ASTRONAUTS ON THE SPACE STATION WILL SEE THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 3 TIMES - When the Great American Solar Eclipse sweeps across the continental U.S. on Aug. 21, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will have a chance to see it from a unique vantage point. "We're going to have a front-row seat to that [the solar eclipse] — 250 miles [400 kilometers] closer than you will there down on Earth," NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik told Space.com in a preflight interview on NASA TV. More
(Source: Space.com - Jul 29)
LAUNCH OF SENTINEL-5P SATELLITES SCHEDULED FOR FALL
- Preliminary plans indicate a Russian booster vehicle Rokot will take the European research satellite into orbit from the Plesetsk Space Center on October 9, Rene Pischel, the representative of the European Space Agency in Russia told TASS.
"The latest information we have suggests the launch has been scheduled for October 9 but we’re still awaiting official confirmation of the date," Pischel said.
He recalled that, in line with earlier plans, the booster vehicle was to lift off from Plesetsk but more time was needed to eliminate the faults tracked down during the testing of the vehicle.
(Source: TASS - Jul 29)
SOYUZ ROCKET TAKES OFF CARRYING 3-MAN CREW TO SPACE STATION - A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from Kazakhstan Friday, boosting a three-man crew into orbit for a six-hour flight to the International Space Station.
The workhorse Soyuz rocket thundered to life at 11:41 a.m. EDT (GMT-4; 9:41 p.m. local time) and streaked away from the same pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome that was used to launch Sputnik 60 years ago and Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in 1961.
Trailing a brilliant plume of exhaust visible for miles around in the clear early evening sky, the Soyuz booster climbed away directly into the plane of the space station's orbit, kicking off a six-hour rendezvous. More
(Source: CBS News - Jul 28)
SENATE RESTORES FUNDING FOR NASA EARTH SCIENCE AND SATELLITE SERVICING PROGRAMS - An appropriations bill approved by a Senate committee July 27 would restore funding for several NASA Earth science missions slated for termination by the administration as well as a satellite servicing program.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a commerce, justice and science (CJS) appropriations bill, along with two other spending bills, during a markup session. The CJS bill, offering $19.529 billion for NASA overall, had cleared its subcommittee July 25. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jul 28)
IRAN CLAIMS LAUNCH OF SATELLITE-CARRYING ROCKET INTO SPACE - Iran successfully launched its most advanced satellite-carrying rocket into space, the country’s state media reported Thursday, in what is likely the most significant step yet for the launch vehicle.
A confirmed launch of the “Simorgh” rocket would mark another step forward for the Islamic Republic’s young space program, but is likely to raise alarm among its adversaries, who fear the same technology could be used to produce long-range missiles.
The U.S. State Department called the launch “provocative.” More
(Source: Washington Post - Jul 27)
SMALLEST SATELLITE EVER PAVES WAY FOR PLANNED INTERSTELLAR FLEET - Breakthrough Starshot has taken the first step towards their grand plans to one day send spacecraft to Alpha Centauri. On June 23, the $100 million initiative to send light-propelled spacecraft to our nearest star sent the tiniest-ever satellites into orbit.
An Indian rocket carried six of these miniature satellites, called Sprites, into space. Two of them are attached to the sides of other, larger satellites: the Latvian Venta satellite and the Italian Max Valier satellite. Once communications are established, the Max Valier satellite will release the other four Sprites to orbit on their own. More
(Source: New Scientist - Jul 27)
MUSK SETS EXPECTATIONS LOW FOR MAIDEN FALCON HEAVY LAUNCH - When SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket finally takes off for the first time, a debut now scheduled this fall, there’s a good chance the commercial heavy-lifter will falter short of reaching orbit, company founder and chief designer Elon Musk said last week.
The oft-delayed test flight of SpaceX’s largest rocket to date, and the most powerful present-day launcher, will take off from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a storied seaside facility that served as the departure point for Apollo moon landing missions and most of the space shuttle’s trips into orbit. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 27)
CHINA’S QUEST TO BECOME A SPACE SCIENCE SUPERPOWER - Time seems to move faster at the National Space Science Center on the outskirts of Beijing. Researchers are rushing around this brand-new compound of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in anticipation of the launch of the nation's first X-ray telescope. At mission control, a gigantic screen plays a looping video showcasing the country's major space milestones. Engineers focus intently on their computer screens while a state television crew orbits the room with cameras, collecting footage for a documentary about China's meteoric rise as a space power. More
(Source: Nature - Jul 27)
NASA MIGHT PRIVATIZE ONE OF ITS GREAT OBSERVATORIES - Management of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope could be turned over to an academic institution or private operator in 2019 once the space agency’s funding for the observatory runs out, a senior NASA manager said this week.
Launched in August 2003 on a planned five-year mission, the infrared observatory is getting farther from Earth as it circles the sun, complicating communications with the telescope. But the mission continues to make observations, yielding discoveries about worlds around other stars, faraway galaxies that populated the early universe, and planets and asteroids within our own solar system. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 26)
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)