EUROPEAN SATELLITE FIRM ANNOUNCES TWO PAYLOAD LAUNCHES IN 2017 -
The first two confirmed payloads slated for launch from SpaceX's commercial rocket launch site at Boca Chica Beach were announced Wednesday, according to a spaceflight industry publication.
Officials with Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES announced that two of its communication satellites were scheduled to go into orbit aboard two SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in 2017.
"Spaceflight Now" magazine reported that "industry officials familiar with the launch deal said both satellites are planned to lift off from SpaceX's new launch site at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville , Texas ." More
(Source: Brownsville Herald - Feb 26)
LAUNCH OF FIRST GPS 3 SATELLITE NOW NOT EXPECTED UNTIL 2017 - The first of the U.S. Air Force's newest generation of positioning, navigation and timing satellites is now expected to launch in 2017 rather than in 2016 as previously expected, according to an official with Lockheed Martin, the program's prime contractor.
Mark Valerio, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's military space business, said while he is preparing the first GPS 3 satellite to be available for launch as early as the end of this year, he expects the Air Force will slot the satellite to launch in the first quarter of 2017. Accommodating a 2017 launch date likely would require placing the satellite into short-term storage, he said. More
(Source: Space News - Feb 25)
RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY ENDORSES ISS UNTIL 2024 - Russia plans to stay part of the International Space Station partnership until 2024, then undock its modules to create a standalone base in orbit, the Russian space agency announced Tuesday.
A statement posted to the Russian space agency's website said a meeting of the Roscosmos science and technical council considered Russia's future human spaceflight plans, favoring the continued use of the International Space Station until 2024.
Then Russia plans to remove its modules from the International Space Station to form an all-Russian complex in orbit. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 25)
ATV'S RE-ENTRY CAMERA RETURNED NO IMAGES - A camera packed inside Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle failed to transmit images from inside the disposable supply ship as it plunged through Earth's atmosphere Feb. 15 and broke apart over the South Pacific Ocean, the European Space Agency said Friday.
The robotic cargo freighter carried a camera and instrument package cocooned inside a miniature heat shield to survive the temperatures and pressures of re-entry. While telemetry indicated the camera took nearly 6,000 pictures, none of the images were received by engineers.
ESA said the information still will help scientists study re-entry dynamics and could contribute to the design of future spacecraft to minimize the risks of space junk, but the loss of imagery from the ATV's destructive dive back to Earth left officials with a small fraction of the data originally slated for collection during the European cargo craft's re-entry. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 24)
SPACEX NEARING COMMERCIAL SATELLITE LAUNCH - If schedules hold, SpaceX late next Friday will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral for the second time in 16 days.
The mission to launch two commercial communications satellites follows the company's Feb. 11 launch of a space weather satellite into deep space science for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.
Liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is targeted for 11:01 p.m. Friday, the opening of a window that extends to 11:46 p.m., according to the Air Force's 45th Space Wing.
The satellites owned by Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite, or ABS, are bound for geosynchronous orbits more than 22,000 miles over the equator. More
(Source: Florida Today - Feb 23)
NASA PREPARING TO REASSEMBLE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - On Friday, astronauts aboard the International Space Station will initiate the station's first reassembly in several years. The station will be reconfigured to create two new docking ports for the space taxis NASA hopes to have launched by the end of 2017 as part of its Commercial Crew program.
The first of three assembly spacewalks will be conducted on Friday by NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts. While outside the station, they will begin work installing cables and communications equipment for the two new berthing slips.
Wilmore and Virts won't be able to ready the two new ports without new equipment, however. Two International Docking Adapters are needed to turn what were once parking spots for NASA's Space Shuttles into docks capable of accepting future U.S. commercial crew vehicles. The two adapters will be launched by SpaceX resupply missions later this year.
(Source: UPI - Feb 20)
RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN SATAN ROCKET TO LAUNCH SOUTH KOREAN SATELLITE AS PLANNED - The joint Russian-Ukrainian company Kosmotras will go ahead with the launches of commercial and scientific satellites and spacecraft it had planned for 2015 using the Dnepr-1 rocket, including a South Korean Kompsat remote sensing satellite in mid-March.
The March 12 launch of the Dnepr-1 carrying a South Korean satellite will go ahead as planned, a source close to the space industry told Russia's RIA Novosti on Monday.
It had earlier been reported that the launch of the Dnepr-1 by Kosmotras, a Moscow-based joint Russian-Ukrainian company, had been suspended indefinitely. More
(Source: Space Daily - Feb 19)
ATLAS 5 ROCKET ASSEMBLED FOR NASA SATELLITE LAUNCH - The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket that will hurl the four MMS satellites into a highly elliptical Earth orbit on March 12 has completed its basic build up at Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 Vertical Integration Facility. The spacecraft will fly in formation for the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission to gain new insights into the connections and disconnections of the lines in Earth's magnetic field.
The rocket will fly in the 421 configuration, which features the Common Core Booster powered by an RD-180 main engine, two strap-on solid motors and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 18)
PROGRESS 58 DOCKS TO STATION'S ZVEZDA SERVICE MODULE - Traveling about 257 miles above the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico, the unpiloted Progress 58 Russian cargo ship docked at 11:57 a.m. EST to the rear port of the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station. The craft is delivering three tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members aboard the orbital laboratory. Progress 58 is scheduled to remain docked to the space station until August.
Meanwhile, astronauts in the U.S. segment of the station are reviewing procedures for a trio of spacewalks. The first is set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. Spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts will exit the orbital lab to set the stage for a pair of new commercial crew vehicle docking ports to be installed later this year. More
(Source: NASA - Feb 18)
SOYUZ ROCKET BOOSTS RUSSIAN CARGO CRAFT TO SPACE STATION - Russia launched a Progress resupply mission Tuesday on a six-hour pursuit of the International Space Station with more than 6,000 pounds of fuel, supplies and experiments to support the lab's six-person crew.
A Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1100:17 GMT (6:00:17 a.m. EST), or 5 p.m. local time at the Central Asia space base.
The three-stage launcher burned a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen as it powered into orbit with the Progress M-26M supply ship. After disappearing into low clouds about 20 seconds after liftoff, the Soyuz rocket shed four liquid-fueled strap-on boosters, jettisoned a protective shroud covering the Progress payload, then released its main core stage. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 17)