SPACEX COULD RETURN TO FLIGHT DEC. 16, SATELLITE LAUNCH CUSTOMER SAYS - SpaceX could return to flight in about two weeks, pending Federal Aviation Administration approval, after an explosion that destroyed one of its rockets, satellite launch customer Iridium Communications Inc. said Thursday.
The tentative date comes three months after one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets exploded on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, destroying a commercial communications satellite that was to be managed by Israeli satellite operator Spacecom.
The fiery failure caused delays in SpaceX’s launch schedule and led to criticism from some members of Congress of the company’s role in leading the investigation. More
(Source: Los Angeles Times - Dec 2)
RUSSIA CONFIRMS ISS-BOUND PROGRESS SPACESHIP LOST AFTER LAUNCH - Russia’s space agency has confirmed that an unmanned cargo ship launched on Thursday to take supplies to the International Space Station has been lost.
Roscosmos said on Twitter that the ship had been destroyed during its launch. It is said to have mainly burnt up in the atmosphere, 190 kilometres above Siberia.
Earlier, the space agency said that data transmissions had been cut off nearly six and a half minutes after the launch. More
(Source: Euronews - Dec 2)
WHAT CHINA’S LATEST X-RAY POSITIONING SATELLITE MEANS FOR DEEP-SPACE EXPLORATION - ONovember 10, aboard a Long March 11 rocket, China launched a suite of satellites into space. Among them was the innovative X-ray Pulsar Navigation 1 (XPNAV 1) satellite which is equipped with a world’s first instrument that offers X-ray-based navigation. Unlike classical satellites and spacecraft that rely on GPS-like features, the XPNAV 1 uses X-ray sources from space like those emitted by pulsars to triangulate its position. In other words, this tiny satellite is paving the way for a new class of spacecraft that will not only breach the final frontier but also find its way around it. More
(Source: ZME Science - Dec 1)
NASA IS OFFERING $30K TO THE PERSON WHO SOLVES ITS SPACE POOP PROBLEM - Space travel presents scientists with seemingly infinite challenges. Aside from the technological feat of getting astronauts off the planet, scientists have to figure out how to keep them healthy with no-gravity exercise, clean air, and nutrition once they’re up in space.
But there’s one much-less-glamorous problem space scientists have to solve: How to get rid of astronaut poop on long missions in spacesuits.
The question has NASA scientists stumped, and so they’re taking suggestions from the public. More
(Source: Quartz - Dec 1)
WAR IN SPACE: KAMIKAZES, KIDNAPPER SATELLITES AND LASERS - It was May 2014 when a small team of American airmen monitoring a Russian satellite launch saw something they had never seen before. An object the team thought was a piece of debris from the launch suddenly came to life. "The one object that we assumed was a piece of debris started to maneuver in close proximity to the (rocket) booster," recalled Lt. Gen. David Buck, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Buck, who oversees US military space forces, said the deliberate maneuvers the mystery object made close to the rocket's booster were a red flag. More
(Source: CNN - Nov 30)
JAPAN TO LAUNCH FIRST MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE ON JANUARY 24 - The Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to launch the Kirameki-2 satellite that will be one of three military satellites, which will replace the civil analogues that are currently used for communication between Japan's military units.TOKYO (Sputnik) - The Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to launch its first satellite into orbit on January 24, 2017, to improve military communications infrastructure amid North Korea nuclear and military threats, media reported on Friday, citing a military source.
According to the Kyodo news agency, the Kirameki-2 satellite will be one of three military satellites, which will replace the civil analogues that are currently used for communication between Japan's military units. More
(Source: Space Daily - Nov 30)
ADVANCED WEATHER SATELLITE REACHES PLANNED ORBIT - A powerful new weather satellite, the first of four at the heart of a nearly $11 billion upgrade to the nation’s forecasting infrastructure, completed a fifth and final main engine rocket firing Tuesday, the last step in a 10-day climb to its operational orbit 22,300 miles above the equator.
Greg Mandt, the GOES-R program director with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the agency hopes to downlink the first pictures from the satellite’s camera, the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, in early January, after allowing trapped gases and contaminants to escape in the vacuum of space. More
(Source: CBS News - Nov 30)
NASA ENDS EFFORTS TO REPAIR SPACE STATION EARTH SCIENCE INSTRUMENT - NASA announced Nov. 28 it was formally ending a mission of an instrument on the International Space Station that malfunctioned earlier this year, a setback in the agency’s efforts to use the station as an Earth sciences platform.
NASA said it was terminating the ISS Rapid Scatterometer, or RapidScat, instrument, that had been operating on the station since October 2014. The instrument collected wind speed and direction data over the oceans by measuring the scattering of radar waves it transmitted and then received. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Nov 30)
RUSSIA'S SOYUZ SPACECRAFT MARKS 50 YEARS SINCE FIRST FLIGHT - It launched under a different name and was not officially disclosed until almost two decades later, but Russia's first Soyuz spacecraft lifted off into history 50 years ago Monday (Nov. 28).
The Soyuz, which became the former Soviet Union's third class of crewed transport spacecraft and is still used today to take cosmonaut and astronaut crews to the International Space Station, first flew under the intentionally nondescript title "Kosmos 133" on Nov. 28, 1966.
The less-than-successful, 34-orbit uncrewed maiden mission ended with the Soyuz's descent capsule self-destructing, instead of landing off-course in China. But that was only the last of its problems. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 29)
ATLAS 5 ROCKET TO FINISH YEAR WITH COMMERCIAL BROADBAND SATELLITE LAUNCH - Preparing for its eighth launch of the year, the Atlas 5 rocket program has begun stacking the vehicle that will deploy a commercial satellite to provide Internet connectivity to rural America.
The United Launch Alliance rocket will haul the EchoStar 19 spacecraft into a geosynchronous transfer orbit from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 on Dec. 16. The two-hour launch window opens at 1:22 p.m. EST (1822 GMT).
Stacking started today at the Vertical Integration Facility as the first stage was erected aboard the mobile launch platform. Three side-mounded solid rocket boosters and Centaur upper stage will be added in the coming days before the payload is attached next week. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Nov 29)
NASA TELEVISION TO AIR INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CARGO SHIP LAUNCH, DOCKING - A Russian cargo spacecraft is set to launch Thursday, Dec. 1, to deliver more than two and a half tons of food, fuel and supplies to the International Space Station crew. Coverage on NASA Television and the agency's website begins at 9:30 a.m. EST ahead of the 9:51 a.m. (8:51 p.m. Baikonur time) launch.
The unpiloted Russian Progress 65 will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The spacecraft is set to dock to the rear port of the space station's Zvezda Service Module at 11:43 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 11 a.m. More
(Source: PR Newswire - Nov 29)
TEENAGE GIRLS HAVE BUILT AFRICA'S FIRST-EVER PRIVATE SATELLITE - In May next year, Africa will launch its first-ever private satellite into space, to monitor the continent's shifting weather conditions.
Unlike most private satellites out there, this one has mostly been built by 14 South African teenage girls, as part of a high school science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) boot camp. The students have designed and made the payload for the satellite, which will orbit over Earth's poles and scan the surface of the African continent. More
(Source: ScienceAlert - Nov 28)
LOST AND FOUND: MOST DRAMATIC SPACE MISSIONS OF 2016 - It's been a busy year of transition around the solar system. Some spacecraft crashed on distant planets, while others were found after we thought they were lost. And some cool stuff began to happen with new missions, such as exploring Jupiter and figuring out how useful inflatable structures will be in space. Here are some of the mission transitions of 2016. 2016 has seen some amazing space exploration feats. Here are just a few that have kept us on the edge of our seats. More
(Source: Seeker - Nov 25)
LONG MARCH 3C LAUNCHES FOURTH TIANLIAN-1 COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE - China has successfully launched on Tuesday, Nov. 22, a Long March 3C rocket carrying the country’s fourth Tianlian-1 data tracking and relay communications satellite. Liftoff took place at 11:24 p.m. Beijing time (15:24 GMT / 10:24 a.m. EST) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
Launch of the mission was originally targeted for Nov. 20 but was postponed two days. However, the cause of this delay has not been revealed by the officials.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Nov 24)
TINY 'BLACK MAGIC' SATELLITE PACKS ORIGAMI-LIKE RADAR DISH - NASA challenged engineers to pack an entire satellite dish into a cereal box with Radar in a CubeSat (RainCube), a technology-demonstration mission scheduled for launch in 2017 that will measure rain and snowfall on Earth from space.
Until now, most satellite dishes have been parabolic, which means that bigger dishes led to better radio transmissions. But radio-frequency engineers have been known to call the forces guiding communications over the air "black magic" because of their complicated physics, NASA said in a statement — and new CubeSat technology must fit that magic into a new, tiny package. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 24)
THANKSGIVING IN SPACE: SPACE STATION COMMANDER SHANE KIMBROUGH PLANS FEAST - After a normal workday in orbit Thursday, International Space Station commander Shane Kimbrough plans to host an American Thanksgiving Day dinner of turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings with his U.S., French and Russian colleagues.
“Of course Thanksgiving, in my world, is not complete without some football,” Kimbrough said in a video update from orbit Monday. “So we’re going to have mission control send up some live football games for us to watch to complete the experience of Thanksgiving.
(Source: CBS News - Nov 24)
BLOW IT UP: INFLATABLE SPACE STATION HABITAT SHOWS PROMISE IN EARLY TESTS - An inflatable space habitat that could save weight and volume on future missions is showing how well it can do its job. The verdict: So far, it works, and that gives the habitat a better chance of being part of future space efforts.
Called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, the habitat is an inflatable spheroid made of fabric that starts off folded into a shape like a flattish cone with the top cut off. It was originally launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 8. More
(Source: Space.com - Nov 23)
U.S. WEATHER SATELLITE'S LAUNCH PROMISES 'QUANTUM LEAP' IN FORECASTS - A U.S. weather satellite that will "revolutionize" forecasting blasted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Saturday, promising to deliver continuous high-definition views of hurricanes and other storms over the Western Hemisphere.
A detailed stream of images provided by the satellite is expected to sharpen weather forecasts, provide more advanced warning of floods and better tracking of wildfires, plumes and volcanic ash clouds.
Carried atop an Atlas 5 rocket, the GOES-R satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:42 p.m. EST. More
(Source: Reuters - Nov 22)
ASTRONAUTS RELEASE CYGNUS SPACE FREIGHTER FROM STATION - Expedition 50 robotic arm operators Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 8:22 a.m. EST while the space station was flying 251 miles over the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of Colombia. Earlier, ground controllers detached Cygnus from the station and maneuvered it into place for its departure.
Once Cygnus is a safe distance away from the station, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and at Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia, will activate the Saffire-II experiment.
Cygnus also will release four LEMUR CubeSats from an external deployer on Friday, Nov. 25, sending them to join a remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring. More
(Source: NASA - Nov 22)