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SATELLITE NEWS

NASA SMALL SATELLITE PROMISES BIG DISCOVERIES NASA SMALL SATELLITE PROMISES BIG DISCOVERIES - Small satellites provide a cheap, responsive alternative to larger, more expensive satellites. As demand grows, engineers must adapt these "nanosatellites" to provide greater data returns. NASA, in collaboration with educational partners, targets 2021 for the launch of an innovative CubeSat that addresses these challenges. CubeSats consist of standardized cubed units, or U's, typically up to 12U. A 1U CubeSat is 10 cubic centimeters and can weigh as little as three pounds. They launch as auxiliary payloads on existing missions, providing a cost-effective opportunity for small-scale research projects.    More
(Source: Phys.org - Sep 20)


SATELLITE PHOTOS REVEAL HIDDEN ALPHABET ON EARTH'S SURFACE SATELLITE PHOTOS REVEAL HIDDEN ALPHABET ON EARTH'S SURFACE - It started with a plume of smoke in the shape of a ‘V’ on an image of Earth taken by one of NASA’s satellites. Soon it grew into an addictive hunt for more letters, made out of glaciers, storms, lakes and craters. For years, NASA science writer Adam Voiland has been on the lookout for letter-shaped natural phenomena, combing through thousands of satellite images slowly collecting the entire alphabet and chronicling it in an online gallery. It was a hit, and soon Voiland was back for a second round, collecting another entire alphabet, this one all capitals, for a new children’s book, ABCs from Space.   More
(Source: National Geographic - Sep 20)


SATELLITES TRACKING POWERFUL HURRICANE MARIA FROM SPACE SATELLITES TRACKING POWERFUL HURRICANE MARIA FROM SPACE - A number of satellites are keeping tabs on Hurricane Maria as the dangerous storm churns its way through the Caribbean. Imagery captured over the past four days by the GOES East satellite, for example, shows Maria strengthening to a Category 5 hurricane — the most powerful type — and slamming into the island of Dominica last night (Sept. 18). Maria is currently a "potentially catastrophic hurricane" moving west-northwest with maximum sustained wind speeds of 160 mph (260 km/h), according to the latest update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).    More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 20)


DRAGON CAPSULE SPLASHES DOWN IN PACIFIC WITH SPACE STATION CARGO 
DRAGON CAPSULE SPLASHES DOWN IN PACIFIC WITH SPACE STATION CARGO - Returning home from more than a month in orbit, a SpaceX Dragon supply ship departed the International Space Station and parachuted into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday with nearly two tons of research specimens and hardware, including mice sent up to investigate how spaceflight affects eyesight and locomotion. Wrapping up the 12th successful round-trip Dragon mission in 13 tries, the automated spaceship splashed down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Los Angeles around 10:15 a.m. EDT (7:15 a.m. PDT; 1415 GMT) after a final descent under three main parachutes.    More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 19)


CHINESE SPACE STATION FREIGHTER CONCLUDES REFUELING DEMO MISSION CHINESE SPACE STATION FREIGHTER CONCLUDES REFUELING DEMO MISSION - China’s Tianzhou 1 freighter, a pathfinder for regular resupply and refueling trips to the country’s planned space station, wrapped up a series of successful propellant transfer tests with the orbiting Tiangong 2 space lab Saturday and detached from the module for more standalone experiments and a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Chinese space officials said in a statement that the Tianzhou 1 refueling and resupply craft completed its third transfer of propellant to the Tiangong 2 mini-space station in orbit at 0817 GMT (4:17 a.m. EDT) Saturday...   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Sep 19)


CHINA’S OUT-OF-CONTROL TIANGONG-1 SPACE STATION TO CRASH BACK TO EARTH EARLY 2018 CHINA’S OUT-OF-CONTROL TIANGONG-1 SPACE STATION TO CRASH BACK TO EARTH EARLY 2018 - An out-of-control spacecraft will come crashing down to Earth sometime in January or February 2018, a new calculation predicts. China announced it had lost control of the Tiangong-1 space station in September 2016 and initially thought the spacecraft would fall back to Earth in “late 2017.” Since then, refined estimates have put the date of re-entry at some point between December 2017 and March 2018.   More
(Source: Newsweek - Sep 19)


NORTHROP GRUMMAN TO ACQUIRE ORBITAL ATK NORTHROP GRUMMAN TO ACQUIRE ORBITAL ATK - Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK in a $9.2 billion deal announced Sept. 18 that will give the combined company complementary capabilities in space and defense systems. Under the terms of the deal, Northrop Grumman will pay $7.8 billion in cash and assume $1.4 billion in debt to acquire Orbital ATK. Northrop Grumman is paying $134.50 per share of Orbital ATK stock, a premium of more than 20 percent over the stock’s price of $110 per share at the close of trading Sept. 15. News of the deal was first reported Sept. 17 by the Wall Street Journal.   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 19)


CHINA TO LAUNCH FOUR BEIDOU-3 SATELLITES BY THE END OF 2017 CHINA TO LAUNCH FOUR BEIDOU-3 SATELLITES BY THE END OF 2017 - China-based Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) vice chief designer Ran Chengqi on Saturday said that four Beidou-3 satellites will be launched by late 2017 and a complete global satellites navigation system will be in place around 2020. The BDS was independently developed and operated by China with a vision to meet the needs of the country's national security and economic and social development. As a space infrastructure of national significance, the BDS provides all-time, all-weather and high-accuracy positioning, navigation and timing services to global users.   More
(Source: Doordarshan - Sep 18)


IRAN RELAUNCHES SPACE AMBITIONS AFTER UPROAR OVER SATELLITES IRAN RELAUNCHES SPACE AMBITIONS AFTER UPROAR OVER SATELLITES - Iran's on-off space programme has received a boost after a recent satellite launch was seen to annoy Washington, with Tehran dusting off plans for a manned mission, perhaps with Moscow's assistance. "Ten skilled pilots are currently undergoing difficult and intensive training so that two of them... can be selected for the space launch," the head of the science ministry's aerospace research centre, Fathollah Omi, told the state broadcaster last week. He said the plan was to put humans into suborbital space "in less than eight years".   More
(Source: Geo News, Pakistan - Sep 17)


INDIA TO RESUME SATELLITE LAUNCHES BY DECEMBER INDIA TO RESUME SATELLITE LAUNCHES BY DECEMBER - India will resume launching satellites in November or December, unfazed by the failure of its rocket in deploying a spare navigation satellite in the Earth's lower orbit on August 31, said a top official on Friday. "We will resume the launches by November or December, with one of the remote sensing satellites though we are yet to finalise with which," said A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).   More
(Source: Times Now - Sep 17)


NASA TV BROADCASTS DRAGON RELEASE EARLY SUNDAY NASA TV BROADCASTS DRAGON RELEASE EARLY SUNDAY - NASA Television coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station is set to begin early Sunday morning, Sept. 17 at 4:30 a.m. EDT. Watch the spacecraft departure live at http://www.nasa.gov/live Dragon has been loaded with more than 3,800 pounds of cargo and research to be returned to Earth and its internal hatch closed. The spacecraft is targeted for release at 4:40 a.m.   More
(Source: NASA - Sep 17)


NASA'S ROBOTIC 'SNIFFER' CONFIRMS SPACE STATION LEAK, REPAIR NASA'S ROBOTIC 'SNIFFER' CONFIRMS SPACE STATION LEAK, REPAIR - In recent operations on the International Space Station, robotic operators were twice able to test and confirm the ability of the Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) to "smell" in space. Using the RELL instruments, operators successfully located a small leak from the station's ammonia coolant loop, and confirmed that it was not a safety concern. Later they were able to return and more precisely characterize the leak. This valuable data helped station operators vent and isolate the leaking line from the coolant loop and successfully stop the leak.    More
(Source: Phys.org - Sep 16)


THIS ULTRATHIN CRAFT COULD SOON ENVELOP AND DESTROY SPACE JUNK THIS ULTRATHIN CRAFT COULD SOON ENVELOP AND DESTROY SPACE JUNK - Think of the latest idea of collecting space junk as something akin to a hungry tiger pouncing on its prey. Aerospace Corporation says its Brane Craft will wrap itself around debris orbiting Earth and drag it back down through the atmosphere, causing it to burn up and never again threaten satellites or astronauts. The project recently received a second round of funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which funds far-out ideas that remain years away from launch — if they get there at all.   More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 15)


ORBITAL ATK BEGINS ASSEMBLY OF INDUSTRY'S FIRST COMMERCIAL IN-SPACE SATELLITE SERVICING SYSTEM ORBITAL ATK BEGINS ASSEMBLY OF INDUSTRY'S FIRST COMMERCIAL IN-SPACE SATELLITE SERVICING SYSTEM - Orbital ATK reports significant progress on the industry's first commercial in-space satellite servicing system. The (MEV-1) spacecraft successfully completed its critical design review earlier this year and is now in production with about 75% of the platform and payload components already delivered to the company's Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft will begin system-level testing in spring 2018 with launch planned late next year. MEV-1 will provide satellite life extension services to its anchor customer, Intelsat S.A., beginning in early 2019.   More
(Source: SpaceDaily - Sep 15)


NASA'S TERRA SATELLITE SPIES TYPHOON TALIM'S LARGE EYE NASA'S TERRA SATELLITE SPIES TYPHOON TALIM'S LARGE EYE - On Sept. 14 at 0215 UTC (Sept. 13 at 10:15 p.m. EDT) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer of MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image of Typhoon Talim. The image revealed a large, open eye surrounded by powerful thunderstorms as the storm moved through the East China Sea. The southern extent of Talim's clouds were over northern Taiwan at the time of the image. The MODIS image was created by NASA's MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on Sept. 14, Typhoon Talim's maximum sustained winds were near 120 knots (138.1 mph/222 kph).    More
(Source: Phys.org - Sep 15)


ASIASAT PLANNING SMALL HTS SATELLITE TO COVER CHINA ASIASAT PLANNING SMALL HTS SATELLITE TO COVER CHINA - Hong Kong-based fleet operator AsiaSat will soon order a “modest”-size high-throughput satellite (HTS) that will leverage the company’s access to the Chinese market, Barrie Woolston, AsiaSat’s chief commercial officer, said Sept. 14. “We’ve looked long and hard at what we can use existing capacity for, and when we will make the leap into HTS,” Woolston said here at the World Satellite Business Week conference. “We are at that stage now where we are specifying a new satellite … that will hit the streets in 36 months time.”   More
(Source: SpaceNews - Sep 15)


CHINA’S CARGO SPACECRAFT COMPLETES FAST-DOCKING WITH SPACE LAB TIANGONG-2 CHINA’S CARGO SPACECRAFT COMPLETES FAST-DOCKING WITH SPACE LAB TIANGONG-2 - China’s first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 completed an automated fast-docking with experimental space lab Tiangong-2 which is currently in orbit. Controlled from Earth, Tianzhou-1 began to approach Tiangong-2 at 5:24PM (local time) yesterday and it took six and a half hours to complete the fast-docking with the space lab. It was the third docking between the two spacecraft using fast-docking technology. Previously, it took about two days to dock, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.   More
(Source: Livemint - Sep 15)


US-RUSSIAN CREW ARRIVES SPACE STATION AFTER QUICK 6-HOUR TRIP US-RUSSIAN CREW ARRIVES SPACE STATION AFTER QUICK 6-HOUR TRIP - Two NASA astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut successfully launched toward the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday (Sept. 12). NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin blasted off atop a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:17 p.m. EDT (2127 GMT). Packed tightly inside their Soyuz MS-06 space capsule, the trio began their 6-hour trip to the ISS after a flawless launch sequence. "Everything is nominal on board [and] the crew is doing fine," a translator for Russia's Mission Control Center in Moscow repeatedly announced during a live webcast as the Soyuz MS-06 soared into the sky.    More
(Source: Space.com - Sep 13)


SPACE STATION CREW FORCED TO SEEK SHELTER DURING MASSIVE SOLAR FLARE SPACE STATION CREW FORCED TO SEEK SHELTER DURING MASSIVE SOLAR FLARE - The International Space Station (ISS) crew had to hide in a special shelter during a massive solar flare, a nuclear scientist said. The sun produced several huge solar flares last week, one of which was the strongest observed in a decade. “Yesterday [on Sunday], the cosmonauts on the ISS received an ‘alert’ signal, and they had to seek a temporary shelter at the station,”...   More
(Source: RT - Sep 13)


SOYUZ MS-06 SPACECRAFT WITH CREW OF THREE LAUNCHED FROM BAIKONUR
SOYUZ MS-06 SPACECRAFT WITH CREW OF THREE LAUNCHED FROM BAIKONUR - The Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft carrying three international crew members to the International Space Station (ISS) was launched on Wednesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, a TASS correspondent reported. "The launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft was performed at 00:17 Moscow time," a spokesman for the Russian space agency Roscosmos said. The spacecraft, carrying Russia’s Aleksandr Misurkin, and NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba, has been successfully put into the designated orbit.    More
(Source: TASS - Sep 13)



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