HISTORIC LAUNCH PAD BACK IN SERVICE WITH THUNDERING BLASTOFF BY SPACEX - SpaceX sent a cargo capsule with nearly 5,500 pounds of experiments and supplies on a three-day trip to the International Space Station on Sunday, firing the automated spaceship through low-hanging clouds and into orbit from the same launch pad where Apollo astronauts began voyages to the moon.
A kerosene-fueled 213-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 rocket powered the cargo freighter into space, soaring on a northeasterly course from launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 9:39 a.m. EST (1439 GMT) atop 1.7 million pounds of thrust. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 20)
SPACEX ABORTS FLIGHT DUE TO ROCKET ISSUES - SpaceX aborted its flight plans Saturday due to issues with its rocket.
The private space firm plans to try its unmanned mission to the international space station again at 9:38 am ET on Sunday.
SpaceX decided to halt its launch plans Saturday in order to "take a closer look at positioning of the second stage engine nozzle," the company tweeted.
The delay comes after founder Elon Musk tweeted concerns about a small leak in the rocket's upper stage on Friday. That issue appeared to be resolved Saturday morning. More
(Source: CNN - Feb 18)
SMALL SATELLITE ROCKET BOOSTER ARRIVES AT NEW ZEALAND'S FIRST LAUNCH SITE - A small satellite launcher built by Rocket Lab has reached its New Zealand launch site for a debut test run in a few months.
The rocket, called Electron, is one of at least 17 small satellite launchers in development worldwide, a study for the Satellite Industry Association by The Tauri Group shows.
Another study, presented at last year's International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, found at least 29 small boosters in development. More
(Source: Seeker - Feb 17)
NAYIF-1 LAUNCHED - The Indian Space Agency ISRO successfully launched the amateur radio satellite Nayif-1 along with 103 other satellites, a record for a single launch. The PSLV-C37 lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 03:58 UT on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Nayif-1 started transmitting about an hour after launch and radio amateurs in the west of the USA reported the first signals. The first frame of data received at the Data Warehouse was from Christy Hunter KB6LTY. Telemetry data was also received by WA6FWF, KA7FVV, WC7V, NC7V, K6FW, KE7QPV, WA9ONY, W5PFG, KK6AYK. More
(Source: AMSAT-UK - Feb 16)
CHINA TO LAUNCH ROBOTIC CARGO SHIP FOR SPACE LAB IN APRIL - A key element of China’s human spaceflight program is being prepared for launch this April.
The country’s first cargo-carrying spacecraft, known as Tianzhou-1, arrived at a launch site in Wenchang City in southern Hainan Province on Monday, according to Chinese media reports.
The robotic Tianzhou-1 can carry about 5 tons of supplies into Earth orbit. The cargo vessel is integral to the operation of the space station that China aims to build by 2020, Chinese officials have said. More
(Source: CBS News - Feb 16)
WEATHER COULD STAND IN WAY OF FALCON 9 LAUNCH SATURDAY - Rainy weather expected across Central Florida this weekend has a 50-50 chance of preventing the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Saturday on a resupply mission to the International Space Station, U.S. Air Force forecasters said Wednesday.
The official weather outlook issued by the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron calls for thick clouds and isolated rain showers at Cape Canaveral during Saturday’s launch countdown.
Liftoff is timed for 10:01 a.m. EST (1501 GMT), roughly the moment the space station’s orbital path is positioned above Florida’s Space Coast. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 16)
ARIANESPACE LAUNCHES TWO TELECOM SATELLITES ON ARIANE 5 ROCKET - European launch provider Arianespace completed the first of seven planned launches of its heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket this year, delivering two telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit.
The rocket lifted off from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 4:39 p.m. ET with the Sky Brasil-1/Intelsat 32e and Telkom-3S telecommunications satellites.
Sky Brasil-1/Intelsat-32e, built by Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, is a 6,000-kilogram Ku-band satellite with broadcast capacity for DirecTV Latin America and high-throughput capacity for Intelsat-supported mobility network services. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Feb 16)
INDIA LAUNCHES RECORD 104 SATELLITES IN SINGLE MISSION - India has created history by successfully launching 104 satellites on a single mission, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014.
All but three of the satellites are from foreign countries, most of them from the United States.
The launch took place from the Sriharikota space centre in east India.
Observers say it is a sign that India is emerging as a major player in the multi-billion dollar space market. Of the 104 small satellites, 96 belong to the United States while Israel, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the Netherlands are the other foreign clients. More
(Source: BBC News - Feb 15)
7 OF THE BIGGEST THINGS WE'VE SENT TO SPACE - We've blasted rockets weighing over 6 million pounds into space. And we've set up stations the size of a football field for permanent orbit around Earth. While shuttling human beings to and from orbit is certainly impressive, some of the largest items flowing into space stay up there for extended periods of time. Here are seven of the largest objects human beings have ever put into orbit. More
(Source: Popular Mechanics - Feb 15)
NASA'S TDRS-M SPACE COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE BEGINS FINAL TESTING - The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) project has begun final testing on a new satellite that will replenish NASA's Space Network. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug. 3, 2017, on an Atlas V rocket. The addition of TDRS-M to the fleet will provide the Space Network (SN) the ability to support space communication for an additional 15 years.
(Source: Phys.org - Feb 14)
HAM RADIO CLUB CALLING MEMBERS AROUND THE WORLD, EVEN OUTER SPACE - It was Saturday morning, but Johnny Borich of Bluefield and his son Jaiden were cramming for a test; if they passed, they would join the ranks of ham radio operators speaking to others across the world and even in outer space.
Members of the East River Amateur Radio Club gathered Saturday for breakfast at the Valley Country Restaurant on Blue Prince Road. The club meets there every Saturday morning, but they were moving a little faster than usual that day. Some new members had to be at the Mercer County 911 center by 9 a.m. to take a licensing test. Johnny and Jaiden Borich were doing some last-minute studying. More
(Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph - Feb 14)
PHOTOGRAPHER EXPLAINS HOW HE CAPTURED RARE SPACE STATION MOON PHOTO - Last week, you probably heard a lot about the full 'snow moon,' the lunar eclipse, and even the faint green comet passing close to Earth. But the most stunning photo of the week involved none of those things.
Florida photographer James Boone captured a series of photos Thursday night showing the International Space Station passing in front of the bright nearly-full moon, which is known as a lunar transit. It's an incredibly difficult feat to achieve -- many photographers plan and practice for years to be ready for such an occasion. That was indeed the case for James, who's a regular contributor of stunning weather photos to FOX 13 (see his other photos above or click over to his website). We asked him to elaborate a little on how he managed to get the shot, and if he had any advice for other astrophotographers out there. More
(Source: FOX 13 News, Tampa Bay - Feb 14)
WHAT IT TAKES FOR THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TO STREAM VIDEO TO THE INTERNET - The International Space Station uses two different types of communication links to get signals to the ground via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). Critical vehicle telemetry and audio is sent using S-Band. Non-critical data and video is sent via Ku-Band. That Ku-Band return link is up to 300 Mbps. That's about six times faster than my Internet access. That return link, however, has to spread its bandwidth across multiple customers. Within that 300 Mbps is additional vehicle data, all of the payload data, the six selected camera views, and a portion is allocated to the onboard LAN. Within that is “Internet” traffic. More
(Source: Forbes - Feb 14)
FIRE RETURNS TO FLAME TRENCH AT APOLLO-ERA LAUNCH PAD IN FLORIDA - Nine Merlin engines ignited and throttled up to nearly 2 million pounds of thrust Sunday during a brief hold-down firing of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, sending a plume of smoke out of the flame trench at Kennedy Space Center’s historic launch pad 39A as the company preps for a space station cargo mission next weekend.
The Merlin 1D engines on the rocket’s first stage were programmed to fire for about three-and-a-half seconds, reaching full power with around 1.7 million pounds of thrust as the Falcon 9 booster remained affixed to the seaside launch complex. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Feb 13)
CHINA TO LAUNCH NIGHT LIGHT OBSERVING SATELLITE - China is set to launch its first remote-sensing satellite capable of detecting large lighted structures on the ground at night.
The Luojia-1A, a 10-kilogramme mini satellite, is being developed by scientists at Wuhan University in Hubei province and will carry a highly sensitive night light camera with a 100-meter ground image resolution, Li Deren, chief scientist of the project was quoted as saying by state-run China News Service. More
(Source: Deccan Chronicle - Feb 12)
FIRST SPACEX FALCON 9 ERECTED AT HISTORIC LAUNCH PAD 39A FOR FEB. 18 BLASTOFF - The first SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ever to grace historic launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida was erected this afternoon, Friday, Feb. 10, to prepare the booster for a critical static fire sometime Saturday, and a launch to the space station next weekend – if all goes well.
This marks the first time any rocket has stood on pad 39A since the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttles in July 2011.
Liftoff of the Falcon 9 is slated for no earlier than next Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 on a critical cargo flight for NASA to deliver over two and a half tons of science and supplies to the six person crew living and working on the International Space Station (ISS). More
(Source: Universe Today - Feb 12)
DO WE NEED TO ESTABLISH A POLICE FORCE IN SPACE? - On January 27, 1967, the United States, United Kingdom and then-Soviet Union, signed the Outer Space Treaty. The short, 17-article document serves as a “constitution” for the worlds beyond Earth’s atmosphere. It was ratified October 10 of the same year, which places us in the midst of a yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. To date, 105 countries have since signed it.
The treaty boasts a half-century of success, but with countries expanding and intensifying their exploration missions, private companies commercializing space travel, and an increasingly hostile international political environment, can humanity be trusted to continue a peaceful co-existence in outer space? More
(Source: New York Post - Feb 11)
NAYIF-1 CUBESAT WITH AMATEUR RADIO TRANSPONDER SET TO LAUNCH ON FEBRUARY 15 - AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL have announced that at the Nayif-1 1U CubeSat, which includes a full FUNcube communication package, is set for launch on an Indian PSLV launch vehicle on February 15 at 0358 UTC. PSLV Flight C-37, will be carry more than 100 satellites into orbit. Nayif-1 carries a U/V linear Amateur Radio transponder for SSB and CW and a telemetry transmitter. The initial plan called for a late-2015 launch.
Nayif-1 was a joint project of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and American University of Sharjah (AUS). The United Arab Emirate’s first nanosatellite, Nayif-1 was developed by Emirati engineering students from AUS under the supervision of a team of engineers and specialists from MBRSC. The partnership between the two entities was aimed at providing hands-on satellite-manufacturing experience to engineering students. More
(Source: ARRL - Feb 11)
ASTRONAUT CAPTURES CLEAREST FOOTAGE YET OF RARE TYPE OF LIGHTNING - Generally speaking, storms seen from space are pretty breathtaking.
Lightning flashes, huge thunderheads and the swirling clouds of hurricanes all take on a unique look when seen from the International Space Station orbiting 250 miles above Earth's surface. The Space Station is also an amazing place to check out weather from an angle you aren't afforded on our planet. This includes weather phenomena that have been hotly debated, but poorly observed, such as a type of lightning known as "blue jets." More
(Source: Mashable - Feb 10)