NEW SATELLITE FOR SPY AGENCY AWAITS LAUNCH INTO SPACE THURSDAY - An Atlas 5 rocket carrying a classified national security satellite was rolled to the launch pad this morning for Thursday’s flight to bolster the U.S. intelligence-gathering space architecture.
Liftoff will occur at 8:37 a.m. EDT (1237 GMT). The duration of the day’s usable launch window remains classified.
Weather forecasters expect favorable conditions for liftoff, placing 80 percent odds on launching. The only concern is a stray coastal shower impeding the rules.
United Launch Alliance will perform the satellite-delivery mission using a 421-configured Atlas 5 rocket that is distinguished by a nose cone 14 feet in diameter and two solid-fuel boosters for added takeoff thrust. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 27)
UK ASTRONAUT TIM PEAKE, KG5BVI/GB1SS, HEADS HAM CONTINGENT TO 10 DOWNING STREET - UK Astronaut Tim Peake, KG5BVI/GB1SS — just back from a duty tour on the International Space Station — headed a contingent of radio amateurs and youngsters invited to visit new British Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street earlier this month. The July 18 reception at the PM’s official residence celebrated the success of Peake’s “Principia Mission” and his time in space. Sandringham School student Jessica Leigh, M6LPJ, and her head teacher Alan Gray, G4DJX, were among those also on hand, along with students from the Principia Mission schools.
Jessica, then a brand-new ham, was the first student in the UK to speak with Peake during an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) ham radio contact with the ISS. Peake inaugurated the use of the ISS Ham TV system when he spoke on January 8 with Jessica and other students at Sandringham School in Hertfordshire, England. More
(Source: ARRL - Jul 27)
US MILITARY CREATES 'SPACE MISSION FORCE' TO WAGE SATELLITE WAR -
If a major war ever happens, low-Earth orbit could turn into a combat zone. To that end, the US Air Force Space Command has created the "Space Mission Force" to train soldiers to operate military satellites in response to threats. "Adversaries have developed and fielded capabilities to disrupt and deny the space systems we operate on behalf of the United States and our allies," writes US General John Hyten. "Consequently, [we] must organize, train and equip our space forces in a way that maintains our vigilance."
The Air Force already has Space Command squadrons to defend and attack military satellites, but wants to jack up the number of personnel. More
(Source: Engadget - Jul 26)
MALFUNCTIONING WEATHER SATELLITE CAN'T BE RECOVERED, AIR FORCE FINDS - “At this time, there is no impact to the Department of Defense core weather sensing mission, and the DMSP constellation remains able to support mission requirements through resilient systems and processes,” the Air Force stated.
The Flight 19 satellite will remain in space and will be able to gather data for as long as it remains pointed toward the Earth’s surface. Eventually, however, the accuracy of that data will degrade as it begins to point away from the Earth. At that point, the Air Force will continue tracking the satellite for situational awareness and collision avoidance purposes, the service said. Still unknown is whether the Air Force will opt to launch its completed DSMP Flight 20 satellite — which is currently being stored at manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, Calif.-facility — as a replacement capability. More
(Source: DefenseNews.com - Jul 26)
LAUNCH OF SECOND NBN SATELLITE TO ADDRESS AUSTRALIA’S DIGITAL DIVIDE - The National Broadband Network is getting set to launch its second satellite into orbit as the company continues its mission to address what’s been dubbed as the digital divide in Australia.
NBN Co. will launch its second Sky Muster satellite from French Guiana Space Centre in South America on October 5.
Joining the company’s first satellite, the huge spacecraft is set to orbit 36,000km above Earth and will provide improved internet access to Australians in rural areas.
The two NBN satellites will have a combined capacity of 135 gigabits per second and provide services to some 400,000 homes and businesses in regional and remote Australia. More
(Source: NEWS.com.au - Jul 25)
ISRO TO USE RADAR IMAGING SATELLITE TO LOCATE MISSING IAF PLANE AN-32 - The Indian space agency will be using its Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) that can see through the clouds to locate the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) plane+ that went missing on Friday morning with 29 people on board, said its chief on Saturday.
"We will be using RISAT to locate the missing aircraft. The satellite can take pictures both during the day and night. It can see through the clouds," Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman AS Kiran Kumar told IANS.
He said Isro's satellites could be tilted to some extent to look at a different place in times of need. More
(Source: Times of India - Jul 24)
ISRO TO LAUNCH INSAT-3DR WEATHER SATELLITE IN AUGUST - India will launch a weather satellite next month with its heavy rocket, the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-Mk II), Indian space agency chief A.S. Kiran Kumar said in Chennai on Friday.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch INSAT-3DR next month with its GSLV rocket, said Kiran Kumar at the Madras Institute of Technology Alumni Association meeting in Chennai.
He also said Isro is targeting to increase the number of its satellite and rocket launches from the current six-eight per year to 12-18 per year. More
(Source: NDTV - Jul 23)
NASA PREPARES FOR FIRST-EVER IN-SPACE DNA SEQUENCING EXPERIMENT - With the arrival of the SpaceX CRS-9 mission to the Space Station Wednesday morning, the first-ever in-space DNA sequencer experiment has arrived at the international orbiting lab. The experiment is designed to test the feasibility of DNA sequencing in a non-Earth environment as well as serve as a pathfinder for sequencing initiatives on long-duration human missions in the inner solar system and on Mars. NASASpaceflight.com’s Chris Gebhardt recently sat down with two members of the Biomolecule Sequencer Project – Aaron Burton, the Principal Investigator and astrobiologist, and Kristen John, Deputy Project Manager and engineer – for an interview about the potentially revolutionary project. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jul 23)
A YEAR OF EARTH: STUNNING VIDEO REVEALS 365 DAYS OF PICTURES FROM NASA'S EPIC SATELLITE - One million miles away from our planet sits Nasa’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, which has been stationed between the sun and Earth since February 2015.
From this spot, EPIC has captured more than 3,000 stunning images of the Earth as it makes the 365 day journey around the bright ball of gas.
Now, the EPIC team has used these images to create a stunning timelapse of its time in orbit. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) DSCOVR satellite is the nation's first operational satellite in deep space.
(Source: Daily Mail - Jul 22)
GOT IT! ASTRONAUTS CAPTURE SPACEX DRAGON SUPPLY SHIP AT SPACE STATION - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have snagged a SpaceX Dragon supply spacecraft, which reached the station today (July 20) after two days spent catching up to the station.
At 6:56 a.m. EDT (1056 GMT), NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, the space station's current commander, used the 57.7-foot (17.6 meters) Canadarm2 robotic arm to grab the incoming craft as it rendezvoused with the space station. Williams was assisted by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takuya Onishi.
Over the next hours, ground controllers will direct the arm from Johnson Space Center in Houston, to install the craft on the Earth-facing side of the space station. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 21)
WORLDVIEW-2 SATELLITE INVOLVED IN ‘DEBRIS CAUSING EVENT’ - A commercial Earth observation satellite was involved in a “debris causing event” yesterday, according to the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), the part of the United States Defense Department that tracks space objects. The satellite in question, WorldView-2, is owned and operated by DigitalGlobe.
JSpOC announced the event in a tweet and added the satellite has been confirmed as operational and maneuverable. However, eight pieces of debris were tracked. It is unclear exactly when the event occurred or how many of the pieces, if any, are part of WorldView-2.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Jul 21)
SECRET NRO SATELLITE MOUNTED ATOP ATLAS 5 ROCKET FOR JULY 28 LAUNCH - Crews hoisted a covert spacecraft atop an Atlas 5 booster rocket this morning for its trek into an equatorial orbit next week.
United Launch Alliance will perform the deployment mission on July 28 for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the government agency that oversees the country’s spy satellite fleet.
The launch is known as NROL-61 and the satellite’s purpose is classified.
The NRO tells Spaceflight Now that the rocket will head easterly away from Cape Canaveral along an initial flight azimuth of 99 degrees.
Liftoff will occur some time during an unclassified period of 8 a.m. to 12 noon EDT (1200-1600 GMT). The actual target launch time is expected to be announced early next week, but the duration of the usable window will remain secret. More
(Source: SpaceFlignt Now - Jul 20)
TARPAULIN DELAYS JAPANESE MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE BY TWO YEARS - - The launch of Japan’s first dedicated military communications satellite will be delayed by two years after a mishap with a blue tarpaulin damaged sensitive antennas during transportation to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, two government sources told Reuters.
The mishap has set back plans by Japan’s military to unify its fractured and overburdened communications network, and could hinder efforts to reinforce defenses in the East China Sea as Chinese military activity in the region escalates.
“When we need to shift units to the southwest and troops are moving down from the north, we need a stable communications link and this delay could affect that,” a senior Defense Ministry official said on condition he wasn’t identified because he isn’t authorized to talk to the media. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 20)
THE METEOR THAT WASN'T: OBJECT COULD BE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION DEBRIS - An object which exploded over the South Island on Tuesday night is believed to be debris from supplies sent to the International Space Station, not a meteor, an expert says.
What was first thought to be a large meteor exploded over the South Island on Tuesday night, sparking a flurry of phone calls to police.
It was spotted up and down the island when it hit Earth's atmosphere and exploded about 6.30pm. Earth and Sky astronomy guide Kristian Wilson, who works at the Mt John University Observatory, clarified initial reports on Tuesday night. More
(Source: Manawatu Standard - Jul 20)
ROBOTIC RUSSIAN SUPPLY SHIP ARRIVES AT SPACE STATION - An unmanned Russian cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station late Monday (July 18), delivering tons of supplies even as yet another cargo ship launched toward the orbiting lab.
The Progress 64 cargo ship – operated by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency – docked automatically with the Pirs docking compartment of the space station at 8:20 p.m. EDT (0020 July 19 GMT) carrying a haul of food, supplies and fuel for the six astronauts on board.
The spacecraft launched into orbit on Saturday (July 18) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It traveled two days in orbit before reaching the space station as both craft were flying 250 miles (402 kilometers) over Santiago, Chile. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 20)
SATELLITE FLIES 4,000KM IN SPACE TO FOCUS ON INDIA - A satellite belonging to a London-based mobile satellite communication company recently moved over India, above the Equator, in the space after travelling more than 4,000km over several months.
Thrusters onboard communication satellite 4F2, which is one of the 12 satellites owned by Inmarsat, were fired from the satellite control centre in London for the spacecraft to move from one slot to another.
The satellite, weighing close to 6,000kg, which was built at a cost of $250 million was launched in 2005 and was placed over Africa, providing coverage to Africa and Europe.
(Source: Times of India - Jul 19)
SPACEX ROCKET SENDS A NEW DOOR TO SPACE STATION - More than 2 tons of supplies and gear are speeding toward the International Space Station, after a SpaceX Falcon rocket launched early Monday from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The cargo includes a new port that will standardize how spacecraft connect to the station.
The SpaceX Dragon craft will deliver its payload to the station Wednesday morning — but the mission has already been something of a success, as Brendan Byrne of member station WMFE reports.
"SpaceX was able to land the first stage of the booster at a landing site at Cape Canaveral a part of their plan for rocket re-usability," Byrne says. Adding a detail that area residents might already know, he adds, "A sonic boom from the re-entry of the booster was heard across Central Florida." More
(Source: NPR - Jul 19)
ACCURACY OF SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS CONCERNS US MILITARY - A satellite constellation is a group of human-made satellites coordinated from the ground and synchronised to provide global coverage.
The most well known of these is the American Global Positioning System (GPS) which, when it was commissioned in 1995, comprised 24 satellites orbiting at an altitude of 20,200 kilometres. The system was originally intended for military use but after Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down over Soviet airspace in 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced that GPS would be made freely available for civilian use.
Two hundred and sixty-nine passengers and crew were killed in the crash and the decision to allow open access to GPS was made to avert any similar navigational errors in the future. More
(Source: Stuff.co.nz - Jul 18)
SPACEX SUCCESSFULLY LANDS FALCON 9 ROCKET ON SOLID GROUND FOR THE SECOND TIME - SpaceX has successfully landed another Falcon 9 rocket after launching the vehicle into space this evening from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Shortly after takeoff, the vehicle touched down at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 — a ground-based landing site that the company leases at the Cape. It marks the second time SpaceX has pulled off this type of ground landing, and the fifth time SpaceX has recovered one of its rockets post-launch. The feat was accomplished a few minutes before the rocket's second stage successfully put the company's Dragon spacecraft into orbit, where it will rendezvous with the International Space Station later this week.
"It's the fifth time SpaceX has recovered one of its rockets post-launch"
It’s also the first time this year SpaceX has attempted to land one of its rockets on land. For the past six launches, each rocket has tried landing on an autonomous drone ship floating in the ocean. More
(Source: The Verge - Jul 18)