LAB TESTS AND LIFE SCIENCE AS STATION ORBITS HIGHER TODAY - A docked Russian cargo craft automatically fired its engines this morning boosting the International Space Station’s altitude a little higher. During the rest of the day, the Expedition 55 crew supported life science and swapped out station hardware.
Russia’s Progress 69 resupply ship docked to the Zvezda service module fired its thrusters boosting the station’s orbit today. The two-minute, six-second burn establishes the correct orbit when three crew members undock and land in June and a two-orbit rendezvous capability for the Progress 70P resupply craft when it launches in July. More
(Source: NASA - Apr 21)
ARIANESPACE TO LAUNCH JAPANESE BROADCAST SATELLITE - Arianespace on April 19 announced an agreement with Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation and satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral to launch the BSAT-4b satellite on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2020.
The agreement follows the launch of BSAT-4a on an Ariane 5 in September 2017.
BSAT is building up its satellite infrastructure ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, which start in July 2020. Seeking to have BSAT-4b as an in-orbit backup ahead of the games, BSAT picked SSL to build the satellite last month.
BSAT-4b will feature an identical co More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 20)
PROTON-M LAUNCHES BLAGOVEST 12L SATELLITE FOR RUSSIAN AEROSPACE FORCES - The Russian military has expanded its fleet of communications satellites with the launch of the Blagovest 12L spacecraft on Wednesday, April 18.
The military comsat lifted off atop a Proton-M launcher at 6:12 p.m. EDT (22:12 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Due to military nature of the mission, very little information has been given about the flight as well as pre-launch preparations. It is only known that the launch was initially targeted for December 25, 2017, but problems with one of the satellite’s components forced Russia to postpone the mission several times.
(Source: SpaceFlight Insider - Apr 19)
CHINA SATELLITE SJ-17, FRIENDLY WANDERER? - When China published its description of SJ-17, the folks at AGI who track satellites for a living raised their eyebrows.
The Chinese said it was an experimental satellite. But “the way they phrased it piqued our interest,” says Bob Hall, standing a dozen feet from AGI’s infamous ice cream stand here. More
(Source: Breaking Defense - Apr 19)
EARTHNOW PROMISES REAL-TIME VIEWS OF THE WHOLE PLANET FROM A NEW SATELLITE CONSTELLATION - A new space imaging startup called EarthNow aims to provide not just pictures of the planet on demand, but real-time video anywhere a client desires. Its ambition is matched only by its pedigree: Bill Gates, Intellectual Ventures, Airbus, SoftBank and OneWeb founder Greg Wyler are all backing the play.
Its promise is a constellation of satellites that will provide video of anywhere on Earth with latency of about a second. You won’t have to wait for a satellite to come into range, or worry about leaving range; at least one will be able to view any area at any given time, so they can pass off the monitoring task to the next satellite over if necessary. More
(Source: TechCrunch - Apr 19)
SPACEX LAUNCHES NASA PLANET-HUNTING SATELLITE - In a modest mission with the grandest of intentions, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a planet-hunting satellite for NASA Wednesday that will measure the light from millions of stars, on the lookout for indications of Earth-like, potentially habitable worlds scattered across the nearby Milky Way.
Building on the legacy of NASA's trail-blazing Kepler mission, which showed that exoplanets are commonplace, the $337 million Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will study vastly more stars across 85 percent of the sky in a bid to pinpoint thousands of new planets with the emphasis on Earth-size or slightly larger. More
(Source: CBS News - Apr 19)
ROCKET LAB POSTPONES FIRST COMMERCIAL LAUNCH AFTER ISSUE DURING FUELING TEST - Rocket Lab said Tuesday it will push back the first commercial launch of its light-class Electron rocket from New Zealand by a few weeks to address a problem uncovered during a recent fueling test. The company announced the launch slip on Twitter, saying that the Rocket Lab launch team “saw some unusual behavior with a motor controller” during a wet dress rehearsal, a test often employed by launch providers to practice countdown procedures and verify that rocket and ground systems are ready for liftoff. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 18)
THE AURORA STATION WILL BE THE FIRST LUXURY HOTEL IN SPACE - Are you ready for a luxury hotel in space? We all knew it was coming, even though it seems impossibly futuristic. But this time it’s not just science fiction; somebody actually has a plan.
The space hotel will be called “Aurora Station” and the company behind it is Orion Span, a Silicon Valley and Houston-based firm. Orion Span aims to deliver the astronaut experience to people, by delivering the people into space. The catch? More
(Source: Universe Today - Apr 18)
AFRICA'S MOST ADVANCED CUBE SATELLITE TO BE UNVEILED IN SA AHEAD OF LAUNCH - Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will unveil South Africa's most sophisticated satellite on Tuesday ahead of its launch in India in July.
The nanosatellite, dubbed ZACUBE-2, was developed by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the French South African Institute of Technology as a follow-up to the previous nanosatellite, ZACUBE-1, which was launched from Yasny Launch Base in Russia. More
(Source: HuffPost South Africa - Apr 18)
BRITISH STARTUP EARTH-I SHARES FIRST COLOR VIDEO FROM ITS VIVIDX2 SATELLITE - British startup Earth-i unveiled the first color video captured by its VividX2 satellite, a prototype for its future Earth imagery constellation, April 16 at the 34th Space Symposium here.
The videos show cars in Nashville, Tennessee, airports in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and city life in New Orleans, Louisiana, San Diego, California, and Sydney, Australia.
In January, Earth-i launched VividX2, a 100-kilogram satellite built by Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd. (SSTL) and previously called Carbonite-2, aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle into sun synchronous orbit. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 17)
SPACEX SCRUBS FIRST ATTEMPT TO LAUNCH TESS ON A MISSION TO SEARCH FOR NEAR-EARTH EXOPLANETS - NASA and SpaceX scrubbed the initial launch attempt for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. The planet-hunting observatory will be launched by a brand new Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 into an orbital resonance with the moon that will allow it to perform a near all-sky survey to find and categorize the number and types of exoplanets within 300 light years of Earth. The next attempt will take place on Wednesday during a 30 second window that opens at 18:51 EDT (22:51 UTC) More
(Source: NASASpaceFlight.com - Apr 17)
THE US GOVERNMENT LOGGED 308,984 POTENTIAL SPACE-JUNK COLLISIONS IN 2017 - China's Tiangong-1 space station fell to Earth on April 2, raining debris over a patch of Pacific Ocean some 2,500 miles south of Hawaii.
But Tiangong-1 is just the tip of the space-junk iceberg.
There are about 23,000 satellites, rocket bodies, and other human-made objects larger than a softball in orbit. There may also be some 650,000 softball-to-fingernail-size objects and 170 million bits of debris smaller than the tip of a pen — stuff like flecks of paint and fragments of explosive bolts. More
(Source: Business Insider - Apr 16)
MULTI-SATELLITE PAYLOAD HOISTED INTO HIGH-ALTITUDE ORBIT BY ATLAS 5 ROCKET - A package of communications and tech demo satellites for the U.S. Air Force rode a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket into an orbit more than 20,000 miles over the equator after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Saturday evening. The dual-payload mission required the most capable version of ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket, a hot-rod launcher with five solid-fueled strap-on motors to add an extra boost during the fiery liftoff at 7:13 p.m. EDT (2313 GMT) from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 16)
SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW CRATERS AT ALLEGED SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS FACILITIES - The Syrians say some targeted sites didn't receive any damage. Satellite images given to CNN appear to show the contrary -- extensive damage.
The US Department of Defense early Saturday released a map that it says shows their three Syrian airstrike targets. CNN provided that map to two satellite imagery companies, DigitalGlobe and Planet.com.
Satellite images from those companies appear to show extensive airstrike damage to facilities allegedly involved with Syria's chemical weapons program. More
(Source: CNN - Apr 15)
NASA MAY EXTEND SPACE STATION MISSIONS TO ADDRESS POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL CREW DELAYS - NASA is in discussions with its Russian counterparts about extending some upcoming space station missions as a way to buy more time for development of commercial crew vehicles.
During an April 12 hearing by the commerce, justice and science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on the agency’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot said longer “increments” of crews on the ISS could be one way to provide more schedule margin in the event of additional delays by Boeing and SpaceX in the development of their crewed spacecraft. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Apr 14)
ATLAS 5 ROCKET READIED FOR HIGH-ALTITUDE MULTI-SATELLITE FLIGHT SATURDAY - United Launch Alliance crews at Cape Canaveral are finishing final preparations for an Atlas 5 rocket launch Saturday evening to dispatch three U.S. military satellites directly to an orbital perch more than 20,000 miles over the equator. Set for blastoff at 7:13 p.m. EDT (2313 GMT) Saturday, the Atlas 5 rocket will fly in its most powerful configuration, helped off Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad with five Aerojet Rocketdyne-built solid rocket boosters and a Russian-made RD-180 main engine producing a combined 2.6 million pounds of thrust. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Apr 14)
THE AMBITIOUS PROPOSAL TO CREATE A SPACE 'MUSEUM' IN ORBIT - On 18 May 2009, 570km (350 miles) above the Earth, astronaut John Grunsfeld became the last human to touch the Hubble Space Telescope. Before re-entering Space Shuttle Atlantis’ airlock at the end of the final and gruelling servicing mission, he recalled a quote from science fiction legend, Arthur C Clarke.
“The only way of finding the limits of the possible, is by going beyond them into the impossible,” he said over the intercom to the VIPs gathered in mission control. “On this mission, we tried some things that many people said were impossible… we wish Hubble the very best.” More
(Source: BBC News - Apr 13)
THE SNEAKY WAYS CHINA AND RUSSIA COULD THREATEN US SATELLITES - Major global powers, such as China and Russia, are focusing more on space weapons that neutralize others’ satellites rather than those that destroy payloads on orbit, a new report has found.
The study by the Secure World Foundation, released Wednesday morning and previewed exclusively with Defense News, is a comprehensive collection of public-source information about the counterspace capabilities of China, Russia, North Korea and other world powers that could threaten American dominance in space.
(Source: DefenseNews.com - Apr 13)
SOYUZ ROCKET: RUSSIA'S RELIABLE BOOSTER - The Soyuz rocket – not to be confused with the Soyuz spacecraft – is a line of Russian boosters that have seen variants fly since the mid-1960s. It is used for both cargo and astronaut transportation.
The Soyuz rocket is best known today for being the main form of transportation to the International Space Station. NASA bought astronaut seats on Soyuz spacecraft (which the rocket carries into space) starting in 2011, after the space shuttle program retired. More
(Source: Space.com - Apr 12)