shared Monitoring and Assessment.” The conference will take place virtually via Zoom webinar on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, and Wednesday, January 27. The conference is being organized by SSS Program Lead Dr. Moriba Jah, and non-resident SSS scholar Dr. Diane Howard.

This year’s conference, held virtually from 8 am – 12 pm CST, will begin with a 45-minute keynote and be followed by three 45-minute moderated panels with a Q&A each day.

Registration is required. Please note you must have a Zoom account and login to Zoom with the same email address you used to register. Students may register for free selecting the student option, but must be sure to register and login to Zoom using their .edu email address. Register here!

Experts from all over the world will virtually gather to discuss and exchange ideas on space traffic management. Technical sessions will range from topics including: Range Management, Airspace/Orbital Space Integration, Space Safety, Security, and Sustainability, Space Environment Effects and Impacts, and Related Issues (see the list at the bottom of the page for the areas breakdown). For video and audio of last year’s conference, please visit here. For more information, contact Ali Prince at

7th IAA Planetary Defense Conference – Call for abstracts

From the SGAC:
The International Academy of Astronautics will hold the 7th IAA Planetary Defense Conference on 26-30th April 2021. 

Virtually hosted by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in conjunction with ESA, the organizers are inviting to submit abstracts to present during the conference, and you have time until January 15 2021!

A broad theme of the conference is to identify the technologies, techniques, missions, data sets, and processes that most need development for an international program of planetary defense. You  can check the call for papers to see specific topics to be addressed.
Submit an abstract by January 15! Check the call for papers.

IAC 2021 Next Generation Plenary – Call for Applicants

See the newsletter for further information (too long to reproduce here). To apply, you must be a student or young professional, aged from 21 to 35 years old on 1st January 2021. Applications close on 22 January 2021.

OGC Seeking Information Concerning The Capture And Use Of Spatial Data During Health Emergencies

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks, in support of the OGC Health SDI Concept Development Study (CDS), to gather information concerning capturing, mapping, analyzing, modeling, and sharing spatial data to deal with major health emergencies. The Health SDI CDS will support the development of a Health Emergencies Data Model and the design of a Health Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). Responses are due by the 29th of January, 2021.

Solving Social Challenges in Mining Using Space Tech

Satellite Applications Catapult Spark Session from the UK, February 10th, 2021. Tickets via Eventbrite: Register here.

AmeriGEO training opportunities – February 2021

The Capacity Building community for AmeriGEO is proud to announce the first two training opportunities featured on the Inter-American Academy of Geosciences & Applications on behalf of a growing network of public and private institutions, academia, and commercial partners:
1) Flood Monitoring Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data (Register Here)
2) Engaging with Indigenous Peoples (Register Here).

One Health Approach for Infectious Disease Outbreaks

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: One Health Approach for Infectious Disease Outbreaks from Tuesday, February 23 to Thursday, February 25, 2021 (10AM-1PM EST/GMT-5).

Advancing Earth Observation Forum 2021 – Abstract call

Abstract workshop and field trip submissions: Now open
Early bird registration: Now open
Abstract workshop and field trip submissions close: 9 April 2021
Early bird registration close: 24 May 2021
Standard registration: From 25 May 2021
Forum dates: 23 – 27 August 2021

Subscribe to the AEO 2021 mailing list to be notified of program releases, key event information and much more! SUBSCRIBE.

Wilderness Medical Society Webinars

Also consider signing up for the WMS “Trailblazer” email newsletter, which is packed full of interesting information (you do not have to be a member, but it is a great organisation to join and be part of).

New short courses from the Department of Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Monash University – Human Factors and Perioperative Medicine
Wilderness and Disaster Medicine Medical Student Elective

News brought to you by the University of Miami and the Wilderness Medical Society Wilderness and Emergency Medicine Lecture Series (sign up for the newsletter via the website):
New Elective Alert: Wilderness and Disaster Medicine Elective at Columbia University Medical Center, USA – May 2021
Who: Third and Fourth Year Medical Students
Description: A focus on medical care in resource-limited settings, including wilderness and disaster environments. By the completion of this course students will be familiar with the principles and practice of wilderness medicine, including environmental illness and injury (such as heat and cold illness), environmental toxicology, and the principles of patient care in disasters and mass casualty incidents. The curriculum is virtual, employing interactive case-based learning and simulation. PLEASE NOTE that a 4-5 night OPTIONAL backcountry experience is part of this course for local students but virtual content will be in place for visiting students. No experience necessary. Please contact the course directors for more information.
Contact: Raleigh Todman (

FAA Announces Final Rule to Facilitate the 
Reintroduction of Civil Supersonic Flight
(January 6, 2021)

WASHINGTON, DC — Today the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule to facilitate the safe development of civil supersonic aircraft. The rule streamlines and clarifies procedures to obtain FAA approval for supersonic flight testing in the United States.

“Today’s action is a significant step toward reintroducing civil supersonic flight and demonstrates the Department’s commitment to safe innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

This rule will help ensure that companies developing these aircraft clearly understand the process for gaining FAA approval to conduct flight testing, which is a key step in ultimately bringing their products to market.

“The FAA supports the new development of supersonic aircraft as long as safety parameters are followed,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “The testing of supersonic aircraft at Mach 1 will only be conducted following consideration of any impact to the environment.”

The Department and the FAA anticipate taking additional regulatory actions to enable the development of supersonic aircraft.

Federal Aviation Administration Adopts Stricter
Unruly Passenger Policy
(Press Release: January 13, 2021)

WASHINGTON – FAA Administrator Steve Dickson today signed an order (PDF) directing a stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers in the wake of recent, troubling incidents.

The FAA has seen a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior. These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusals to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.

“Flying is the safest mode of transportation and I signed this order to keep it that way,” Administrator Dickson said.

Historically, the agency has addressed unruly-passenger incidents using a variety of methods ranging from warnings and counseling to civil penalties. Effective immediately, however, the FAA will not address these cases with warnings or counseling. The agency will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members. This policy will be in effect through March 30, 2021.

Passengers who interfere with, physically assault, or threaten to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft face stiff penalties, including fines of up to $35,000 and imprisonment. This dangerous behavior can distract, disrupt, and threaten crewmembers’ safety functions.

The FAA has initiated more than 1,300 enforcement actions against unruly passengers during the past 10 years, including recent cases for allegedly interfering with and assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to wear masks.

While the FAA does not have regulatory authority over aviation security or no-fly lists, the agency works closely with federal law enforcement and national security partners on any reported security threats that may impact aviation safety.

Can you spread COVID-19 if you get the vaccine?

An informative article from Quartz recommended by today’s Nature Briefing.

Mars Society Announces New Monthly Blog – Red Planet Bound

As part of its effort to promote public understanding about the importance of exploring the planet Mars and the need to establish a permanent human presence there, the Mars Society is pleased to announce the launch of a new monthly blog called “Red Planet Bound”. 

Hosted on the Mars Society’s web site, the new online column is being written by Evan Plant-Weir HBSc, co-founder of The Mars Society of Canada. A passionate and long-time advocate of space exploration, Evan is also a talented writer, science communicator and content creator. 

The inaugural issue of the blog is called “To Mars, For Earth”.

Your feedback about the Red Planet Bound blog is very much welcomed.

Subscribe to NASA’s Newsletter

Join us as we explore and go forward to the Moon and on to Mars. Plus, discover the latest on Earth, the Solar System and beyond from NASA in your inbox.

TorqAid January 2021 Update

Hi everyone,
I wish you all a Happy New Year, and hopefully 2021 will have more of a silver lining than 2020. I’m enclosing the link to our January/February TorqAid Toolkit – see This document includes key information for the global humanitarian or development practitioner. In particular I’d like to highlight:

Feel free to peruse this material, and share with interested friends and colleagues.

Chris Piper
TorqAid Director
PO Box 13, Torquay VIC 3228, Australia

61 (0)412 497 317
TorqAid Monthly Updates:

U.S. Department of Transportation is Advancing Space Policy (Press release: December 9, 2020)

WASHINGTON — Today, the White House National Space Council issued its National Space Policy (PDF), a coordinated process for developing and monitoring the implementation of America’s space policy and strategy. The U.S. Department of Transportation (the Department) is a critical partner and recognizes that commercial space transportation capabilities have become the gateway to innovation in this growing sector of national and international aerospace endeavors.

“America is experiencing its most exciting years in space yet, and the Department is committed to working with the rest of the government to remove barriers to international competitiveness and ensure the safe operation of commercial space transportation activity,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

From traditional rockets to space planes, the Department ensures the protection of the public, property, and national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. during commercial launches and reentry activities. 

The Department is a standing member of the National Space Council and is involved in the production of space policy directives. Through the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA), the Department also encourages the growth of the U.S. commercial space transportation industry, signs cooperative agreements with other nations to promote the adoption of U.S. public safety standards and regulatory concepts, and supports commercial human exploration of space through a partnership with NASA.

The FAA also issues rules, regulations, and policies for commercial space transportation to ensure public safety and is testing new technologies to further enable the safe and efficient integration of space vehicle operations with other types of air traffic in the National Airspace System (NAS).

For example, the FAA recently streamlined and modernized its regulations governing commercial space launch and reentry licensing. The new rule facilitates greater growth and innovation in the aerospace industry, maintains public safety, and helps the U.S strengthen its leading position in the world. 

Thus far, the FAA has licensed more than 380 commercial space launches and re-entries, as well as 12 spaceport operators, located in eight states.

Additionally, the Department supports the National Space Policy’s new tasks to: improve the cybersecurity of GPS, its augmentations, and federally-owned GPS-enabled devices; foster all civil and commercial sector adoption of cyber-secure GPS-enabled systems; invest in capabilities to detect, analyze, mitigate, and increase resilience to harmful interference to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); and, identify and promote use of multiple and diverse complementary positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) systems or approaches for critical infrastructure and mission-essential functions.

U.S. DOT Supports Record Number of Licensed Commercial Space Launches (Press Release: December 14, 2020)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation is having a record year with supporting 35 licensed commercial space launches thus far in 2020 with the potential for even more before the year ends. The prior record of 33 was established in 2018.

“The record number of launches demonstrates this administration’s commitment to support the innovation and growth of the U.S. commercial space transportation industry and lead the world in aerospace capabilities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

For 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is forecasting a continued growth in licensed commercial space launches that could possibly reach 50 or more.

The 2020 commercial space launches cover a diversity of missions including the first FAA licensed crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), cargo-only resupply of the ISS, delivery of private enterprise satellites into orbit and the testing of space capsules and rocket systems. The launches occurred from seven locations both domestic and foreign:  Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and New Zealand.

The FAA recently streamlined and modernized the regulations governing commercial space launch and reentry licensing as directed in the President’s May 2018 Space Policy Directive -2.  The new rule facilitates greater growth and innovation in the aerospace industry, maintains public safety, and helps the U.S strengthen its leading position in the world. 

An FAA license is required to conduct any commercial launch or reentry, the operation of any launch or reentry site by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, or by any individual or entity within the United States. Once the FAA issues a license or permit, the agency works with operators to make sure they are meeting the requirements to conduct launches and reentries. This includes having FAA safety inspectors monitor licensed activities.

Published by the ad astra vita project

The ad astra vita project aims to promote global space life sciences and health networking, including an annual international conference which is diverse, inclusive, and accessible, provide a resources portal related to medicine in austere and extreme environments, and offer a space health consultancy. It is a philanthropic not-for-profit initiative.

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