MIR PLUNGED INTO OCEAN BEFORE TIME - The Mir space station could have been kept aloft a little longer, although this would hardly be viable financially, a Russian space agency Roscosmos executive in charge of manned missions said.
The Soviet Union began putting parts of the modular space station into low orbit in 1986. Mir was deorbited and fell into the Pacific in 2001 after 15 years in space.
"It could have been maintained, although the question is whether this would have been practical," Sergei Krikalev, a former cosmonaut, told RIA Novosti. More
(Source: Space Daily - May 25)
SPACEX WILL TRY TO LAND ON SOLID GROUND AGAIN IN JULY - SpaceX's ninth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station will take place no earlier than 1:32AM ET on Saturday, July 16th, NASA announced today. A representative for SpaceX has confirmed to The Verge that the company will attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral. This will be the first time that SpaceX has attempted a landing on solid ground since the initial attempt last December, which was also the company's first successful landing.
SpaceX will use its Falcon 9 rocket to launch the uncrewed version of its Dragon spacecraft to the ISS. More
(Source: The Verge - May 25)
CHINA TO LAUNCH WORLD'S FIRST QUANTUM SPACE SATELLITE IN JULY - According to the physicist, cited by the People's Daily Online, the quantum network will connect Beijing, Jinan, Hefei and Shanghai among other cities spanning a 2,000-kilometer (1,243 miles) area.
Earthrise as seen from the Moon
Space Cowboys: China Plans Manned Moon Landing by 2036
Chinese physicists reportedly inaugurated the quantum satellite development program in 2011. In 2013, quantum optical fiber communication was introduced across the Beijing-Shanghai line.
(Source: Sputnik International - May 24)
INDIA PERFORMS SUCCESSFUL SPACE SHUTTLE TEST LAUNCH - India performed a successful space shuttle test launch late on Sunday, marking the latest milestone for the country’s space program.
The Reusable Launch Vehicle –Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) mini-shuttle is the country’s first space plane. NASA ended its 30-year space shuttle program in 2011.
India’s unmanned shuttle was launched on a HS9 booster rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota, an island off India’s Bay of Bengal coast. The booster burnt out after a “successful flight” of 91.1 seconds, according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). More
(Source: Fox News - May 24)
SPACE STATION INFLATABLE HABITAT WILL GET BLOWN UP ON THURSDAY - An expandable habitat that might eventually help humankind colonize the Moon and Mars will begin testing on the International Space Station this week. Astronauts will start pumping air into the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module at 5:30 AM on Thursday. At its full size, the puffed-up habitat will be about the size of a small bedroom. For the next two years, sensors will measure how well the structure maintains safe temperature, pressure, and radiation levels. Astronauts will go inside it occasionally, too. More
(Source: Popular Science - May 24)
WATCH THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION MARATHON - It's the surefire highlight of any public star party, and you won't find it at the eyepiece.
Folks are always amazed to see the International Space Station pass by overhead. There it is: humanity at its best, cooperating in space. And the good news is, the International Space Station (ISS) will be putting on its best performance of 2016 starting this week, as it reaches a stretch of full illumination throughout the length of its orbit. This means we're in for multiple visible passes of the ISS worldwide. More
(Source: Sky & Telescope - May 24)
SOYUZ ST-B TO LAUNCH GALILEO SATELLITE DUO ON TUESDAY - A Soyuz ST-B rocket is set to take to the skies on Tuesday, May 24. Its mission is to orbit a duo of European Galileo navigation satellites. The spacecraft, designated Galileo 13 and 14, are slated to lift off at 4:48 a.m. EDT (08:48 GMT) from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana.
The mission, designated VS15, will be the fourth flight carried out by Arianespace this year. The mission is slated to last for about three hours and 47 minutes, ending in the deployment of the satellites into a circular medium-Earth orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 14,616 miles (23,522 kilometers), inclined 57.4 degrees.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - May 23)
A MAN-MADE METEOR SHOWER LAUNCHED BY SATELLITE COULD OPEN THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES IN TOKYO - Japanese research company ALE is bidding to create an artificial meteor shower for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The project, Sky Canvas, goes beyond your average fireworks display: It involves launching a satellite into space “loaded with about 500 to 1,000 ‘source particles’ that become ingredients for a shooting star,” the company explains. The company, which is aiming to launch its first satellite in the second half of 2017, outlines how the project works:
When the satellite stabilizes in orbit, we will discharge the particles using a specially designed device on board. More
(Source: Quartz - May 23)
GOT $25,000? THEN YOU CAN BUILD A SATELLITE -- AND A SPACEX COFOUNDER WILL HELP YOU LAUNCH IT - Fine print: Shipping and handling is extra. About $2 million extra. America's new-space industry is suffocating -- but that's OK. Vector Space Systems is here to save it.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to talk over the future of spaceflight with Jim Cantrell, the original rocket scientist at Elon Musk's SpaceX . Cantrell has been working in the space industry for nigh on 30 years now, and for organizations as varied as StratSpace (a business development company assisting "new-space" start-ups), CNES (France's version of NASA), NASA (our version of NASA), and SpaceX itself. More
(Source: Fool.com - May 23)
CHINA REVEALS DESIGN FOR PLANNED TIANGONG 3 SPACE STATION - The China National Space Administration (CNSA) presented several slides of the design of its future space station, called Tiangong 3—meaning “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese. The station is expected to be built between 2018 and 2022.
According to the released slides, the station’s core module, “Tianhe 1” (which means “galaxy”), will include a laboratory with integrated modular racks for storing scientific equipment. It will also have five docking ports and a robotic arm.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - May 23)
SPACEX TARGETING THURSDAY AFTERNOON LAUNCH, LANDING - SpaceX may fire up a Falcon 9 rocket's engines on Monday in a test preparing for a planned 5:40 p.m. Thursday blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch of a Thai communications satellite — and an attempted rocket landing to follow — should look much like SpaceX's May 6 launch of a Japanese communications satellite, but with the action unfolding in daylight instead of darkness.
The roughly 7,000-pound Thaicom 8 satellite built by Orbital ATK will beam TV channels and Internet service to Thailand, India and parts of Africa from a position 22,300 miles above the equator. More
(Source: Florida Today - May 22)
ONE YEAR IN SPACE: X-37B SPACEPLANE CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY WITHOUT FANFARE - Orbiting the world in seclusion for the past year, the Air Force’s mysterious X-37B spaceplane marks the anniversary of its launch today.
The stubby-winged craft was boosted into space by a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket on May 20, 2015, departing Cape Canaveral for a 20-minute ride into a 200-mile-high orbit inclined 38 degrees.
Today, the maneuverable craft operates in a 220-mile orbit, a higher altitude it briefly held last fall and roughly the same perch occupied twice by the previous X-37B mission, according to satellite-tracking hobbyist Ted Molczan. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - May 21)
SATELLITE SPOTS OIL SLICK THAT COULD BE FROM EGYPTAIR PLANE - A European satellite spotted a potential oil slick in the area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea where an EgyptAir jet disappeared with 66 people on board, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday.
The image, taken by satellite Sentinel-1A at 1600 GMT on Thursday, shows a slick about 2 km (1.2 miles) long, roughly 40 km southeast of the aircraft's last known location.
A second image taken at 0400 GMT on Friday showed that the slick had drifted by about 5 km. More
(Source: Reuters - May 21)
ROBERT BIGELOW IS BUILDING HOTELS IN SPACE (NO, REALLY) - Robert Bigelow built his first hotel in Las Vegas, before moving to Texas, and then the rest of the Southwestern United states. Now, the founder of the Budget Suites of America chain is expanding his empire further—his next extended stay rental property is currently attached to the International Space Station.
Bigelow first started his space company, Bigelow Aerospace, in 1999 to develop habitats for use as research labs for corporations and countries without space programs, housing for missions to Mars, or even as hotels for tourists on the final frontier. In April the longtime space buff’s dream took a giant leap forward with the successful delivery of BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, to the space station (ISS). More
(Source: Fortune - May 20)
THIS CRAZY PHOTO FROM THE SPACE STATION HELPS PUT CANADA’S WILDFIRE IN PERSPECTIVE - The Fort McMurray wildfire has captured devastation on a scale most of us can't comprehend. Images from the ground and satellites have helped quantify the destruction, but this shot from the International Space Station somehow ties the scale of the destruction together much more clearly.
The photo was taken by an Expedition 67 crew member on May 14th, from 240 miles away. (Yes, the astronauts have some pretty sweet cameras.) The lower-angle shot shows a huge plume of smoke engulfing Fort McMurray -- the town isn't really visible, the smoke is so dense. More
(Source: Yahoo News - May 20)
SENTINEL SATELLITE PICTURES A 'CLEAR SKIES' AFRICA - This is not a natural state, of course; there is always a weather system bubbling up somewhere.
But if you have access to a lot of images acquired over the course of several months, it becomes possible to construct a mosaic.
This one was produced from observations made by the EU's new Sentinel-2a satellite, which is now routinely mapping Planet Earth.
It is a powerful capability. Sensitive across 13 spectral bands (colours) and able to see details as small as 10m across - the spacecraft's camera "carpet maps" the land surface beneath it. Every strip is 290km wide. More
(Source: BBC News - May 19)
NASA NODES CUBESATS DEPLOYED FROM INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - After a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station, NASA's two Nodes satellites were deployed on May 16 from the NanoRacks platform and into low-Earth orbit to begin their much anticipated technology demonstration.
These tiny satellites have dimensions of only four by four by six inches. The ground controllers for the Nodes mission received confirmation that both satellites are transmitting and are in good health when they passed over the tracking station for the first time, soon after deployment. The first transmission of science data is expected by May 18. More
(Source: Space Ref - May 19)
SCHOOL KIDS LAUNCH OUT OF THIS WORLD SCIENCE PROJECT - Students at an elementary school in Virginia are very excited, and the reason for their excitement is out of this world -- a tiny satellite being launched Monday by astronauts at the International Space Station
Thirteen-year-old Rebecca el Choueiry helped build the satellite.
"I think it's awesome!" she said. "I'm really excited that's it's finally up in space." And now St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington is the first grade school in the nation to put a satellite in orbit. More
(Source: CBS News - May 18)
ÑUSAT-1 SSB/CW TRANSPONDER SATELLITE - The launch of ÑUSAT-1, the second AMSAT ARGENTINA amateur satellite on May 30, will mark an extraordinary event for our Institution and fostering of hope for satellite community.
As we quoted when the announcement of the launching of this experiment, Amsat Argentina has been working for several years to keep alive the dream of many Argentine amateurs to get back into Space with their own satellite as a follow-on of the legendary 1990’s LUSAT-1, reaping the benefits of Technological advancement of our days. More
(Source: AMSAT-UK - May 18)