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CHINA’S SPACE LAB LAUNCHES MICRO-SATELLITE CHINA’S SPACE LAB LAUNCHES MICRO-SATELLITE - China’s experimental space lab Tiangong-2 orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board has successfully launched a micro-satellite, roughly the size of a desktop printer. Weighing 47 kilogrammes, the micro satellite has a series of visible light cameras, including a 25 megapixel camera and wide-angle imagers. Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong II and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which docked with the lab on Wednesday. The Tiangong II space laboratory released its companion satellite, Banxing-2, at 7:31 am local time Sunday. The satellite, which the media has nicknamed “Selfie Stick”, also has an infrared camera that is temperature-sensitive, said Chen Hongyu, chief engineer of the satellite programme and a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Micro-satellite Innovation Institute.   More
(Source: The Indian Express - Oct 25)

ANOTHER U.S. AIR FORCE WEATHER SATELLITE JUST BROKE UP IN ORBIT ANOTHER U.S. AIR FORCE WEATHER SATELLITE JUST BROKE UP IN ORBIT - A third U.S. Air Force weather satellite that launched more than 20 years ago has broken up in orbit, Air Force Space Command disclosed Monday evening. Air Force officials confirmed the breakup of the long-retired Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 12 satellite (DMSP F-12) after the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, detected an additional object orbiting alongside the 22-year-old satellite. DMSP F-12, which the Air Force retired from service in 2008, had the same battery assembly that was implicated in the February 2015 breakup of DMSP F-13.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Oct 25)

A STARTUP’S CONSTELLATION OF TINY SATELLITES IS NOW PHOTOGRAPHING A THIRD OF EARTH’S LANDMASS EVERY A STARTUP’S CONSTELLATION OF TINY SATELLITES IS NOW PHOTOGRAPHING A THIRD OF EARTH’S LANDMASS EVERY - Are you ready for the coming era of global transparency? After two years in operation, the satellite-imaging startup Planet tells Quartz that it is now photographing more than 50 million square kilometers of the earth every single day. That’s about a tenth of the world’s surface area, or more than a third of its 149 million square kilometers of land. Indeed, in September 2016 alone, the company says it imaged 91% of earth’s land mass. Planet’s plan is to make that imagery available to the public, with free basic access and premium accounts for higher quantity and quality data. It’s likely to impact everything from finance and farming to environmental protection and human rights.   More
(Source: Quartz - Oct 25)

SPACE STATION ACCEPTS 1ST VIRGINIA DELIVERY IN 2 YEARS SPACE STATION ACCEPTS 1ST VIRGINIA DELIVERY IN 2 YEARS - The International Space Station received its first shipment from Virginia in more than two years Sunday following a sensational nighttime launch observed 250 miles up and down the East Coast. Orbital ATK's cargo ship pulled up at the space station bearing 5,000 pounds of food, equipment and research. "What a beautiful vehicle," said Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi, who used the station's big robot arm to grab the vessel. The capture occurred as the spacecraft soared 250 miles above Kyrgyzstan; Onishi likened it to the last 195 meters of a marathon. Last Monday's liftoff from Wallops Island was the first by an Antares rocket since a 2014 launch explosion.   More
(Source: ABC News - Oct 24)

GLASGOW FIRM ALBA ORBITAL READY TO LAUNCH TINY SATELLITE INTO OUTER SPACE GLASGOW FIRM ALBA ORBITAL READY TO LAUNCH TINY SATELLITE INTO OUTER SPACE - A Small Scots start-up company is about to launch its own satellite into space – which is the size of a drinks can. Alba Orbital, based in Glasgow, has created the cuboid shaped satellite to be used to monitor aeroplanes. And after a year’s development, they are ready to see it launched into space on the back of a Russian rocket early next year. The satellite – which is no bigger than a can of Coke – is the smallest of its kind made in the UK, and will be deployed in a pod, before blasting out into the darkness of the solar system.    More
(Source: Glasgow Evening Times - Oct 23)

WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES SMALL SATELLITE INITIATIVE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES SMALL SATELLITE INITIATIVE - The White House announced a new initiative Oct. 21 to promote the development of small satellites, collecting under one roof a number of efforts, some of which started months ago. The “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative, announced in a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy statement, highlights several ongoing efforts by NASA, the Pentagon and other federal government agencies to help develop smallsats or make use of images or other data they provide. Some elements of the initiative were announced weeks or months ago. The OSTP announcement highlighted a $20 million award the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency made to Planet, the San Francisco-based company developing a constellation of Earth imaging satellites.    More
(Source: SpaceNews - Oct 22)

CURRENT AMATEUR RADIO STATUS ON BOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CURRENT AMATEUR RADIO STATUS ON BOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - The VHF handheld radio model that has been used by the ARISS program to connect students worldwide with astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) for over 16 years has given an error message and is unusable at this time. While the ARISS technical team evaluates the best path to restore operation from the Columbus module, ARISS contacts will be supported using the Kenwood radio in the Russian Service Module. During this period, the packet digipeater will be unavailable.   More
(Source: Southgate Amateur Radio Club - Oct 22)

NEW US-RUSSIAN CREW ARRIVES AT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION NEW US-RUSSIAN CREW ARRIVES AT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko docked with the International Space Station at 5:52 a.m. EDT (0952 GMT) this morning (Oct. 21) after a smooth two-day trip aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The trio launched into orbit early Wednesday, nearly a month later than their initial Sept. 23 liftoff target due to a technical issue with their spacecraft. The Soyuz linked up with the space station as as both spacecraft sailed 251 miles (403 kilomters) over southern Russia. Ryzhikov, who piloted the spacecraft, is experiencing spaceflight for the first time; both Kimbrough and Borisenko have been to space once before.   More
(Source: - Oct 22)

NORTH KOREA PROMISES MORE SATELLITE LAUNCHES AFTER FAILED MISSILE TEST NORTH KOREA PROMISES MORE SATELLITE LAUNCHES AFTER FAILED MISSILE TEST - North Korea vowed to launch more earth-observation satellites after its second ballistic missile test launch of the week ended in failure. A spokesman for Pyongyang's National Aerospace Development Administration said Thursday that South Korea had unjustly criticized its past satellite launches and that the country is unfazed by the condemnations. "Even on the international stage, [South Korean President] Park Geun-hye's faction has been shamefully disparaging our peaceful use of space and satellite launches, and in turn becoming a target of criticism and disgrace for indecent behavior," the North Korean spokesman said. The remark was referring to South Korea's statement at the 71st United Nations General Assembly, according to South Korean news service Newsis.   More
(Source: UPI - Oct 21)

DARPA JUST GAVE THE AIR FORCE A TELESCOPE TO WATCH FOR SATELLITE SABOTAGE DARPA JUST GAVE THE AIR FORCE A TELESCOPE TO WATCH FOR SATELLITE SABOTAGE - When we look up at the stars at night, we are staring into an infinitely deep ocean, a void filled with endless layers of deeper, farther lights. Most telescopes seek the outer limits of our universe, or document celestial phenomena on the edges of human comprehension. DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope, which the agency handed over to Air Force Space Command yesterday, is all about mapping the objects close to Earth. Its job is to plot the closest layer of space by discerning which bright objects are moving in geosynchronous orbit, and filtering out everything else. The Space Surveillance Telescope, or SST as everyone referred to it yesterday, is one of DARPA's longest-running projects.   More
(Source: Popular Science - Oct 20)

SOYUZ CREW BLASTS OFF FROM KAZAKHSTAN SOYUZ CREW BLASTS OFF FROM KAZAKHSTAN - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and a NASA shuttle veteran blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday and set off after the International Space Station. Running nearly a month late because or difficult work to repair a damaged cable in the Soyuz MS-02/48S command module, the workhorse Soyuz FG booster roared to life and shot away from its firing stand at 4:05 a.m. EDT (GMT-4; 2:05 p.m. local time), climbing straight into the plane of the space station’s orbit. At the controls, strapped into the central command module’s middle seat, was vehicle commander Sergey Rizhikov, flanked on his left by flight engineer Andrey Borisenko and on the right by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 20)

DELTA 4 ROCKET ON THE PAD FOR MILITARY SATELLITE LAUNCH IN DECEMBER DELTA 4 ROCKET ON THE PAD FOR MILITARY SATELLITE LAUNCH IN DECEMBER - The Delta 4 rocket that will launch the U.S. military’s highest capacity communications satellite ever built was rolled to the pad this week. The two-stage booster moved from the Horizontal Integration Facility to the Complex 37B pad and erected on the launch table to begin preparations for flight. Liftoff is scheduled on or about Dec. 7 during a window of 6:53 to 7:42 p.m. EST (2353-0042 GMT), a duration of 49 minutes. Over the next two months, using the classic launch pad design with a mobile service gantry, the rocket will undergo installation of four strap-on solid-fuel boosters, a rigorous checkout and testing campaign and mating of the satellite cargo.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 19)

GOES-R, OUR NEXT-GEN WEATHER SATELLITE, IS DELAYED BY A HURRICANE. OF COURSE. GOES-R, OUR NEXT-GEN WEATHER SATELLITE, IS DELAYED BY A HURRICANE. OF COURSE. - The weather satellite we’ve been anticipating for years has been delayed by a hurricane. This is why we can’t have nice things. GOES-R is NOAA’s next satellite. It really needs to get into space. The satellites that currently look down at our hurricanes and severe weather are at the end of their life spans. Plus, GOES-R has a lot of fancy new features that meteorologists are pretty excited about. The launch of GOES-R, which had been scheduled for Nov. 4, has been delayed. No new date was announced in NOAA’s statement, except to say it won’t happen before Nov. 16. United Launch Alliance says that the new date is Nov. 16, pending Air Force approval.   More
(Source: Washington Post - Oct 19)

SHENZHOU 11 GLIDES TO ORBITAL LINK-UP WITH CHINESE SPACE LAB SHENZHOU 11 GLIDES TO ORBITAL LINK-UP WITH CHINESE SPACE LAB - Two days after blasting off on a Long March rocket, a Shenzhou spaceship carrying two Chinese astronauts linked up with China’s Tiangong 2 space lab nearly 250 miles above Earth Tuesday to begin a one-month stay inside the mini-station. Astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong were strapped into their seats for the automated docking Tuesday, and the crew open hatches leading into the Tiangong 2 module within a few hours of arriving. Following cues from a suite of rendezvous sensors mounted on the forward end of the craft, Shenzhou 11’s guidance computer steered the capsule toward the docking port on Tiangong 2 and made contact around 1924 GMT (3:24 p.m. EDT) during a nighttime orbital pass.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 19)

EUROPE’S METOP A SATELLITE OUTLIVES LIFE EXPECTANCY BY FIVE YEARS EUROPE’S METOP A SATELLITE OUTLIVES LIFE EXPECTANCY BY FIVE YEARS - Europe´s first polar orbiting weather satellite, MetOp A, has survived double its specified lifetime of five years, manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space announced today. Launched Oct. 19, 2006, the satellite will soon accomplish 10 years in space for the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). MetOp A has orbited Earth almost 52,000 times and delivered more than 100 terabytes of weather and climate data. Orbiting at approximately 830 kilometers the spacecraft was Europe’s first Low Earth Orbit (LEO) meteorological satellite.   More
(Source: Satellite Today - Oct 18)

CHINA LAUNCHES ITS LONGEST CREWED SPACE MISSION YET CHINA LAUNCHES ITS LONGEST CREWED SPACE MISSION YET - wo Chinese astronauts began the country's longest crewed space mission yet on Monday, blasting off on a spacecraft for a 30-day stay on an experimental space station as China steadfastly navigates its way to becoming a space superpower. Ahead of the launch, one astronaut shouted: "We are ready! Please give instructions!" in front of dozens of people dressed in colorful dress representing China's ethnic minorities, in footage shown prominently on Chinese TV. The commander-in-chief of the manned space program, Gen. Zhang Youxia, replied: "Proceed!" followed by blaring marching music as the astronauts boarded a bus to take them to the launch pad.   More
(Source: Fox News - Oct 18)

ANTARES 230 SUCCESSFULLY RETURNS WITH LAUNCH OF OA-5 CYGNUS ANTARES 230 SUCCESSFULLY RETURNS WITH LAUNCH OF OA-5 CYGNUS - Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket returned to flight in a new configuration on Monday, two years after its previous mission ended in an explosion seconds after liftoff. Monday’s launch took place from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia – at the end of a five-minute window at 19:45 EDT (23:45 UTC). The launch was the sixth flight of the Antares, but it was first to use the Antares-230 configuration, differing from previous rockets by the use of RD-181 first stage engines in place of the AJ-26-62 motors used in the 110, 120 and 130 configurations.   More
(Source: - Oct 18)

IN SPACE, THE LOOMING THREAT OF A NEW ARMS RACE IN SPACE, THE LOOMING THREAT OF A NEW ARMS RACE - Killer satellites, blinding lasers, sophisticated jammers: the world's military powers are quietly readying for a war in outer space -- at the risk of fueling a dangerous new arms race. US military officials have in recent years sounded growing alarm about the potential vulnerabilities of their satellites, which underpin US military power. Initially, the reserve of the United States and the Soviet Union, space has now become accessible to an ever-expanding multitude of nations and private firms. And Moscow and Beijing are keen to show off their space-attack capabilities, a deep worry for US strategists. "We are changing the culture in our space enterprise because we need to get our heads around... what happens if a conflict on Earth extends to space. How will we defend our assets?" Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said at an event last month.   More
(Source: Yahoo News - Oct 17)

CHINA'S LONGEST SPACE MISSION LAUNCHES CHINA'S LONGEST SPACE MISSION LAUNCHES - China's Shenzhou 11 "heavenly vessel" launched Monday (7:30 p.m. Sunday ET) from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. The launch was shown on state broadcaster CCTV. This is China'a longest-ever crewed space mission. On board are two astronauts -- Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong. They will dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab, which was launched last month. Jing and Chen will remain in space for a total of 33 days, with 30 of those spent conducting experiments related to medicine, physics and biology in the space lab. Since October 2003, China has completed five manned space flight missions -- the last one took place in 2013 and lasted 15 days.   More
(Source: CNN - Oct 17)

FAULTY CABLE DELAYS ANTARES LAUNCH 24 HOURS FAULTY CABLE DELAYS ANTARES LAUNCH 24 HOURS - Orbital ATK launch managers have pushed back liftoff of an Antares rocket until Monday to replace a faulty cable on the booster’s launch pad in Virginia. The delay means the International Space Station crew will not receive the Cygnus supply ship mounted atop the Antares rocket until Sunday, after three new residents dock with the orbiting laboratory Friday aboard the Soyuz MS-02 spaceship. Orbital ATK announced the one-day delay Sunday just before the Antares launch team was scheduled to formally start the six-hour countdown. “Today’s launch of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket is postponed 24 hours due to a ground support equipment (GSE) cable that did not perform as expected during the pre-launch check out,” Orbital ATK said in a statement. “We have spares on hand and rework procedures are in process.”   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Oct 16)