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)