Did you know that 2022 is the "International Year of Glass"? Back on May 18, 2021, the UN General Council declared that 2022 would be the "International Year of Glass". For its part, The American Ceramic Society hosted a 3-day convention in Washington, DC, called the "National Day of Glass". That event was held from April 5 - 7, 2022.
What could that possibly have to do with the space industry?
During that event, the mirrors built for both the Hubble Space Telescope and the newer James Webb Space Telescope were discussed. I lucked out and found an article by Ellen Rogers in the "Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal". She attended the "National Day of Glass" event, and in this article, she discusses some details of the development of the JWST mirrors.
I had not realized that Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation (a subsidiary of publicly traded Ball Corporation) had been so heavily involved in the design and manufacturing of the 18 JWST mirrors. (FYI: I was aware that Ball Aerospace is one of NASA's top 10 contractors, though.)
If that isn't sufficient, she also links to NASA's webpage dedicated solely to explaining the tech behind the mirrors. I've added that link in the supplementary comments. (It would take a couple of hours to go through it all, the text and several videos.)
NASA's "Webb Mirrors" webpage ...
The American Ceramic Society's National Day of Glass web page ...
NASA recently updated their Heliophysics webpages on April 7, 2022. That predates an April 27, 2022 press release from Boston University (BU) regarding being awarded a grant from NASA to continue research into the Sun's Heliosphere. Let me try to tie these articles together.
First, though, the Sun's Heliosphere is a bubble of plasma extending out into space. The continuous stream of plasma emitted from the Sun is called the "Solar Wind". Variations in it are referred to as "space weather". As NASA itself says, "Space is not, as is often believed, completely empty; instead, we live in the extended atmosphere of an active star. ... This extensive, dynamic solar atmosphere surrounds the Sun, Earth, the planets, and extends far out into the solar system." (See NASA link.)
NASA currently has 20 operating missions using 27 spacecraft in its "Heliophysics System Observatory". Another 14 are in the study or implementation stage. (See NASA link. ie: Parker Solar Probe, MUSE, HelioSwarm, IRIS (not the Moon lander), and IBEX, all of which I have posted about in the past.)
The point is the Sun's Heliosphere is more important than most people are aware. It actually protects our solar system from interstellar cosmic radiation. (Who knows what might have evolved if we were not in that protective bubble?)
NASA has a program called the "Diversify, Realize, Integrate, Venture, Educate" (DRIVE) aimed at specific science centers. One such science center is at Boston University. They (the university) call their program "Solar wind with Hydrogen Ion Exchange and Large-scale Dynamics" - aka the SHIELD DRIVE Science Center. This new NASA award is considered to be phase two of their research.
In phase one, BU used "compelling computer simulations created from observable data and theoretical physics to explain the physical mechanisms behind a new model of the heliosphere, the protective bubble that shelters life on Earth from destructive cosmic rays emanating from supernovas." Out of that research came the belief that the Heliosphere "... looks more like a croissant." An explanation is included in the article.
In phase two, they will compare different models from their own work and a Russian Academy. The issue is that there seems to be a missing point of energy that shapes the Heliosphere. Lead researcher Merav Opher says, " One of the main goals for phase two will be to close that gap between observations and models." Her comments can be read in the article.
One of the big space industry stories shaping up for 2022 is that of "On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing" (OSAM) technologies. Other groups are calling it "In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing" (ISAM). Broadly speaking, the biggest challenge, really, is connecting spacecraft from one manufacturer to another.
To that end, Lockheed Martin (LM) has devised their own standard for such on-orbit connections. They call it the "Mission Augmentation Port" interface (MAP). Even better, LM has made the standard open-source and non-proprietary. Sounds like a good idea.
The MAP interface is for the mechanical docking of one spacecraft to another. Electrical connections are more application-specific, but general suggestions are a part of the standard.
Paul Pelley, Senior Director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin, says, "Just like USB was designed to standardize computer connections, these documents are designed to standardize how spacecraft connect to each other on orbit. We believe it’s in the best interest of the nation for the industry to have common interface standards to provide mission agility and enterprise interoperability.”
Such a standard would allow things like hardware repairs and configuration, refuelling, and the general extension of mission life.
A link to receive the actual standard is provided, although it takes you to another page where email and name details are required.