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SATELLITE NEWS

NASA PREPARING INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOR US COMMERCIAL SPACECRAFT LANDING NASA PREPARING INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOR US COMMERCIAL SPACECRAFT LANDING - NASA engineers are set to prepare the International Space Station (ISS) for the future arrival of US commercial crew and cargo vehicles. On May 27, robotics flight controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston will detach the large Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), used as a supply depot on the orbital laboratory, from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module and robotically relocate it to the forward port of the Tranquility module. This move will clear the Unity port for its conversion into the spare berthing location for US cargo spacecraft.    More
(Source: Economic Times - May 26)


CIA SHUTS DOWN PROGRAM USING SPY SATELLITES TO TRACK CLIMATE CHANGE CIA SHUTS DOWN PROGRAM USING SPY SATELLITES TO TRACK CLIMATE CHANGE - For most of the past two decades, a handful of climate change scientists have had the CIA's MEDEA (Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis) program as an ace in the hole: they could draw on classified info from spy satellites and subs to study global warming in extreme detail. However, they'll now have to make do with alternatives. The agency has shut down MEDEA, saying that its projects to study the security implications of climate change "have been completed." While the CIA says it'll still "engage external experts" on the subject, it won't be providing consistent access to its extremely accurate and rare data.   More
(Source: Engadget - May 24)


SPACEX CAPSULE SPLASHES DOWN IN PACIFIC WITH SPACE STATION CARGO SPACEX CAPSULE SPLASHES DOWN IN PACIFIC WITH SPACE STATION CARGO - A Space Exploration Technologies Dragon cargo capsule made a parachute splashdown into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, wrapping up a five-week stay at the International Space Station. The capsule blasted off on April 14 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and arrived at the orbiting outpost three days later with more than 4,300 pounds (1,950 kg) of food, supplies and science experiments for the live-aboard crew. It was repacked with 3,100 pounds of science samples and other equipment and released back into orbit at 7:04 a.m. EDT (1104 GMT) on Thursday for a return trip to Earth, a NASA TV broadcast showed. Riding beneath a trio of parachutes, the capsule landed in the Pacific at 12:42 p.m. EDT about 155 miles (249 km) southwest of Long Beach, California, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.   More
(Source: Reuters - May 23)


NASA LAUNCHES METIS RESEARCH SATELLITE AS PART OF CUBESAT INITIATIVE NASA LAUNCHES METIS RESEARCH SATELLITE AS PART OF CUBESAT INITIATIVE - With help from Nasa, a small research satellite to test technology for in-space solar propulsion has been launched into space. As part of Nasa's CubeSat Launch Initiative, the research satellite was sent aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Wednesday. Called the Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space (METIS), the probe will expose about 100 different materials samples to the space environment for more than 200 days. The beauty of CubeSats is their versatility.   More
(Source: NDTV - May 22)


INDIA TO LAUNCH COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE FOR STRATEGIC APPLICATIONS SOON INDIA TO LAUNCH COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE FOR STRATEGIC APPLICATIONS SOON - India will launch an advanced communications satellite (GSAT-6) in July or August for strategic applications, its space agency chief said on Wednesday. "We will launch GSAT-6 for strategic applications in July-end or August beginning, with a special antenna that will have a capability to use a handheld device to communicate from anywhere," Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru. Isro will use a heavy rocket - geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLVA Mark II) to launch the 2-tonne GSAT-6 with 10 special transponders from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.   More
(Source: NDTV - May 22)


WATCH THE SPACEX DRAGON LEAVE THE SPACE STATION WATCH THE SPACEX DRAGON LEAVE THE SPACE STATION - Nothing, absolutely nothing, is easy in space, and that includes leaving it, as the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) will be reminded on Thursday morning, May 21, when the Dragon cargo vessel undocks and heads home-a maneuver TIME will live-stream via NASA beginning at 6:45 a.m. ET. Dragon, the 24-ft. (7.3 m) cargo vehicle built by SpaceX, arrived at the ISS on April 17 carrying 5,200 lbs (2,360 kg) of cargo. It is returning after a five-week stay, bringing home 3,100 (1,400 kg) different lbs. of stuff-some of it trash, but a lot of it scientific samples that are part of the extensive biomedical studies being conducted on astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Misha Kornienko as they spend a marathon year in space.   More
(Source: TIME - May 22)


'THE SCIENCE GUY' TALKS ABOUT HIS SPACE SAIL 'THE SCIENCE GUY' TALKS ABOUT HIS SPACE SAIL - In 1976, renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan brought a weird, reflective prop with him to the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The toy was a mockup of a solar sail-a revolutionary idea for space travel propulsion that eschews fuel. "[It] travels on the radiation and particles that come out of the Sun-the wind from the Sun," Sagan explained to Carson, comparing the technology to how an ordinary sail boat moves through the ocean. Fast forward to today, and Sagan's vision for fuel-less, solar-powered space propulsion is turning into a reality. The Planetary Society, headed by Bill Nye "The Science Guy," is launching its very own version of the solar sail concept, the LightSail, atop an Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral.    More
(Source: Popular Science - May 21)


BLASTOFF! X-37B SPACE PLANE AND LIGHTSAIL SOLAR SAIL GO INTO ORBIT BLASTOFF! X-37B SPACE PLANE AND LIGHTSAIL SOLAR SAIL GO INTO ORBIT - A hush-hush military space plane and a widely publicized solar-sail experiment shared a ride into orbit on Wednesday aboard an Atlas 5 rocket launched from Florida. The United Launch Alliance rocket rose from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:05 a.m. ET, carrying an X-37B mini-shuttle for the U.S. Air Force as well as 10 CubeSat nanosatellites that are taking a piggyback ride into space. The spacecraft are to be deployed within hours after launch. One of the satellites, known as LightSail, contains a 32-square-meter (344-square-foot) spread of highly reflective Mylar plastic that will be unfurled within a month to test solar sailing technology.    More
(Source: NBC News - May 20)


WHAT WILL THE X-37B MILITARY SPACE PLANE DO ON ITS NEXT MYSTERY MISSION? WHAT WILL THE X-37B MILITARY SPACE PLANE DO ON ITS NEXT MYSTERY MISSION? - On Wednesday, the United States Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office is set to launch the fourth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle - the military's secretive robotic space plane. The reusable, unmanned X-37B spacecraft will blast off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster tomorrow (May 20) at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. You can see a video of how the X-37B will launch. Since April 2010, two X-37B vehicles have chalked up a total of 1,367 days in space on three different missions. On the last flight, which launched in December 2012 and landed this past October, the X-37B set the record for longest mission of a reusable space vehicle: 674 days.    More
(Source: Space.com - May 20)


BILL NYE PREPARES FOR HIS BOLDEST EXPERIMENT YET BILL NYE PREPARES FOR HIS BOLDEST EXPERIMENT YET - The countdown is set for tomorrow's launch of the prototype LightSail satellite, which scientist and television personality Bill Nye hopes will make history by being the first crowdfunded satellite propelled by beams of light to reach orbit. It turns out that Nye, who is also the chief executive officer of the non-profit Planetary Society, learned quite a bit about how to accomplish the monumental task while teaching kids about science on his morning TV show, "Bill Nye the Science Guy," which ran on PBS for five years in the 1990s.   More
(Source: Upstart - May 20)



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