LOCKHEED MARTIN COMPLETES ASSEMBLY ON ARABSAT'S NEWEST COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - A new, high-capacity communications satellite that will deliver TV, internet and mobile phone services to the Middle East, Africa and Europe is one step closer to launch. Lockheed Martin has completed assembly on the Arabsat-6A satellite, which was recently shipped to its Sunnyvale, California facility to begin a comprehensive series of tests to ensure the satellite is ready for operations in orbit.
"This new satellite will strengthen our existing fleet that offers millions of people mobile and landline communications service across the region," said Khalid Balkheyour, CEO of Arabsat. "We look forward to completing and launching this state-of-the-art new satellite to offer even greater internet, television and radio services to our customers." More
(Source: Space Daily - Feb 23)
THE LOW-COST MINI SATELLITES BRINGING MOBILE TO THE WORLD - Large chunks of the planet are still of out of reach of mobile phone signals - that's about four billion people without access to digital communications. But this could change thanks to shrinking satellite sizes and costs.
Lower-cost, space-based mobile phone services will soon be a reality thanks to one firm's fleet of nano-satellites that will bounce your voice or text signal from one spacecraft to the next and finally down to the person you're calling. More
(Source: BBN News - Feb 23)
RECYCLED SPACEX ROCKET BOOSTS PAZ RADAR SATELLITE, FIRST STARLINK TESTBEDS INTO ORBIT - Launching with a Spanish radar observation craft and the first two experimental satellites for SpaceX’s planned global broadband network, a Falcon 9 rocket fired away from California’s Central Coast shortly before sunrise Thursday after several days of delays.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 launcher climbed into a clear sky from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, riding a column of orange exhaust from nine kerosene-burning Merlin main engines. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 22)
ARMY’S IMAGING SATELLITE UP AND RUNNING, BUT ITS FUTURE IS TBD - How valuable is it for troops in the field to have their own dedicated source of satellite imagery and other space-based intelligence? That is a question officials hope to answer in upcoming military exercises where commanders will have an opportunity to test the Army’s newly deployed Kestrel Eye microsatellite.
The Kestrel Eye Block IIM was sent into orbit in October from the International Space Station. “It is now operational,” said Dan Harkins, marketing manager at Adcole Maryland Aerospace, the satellite manufacturer. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 22)
SPACEX DELAYS FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCH DUE TO HIGH-ALTITUDE WINDS - SpaceX called off an attempted launch of its Falcon 9 rocket in California today (Feb. 21) due to strong high-altitude winds, according to the company's CEO, Elon Musk.
The Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to lift off at 9:17 a.m. EST (1417 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 4E at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. But about 10 minutes before liftoff, SpaceX announced it was standing down from the launch try. More
(Source: Space.com - Feb 22)
GOODBYE, ISS. HELLO, PRIVATE SPACE STATIONS? - Have you heard? The ISS might go away in 2025. Yep, that ISS—our big, honking space laboratory in the sky, one of the most successful international partnership stories of all time. Continually staffed since 2000. Off the Earth, for the Earth. One of the most expensive public projects ever, second possibly only to America’s Interstate Highway System.
Unofficially, 2025 has been the station’s retirement year since 2014, when NASA and its international partners agreed to keep it flying through 2024. But there’s always been an assumption that end date could stretch to 2028, a point cited as when degrading hardware might start making life aboard the station a little dicey. More
(Source: The Planetary Society - Feb 21)
GOES-S TO LAUNCH NEXT WEEK JOINING GOES-16 IN NOAA’S NEW GENERATION OF WEATHER SATELLITES - America’s fleet of weather satellites will grow this March as NASA and NOAA launch GOES-S, the newest satellite that will help meteorologists to improve forecast accuracy.
GOES-S will be the second member of a new generation of geostationary weather satellites, joining GOES-16, formerly known as GOES-R, which launched on Nov. 19, 2016
“The GOES-S satellite will join GOES-16 as NOAA continues to upgrade its satellite fleet,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. More
(Source: Accuweather - Feb 21)
SPACEX LAUNCH OF PAZ AND MICROSAT-2A AND -2B POSTPONED - The launch of the Spanish PAZ satellite from Vandenberg AFB by SpaceX has been postponed, with a reference to "technical reasons" by that country's Ministry of Defense as the reason for the new delay. PAZ, when on orbit, will perform both military and civil operations, such as troop movements, environmental observations and more. More
(Source: SatNews - Feb 19)
NASA EVICTS GOLD-HELMETED ROBO-ASTRONAUT FROM SPACE - NASA is sending the ISS Robonaut – a sinister-looking humanoid with legs like tentacles – back to Earth for repairs.
Robonaut 2 has officially been out of action since 2015 after a hardware upgrade went terribly wrong leaving the dexterous humanoid incapacitated.
Following failed attempts to get the gold-helmeted action man back on its feet, it will now be sent home for a fix, with the intention of one day returning to the International Space Station. More
(Source: RT - Feb 17)
RUSSIA, CHINA WILL HAVE ANTI-SATELLITE WEAPONS “WITHIN A FEW YEARS” - The U.S. intelligence community’s new worldwide assessment of threats to the United States and its allies issued a stark warning about space warfare: Russia and China will be able to shoot down our satellites within two to three years. The capability would seriously jeopardize the U.S. fleet, including Global Positioning System satellites, military and civilian communications satellites, and spy satellites. But would either country use them? And if they did, would they risk even greater damage to their own networks? More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Feb 16)
RUSSIAN CARGO SHIP DOCKS AT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - An unmanned Russian cargo ship has docked successfully at the International Space Station, delivering a fresh batch of supplies for the crew.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos said the Progress spacecraft moored at the station Thursday in automatic mode, bringing 2.7 metric tons (3 tons) of food, fuel and instruments. It was launched Tuesday from the Russian space complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. More
(Source: ABC News - Feb 16)
NASA GEARS UP FOR BRISK LAUNCH PACE, STARTING WITH WEATHER SATELLITE - Engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center tasked with overseeing launches of scientific satellites and interplanetary probes will be responsible later this year for ensuring six major missions safely get into space over a span of a little more than six months, beginning with the launch of NOAA’s new GOES-S weather observatory on an Atlas 5 rocket March 1.
After overseeing the launch of NOAA’s latest weather satellite, NASA plans to put up a spacecraft to search for planets circling other stars, a lander that will travel to Mars, a small satellite to study the interaction between solar activity and Earth’s atmosphere, a probe to travel closer to the sun than any previous mission, and a mission to measure Earth’s thinning polar ice sheets and glaciers. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 15)
SPACEX GETS U.S. REGULATOR TO BACK SATELLITE INTERNET PLAN - Elon Musk’s SpaceX, fresh off the successful launch this month of the world’s most powerful rocket, won an endorsement on Wednesday from the top U.S. communications regulator to build a broadband network using satellites. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed the approval of an application by SpaceX to provide broadband services using satellites in the United States and worldwide.
“Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach,” Pai said in a statement. More
(Source: Reuters - Feb 15)
SOYUZ ROCKET LAUNCHES CARGO FREIGHTER TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - Running two days later after a last-minute abort Sunday, a Russian Progress resupply and refueling freighter lifted off in a blanket of fog Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to deliver three tons of cargo, propellant and water to the International Space Station.
The Progress MS-08 supply ship blasted off atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket at 0813:33 GMT (3:13:33 a.m. EST; 2:13:33 p.m. Baikonur time) Tuesday from the historic Russian-run spaceport on the steppe of Kazakhstan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 14)
WHO'S GOING TO BUY THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? - For sale: orbiting space station. Room for eight. Fantastic views of Earth. Commercial opportunities for zero-g manufacturing, research lab, or floating hotel. Cost: $3 to 4 billion a year. Any takers?
President Trump’s new budget request, released Monday, directs NASA to leave behind the International Space Station and explore the moon as a first step toward reaching Mars. The spending plan ends funding of the International Space Station by 2025, replacing taxpayers’ money with revenue from private firms. It proposes $150 million to help get companies to transition to this brave new industrial park. More
(Source: WIRED - Feb 13)
CHINA ADDS TWO MORE SATELLITES TO HOME-GROWN NAVIGATION NETWORK - Two more Chinese Beidou navigation satellites successfully lifted off aboard a Long March 3B rocket Monday on China’s seventh space launch in five weeks.
The Long March 3B rocket and a restartable Yuanzheng upper stage deployed the two Beidou navigation satellites — the 28th and 29th to join China’s navigation network — nearly four hours after launch from the Xichang space base in Sichuan province, according to Chinese state media reports.
Propelled by 1.3 million pounds of thrust, the Long March 3B rocket lifted off from the Xichang launch base at 0503 GMT (12:03 a.m. EST) Monday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 13)
ESA’S WIND SENSING SATELLITE ... THE ANSWER IS BLOWING IN THE WIND ... TO UNDERGO FINAL TESTS - European Space Agency’s wind sensing spacecraft, Aeolus, wind sensing satellite, has left Liège in Belgium having successfully completed an extensive thermal and functional performance test campaign under in-orbit conditions. It will now undergo final checks at InteSpace test center in Toulouse, France, before being shipped to French Guiana in the summer ready for launch on a Vega launcher.
How the process works is as follows: Aladin fires a powerful ultraviolet laser pulse down through the atmosphere and collects backscattered light, using a large 1.5m diameter telescope... More
(Source: SatNews Publishers - Feb 13)
SPACEX SET TO LAUNCH FIRST PROTOTYPE STARLINK SATELLITES FOR GLOBAL INTERNET - The first test satellites for SpaceX’s global internet constellation are being prepped for launch as early as this week — three years after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the project in Seattle.
The prototype spacecraft, known as Microsat 2a and 2b, are reportedly to be included as secondary payloads on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, due for launch on Saturday. The primary payload is a 3,000-pound Spanish radar observation satellite called Paz. More
(Source: GeekWire - Feb 12)
RESUPPLY LAUNCH SCRUBBED, THWARTING FAST-TRACK RENDEZVOUS WITH SPACE STATION - The launch of a Russian Progress cargo ship aboard a Soyuz rocket was aborted in the final minute of the countdown Sunday, forcing a delay of at least two days in the start of a resupply and refueling mission to the International Space Station.
The two-day slip will prevent the Progress MS-08 supply ship from conducting an expedited trip to the space station. The unpiloted cargo freighter was set to fly a record-fast express rendezvous profile, with docking just three-and-a-half hours after liftoff Sunday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 12)