MYSTERIOUS MINI SPACEPLANE THE NEXT ATLAS 5 PAYLOAD - With its new homeport in renovated NASA space shuttle hangars off in the distance, the Air Force's X-37 mini spaceplane will be launched from Cape Canaveral on May 6 for its fourth journey into orbit.
The Orbital Test Vehicle will be the primary payload aboard the next United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, the 54th Atlas 5 and ULA's 96th mission overall. The launch has a codename AFSPC 5 for the Air Force Space Command flight No. 5.
Liftoff is targeted some time between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT (1300-1700 GMT).
Stacking of the two-stage launcher began today inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Complex 41. The rocket will fly in its 501 configuration, the 6th flight of its type, that features a five-meter nose cone, no solid boosters and a single engine on the Centaur upper stage. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Mar 31)
CHINA CONSIDERING SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER STATION - Chinese scientists are considering how they can build and put into orbit a massive space station that would supply a constant stream of solar energy to Earth.
The project, which is still in the conceptual stage, would involve a satellite that weighs more than 10,000 lbs., dwarfing anything previously placed into orbit, including the International Space Station, according to the China-based Xinhuanet, part of the Xinhua News Agency.
While space-based solar power is not a new idea, some Chinese scientists believe a collector could be launched as soon as 2020, although others place the launch date further out, as far away 2050. More
(Source: Computerworld - Mar 31)
CHINA LAUNCHES UPGRADED BEIDOU NAVIGATION SATELLITE - China launched a new-generation satellite into space for its indigenous BeiDou global navigation and positioning network on Monday. Launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, the satellite was boosted by a Long March-3C carrier rocket developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, reported the state-run Xinhua news agency.
This is the 17th satellite for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS). The launch marked the beginning of an expansion of the BDS from regional to global coverage. More
(Source: Zee News - Mar 31)
SPACEX FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCH SET FOR APRIL 10 - The SpaceX Falcon 9 is set to launch from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on April 10 at 5:42 p.m. This will be the sixth operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station for SpaceX under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Falcon 9 is SpaceX's two-stage rocket manufactured to successfully transport satellites and their Dragon spacecraft into orbit.
Currently the only rocket fully designed and developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 delivers payloads to space aboard the Dragon spacecraft or inside a composite fairing. More
(Source: SpaceCoastDaily.com - Mar 30)
ISRO NAVIGATION SATELLITE IN ORBIT - India on Saturday demonstrated its ability to establish an independent regional navigation satellite system, as ISRO's PSLV C-27 successfully launched Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 1-D satellite into the intended orbit.
"We will now be able to make use of our receivers to locate ourselves independently," ISRO Chairman K.S. Kiran Kumar said. This is the first launch this year and the first under his chairmanship.
While the ambit of the U.S. GPS was global, the IRNSS was meant for regional coverage, he said, replying to a query. "The globe comes later, the country comes first."
IRNSS 1-D is the fourth of the series of seven satellites, which would form ISRO's IRNSS. More
(Source: The Hindu - Mar 28)
SOYUZ SPACECRAFT DOCKS AT ISS FOR YEAR-LONG MISSION - A Russian Soyuz spacecraft with three crew on board successfully docked at the International Space Station Saturday after blasting off from Kazakhstan, NASA said, launching a year-long mission on the orbiting outpost.
The Soyuz-TMA16M spacecraft's crew included a US astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut who will be the first to spend an entire year on the ISS.
The successful docking occurred after the Soyuz took off without a glitch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 22:42 pm (1942 GMT) Friday, Russian space agency officials said earlier. More
(Source: Space Daily - Mar 28)
SOYUZ CARRIER WITH TWO GALILEO SATELLITES LAUNCHED FROM KOUROU SPACEPORT - Russian carrier rocket Soyuz-ST with two EU satellites aboard was successfully launched from Kourou space centre in French Guyana on Saturday, Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos told RIA Novosti. "The launch took place at 12.46 p.m. [9:45 GMT]," Roscosmos spokesperson said. The satellites are sent to the orbit under the EU Galileo program, which aims to create a global satellite navigation system alongside existing US Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russian Glonass.
(Source: Sputnik News - Mar 28)
SOYUZ ROCKET LAUNCHES YEARLONG SPACE STATION CREW - Two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut successfully departed Earth on Friday, propelled by a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They're headed for the International Space Station.
As of 4:00 p.m. EST, the rocket had achieved third-stage separation and the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft had entered Low Earth orbit. If all goes as planned, the craft will dock onto the space station late Friday night (early Saturday morning in Kazakhstan). More
(Source: UPI - Mar 27)
COUNTDOWN BEGINS FOR LAUNCH OF ISRO'S NAVIGATION SATELLITE IRNSS-1D - Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday announced the countdown for the launch of India's fourth navigation satellite IRNSS-1D began at 5.49 am.
ISRO announced on its Facebook page "The 59-and-half hour count down for PSLV-C27/IRNSS-1D Mission began in the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh".
The rocket is expected to blast off at 5.19 p.m. on March 28 to put into orbit the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1D satellite, which was originally scheduled for launch on March 9, but was deferred after an anomaly was found in one of the telemetry transmitters. More
(Source: Zee News - Mar 27)
DELTA 4 ROCKET BOOSTS NEW GPS SATELLITE INTO ORBIT - A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket thundered away from Cape Canaveral Wednesday, boosting the ninth in a series of upgraded Global Positioning System navigation satellites into orbit.
The 206-foot-tall rocket's hydrogen-fueled main engine throttled up with a rush of fire at 2:36 p.m. EDT (GMT-4), followed a moment later by ignition of two solid-fuel strap-on boosters. Generating 1.1 million pounds of thrust, the Delta 4 quickly climbed away through low fog over the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and arced away to the northeast over the Atlantic Ocean.
The climb out of the dense lower atmosphere went smoothly and 15 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's second stage engine shut down as planned to put the satellite payload into an initial parking orbit. More
(Source: CBS News - Mar 26)