DELTA 4 ROCKET BOOSTS NEW GPS SATELLITE INTO ORBIT - A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket thundered away from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, boosting the ninth in a series of upgraded Global Positioning System navigation satellites into orbit.
The 206-foot-tall rocket's hydrogen-fueled main engine throttled up with a rush of fire at 2:36 p.m. EDT (GMT-4), followed a moment later by ignition of two solid-fuel strap-on boosters. Generating 1.1 million pounds of thrust, the Delta 4 quickly climbed away through low fog over the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and arced away to the northeast over the Atlantic Ocean.
The climb out of the dense lower atmosphere went smoothly and 15 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's second stage engine shut down as planned to put the satellite payload into an initial parking orbit. More
(Source: CBS News - Mar 26)
RUSSIA'S DNEPR ROCKET LAUNCHES KOMPSAT-3A MISSION - International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras has launched its Russian Dnepr rocket from Dombarovsky on Wednesday, carrying the Kompsat-3A satellite for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The launch - which nearly fell foul of a proposed shutdown of Dnepr utilization - was reported to be on schedule at 22:08 UTC. Earlier in the year, Russian media reported ongoing evaluations within the Russian space industry threatened the shutdown of the Dnepr rocket. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Mar 26)
H-2A ROCKET ACHIEVES FOURTH LAUNCH IN SIX MONTHS - A new surveillance satellite equipped with a high-resolution optical camera blasted into space aboard a Japanese H-2A rocket Thursday, joining a fleet of spy stations in orbit to track military activity in North Korea and other locations around the world.
Owned and operated by the Japanese government, the reconnaissance spacecraft lifted off at 0121 GMT Thursday (9:21 p.m. EDT Wednesday) from the picturesque Tanegashima Space Center situated on an island in southwestern Japan, where the launch occurred at 10:21 a.m. local time.
The satellite rocketed into space aboard Japan's H-2A rocket, which steered south from Tanegashima to deploy its payload into polar orbit. The launcher aimed to release the satellite in an orbit about 300 miles above Earth. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 26)
SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE ON TRACK FOR BLASTOFF FROM JAPAN - A Japanese H-2A rocket is set for launch Thursday with a high-resolution imaging satellite to record views of strategic sites for the country's intelligence agencies.
The two-stage hydrogen-fueled rocket has a 13-minute window to blast off opening at 0121 GMT Thursday (9:21 p.m. EDT Wednesday). The H-2A will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan, where liftoff is set for 10:21 a.m. local time.
The launcher is scheduled to roll out from the space center's Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad about 12 hours before liftoff. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 25)
US MILITARY SATELLITE EXPLOSION NO THREAT TO EUROPEAN SPACE MISSIONS - The debris from the military weather satellite that exploded in orbit last month doesn't pose a threat to any nearby European missions, officials with the European Space Agency have said. The U.S. Air Force's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 (DMSP-F13) broke up into 43 pieces on February 3. After 20 years in orbit, the satellite experienced a power system failure that sparked a silent space explosion. The break-up adds more debris, or space junk, into low-Earth orbit. Because Earth-gazing missions and some communication satellites commonly use the part of space where the explosion occurred, any extra debris poses a threat to other satellites in orbit. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 25)
SOYUZ LAUNCH DOUBLE-HEADER SET FOR FRIDAY - Russian launch crews on two continents are putting the final touches on a pair of Soyuz rockets scheduled to blast off less than two hours apart Friday - one carrying a three-man crew to the space station, and another boosting two European navigation satellites into orbit from the Amazon jungle.
The first launch Friday is set for 3:42 p.m. EDT (1942 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with three passengers heading for the International Space Station. The Soyuz FG rocket will depart from the cosmodrome's historic Complex No. 1, where Yuri Gagarin took off in 1961 to become the first human to travel in space. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 25)
RUSSIA TO RESUME SPACE TOURISM IN 2018 - Russian officials say they will resume space tourism in 2018 after years of sending into space only professional cosmonauts and astronauts.
Russia had sent seven paying guests to the International Space Station since 2001, before curtailing the program in 2009. Sending a tourist has been all but impossible since 2011 when the United States shut down its Space Shuttle program, and had to rely on Russian Soyuz rockets in order to get into orbit.
Russia, however, has made an exception for British soprano Sarah Brightman, who is due to blast off on Sept. 1. More
(Source: The Indian Express - Mar 25)
RUSSIA GIVES SPACE STATION CREW THE KEYS TO ITS SHIP - No one kept a secret like the old Soviet space program kept a secret. Back in the early days of the space race, Sergei Korolev, the Soviets' chief designer, was known only as, well, the Chief Designer, the better to prevent any assassination attempts that officials from Roscosmos-the Russian NASA-convinced themselves the Americans were cooking up. Baikonur, the Russian Cape Canaveral, hidden away in the Kazakh steppes, stole its name from a mining town 200 miles north, the better to confuse enemies who might come looking for it. More
(Source: Time - Mar 24)
U.S. TAKING STEPS TO FIX TECHNICAL ERROR WITH BOEING GPS SATELLITES - The U.S. Air Force on Sunday said it is working to resolve a technical error that affects some Boeing Co Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, although it did not hurt the accuracy of GPS signals received by users around the world.
Air Force Space Command said the glitch affected the "indexing" of some GPS messages from a type of satellite known as IIF, which affects how messages are sorted and stored.
The issue came to light in recent days, but a close examination of archive data showed the problem had gone unnoticed since 2013. It gave no details of the extent of the problem, its impact on performance or how it had come to light. More
(Source: Reuters - Mar 23)
ISRO PLANS TO LAUNCH NAVIGATION SATELLITE ON MARCH 28 - India is likely to put into orbit its fourth regional navigationsatellite on March 28, with the country's space agency now in the process of loading the rocket with the satellite, an official said on Thursday.
"The process of integrating the IRNSS-1D (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) is underway and it is expected to be completed today (Thursday) or tomorrow (Friday)," an official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS, preferring anonymity. India's rocket port is located at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, around 80 km from here. "The rocket launch is tentatively fixed at 5.19 p.m. on March 28. However, a final decision will be taken after testing the rocket and the satellite and everything is found sound," he added. More
(Source: BGR India - Mar 22)