HERE'S HOW NASA'S HURRICANE SATELLITE FLEET WILL WORK - Eight specialized microsatellites, slightly larger than carry-on suitcases, will launch from beneath an airplane Dec. 12 to begin monitoring hurricanes and cyclones in the tropics, piercing through rainfall to measure wind speeds at a storm's heart.
Previous satellites have measured wind speed over water by shooting radio waves at the ocean and measuring how the waves scatter on the surface, indicating the wind speed. But such satellites could only monitor one site at a time, and the radio waves could be scattered when rainfall was too heavy, like deep within a hurricane. More
(Source: Space.com - Dec 11)
NASA SELECTS BUILDER FOR ROBOTIC SATELLITE SERVICING CRAFT - NASA has a builder to construct a five-ton spacecraft to catch up with the aging Landsat 7 Earth observation satellite and refuel it in 2020, employing robotic tools mastered in years of rehearsals on the International Space Station.
The government-managed servicing mission is named Restore-L, and NASA officials hope it will jump-start commercial concepts to refuel and repair satellites.
NASA announced Dec. 5 that Space Systems/Loral, a U.S.-based satellite manufacturer owned by Canada’s MDA Corp., will build the Restore-L mission’s satellite bus. The contract is worth up to $127 million, NASA said, but that could represent just part of MDA’s contribution to the mission. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 11)
TEACHING AN OLD SATELLITE NEW TRICKS - XMM-Newton is one of Europe's longest-flying and most productive orbiting observatories, investigating the hot X-ray Universe. Thanks to teamwork and technical innovation, it's on track to keep flying for a long time yet. Launched 17 years ago, ESA's orbiting X-ray telescope has helped scientists around the world to understand some of our Universe's most mysterious events, from what happens in and around black holes to how galaxies formed.
At 3800 kg, the 10 m-long XMM-Newton is the biggest science satellite ever built in Europe and its telescope mirrors are the most sensitive ever developed. Expected to operate for as long as a decade, the hardy spacecraft has happily surprised everyone by lasting almost two decades - and it shows no signs of giving up. More
(Source: Space Daily - Dec 10)
CITING SPACEX DELAYS, INMARSAT MOVES SATELLITE LAUNCH FROM FALCON HEAVY TO ARIANE 5 - The launch next year of a commercial communications craft jointly managed by London-based Inmarsat and the Greek satellite operator Hellas-Sat has been switched from SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy to Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket, officials said Thursday.
Inmarsat said in a statement it decided with Hellas-Sat to the satellite’s launch to an Ariane 5 rocket following a delay in SpaceX’s launch schedule.
The launch aboard an Ariane 5 from Kourou, French Guiana, is expected by the middle of 2017, officials said.
Officials ordered the multipurpose satellite from Thales Alenia Space for a planned launch by the end of 2016 on a Falcon Heavy rocket, SpaceX’s huge new booster which is still awaiting its first demonstration flight. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 10)
JOHN GLENN, 1ST AMERICAN TO ORBIT EARTH, DIES AT 95 - John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth and a former U.S. senator, has died. He was 95.
Glenn died at James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he was hospitalized for more than a week, according to the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.
He was the third U.S. astronaut in space, and became an American hero when he became the first to get into orbit back in 1962.
"Godspeed, John Glenn," fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter radioed just before Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
(Source: KABC-TV - Dec 9)
JAXA LAUNCHES H-IIB ROCKET WITH HTV-6 RESUPPLY MISSION TO STATION - In what was the fifth orbital launch of December, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the HTV-6 automated resupply spacecraft for the International Space Station atop their H-IIB rocket. Liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center occurred at 22:26:47 Japan Standard Time (13:26:47 GMT – 08:26:47 EST) on 9 December, kicking off a four-day rendezvous dance with the ISS. HTV-6 (H-II Transfer Vehicle 6) is the sixth craft in a fleet of one-time use uncrewed resupply vehicles that serve JAXA’s commitments to the International Space Station (ISS). More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Dec 9)
SPACEX LOSES SATELLITE LAUNCH ORDER DUE TO SCHEDULE DELAYS - Due to scheduling delays, one of SpaceX’s customers has decided to go with a different rocket. British satellite operator Inmarsat announced today that it will launch one of its satellites on a European Ariane 5 rocket, instead of on one of SpaceX’s vehicles like it had originally planned. On short notice, Inmarsat was able to secure a mid-2017 launch for the spacecraft — a communication satellite for the European Aviation Network (EAN). “We are delighted with [the] flexibility that Arianespace has shown in being able to provide a launch slot that enables us to place our European Aviation Network S-band satellite in orbit by mid-2017,” Michele Franci, CTO of Inmarsat, said in a statement. More
(Source: The Verge - Dec 9)
JAXA HTV-6 BOUND FOR INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, GETS TV COVERAGE FROM NASA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch its H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 on Friday, December 9 at 8:26 a.m. EST (10:26 p.m. Japan time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The Japanese cargo ship's launch to the International Space Station (ISS) and arrival at the orbiting laboratory will be live streamed through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) official television channel and website from December 9 to 13. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 8:00, an official press release from the space agency stated. More
(Source: Nature World News - Dec 8)
RESOURCE-MAPPING SATELLITE BLASTS OFF FROM INDIA - India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle delivered to orbit Wednesday the country’s third space mission dedicated to mapping natural resources, closing out a record year for Indian launch activity.
The Resourcesat 2A satellite rode the PSLV’s 38th flight into orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island, India’s coastal spaceport on the shores of the Bay of Bengal about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the industrial city of Chennai.
The 36-hour countdown began Monday, and ground crews filled the PSLV’s second and fourth stages with their liquid propellants Tuesday. The rest of the rocket’s propulsion system consumed pre-packed solid fuel. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 8)
U.S. LAUNCHES ITS HIGHEST CAPACITY MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - An antenna-covered communications spacecraft that will bring more bandwidth and capacity to the U.S. military’s global information grid than any single satellite ever before was successfully launched Wednesday atop a Delta 4 rocket.
United Launch Alliance delivered the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite No. 8 into space for the U.S. Air Force following a 42-minute flight of the powerful rocket.
The two-stage Delta 4 was fueled during an uneventful afternoon countdown, then lit its hydrogen-fed main engine and four side-mounted solid-propellant boosters to depart Cape Canaveral right on schedule at 6:53 p.m. EST (2353 GMT). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 8)
SLOW-SCAN TELEVISION TRANSMISSIONS SCHEDULED FROM ISS - Slow-scan television (SSTV) transmissions from the International Space Station (ISS) are scheduled for December 8-9. The SSTV images will be transmitted from RS0ISS on 145.800 MHz FM as part of the Moscow Aviation Institute MAI-75 Experiment, using the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver in the ISS Service Module.
MAI-75 activities have been scheduled on December 8, 1235-1800 UTC, and December 9, 1240-1740 UTC. More
(Source: ARRL - Dec 7)
ISS PACKET DIGIPEATER IS NOW ON 70 CENTIMETERS - The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) packet digipeater aboard the ISS has been active for several days now on 437.550 MHz. The UHF frequency means users will have to make adjustments for Doppler on both uplink and downlink.
The change to 70 centimeters comes in the wake of a problem that has sidelined the Ericsson VHF transceiver, so the UHF model has been put into service. The digipeater operates just as it did when it was on its former 145.825 MHz frequency. More
(Source: ARRL - Dec 7)
SPACEX TO LAUNCH 10-SATELLITE CONSTELLATION FOR IRIDIUM COMMUNICATIONS ON DECEMBER 16 - SpaceX, the US-based private space agency is all geared up to launch a 10 satellite-constellation belonging to Iridium Communications, a global satellite communications company on December 16.
SpaceX will be deploying its Falcon 9 rocket to launch the new satellite constellation that is part of the company's NEXT satellite network, Aerospace-Technology reported.
A successful launch will give boost to SpaceX and its ability to undertake such activities in the future. However the launch is dependent on US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) approval. More
(Source: International Business Times - Dec 7)
NASA JUST COMMISSIONED A SPACECRAFT THAT CAN REFUEL SATELLITES ALREADY IN ORBIT - NASA has just commissioned a new type of spacecraft that will be able to refuel satellites while they’re still in orbit around Earth. Dubbed the Restore-L Spacecraft Bus, the vehicle will act like a traveling gas station, by meeting up with probes in orbit and filling up the satellites’ tanks. Such a spacecraft will make it possible for satellites to operate a whole lot longer in space than they were originally supposed to.
NASA won’t be making the entire Restore-L spacecraft on its own, though. That job is going to California-based satellite builder Space Systems Loral (SSL). More
(Source: The Verge - Dec 7)
ISIS TO LAUNCH SPACE STATION CALLED ISISSS TO KEEP AN EYE ON HEAVEN FOR ITS SOLDIERS :) - [Satire] ISIS has launched yet another of their venture this year, making them one of the famous multi-faceted terrorist corporations in the world. They’ve had their hands on many things, such as prostitution, trafficking of girls, chemical warfare, executions, genocide etc to name a few. Now they want to reach the pinnacle of scientific exploration. They have launched the ISISSS, Islamic State of Iraq&Syria’s Space Station. More
(Source: Firstpost (satire) - Dec 7)
ISRO TO LAUNCH REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE ON DECEMBER 7 - Capping a year of successful launches, Indian Space Research Organisation is all set to launch PSLV-C36 carrying remote sensing satellite RESOURCESAT-2A from the spaceport of Sriharikota on December 7, the space agency said today.
The 44.4 metre tall PSLV C36 is expected to place the 1,235 kg RESOURCESAT-2A into an 827km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit in about 18 minutes after lift off.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C36, in its 38th flight, will blast off at 10.24 AM from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, about 125 km from Chennai, ISRO said on its website. More
(Source: NDTV - Dec 6)
VEGA MISSION ORBITS TURKISH EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE - Arianespace lofted Turkey’s Göktürk-1 Earth observation satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit Dec. 5 aboard a Vega rocket, marking the eighth success for the European light-lift vehicle.
Göktürk-1 prime contractor Telespazio reported signal acquisition 68 minutes after its 8:51 a.m. EST liftoff from Europe’s Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite separated from Vega’s upper stage 57 minutes into the launch.
Göktürk-1 is the bigger brother of Turkey’s Göktürk-2, which despite the name ordering, launched in December 2012 aboard a Chinese Long March 2D. Compared to its 400-kilogram, medium-resolution predecessor, Göktürk-1 weighs in at 1,060 kilograms and sports a sharper, sub-meter camera with an onboard digital imaging storage system.
(Source: SpaceNews - Dec 6)
GOOGLE'S SATELLITE TIMELAPSES SHOW THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH ABOUT OUR PLANET - The image of the Earth from space is so seared into human consciousness that it is hard to conceive what it was like to live without the picture of our planet as a blue sphere that we all now carry in our minds.
The first photographs of the Earth’s surface seen from 100 miles were taken in 1947. By 1968, the famous Earthrise image photographed by the crew of Apollo 8 framed our planet as a beautiful oasis in black space. More
(Source: The Guardian - Dec 6)
FAVORABLE WEATHER FORECAST FOR WEDNESDAY’S DELTA 4 LAUNCH FROM FLORIDA - Air Force meteorologists are expecting good weather to launch the Delta 4 rocket with a military communications satellite Wednesday evening from Cape Canaveral.
Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance booster carrying the Wideband Global SATCOM 8 spacecraft is scheduled to occur at 6:53 p.m. EST (2353 GMT). The launch window will remain open for 49 minutes.
The chances of allowable weather stand at 80 percent, with only a slight concern for cloud thickness during the launch opportunity. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Dec 5)