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US MILITARY'S MYSTERIOUS X-37B SPACE PLANE SPOTTED BY SATELLITE TRACKERS - The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane has apparently been spotted by satellite watchers, about seven months after the secretive vehicle reached orbit.
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SATELLITE NEWS

NEXT SPACE STATION RESUPPLY LAUNCH SCHEDULED MAY 20 AT WALLOPS ISLAND NEXT SPACE STATION RESUPPLY LAUNCH SCHEDULED MAY 20 AT WALLOPS ISLAND - The next mission to resupply the International Space Station is scheduled to launch early on May 20 from a state-owned spaceport at Wallops Island on the Virginia Eastern Shore. The pre-dawn launch would be the sixth from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport by Orbital ATK, the Dulles-based aerospace company that is resupplying the space station under a multibillion-dollar contract with NASA. “You should be able to see it from the Richmond area,” said Keith Koehler, spokesman for the NASA Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague.   More
(Source: Richmond.com - Apr 26)


EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVER LAUNCHED BY RUSSIAN ROCKET EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVER LAUNCHED BY RUSSIAN ROCKET - A new European satellite carrying instruments to track changes in the world’s oceans, measure receding ice sheets and chart vegetation growth climbed into orbit Wednesday on top of a Russian Rockot launcher. The successful launch added the seventh satellite to the Copernicus Earth-observing fleet, a network of environmental observatories funded by the European Union in partnership with the European Space Agency. The Sentinel 3B spacecraft — weighing approximately 2,535 pounds (1,150 kilograms) — lifted off at 1757:51 GMT (1:57:51 p.m. EDT) Wednesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in far northern Russia.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 26)


RUSSIAN ROKOT LAUNCHER TO ORBIT SENTINEL-3B EARTH-OBSERVING SATELLITE RUSSIAN ROKOT LAUNCHER TO ORBIT SENTINEL-3B EARTH-OBSERVING SATELLITE - A Russian Rokot launch vehicle is poised to launch the European Sentinel-3B Earth-observing satellite to orbit at 1:57 p.m. EDT (17:57 GMT) April 25, 2018, from Site 133/3 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The campaign for this mission kicked off on March 17, 2018, when an Antonov aircraft transporting the Sentinel-3B spacecraft from France landed in Archangielsk, Russia. There, it was transported by train to Plesetsk a day later.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Apr 25)


ARIANESPACE CANCELS ARIANE 5 LAUNCH OVER ISRO SATELLITE ISSUE ARIANESPACE CANCELS ARIANE 5 LAUNCH OVER ISRO SATELLITE ISSUE - An Ariane 5 launch has been cancelled after an unexplained problem with an Indian space agency satellite that was supposed to ride on the mission. Evry, France-based Arianespace, operator of the Ariane 5 rocket, said April 24 that the Indian Space Research Organisation recalled its GSAT-11 satellite back to an agency test facility in Bangalore, India for “additional technical checks.” GSAT-11, a hefty 5,870-kilogram satellite designed to provide 12 Gbps of capacity, had arrived at the European spaceport in French Guiana on March 28...   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 25)


UK EXPLORES PRODUCING OWN SATELLITE SYSTEM AFTER EU’S GALILEO SNUB UK EXPLORES PRODUCING OWN SATELLITE SYSTEM AFTER EU’S GALILEO SNUB - Britain is exploring plans to launch a satellite navigation system as a rival to the EU’s €10bn Galileo project in an escalating row with Brussels over whether the UK can be trusted with Europe’s most sensitive security information after Brexit. Greg Clark, the UK business secretary, is also taking legal advice on whether Britain can reclaim the €1.4bn it has invested in Galileo since the project’s launch in 2003 after a recent Brussels decision to shut the UK out of secure parts of the project.    More
(Source: Financial Times - Apr 25)


CHINA BEGINS SELECTING NEW GROUP OF 18 ASTRONAUTS FOR SPACE STATION MISSIONS CHINA BEGINS SELECTING NEW GROUP OF 18 ASTRONAUTS FOR SPACE STATION MISSIONS - China has launched a process to select 18 new astronauts for missions to the Chinese Space Station, including men and women from air force, science and engineering backgrounds. "The selection consists of three periods, and we will select not only males but also female candidates for the third batch of astronauts," Yang Liwei, deputy head of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), said in Beijing on April 23. The selected candidates will be trained for missions to the Chinese Space Station (CSS), a project which brings new demands for spaceflight and expertise.   More
(Source: GBTIMES - Apr 24)


BOEING, LOCKHEED, ULA CORNER THE GOVERNMENT-FUNDED SPACE MARKET. SPACEX MOVING UP BOEING, LOCKHEED, ULA CORNER THE GOVERNMENT-FUNDED SPACE MARKET. SPACEX MOVING UP - Attracting new players to compete for national security and civil space contracts has been a longtime goal of the Congress, the Pentagon and NASA. But as the numbers show, only a handful of contractors command the bulk of federal dollars spent on space programs. The U.S. government invested $83 billion in space platforms and hypersonic technologies between fiscal years 2011 and 2017, according to Govini’s new report, Space Platforms & Hypersonic Technologies Taxonomy. Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance — a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing — and Boeing captured more than half of all contract obligations, Govini estimated.    More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 23)


LAB TESTS AND LIFE SCIENCE AS STATION ORBITS HIGHER TODAY LAB TESTS AND LIFE SCIENCE AS STATION ORBITS HIGHER TODAY - A docked Russian cargo craft automatically fired its engines this morning boosting the International Space Station’s altitude a little higher. During the rest of the day, the Expedition 55 crew supported life science and swapped out station hardware. Russia’s Progress 69 resupply ship docked to the Zvezda service module fired its thrusters boosting the station’s orbit today. The two-minute, six-second burn establishes the correct orbit when three crew members undock and land in June and a two-orbit rendezvous capability for the Progress 70P resupply craft when it launches in July.   More
(Source: NASA - Apr 21)


ARIANESPACE TO LAUNCH JAPANESE BROADCAST SATELLITE ARIANESPACE TO LAUNCH JAPANESE BROADCAST SATELLITE - Arianespace on April 19 announced an agreement with Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation and satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral to launch the BSAT-4b satellite on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2020. The agreement follows the launch of BSAT-4a on an Ariane 5 in September 2017. BSAT is building up its satellite infrastructure ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, which start in July 2020. Seeking to have BSAT-4b as an in-orbit backup ahead of the games, BSAT picked SSL to build the satellite last month. BSAT-4b will feature an identical co   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 20)


PROTON-M LAUNCHES BLAGOVEST 12L SATELLITE FOR RUSSIAN AEROSPACE FORCES PROTON-M LAUNCHES BLAGOVEST 12L SATELLITE FOR RUSSIAN AEROSPACE FORCES - The Russian military has expanded its fleet of communications satellites with the launch of the Blagovest 12L spacecraft on Wednesday, April 18. The military comsat lifted off atop a Proton-M launcher at 6:12 p.m. EDT (22:12 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Due to military nature of the mission, very little information has been given about the flight as well as pre-launch preparations. It is only known that the launch was initially targeted for December 25, 2017, but problems with one of the satellite’s components forced Russia to postpone the mission several times.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Apr 19)


CHINA SATELLITE SJ-17, FRIENDLY WANDERER? CHINA SATELLITE SJ-17, FRIENDLY WANDERER? - When China published its description of SJ-17, the folks at AGI who track satellites for a living raised their eyebrows. The Chinese said it was an experimental satellite. But “the way they phrased it piqued our interest,” says Bob Hall, standing a dozen feet from AGI’s infamous ice cream stand here.   More
(Source: Breaking Defense - Apr 19)


EARTHNOW PROMISES REAL-TIME VIEWS OF THE WHOLE PLANET FROM A NEW SATELLITE CONSTELLATION EARTHNOW PROMISES REAL-TIME VIEWS OF THE WHOLE PLANET FROM A NEW SATELLITE CONSTELLATION - A new space imaging startup called EarthNow aims to provide not just pictures of the planet on demand, but real-time video anywhere a client desires. Its ambition is matched only by its pedigree: Bill Gates, Intellectual Ventures, Airbus, SoftBank and OneWeb founder Greg Wyler are all backing the play. Its promise is a constellation of satellites that will provide video of anywhere on Earth with latency of about a second. You won’t have to wait for a satellite to come into range, or worry about leaving range; at least one will be able to view any area at any given time, so they can pass off the monitoring task to the next satellite over if necessary.   More
(Source: TechCrunch - Apr 19)


SPACEX LAUNCHES NASA PLANET-HUNTING SATELLITE SPACEX LAUNCHES NASA PLANET-HUNTING SATELLITE - In a modest mission with the grandest of intentions, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a planet-hunting satellite for NASA Wednesday that will measure the light from millions of stars, on the lookout for indications of Earth-like, potentially habitable worlds scattered across the nearby Milky Way. Building on the legacy of NASA's trail-blazing Kepler mission, which showed that exoplanets are commonplace, the $337 million Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will study vastly more stars across 85 percent of the sky in a bid to pinpoint thousands of new planets with the emphasis on Earth-size or slightly larger.   More
(Source: CBS News - Apr 19)


ROCKET LAB POSTPONES FIRST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH AFTER ISSUE DURING FUELING TEST ROCKET LAB POSTPONES FIRST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH AFTER ISSUE DURING FUELING TEST - Rocket Lab said Tuesday it will push back the first commercial launch of its light-class Electron rocket from New Zealand by a few weeks to address a problem uncovered during a recent fueling test. The company announced the launch slip on Twitter, saying that the Rocket Lab launch team “saw some unusual behavior with a motor controller” during a wet dress rehearsal, a test often employed by launch providers to practice countdown procedures and verify that rocket and ground systems are ready for liftoff.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 18)


THE AURORA STATION WILL BE THE FIRST LUXURY HOTEL IN SPACE THE AURORA STATION WILL BE THE FIRST LUXURY HOTEL IN SPACE - Are you ready for a luxury hotel in space? We all knew it was coming, even though it seems impossibly futuristic. But this time it’s not just science fiction; somebody actually has a plan. The space hotel will be called “Aurora Station” and the company behind it is Orion Span, a Silicon Valley and Houston-based firm. Orion Span aims to deliver the astronaut experience to people, by delivering the people into space. The catch?   More
(Source: Universe Today - Apr 18)


AFRICA'S MOST ADVANCED CUBE SATELLITE TO BE UNVEILED IN SA AHEAD OF LAUNCH AFRICA'S MOST ADVANCED CUBE SATELLITE TO BE UNVEILED IN SA AHEAD OF LAUNCH - Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will unveil South Africa's most sophisticated satellite on Tuesday ahead of its launch in India in July. The nanosatellite, dubbed ZACUBE-2, was developed by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the French South African Institute of Technology as a follow-up to the previous nanosatellite, ZACUBE-1, which was launched from Yasny Launch Base in Russia.   More
(Source: HuffPost South Africa - Apr 18)


BRITISH STARTUP EARTH-I SHARES FIRST COLOR VIDEO FROM ITS VIVIDX2 SATELLITE BRITISH STARTUP EARTH-I SHARES FIRST COLOR VIDEO FROM ITS VIVIDX2 SATELLITE - British startup Earth-i unveiled the first color video captured by its VividX2 satellite, a prototype for its future Earth imagery constellation, April 16 at the 34th Space Symposium here. The videos show cars in Nashville, Tennessee, airports in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and city life in New Orleans, Louisiana, San Diego, California, and Sydney, Australia. In January, Earth-i launched VividX2, a 100-kilogram satellite built by Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd. (SSTL) and previously called Carbonite-2, aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle into sun synchronous orbit.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 17)


SPACEX SCRUBS FIRST ATTEMPT TO LAUNCH TESS ON A MISSION TO SEARCH FOR NEAR-EARTH EXOPLANETS SPACEX SCRUBS FIRST ATTEMPT TO LAUNCH TESS ON A MISSION TO SEARCH FOR NEAR-EARTH EXOPLANETS - NASA and SpaceX scrubbed the initial launch attempt for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. The planet-hunting observatory will be launched by a brand new Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 into an orbital resonance with the moon that will allow it to perform a near all-sky survey to find and categorize the number and types of exoplanets within 300 light years of Earth. The next attempt will take place on Wednesday during a 30 second window that opens at 18:51 EDT (22:51 UTC)   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Apr 17)


THE US GOVERNMENT LOGGED 308,984 POTENTIAL SPACE-JUNK COLLISIONS IN 2017 THE US GOVERNMENT LOGGED 308,984 POTENTIAL SPACE-JUNK COLLISIONS IN 2017 - China's Tiangong-1 space station fell to Earth on April 2, raining debris over a patch of Pacific Ocean some 2,500 miles south of Hawaii. But Tiangong-1 is just the tip of the space-junk iceberg. There are about 23,000 satellites, rocket bodies, and other human-made objects larger than a softball in orbit. There may also be some 650,000 softball-to-fingernail-size objects and 170 million bits of debris smaller than the tip of a pen — stuff like flecks of paint and fragments of explosive bolts.    More
(Source: Business Insider - Apr 16)


MULTI-SATELLITE PAYLOAD HOISTED INTO HIGH-ALTITUDE ORBIT BY ATLAS 5 ROCKET MULTI-SATELLITE PAYLOAD HOISTED INTO HIGH-ALTITUDE ORBIT BY ATLAS 5 ROCKET - A package of communications and tech demo satellites for the U.S. Air Force rode a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket into an orbit more than 20,000 miles over the equator after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Saturday evening. The dual-payload mission required the most capable version of ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket, a hot-rod launcher with five solid-fueled strap-on motors to add an extra boost during the fiery liftoff at 7:13 p.m. EDT (2313 GMT) from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 16)

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