PROTON LAUNCHER TAKES OFF WITH DUAL-USE RUSSIAN COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - A high-power Russian satellite designed to deliver broadband Internet connections and relay television and videoconferencing signals fired into orbit Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Destined to serve the Russian military and civilian customers, the first Blagovest communications satellite rode a Proton rocket into space at 2207 GMT (6:07 p.m. EDT) Wednesday, according to a statement released by ISS Reshetnev, the spacecraft’s manufacturer.
Liftoff occurred at 4:07 a.m. local time Thursday at Baikonur, a sprawling spaceport leased by the Russian government from Kazakhstan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 18)
THIS NASA SATELLITE IS READY TO GO TO SPACE AFTER HAVING ITS BROKEN ANTENNA REPLACED - Tomorrow morning, a NASA communications satellite is scheduled to launch to space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on top of an Atlas V rocket made by the United Launch Alliance. The launch was slated for earlier this month, but was delayed after some equipment on the probe was broken during launch preparations. But now, the satellite, called TDRS-M, is ready to head to orbit, where it will join a fleet of other satellites crucial to NASA’s operations in space. More
(Source: The Verge - Aug 18)
STATION MANAGERS PUSH BACK NEXT CYGNUS CARGO FLIGHT TO NOVEMBER - NASA and Orbital ATK have agreed to schedule the launch of the next Cygnus supply ship for Nov. 10 from Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, a delay of a month from the mission’s earlier target launch date to allow the flight to carry more cargo to the International Space Station, officials said.
The new launch date also will allow time for station astronauts to complete three spacewalks in late October and early November to swap out a latching end effector on the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm and complete other maintenance tasks, according to Dan Hartman, NASA’s deputy space station program manager. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 18)
SPACEX DRAGON DELIVERS SUPPLIES (AND SCIENCE) TO SPACE STATION - A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station early Wednesday (Aug. 16), delivering 3 tons of supplies, experiments and even some ice cream for the orbiting lab's crew. The uncrewed Dragon spacecraft was captured by astronauts using the station's robotic arm at 6:52 a.m. EDT (1052 GMT) as the two spacecraft were flying over the Pacific Ocean, just north of New Zealand. More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 18)
RUSSIAN, INDIAN STUDENTS CREATING FRIENDSHIP SATELLITE
- Students from Space Kidz India (SKI) organizaiton and Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) have been creating a joint satellite, which will become a "friendship satellite," Space Kidz India founder Dr. Srimathy Kesan told TASS.
According to her, it will be the first satellite created by students and not by official space institutions. "This is a friendship satellite, designed by collaborative method by students from two non-governmental institutions, marking the friendship between the two countries," she said.
Russian space corporation considering joint projects with India, China — media
The Iskra-5 CubeSat 1U satellite, weighing 1.5 kilograms, will provide amateur communications, including transmission of images in SSTV format.
(Source: TASS - Aug 17)
NASA SCIENCE-ENABLING RELAY SATELLITE POISED FOR LAUNCH ATOP ATLAS 5 ROCKET - Resembling a cocooned insect with antennas and appendages tucked snuggly to its body for launch, NASA’s latest communications relay hub will be shot into space Friday to blossom in geosynchronous orbit for routing signals to and from the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and three dozen science observatories.
The $408 million Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M, or TDRS-M, will be sent aloft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. Liftoff from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral is scheduled for 8:03 a.m. EDT (1203 GMT). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 16)
U.S. ARMY PREPARES TO LAUNCH KESTREL EYE SATELLITE ATOP FALCON 9 - The U.S. Army is set to launch its Kestrel Eye electro-optical microsatellite Aug. 14 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, service officials said last week at the annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
The Kestrel Eye satellite, built by Adcole Maryland Aerospace, is due to launch from Cape Canaveral as part of a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, said during the symposium. More
(Source: SpaceMews - Aug 16)
SUCCESS! SPACEX LAUNCHES SUPERCOMPUTER TOWARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - About ten minutes after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, a Dragon spacecraft separated from SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket -- beginning its two-day trek through orbital space to the space station.
Cargo missions are always packed with some interesting payloads -- typically several tons of experimental equipment, food and other provisions.
This mission will also deliver something the space station has never seen before: A supercomputer built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, (HPE, Tech30) dubbed the "Spaceborne Computer." More
(Source: CNN - Aug 16)
SPACEX LAUNCHES NASA CARGO TO SPACE STATION, STICKS ROCKET LANDING (AGAIN) - One of the company's Falcon 9 rockets lifted off from historic Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida today (Aug. 14) at 12:31 p.m. EDT (1631 GMT), sending a robotic Dragon cargo capsule on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.
Then, about 8 minutes after launch, the first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 came back to Earth, touching down at SpaceX's "Landing Zone 1" at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which sits next door to KSC. More
(Source: Space.com - Aug 14)
SPACEX SET FOR SUPPLY RUN TO SPACE STATION ON MONDAY - The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Monday to carry supplies to the International Space Station kicks off an exceptionally busy few weeks in space, with a Russian spacewalk on tap Thursday, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 flight Friday, the 40th anniversary of the Voyager program's first launch on Sunday and a coast-to-coast solar eclipse the next day. More
(Source: CBS News - Aug 14)
SPACE STATION CREW TO GET THREE SHOTS AT SOLAR ECLIPSE - The International Space Station's crew will enjoy views of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse during three successive orbits, giving the astronauts a unique opportunity to take in the celestial show from 250 miles up as the moon's shadow races across from the Pacific Ocean and the continental United States before moving out over the Atlantic.
"Because we're going around the Earth every 90 minutes, about the time it takes the sun to cross the U.S., we'll get to see it three times," Randy Bresnik said Friday during a NASA Facebook session. More
(Source: CBS News - Aug 13)
BRITISH COMPANIES PLAN SMALL SATELLITE HOSTED PAYLOAD MISSION - A British small satellite manufacturer and a startup company are partnering on a mission to fly a series of smallsats carrying hosted payloads of varying sizes.
Faraday is a joint project of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) and In-Space Missions Ltd., a company founded in 2015 by former SSTL executives that provides spacecraft services and consulting. Faraday features a spacecraft developed by SSTL, with In-Space Missions offering accommodations on the spacecraft for payloads ranging from 50 kilograms down to individual circuit boards. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Aug 13)
H-2A ROCKET GROUNDED BY PROBLEM IN PROPULSION SYSTEM - A Japanese launch crew filled an H-2A rocket with cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants in time for a planned liftoff Saturday with a geostationary navigation satellite, but a problem inside the launcher’s propulsion system prompted officials to postpone the mission.
Officials announced a hold less than two hours before the 174-foot-tall (53-meter) H-2A rocket was set to blast off at 0440 GMT (12:40 a.m. EDT; 1:40 p.m. Japan Standard Time). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 13)
CHINESE SATELLITE SENDS 'HACK-PROOF' MESSAGE - China has successfully sent "hack-proof" messages from a satellite to Earth for the first time.
The Micius satellite beamed messages to two mountain-top receiving stations 645 km (400 miles) and 1,200 km away.
The message was protected by exploiting quantum physics, which says any attempt to eavesdrop on it would make detectable changes.
Using satellites avoids some limitations that ground-based systems introduce into quantum communication. More
(Source: BBC News - Aug 13)
SPACEX IS LAUNCHING A SUPERCOMPUTER TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - As it nears the end of its second decade, the International Space Station is starting to hit its stride. The large orbital laboratory offers private companies a chance to test business ideas in microgravity, serves as a testbed for astronaut health, and allows NASA to prove technologies for future missions into deep space.
One of the critical technologies NASA will need if it really does send humans beyond the Earth-Moon system within the next few decades is more powerful computers capable of operating in the deep space environment. More
(Source: Ars Technica - Aug 12)
SPACEX PERFORMS STATIC FIRE, PREPS FOR MONDAY LAUNCH FROM FLORIDA - Set to resume a brisk pace of launch activity after a nearly six-week respite, SpaceX test-fired its next Falcon 9 rocket Thursday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of a planned liftoff Monday with several tons of experiments and supplies for the International Space Station.
The Falcon 9 launcher rolled out to pad 39A at the Florida space base Wednesday evening and was raised vertical overnight. SpaceX’s launch team, stationed in a control center about 13 miles (21 kilometers) to the south, initiated a computer-controlled countdown sequence Thursday morning that loaded super-chilled kerosene and liquid oxygen into the two-stage rocket. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 11)
POOR WEATHER FORECAST DELAYS LAUNCH OF JAPANESE NAVIGATION SATELLITE - The Japanese space agency said Wednesday the launch of an H-2A rocket with the country’s third navigation satellite was preemptively delayed at least 24 hours to Saturday to avoid thunderstorms with lightning in the forecast later this week.
The 174-foot-tall (53-meter) rocket, currently standing inside the vertical assembly building at the Tanegashima Space Center, is now scheduled to launch some time during an unusually-long nine-hour window Saturday that opens at 0500 GMT (1 a.m. EDT; 2 p.m. Japan Standard Time). More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 10)
SSL AND NASA MOVE CLOSER TO CREATING A SERVICE SPACECRAFT FOR LEO SATELLITES - Satellite provider Space Systems Loral (SSL) and NASA have completed a key step towards building a spacecraft that can service satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), potentially extending their useful life and making it possible to move forward on building a whole new industry out of deployed satellite service operations.
SSL and NASA successfully passed the Preliminary Design Review stage for the Restore-L mission, which aims to combine robotics to create a platform for latching onto and refuelling LEO satellites. This means the Restore-L design has met initial mission requirements, and will now move on to a more detailed design phase to flesh out the specifics of the spacecraft SSR will construct with a launch window target of 2020. More
(Source: TechCrunch - Aug 9)
CONSTRUCTION OF ONEWEB’S NEW SATELLITE FACTORY IS MOVING QUICKLY - The manufacturing plant, located just outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center and near Blue Origin’s New Glenn factory, will be used to produce the bulk of the company’s initial constellation of 900 broadband communications satellites.
OneWeb broke ground on the factory in March, and recent photos showed its exterior structure already in place. OneWeb expects the factory to start satellite production in early 2018. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Aug 9)