ROCKET LAB PUSHES BACK SECOND ELECTRON LAUNCH TO SUNDAY - Rocket Lab plans to roll out the company’s second light-class Electron rocket to its launch pad in New Zealand on Thursday for final countdown preparations, but officials have delayed liftoff to no earlier than Sunday night, U.S. time.
The Electron booster, standing roughly 55 feet (17 meters) tall, could blast off from Rocket Lab’s commercial launch pad as soon as 0130 GMT Monday (8:30 p.m. EST Sunday) at the opening of a four-hour launch window. The launch opportunity opens at 2:30 p.m. Monday in New Zealand. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 9)
SPACEX SET TO LAUNCH MYSTERIOUS ZUMA SATELLITE NEXT MONTH - Zuma really isn't living up to its name, is it?
Expected to launch into orbit from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 15, Zuma has kept space watchers waiting for nearly three weeks to see it zoom. Instead, SpaceX -- which will be using a Falcon 9 rocket to put the reportedly Northrop Grumman-built Zuma satellite in orbit -- canceled the Nov. 15 launch, then canceled another launch date on Nov. 16, postponing that one to Nov. 17, only to cancel the following day as well. The company had stayed mum on its status ever since -- until this week. More
(Source: Motley Fool - Dec 8)
NASA SATELLITE CAPTURES RAGING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRES FROM SPACE - Thick blankets of smoke from wildfires burning in Southern California are visible from space.
An image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite shows large plumes of smoke streaming into the Pacific, illustrating the fires' scope and size.
The fast-moving blazes, centered in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, have been fueled by dry, gusty Santa Ana winds.
Three major fires are raging in Southern California. More
(Source: Los Angeles Times - Dec 7)
GOES-S WEATHER SATELLITE ARRIVES IN FLORIDA FOR LAUNCH PREPARATIONS - NOAA’s latest weather satellite, a new-generation geostationary observatory named GOES-S, landed at the Kennedy Space Center’s former space shuttle runway Monday aboard a U.S. Air Force transport jet, ready to begin final preparations for launch March 1 on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.
Cocooned in a transport container, the GOES-S weather satellite left its Lockheed Martin factory in Denver early Monday, and crews loaded the spacecraft into the cavernous cargo hold of a C-5M Super Galaxy at Buckley Air Force Base to begin the cross-country journey. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 6)
SPACEX CARGO LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION PUSHED TO TUESDAY - SpaceX's next robotic resupply mission to the International Space Station has been pushed from Friday (Dec. 8) to next Tuesday (Dec. 12) at the earliest.
"This new launch date takes into account pad readiness, requirements for science payloads, space station crew availability and orbital mechanics," NASA officials wrote in an update today (Dec. 5).
During the mission, SpaceX's two-stage Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, sending the uncrewed Dragon capsule on its way to the orbiting lab. More
(Source: Space.com - Dec 6)
PRIVATE INFLATABLE HABITAT WILL STAY AT SPACE STATION FOR AT LEAST 3 MORE YEARS - The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will stay attached to the International Space Station through at least 2020, NASA announced yesterday (Dec. 4).
BEAM, which is owned by the Las Vegas-based company Bigelow Aerospace, launched toward the orbiting lab in compact form aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule in April 2016. It was attached and expanded shortly thereafter, to test the performance of such inflatable habitats — which can provide more internal volume per unit launch mass than traditional metallic modules — in the space environment. More
(Source: Space.com - Dec 6)
THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS SUPER GERMY - Thousands of species have colonized the International Space Station — and only one of them is Homo sapiens.
According to a new study in the journal PeerJ, the interior surfaces of the 17-year-old, 250-mile-high, airtight space station harbor at least 1,000 and perhaps more than 4,000 microbe species — a finding that is actually “reassuring,” according to co-author David Coil.
“Diversity is generally associated with a healthy ecosystem,” said the University of California at Davis microbiologist. A varied population of microscopic inhabitants is probably a signature of a healthy spacecraft, he added. And as humanity considers even longer ventures in space — such as an 18-month voyage to Mars — scientists must understand who these microbes are. More
(Source: Washington Post - Dec 6)
CYGNUS SUPPLY SHIP READIED FOR STATION DEPARTURE - After a 22-day stay at the International Space Station, an Orbital ATK Cygnus supply ship is set for departure Wednesday en route to a higher orbit for release of 14 CubeSats for commercial weather monitoring and technology demonstrations.
The cargo ship was detached from the space station's Unity module via ground commanding Tuesday, and the lab's Canadian-built robotic arm maneuvered it to a release point around 30 feet (10 meters) below the complex. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 6)
PLANETARY RESOURCES’ PROTOTYPE ASTEROID PROSPECTOR SET FOR JANUARY LIFTOFF IN INDIA - Redmond, Wash.-based Planetary Resources’ technology demonstrator satellite for asteroid prospecting is due for launch in early January, along with more than two dozen other satellites, aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The latest word on the schedule for the PSLV-C40 mission came today from Seattle-based Spaceflight, which is providing launch and mission services for Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 and 10 other satellites. More
(Source: GeekWire - Dec 5)
GORGEOUS PHOTO SHOWS SPACE STATION CROSS THE FACE OF THE MOON - The moon and International Space Station are two of the brightest objects in the night sky, so whenever they team up, it's bound to be spectacular.
On Dec. 2, the Space Station passed over the face of the moon, showing off its pretty silhouette against the craters of Earth's only natural satellite. The station passed over Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania as a NASA photographer captured a timelapse of the orbiting space laboratory crossing over the moon's face from Earth's perspective. More
(Source: Mashable - Dec 5)
LONG MARCH 2D SENDS YAOGAN WEIXING 31 SATELLITE ALOFT - Using a Long March 2D booster, China has successfully sent its newest Yaogan Weixing remote sensing satellite into orbit. The launch was conducted at 04:11 GMT on Sunday, December 3 (11:11 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 2), 2017, from the LC43 Launch Complex at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in China’s Gansu Province.
The mission was originally scheduled for November, and the Long March 2D rocket was delivered to JSLC in mid-October.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Dec 4)
US GENERAL: RUSSIA AND CHINA BUILDING SPACE WEAPONS TO TARGET US SATELLITES - A senior US general said Saturday that countries like Russia and China are actively building weapons that can target space-based US military assets like satellites.
"They've been building weapons, testing weapons, building weapons to operate from the earth in space, jamming weapons, laser weapons, and they have not kept it secret," Gen. John Hyten, the head of US Strategic Command, told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.
"They're building those capabilities to challenge the United States of America, to challenge our allies, and to change the balance of power in the world," added Hyten, who oversees all US military operations in space. "We cannot allow that to happen." More
(Source: CNN - Dec 4)
SOYUZ ROCKET DELIVERS A MILITARY SATELLITE - The Russian military personnel in Plesetsk orbited an operational spacecraft for electronic intelligence, known as Lotos-S1 or 14S145. A part of the Liana constellation, the mission lifted off on a Soyuz-2-1b rocket on Dec. 2, 2017, or just four days after another Soyuz-2 rocket lifted an ill-fated mission from Vostochny spaceport. The Lotos-S1 No. 803 mission was previously planned for Oct. 25, 2017, but had to be postponed until the beginning of November and then until November 18, at the earliest, due to problems with the satellite. More
(Source: RussianSpaceWeb.com - Dec 3)
SPACEX WILL TRY TO LAUNCH ELON MUSK’S TESLA ROADSTER ON NEW HEAVY-LIFT ROCKET - SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk tweeted Friday that his red Tesla Roadster will head for deep space on the maiden flight of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket as soon as next month, and do it to the tune of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
But it won’t make the trip on battery power.
SpaceX’s Falcon rockets burn hydrocarbons for fuel, consuming a grade of highly refined kerosene called RP-1. The rockets’ Merlin engines burn the RP-1 kerosene mixed with super-cold liquid oxygen. More
(Source: Spaceflight Now - Dec 2)
RUSSIAN MILITARY TO GO AHEAD WITH SOYUZ LAUNCH - The Russian military personnel in Plesetsk prepares to orbit an operational spacecraft for electronic intelligence, known as Lotos-S1 or 14S145. A part of the Liana constellation, the mission lifts off on a Soyuz-2-1b rocket on Dec. 2, 2017, or just four days after another Soyuz-2 rocket lifted an ill-fated mission from Vostochny spaceport. The Lotos-S1 No. 803 mission was previously planned for Oct. 25, 2017, but had to be postponed until the beginning of November and then until November 18, at the earliest, due to problems with the satellite. More
(Source: RussianSpaceWeb.com - Dec 2)
ORBITAL ATK SHIPS TARDY AL YAH 3 SATELLITE FOR JANUARY LAUNCH - Satellite manufacturer Orbital ATK on Nov. 28 shipped Yahsat’s long-awaited Al Yah 3 high-throughput satellite to French Guiana for an Ariane 5 launch now scheduled for January.
The hybrid satellite, equipped with a chemical propulsion system to reach orbit and electric thrusters for station-keeping once in place, slipped almost a year past its initial completion date, a delay Orbital ATK attributed to Al Yah 3 being the first of its kind. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Dec 1)
RUSSIAN WEATHER SATELLITE AND 18 SECONDARY PAYLOADS LOST AFTER ROCKET FAILURE - A new Russian weather observatory and the first prototype for Telesat’s planned network of 100-plus broadband communications satellites in low Earth orbit were among 19 spacecraft lost after a Fregat rocket stage ran into trouble soon after liftoff aboard a Soyuz booster Tuesday.
The Fregat rocket pack was supposed to place the 19 satellites into four different orbits Tuesday in a four-hour flight sequence following launch on a Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a new spaceport in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 30)
CHINA SAYS IT'S BUILDING A "GHOST IMAGING" SATELLITE TO DETECT STEALTH JETS - Chinese scientists claim they are working towards building an advanced spy satellite that could use something of a physics trick to spot stealth planes from space. This complex "ghost imaging" camera is the latest in a string of reportedly “game changing” developments in China to counter low-observable aircraft, all of which have significant limitations and face serious developmental challenges.
On Nov. 26, 2017, the South China Morning Post reported that scientists at multiple research institutions were working on a ghost imaging sensor that would work on a satellite. More
(Source: The Drive - Nov 30)
REMOVEDEBRIS: SPACE JUNK MISSION PREPARES FOR LAUNCH - A mission that will test different methods to clean up space junk is getting ready for launch.
The RemoveDebris spacecraft will attempt to snare a small satellite with a net and test whether a harpoon is an effective garbage grabber.
The probe has been assembled in Surrey and will soon be packed up ready for blast off early next year.
Scientists warn that the growing problem of space debris is putting spacecraft and astronauts at risk. More
(Source: BBC News - Nov 29)