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CAN YOU SPOT THE ASTRONAUT ON BOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? CAN YOU SPOT THE ASTRONAUT ON BOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? - Can you spot the astronaut on board the International Space Station? The space tourist looks tiny in comparison to the giant satellite orbiting Earth. This picture was posted on Twitter by Nasa flight engineer Terry Virts earlier today, of station commander Butch Wilmore performing maintenance during a space walk. The two US astronauts whipped through a third spacewalk on Sunday to rig parking spots for new US space taxis. They spent five hours installing antennas, cables and navigation aides on the station's exterior truss.   More
(Source: Mirror.co.uk - Mar 4)

INDIA TO LAUNCH FOURTH NAVIGATION SATELLITE ON MARCH 9 - India will move closer to its own satellite navigation system with the launch of its fourth satellite tentatively slated for March 9, a senior official of the Indian space agency said on Monday. "The launch is tentatively planned for March 9 evening around 6.35pm. However, final green signal for the launch will be given days ahead of the satellite launch," MYS Prasad, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, part of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).   More
(Source: Times of India - Mar 3)

U.S. WEATHER SATELLITE EXPLODES INTO 43 PIECES U.S. WEATHER SATELLITE EXPLODES INTO 43 PIECES - The U.S. Air Force confirmed on Feb. 26 a "catastrophic event" that led to the destruction of a weather satellite on Feb. 3. The satellite, previously used by the U.S. militar,y exploded into 43 pieces. Engineers with the military suggest a temperature spike disrupted the satellites bearings and caused Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 (DMSP-F13) to lose altitude control. The oldest in the military's fleet of weather satellites, DMSP-F13 was mostly phased out of operation in 2006 -- still collecting data in a backup role but not involved in long-term modeling.    More
(Source: UPI.com - Mar 3)

SPACEX PUTS ELECTRIC COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES INTO ORBIT SPACEX PUTS ELECTRIC COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES INTO ORBIT - A Space Exploration Technologies rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday to put the world's first all-electric communications satellites into orbit. The 22-story tall booster soared off its seaside launch pad at 10:50 p.m. ET, the third flight in less than two months for SpaceX, as the privately owned, California-based company is known. Perched on top of the rocket were a pair of satellites built by Boeing and owned by Paris-based Eutelsat Communications and Bermuda-based ABS, whose majority owner is the European private equity firm Permira.   More
(Source: CBC.ca - Mar 3)

RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE GETS AN UPGRADE WITH SATELLITE LAUNCH RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE GETS AN UPGRADE WITH SATELLITE LAUNCH - Russia launched a next-generation military reconnaissance satellite Friday, ushering in an era of digital mapping from orbit after decades of relying on film returned to Earth inside landing capsules. The mission blasted off at 1101 GMT (6:01 a.m. EST) Friday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome about 500 miles north of Moscow. A three-stage kerosene-fueled Soyuz 2-1a rocket deployed the spacecraft less than 10 minutes later, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 1)

EUTELSAT COMMUNICATIONS: EUTELSAT 115 WEST B SATELLITE GEARS UP FOR LAUNCH - EUTELSAT 115 West B, the first all-electric satellite for Eutelsat Communications (Paris:ETL) (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL), is scheduled for launch by SpaceX using the Falcon 9 rocket on 1 March (22.49 - 23.34 EST, 03.49 - 04.34 UTC). Built by Boeing Defense and Space, Eutelsat's latest satellite arrived in Cape Canaveral on 25 January. Equipped with 12 C-band and 34 Ku-band transponders connected to four service areas, EUTELSAT 115 West B will extend reach of the Americas to markets in Alaska and Canada, replacing the EUTELSAT 115 West A satellite that operates in inclined orbit at 114.9° West.    More
(Source: Business Wire - Feb 27)

EUROPEAN SATELLITE FIRM ANNOUNCES TWO PAYLOAD LAUNCHES IN 2017 EUROPEAN SATELLITE FIRM ANNOUNCES TWO PAYLOAD LAUNCHES IN 2017 - The first two confirmed payloads slated for launch from SpaceX's commercial rocket launch site at Boca Chica Beach were announced Wednesday, according to a spaceflight industry publication. Officials with Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES announced that two of its communication satellites were scheduled to go into orbit aboard two SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in 2017. "Spaceflight Now" magazine reported that "industry officials familiar with the launch deal said both satellites are planned to lift off from SpaceX's new launch site at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville , Texas ."   More
(Source: Brownsville Herald - Feb 26)

LAUNCH OF FIRST GPS 3 SATELLITE NOW NOT EXPECTED UNTIL 2017 LAUNCH OF FIRST GPS 3 SATELLITE NOW NOT EXPECTED UNTIL 2017 - The first of the U.S. Air Force's newest generation of positioning, navigation and timing satellites is now expected to launch in 2017 rather than in 2016 as previously expected, according to an official with Lockheed Martin, the program's prime contractor. Mark Valerio, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's military space business, said while he is preparing the first GPS 3 satellite to be available for launch as early as the end of this year, he expects the Air Force will slot the satellite to launch in the first quarter of 2017. Accommodating a 2017 launch date likely would require placing the satellite into short-term storage, he said.   More
(Source: Space News - Feb 25)

RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY ENDORSES ISS UNTIL 2024 RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY ENDORSES ISS UNTIL 2024 - Russia plans to stay part of the International Space Station partnership until 2024, then undock its modules to create a standalone base in orbit, the Russian space agency announced Tuesday. A statement posted to the Russian space agency's website said a meeting of the Roscosmos science and technical council considered Russia's future human spaceflight plans, favoring the continued use of the International Space Station until 2024. Then Russia plans to remove its modules from the International Space Station to form an all-Russian complex in orbit.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 25)

ATV'S RE-ENTRY CAMERA RETURNED NO IMAGES ATV'S RE-ENTRY CAMERA RETURNED NO IMAGES - A camera packed inside Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle failed to transmit images from inside the disposable supply ship as it plunged through Earth's atmosphere Feb. 15 and broke apart over the South Pacific Ocean, the European Space Agency said Friday. The robotic cargo freighter carried a camera and instrument package cocooned inside a miniature heat shield to survive the temperatures and pressures of re-entry. While telemetry indicated the camera took nearly 6,000 pictures, none of the images were received by engineers. ESA said the information still will help scientists study re-entry dynamics and could contribute to the design of future spacecraft to minimize the risks of space junk, but the loss of imagery from the ATV's destructive dive back to Earth left officials with a small fraction of the data originally slated for collection during the European cargo craft's re-entry.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 24)

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