SPACEX READIES DRAGON FOR LAUNCH TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - SpaceX is readying a Falcon 9 rocket and a Dragon cargo ship for launch Sunday to deliver more than 4,000 pounds of equipment, supplies and science gear to the International Space Station, including the first of two new docking adapters needed to capture American crew capsules being built by Boeing and SpaceX.
The science instruments and supplies cover a wide range of disciplines, including work to help figure out what is causing vision problems in three quarters of the astronauts who make long-duration space flights. A customized camera will photograph shooting stars from above to determine their chemical composition and the station crew will attempt to grow cabbage that can be added to the lab's menu. More
(Source: CBS News - Jun 28)
CHINESE LONG MARCH 4B CONDUCTS SURPRISE GAOFEN-8 LAUNCH - The Chinese have conducted another surprise launch on Friday with the launch of an Earth Observation System satellite called Gaofen-8. The launch took place at 06:22 UTC via the use of a Long March-4B rocket that set sail from the LC9 launch complex at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. There is very little information about the GF-8 Ganfen-8 satellite orbited on Friday, other than the objectives of the mission - later released to the state media - that it was to provide country surveying, disaster response, agriculture mapping, city planning, land ownership marking and road network planning. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jun 27)
SPACEX CAPSULE TO DELIVER NEW PARKING SPOT FOR SPACE STATION, RESERVED FOR FUTURE CREW SHIPS - SpaceX stands ready to launch a much-needed load of supplies to the International Space Station this weekend on the heels of a failed supply run by Russia.
Besides food and experiments, the Dragon cargo ship ordered up by NASA holds a new docking port, or parking place, for future commercial crew capsules.
Liftoff is scheduled for 10:21 a.m. Sunday. Good flying weather is forecast for SpaceX's unmanned Falcon rocket.
This shipment is especially critical because the space station has lost two deliveries since fall.
A Russian supply ship spun out of control shortly after liftoff in April and burned up on re-entry with all its contents. In October, an Orbital Sciences Corp. cargo carrier was destroyed in a Virginia launch explosion. More
(Source: U.S. News & World Report - Jun 27)
SPACEX SAYS THEY'VE ADDRESSED THE FLAW THAT CAUSED APRIL'S CRASH - SpaceX have destroyed two reusable rocket prototypes. The crash landings have been well documented. The aerospace company will once more attempt to land a rocket on a floating platform this Sunday, June 28.
SpaceX isn't masochistic. They just really believe in reusable rocket technology.
"We're not doing this just to produce cool videos," the company clarified in a new blog post. "Our goal is to radically reduce the cost of accessing space by producing a fully and rapidly reusable rocket system." More
(Source: Big News Network.com - Jun 26)
SOYUZ 2-1B LAUNCHES THIRD PERSONA-1 SPY SATELLITE - A Russian Soyuz 2-1B launch vehicle has successfully launched with the third and possibly final Persona-1 reconnaissance satellite - also known as Kvarts - into space on Tuesday. The launch was conducted at 16:44 GMT from launch pad 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia under the usual secrecy of a military launch. The first and only completely new class of Russian photoreconnaissance satellite to fly after 2000 has been in the Persona-1 series. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jun 24)
LAUNCH OF SENTINEL SATELLITE TO KEEP EYE ON EARTH SURFACE - The first optical imaging satellite in Europe's Copernicus environmental surveillance programme blasted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on Tuesday.
The satellite was launched on a Vega rocket from Kourou and its journey into Earth orbit was set to take about 55 minutes. Sentinel-2 is a polar-orbiting, multispectral high-resolution imaging mission for land monitoring to provide imagery of vegetation, soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas. More
(Source: Telegraph.co.uk - Jun 24)
THREE SOLAR STORMS COMBINE AND CRASH INTO EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE - CREATING SPECTACULAR BUT DANGEROUS DI - The sun has unleashed three separate solar storms that have combined to smash into Earth's atmosphere.
It means astronauts aboard the International Space Station have been able to capture rare images of a red aurora on our planet.
US astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted the stunning pictures today and described the view as 'spectacular'.
(Source: Daily Mail - Jun 24)
RUSSIA EYES KAZAKH COSMONAUT AS SPACE TOURIST - Russia on Monday proposed sending a Kazakh cosmonaut to the International Space Station in place of a space tourist in September after a Japanese candidate formally dropped out. Satoshi Takamatsu, a Japanese businessman, was gearing up to go to space after signing a contract to undergo training but said Monday that he was not ready for the launch expected in early September.
"The Russian commission has proposed sending a national of Kazakhstan to the ISS," spokesman for the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Igor Burenkov, told AFP.
(Source: Phys.org - Jun 23)
VEGA ROCKET READIED FOR LAUNCH OF SENTINEL-2A EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE - An Arianespace Vega launch vehicle is slated to send the European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-2A Earth-observing satellite aloft at 9:52 p.m. EDT on June 22 (01:52 GMT on 23 June) from ESA's spaceport located in Kourou, French Guiana. The preparations for the flight, which was previously scheduled to take place on June 12, are in full swing as the spacecraft having been fueled, mated with the launch adapter, and encapsulated in the rocket's payload fairing. The upcoming mission, designated Flight VV05, will be the fifth launch of the lightweight Vega rocket. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Jun 23)