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SATELLITE NEWS

NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO SPOT THE SPACE STATION NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO SPOT THE SPACE STATION - Step outside on a clear night over the next few days, and you’ve got a great chance of seeing the International Space Station (ISS) as it glides across the heavens. Pick the right night, and you may even see it zoom by multiple times in a row. The ISS is about the size of an American football field and is covered with shiny metal surfaces and lots of highly reflective solar panels. That makes the station easily visible with the naked eye, even from light-polluted city centers. Its brilliance is so impressive that sometimes it’s the second brightest object in the night sky, after the moon.   More
(Source: National Geographic - May 27)


SPACE STATION CREW RUNS INTO GLITCH INFLATING SPACE STATION CREW RUNS INTO GLITCH INFLATING "BEAM" MODULE - The International Space Station crew began the process Thursday of inflating an innovative expandable space module developed by a Las Vegas billionaire, but the inflation stalled and NASA called off efforts for the day. The Bigelow Expandable Crew Activity Module, or BEAM, was supposed to grow six feet in length and three feet in diameter when it was expanded using internal tanks and station-supplied air. But in a blog post Thursday morning, NASA said that after several hours of attempts to introduce air into the module, BEAM had only expanded a few inches in both length and diameter. "Engineers are meeting to determine a forward course of action, with the possibility that another attempt could be made as early as Friday morning," the statement said.   More
(Source: CBS News - May 27)


SPACEX SCRUBS FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCH ATTEMPT FROM CAPE SPACEX SCRUBS FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCH ATTEMPT FROM CAPE - SpaceX scrubbed a planned Falcon 9 rocket launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today due to technical problems, according to CEO Elon Musk. The next attempt has tentatively been scheduled for a 24-hour delay, potentially giving it the same 5:40 p.m. to 7:40 p.m. launch window as Thursday. A glitch with an upper stage engine actuator scrubbed Thursday's attempt to launch Falcon 9 and Thaicom 8. SpaceX hopes to try again Friday, Two-hour window opens around 5:40 p.m. Weather 70% "go."   More
(Source: Florida Today - May 27)


WATCH THE FIRST EXPANDABLE HABITAT INFLATE ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TODAY WATCH THE FIRST EXPANDABLE HABITAT INFLATE ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TODAY - The International Space Station is ready to deploy its first expandable habitat. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which was delivered last month by one of Space X's rockets, will finally be inflated to its full size starting at 5:30AM ET tomorrow, according to NASA. The event will be streamed live on NASA TV. Astronauts on the space station won't enter the habitat for another week. The module, which will inflate up to four times its size, is expected to stay attached to the ISS for two years.    More
(Source: The Verge - May 26)


SOYUZ LAUNCH ADDS TWO MORE SATELLITES TO GALILEO NAVIGATION FLEET SOYUZ LAUNCH ADDS TWO MORE SATELLITES TO GALILEO NAVIGATION FLEET - wo more Galileo satellites successfully catapulted into space from the French Guiana jungle aboard a Soyuz rocket Tuesday, putting Europe’s multibillion-dollar navigation system on track to begin limited global service later this year. Nearly five years into Galileo’s operational deployment, the navigation system has hit a stride in satellite production and rocket launches long sought by European politicians and engineers who have worked on the ambitious project since its inception. “We are now at cruising speed as far as deployment is concerned,” said Paul Verhoef, director of the Galileo program and navigation-related activities at the European Space Agency, a senior partner on the space-based positioning project, which is led by the European Commission.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 25)


MIR PLUNGED INTO OCEAN BEFORE TIME MIR PLUNGED INTO OCEAN BEFORE TIME - The Mir space station could have been kept aloft a little longer, although this would hardly be viable financially, a Russian space agency Roscosmos executive in charge of manned missions said. The Soviet Union began putting parts of the modular space station into low orbit in 1986. Mir was deorbited and fell into the Pacific in 2001 after 15 years in space. "It could have been maintained, although the question is whether this would have been practical," Sergei Krikalev, a former cosmonaut, told RIA Novosti.   More
(Source: Space Daily - May 25)


SPACEX WILL TRY TO LAND ON SOLID GROUND AGAIN IN JULY SPACEX WILL TRY TO LAND ON SOLID GROUND AGAIN IN JULY - SpaceX's ninth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station will take place no earlier than 1:32AM ET on Saturday, July 16th, NASA announced today. A representative for SpaceX has confirmed to The Verge that the company will attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral. This will be the first time that SpaceX has attempted a landing on solid ground since the initial attempt last December, which was also the company's first successful landing. SpaceX will use its Falcon 9 rocket to launch the uncrewed version of its Dragon spacecraft to the ISS.    More
(Source: The Verge - May 25)


CHINA TO LAUNCH WORLD'S FIRST QUANTUM SPACE SATELLITE IN JULY CHINA TO LAUNCH WORLD'S FIRST QUANTUM SPACE SATELLITE IN JULY - According to the physicist, cited by the People's Daily Online, the quantum network will connect Beijing, Jinan, Hefei and Shanghai among other cities spanning a 2,000-kilometer (1,243 miles) area. Earthrise as seen from the Moon © NASA. Space Cowboys: China Plans Manned Moon Landing by 2036 Chinese physicists reportedly inaugurated the quantum satellite development program in 2011. In 2013, quantum optical fiber communication was introduced across the Beijing-Shanghai line.    More
(Source: Sputnik International - May 24)


INDIA PERFORMS SUCCESSFUL SPACE SHUTTLE TEST LAUNCH INDIA PERFORMS SUCCESSFUL SPACE SHUTTLE TEST LAUNCH - India performed a successful space shuttle test launch late on Sunday, marking the latest milestone for the country’s space program. The Reusable Launch Vehicle –Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) mini-shuttle is the country’s first space plane. NASA ended its 30-year space shuttle program in 2011. India’s unmanned shuttle was launched on a HS9 booster rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota, an island off India’s Bay of Bengal coast. The booster burnt out after a “successful flight” of 91.1 seconds, according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).    More
(Source: Fox News - May 24)


SPACE STATION INFLATABLE HABITAT WILL GET BLOWN UP ON THURSDAY SPACE STATION INFLATABLE HABITAT WILL GET BLOWN UP ON THURSDAY - An expandable habitat that might eventually help humankind colonize the Moon and Mars will begin testing on the International Space Station this week. Astronauts will start pumping air into the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module at 5:30 AM on Thursday. At its full size, the puffed-up habitat will be about the size of a small bedroom. For the next two years, sensors will measure how well the structure maintains safe temperature, pressure, and radiation levels. Astronauts will go inside it occasionally, too.   More
(Source: Popular Science - May 24)


WATCH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION MARATHON WATCH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION MARATHON - It's the surefire highlight of any public star party, and you won't find it at the eyepiece. Folks are always amazed to see the International Space Station pass by overhead. There it is: humanity at its best, cooperating in space. And the good news is, the International Space Station (ISS) will be putting on its best performance of 2016 starting this week, as it reaches a stretch of full illumination throughout the length of its orbit. This means we're in for multiple visible passes of the ISS worldwide.   More
(Source: Sky & Telescope - May 24)


SOYUZ ST-B TO LAUNCH GALILEO SATELLITE DUO ON TUESDAY SOYUZ ST-B TO LAUNCH GALILEO SATELLITE DUO ON TUESDAY - A Soyuz ST-B rocket is set to take to the skies on Tuesday, May 24. Its mission is to orbit a duo of European Galileo navigation satellites. The spacecraft, designated Galileo 13 and 14, are slated to lift off at 4:48 a.m. EDT (08:48 GMT) from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana. The mission, designated VS15, will be the fourth flight carried out by Arianespace this year. The mission is slated to last for about three hours and 47 minutes, ending in the deployment of the satellites into a circular medium-Earth orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 14,616 miles (23,522 kilometers), inclined 57.4 degrees.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - May 23)


A MAN-MADE METEOR SHOWER LAUNCHED BY SATELLITE COULD OPEN THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES IN TOKYO 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 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 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.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - May 23)


SPACEX TARGETING THURSDAY AFTERNOON LAUNCH, LANDING 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 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 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 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 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)