THAT'S NO MOON! SPACECRAFT MISTAKEN FOR NEW NATURAL SATELLITE - For 13 hours today, Earth had a new moon - or so we thought. Now astronomers have realised that an apparent small asteroid orbiting our planet is actually the European Space Agency's Gaia space telescope.
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre (MPC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, keeps records of all the tiny space rocks in the sky and publishes new observations from around the world. This morning, MPC's Gareth Williams posted a description of 2015 HP116, seemingly an asteroid about a metre across that was spotted in a geocentric orbit by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Maui, Hawaii, last week. More
(Source: New Scientist - Apr 28)
FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCHES, CARRYING TURKMENISTAN SATELLITE - A Falcon 9 rocket is now heading to space, carrying the first satellite for Turkmenistan.
Skies over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station have been overcast all day Monday, and there was only a 60 percent chance of favortable conditions during the 90-minute launch window. It was almost an hour before the weather cleared enough for the rocket to launch.
On board the Falcon 9 rocket is a nearly 10,000-pound communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for the country of Turkmenistan, in central Asia. It's that country's first national satellite telecommunications system. More
(Source: News 13 Orlando - Apr 28)
ARIANE 5 LAUNCHES SICRAL 2 AND THOR 7 TELECOMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES - Europe's Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket on April 26 successfully placed two telecommunications satellites - one military, one commercial - into geostationary transfer orbit, the Arianespace launch consortium said.
The launch, which had been delayed from mid-April for two unrelated anomalies relating to the rocket, is the first of what Arianespace hopes will be at least six, and perhaps seven, Ariane 5 flights in 2015 as the company juggles launch manifests for the Soyuz medium-lift and the Vega small-satellite launcher in addition to Ariane 5. More
(Source: Space News - Apr 27)
SPACEX SET TO SEND SATELLITE FOR TURKMENISTAN INTO ORBIT - Government leaders from Turkmenistan are making their way to Central Florida. They'll witness the launch of the nation's first communications satellite Monday night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
But it comes as the nation faces harsh criticism back home for blocking independent sources of news and information.
SpaceX is preparing its Falcon 9 rocket to take the satellite more than 22,000 miles above Earth. Thales Alenia Space, a French-Italian manufacturer, built the satellite for Turkmenistan.
Once in orbit, the satellite will provide enhanced, secure telecommunications for the country.
Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia, bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
(Source: Bay News 9 - Apr 27)
EGYPTIAN SPACE AUTHORITY DENIES LOSING CONTROL OF EGYPTSAT 2 SATELLITE - On Thursday, the Russian Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing a source in the RSC Energia (Russian rocket and space corporation), that EgyptSat 2 on April 14 did not respond to commands from the Earth and control over the satellite was lost. Human factor was cited as the possible cause behind the loss of the satellite. "What was reported about is in fact a regular technical failure. It happens every now and then to all the satellites. The problem will be fixed in the next few hours," Medhat Mokhtar said.
(Source: Sputnik International - Apr 26)
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: ISS PROGRESS 57 DEPARTS, ISS PROGRESS 59 ARRIVES - The ISS Progress 57 cargo ship will depart the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, April 25 loaded with trash and discarded gear, according to NASA. It will burn up upon reentry and descend into the Pacific Ocean. NASA TV coverage of the undocking will begin at 2:15 a.m. EDT. The Russian resupply ship, which arrived at the orbital laboratory last October, will undock from the Pirs Docking Compartment at 2:40 a.m. After it undocks, the spacecraft will move to a safe distance from the station until it is deorbited on Sunday, April 26. More
(Source: HNGN - Apr 26)
NAYIF-1 CUBESAT MISSION WILL HAVE FUNCUBE TRANSPONDER - AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL are delighted to announce that a FUNcube communications package has been selected as a major payload for the Nayif-1 CubeSat mission. This mission is intended to provide Emirati students with a tool to design and test systems in space. It is being developed by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) in partnership with American University of Sharjah (AUS). More
(Source: AMSAT-UK - Apr 25)
UNIVERSITY TO LAUNCH WEST VIRGINIA'S FIRST SATELLITE - Within a year's time, West Virginia will join an exclusive club when West Virginia University launches the state's first satellite into orbit.
The small satellite, which is still in the first stage of development, will collect data on weather, radiation and other space conditions for use by university researchers. It is scheduled to launch as a secondary payload on a rocket next year as part of the National Aeronautic Space Administration's CubeSat Launch Initiative.
In launching the satellite, West Virginia University will collaborate with NASA's Independent Verification and Validation program, the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Fairmont-based TMC Technologies. More
(Source: Government Technology - Apr 25)
NEW DETAILS: SECRETIVE AIR FORCE SPACE PLANE'S NEXT MISSION - Official word from the Pentagon today: The U.S. Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office is scheduled to launch the fourth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) in May 2015.
"We are excited about our fourth X-37B mission," said Randy Walden, the director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
"With the demonstrated success of the first three missions, we're able to shift our focus from initial checkouts of the vehicle to testing of experimental payloads," Walden said. More
(Source: Leonard David's INSIDE OUTER SPACE - Apr 24)