PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS NASA AUTHORIZATION BILL - President Donald Trump has signed the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, which sets a $19.5 billion budget for the agency for fiscal year 2017.
The bill — S.442 — is the first NASA authorization bill to reach a U.S. president's desk since 2010. Trump signed the bill into law today (March 21) during a televised ceremony in the Oval Office. He was joined by NASA astronauts Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Chris Cassidy, who presented the commander in chief with a NASA flight jacket.
Following the signing, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the White House will re-establish a National Space Council. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 23)
ATLAS 5 ROCKET AIMS FOR FRIDAY NIGHT LAUNCH TO SEND SUPPLIES TO SPACE STATION - Officials have accepted a Friday launch date for a commercial cargo ship to the International Space Station after Range availability scuttled notions of moving up the Atlas 5 flight by a day.
The United Launch Alliance booster will haul Orbital ATK’s Cygnus automated resupply freighter into low-Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral.
A Thursday launch had been considered, but the Eastern Range was unavailable that day due to unrelated SpaceX mission testing on the Space Coast. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 22)
CAN SPACEX MAKE SATELLITE-BASED INTERNET A REALITY? - Never one to shy away from ambitious projects, SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk has been working on a new project that would use satellites to bring low-cost broadband Internet service to the world for years, but could he actually be close to accomplishing that mission?
According to The Verge, recent filings have revealed that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) representatives have met with SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell twice within the last month: a wireless advisor met with her on February 28, and Chairman Ajit Varadaraj Pai himself discussed regulatory and licensing issues with Shotwell on March 10.
(Source: RedOrbit - Mar 21)
MOUNT ETNA GLOWS HOT IN NEW SATELLITE IMAGE - Sicily sparkles with city lights in a new satellite image, but what’s that lighting up Mount Etna?
A new image taken by an instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite shows the nighttime glow of lava during a recent active period at the volcano, which towers 10,922 feet over the island. Mount Etna has been belching ash and lava in the past few weeks. On March 16, 10 people were injured in an explosion of hot rock on the mountain, an incident captured by a BBC film crew. More
(Source: CBS News - Mar 21)
SPACEX’S DRAGON SUPPLY CARRIER WRAPS UP 10TH MISSION TO SPACE STATION - SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft ended a four-week mission Sunday with a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, returning from the International Space Station with more than 3,600 pounds of cargo, blood and urine samples, and specimens from a rodent research experiment aimed at helping patients with catastrophic bone injuries and osteoporosis.
Flying northwest to southeast over the Pacific Ocean, the 12-foot-wide (3.7-meter) automated spaceship streaked through the upper atmosphere, its carbon ablative heat shield weathering temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,650 degrees Celsius). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 21)
SPACEX DRAGON SPACECRAFT DEPARTS SPACE STATION - Expedition 50 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station‘s robotic arm at 5:11 a.m. EDT.
With the spacecraft a safe distance from the station, SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, will command its deorbit burn around 10 a.m. The capsule will splash down at about 10:54 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 5,400 pounds of cargo. The cargo includes science samples from human and animal research, external payloads, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities. More
(Source: NASA - Mar 20)
INTERNATIONALLY-BACKED MILITARY SATELLITE SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED ATOP DELTA 4 ROCKET - With an international flair for collaboration, a military communications satellite jointly purchased by five allies was rocketed in space Saturday to further expand the U.S.-operated network that serves battlefield forces anywhere on Earth.
The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite No. 9, which will act like an information router in space, was successfully propelled into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
The 8:18 p.m. EDT (0018 GMT) liftoff occurred from Complex 37 following an afternoon loading of 170,000 gallons of cryogenic propellant into the two-stage rocket. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 19)
NEW US MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE TO LAUNCH SATURDAY - A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket is poised to lift off this Saturday (March 18) to deliver a multipurpose communications satellite into orbit for the U.S. military.
Blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is scheduled for 7:44 p.m. EDT (2344 GMT), and will be the second launch this week from the Eastern Range. The launch window closes at 8:59 p.m. EDT (0059 GMT on March 19).
Perched atop the rocket is the ninth member of the $442 million Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) network, which collects and routes real-time data through thousands of terminals worldwide and supports the military's Global Broadcast Service. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 18)
NASA SAYS GOODBYE TO EARTH OBSERVING-1 (EO-1) SATELLITE AFTER 17 YEARS - The first to map active lava flows from space.
The first to measure a facility's methane leak from space.
The first to track re-growth in a partially logged Amazon forest from space.
After 17 years in orbit, one of NASA's pathfinder Earth satellites for testing new satellite technologies and concepts comes to an end on March 30, 2017. The Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite will be powered off on that date but will not enter Earth's atmosphere until 2056.
Launched on Nov. 21, 2000, EO-1 was designed as a technology validation mission focused on testing cutting-edge satellite and instrument technologies that could be incorporated into future missions.
(Source: Phys.org - Mar 18)
CYGNUS SPACECRAFT LAUNCH TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SET FOR MARCH 24 - ULA - According to the statement, ULA has also requested the option to launch on March 23, pending Eastern Range availability.
"The launch of the ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft for Orbital ATK and NASA is confirmed on the Eastern Range for Friday, March 24," ULA said on Wednesday.
The launch was initially scheduled for March 19, according to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Last week, it was postponed until March 21 amid booster hydraulic issues discovered during pre-launch testing. More
(Source: Sputnik International - Mar 18)
JAPANESE SPY SATELLITE LAUNCHES TO WATCH NORTH KOREA - Japan launched a new spy satellite into orbit tonight (March 16) to help keep an eye on the nation's unpredictable, nuclear-armed neighbor, North Korea.
The Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) Radar 5 lifted off atop a Japanese H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 9:20 p.m. EDT (0120 GMT, and 10:20 a.m. local Japan time on March 17). While the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency did not provide a live webcast for the IGS Radar 5 launch, a video stream was available via the company Neconvideo Visual Solutions. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 17)
TV BROADCAST SATELLITE LAUNCHED ABOARD FALCON 9 ROCKET - A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched into a starry moonlit sky Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, making a speedy trek across the Atlantic Ocean to place a commercial television broadcast satellite into orbit for EchoStar.
The nearly 23-story rocket, powered by nine Merlin 1D engines, ignited and blasted off from historic launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT), turned east and rumbled skyward on top of 1.7 million pounds of thrust.
The fiery orange takeoff was pushed back 25 minutes Thursday out of concern for unfavorable high-altitude winds. High winds also scrubbed a launch attempt Tuesday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 17)
SPACEX TO LAUNCH A COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE TONIGHT - SpaceX is set to launch a commercial communications satellite overnight after strong winds delayed a previous attempt.
The launch is scheduled for 1:35 a.m. EDT Thursday from Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The EchoStar 23 satellite is expected to deploy about 34 minutes after the launch. SpaceX said Tuesday that the weather for the launch attempt was 90% favorable. This will be the Hawthorne company’s third launch of the year. More
(Source: Los Angeles Times - Mar 16)
POOR WEATHER FORECAST DELAYS JAPANESE SPY SATELLITE LAUNCH - Japanese officials have delayed the launch of a government-owned reconnaissance satellite until at least Friday, local time, because of bad weather predicted over the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.
Liftoff of an H-2A rocket with Japan’s sixth radar intelligence-gathering satellite, officially designated IGS Radar 5, is now scheduled for no earlier than Friday at 0120 GMT (9:20 p.m. EDT on Thursday), the Japanese space agency announced Tuesday.
The launch window extends for nearly 14 minutes, officials said. It opens at 10:20 a.m. Friday Japan Standard Time. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 16)
TECH TALK: ISRAELI SATELLITE TO BE LAUNCHED INTO SPACE - Duchifat-2, a small satellite built at the science center in Herzliya with the active participation of high-school students, will be launched on the morning March 20 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, toward the international space center along with 28 other small satellites from around the world. The aim of the constellation of satellites will be to map the thermosphere, which will help in the transfer of GPS signals.
Duchifat-2 is the only satellite built with the participation of students that will be launched into space. More
(Source: Jerusalem Post Israel News - Mar 15)
ELON MUSK'S SPACEX HAS LANDED A $96.5 MILLION CONTRACT TO LAUNCH A MILITARY SATELLITE - Elon Musk's SpaceX has a new mission: Launch a military satellite into orbit.
The U.S. Air Force announced Tuesday that it had awarded the company — a relative newcomer to military space launches — a $96.5 million dollar contract to support the launch of a next generation global positioning system satellite called GPS III.
SpaceX beat out another contractor for the work, according to a Department of Defense press release, and will provide "launch vehicle production, mission integration, launch operations, spaceflight worthiness and mission unique activities for a GPS III mission." More
(Source: CNBC - Mar 15)
HIGH WINDS SCRUB SPACEX LAUNCH FROM FLORIDA; NEXT WINDOW SET FOR THURSDAY - High winds forced SpaceX to cancel this morning’s Falcon 9 rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center.
“Standing down due to high winds; working toward next available launch opportunity,” the company posted on Twitter. The launch window was scheduled to open at 1:34 a.m., but on Monday the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, which is based on the coast, said there was only a 40 percent chance of lift off.
A backup window opens at 1:35 a.m. on Thursday. More
(Source: Orlando Sentinel - Mar 15)
A BIRTHDAY SURPRISE! ASTRONAUT REUNITED WITH SAXOPHONE IN SPACE - Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a flight engineer on the International Space Station, and a music aficionado, received a surprise birthday gift from his crewmates last month — his beloved old saxophone.
Pesquet hoped to bring it along when he launched to the space station on Nov. 17, but to his dismay, the instrument did not make it onto the flight. NASA decided to surprise him by sending it up with a cargo flight. The saxophone arrived on SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft on Feb. 23, and Pesquet's crewmembers hid it until his 39th birthday on Feb. 27. More
(Source: Space.com - Mar 15)
ARISS MOVES CLOSER TO LAUNCHING NEW RADIO SYSTEM TO SPACE STATION - Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) reports it has met a major milestone and now is “one giant step” closer to flying its new interoperable radio system to the International Space Station. Eventual plans call for installing a new JVC Kenwood TM-D710GA-based radio system on the station as part of an overall approach that will allow greater interoperability between the Columbus module and the Russian Service Module. Lou McFadin, W5DID, and Kerry Banke, N6IZW, travelled to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston in mid-February for preliminary testing of Banke’s “breadboard” version of the ARISS multi-voltage power supply that’s essential to the upgrade. More
(Source: ARRL - Mar 15)