ROCKET LAB LAUNCHES 2ND TEST FLIGHT OF ELECTRON SMALL-SATELLITE BOOSTER - An Electron rocket built by the commercial startup Rocket Lab successfully launched on its second test flight from New Zealand, carrying the company's first customer payloads into orbit.
The Electron blasted off today from the company's private launch facility on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand at 2:43 p.m. local time, which is 8:43 p.m. EST on Jan. 19 (0143 GMT). The launch was delayed 24 hours after two ships encroached into the launch's offshore keep-out zone. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 21)
ROCKET LAB TEST LAUNCH HALTED BY SHIP TRAFFIC, DETERIORATING WEATHER - An attempt to place three small satellites in orbit on an experimental test flight was halted Friday after two ships strayed into a keep-out zone offshore Rocket Lab’s privately-owned launch base in New Zealand, delaying the Electron booster’s second demonstration mission at least 24 hours.
The countdown was stopped less than a minute before a planned liftoff at 10:10 p.m. EST Friday (0310 GMT; 4:10 p.m. New Zealand time Saturday) after officials detected two ships inside a danger area in the Pacific Ocean downrange from Rocket Lab’s launch pad in New Zealand. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 20)
U.S. MILITARY SATELLITE LAUNCHED TO FORTIFY AGAINST MISSILE ATTACKS - A billion-dollar U.S. military satellite rode a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket into orbit Friday night from Cape Canaveral, joining a network of space sentinels warning of threatening missile launches from North Korea, or any other place on the globe.
The 189-foot-tall Atlas 5 rocket ignited its RD-180 main engine and a single Aerojet Rocketdyne strap-on solid rocket booster at 7:48 p.m. EST Friday (0048 GMT Saturday). The launcher soared eastward from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad to kick off the 75th flight of ULA’s workhorse Atlas 5. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 20)
THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION HAS BEEN ORBITING FOR 7,000 DAYS - The International Space Station is a large spacecraft that orbits Earth's atmosphere about 220 miles above the planet's surface. Friday marks the ISS's 7,000th day in orbit. In those 7,000 days, the outpost has seen its ups and downs; here’s a run-through of some of the biggest highlights. 1998: The construction of the ISS began on November 20, 1998, and was a result of international efforts involving 16 countries, the BBC reported. More
(Source: Newsweek - Jan 20)
JAPANESE EPSILON ROCKET SENDS ASNARO-2 RADAR SATELLITE TO ORBIT - A Japanese Epsilon rocket successfully delivered the ASNARO-2 radar Earth observation satellite to orbit this afternoon. The Epsilon rocket launched from Uchinoura Space Center at 6:06 Japan Standard Time, or (21:06 UTC on Wednesday).
The Advanced New Satellite with New System Architecture for Observation (ASNARO) series of satellites are spacecraft created for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) by the Japan Space Systems company.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Jan 19)
ATLAS 5 TEAM SCRUBS LAUNCH TO STUDY TROUBLESOME VALVE - Launch of an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral with a U.S. Air Force infrared surveillance satellite was scrubbed Thursday evening after engineers encountered a balky valve associated with the first stage’s liquid oxygen system.
United Launch Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, said the problem was narrowed to a ground system at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad. The countdown was paused to allow members of the Atlas 5 launch team to study a stuck fill-and-drain valve needed to fill the rocket’s first stage with liquid oxygen. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 19)
DEVELOPMENT: CHINA TO LAUNCH FIRST STUDENT SATELLITE FOR SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION
- China’s first nano-satellite with primary and middle school students involved in the development and building process will be launched into space Friday.
The satellite, named after late Premier Zhou Enlai, was sent from its production base in Huai’an Youth Comprehensive Development Base in east China’s Jiangsu Province to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gansu Province, where a “CZ-11” solid fuel rocket is scheduled to put it into orbit Friday.
(Source: Vanguard - Jan 18)
NEW U.S. MISSILE-WARNING SATELLITE SET FOR LAUNCH AT CAPE CANAVERAL - The U.S. military's newest missile-warning satellite is set to lift off later this week just as tensions continue to mount over North Korea's ICBM program.
Crews at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, are preparing to launch the SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite on Thursday (Jan. 18) from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
"Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the Space Based Infrared System GEO Flight 4 mission for the U.S. Air Force," ULA announced on Monday. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 18)
ISS ORBIT RAISED BY 400 METERS
- The medium height of the International Space Station’s (ISS) flight orbit was raised by 400 meters with the help of the engines of the Zvezda module on Wednesday, Russia’s Mission Control told TASS.
"The propulsion system of the Zvezda module has worked for 16 seconds. According to preliminary calculated data, the maneuver has increased the medium height of the ISS’s flight orbit by 0.4 kilometer to 404.3 km," Mission Control said.
The engines of the ISS module were switched on at 23.15 Moscow time. The adjustment aimed to create ballistic conditions for bringing a Progress-MS-08 resupply ship into orbit. The space freighter’s launch is scheduled for 11 February 2018.
(Source: TASS - Jan 18)
A SPACE STATION IS FALLING TO EARTH. HERE'S WHERE IT COULD LAND - A defunct Chinese space station is expected to plunge to Earth from its orbital perch in late March.
The Tiangong-1 station will mostly burn up as it plummets through Earth’s atmosphere. Some fragments could survive the fiery reentry, but experts say the risk to humans on the ground is small.
“I personally wouldn’t be fearful at all about being struck by space debris,” said Dr. Andrew Abraham, a senior member of the technical staff at the Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research organization based in El Segundo, California, that has been modeling the 18,000-pound station's reentry path. More
(Source: NBC News - Jan 18)
FOR THE FIRST TIME, A NASA MISSION TO STUDY SPACE WEATHER WILL LIVE ON A COMMERCIAL SATELLITE - At the end of this month, NASA is launching a new mission to space to better understand how energetic particles mingle in the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere in what’s known as space weather. And for the first time, the mission won’t rely on a full satellite to gather data from orbit, but on a single scientific instrument that will live on a commercial satellite.
The host probe is SES-14, a satellite built and controlled by Luxembourg-based operator SES. When it launches at the end of January on a European Ariane 5 rocket, SES-14 will eventually climb to an orbit about 22,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, with the NASA instrument positioned toward our planet. More
(Source: The Verge - Jan 17)
JAXA POSTPONES LAUNCH OF SATELLITE DUE TO LIGHTNING - The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Monday it will postpone the Wednesday launch of its third Epsilon solid-fuel rocket due to expected bad weather.
The space agency now aims to launch the three-stage, 26-meter rocket from Uchinoura Space Center in the town of Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Thursday morning, at the earliest. More
(Source: The Japan Times - Jan 16)
WELCOME TO THE AGE OF MICRO SATELLITE SWARMS - In late 2017, Google admitted to tracking user location data no matter what location settings were enabled. About a month later, Chinese officials showcased the prowess of their extensive surveillance system when they tracked down and apprehended a BBC reporter in only seven minutes. All in all, “Big Brother” seems to be a growing reality in our day-to-day lives. This constant surveillance might be getting a boost thanks Finnish tech start-up ICEYE, which aims to launch a fleet of sub-100kg radar micro-satellites. More
(Source: Futurism - Jan 16)
NEW U.S. MISSILE-WARNING SATELLITE SET FOR LAUNCH AT CAPE CANAVERAL - The U.S. military’s newest missile-warning satellite is set to lift off later this week just as tensions continue to mount over North Korea’s ICBM program.
Crews at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, are preparing to launch the SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite on Thursday from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
“Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the Space Based Infrared System GEO Flight 4 mission for the U.S. Air Force,” ULA announced on Monday. The forecast shows an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the planned 7:52PM EST liftoff on Thursday. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 16)
DOUBTS ABOUT SPACEX RELIABILITY PERSIST AS ASTRONAUT MISSIONS APPROACH - We may never know the precise reason a billion-dollar spy satellite that was launched Jan. 7 on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket failed to reach orbit. Everything about the mission except the launch itself was secret, so even after a root cause for the loss is identified, few details will be available to the public.
However, one thing can already be said for certain: the failed mission isn't going to help SpaceX overcome doubts about the reliability of its launch vehicles. More
(Source: Forbes - Jan 16)
CHINA LAUNCHES EARTH-OBSERVING SATELLITE ON LONG MARCH 2D ROCKET - A Chinese Long March 2D rocket launched a new Earth-watching satellite Saturday (Jan. 12), marking the country's third launch in four days.
The Long March 2D booster launched from China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert at 3:10 p.m. Beijing Time (2:10 a.m. EST/0710 GMT), the state-run Xinhua news service reported.
The rocket carried the new Land Survey Satellite 3 into orbit, according to a translated statement from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (known as CASC). The satellite will be used for remote-sensing of land resources, according to that statement. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 15)
CHINA'S BOLD PROPOSAL TO ZAP SPACE JUNK FROM EARTH'S ORBIT WITH LASERS - Since 1957, humans have been polluting the Earth’s orbit with bits of debris, known as space junk. There are currently around 20,000 fragments of space junk orbiting the Earth. Pieces of old satellites, used rocket stages and fragments from collision, erosion and disintegration are all floating up there, reaching speeds of up to 17,500 miles an hour.
Ideas for getting rid of this dangerous junk range from gathering it with giant nets to sending it out of Earth’s orbit using magnets. More
(Source: Wired.co.uk - Jan 15)
MEET THE AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS WHO TRACK SECRETIVE SPY SATELLITES FOR FUN - What the heck happened to Zuma? We know that the super-secret satellite was built by Northrop Grumman for an agency of the United States Government, and that SpaceX launched it on Sunday, January 7.
But what we know is vastly outweighed by what we don’t know. We’re not sure which agency the satellite was built for, and while SpaceX has stated that their Falcon 9 rocket “did everything correctly on Sunday night," the successful deployment of the satellite was not confirmed. And because of the classified nature of the craft, no one is talking about what happened. It might have failed to deploy from the Falcon 9 rocket second stage before the second stage de-orbited. More
(Source: Popular Science - Jan 15)
FOX-1D LAUNCHED, DESIGNATED AMSAT-OSCAR 92 - Right on schedule at 03:59 UTC on January 12, 2018, the solid-fueled first stage and ground-lit strap on boosters of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its XL configuration (PSLV-XL) ignited and hurtled AMSAT’s Fox-1D CubeSat along with 30 other satellites onboard the PSLV-C40 mission towards a sun-synchronous orbit. The events along the path to orbit happened rapidly. 30 seconds into the flight, the air lit strap on boosters were lit. One minute into the flight, the ground lit strap on boosters separated. More
(Source: AMSAT - Jan 14)