A MAN-MADE METEOR SHOWER LAUNCHED BY SATELLITE COULD OPEN THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES IN TOKYO - Japanese research company ALE is bidding to create an artificial meteor shower for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The project, Sky Canvas, goes beyond your average fireworks display: It involves launching a satellite into space “loaded with about 500 to 1,000 ‘source particles’ that become ingredients for a shooting star,” the company explains. The company, which is aiming to launch its first satellite in the second half of 2017, outlines how the project works:
When the satellite stabilizes in orbit, we will discharge the particles using a specially designed device on board. More
(Source: Quartz - May 23)
GOT $25,000? THEN YOU CAN BUILD A SATELLITE -- AND A SPACEX COFOUNDER WILL HELP YOU LAUNCH IT - Fine print: Shipping and handling is extra. About $2 million extra. America's new-space industry is suffocating -- but that's OK. Vector Space Systems is here to save it.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to talk over the future of spaceflight with Jim Cantrell, the original rocket scientist at Elon Musk's SpaceX . Cantrell has been working in the space industry for nigh on 30 years now, and for organizations as varied as StratSpace (a business development company assisting "new-space" start-ups), CNES (France's version of NASA), NASA (our version of NASA), and SpaceX itself. More
(Source: Fool.com - May 23)
CHINA REVEALS DESIGN FOR PLANNED TIANGONG 3 SPACE STATION - The China National Space Administration (CNSA) presented several slides of the design of its future space station, called Tiangong 3—meaning “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese. The station is expected to be built between 2018 and 2022.
According to the released slides, the station’s core module, “Tianhe 1” (which means “galaxy”), will include a laboratory with integrated modular racks for storing scientific equipment. It will also have five docking ports and a robotic arm.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - May 23)
SPACEX TARGETING THURSDAY AFTERNOON LAUNCH, LANDING - SpaceX may fire up a Falcon 9 rocket's engines on Monday in a test preparing for a planned 5:40 p.m. Thursday blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch of a Thai communications satellite — and an attempted rocket landing to follow — should look much like SpaceX's May 6 launch of a Japanese communications satellite, but with the action unfolding in daylight instead of darkness.
The roughly 7,000-pound Thaicom 8 satellite built by Orbital ATK will beam TV channels and Internet service to Thailand, India and parts of Africa from a position 22,300 miles above the equator. More
(Source: Florida Today - May 22)
ONE YEAR IN SPACE: X-37B SPACEPLANE CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY WITHOUT FANFARE - Orbiting the world in seclusion for the past year, the Air Force’s mysterious X-37B spaceplane marks the anniversary of its launch today.
The stubby-winged craft was boosted into space by a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket on May 20, 2015, departing Cape Canaveral for a 20-minute ride into a 200-mile-high orbit inclined 38 degrees.
Today, the maneuverable craft operates in a 220-mile orbit, a higher altitude it briefly held last fall and roughly the same perch occupied twice by the previous X-37B mission, according to satellite-tracking hobbyist Ted Molczan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 21)
SATELLITE SPOTS OIL SLICK THAT COULD BE FROM EGYPTAIR PLANE - A European satellite spotted a potential oil slick in the area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea where an EgyptAir jet disappeared with 66 people on board, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday.
The image, taken by satellite Sentinel-1A at 1600 GMT on Thursday, shows a slick about 2 km (1.2 miles) long, roughly 40 km southeast of the aircraft's last known location.
A second image taken at 0400 GMT on Friday showed that the slick had drifted by about 5 km. More
(Source: Reuters - May 21)
ROBERT BIGELOW IS BUILDING HOTELS IN SPACE (NO, REALLY) - Robert Bigelow built his first hotel in Las Vegas, before moving to Texas, and then the rest of the Southwestern United states. Now, the founder of the Budget Suites of America chain is expanding his empire further—his next extended stay rental property is currently attached to the International Space Station.
Bigelow first started his space company, Bigelow Aerospace, in 1999 to develop habitats for use as research labs for corporations and countries without space programs, housing for missions to Mars, or even as hotels for tourists on the final frontier. In April the longtime space buff’s dream took a giant leap forward with the successful delivery of BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, to the space station (ISS). More
(Source: Fortune - May 20)
THIS CRAZY PHOTO FROM THE SPACE STATION HELPS PUT CANADA’S WILDFIRE IN PERSPECTIVE - The Fort McMurray wildfire has captured devastation on a scale most of us can't comprehend. Images from the ground and satellites have helped quantify the destruction, but this shot from the International Space Station somehow ties the scale of the destruction together much more clearly.
The photo was taken by an Expedition 67 crew member on May 14th, from 240 miles away. (Yes, the astronauts have some pretty sweet cameras.) The lower-angle shot shows a huge plume of smoke engulfing Fort McMurray -- the town isn't really visible, the smoke is so dense. More
(Source: Yahoo News - May 20)
SENTINEL SATELLITE PICTURES A 'CLEAR SKIES' AFRICA - This is not a natural state, of course; there is always a weather system bubbling up somewhere.
But if you have access to a lot of images acquired over the course of several months, it becomes possible to construct a mosaic.
This one was produced from observations made by the EU's new Sentinel-2a satellite, which is now routinely mapping Planet Earth.
It is a powerful capability. Sensitive across 13 spectral bands (colours) and able to see details as small as 10m across - the spacecraft's camera "carpet maps" the land surface beneath it. Every strip is 290km wide. More
(Source: BBC News - May 19)
NASA NODES CUBESATS DEPLOYED FROM INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - After a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station, NASA's two Nodes satellites were deployed on May 16 from the NanoRacks platform and into low-Earth orbit to begin their much anticipated technology demonstration.
These tiny satellites have dimensions of only four by four by six inches. The ground controllers for the Nodes mission received confirmation that both satellites are transmitting and are in good health when they passed over the tracking station for the first time, soon after deployment. The first transmission of science data is expected by May 18. More
(Source: Space Ref - May 19)
SCHOOL KIDS LAUNCH OUT OF THIS WORLD SCIENCE PROJECT - Students at an elementary school in Virginia are very excited, and the reason for their excitement is out of this world -- a tiny satellite being launched Monday by astronauts at the International Space Station
Thirteen-year-old Rebecca el Choueiry helped build the satellite.
"I think it's awesome!" she said. "I'm really excited that's it's finally up in space." And now St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington is the first grade school in the nation to put a satellite in orbit. More
(Source: CBS News - May 18)
ÑUSAT-1 SSB/CW TRANSPONDER SATELLITE - The launch of ÑUSAT-1, the second AMSAT ARGENTINA amateur satellite on May 30, will mark an extraordinary event for our Institution and fostering of hope for satellite community.
As we quoted when the announcement of the launching of this experiment, Amsat Argentina has been working for several years to keep alive the dream of many Argentine amateurs to get back into Space with their own satellite as a follow-on of the legendary 1990’s LUSAT-1, reaping the benefits of Technological advancement of our days. More
(Source: AMSAT-UK - May 18)
SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY TELLS US EXACTLY HOW WELL A BUSINESS PERFORMS - Driving past your neighbor’s house on a weekend, you see a bunch of cars parked outside and think: “Oh, they have a lot of guests. They must be having a party.”
Or when the opposite is true — when there are no cars parked outside on a holiday and you think: “Poor people, they are all alone.”
Counting cars. That’s what a Midtown Manhattan company called RS Metrics does for a living. Only it doesn’t drive by shopping malls or office complexes — or your neighbor’s house — to see how many cars are parked outside. More
(Source: New York Post - May 17)
THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION HAS MADE ITS 100,000TH ORBIT OF EARTH, A DISTANCE EQUIVALENT TO 10 R - It's 100,000 laps around Earth and counting for the International Space Station.
The space station reached the orbital milestone — 17 ½ years in the making — Monday morning. NASA said these 100,000 orbits are akin to traveling more than 2.6 billion miles. That's equivalent to 10 round trips to Mars, or almost one way to Neptune.
Each orbit takes about 90 minutes; 16 orbits comprise a station day.
Astronauts have been living continuously aboard the 250-mile-high complex since 2000. Construction began two years before that. Since then, 222 people have lived or visited there, the vast majority of them— 189 — men, according to NASA. Altogether, there have been 47 permanent crews representing the U.S., Russian, Canadian, Japanese and European space agencies. More
(Source: U.S. News & World Report - May 17)
CHINESE ROCKET LOFTS GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE SATELLITE - A Long March 2D booster fired into space Sunday from a remote Chinese spaceport in the Gobi Desert, delivering a military spy satellite to a 640-kilometer-high (400-mile) perch in polar orbit.
The two-stage Long March 2D rocket took off at 0243 GMT Sunday (10:43 p.m. EDT Saturday) from the Jiuquan launch center in northwest China’s Inner Mongolia province.
The liftoff occurred at 10:43 a.m. Beijing time, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
The 41-meter (134-foot-tall) liquid-fueled rocket veered south from Jiuquan to put its payload into a sun-synchronous orbit. Tracking data released by the U.S. military indicated the spacecraft reached an orbit with an apogee, or high point, of about 653 kilometers (405 miles), and a low point, or perigee of 625 kilometers (388 miles). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 16)
NEW YORK FROM SPACE: INCREDIBLE IMAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - The American astronaut, Tim Kopra, has tweeted an image of Manhattan taken from the International Space Station. The image shows the New York borough in incredible detail. Less than six hours after leaving the International Space Station, the Dragon cargo carrier landed in the Pacific on Wednesday, a few hundred miles off the Southern California coast. SpaceX reported a good splashdown, with three red-and-white striped parachutes slowing the final descent. More
(Source: Telegraph.co.uk - May 15)
LAUNCH OF RUSSIA’S GLONASS-M SATELLITE RESCHEDULED TO MAY 29 - The launch of Glonass-M satellite No. 53 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in north Russia has been rescheduled from May 21 to May 29, Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems CEO Nikolay Testoyedov said on Friday.
The launch postponement has nothing to do with the satellite’s condition, he said.
"The launch is planned for May 29 not because of the satellite. This is the decision of the state commission. Today we have received a notice that the launch will take place on May 29. I don’t know the reason for that but this surely has nothing to do with the satellite," Testoyedov said.
(Source: TASS - May 14)
THE MYSTERY OF THE HITOMI SATELLITE IS FINALLY SOLVED - In March, a satellite designed to teach us about some of the most mysterious forces in the universe was brought crashing down to Earth. Hitomi, or ASTRO-H, launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Feb. 17, was discovered to have broken into several pieces on March 26. After scrambling to find out what had happened to the mission, which included contributions from the United States and eight other nations, JAXA named the satellite a lost cause.
It turns out, the loss of the satellite came from a combination of a software update and a cosmic-scale communication problem. More
(Source: Manufacturing.net - May 14)
BOEING DELAYS FIRST CREWED CST-100 FLIGHT TO 2018 - Boeing has delayed the first crewed flight of its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle until early 2018, later than NASA’s original deadline, because of a series of technical issues and new requirements that the company argues are typical for an aerospace development program.
The current development schedule, Boeing spokeswoman Rebecca Regan said May 12, calls for a pad abort test of the spacecraft’s launch abort system in October 2017. That will be followed by an uncrewed orbital test flight of the spacecraft in December 2017. A crewed flight, carrying one NASA astronaut and one Boeing test pilot to the International Space Station, is now scheduled for February 2018. More
(Source: SpaceNews - May 14)