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TechCrunch Space: Launch pad decongestion

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. Let's jump in!

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Story of the week

This week, we've got some very cool news from Hubble Networks, which became the first company in history to connect a Bluetooth chip to a satellite. The startup has stayed relatively low profile, but with this tech validation they're looking to expand -- and connect possibly billions of Bluetooth-enabled devices.

One of Hubble's satellites in a terrestrial test chamber. <strong>Image Credits:</strong> Hubble Network
One of Hubble's satellites in a terrestrial test chamber. Image Credits: Hubble Network

Scoop of the week

Slides and audio from a nonpublic NASA meeting reveal the ambitious plans the agency has for its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Bringing these plans to fruition is key for private space companies, including Rocket Lab, Northrop Grumman and others, and could ease launch pad congestion on both coasts.

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, November 2, 2019, in Virginia. <strong>Image Credits:</strong> NASA / Bill Ingalls
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, November 2, 2019, in Virginia. Image Credits: NASA / Bill Ingalls

What we're reading

Over at The New York Times, Kenneth Chang recounts how a group of scientists identified 27,500 newly discovered asteroids in the solar system -- including around 100 "near-Earth" asteroids, or those that pass within Earth's orbit.

asteroid on path to earth
Near-Earth asteroid, computer artwork. Image Credits: Science Photo Library - ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / Getty Images

This week in space history

We're looking ahead this week... On Monday, May 6 (today!), Boeing is hoping to make history by carrying two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station using its Starliner capsule for the first time. The mission will take off at 10:34 PM EST.

Godspeed Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams! Godspeed Starliner!

NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore. <strong>Image Credits:</strong> NASA
NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore. Image Credits: NASA