SPACEX TO SEND TWO PRIVATE CITIZENS AROUND THE MOON AND BACK - SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk announced Monday plans to send two paying “private individuals” on a week-long flight around the moon and back to Earth by the end of next year.
Musk said the would-be space tourists approached SpaceX to fly on a mission beyond the moon, launching aboard the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and returning to Earth approximately a week later.
“They’re very serious about it,” Musk said, declining to identify the passengers in a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon. He later added the clients include “nobody from Hollywood,” but would not provide details on their backgrounds. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 28)
HAM RADIO SATELLITE TRANSMITS VICE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE - The National newspaper reports a message by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, is being beamed across the world from space as the first to be transmitted by the UAE’s Nayif-1 satellite.
The National says:
Nayif-1 was launched February 15 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India and is being tracked by a team of scientists at a control centre at American University of Sharjah. More
(Source: AMSAT-UL - Feb 26)
2020: A SPACE STATION ODYSSEY - Half a century ago it was easy to imagine that a Hilton hotel would soon be orbiting the Earth. The massive floating bagel of a space station in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film made at the height of the first space race, seemed a natural stepping stone to interplanetary travel.
That 1960s vision never came to pass. But the race to put a commercial space station into orbit could finally be heading for the launch pad, with two US start-ups competing on the latest frontier for private space development.
(Source: Financial Times - Feb 26)
RUSSIAN FREIGHTER LINKS UP WITH INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - The International Space Station received its second cargo shipment in less than 24 hours Friday with the automated linkup of a Russian Progress refueling and resupply freighter.
The Progress MS-05 spaceship closed in to dock with the space station’s Pirs module at 0830 GMT (3:30 a.m. EST) Friday, two days after blasting off from Kazakhstan on top of a Soyuz rocket. The docking occurred as the space station sailed 250 miles (400 kilometers) over the South Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand.
The Progress cargo craft’s on-board computer, relying on data fed by a Kurs rendezvous radar, commanded the final phase of the approach. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 25)
EUROPE’S NEXT SENTINEL LAND IMAGING SATELLITE MATED TO ROCKET BOOSTER - Ground crews have mounted the fully-fueled Sentinel 2B spacecraft, the next mission in Europe’s multibillion-dollar Copernicus Earth observation satellite fleet, on top of a Vega rocket inside a protective gantry on its launch pad in French Guiana for blastoff next month.
The satellite was encapsulated inside the Vega rocket’s Swiss-made composite nose shroud Feb. 15, then transferred to the Vega launch pad Feb. 18, where the four-stage booster was already assembled and awaiting the arrival of the payload. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 24)
PREFECTURE IN CHINA’S XINJIANG TO TRACK CARS BY SATELLITE - A prefecture in China’s far western Xinjiang region is requiring all vehicles to install satellite tracking systems as part of stepped-up measures against violent attacks.
Traffic police in Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture announced the regulation on Sunday, shortly after thousands of heavily armed police paraded in the Xinjiang capital and ruling Communist Party officials vowed to ramp up their campaign against separatists and Islamic militants. More
(Source: Arab News - Feb 23)
SPACEX DRAGON DELIVERS NASA CARGO TO SPACE STATION AFTER 24-HOUR DELAY - A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship filled with more than 2 tons of NASA supplies has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after a one-day delay due to a navigation software glitch.
The Dragon space capsule was captured today (Feb. 23) by the station's robotic arm at 5:44 a.m. EST (0944 GMT) by astronauts Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.
"With that capture, a Dragon has now officially arrived to ISS," Pesquet radioed to NASA's Mission Control center in Houston after the successful rendezvous. More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 23)
SOYUZ BLASTS OFF ON RUSSIAN RESUPPLY RUN TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A Russian Soyuz booster blasted off from a snow-covered launch pad in Kazakhstan on Wednesday with nearly 6,000 pounds of fuel, water and supplies for the International Space Station.
The launch occurred just a few hours before a SpaceX supply ship was due to arrive at the orbiting research complex, but the commercial cargo carrier’s rendezvous was aborted and delayed at least a day because of a failure in the craft’s relative GPS navigation system.
The back-to-back cargo missions come after Russia’s Progress and SpaceX’s Dragon supply ships were grounded several months following rocket mishaps last year. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 22)
SPACEX CARGO SHIP ABORTS APPROACH TO STATION - A Russian Progress cargo ship bound for the International Space Station was successfully launched from Kazakhstan early Wednesday, but the approach of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship launched Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center was aborted because of an apparent problem with the spacecraft’s GPS navigation system.
SpaceX flight controllers suspect the abort might have been triggered by an incorrect “state vector,” the set of numbers that defines the spacecraft’s orbit and trajectory. If the problem can be resolved, the Dragon, loaded with nearly 5,500 pounds of supplies and equipment, could attempt a re-rendezvous Thursday morning. More
(Source: CBS News - Feb 22)
NOAA’S GOES-16 WEATHER SATELLITE TO SHOWCASE ITS LIGHTNING DETECTION CAPABILITIES - NOAA’s new highly advanced GOES-16 (formerly known as GOES-R) weather satellite, which has just completed its third month in space, is expected to provide crucial data necessary to detect the presence of lightning earlier and better than before. The satellite’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instrument will soon deliver first data essential for forecasting intensifying storms and severe weather events.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Feb 22)
ARISS OPENS WINDOW FOR PROPOSALS TO HOST CONTACTS WITH SPACE STATION CREW - The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is seeking proposals from schools and formal or informal educational institutions and organizations — individually or working in concert — to host Amateur Radio contacts next year with ISS crew members. The window to submit a proposal is April 15. ARISS anticipates that contacts will take place between January 1 and June 30, 2018. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the exact contact dates. Proposal information and documents are on the ARRL website. More
(Source: ARRL - Feb 21)
INDIA CAN DEVELOP SPACE STATION, SAYS ISRO CHIEF - Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A S Kiran Kumar on Monday said the country has the capability to develop a space station, but it needed a long-term approach and an ambitious planning.
His comment follows ISRO display of technological prowess last week by launching 104 satellites+ in a single mission.
"We have all the capabilities to set up a space station. The day the country takes the decision, we will 'ok' the project. Just draw a policy and provide us necessary funds and time," Kumar said here. More
(Source: Times of India - Feb 21)
SPACEX LAUNCH HAM RADIO TRANSCEIVER TO ISS - The CRS-10 mission carrying vital amateur radio equipment to the International Space Station launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 at 1439 UT on Sunday, February 19
Frank Bauer KA3HDO, ARISS International Chair and AMSAT-NA V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs writes:
Included as part of today's successful launch of the SpaceX Dragon vehicle to ISS is an ARISS Ericsson 2 meter VHF radio. This radio will replace the Ericsson radio that failed a few months ago. The VHF radio is used for school group contacts and amateur packet radio in the Columbus module. Once the Dragon vehicle is berthed to ISS, the Ericsson will be unstowed and, at some point, installed in Columbus, replacing the UHF radio that is now supporting APRS packet and some school contacts. More
(Source: Southgate ARC - Feb 20)
HISTORIC LAUNCH PAD BACK IN SERVICE WITH THUNDERING BLASTOFF BY SPACEX - SpaceX sent a cargo capsule with nearly 5,500 pounds of experiments and supplies on a three-day trip to the International Space Station on Sunday, firing the automated spaceship through low-hanging clouds and into orbit from the same launch pad where Apollo astronauts began voyages to the moon.
A kerosene-fueled 213-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 rocket powered the cargo freighter into space, soaring on a northeasterly course from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 9:39 a.m. EST (1439 GMT) atop 1.7 million pounds of thrust. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 20)
SPACEX ABORTS FLIGHT DUE TO ROCKET ISSUES - SpaceX aborted its flight plans Saturday due to issues with its rocket.
The private space firm plans to try its unmanned mission to the international space station again at 9:38 am ET on Sunday.
SpaceX decided to halt its launch plans Saturday in order to "take a closer look at positioning of the second stage engine nozzle," the company tweeted.
The delay comes after founder Elon Musk tweeted concerns about a small leak in the rocket's upper stage on Friday. That issue appeared to be resolved Saturday morning. More
(Source: CNN - Feb 18)
SMALL SATELLITE ROCKET BOOSTER ARRIVES AT NEW ZEALAND'S FIRST LAUNCH SITE - A small satellite launcher built by Rocket Lab has reached its New Zealand launch site for a debut test run in a few months.
The rocket, called Electron, is one of at least 17 small satellite launchers in development worldwide, a study for the Satellite Industry Association by The Tauri Group shows.
Another study, presented at last year's International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, found at least 29 small boosters in development. More
(Source: Seeker - Feb 17)
NAYIF-1 LAUNCHED - The Indian Space Agency ISRO successfully launched the amateur radio satellite Nayif-1 along with 103 other satellites, a record for a single launch. The PSLV-C37 lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 03:58 UT on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Nayif-1 started transmitting about an hour after launch and radio amateurs in the west of the USA reported the first signals. The first frame of data received at the Data Warehouse was from Christy Hunter KB6LTY. Telemetry data was also received by WA6FWF, KA7FVV, WC7V, NC7V, K6FW, KE7QPV, WA9ONY, W5PFG, KK6AYK. More
(Source: AMSAT-UK - Feb 16)
CHINA TO LAUNCH ROBOTIC CARGO SHIP FOR SPACE LAB IN APRIL - A key element of China’s human spaceflight program is being prepared for launch this April.
The country’s first cargo-carrying spacecraft, known as Tianzhou-1, arrived at a launch site in Wenchang City in southern Hainan Province on Monday, according to Chinese media reports.
The robotic Tianzhou-1 can carry about 5 tons of supplies into Earth orbit. The cargo vessel is integral to the operation of the space station that China aims to build by 2020, Chinese officials have said. More
(Source: CBS News - Feb 16)
WEATHER COULD STAND IN WAY OF FALCON 9 LAUNCH SATURDAY - Rainy weather expected across Central Florida this weekend has a 50-50 chance of preventing the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Saturday on a resupply mission to the International Space Station, U.S. Air Force forecasters said Wednesday.
The official weather outlook issued by the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron calls for thick clouds and isolated rain showers at Cape Canaveral during Saturday’s launch countdown.
Liftoff is timed for 10:01 a.m. EST (1501 GMT), roughly the moment the space station’s orbital path is positioned above Florida’s Space Coast. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 16)