CREW PREPS FOR SOLAR ARRAY JETTISON AND DRAGON DEPARTURE - An experimental solar array demonstration was jettisoned while the Expedition 52 crew continued preparing the SpaceX Dragon for its release on Sunday. The three crew members also studied how microgravity impacts their bodies.
Following a week of successful science operations on the experiment for the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA), attempts to retract the array were unsuccessful. The ISS Mission Management Team met Monday morning and made the decision to jettison ROSA directly from its location at the end of the space station’s robotic arm, where it remained fully deployed in a normal configuration More
(Source: NASA - Jun 27)
AUSTRALIAN CUBESATS LOST IN SPACE FOUND AGAIN WITH HELP FROM DUTCH TELESCOPE, HAM RADIO OPERATORS - Imagine you've spent half a decade building satellites to study a little-known part of the Earth's atmosphere.
They're the first Australian-built satellites to go into space for more than a decade.
You watch them launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida with great fanfare.
They're deployed from the International Space Station in May.
Then … nothing. Radio silence.
Your efforts appear to have resulted in space junk — invisible, unresponsive bricks hurtling at 27,000km/hr, 400km above the Earth's surface.
But this is not a story about loss. More
(Source: ABC Online - Jun 27)
SPACEX LAUNCHES AND LANDS SECOND FALCON 9 ROCKET IN TWO DAYS - Two days after launching a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, SpaceX sent another mission into orbit Sunday from California’s Central Coast with 10 new satellites for Iridium’s voice and data relay network.
Like Friday’s flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Falcon 9’s first stage plunged back through the atmosphere and made a propulsive vertical landing on a barge stationed several hundred miles downrange from the launch site. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 27)
SPACEX DRAGON AND FALCON 9 ROCKET PHOTOBOMB EACH OTHER'S SELFIES IN SPACE - It's official: SpaceX's rockets and spaceships have caught the selfie bug in the final frontier.
When SpaceX launched a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station this month, the spacecraft popped up in a "selfie" taken by the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that launched the ship into orbit.
"Dragon photobombs stage 2 before heading to Space Station earlier this month," SpaceX representatives wrote in a Twitter post late Monday (June 19). In the photo, the Dragon spacecraft appears as a distant interloper in an otherwise picturesque scene of the Earth and Falcon 9 second stage engine on June 3. More
(Source: Space.com - Jun 26)
SECRET RUSSIAN SATELLITE LAUNCHED FROM PLESETSK COSMODROME - A modified version of Russia’s Soyuz rocket launched Friday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, a spaceport on the edge of the Russian Arctic, with a military satellite whose mission is shrouded in mystery.
The Soyuz 2-1v rocket lifted off at 1804 GMT (3:04 p.m. EDT; 9:04 p.m. Moscow time) from Pad 4 at Site 43 at Plesetsk, a military-run spaceport around 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of Moscow in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region.
Russia announced the successful launch in a statement posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website late Friday. More
(Source: SpaceFligtht Now - Jun 25)
40TH FLIGHT OF INDIA’S PSLV DECLARED A SUCCESS - An Indian mapping satellite and 30 other payloads vaulted into space Friday aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, arriving in an on-the-mark orbit more than 300 miles above Earth.
Launching on its 40th flight, the PSLV rocketed away from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, a facility nestled on Sriharikota Island on India’s east coast, at 0359 GMT Friday (11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday). The 144-foot-tall (44-meter) launcher thundered into a mostly sunny sky over the launch base, where liftoff occurred at 9:29 a.m. local time.
The four-stage rocket, boosted by six solid-fueled strap-on motors, appeared to soar flawlessly into orbit, first heading southeast, then turning south to steer around Sri Lanka and avoid flying over populated areas. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 25)
BULGARIA’S FIRST COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE HEAVED INTO ORBIT - Launching into a sun-splashed summertime afternoon sky, a previously-flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket climbed into orbit from Florida’s east coast Friday with a U.S.-built, Bulgarian-owned television broadcasting satellite.
In a secondary objective, the Falcon 9’s first stage booster descended back to Earth and slowed down for a jarring touchdown on SpaceX’s drone ship holding position several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral.
The successful launch and landing is the first of two back-to-back Falcon 9 launches planned by SpaceX. A separate launch team is preparing a Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 24)
INDIAN ROCKET SET TO LAUNCH 31 SATELLITES - An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, crowned with 31 satellites from 15 countries, is counting down to liftoff early Friday from an island spaceport on the country’s east coast.
Carrying an Indian mapping satellite, an agricultural research craft built by Indian university students, and 29 secondary payloads, the 144-foot-tall (44-meter) PSLV will blast off from the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center at 0359 GMT Friday (11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 23)
DEAD SATELLITES COULD BE BLASTED OUT OF ORBIT WITH POWERFUL MAGNETIC BEAMS - One scientist is working on a novel solution for knocking dead, broken satellites out of orbit so they can't cause any damage to other spacecraft: a magnetic grappling beam.
The same technology could also be used to keep groups of new satellites in orbit, according to experts, which might one day enable us to combine packs of satellites flying in formation to create giant telescopes. More
(Source: ScienceAlert - Jun 22)
LAUNCH OF MILITARY’S NEW SPACE-BASED SATELLITE TRACKER DELAYED TWO MONTHS - The launch from Cape Canaveral of a small U.S. military satellite built to track objects in geosynchronous orbit has been delayed from mid-July until September, an Air Force spokesperson said.
The Air Force did not disclose a reason for the two-month delay, or a new target launch date for the SensorSat mission. The spokesperson said the launch is now scheduled some time between the end of August and mid-September. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 22)
RUSSIA STUDYING DEDICATED SPACE TOURISM MISSIONS USING ITS SOYUZ SPACECRAFT - Glavkosmos Director General Denis Lyskov said at the Paris Air Show Tuesday that future missions could fly two tourists and one professional cosmonaut, possibly visiting the ISS.
The head of RSC Energia, meanwhile, said he thought Soyuz missions could continue to fly even after the introduction of Russia’s new Federation crew vehicle, with the Soyuz being devoted to tourism missions and possibly, with upgrades, circumlunar flights. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jun 22)
ARISS SSTV COMMEMORATIVE ACTIVITY COMING SOON - In commemoration of our 20th anniversary, the ARISS team is planning to transmit a set of 12 SSTV images that capture the accomplishments of ARISS over that time. While still to be scheduled, we anticipate the SSTV operation to occur around the weekend of July 15. We are planning for at least a 2 day operation, but are working for a potential longer operation. Note that all of this tentative and may change based on crew scheduling and
ISS operations. More
(Source: AMSAT - Jun 20)
UPPER STAGE MALFUNCTION LEAVES CHINESE SATELLITE IN LOWER-THAN-PLANNED ORBIT - An upper stage malfunction has left a Chinese satellite in a lower-than-planned orbit after a launch Sunday.
The Long March 3B lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 12:12 p.m. Eastern carrying the Chinasat-9A satellite.
It was not until early Monday, though, that Chinese officials announced that the third stage of the rocket malfunctioned, leaving the satellite in a lower orbit than planned.
(Source: SpaceNews - Jun 20)
SES’S AMC-9 SATELLITE DRIFTING AFTER ANOMALY - SES is moving customers off a 14-year-old geostationary communications satellite that’s drifting in orbit following a “significant anomaly” discovered over the weekend.
“SES has taken immediate action in contacting all customers and is working to transfer services to alternative satellite capacity in order to minimize disruption,” the company said in a June 19 statement.
Most of that traffic is being switched to other SES satellites, according to SES spokesperson Markus Payer, but might involve teaming up with other satellite operators where an SES substitute won’t fit. He declined to say how much of AMC-9’s capacity was in use at the time of the anomaly. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jun 20)
LONG MARCH 3B LOFTS CHINASAT 9A – MISSION SUCCESS UNKNOWN - Three days after the successful launch of the Huiyan (HXMT) X-ray space telescope, China was back in action with the launch of a new communications satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Launch of Zhongxing-9A (also designated ChinaSat-9A) took place at 16:08 UTC using a Long March-3B/G2 (Chang Zheng-3B/G2) launch vehicle from the LC2 launch complex. However, there wasn’t any official Chinese statement of mission success raising questions on the status of the spacecraft. More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Jun 19)
NASA SCRAPS ROCKET LAUNCH ON FATHER’S DAY - The NASA Wallops Flight Facility scheduled a rocket launch Sunday night that would have been visible in the D.C. region, but it has been postponed once again. It was canceled due to high winds. The launch has been postponed eight times before this due to vessels in the impact hazard area and weather. Updates can be obtained online at NASA’s website and NASA Wallops Flight Facility’s Twitter feed. More
(Source: WTOP - Jun 19)
HOW LONG WOULD A FIDGET SPINNER SPIN IN SPACE? - Like most parents of young children, I've been forcibly made aware of the "fidget spinner" fad. Despite FiveThirtyEight declaring them "over," my kids brought home two new ones from a birthday party on Saturday, adding to three others that we currently own, plus a couple more that were lost at school. Inevitably, bloggers have used fidget spinners as a jumping-off point to talk about science, notably Rhett Allain's two posts measuring the spin time and measuring the moment of inertia. More
(Source: Forbes - Jun 19)
FALCON 9 LAUNCH DELAY SETS UP POTENTIAL SPACEX ‘DOUBLEHEADER’ NEXT WEEKEND - SpaceX has pushed back the liftoff of a Bulgarian television broadcast satellite on the company’s second previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket until at least Friday, giving ground crews time to replace a valve on the launcher inside a hangar at its Florida launch pad.
The schedule slip sets up a potential SpaceX “doubleheader” with another Falcon 9 rocket being prepared for launch next Sunday, June 25, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jun 19)
EXCLUSIVE: MEET THE WORLD’S FIRST SUICIDE SATELLITE
- The world’s first “suicide” satellite, whose destruction will help prevent the spread of more damaging belts of space debris, will launch later this month.
The Italian company D-Orbit will launch a mission June 23 to test out a self-decommissioning satellite called D-Sat, a first for the satellite industry. After the satellite’s mission is complete, it will use a rocket system to lower itself back into Earth’s atmosphere so it can self-destruct. D-Orbit hopes that a similar system could help prevent future satellites from becoming new space debris. More
(Source: The Daily Caller - Jun 19)