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Good morning. At 7:37 pm ET last night, Dragon and Crew-4 docked with the ISS. After a brief interlude, the space station’s population is back at 11.

In today’s newsletter:
📸 Ingenuity imagery
📊 Q1 earnings
📝 Contract report

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Ingenuity Flight 26

Mars Perseverance parachute and protective shell (shot by Ingenuity in April 2022)
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

During its 26th fight, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter snapped incredible images of the parachute and backshell that helped the chopper and the Perseverance rover to land on the Red Planet’s surface a little over a year ago. 

This was no coincidence: NASA and JPL intentionally directed the helicopter over to the landing site, thinking that photos of the landing debris could help ensure safe future landings for other spacecraft.

Ingenuity has had an incredible run on Mars so far. The craft was only originally meant to fly five sorties to validate whether or not flying in the planet’s thin atmosphere would even work. It does, and now the NASA Ingenuity team is using it to provide a different vantage point of the Martian surface.

A picture speaks a thousand words

Back at home, NASA scientists are analyzing the image of the parachute and backshell, which protected Perseverance during landing. The image shows some damage to the backshell, but it looks like the protective coating on the shell remained intact during landing, not destroyed by entering Mars’ atmosphere. 

  • The parachute and the lines connecting it to the backshell also look in good condition.
  • Over the next few weeks, the team will continue to look for clues in the Ingenuity images.

A flying guide: Perseverance is headed to the Jezero delta to search for signs of microbial life. When it arrives there, researchers may use Ingenuity to determine what the rover’s best path should be to get to the top of the delta. 

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Q1 Earnings Recap

Yesterday, Boeing (NYSE:BA) and General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) reported Q1 earnings, while Northrop Grumman’s (NYSE:NOC) results crossed the wire this morning. Space highlights below. 

$BA

  • Total revenue was $13.9B, down 8.1% YoY. 
  • Boeing Defense, Space, & Security (DSS) revenue was $5.4B (-23.7% YoY)
  • DSS recorded a net loss of $929M vs. $405M last year 
  • DSS’s Q1 operating margin of -16.9% (vs. 5.6% last year) was primarily attributable to lower volume and contract changes for aircraft. 
  • DSS’s backlog stands at ~$60B. 

$GD

  • Total revenue: $9.4B (unchanged YoY)
  • Aerospace revenue: $1.9B (+0.8% YoY)
  • Aerospace operating earnings were $243M, up ~11% YoY
  • Operating margins at the segment were 12.8%, up from 11.7% in Q1 2021

$NOC

  • Total sales were $8.8B (-2% YoY)
  • Space systems sales were ~$2.9B, +13% YoY
  • Operating income at the space systems segment dropped 5% YoY to $261M

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ClimaCon is organized by Tomorrow.io, the world’s leading weather and climate security platform helping countries, businesses, and individuals manage their weather and climate security challenges by leveraging proprietary data from its multi-sensor weather satellite constellation. 

Register here.


Join us IRL on May 10th 

We messed up and gave you two different dates for our event in Tuesday’s newsletter. Although we do wish we could host two happy hours next month, the event is May 10th at 5pm. 

Join us and our partners, Crowell & Moring and Galvanick, for networking + drinks in El Segundo. We are excited to meet some of you IRL. As space is limited, registration is required. Drinks and conversations are on us.

Apply Here.


In Other News

  • Shareholders of D-Orbit’s SPAC, Breeze Holdings (NASDAQ:BREZ), will vote next Thursday on whether to extend the deadline for completing the transaction.
  • The UAE’s Hope spacecraft has discovered a mysterious, new type of aurora on Mars. 
  • ULA hoisted the dual-engine Centaur stage atop an Atlas V that will launch Boeing’s Starliner OFT-2 mission. The launch will be ULA’s 150th mission. 
  • Also…ULA chief Tory Bruno says Vulcan flight BE-4 engines are “heading to the build stand.” And while we’re on the topic: behold a bunch of Raptor 2 engines at Starbase.
  • OSC, or the US Office of Space Commerce, has a new director: Richard DalBello. AIA VP for space systems Mike French applauded the move, saying that DalBello’s “deep industry and government experience are well aligned to build Commerce’s space sustainability role and serve as an advocate for maintaining US industry’s leadership in the global space market.” 

The Contract Report

  • SDL, Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, was subcontracted by Ball Aerospace to build two space-based radios for NASA’s Solar Cruiser mission.
  • ISRO and OneWeb signed a launch services agreement (via Payload).
  • Hawaiian Airlines and JSX inked deals with Starlink to provide in-flight connectivity (via Payload). 
  • Aphelion Aerospace secured a contract of up to $10M to provide CubeSat products for One Voice 4 Change.
  • Satellogic (NASDAQ:SATL) will integrate satellite imagery into Orbital Insight’s geospatial intelligence platform, and it also struck a maritime domain awareness partnership with Geocollect.
  • Maxar (NYSE: MAXR) said it received up to $202M in mission support contracts from the US government in Q1, spread across 27 awards and six years. 
  • Synspective secured a contract from Japan’s National Space Policy Secretariat for a small SAR satellite constellation demo project.
  • Orolia, a position, navigation, and timing (PNT) provider, will supply Meta with atomic reference time cards to synchronize data centers.
  • Orbit Logic will provide software support to Northrop Grumman as it develops the Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability for USSF. (Northrop secured the original DARC contract in February.) 
  • Intelsat and Gilat signed a “multimillion-dollar deal” to provide satellite cellular backhaul for new/underserved areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The View from Florida

The fiery plume from the Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew-4 to the ISS.
Crew-4 takes off on a Falcon 9. Image: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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