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TRACKING CUBESATS IS EASY, BUT MANY STAY IN ORBIT TOO LONG 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 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: - Aug 1)

TAKE A SELF-GUIDED VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION 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 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)

INDIA'S ADVANCED WEATHER SATELLITE INSAT-3D COMPLETES TWO YEARS IN ORBIT INDIA'S ADVANCED WEATHER SATELLITE INSAT-3D COMPLETES TWO YEARS IN ORBIT - INSAT-3D is an exclusive mission designed for enhanced meteorological observations and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning, ISRO said. The satellite was launched by European rocket Ariane VA214 flight from French Guyana on July 26, 2013. INSAT-3D is the first Indian geostationary satellite, equipped with sounder instrument that provides frequent good quality atmospheric profiles (temperature, humidity) over the Indian land mass and adjoining areas, it added. The main objective of the INSAT-3D mission is to provide high quality observations for monitoring and prediction of weather events as well as for the study of climate.   More
(Source: Zee News - Jul 29)

SKYNET 5A SATELLITE STARTS MOVE EASTWARDS SKYNET 5A SATELLITE STARTS MOVE EASTWARDS - Airbus Defence and Space has announced that the planned 67,000 km move of the Skynet 5A satellite over the Asia Pacific region is on track. The move from 6 degrees East to 94.8 degrees East will expand Airbus Defence and Space's capability to provide protected and secure military satcom services to allied governments in the Asia-Pacific region. The satellite will be on station at its new location in the autumn this year. Airbus Defence and Space announced the planned move of Skynet 5A military communications satellite at the Satellite 2015 Conference in March 2015.    More
(Source: Space Daily - Jul 29)

DMSP SATELLITE'S BREAK-UP LINKED TO BATTERY FAILURE DMSP SATELLITE'S BREAK-UP LINKED TO BATTERY FAILURE - Investigators have traced the cause of an in-space disintegration of a U.S. Air Force weather satellite in February to a battery fault and identified six other spacecraft in orbit prone to the same failure. Engineers originally suspected the polar-orbiting satellite's power system was to blame for the Feb. 3 explosion, which littered low Earth orbit with 147 objects ranging from the size of a baseball to the size of a basketball, according to an Air Force press release. A report from engineers investigating the break-up of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13, or DMSP F13, spacecraft revealed the probable cause of the failure was a compromised wiring harness inside a battery charger aboard the satellite.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 28)

SENTINEL 5P: SATELLITE TO TACKLE POLLUTION SENTINEL 5P: SATELLITE TO TACKLE POLLUTION - A small satellite spacecraft, made in the UK is set to go into space next April. It will monitor pollution in the atmosphere to help work out which countries are causing the biggest problems to planet earth. It's taken 6 months to build and a year to test. Now Sentinel 5P as the satellite is called, is off for it's final four months of testing in France They'll make sure the satellite can survive it's take off and up to 5 years in space. The satellite will operate 824 kilometres up in orbit and take readings from the around the world every hour and a half. It'll give a global picture of where pollution is the worst with special instruments which measure levels of certain chemicals and pollutants.    More
(Source: BBC News - Jul 27)

CHINA LAUNCHES 2 SATELLITES AS IT BUILDS GPS RIVAL CHINA LAUNCHES 2 SATELLITES AS IT BUILDS GPS RIVAL - China launched two new satellites into space Saturday, state media reported, as it builds a homegrown satellite navigation system to rival the US's Global Positioning System. A rocket carrying the satellites was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan province at 8:29 pm (1229 GMT), the official Xinhua news agency said. The satellites are the 18th and 19th launched by China as it develops its domestic navigation system Beidou, or Compass. They take the total number launched this year to three.   More
(Source: NDTV - Jul 26)

CHINA'S SPACE PROGRAM: 2016 SATELLITE LAUNCH TO SUPPORT MANNED MISSIONS, RESEARCHERS SAY CHINA'S SPACE PROGRAM: 2016 SATELLITE LAUNCH TO SUPPORT MANNED MISSIONS, RESEARCHERS SAY - China's space program and research ambitions have continued to reach new heights Thursday, when Chinese researchers announced plans to launch a retrievable scientific research satellite in the first half of 2016. The SJ-10 satellite was set to run a series of tests that would aid scientists back on Earth conducting research in microgravity and space life science, project chief Hu Wenrui said according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. The data collected from the tests were expected to eventually be implemented to support manned space missions, as well. The satellite would specifically administer 19 experiments in 6 different scientific disciplines: microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion, space material science, space radiation effect, microgravity biological effect and space biological techniques. The satellite would return to Earth after 12 days of orbit in a re-entry capsule. The program was also reportedly planning to launch a satellite for quantum science experiments and an X-ray telescope to study black holes within the next two years.   More
(Source: International Business Times - Jul 25)

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