STARGAZING: CHINESE SATELLITE MAKES APPEARANCE FRIDAY NIGHT - China's experimental Tiangong 1 is one of the two brightest satellites visible tonight. At its brightest it is expected to reach magnitude 2.5 which is almost as bright as the two stars at the bottom of the "cup" of the Big Dipper.
The name Tiangong means "Heavenly Palace" and is part of China's project 192 to build a multi-module space station. Two previous manned modules have docked with the Tiangong 1 but it is currently unoccupied.
At 8:51 pm. the satellite starts a long path leading from the western horizon to its highest point in the NNW. The highest altitude is 36 degrees, which is between one third and one half of the way up to the zenith. More
(Source: Florida Today - Aug 28)
SATELLITE LOST IN SPACE? WE'LL TOW IT, SAYS ISRAELI STARTUP - It's not a tractor beam, but a robotic space tow-truck could get the job done just as well. An Israeli startup has designed a Micro-satellite, which it says can dock with a wayward satellite and tug it into the right orbit.
The company, Effective Space Solutions Ltd., says it's in talks with several manufacturers to build the tugboat, or "DeOrbiter" micro-satellite. It hopes to launch within two years.
The planned satellite, once built and deployed, should be able to rendezvous with in-orbit satellites and propel them into new orbits, give them course corrections, or steer them towards what's known as the "graveyard orbit" - a decommissioned satellite graveyard some 300km above their usual height of 36,000 kilometers over the equator. This fuel saving can extend a communications satellite's life. More
(Source: Wall Street Journal - Aug 28)
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SATELLITE LOST IN SPACE, BUT SCIENTISTS STILL HOPEFUL - Researchers at the University of Toronto's Space Flight Laboratory are searching the skies for "BRITE-Montreal," a million-dollar mini satellite missing since it left Earth.
It was one of a pair of Canadian satellites launched into orbit on June 19. But while two went up, only one has been found.
According to the Space Flight Laboratory, "BRITE-Montreal" and its sister satellite "BRITE-Toronto" - each about the size of a car battery - were launched from Russia as part of an international project to study the sky's brightest stars and learn about their makeup. More
(Source: Toronto Star - Aug 28)
EUROPEAN ATV-5 CARGO SPACECRAFT ADJUSTS SPACE STATION'S ORBIT - Europe's ATV-5 cargo spacecraft, docked with the International Space Station, switched its engines for some three minutes on Wednesday to raise the space station's orbit by approximately one kilometer, the Russian Mission Control said.
"The maneuver was conducted at 12:37 pm Moscow time," the mission control said. "Boosters of the ATV-5 worked for 178.68 seconds."
Ariane 5 ES space carrier with ATV-5 "Georges Lemaitre" cargo spacecraft was launched to the ISS from the Guiana Space Center, in Kourou, French Guiana, on July 29 and docked with the space station on August 12. More
(Source: ITAR-TASS - Aug 28)
WORLDVIEW-3 SATELLITE DELIVERS FIRST SUPER-HI-RES IMAGES - The world's most powerful commercial Earth-imaging satellite was launched less than two weeks ago, but DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 spacecraft is already sending back ultra-high-resolution pictures of cars with their doors left open and dump trucks that have clearly emptied their loads.
The resolution is so ultra-high, in fact, that the federal government isn't allowing DigitalGlobe to release the pictures at their best just yet. Due to regulatory restrictions, they have to be downgraded from a resolution of 12 inches per pixel to a fuzzier 15 inches per pixel (30 to 40 centimeters per pixel) until Feb. 21, 2015. More
(Source: NBCNews.com - Aug 27)
LOW ON FUEL, RAINFALL SATELLITE SLOWLY SPIRALS TO ITS DEATH IN 2016 - After 17 years of faithful service, the end is in sight for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). The joint NASA-Japanese mission is out of fuel (except for a small reserve amount for emergencies) and beginning its slow descent back to Earth.
From that fall, the satellite is not going to recover. It's expected to re-enter the atmosphere and be destroyed around November 2016. The satellite will be shut down around February 2016, depending on how much solar activity pumps up the atmosphere. More
(Source: Universe Today - Aug 26)
ROSCOSMOS WANTS $440 MILLION TO BUILD INFLATABLE SPACE STATIONS - Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, has requested 16 billion rubles ($440 million) for the development of inflatable space station habitats, Interfax reported Monday, citing a copy of the proposed federal space program for 2016-2025.
The program, which Russian media reports say was submitted to the government last week, contains proposals for a number of ambitious projects, including moon bases and super-heavy lift rockets. More
(Source: The Moscow Times - Aug 26)
SPACEX DELAYS FALCON 9 SATELLITE LAUNCH AFTER ROCKET BLOWUP - SpaceX says it's delaying this week's Falcon 9 rocket launch by a day to review the circumstances behind a test flight that ended in a spectacular explosion on Friday. In a statement issued on Sunday, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said the company is aiming to launch the AsiaSat 6 telecommunications satellite during a 3-hour, 15-minute window beginning at 12:50 a.m. ET Wednesday. That's a day later than previously planned.
Taylor said the circumstances surrounding the Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida are "very different" from those for Friday's flight of the F9R prototype, which was designed to test technologies for bringing a rocket booster back for a landing after launch. More
(Source: NBCNews.com - Aug 25)
NASA SATELLITE TO HELP FARMERS COMBAT DROUGHT - NASA scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new satellite than can predict the severity of droughts worldwide and help farmers maximise crop yield.
Currently, there is no ground- or satellite-based global network monitoring soil moisture at a local level.
Farmers, scientists and resource managers can place sensors in the ground, but these only provide spot measurements and are rare across some critical agricultural areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America. More
(Source: Economic Times - Aug 25)
EUROPEAN NAVIGATION CRAFT LAUNCHED INTO WRONG ORBIT - Arianespace confirmed late Friday that two satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation network were released into the wrong orbit after launching aboard a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.
It was not immediately clear whether the two satellites have enough fuel to make up for the orbit injection error. Arianespace and European Space Agency officials initially heralded Friday morning's launch as a success, declaring the satellites healthy and claiming they were deployed into their targeted orbit approximately 23,500 kilometers, or 14,600 miles, above Earth. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 23)