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KEY INMARSAT ROCKET FLIGHT UNDER WAY KEY INMARSAT ROCKET FLIGHT UNDER WAY - A rocket has launched from Kazakhstan carrying a hugely important spacecraft for London-based Inmarsat. The new satellite is needed to complete the roll-out of the company's £1bn ($1.6bn), next-generation, global telecommunications network. The Proton rocket lifted away from the Baikonur spaceport at 17:44 local time (12:44 BST). Separation of the satellite in orbit is expected early on Saturday. The new network, known as Global Xpress, will enable Inmarsat to offer its customers substantially faster connections at a lower cost. Having the third spacecraft in orbit means those customers can have coverage right around the world. Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat's CEO, told BBC News: "We launched our first satellite over Europe, the Middle East and Africa about a year ago; our Americas satellite comes into operation in about a week; and this third satellite, which will go operational by the end of the year, completes a global seamless network."   More
(Source: BBC News - Aug 29)

SOYUZ RELOCATION CLEARS WAY FOR LAUNCH OF NEW STATION CREW SOYUZ RELOCATION CLEARS WAY FOR LAUNCH OF NEW STATION CREW - Three space station crewmen strapped inside a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and relocated the landing capsule Friday, clearing a docking port for the arrival of a new crew next week. Under the command of veteran Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft undocked from the space station's Poisk module at 0712 GMT (3:12 a.m. EDT) as the complex sailed 249 miles above Nigeria. Joined by flight engineer Mikhail Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Padalka flew Soyuz ferry craft about 150 feet (45 meters) from Poisk docking module. The Soyuz fired rocket thrusters to swing toward the aft docking port of the station's Zvezda service module, then it lined up to park at the new location.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 29)

WHY DO NASA ASTRONAUTS DRINK RUSSIAN PEE ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? WHY DO NASA ASTRONAUTS DRINK RUSSIAN PEE ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION? - Think you could drink recycled wee if it meant you would stay alive? That's the question astronauts have to answer before they go onto the International Space Station for a tour of duty. But while Nasa's people are happily gulping back wee-that-once-was, cosmonauts have chosen to go another way. Long-term space travel will always be dependent on water and food and its availability. But on the ISS, where personnel are expected to stay for months at a time, the ways of accessing water for drinking are from condensation and excretion as urine. Both US and Russian of the space station harvest their water out of the air, which is known as condensate, and comes from breath and sweat.   More
(Source: - Aug 29)

TROPICAL WEATHER THREATENS MONDAY'S SCHEDULED ATLAS 5 LAUNCH TROPICAL WEATHER THREATENS MONDAY'S SCHEDULED ATLAS 5 LAUNCH - Plans to launch a Navy communications satellite aboard an Atlas 5 rocket early Monday could be interrupted by Tropical Storm Erika, expected to strengthen into a hurricane, as the cyclone puts its sights on Florida. Officials could decide during the Launch Readiness Review on Friday, or perhaps as late as early Saturday, whether to proceed with rollout of the rocket from its assembly building to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 around mid-morning Saturday. An on-time rollout Saturday would preserve the chance of trying to launch as planned Monday. But officials could, instead, choose to leave the 206-foot-tall booster in the safe confines of the hangar until the storm passes.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 28)

LONG MARCH 4C LOFTS LATEST YAOGAN WEIXING SATELLITE LONG MARCH 4C LOFTS LATEST YAOGAN WEIXING SATELLITE - Confirming the rumors that have circulated over recent days, China has launched another new satellite in the military's Yaogan Weixing series via the use of a Long March-4C (Chang Zheng-4C) rocket. The mission began with liftoff at 02:31 UTC on Thursday, from the LC9 launch complex at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. As per usual, Chinese media is referring to the new satellite as "a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring". However, as was the case in the last launches of the Yaogan Weixing series, western analysts believe this class of satellites is used for military purposes.   More
(Source: - Aug 28)

INDIAN SPACE PROGRAM BUOYED BY BACK-TO-BACK GSLV SUCCESSES INDIAN SPACE PROGRAM BUOYED BY BACK-TO-BACK GSLV SUCCESSES - India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle soared into orbit Thursday and deployed a 2.3-ton communications payload into an on-target orbit, tallying its second consecutive success with an Indian cryogenic upper stage as officials prepare to declare the once-troubled launcher operational. The 161-foot-tall rocket launched at 1122 GMT (7:22 a.m. EDT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India's east coastline, turning east over the Bay of Bengal powered by 1.7 million pounds of thrust from a core solid-fueled motor and four auxiliary boosters burning liquid hydrazine. With its nose cone emblazoned with the Indian flag, the GSLV flew with an Indian-built third stage fueled by super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 27)

NASA TELEVISION TO AIR LAUNCH OF NEXT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CREW NASA TELEVISION TO AIR LAUNCH OF NEXT INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION CREW - The next three crew members bound for the International Space Station are set to launch to the orbital outpost Wednesday, Sept. 2. NASA Television launch coverage will begin at 11:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Sergei Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:37 a.m. Wednesday (10:34 a.m. Baikonur time). Mogensen and Aimbetov are short duration crew members while Volkov will spend six months on the orbital complex. The trio will travel in a Soyuz spacecraft, which will rendezvous with the space station and dock two days later to the Poisk module at 3:42 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m.   More
(Source: PR Newswire - Aug 27)

LAUNCH DATE SET FOR AMSAT FOX-1A LAUNCH DATE SET FOR AMSAT FOX-1A - Vice President of Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, has announced that the Fox-1A CubeSat will launch on October 8 from California. It initially had been set to launch in August. Fox-1A will include an FM transponder with an uplink frequency of 435.180 MHz, and a downlink frequency of 145.980 MHz. The first phase of the Fox series 1-Unit CubeSats will allow simple ground stations using hand-held transceiver and simple dual-band antennas to make contacts.    More
(Source: ARRL - Aug 26)

BOOZE MAKES ITS WAY TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION BOOZE MAKES ITS WAY TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION - A Japanese liquor company is boldly going where no distiller has gone before: outer space. A case of the hard stuff was part of Japan's 10-thousand pound cargo shipment that arrived Monday to the International Space Station. But it's not for any party. Suntory, the Japanese spirits company that owns whiskey brands Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, want to find out if the alcohol aging process occurs faster in space. The stash will be stored on the Space Station for a year and later brought back to Earth for comparison to its ‘earthling' brand.   More
(Source: WGNO - Aug 26)

JAPANESE HTV SUPPLY CARRIER REACHES SPACE STATION JAPANESE HTV SUPPLY CARRIER REACHES SPACE STATION - Japan's fifth HTV cargo freighter completed a five-day flight to the International Space Station on Wednesday, making a glacial laser-guided approach to the complex with a 9,500-pound package of food, spare parts and experiments. The experiments are devoted to studying how the human body changes in space, a prime objective of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's nearly one-year stay aboard the outpost. Other investigations delivered by the H-2 Transfer Vehicle include a cosmic ray telescope designed to probe exotic dark matter in the universe and a commercially-funded experiment devised to examine how Japanese spirits age in zero gravity. Astronauts will not consume the samples, which were provided by Japanese distiller Suntory, but the spirits will be stored aboard the space station and returned to Earth for analysis.   More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Aug 25)

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