THE UN PLANS TO LAUNCH ITS FIRST SPACE MISSION FIVE YEARS FROM NOW - The United Nations will launch its first-ever space mission aboard Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spaceplane in 2021. The news was announced yesterday at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. The goal of the mission is to give developing nations that don’t have their own space programs the chance to fly payloads in microgravity. The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is accepting proposals "on anything from developing materials that resist corrosion in space to studying climate change and food security," Motherboard reports. More
(Source: The Verge - Sep 29)
ROBOTIC SATELLITE SERVICING TECH READY FOR ORBITAL TESTS, EXPERTS SAY - Technologies that would service and refuel satellites in orbit are finally ready to move forward after years of technical, regulatory and financial challenges, industry experts said at the AIAA Space conference, held earlier this month.
"My assertion is, we're over the hump on all of these [challenges], but that doesn't mean we have a satellite servicing paradigm and infrastructure available today," said Steve Oldham, senior vice president of strategic business development at SSL, a commercial space system design and construction company. He said he anticipates that those missing elements are coming soon and that, when they arrive, there's going to be a "paradigm change."
Currently, satellites are abandoned in orbit when they suffer a mechanical failure or run out of fuel. More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 28)
ROSCOSMOS CONFIRMS PLANS TO REDUCE SPACE STATION CREW - Officials with the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos said Sept. 26 they planned to reduce the size of their crew on the International Space Station next year from three to two.
The comments, by Roscosmos head Igor Komarov during a press conference at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here, confirmed Russian media reports dating back to August that Russia would reduce its crew to save money.
“We checked and found that we can complete all of our programs with two cosmonauts,” Komarov said. “That’s when we decided to optimize our crew to two for the next year.” More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 28)
SATREVOLUTION REVEALS PLANS TO 3D PRINT FIRST PRIVATE POLISH SATELLITE, TO BE IN ORBIT MID-2017 - Over the last few years, Poland has steadily built up a reputation as a 3D printing pioneer. The country is already home to numerous promising startups, with Zortrax decisively leading the way. But the 3D printing nation could be known for a lot more than just desktop 3D printers in the near future, as a new startup is working on a very ambitious 3D printing project that will provide a huge boost to Polish aerospace efforts: the 3D printed Światowid nanosatellite, which would become the first Polish-made commercial and private satellite. According to developers SatRevolution, the satellite could be ready for launch as early as mid-2017. More
(Source: 3ders.org - Sep 27)
INDIA DECLARES SUCCESS ON PSLV’S MOST COMPLEX MISSION - Eight satellites blasted off Monday on top of an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, including an instrument to track tropical cyclones, a pathfinder for a U.S.-owned commercial Earth observation fleet, and multiple spacecraft for Algeria.
The 14-story launcher lifted off at 0342 GMT Monday (11:42 p.m. EDT Sunday) from the First Launch Pad the Satish Dhawan Space Center, India’s spaceport on the country’s eastern coastline.
The PSLV’s 37th flight carried up an Indian satellite to measure ocean winds and supply data for forecasters around the world to estimate the intensity and location of tropical cyclones, plus seven other payloads for U.S., Algerian, Canadian and Indian organizations. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 26)
TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE PSLV'S LONGEST-EVER FLIGHT TOMORROW - On Monday, India’s workhorse PSLV will, for the first time, inject eight different satellites, including weather satellite SCATSAT-1, into two different orbits.
Here are the details of the launch and payloads:
— The PSLV-C35 will be launched from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota at 9.12 a.m. tomorrow. The total weight of all the eight satellites is about 675 kg.
— The SCATSAT-1 will be released first into a 730 km Polar Sunsynchronous Orbit (SSO) after about 17 minutes and the rest will be injected into a lower orbit of 689 km after around two hours. The flight is PSLV’s longest ever. More
(Source: The Hindu - Sep 26)
ARE CUBESATS A NUISANCE TO SPACE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS EFFORTS? - Small satellites and cubesats should not be viewed as a major contributor to congestion or in creating space debris in low earth orbit, at least based on recent history, a panel of experts here said Sept. 23.
“We need to change our attitude about cubesats. They are not a nuisance,” Bhavya Lal, a research staff member at the Institute of Defense Analyses’ Science and Technology Policy Institute, said during a panel discussion. “[They are] a very important part of our satellite ecosystem.”
Speaking at the AMOS conference, Lal said all but one cubesat has been tracked by the Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center and 18th Space Control Squadron, which issues collision warning messages. Because of that tracking, the Air Force has been able to ensure cubesats do not crash into other satellites and create unwanted debris. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 25)
WHERE WILL THE OUT-OF-CONTROL CHINESE SPACE STATION LAND? - Scientists have admitted that they have no way of safely guiding Tiangong-1 back to Earth, and say it is moving too fast to accurately predict where debris from the 8.5-tonne module will crash. The nation’s first prototype space station, Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace”, launched into orbit in September 2011. The module reached the end of its service life earlier this year and was due to splashdown – eventually – in the Pacific Ocean. But at a recent press conference, the Chinese space agency admitted it had lost contact with the station. They did not explain what had gone wrong. More
(Source: The Guardian - Sep 25)
ALIBABA PLANS TO LAUNCH WORLD'S FIRST E-COMMERCE SATELLITE - China's online marketing giant Alibaba plans to launch the world's first e-commerce satellite next year to provide people with the best vegetables after analysing agricultural cultivation and harvesting data.
Juhuasuan.com, a group shopping website affiliated with Alibaba Group, has announced plans to launch the world's very first e-commerce satellite, a report in the state-run People's Daily said.
The project is in cooperation with the China Academy of Launch Vehicle T ..
(Source: Economic Times - Sep 24)
EXPLOSION THAT DESTROYED FALCON ROCKET, FACEBOOK SATELLITE POSSIBLY DUE TO GAS TANK BREACH - A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that exploded on the launch pad earlier this month and destroyed a valuable satellite may have resulted from a leak in its cryogenic helium system, the company said Friday.
SpaceX attempted to launch the locket at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Sept. 1. AMOS-6 mission controllers said the "catastrophic abort" occurred during a stationary test firing of the rocket's engines.
The aerospace company said in an update Friday that it has been working with NASA, the U.S. Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and industry experts to try and determine the cause for weeks. More
(Source: UPI - Sep 24)
MORE SATELLITE COLLISION WARNINGS TO COME WITH SPACE FENCE DATA - A senior Pentagon official said the U.S. Air Force will need to rethink how it issues satellite collision warnings when a new space object tracking system goes online or risk overwhelming satellite operators and hardware systems with overly cautious alerts.
In 2018, the Air Force’s next-generation space object tracking system, known as the Space Fence, will go online and detect satellites and space debris 5 centimeters and larger. Defense Department officials said they are optimistic that on the best days, the $900 million Space Fence, built by Lockheed Martin on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, may be able to track objects as small as 1 centimeter. That’s a marked improvement over the Defense Department’s current network of radars and sensors, which tracks objects 10 centimeters and larger. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 23)
CHINA JUST LAUNCHED BOTTLES OF WINE INTO SPACE FOR AN EXPERIMENT - China launched a cache of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir vines into space on the orbiting Tiangong-2 lab during this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival on September 15, in an experiment that hopes to yield a sturdier plant by exposing them to the harsh climates and radiation of space.
According to DecanterChina.com, scientists hope the experiments will create a vine that is more drought, cold, and virus resistant making the vines more suitable for Chinese weather.
The auspicious launch date is perhaps a nod to Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival folklore, as legend tells the story of the moon goddess, Chang’e, levitating all the way in to space after getting drunk on the “elixir of life.” More
(Source: Fortune - Sep 23)
CHINA’S FALLING SPACE STATION IS NOT GOING TO HIT YOU ON THE HEAD. UNLESS IT DOES - No day counts as a good day when an eight-ton Chinese space station falls on your head. If you’re like most people, you don’t give that danger a lot of thought, and the good news is, you don’t have to start now. Probably.
The dangers posed by an eight-ton Chinese space station have been much in the news of late, after Chinese officials admitted during a Sept. 14 press conference that its Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace) space station, launched in 2011, having “comprehensively fulfilled its historical mission,” is going to come crashing back to Earth sometime in 2017. Where exactly will it land? Well, hard to say. When exactly will the reentry happen? In the second half of the year—if it doesn’t happen earlier or later. More
(Source: TIME - Sep 23)
ISRO TO LAUNCH SCATSAT, 7 OTHER SATELLITES ON SEPTEMBER 26 - Indian Space Research Organisation on Wednesday said it would launch SCATSAT-1 for ocean and weather related studies and seven co-passenger satellites into polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) on September 26.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 37th flight, (PSLV-C35) will launch the satellites at 9:12 hours on September 26, 2016 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, ISRO said.
The 377 kg SCATSAT-1 satellite will have satellites from Algeria, Canada and USA, as well as two satellites from Indian Universities as its co-passenger.
ISRO said SCATSAT-1 would be placed into a 720 km Polar SSO, whereas the two Universities satellites and the five foreign satellites will be placed into a 670 km polar orbit. More
(Source: Times of India - Sep 22)
CHINA LOSES CONTROL OF SPACE STATION NOW HURTLING TOWARDS EARTH - China has begrudgingly admitted that the country's first and only space station is most likely out of control -- and is expected to crash into the Earth's atmosphere next year.
The Tiangong-1 space station, launched in September 2011, means "heavenly palace" and was used to perform docking exercises in preparation for the country to build and launch a larger space complex by 2020. The station is also equipped with monitoring equipment and sensor payloads for space observation.
However, speculation over the past few months has led to rumors that the 8.5-ton Tiangong-1's telemetry link to Earth operators has failed, which would result in an uncontrolled plummet to Earth in the next few years. More
(Source: ZDNet - Sep 22)
BREATHTAKING IMAGE OF MEDITERRANEAN STORM TAKEN FROM SPACE STATION - 4Share to TwitterShare to RedditShare to StumbleUponShare to Google+Share to Tumblr
NASA have released stunning new night-time pictures taken from onboard the International Space Station (ISS), giving a fascinating perspective of cities and regions bordering the Mediterranean. The Strait of Gibraltar, the Nile river, southern Italy and a powerful thunderstorm, seen from more than 400km (250 miles) above, were all captured on film by members of the Expedition 49 crew as the space station passed over Earth in low orbit. More
(Source: RT - Sep 22)
SCIENTISTS ARE SENDING A TINY SATELLITE PROPELLED BY WATER TO ORBIT THE MOON - Say ‘hello’ to a new way to travel the solar system.
As part of the Cube Quest Challenge, sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Centennial Challenge Program, students from Cornell are attempting to be the first to send a CubeSat to orbit the moon. Even more impressive is that they’re powering the spacecraft using only water. A CubeSat is a tiny satellite about the size of a cereal box, and weighs approximately 1.3 kg. It is usually made out of off-the-shelf electronic materials only. More
(Source: Futurism - Sep 21)
KCNA: NORTH KOREA 'SUCCESSFULLY' TESTED SATELLITE ROCKET ENGINE - North Korea stated that it has successfully completed a test of a new satellite rocket engine.
Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran a front-page article on Tuesday, local time, that showed what appeared to be the engine test.
The newspaper also stated "Comrade Kim Jong Un" provided guidance during the test at the site identified as the Sohae satellite launchpad, according to Yonhap.
The Rodong ran nine color photographs of Kim and the engine, and Kim reportedly said North Korea must become a geostationary-satellite state in a few years' time, after conducting several more tests.
Kim also said space development is an important project for the Party and on the "national level." More
(Source: UPI - Sep 21)
CHINA'S FIRST SPACE STATION WILL BURN UP IN LATE 2017 -
Officials in China have conceded that Tiangong-1, the nation's first space station, has now settled into a decaying orbit. That's a sanitized, polite way of saying that the 18,753 pound craft is now hurtling towards Earth with no way of controlling its descent. The vessel is expected to begin burning up towards the end of 2017, although there's a couple of caveats that may not music to anyone's ears.
Reading between the lines, Popular Mechanics believes that China cannot anticipate where the burn up and re-entry will take place. The thinking goes that most controlled descents are planned to take place over the ocean, where there's little to no risk of harming people. An uncontrolled descent means that any debris that survives re-entry could strike a populated area, and if you've seen Armageddon, you know what that means. More
(Source: Engadget - Sep 21)