HISTORIC ISRAELI MINI-SATELLITE TO BE LAUNCHED WITH FRENCH COOPERATION - Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus” – the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES – will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2.
Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis called the upcoming launch an “important national event.” Israel, he said, is “known around the world for its boldness and innovation, which are expressed also in the technological developments of ‘Venus.’ More
(Source: The Jerusalem Post - Jul 26)
SPACE STATION TO PERFORM THREE ORBIT CHASE OF SOLAR ECLIPSE - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station may have the best windows for viewing the Great American Eclipse as they photograph and record August’s astronomical event during three consecutive orbits. Soaring 255 miles above, the six person crew of Expedition 52 will have detailed observation objectives in place as they point cameras from the Cupola’s windows while they trek across North America once every 91 minutes. They will also be the first humans to witness this solar eclipse thanks to orbital mechanics. More
(Source: Avgeekery - Jul 26)
BROKEN ANTENNA DELAYS LAUNCH OF NASA COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - NASA is postponing the launch of one of its communications satellites after an antenna on the vehicle was somehow damaged during mission preparations over a week ago. That satellite is the TDRS-M, for Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, and it was scheduled to launch on August 3rd from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on top of an Atlas V rocket made by the United Launch Alliance. But now, NASA, ULA, and Boeing — the manufacturer of the satellite — are trying to figure out a new time to launch the probe in August, so the satellite’s antenna can be replaced before then. More
(Source: The Verge - Jul 25)
LAUNCH PREPS IN KAZAKHSTAN; CANCER THERAPIES RESEARCHED ON STATION - A new International Space Station crew is less than a week away from beginning a 4-1/2 month mission living and working in space. The trio from the United States, Russia and Italy is in Kazakhstan counting down to a Friday launch at 11:41 a.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.
Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy will command the Soyuz vehicle during the six-hour, 19-minute ride from Earth to the station’s Rassvet module. More
(Source: NASA - Jul 25)
RUSSIAN FIRST 3D PRINTED SATELLITE TO GO INTO SPACE
- The Russian crew of the International Space Station (ISS) on August 17 will launch into the open space the first 3D printed Russian satellite.
The Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite has been at ISS since spring, 2016, awaiting going into the space, press service of the Tomsk Polytechnic University said on Monday.
"On Monday, the satellite’s systems will be checked, and its batteries will be charged from the Station onboard equipment," the press service said. "The launch is scheduled for August 17."
(Source: TASS - Jul 25)
BRITAIN WANTS TO REMAIN WITH COPERNICUS AFTER BREXIT - Britain wants to remain a part of the European Union’s Copernicus Earth observation satellite program even after the country exits the EU.
Greg Clark, business secretary in the British government, said this week that “we want our companies and universities to continue participating in key EU space programs” such as Copernicus.
Such participation would have to be negotiated as part of the U.K.’s Brexit talks with the EU.
The comments came at an event to mark the completion of the latest Copernicus satellite, Sentinel-5P, at an Airbus factory in the U.K. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 23)
SOYUZ LIFTOFF GLIMPSED BY ORBITING OBSERVER AND LAUNCH PAD CAMERAS - The launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket July 14 with more than 70 satellites was captured in multiple views from a sharp-eyed orbiting nanosatellite and cameras positioned around the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Russian state space corporation, Roscosmos, released a video clip containing imagery of last week’s blastoff from several cameras placed around Launch Pad No. 31 at Baikonur, where the Soyuz rocket soared into space at 0636 GMT (2:36 a.m. EDT; 12:36 p.m. Baikonur time) July 14. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 22)
GERMANY’S LONG-AWAITED HEINRICH HERTZ SATELLITE NOW EXPECTED TO LAUNCH IN 2021 - Germany’s space agency, DLR, signed a delayed but long-expected contract with Bremen-based satellite manufacturer OHB Systems for an experimental telecommunications satellite that will be used in part by the Bundeswehr, Germany’s Federal Armed Forces.
The 310.5 million euro ($362.2 million) contract for the production and launch of the satellite, known as Heinrich Hertz, follows an 11 million euro contract to OHB in 2011, at which point the satellite was scheduled to launch in 2016. DLR and OHB said in June that they now anticipate launching the satellite in 2021.
In a July 20 interview with SpaceNews, Gerd Gruppe, a member of the DLR executive board, attributed the five-year delay in part to the mission concept changing during the early planning phase. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 22)
GOOGLE MAPS ADDS THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - The International Space Station has become the first "off planet" addition to Google Maps' Street View facility.
Astronauts helped capture 360-degree panoramas of the insides of the ISS modules, as well as views down to the Earth below.
Some of the photography features pop-up text descriptions, marking the first time such annotations have appeared on the Maps platform.
This is not the first time 360-degree imagery has been captured beyond Earth. More
(Source: BBC News - Jul 21)
THE BREATHTAKING MOMENT AN ORBITING SATELLITE SPOTS A SOYUZ ROCKET BLASTING OFF FROM RUSSIA - A Dove satellite has captured the breathtaking moment a Soyuz rocket blasted off from Russia to deliver 48 new satellites to orbit.
The rocket carried Planet Labs’ fleet of Flock 2K satellites, to join the ever-growing ‘Dove constellation’ monitoring Earth from miles above.
Once they’d determined a satellite was in position to see the launch, the team pointed it in the right direction and captured one image per second, before meticulously stitching the still frames together for the ‘perfect shot from space.’
(Source: Daily Mail - Jul 21)
UK-BUILT POLLUTION MONITORING SATELLITE READY FOR LAUNCH - Last year, the European Space Agency launched the Trace Gas Orbiter to Mars. It is designed to look for methane – a key tracer of life – to determine if Martian microbes are present on the red planet.
Now, ESA is preparing to launch another spacecraft to look at methane on another planet: our own.
The UK-built Sentinel-5P, a pollution monitoring satellite, is ready to begin its journey from Airbus Defence and Space, Stevenage, to the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia, where it will lift off in late September/early October. More
(Source: The Guardian - Jul 21)
SIERRA NEVADA’S DREAM CHASER ON THE MOVE IN CALIFORNIA - An atmospheric test model of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft, a cargo carrier for the International Space Station that will take off on top of an Atlas 5 rocket and land on a runway, is undergoing braking and steering checks in California ahead of a flight test later this year, the company said Monday.
The full-scale Dream Chaser is pulled behind a tow vehicle for the ground tests now underway, reaching speeds fast enough to gauge the craft’s braking performance and guidance, navigation and control systems. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 20)
SPACEX CHIEF SAYS 1ST LAUNCH OF BIG NEW ROCKET WILL BE RISKY - SpaceX's chief said Wednesday that the first launch of its big new rocket is risky and stands "a real good chance" of failure.
Founder Elon Musk told a space station research conference Wednesday that he wants to set realistic expectations for the flight later this year from Cape Canaveral. The Falcon Heavy will have three boosters instead of one, and 27 engines instead of nine, all of which must ignite simultaneously. No one will be aboard the initial flights. When it comes time to add people, Musk said, "no question, whoever's on the first flight, brave."
SpaceX plans to fly two paying customers to the moon late next year, using a Falcon Heavy. More
(Source: ABC News - Jul 20)
THIS NEW SATELLITE IS THE BRIGHTEST IN THE SKY - If you look up tonight, you might see a new light in the sky. The new Russian satellite Mayak—meaning "lighthouse"—was launched into orbit on Friday. Mayak wears a reflective surface that makes it the second brightest object in the night sky, after the moon.
Mayak is a small cubesat, only measuring a few inches across. It contains a large reflective membrane that was stretched out in the shape of a pyramid almost 10 feet on each side. This pyramid catches the sunlight and sends it toward Earth, making the Mayak one of the brightest objects in orbit. More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Jul 19)
HISTORY AND TIMELINE OF THE ISS - The International Space Station took 10 years and more than 30 missions to assemble. It is the result of unprecedented scientific and engineering collaboration among five space agencies representing 15 countries. The space station is approximately the size of a football field: a 460-ton, permanently crewed platform orbiting 240 miles above Earth. It is about four times as large as the Russian space station Mir and five times as large as the U.S. Skylab.
The idea of a space station was once science fiction, existing only in the imagination until it became clear in the 1940s that construction of such a structure might be attainable by our nation. As the Space Age began in the 1950s, designs of “space planes” and stations dominated popular media. More
(Source: CASIS - Jul 19)
RUSSIA LAUNCHES NON-TERRIFYING SATELLITE THAT FOCUSES SUN'S SOLAR RAYS ONTO EARTH - Skywatchers are going to see a new light in the heavens this week after the successful launch of the Russian satellite Mayak this past weekend.
Mayak, the Russian word for "beacon," is a standard tiny CubeSat probe. It will deploy 170 square feet (16 square metres) of reflective Mylar material in a pyramid shape that will reflect the Sun's light as it tumbles through its orbit.
The satellite will be brighter in the sky than the International Space Station (ISS) and may even appear brighter than Venus or Jupiter. Basically, a sorta crap version of the Icarus space laser in James Bond low-point Die Another Day. More
(Source: The Register - Jul 18)
NASA COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE DAMAGED 3 WEEKS BEFORE LAUNCH - NASA’s newest, slickest communications satellite has been damaged, just three weeks before its planned August launch.
NASA said Monday that one of the antennas on the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, or TDRS-M was damaged last Friday. The accident occurred inside a payload processing building near Cape Canaveral, Florida, as the satellite was being packed for launch. More
(Source: WMFE - Jul 18)
MEET THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION’S ADORABLE CAMERA DRONE - Astronauts on board the International Space Station have a new robotic companion to play around with. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released the first images shot by the "Int-Ball," a spherical camera that floats around alongside the rest of the crew. With its monochrome paint job and blue, circular eyes, it looks a little like Wall-E's Eve — or at least her head, in some kind of prototype form. Notably, the Int-Ball can move around autonomously or be controlled by operators back on Earth. The images are transferred in near real-time allowing JAXA staff to quickly evaluate problems and offer possible solutions to ISS residents. More
(Source: Engadget - Jul 18)
COMPANY TO TEST SPACE-DEBRIS-RETRIEVAL SATELLITE IN 2019, AIM TO COMMERCIALIZE BY 2020 - A Singapore-based venture company aspiring to enter the space business unveiled a life-sized model of a satellite that would retrieve space debris, with which the company plans to conduct a test run in orbit in 2019 and to make commercially viable by 2020.
"Space is filled with trash, and if things continue as they have, space exploration will no longer be sustainable. There definitely is demand (for the craft)," Mitsunobu Okada, the 44-year-old founder and CEO of Astroscale, said. Okada also revealed that his company has just accepted a 2.8 billion yen (about $2 million) investment from ANA Holdings Co. and other investors. More
(Source: The Mainichi - Jul 16)