SPACEX CHIEF SAYS 1ST LAUNCH OF BIG NEW ROCKET WILL BE RISKY - SpaceX's chief said Wednesday that the first launch of its big new rocket is risky and stands "a real good chance" of failure.
Founder Elon Musk told a space station research conference Wednesday that he wants to set realistic expectations for the flight later this year from Cape Canaveral. The Falcon Heavy will have three boosters instead of one, and 27 engines instead of nine, all of which must ignite simultaneously. No one will be aboard the initial flights. When it comes time to add people, Musk said, "no question, whoever's on the first flight, brave."
SpaceX plans to fly two paying customers to the moon late next year, using a Falcon Heavy. More
(Source: ABC News - Jul 20)
THIS NEW SATELLITE IS THE BRIGHTEST IN THE SKY - If you look up tonight, you might see a new light in the sky. The new Russian satellite Mayak—meaning "lighthouse"—was launched into orbit on Friday. Mayak wears a reflective surface that makes it the second brightest object in the night sky, after the moon.
Mayak is a small cubesat, only measuring a few inches across. It contains a large reflective membrane that was stretched out in the shape of a pyramid almost 10 feet on each side. This pyramid catches the sunlight and sends it toward Earth, making the Mayak one of the brightest objects in orbit. More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Jul 19)
HISTORY AND TIMELINE OF THE ISS - The International Space Station took 10 years and more than 30 missions to assemble. It is the result of unprecedented scientific and engineering collaboration among five space agencies representing 15 countries. The space station is approximately the size of a football field: a 460-ton, permanently crewed platform orbiting 240 miles above Earth. It is about four times as large as the Russian space station Mir and five times as large as the U.S. Skylab.
The idea of a space station was once science fiction, existing only in the imagination until it became clear in the 1940s that construction of such a structure might be attainable by our nation. As the Space Age began in the 1950s, designs of “space planes” and stations dominated popular media. More
(Source: CASIS - Jul 19)
RUSSIA LAUNCHES NON-TERRIFYING SATELLITE THAT FOCUSES SUN'S SOLAR RAYS ONTO EARTH - Skywatchers are going to see a new light in the heavens this week after the successful launch of the Russian satellite Mayak this past weekend.
Mayak, the Russian word for "beacon," is a standard tiny CubeSat probe. It will deploy 170 square feet (16 square metres) of reflective Mylar material in a pyramid shape that will reflect the Sun's light as it tumbles through its orbit.
The satellite will be brighter in the sky than the International Space Station (ISS) and may even appear brighter than Venus or Jupiter. Basically, a sorta crap version of the Icarus space laser in James Bond low-point Die Another Day. More
(Source: The Register - Jul 18)
NASA COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE DAMAGED 3 WEEKS BEFORE LAUNCH - NASA’s newest, slickest communications satellite has been damaged, just three weeks before its planned August launch.
NASA said Monday that one of the antennas on the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, or TDRS-M was damaged last Friday. The accident occurred inside a payload processing building near Cape Canaveral, Florida, as the satellite was being packed for launch. More
(Source: WMFE - Jul 18)
MEET THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION’S ADORABLE CAMERA DRONE - Astronauts on board the International Space Station have a new robotic companion to play around with. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released the first images shot by the "Int-Ball," a spherical camera that floats around alongside the rest of the crew. With its monochrome paint job and blue, circular eyes, it looks a little like Wall-E's Eve — or at least her head, in some kind of prototype form. Notably, the Int-Ball can move around autonomously or be controlled by operators back on Earth. The images are transferred in near real-time allowing JAXA staff to quickly evaluate problems and offer possible solutions to ISS residents. More
(Source: Engadget - Jul 18)
COMPANY TO TEST SPACE-DEBRIS-RETRIEVAL SATELLITE IN 2019, AIM TO COMMERCIALIZE BY 2020 - A Singapore-based venture company aspiring to enter the space business unveiled a life-sized model of a satellite that would retrieve space debris, with which the company plans to conduct a test run in orbit in 2019 and to make commercially viable by 2020.
"Space is filled with trash, and if things continue as they have, space exploration will no longer be sustainable. There definitely is demand (for the craft)," Mitsunobu Okada, the 44-year-old founder and CEO of Astroscale, said. Okada also revealed that his company has just accepted a 2.8 billion yen (about $2 million) investment from ANA Holdings Co. and other investors. More
(Source: The Mainichi - Jul 16)
FIRST TAIWAN-DEVELOPED SATELLITE TO LAUNCH ON AUGUST 25 - FORMOSAT-5, the first entirely domestically developed satellite operated by Taiwan’s National Space Organization was packaged and shipped to the U.S. Saturday for the launch by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket August 25 (Taiwan Time) in California, reports said. FORMOSAT-5 is the first remote sensing satellite designed, manufactured, and controlled by the NSPO and domestic teams. Succeeding FORMOSAT-2, which was decommissioned in 2016, FORMOSAT-5 will embark on a five-year mission, orbiting around the globe to conduct earth observation, according to the NSPO. More
(Source: Taiwan News - Jul 16)
BRIGHTEST 'STAR' IN THE SKY MAY SOON BE THIS RUSSIAN SATELLITE - Soon, there may be a new human-made “star” gliding across the heavens that will be brighter than both the International Space Station and the planet Venus.
Mayak, the Russian word for “beacon,” is a pyramid-shaped satellite that is the brainchild of a group of students at the Moscow State University of Mechanical Engineering (MSUME), who successfully crowdfunded the money to build and launch the probe. Their 3U CubeSat is part of a flotilla of 73 satellites hitching a ride aboard a Soyuz rocket scheduled to launch on June 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. More
(Source: National Geographic - Jul 15)
A RUSSIAN SOYUZ ROCKET PROVIDED A RIDE SHARE TO SPACE FOR MORE THAN 70 SATELLITES THIS MORNING - A Russian Soyuz rocket launched a whopping 73 satellites into space this morning, sending the spacecraft into three different orbits around Earth. The satellites — ranging from tiny probes the size of a shoebox to a half-ton satellite the size of a car — rode together into space, arranged in a tall tower stacked on top of the rocket. It’s the most amount of satellites a Soyuz has ever put into space at one time.
This mission was essentially a rocket ride share, as the satellites belong to various companies and universities. More
(Source: The Verge - Jul 15)
SOYUZ ROLLED OUT FOR LAUNCH OF MULTINATIONAL SATELLITE CLUSTER - A Soyuz rocket arrived at a launch pad Tuesday in Kazakhstan for liftoff later this week with a satellite to monitor natural disasters and track forest fires from orbit and 72 secondary payloads from Russia, the United States, Germany, Norway and Japan.
The Russian launcher’s blastoff is timed for 0636:49 GMT (2:36:49 a.m. EDT; 12:36:49 p.m. Kazakh time) Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 14)
NASA’S TDRS-M SATELLITE BEING READIED FOR UPCOMING LAUNCH - With the Atlas 5 rocket that will boost it into space now assembled and waiting, a $408 million NASA communications satellite is in final preparations for its science data relay mission.
The Tracking and Data Relay satellite-M, or TDRS-M, will be carried aloft by United Launch Alliance on Aug. 3 from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A 40-minute morning launch window opens at 9:02 a.m. EDT (1302 GMT). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 14)
SPACEX GOES THERE—SEEKS GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR DEEP SPACE - During the last decade, NASA has invested billions of dollars into programs with private companies to carry cargo and, eventually, astronauts to the International Space Station. These commercial services were powered by new kinds of contracts for the agency, because they offered a "fixed price" for services and required companies to put in their own funding to develop new spacecraft and rockets.
But the space agency has established a Maginot line of sorts around the planet when it comes to deep space exploration. More
(Source: Ars Technica - Jul 14)
SENTINEL SATELLITE CAPTURES BIRTH OF BEHEMOTH ICEBERG - Over the last few months, a chunk of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf has been hanging on precariously as a deep crack cut across the ice. Witnessed by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission, a lump of ice more than twice the size of Luxembourg has now broken off, spawning one of the largest icebergs on record and changing the outline of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.
The fissure first appeared several years ago, but seemed relatively stable until January 2016, when it began to lengthen.
In January 2017 alone it travelled 20 km, reaching a total length of about 175 km.
(Source: Phys.org - Jul 13)
SMALL SATELLITES DRIVING SPACE INDUSTRY GROWTH: REPORT - Small satellites used for observing conditions on the earth are the fastest growing segment of the $260.5 billion global satellite industry, the Satellite Industries Association said in an annual report released on Tuesday.
Small satellites, some no bigger than a shoe box, generated an 11 percent jump in annual revenue for Earth imagery in 2016 and a growing share of the 1,459 operating spacecraft that circled the planet at the end of the year, the report said. More
(Source: Reuters - Jul 12)
ARISS TO CELEBRATE 20TH ANNIVERSARY WITH SSTV EVENT - The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is planning a slow-scan television (SSTV) event starting on Thursday, July 20, and continuing for 2 days, to commemorate its 20th anniversary. Transmissions, set to get under way around 2125 UTC, will feature 12 images from past and present ARISS activities. The SSTV signal should be available nearly anywhere on the globe at some point during the event.
“Starting with our first meeting in November 1996, our joint operations on Mir, becoming the first operational payload on ISS in November 2000, to our [more than 1,100] school contact (so far), ARISS’s accomplishments have been tremendous,” ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said, in first announcing the SSTV event last. More
(Source: ARRL - Jul 12)
THE FIRST SLOVAK SATELLITE REPORTS PROBLEMS - The first Slovak satellite, skCUBE, orbited the Earth without any significant problems for only 15 days. During the night of Friday, July 7 to Saturday, July 8, the first error occurred – the satellite stopped sending all data. Only data packets from the COM communication system are now being received while data from other systems on board and from the sensors are missing.
“Our last connections with the satellite only some hours before, showed all systems were fully functional and there was no indication of any impending problems,” ... More
(Source: The Slovak Spectator - Jul 11)
IN BEIJING, CHINA ROLLS OUT THE RED CARPET — AND A COMPREHENSIVE SPACE PLAN - Beijing this month hosted the Global Space Exploration Conference, GLEX 2017, an occasion which China used effectively to declare its goals for space and call for further engagement with the space community.
Hosted by the International Astronautical Federation and Chinese Society of Astronautics , the event was the perfect setting, with around 1,000 participants, including heads of agencies, industry representatives, scientists and policy makers in attendance. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 11)
SPECTACULAR IMAGES SHOW HURRICANE EUGENE BECOME FIRST MAJOR HURRICANE OBSERVED BY GOES-16 - NOAA's new GOES-16 satellite observed its first major hurricane on Sunday when Hurricane Eugene rapidly intensified into a Category 3 in the eastern Pacific Ocean well to the west of Mexico's Pacific coastline.
Major hurricanes are Category 3-5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, and in general, make for some of the most spectacular satellite imagery given their extreme intensity. GOES-16 has been in testing mode since the beginning of the year and has seen a number of storms both over the Atlantic and the eastern Pacific Oceans. More
(Source: The Weather Channel - Jul 10)