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Good morning. Market sell-offs intensified Monday, fueled by rate hikes and fears of a recession, with major US indices touching new lows for 2022. 

Space stocks weren’t spared by the drawdown. While the S&P 500 and Nasdaq slid 3.2% and 4.3%, respectively, a group of space equities tracked by Payload fell by nearly 8% Monday.

In today’s newsletter:
🎙️ Q+A with AEB’s Carlos Moura
⚡ Propulsion deal
📝 Payload reader survey: final day
🔁 People on the move

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A Convo with Carlos Moura, President of Brazil’s Space Agency 

Carlos Moura, president of AEB, Brazil's space agency
Image: Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

As mentioned last week, we recently sat down with Carlos Moura, president of Brazil’s space agency (AEB). Next week, AEB will help host an event aimed at promoting space development in Latin America. 

“Brazil is one of the few countries that can act in all segments of space,” Moura said, with a track record in EO, suborbital sounding rockets, microgravity experiments, and ground stations. 

  • Building off that base: Moura believes Brazil can do a better job in developing domestic downstream space applications for its agribusiness and energy sectors. That’d help Brazil develop its own supply chains and further capitalize on R&D efforts. 
  • Rocketry: Brazil is developing its own nanosatellite launcher. A sovereign orbital capability “is something that we believe we should have,” Moura said.
  • Open for business: AEB and the Brazilian Air Force are in the process of opening up the Alcântara spaceport to foreign launchers. 
  • To the moon: Brazil, an Artemis signatory, aims to “have a medium- and long-term vision of how we can join the other countries and really participate” in lunar exploration efforts, Moura said.

Read our full Q&A with Moura online.

+ While we’re here: Marcos Pontes, Brazil’s lone astronaut, visited the ISS in 2006. Pontes currently serves as the country’s minister of science, technology, and innovation.

Yesterday, Blue Origin announced that a second Brazilian—civil production engineer Victor Correa Hespanha—will soon go to space on the NS-21 flight. 


Dawn Clinches Propulsion Contract

Image: Blue Canyon Technologies

Yesterday, Dawn Aerospace, a space-based transportation company based out of New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the US, said it has struck a deal to supply turnkey propulsion to Raytheon subsidiary Blue Canyon Technologies. 

The contract: Through the agreement, Dawn will supply a full suite of propulsion equipment for its client’s X-SAT Saturn satellite bus. The ESPA-Grande class satellite bus can carry 200kg of payload mass. Blue Canyon’s priority was manufacturing cadence, per a press release. 

Dawn has signed contracts to supply 100+ thrusters to customers in several markets, as well as propulsion for a few planned constellations and orbital transfer vehicles.

The big picture: Independent propulsion companies are cropping up and finding business all over the place in recent weeks. After decades of defense consolidation all but wiped out the independent propulsion supplier base, newcomers are eager to innovate and claim a slice of the pie.


ICYMI…Last week, we launched an audience survey that will help us make Payload an even better experience for you. Nearly 600 of our readers have already answered. What’s in it for you? Well, there are a couple benefits we can think of: 

  1. You’ll improve this newsletter and get direct input into which products we launch next. 
  2. Five of you who take the survey will be randomly selected to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a Payload jacket (retails for $60).

Take the survey.


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In Other News

  • Virgin Orbit ($VORB) will launch Straight Up, with seven Space Forced-procured payloads for various US agencies, from the Mojave spaceport no earlier than June 29. The target orbit is ~500km above Earth at a 45° inclination, which “no other system has reached from the West Coast.”
  • A group of Arqit ($ARQQ) investors has filed a class auction lawsuit against the company. 
  • Goldman Sachs is walking away from “most” SPAC deal-making, per Bloomberg. The second-biggest underwriter of blank check mergers is reportedly “spooked” by new SEC-proposed liability measures provisions. 
  • NASA has an uphill PR battle in making Artemis a household name. In a recent taping of Jeopardy!, no contestant could identify the program’s name, including one who had been on a 21-game winning streak. 
  • Quanta’s JWST coverage won the 2022 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting. 
  • Maxar Technologies ($MAXR) has delayed the launch of its first two WorldView satellites by two to three months, the company said yesterday. Maxar reported a net loss of $7M in Q1 on $405M in revenue. $MAXR shares dropped 10.4% Monday.  
  • Truist Securities and Canaccord Genuity downgraded Virgin Galactic ($SPCE) from a Buy to a Hold. Analysts at each shop slashed price targets to $8 from $24 and $36, respectively. $SPCE shares closed at $6.07 Monday (-11%).

On the Move

  • NASA’s Glenn Research Center director, Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis, plans to retire in June after nearly four decades with the agency.
  • Slingshot Aerospace hired Erin Defossé as COO and promoted Dr. Belinda Marchand to chief scientist.
  • Vaya Space brought on Brent David Willis as CEO, replacing Grant Begley, who will remain with Vaya on the Board of Directors.
  • Seraphim Space named Maureen Haverty as VP and Patrick McCall as venture partner. Also, the company brought Bob Wigley onto its board as a senior adviser, per City AM.
  • Peraton appointed Andrew Hallman as VP of national security strategy and integration.
  • Accion Systems named Laura Crabtree to its board of supervisors.
  • Momentus has hired three new execs: Charles Chase, Nick Zello, and Gary Bartmann joined as VPs of engineering, operations, and supply chain, respectively.
  • SkyWatch brought on Jason Davitsky as director of support.
  • USAF swore in Frank Calvelli as assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, following his confirmation by the Senate.
  • Intelsat appointed Anthony O’Brien as CFO, Clay McConnell as SVP of corporate communications and marketing, Jeff Sare as president of its commercial aviation division, and Michael DeMarco as chief commercial officer.
  • Blue Origin announced the crew of NS-21: Evan Dick, Katya Echazarreta, Hamish Harding, Victor Correa Hespanha, Jaison Robinson, and Victor Vescovo. Dick will be Blue’s first return customer, while Katya Echazarreta will become the first Mexican-born woman to visit space. Space for Humanity and Crypto Space Agency sponsored Echazarreta and Hespanha’s seats.

The View from China

The engines firing on a Long March rocket.
Image: CCTV. China’s Tianzhou 4 cargo resupply mission has now docked at the country’s Tiangong space station, ready for a crew’s arrival in June. Here’s yesterday’s launch from Hainan, China.

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