L.A.-BASED ROCKET LAB TO BUILD A SATELLITE LAUNCH SITE IN NEW ZEALAND - small Los Angeles aerospace firm has ambitious plans to become the first commercial company to build and operate its own satellite launch site - in New Zealand.
Currently, most rocket launch sites in the United States are government owned and regulated. That puts restrictions on when satellites can be launched into orbit and drives up cost, experts say.
To bring down costs and improve the frequency of launches, Rocket Lab intends to finish construction by the end of the year at a private launch pad near Christchurch in southern New Zealand. Rocket Lab estimates each launch will cost nearly $5 million - a fraction of the average price that aerospace firms pay today to blast a satellite to orbit. More
(Source: Los Angeles Times - Aug 5)
ISRO TO LAUNCH 9 NANO/MICRO AMERICAN SATELLITES DURING 2015-16 - Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be launching nine nano/ micro satellites for United States during 2015-16 time frame.
This will be the first time that ISRO will launch US satellite.
"As on date, Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, has signed agreement to launch about nine nano/micro (US) satellites during 2015-2016 time frame," ISRO Director Public Relations Deviprasad Karnik said.
These satellites will go as piggyback on PSLV's (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), officials said.
(Source: Economic Times - Aug 5)
ISRO TO PUT US SATELLITE IN SPACE FOR THE FIRST TIME - Many may find it a crowning glory, but Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) scientists think it's just an acknowledgement long due. The US, which imposed sanctions on India, will take India's help to launch one of its satellites soon.
Isro has a track record of launching satellites for 19 countries including space-faring nations, but this is the first time the US would be using an Indian vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, to put one of its satellite in orbit. More
(Source: Times of India - Aug 4)
COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE SYSTEM READY FOR MILITARY USE - A secure satellite communications system for the U.S. military and allies in the time of global crisis is now live, Lockheed Martin reports.
The system -- it connects the military forces of the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and Britain -- is the Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF, satellite network.
With attaining initial operational capability, all operators with access can begin using the system for routine sensitive communication and critical operations.
"When a commander issues orders, they need to know their troops will get the information quickly and without fear of interruption or interception," said Mark C. Calassa, vice president of Protected Communication Systems and AEHF program manager for Lockheed Martin. "Compared to anything else on orbit, AEHF gives an unmatched level of protection and has five times the speed of legacy protected communication systems. More
(Source: UPI - Aug 4)
THIS CLEANUP SATELLITE IS DESIGNED TO GOBBLE UP SPACE DEBRIS LIKE PAC-MAN - A team of engineers has been at work for the past three years to develop a space cleanup satellite. The intent is to eliminate threatening, human-made orbital debris.
The worry is not new - there's lots of clutter to pick and choose from, be it broken down satellites to tossed away rocket stages. A new entry to de-litter Earth orbit is the CleanSpace One project, spearheaded by researchers from eSpace, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne's (EPFL) Center for Space Engineering and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory and HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland. More
(Source: Mashable - Aug 4)
TRACKING CUBESATS IS EASY, BUT MANY STAY IN ORBIT TOO LONG - U.S. military radars have little trouble tracking the flux of CubeSats filling orbital traffic lanes, diminishing worries that new commercial CubeSat constellations could generate collision hazards in space, according to a report issued by NASA last week.
But 46 of the 231 CubeSats successfully launched from 2000 through the end of 2014 - about one in five - will remain in orbit more than a quarter-century. Space debris experts and most big international satellite operators have agreed to re-position spacecraft in low Earth orbit at low enough altitudes to naturally re-enter the atmosphere within 25 years at the end of their lives. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 3)
LAWMAKERS WORRY SPACEX EXPLOSION MAY ENDANGER MILITARY SATELLITE LAUNCHES - Fourteen members of Congress want NASA and the Air Force to explain how SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will be cleared to fly after a June 28 launch explosion and if the accident could endanger future military satellite launches SpaceX wants.
In a letter dated July 30, lawmakers say they "have serious reservations" about letting SpaceX conduct its own investigation subject to (Federal Administration of Aviation) approval. Specifically, the lawmakers say they "are concerned whether the investigation and engineering rigor applied will be sufficient to prevent future military launch mishaps."
SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster exploded 2 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral on June 28 resulting in the loss of a $100 million NASA supply payload for the International Space Station. Military communications and spy satellites can cost upwards of $1 billion to develop and launch. More
(Source: AL.com - Aug 1)
TAKE A SELF-GUIDED VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - While we've seen lots of photos and videos of the inside of the International Space Station (ISS), seen what our planet looks like from aboard the orbiting outpost and even heard what it sounds like up there, your chance to actually guide yourself through the various modules that comprise the station has been limited. That changed in June, when the European Space Agency (ESA) put up a website that allowed you to pilot your mouse around the Columbus module, the ISS research pod deployed by the ESA in 2008.
Now, the ESA has expanded its virtual tour site to include five more modules. In fact, all of the modules are now online except for the Russian ones, which the ESA says will be released later this year, so you can now click around quite a bit of the Space Station. More
(Source: CNET - Jul 31)
RUSSIA FORMALLY COMMITS TO STATION THROUGH 2024 - Russia has formally notified its International Space Station partners that it will continue in the partnership at least to 2024, ending several months of doubts that were fueled by the current poor state of Russia's relations with the West.
The 22-nation European Space Agency confirmed that the Russia space agency, Roscosmos, had notified ESA and the other partners of its commitment to 2024, a decision that followed similar guarantees by NASA - the station's general contractor - and the Canadian Space Agency. More
(Source: Space News - Jul 30)