JAXA POSTPONES LAUNCH OF SATELLITE DUE TO LIGHTNING - The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Monday it will postpone the Wednesday launch of its third Epsilon solid-fuel rocket due to expected bad weather.
The space agency now aims to launch the three-stage, 26-meter rocket from Uchinoura Space Center in the town of Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Thursday morning, at the earliest. More
(Source: The Japan Times - Jan 16)
WELCOME TO THE AGE OF MICRO SATELLITE SWARMS - In late 2017, Google admitted to tracking user location data no matter what location settings were enabled. About a month later, Chinese officials showcased the prowess of their extensive surveillance system when they tracked down and apprehended a BBC reporter in only seven minutes. All in all, “Big Brother” seems to be a growing reality in our day-to-day lives. This constant surveillance might be getting a boost thanks Finnish tech start-up ICEYE, which aims to launch a fleet of sub-100kg radar micro-satellites. More
(Source: Futurism - Jan 16)
NEW U.S. MISSILE-WARNING SATELLITE SET FOR LAUNCH AT CAPE CANAVERAL - The U.S. military’s newest missile-warning satellite is set to lift off later this week just as tensions continue to mount over North Korea’s ICBM program.
Crews at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, are preparing to launch the SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite on Thursday from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
“Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the Space Based Infrared System GEO Flight 4 mission for the U.S. Air Force,” ULA announced on Monday. The forecast shows an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the planned 7:52PM EST liftoff on Thursday. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 16)
DOUBTS ABOUT SPACEX RELIABILITY PERSIST AS ASTRONAUT MISSIONS APPROACH - We may never know the precise reason a billion-dollar spy satellite that was launched Jan. 7 on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket failed to reach orbit. Everything about the mission except the launch itself was secret, so even after a root cause for the loss is identified, few details will be available to the public.
However, one thing can already be said for certain: the failed mission isn't going to help SpaceX overcome doubts about the reliability of its launch vehicles. More
(Source: Forbes - Jan 16)
CHINA LAUNCHES EARTH-OBSERVING SATELLITE ON LONG MARCH 2D ROCKET - A Chinese Long March 2D rocket launched a new Earth-watching satellite Saturday (Jan. 12), marking the country's third launch in four days.
The Long March 2D booster launched from China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert at 3:10 p.m. Beijing Time (2:10 a.m. EST/0710 GMT), the state-run Xinhua news service reported.
The rocket carried the new Land Survey Satellite 3 into orbit, according to a translated statement from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (known as CASC). The satellite will be used for remote-sensing of land resources, according to that statement. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 15)
CHINA'S BOLD PROPOSAL TO ZAP SPACE JUNK FROM EARTH'S ORBIT WITH LASERS - Since 1957, humans have been polluting the Earth’s orbit with bits of debris, known as space junk. There are currently around 20,000 fragments of space junk orbiting the Earth. Pieces of old satellites, used rocket stages and fragments from collision, erosion and disintegration are all floating up there, reaching speeds of up to 17,500 miles an hour.
Ideas for getting rid of this dangerous junk range from gathering it with giant nets to sending it out of Earth’s orbit using magnets. More
(Source: Wired.co.uk - Jan 15)
MEET THE AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS WHO TRACK SECRETIVE SPY SATELLITES FOR FUN - What the heck happened to Zuma? We know that the super-secret satellite was built by Northrop Grumman for an agency of the United States Government, and that SpaceX launched it on Sunday, January 7.
But what we know is vastly outweighed by what we don’t know. We’re not sure which agency the satellite was built for, and while SpaceX has stated that their Falcon 9 rocket “did everything correctly on Sunday night," the successful deployment of the satellite was not confirmed. And because of the classified nature of the craft, no one is talking about what happened. It might have failed to deploy from the Falcon 9 rocket second stage before the second stage de-orbited. More
(Source: Popular Science - Jan 15)
FOX-1D LAUNCHED, DESIGNATED AMSAT-OSCAR 92 - Right on schedule at 03:59 UTC on January 12, 2018, the solid-fueled first stage and ground-lit strap on boosters of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its XL configuration (PSLV-XL) ignited and hurtled AMSAT’s Fox-1D CubeSat along with 30 other satellites onboard the PSLV-C40 mission towards a sun-synchronous orbit. The events along the path to orbit happened rapidly. 30 seconds into the flight, the air lit strap on boosters were lit. One minute into the flight, the ground lit strap on boosters separated. More
(Source: AMSAT - Jan 14)
COMMERCIAL CARGO CRAFT SPLASHES DOWN IN PACIFIC OCEAN AFTER STATION RESUPPLY RUN - A commercial cargo capsule owned by SpaceX concluded a month-long resupply trip to the International Space Station on Saturday, wrapping up the 13th round-trip flight to the station by a Dragon spacecraft with an on-target splashdown in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California.
Bringing home 4,078 pounds (1,850 kilograms) of disused equipment, spacesuit gear and spacewalk hardware, and scientific specimens, the Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 10:37 a.m. EST (7:37 a.m. PST; 1537 GMT) after a blistering hot re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 14)
INDIAN ROCKET LAUNCHES 31 SATELLITES INTO ORBIT - An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has launched 31 new satellites into orbit, making a successful comeback after a launch failure last August.
The PSLV rocket lifted off from the Indian Space Research Organisation's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the country's east coast carrying the agency's Cartosat-2F Earth observation satellite and 30 smaller payloads. Liftoff occurred Thursday, Jan. 11, at 10:59 p.m. EST (0359 Jan. 12 GMT), though it was Friday morning local time at the launch site. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 13)
CHINA SAYS IT STILL HAS CONTROL OVER TIANGONG-1 AND CAN DECIDE WHERE IT’LL CRASH - The Tiangong-1 space station has been the subject of a lot of interest lately. Though its mission was meant to end in 2013, the China National Space Agency extended its service until 2016. In September of 2017, after much speculation from the international community, the Agency acknowledged that the station’s orbit was degrading and that it would fall to Earth later in the year.
Based on updates from satellite trackers, it has been indicated that Tianglong-1 will likely reenter our atmosphere in March of 2018, with the possibility of debris making it to the surface. However, according to a statement made by a top engineer at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC), reports that the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) has lost control of the space station have been wildly exaggerated. More
(Source: Universe Today - Jan 13)
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION’S ORBIT TO BE RAISED BY 600 METERS - The medium height of the International Space Station’s flight orbit will be raised by 600 meters with the help of the engines of the Zvezda module on January 17, Russia’s Mission Control said on Friday.
"The propulsion system of the Zvezda module will work for 22 seconds. According to preliminary calculated data, the maneuver will increase the medium height of the ISS’s flight orbit by 600 meters to 404.4 km," Mission Control said.
(Source: TASS - Jan 13)
DELTA 4 ROCKET LAUNCHES SPY SATELLITE INTO SPACE - Five days after a presumed spy satellite was lost following launch from Florida, another clandestine satellite, this one owned by the National Reconnaissance Office, was boosted into space Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Running a day late because of glitches with ground systems, the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket carrying the classified NROL-47 spacecraft lifted away from launch complex 6 at 2:11 p.m. PST (GMT-7; 5:11 p.m. EST) and quickly shot away to the south over the Pacific Ocean. More
(Source: CBS News - Jan 13)
CHINA LAUNCHES LATEST BEIDOU-3M SATELLITE DUO - A new pair of navigation satellites were successfully launched by China on Thursday, using a Long March-3B/YZ-1. The launch of the Beidou-3M pair took place at around 23:18 UTC from the LC2 Launch Complex of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province. It took over four hours to complete the mission.
The launch was previously scheduled for 2017. However, this was delayed due to a partial launch failure with a previous launch of this rocket during the Zhongxing-9A (ChinaSat-9A) mission, which resulted in the satellite being lofted to a lower than planned orbit. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jan 12)
IMAGE: CHINA'S SPACE STATION TIANGONG-1 - This vivid image shows China's space station Tiangong-1 – the name means 'heavenly palace' – and was captured by French astrophotographer Alain Figer on 27 November 2017. It was taken from a ski area in the Hautes-Alpes region of southeast France as the station passed overhead near dusk.
The station is seen at lower right as a white streak, resulting from the exposure of several seconds, just above the summit of the snowy peak of Eyssina (2837 m altitude). Several artefacts in the original have been removed.
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 12)
SPACE AGENCY SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES 100TH SATELLITE CARTOSAT-2, PM CONGRATULATES SCIENTISTS - India on Friday launched a polar rocket with 31 satellites, including three Indian and 28 of six other nations from its spaceport here.
The 44.4-metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) roared into a clear sky after a perfect lift-off at 9.29 a.m. after a 28-hour countdown.
The 320-tonne rocket will eject the satellites one-by-one and deploy them into the earth’s lower orbit about 17 minutes and 18 seconds after the lift-off. More
(Source: Hindustan Times - Jan 12)
ULA SCRUBS DELTA IV LAUNCH WITH NROL-47 - United Launch Alliance has scrubbed a Delta IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, set to carry the classified NROL-47 mission for the US National Reconnaissance Office. Liftoff will now be attempted on Friday with the window opening at 21:00 UTC. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jan 12)
ISRO EYES ITS 100TH SATELLITE
- India will launch ISRO's 100th satellite along with 30 others in a single mission on January 12 from Sriharikota, in a milestone event in the country's space history.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it was "back in the game" with the launch, the first Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission after the unsuccessful launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in August last.
"The 31 spacecrafts, including weather observation Cartosat-2 series will be launched by PSLV-C40," ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M Annadurai said today.
(Source: Economic Times - Jan 11)
ULA DELTA IV LAUNCH WITH NROL-47 MOVED TO THURSDAY - United Launch Alliance will attempt to launch a Delta IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying out the classified NROL-47 mission for the US National Reconnaissance Office. Liftoff is now scheduled for Thursday, 13:00 local time (21:00 UTC), following a scrub due to unacceptable weather on Wednesday. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jan 10)