COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE SYSTEM READY FOR MILITARY USE - A secure satellite communications system for the U.S. military and allies in the time of global crisis is now live, Lockheed Martin reports.
The system -- it connects the military forces of the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and Britain -- is the Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF, satellite network.
With attaining initial operational capability, all operators with access can begin using the system for routine sensitive communication and critical operations.
"When a commander issues orders, they need to know their troops will get the information quickly and without fear of interruption or interception," said Mark C. Calassa, vice president of Protected Communication Systems and AEHF program manager for Lockheed Martin. "Compared to anything else on orbit, AEHF gives an unmatched level of protection and has five times the speed of legacy protected communication systems. More
(Source: UPI - Aug 4)
THIS CLEANUP SATELLITE IS DESIGNED TO GOBBLE UP SPACE DEBRIS LIKE PAC-MAN - A team of engineers has been at work for the past three years to develop a space cleanup satellite. The intent is to eliminate threatening, human-made orbital debris.
The worry is not new - there's lots of clutter to pick and choose from, be it broken down satellites to tossed away rocket stages. A new entry to de-litter Earth orbit is the CleanSpace One project, spearheaded by researchers from eSpace, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne's (EPFL) Center for Space Engineering and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory and HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland. More
(Source: Mashable - Aug 4)
TRACKING CUBESATS IS EASY, BUT MANY STAY IN ORBIT TOO LONG - U.S. military radars have little trouble tracking the flux of CubeSats filling orbital traffic lanes, diminishing worries that new commercial CubeSat constellations could generate collision hazards in space, according to a report issued by NASA last week.
But 46 of the 231 CubeSats successfully launched from 2000 through the end of 2014 - about one in five - will remain in orbit more than a quarter-century. Space debris experts and most big international satellite operators have agreed to re-position spacecraft in low Earth orbit at low enough altitudes to naturally re-enter the atmosphere within 25 years at the end of their lives. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 3)
LAWMAKERS WORRY SPACEX EXPLOSION MAY ENDANGER MILITARY SATELLITE LAUNCHES - Fourteen members of Congress want NASA and the Air Force to explain how SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will be cleared to fly after a June 28 launch explosion and if the accident could endanger future military satellite launches SpaceX wants.
In a letter dated July 30, lawmakers say they "have serious reservations" about letting SpaceX conduct its own investigation subject to (Federal Administration of Aviation) approval. Specifically, the lawmakers say they "are concerned whether the investigation and engineering rigor applied will be sufficient to prevent future military launch mishaps."
SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster exploded 2 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral on June 28 resulting in the loss of a $100 million NASA supply payload for the International Space Station. Military communications and spy satellites can cost upwards of $1 billion to develop and launch. More
(Source: AL.com - Aug 1)
TAKE A SELF-GUIDED VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - While we've seen lots of photos and videos of the inside of the International Space Station (ISS), seen what our planet looks like from aboard the orbiting outpost and even heard what it sounds like up there, your chance to actually guide yourself through the various modules that comprise the station has been limited. That changed in June, when the European Space Agency (ESA) put up a website that allowed you to pilot your mouse around the Columbus module, the ISS research pod deployed by the ESA in 2008.
Now, the ESA has expanded its virtual tour site to include five more modules. In fact, all of the modules are now online except for the Russian ones, which the ESA says will be released later this year, so you can now click around quite a bit of the Space Station. More
(Source: CNET - Jul 31)
RUSSIA FORMALLY COMMITS TO STATION THROUGH 2024 - Russia has formally notified its International Space Station partners that it will continue in the partnership at least to 2024, ending several months of doubts that were fueled by the current poor state of Russia's relations with the West.
The 22-nation European Space Agency confirmed that the Russia space agency, Roscosmos, had notified ESA and the other partners of its commitment to 2024, a decision that followed similar guarantees by NASA - the station's general contractor - and the Canadian Space Agency. More
(Source: Space News - Jul 30)
INDIA'S ADVANCED WEATHER SATELLITE INSAT-3D COMPLETES TWO YEARS IN ORBIT - INSAT-3D is an exclusive mission designed for enhanced meteorological observations and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning, ISRO said.
The satellite was launched by European rocket Ariane VA214 flight from French Guyana on July 26, 2013.
INSAT-3D is the first Indian geostationary satellite, equipped with sounder instrument that provides frequent good quality atmospheric profiles (temperature, humidity) over the Indian land mass and adjoining areas, it added.
The main objective of the INSAT-3D mission is to provide high quality observations for monitoring and prediction of weather events as well as for the study of climate. More
(Source: Zee News - Jul 29)
SKYNET 5A SATELLITE STARTS MOVE EASTWARDS - Airbus Defence and Space has announced that the planned 67,000 km move of the Skynet 5A satellite over the Asia Pacific region is on track. The move from 6 degrees East to 94.8 degrees East will expand Airbus Defence and Space's capability to provide protected and secure military satcom services to allied governments in the Asia-Pacific region. The satellite will be on station at its new location in the autumn this year.
Airbus Defence and Space announced the planned move of Skynet 5A military communications satellite at the Satellite 2015 Conference in March 2015. More
(Source: Space Daily - Jul 29)
DMSP SATELLITE'S BREAK-UP LINKED TO BATTERY FAILURE - Investigators have traced the cause of an in-space disintegration of a U.S. Air Force weather satellite in February to a battery fault and identified six other spacecraft in orbit prone to the same failure.
Engineers originally suspected the polar-orbiting satellite's power system was to blame for the Feb. 3 explosion, which littered low Earth orbit with 147 objects ranging from the size of a baseball to the size of a basketball, according to an Air Force press release.
A report from engineers investigating the break-up of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13, or DMSP F13, spacecraft revealed the probable cause of the failure was a compromised wiring harness inside a battery charger aboard the satellite. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jul 28)