Hello and welcome back to Max Q. The big news this week is that I’m buying Twitter! Just kidding. But I do tweet every now and then @breadfrom† say hello, or email [email protected]

In this release:

Diversity and Inclusion in Space An overview of Elon’s antics This Week with Founder Luisa Buinhas

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This week, 24 companies, including ULA, SpaceX, JPL and Rocket Lab, pledged to improve diversity and inclusion, with regular check-ins to keep each other fair. What does that mean in concrete terms? Under the Space Workforce 2030 pledge, the companies agreed to “significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups in our collective engineering workforce,” and in senior leadership positions; working with universities to improve the diversity of aerospace engineering programs; and to sponsor K-12 programs that reach at least 5 million children annually.

The companies say they will collect their employment target figures and present them at the Space Symposium conference each year. They also gather to share best practices and encourage others to join the pledge.

Our coverage of Elon’s Twitter bid

Stay with me here: Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter isn’t exactly space news, but considering Musk is the head of the world’s most successful space company, it’s worth mentioning. covered the story from a few different angles; I’ve rounded them up below:

This week with…Luisa Buinhas

Luisa Buinhas is a space systems engineer and co-founder of the German startup Vyoma GmbH, a company that aims to combine observational data from space debris with satellite operations. Vyoma won the Startup Space pitch competition at Satellite 2022.

: What are you working on?

Luisa Buinhas: At Vyoma, I support the Phase B activities of our satellite mission. Critically, this week we are conducting final assessments of potential ground communications networks that we will use to talk to our satellites. At the same time, I plan to finalize and submit to DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt, or German Aerospace Center) a pipeline proposal on automating decision-making in space traffic management.

What happened in the news this past week that you can’t think of?

The announcement of three new heavy-lift rockets that will launch thousands of Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellites into low orbit. A total of 3,236 new satellites will be added to an already crowded space over the next few years. While it is valuable to provide broadband connectivity, particularly to remote corners of the world, this will further strain a congested space environment and exacerbate the problem of space debris.

Seven billion people on Earth depend on space services, from navigation to communications and weather forecasting. With the increase in space traffic, the risk of these services being disrupted by in-orbit collisions (between satellites or between satellites and debris) increases exponentially, bringing life to a standstill here on Earth – not even flights can take off without satellite services! As a tragedy of the commons, this is yet another reminder of the extreme importance of keeping our jobs clean for generations to come.

What are you looking forward to next week?

Since we recently moved into a new office here in Munich, I’m looking forward to decorating it this week with new furniture and matching wall art. On a personal level, a friend of mine I haven’t seen (personally) in three years is coming to Munich tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier to catch up. Finally, Easter is just around the corner, so I’m looking forward to flying back to Lisbon for a few days and going for a chocolate egg hunt with the family. Much to our dismay, our dog always discovers the secret locations where we hide (sniff) the chocolate, so Easter games are a lot more fun for her.

Which song is on repeat?

Lately, I’ve been deeply homesick for my teenage years in São Paulo, Brazil, so Zeca Pagodinho (“Seu Balancê”) and Zélia Duncan (“Catedral”) have been on my playlists a lot.

More news from TC and beyond

Axiom Space’s Ax-1, the company’s first all-private mission, docked at the ISS Saturday morning. The crew of four will spend eight days on board the station. Northrop Grumman began construction of a 25,000-square-foot facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which will provide space systems engineering and integrated mission operations to the United States military. Pythom Space responded to security concerns raised by those in the industry and the media after the startup released a video of a test of the first stage of its Eiger rocket. (You can watch the video below.) “Virgin has had several accidents, including fatalities,” the startup says. “ABL blew up their second stage last month, Astra blew up more missiles than we can count. What sets them and Pythom apart isn’t that we’re any safer or more insecure. The difference is that we are more transparent.” Rocket Lab broke ground at a 250,000-square-foot facility in Virginia, where it will manufacture the Neutron rocket. The site is adjacent to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, and near Rocket Lab’s existing launch pad for the Electron rocket and a second launch pad for Neutron. Space Capital released its Space Investment Quarterly report for the first quarter of this year. The company found that $7.2 billion had been invested in 118 aerospace companies in the first quarter. Investments in the top 10 rounds made up $4.4 billion, or 61% of that total number. Space Perspective has released a first look at the interior of spaceship Neptune, the company’s suborbital passenger capsule. Space Perspective wants to sell luxury six-hour trips to suborbital space, with each ticket costing $125,000. SpaceX was awarded a contract from South Korea to launch five Earth observation satellites aboard a Falcon 9 by 2025. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will work to ensure that SpaceX’s operations remain in the state. “I have worked very closely with Elon Musk regarding Tesla and the Giga plant in Austin, Texas,” he said. “And we will be working very closely with him every step of the way in Boca Chica for the future of SpaceX. We want that future and that vision to come from Boca Chica, of Brownsville, Texas.” United Launch Alliance ordered 116 RL10C-X engines for its Vulcan Centaur rocket from Aerojet Rocketdyne. This is the largest order for RL engines ever, Aerojet said.

Pythom Micro-Jump from Pythom on Vimeo.

Finally… a favor

Found, the podcast where founders tell the stories behind their startups, has been nominated for a Webby for Best Technology Podcast. Help them win the People’s Voice Award by casting your vote here before April 21.

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