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SATELLITE NEWS

REAL LIFE 'PAC-MAN' SATELLITE WILL CLEAN UP SPACE JUNK REAL LIFE 'PAC-MAN' SATELLITE WILL CLEAN UP SPACE JUNK - The Swiss aren't big on littering, and that philosophy apparently applies to space, too. After the nation's EPFL Center for Space Engineering launched its first satellites (the tiny SwissCubes) into orbit, the very next mission planned was "CleanSpace One" to get them out of orbit. For one, the researchers didn't want to add to the reams of existing space garbage threatening other satellites and astronauts at speeds of up to 15,000mph. But mainly, they want to test a practical system for cleaning space junk with relatively small targets. After considering various systems, the EPFL has settled on a "Pac-Man" solution that will trap the satellites with a conical net. The operation will be tricky, because just finding the 4x4-inch satellites is going to be difficult. As such, the researchers are developing a high dynamic-range camera and image processing system that can spot bright reflections coming off the SwissCubes as they spin in space. Meanwhile, if the net doesn't deploy just so, the cubes could bounce off the cleanup satellite and end up in a worse spot than before.   More
(Source: Engadget - Jul 7)


PROGRESS RESUPPLY MISSION ARRIVES AT ISS PROGRESS RESUPPLY MISSION ARRIVES AT ISS - A Russian Progress cargo ship glided to a smooth docking with the International Space Station early Sunday, bringing more than 3 tons of supplies and equipment to the lab complex. The unpiloted spacecraft's docking mechanism engaged its counterpart in the station's Earth-facing Pirs compartment at 3:11 a.m. EDT (GMT-4), two days after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. "Guys, congratulations. your cargo vehicle has arrived," Russian flight director Vladimir Solovyev radioed from the Russian mission control center near Moscow.   More
(Source: SoaceFlignt Now - Jul 6)


IN BIGGEST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH, ISRO TO PUT 5 UK SATELLITES IN ORBIT ON JULY 10 IN BIGGEST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH, ISRO TO PUT 5 UK SATELLITES IN ORBIT ON JULY 10 - India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will lift off on its 30th flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, on July 10 with the heaviest ever payload (1,440kg) ever for a commercial launch. PSLV-C28 will launch the UK's three identical optical earth observation satellites (DMC3) built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), each weighing 447kg. It will also carry a micro and a nano satellite, both for the UK. Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will be using the high-end XL version of PSLV for the ninth time.   More
(Source: Times of India - Jul 4)


RUSSIA LAUNCHES CARGO SHIP TO STATION RUSSIA LAUNCHES CARGO SHIP TO STATION - Recovering from an April failure, Russia successfully launched a Progress cargo ship early Friday loaded with more than three tons of supplies and equipment needed to replenish stockpiles aboard the International Space Station. The Progress M-28M/60P spacecraft, perched atop a Soyuz-U booster, took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on time at 12:55:48 a.m. EDT (GMT-4; 10:55 a.m. local time), climbing into a clear blue sky trailing a jet of fiery exhaust from its liquid-fueled strap-on boosters.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 3)


RUSSIAN ROCKET POISED FOR CRUCIAL SUPPLY RUN TO SPACE STATION RUSSIAN ROCKET POISED FOR CRUCIAL SUPPLY RUN TO SPACE STATION - The stakes are high for a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station, after a string of failures has left the orbiting outpost running somewhat low on supplies. Early Friday, an unmanned Russian rocket will lift off with food, fuel and other essentials. The launch comes less than a week after another unmanned rocket from commercial firm SpaceX disintegrated shortly after liftoff. That was the third failure since October. Normally, the station is stocked with six months of supplies. "Today we're at, give or take, about four months," station manager Mike Suffredini said during a recent NASA press conference.   More
(Source: NPR - Jul 3)


RUSSIA'S MILITARY SATELLITE DELAY LEAVES COUNTRY VULNERABLE TO NUCLEAR MISSILE ATTACKS RUSSIA'S MILITARY SATELLITE DELAY LEAVES COUNTRY VULNERABLE TO NUCLEAR MISSILE ATTACKS - Russia may be working on modernizing its strategic missile force by developing advanced nuclear missile systems, but the country is itself vulnerable to similar attacks after delaying the launch of a new satellite-based missile warning system by four months, local media reported Wednesday. The launch of the military satellite system has been postponed until November, leaving Russia blind in the event of a potential nuclear missile attack, The Moscow Times reported. The country's aging Soviet-era early warning satellites seriously malfunctioned last year when one of three units went offline, followed by the decommissioning of the remaining two satellites in January.   More
(Source: International Business Times - Jul 2)


RUSSIAN CARGO SPACECRAFT WILL LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION EARLY FRIDAY RUSSIAN CARGO SPACECRAFT WILL LAUNCH TO SPACE STATION EARLY FRIDAY - A robotic Russian cargo vessel will try to buck a negative recent trend when it launches toward the International Space Station early Friday morning (July 3). Russia's Progress 60 freighter is scheduled to blast off atop a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan at 12:55 a.m. EDT Friday (0455 GMT, 10:55 a.m. local time in Kazakhstan). The launch comes just five days after SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket exploded less than 3 minutes into flight, ending the California-based company's seventh contracted cargo run to the orbiting lab for NASA - and about two months after the previous Progress freighter (Progress 59) fell back to Earth, victimized by a problem with its Soyuz booster.    More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 2)


SPACEX ROCKET FAILURE RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT SPACE STATION'S VITAL SUPPLIES SPACEX ROCKET FAILURE RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT SPACE STATION'S VITAL SUPPLIES - NASA prides itself on preparing for the worst, but three rocket explosions in eight months are testing the agency's backup plans. Sunday's explosion of a SpaceX rocket, bound for the International Space Station, followed the fiery end of an Orbital Sciences launch in October and the failure of a Russian resupply vessel in April. As both American companies remain grounded during ongoing investigations, questions are now being raised about how long NASA can keep the scientific researchers at the space station. NASA officials remain confident that the crew has adequate food and water until the end of October, but the agency offered a less rosy outlook even before the last two failures.   More
(Source: Los Angeles Times - Jul 1)


NASA OFFICIALS CONFIRM MYSTERIOUS FIREBALL IS SPACE JUNK NASA OFFICIALS CONFIRM MYSTERIOUS FIREBALL IS SPACE JUNK - NASA says a mysterious object that light up the night sky in the southeast was space debris re-entering the earth's atmosphere. Channel 2 Action News received several phone calls into the newsroom and many people posted pictures and videos to social media. The object was spotted around 1:30 a.m. in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. People described it looking like a bright fireball with lights streaming behind it. The flash didn't last very long, it disappeared after a few moments.   More
(Source: WSB-TV - Jun 30)


SATELLITE OWNERS AMONG BYSTANDERS IN FALCON 9 ACCIDENT SATELLITE OWNERS AMONG BYSTANDERS IN FALCON 9 ACCIDENT - The long queue of satellites waiting on launches aboard SpaceX's Falcon rockets - a backlog the company says is worth $7 billion - will stay grounded while investigators determine what caused a Falcon 9 booster to disintegrate after liftoff Sunday with supplies heading for the International Space Station. Commercial and government satellite operators - from telecom giant SES to NOAA's climate research team - were lined up to fly on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket in the coming months, and they will have to wait longer than bargained for when they signed on to launch on the commercial booster.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 30)



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