BOEING, SPACEX SHARE $6.8 BILLION CREW CONTRACT - Aerospace giant Boeing and newcomer SpaceX will share $6.8 billion in NASA contracts to build commercial space taxis to fly astronauts to and from the space station starting in 2017, ending reliance on Russia for access to low-Earth orbit and kick starting a new era of commercial space transportation, agency officials said Tuesday. Boeing will receive a $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contract to continue development of the company's CST-100 capsule while SpaceX will receive $2.6 billion to press ahead with work to perfect its futuristic Dragon crew craft. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 16)
THE LITTLE-KNOWN SOVIET MISSION TO RESCUE A DEAD SPACE STATION - The following story happened in 1985 but subsequently vanished into obscurity. Over the years, many details have been twisted, others created. Even the original storytellers got some things just plain wrong. After extensive research, writer Nickolai Belakovski is able to present, for the first time to an English-speaking audience, the complete story of Soyuz T-13's mission to save Salyut 7, a fascinating piece of in-space repair history. More
(Source: Ars Technica - Sep 16)
NEXT ANTARES SET TO LAUNCH FROM WALLOPS TO ISS IN MID-OCTOBER - Orbital Sciences Corp. is scheduled to launch its third operational mission, called Orb-3, from Wallops Island to the International Space Station on the evening of Oct. 18.
An Antares rocket is expected to blast off no earlier than 10:14 p.m. from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore, spokesman Keith Koehler said Monday. The unmanned rocket will carry a Cygnus space freighter filled with cargo for the space station crew.
Because the Antares is a medium-lift booster, its launch is visible from throughout Hampton Roads as well as the mid-Atlantic region, weather permitting. More
(Source: Daily Press - Sep 15)
SPACEX DITCHES LANDING LEGS ON NEXT FALCON 9 FLIGHT - SpaceX's next resupply mission to the International Space Station is set for takeoff as soon as Saturday after a rapid rebound from the company's last flight from Cape Canaveral, but the company does not plan to use the launch as another chance to practice rocket recovery procedures. Liftoff of a 208-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for Saturday at 2:16 a.m. EDT (0616 GMT), a day later than previously planned to accommodate flight preparations after SpaceX's Sept. 7 launch of the AsiaSat 6 commercial communications satellite.
If ground crews pull it off, it will bust SpaceX's record turnaround time between Falcon 9 missions as the launch company ramps up its mission cadence to accomplish a jam-packed manifest. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 15)
SECRET SATELLITE SET TO LIFT OFF FROM CAPE TUESDAY - United Launch Alliance is scheduled to launch the CLIO satellite via the Atlas V 401 rocket on Tuesday from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch window will open at 5:44 p.m. and close at 8:10 p.m. The CLIO satellite was built by Lockheed Martin for an unnamed U.S. government agency and the satellite's purpose is a secret. Weather conditions could cause a delay for the launch as the forecast for Tuesday predicts a 40 percent chance of favorable conditions. The outlook for Wednesday only shows a 30 percent chance of favorable weather. More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Sep 15)
VIETNAMESE BUILT NANO-SATELLITE TO BE LAUNCHED IN 2016 - Vietnam plans to send a nano-satellite weighing 10kg to orbit in 2016, Vietnma News Agency (VNA) reported.
Associate Prof. Dr. Pham Anh Tuan, director of Vietnam National Satellite Centre (VNSC), said the NanoDragon satellite will be entirely designed and manufactured by Vietnamese experts.
Last year, VNSC successfully launched a micro satellite called Pico Dragon weighing 1kg.
Once VNSC's infrastructure system in Hanoi's Hoa Lac area is completed, a 50kg satellite known as MicroDragon will be developed and is expected to be launched in 2018. More
(Source: malaysiandigest.com - Sep 14)
RUSSIA: SATELLITE DID NOT EXPLODE OVER U.S. - Incident confirmed by U.S. Strategic Command represents growing threat of aging satellites dropping down from space. Russia insists one of its reconnaissance satellites is fully operational and still circling the Earth, despite U.S. assertions it fell out of orbit and burned up in the skies over the U.S. mainland last week.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied on Tuesday a series of then-unconfirmed reports from the American Meteor Society that the Kosmos-2495 imaging reconnaissance satellite had, as its state news service stated, "exploded above the United States." More
(Source: U.S. News & World Report - Sep 13)
CHINA EYES FIRST SPACE STATION BY AROUND 2022 - China expects to establish its first space station by around 2022, building upon the experience of an experimental module already in orbit, state media said on Wednesday.
China's leaders have set a priority on advancing its space program, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power.
In China's manned space mission last year, three astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1. More
(Source: Reuters - Sep 11)
THREE-MAN SPACE STATION CREW RETURNS TO EARTH - The final minutes of the return to Earth were seen on live television provided by recovery crews near the landing zone, showing the capsule descending through a cloudless, slightly hazy sky under a big orange-and-white parachute. The descent module landed just out of view over the horizon, its solid-fuel "soft landing" rockets kicking up billowing clouds of dust as they ignited an instant before touchdown.
"Touchdown confirmed," said NASA mission control commentator Rob Navias at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "Touchdown right on the button ... on the steppe of Kazakhstan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 11)
ARIANE 5 LAUNCHES WITH OPTUS 10 AND MEASAT-3B - An Ariane 5 ECA has successfully launched two telecommunication satellites on Thursday. Optus 10 and MEASAT-3b both rode uphill on the Arianespace workhorse out of the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, following lift off late in the launch window - due to two technical holds - at 22:05 GMT. The Ariane 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A) - the most powerful version in the Ariane 5 range - is being used for this flight. The Ariane 5 ECA is an improved Ariane 5 Generic launcher.
Although it has the same general architecture, a number of major changes were made to the basic structure of the Ariane 5 Generic version to increase thrust and enable it to carry heavier payloads into orbit.
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Sep 11)