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SATELLITE NEWS

NAVY SATELLITE SAILS TO ORBIT ATOP ATLAS 5 ROCKET FOR COMMUNICATIONS GRID NAVY SATELLITE SAILS TO ORBIT ATOP ATLAS 5 ROCKET FOR COMMUNICATIONS GRID - The constellation-building Atlas 5 rocket from United Launch Alliance successfully deployed the fifth communications spacecraft for the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System today to form a new rugged smartphone network for the U.S. military. “MUOS is a revolutionary system in its infancy,” said Navy Commander Peter Sheehy, principal assistant program manager of MUOS. “Five years from now, we’ll be wondering how we ever operated without it.” The Atlas 5 heaved the massive payload into the proper orbit to complete the launch series, flying straight and true just like the four previous MUOS missions since 2012.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 25)


ATLAS V READY TO LAUNCH NAVY SATELLITE ATLAS V READY TO LAUNCH NAVY SATELLITE - United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket returns to action Friday after a close call three months ago, when its main engine quit firing six seconds too soon. The early shutdown imperiled a launch of International Space Station supplies that reached orbit safely thanks to an extra minute of work by the rocket’s upper stage, News 6 partner Florida Today reported. ULA says it has fixed a valve problem that restricted fuel flow on that March 22 flight, leaving a significant amount unused. Now the most powerful version of the Atlas V is poised for a 10:30 a.m. blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41 with a large, military communications satellite.   More
(Source: WKMG Orlando - Jun 24)


CRS-9 PUSHED BACK TWO DAYS; PORT CANAVERAL MULLS NEW WHARFAGE FEES CRS-9 PUSHED BACK TWO DAYS; PORT CANAVERAL MULLS NEW WHARFAGE FEES - The next launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has been pushed back by two days to July 18. The mission is set to launch the next Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS). Also this week, Port Canaveral recently proposed a new wharfage fee for large aerospace item moving across the Canaveral docks. Scheduled to rise spaceward at 12:45 a.m. EDT (4:45 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, a Dragon capsule will carry much-needed equipment to the orbiting laboratory. SpaceX’s ninth mission under the Commercial Resupply Services contract, CRS-9, will carry nearly 4,900 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of science research, food, and more.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Jun 24)


SPACE STATION CARGO SHIP GIVES ITS ALL FOR SCIENCE SPACE STATION CARGO SHIP GIVES ITS ALL FOR SCIENCE - With one last task to carry out, a space station Cygnus cargo ship loaded with trash and no-longer-needed equipment fell back to Earth Wednesday, hitting the discernible atmosphere 60 miles or so above the Pacific Ocean at nearly 5 miles per second. Based on past experience, the doomed supply ship was expected to quickly fall victim to the enormous temperatures generated by atmospheric friction, heating up, melting and breaking apart at an altitude of around 45 miles. But as it transitioned from pristine spacecraft to blazing inferno, a heavily protected data recorder was programmed to collect readings from wireless sensors mounted throughout the vehicle.   More
(Source: CBS News - Jun 23)


INDIA’S PSLV BLASTS OFF WITH 20 SATELLITES INDIA’S PSLV BLASTS OFF WITH 20 SATELLITES - A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off early Wednesday with an assortment of payloads for the Indian government, domestic universities, and institutions and companies from Indonesia, Canada, Germany and the United States, including a pathfinder satellite for Google’s Terra Bella Earth observation division. The PSLV launched at 0356 GMT Wednesday (11:56 p.m. EDT Tuesday) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, India’s primary spaceport situated on Sriharikota Island on the country’s eastern coastline. Launch occurred at 9:26 a.m. local time in India.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 23)


COUNTDOWN FOR LAUNCH OF CARTOSAT-2 ROCKET WITH 19 SATELLITES BEGINS COUNTDOWN FOR LAUNCH OF CARTOSAT-2 ROCKET WITH 19 SATELLITES BEGINS - The countdown for the launch of Cartosat-2 series and 19 other satellites on Wednesday morning is progressing smoothly, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The satellites' health is being checked and the preparations for the filling of the fuel for the second rocket's second stage/engine is under progress, the ISRO said on Tuesday. "The countdown is progressing normally," it said. On Wednesday at 9.26 a.m., Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will lift off from the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with 20 satellites.    More
(Source: Economic Times - Jun 22)


UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE SET FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE SET FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH - A satellite launch from Florida's Space Coast on Friday will complete a constellation meant to improve communications for U.S. soldiers. The satellite will be sent up on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, marking the fifth and final piece of the U.S. Navy's Mobile Unit Objective System. The Boeing-Lockheed Martin partnership is scheduled to launch at 10:29 a.m. and will essentially create a global cellular network that improves ground communications. The MUOS is a network of satellites, ground stations and software that improves communication for U.S. forces around the world.   More
(Source: Orlando Sentinel - Jun 22)


WEATHER FORECAST LOOKS GOOD FOR FRIDAY’S ATLAS 5 ROCKET LAUNCH WEATHER FORECAST LOOKS GOOD FOR FRIDAY’S ATLAS 5 ROCKET LAUNCH - Air Force meteorologists are giving good odds of acceptable weather conditions for the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket to fly Friday morning from Cape Canaveral to put a Navy mobile communications satellite into orbit. Liftoff from Complex 41 is scheduled during a 44-minute window stretching from 10:30 to 11:14 a.m. EDT (1430-1514 GMT). In their initial launch weather outlook issued this morning, forecasters are concerned only about cumulus clouds. They say thunderstorms won’t fire up until after the launch window ends.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 21)


IN ISRO'S RECORD SPACE LAUNCH, GOOGLE-MADE SATELLITE FINDS A PLACE IN ISRO'S RECORD SPACE LAUNCH, GOOGLE-MADE SATELLITE FINDS A PLACE - In a first, Indian space agency ISRO is set to place into Earth's orbit a hi-tech satellite made by a Google company as part of a record-making 20-satellite launch scheduled for Wednesday from Sriharikota. On its 36th launch, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will fly 20 satellites into space at a cost about 10 times less than other space agencies. As a mark of the India-US friendship, ISRO or the Indian Space Research Organisation will launch 13 American-made small satellites into space.    More
(Source: NDTV - Jun 21)


CHINA PREPARES ASSEMBLY OF ITS SPACE STATION, INVITES COLLABORATION THROUGH U.N. CHINA PREPARES ASSEMBLY OF ITS SPACE STATION, INVITES COLLABORATION THROUGH U.N. - The Chinese government has agreed to help finance non-Chinese payloads and experiments to be operated from China’s future space station through the United Nations as part of its attempt to internationalize the program, a senior Chinese space official told the U.N. The official said China is on track to inaugurate its fourth spaceport, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, in the coming weeks with the launch of the first Long March 7 rocket. Wenchang is located at 9 degrees north latitude, which is the southernmost point on Chinese territory. Under the current schedule, a TianGong-2 orbiting laboratory module would be launched in September aboard a Long March 5B rocket to test technologies that will be needed for the space station.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jun 21)


PHASE 4B RIDESHARE PAYLOAD FINISHES PRELIMINARY DESIGN REVIEW PHASE 4B RIDESHARE PAYLOAD FINISHES PRELIMINARY DESIGN REVIEW - The GEO project at Virginia Tech being done jointly with AMSAT and using RINCON Research’s AstroSDR has completed our preliminary design review (PDR). Please visit out web site at We are able to provide much more information to donors if you need it including a sanitized version of our PDR slides giving much greater detail on the internal to the spacecraft project. Your donations are needed to make this project fly. The bottom line is we have a design, an air interface document, a ground terminal project plan. We have permission from the US government to put our payload on board their spacecraft.    More
(Source: AMSAT - Jun 20)


SKYGAZERS HAVE ALREADY FOUND THE US GOVERNMENT'S NEW SPY SATELLITE SKYGAZERS HAVE ALREADY FOUND THE US GOVERNMENT'S NEW SPY SATELLITE - Last week, the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office launched NROL-37, carrying its latest spy satellite into geosynchronous orbit via Delta IV-Heavy rocket. But it only took amateur space enthusiasts a few days to locate the mysterious new craft in the skies near Malaysia, over the Strait of Malacca. While the contents and capabilities of the NROL-37 mission's payload are classified (the satellite is innocuously labeled US-268), its need to hitch a ride on the world's biggest rocket strongly suggests it is the seventh member of the Mentor/Orion family, an extra-large class of signals intelligence (SIGINT) satellites which help provide eavesdropping capability to US intelligence agencies.   More
(Source: Motherboard - Jun 20)


ARIANE 5 LAUNCHES ECHOSTAR 18 AND BRISAT ARIANE 5 LAUNCHES ECHOSTAR 18 AND BRISAT - Ariane 5 has returned to launch action for the third time this year with the lofting of the Echostar 18 and BRISAT satellites on Saturday. BRIsat is the first satellite dedicated to serving a bank. The launch – from the European Spaceport in Kourou – was realigned to Saturday, following a scrub on Friday due to high altitude wind constraints. The launch was set to take place on June 8. However, during the preparations for the roll-out of the Ariane 5 ECA launcher, an anomaly occurred with a fluid connector between the cryogenic upper stage and the launch table.   More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jun 19)


A GOOGLE SATELLITE: TWO AMONG 19 SMALL SATELLITES TO BE LAUNCHED FROM US A GOOGLE SATELLITE: TWO AMONG 19 SMALL SATELLITES TO BE LAUNCHED FROM US - Two among the 19 small satellites being launched on June 22 are from United States. One of them, SkySat Gen1-1, is a small, Earth-imaging satellite weighing about 110 kg and it has been designed and built by Terra Bella, a Google firm based out of Mountain View, California, in the Unite States. The second one, the Planet Labs Dove Satellites (FLock-2P) are Earth-imaging satellites. A total of 12 Dove Satellites weighing 4.7kg each are being carried in this mission inside three QuadPack dispensers. SATHYABAMASAT, which is one among the two satellites of Indian Academic Institutes, has been developed by the Sathyabama University, Chennai.   More
(Source: Deccan Chronicle - Jun 19)


3 INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION ASTRONAUTS LAND IN KAZAKHSTAN 3 INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION ASTRONAUTS LAND IN KAZAKHSTAN - An International Space Station crew including an American, a Briton and a Russian landed safely Saturday in the sun-drenched steppes of Kazakhstan. The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying NASA's Tim Kopra, Tim Peake of the European Space Agency and the Russian agency Roscosmos' Yuri Malenchenko touched down as scheduled at 3:15 p.m. local time (0915 GMT) about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. All descent maneuvers were performed without any hitches and the crew reported feeling fine as their ship slid off the orbit and headed down to Earth. Helicopters carrying recovery teams were circling the area as the capsule was descending slowly under a massive orange-and-white parachute.   More
(Source: ABC News - Jun 19)


OIL INDUSTRY SATELLITE FOR MEASURING CLIMATE POLLUTION SET TO LAUNCH OIL INDUSTRY SATELLITE FOR MEASURING CLIMATE POLLUTION SET TO LAUNCH - A $10 million dollar satellite will be launched next week to attempt to do something that has proved so elusive from the ground: comprehensively measuring the carbon dioxide and methane emissions billowing from Alberta's sprawling tar sands operations, and eventually fossil fuel operations anywhere. The satellite, built by the Montreal-based GHGSat, is funded by a group including major oil sands producers and the Canadian government and will blast off into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on June 21. The hope is that, once in place 318 miles above Earth, the satellite will produce measurements with a resolution 400 times finer than current satellites produce.   More
(Source: InsideClimate News - Jun 18)


WATCH NASA LIGHT THE 'LARGEST EVER FIRE IN SPACE' WATCH NASA LIGHT THE 'LARGEST EVER FIRE IN SPACE' - NASA have released two videos of a large fire that was lit inside an unmanned cargo ship in space in a daring experiment. The experiment, the first of three planned Nasa experiments on how big fires grow in space, was an important test for astronaut safety. The space agency confirmed the fire had been lit on June 15th at 4:55pm ET. The first of the two videos, which were posted on Nasa Glenn Research's Twitter page, shows a test performed before the fire was lit, sending tendrils of smoke across the box to make sure that air was flowing through smoothly.    More
(Source: Daily Mail - Jun 18)


WATCH THREE ASTRONAUTS LEAVE THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TONIGHT WATCH THREE ASTRONAUTS LEAVE THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TONIGHT - Tonight, three astronauts onboard the International Space Station will load into a Russian Soyuz capsule, beginning their nearly seven-hour journey back home to Earth. The returning crew is an international bunch, including NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, British astronaut Tim Peake of the European Space Agency, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. The trio will board the Soyuz after 10:15PM ET and then undock from the ISS around 1:52AM ET. "The astronauts are finishing up a 186-day stay in space" After that, the Soyuz will remain in orbit until about 4:21AM ET. That’s when the vehicle ignites its engines, taking the Soyuz out of Earth’s orbit. This "deorbit burn" initiates the spacecraft’s descent through the atmosphere, eventually reaching a speed of 755 feet per second.    More
(Source: The Verge - Jun 18)


WHAT KILLED JAPAN'S HITOMI X-RAY SATELLITE? WHAT KILLED JAPAN'S HITOMI X-RAY SATELLITE? - On February 17th, a new X-ray satellite observatory launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre. Named "Hitomi" meaning "Eye pupil" in Japanese, the observatory was set to explore the nature of super-massive black holes and even the origin of the mysterious dark matter. Five weeks after launch everything was going smoothly. Hitomi was making trial observations and transitioning from the highly supervised commissioning mode to regular operation. Just after 3:00 AM JST on Saturday March 26th, Hitomi performed its first maneuver without continual monitoring from Earth. Instead, scientists at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) waited for Hitomi to re-establish radio contact as its orbit swept over Japan’s ground stations in Spain and Australia.    More
(Source: Scientific American - Jun 17)


PUB CREATES MASSIVE ROAST DINNER PORTRAIT OF TIM PEAKE TO WELCOME HIM HOME TO EARTH PUB CREATES MASSIVE ROAST DINNER PORTRAIT OF TIM PEAKE TO WELCOME HIM HOME TO EARTH - Tim Peake isn't just an astronaut - he's now a Gastronaut thanks to a Norwich pub. The Fieldfare pub created a massive roast dinner portrait of the astronaut, who is currently aboard the International Space Station. It was designed by renowned food artist, Prudence Staite, and took 20 hours to build. The creation contains 2.5 kg of roast potatoes, 500g carrots, 400g garden peas, 3kg cauliflower, 46 Yorkshire puddings, 2.5kg of meat and 1 litre of gravy. It weighs 12kg and features a message for Tim Peake - it says "Welcome home Tim!".   More
(Source: Telegraph.co.uk - Jun 17)