THE US WILL LAUNCH ITS NEXT SPY SATELLITE FROM NEW ZEALAND - The National Reconnaissance Office’s first satellite launch of 2020 will take place in New Zealand, with the agency taking advantage of a new contract vehicle designed to leverage growing commercial small satellite launch capabilities.
Rocket Lab, a Los Angeles-based company, announced Jan. 20 it had been selected by the NRO to launch the agency’s first satellite of 2020—NROL-151.
(Source: C4ISRNet - Jan 24)
SECOND SPACE DATA HIGHWAY SATELLITE SET TO BEAM - The second satellite in the European Data Relay System has reached its intended orbit and completed its in-orbit tests.
Dubbed the "SpaceDataHighway" by its commercial operator Airbus, EDRS uses innovative laser technology to enable Earth-observation satellites to deliver their information to users on the ground in near real-time, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products. More
(Source: Phys.org - Jan 24)
SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY TO START BUILDING ITS FIRST CONSTELLATION OF SURVEILLANCE SATELLITES - The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency is soliciting pitches for technologies that will be used to build a network of satellites in low Earth orbit that would help the military find targets on the ground and track enemy missiles in flight.
By late 2022, the agency wants to have several dozen satellites in orbit “to show that we can operate a proliferated constellation and that the constellation can talk to weapon systems,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said Jan. 21 at a Pentagon news conference. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 23)
NORTHROP GRUMMAN NAMES CYGNUS SPACECRAFT FOR FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT - The first African American to be selected as an astronaut is being remembered with the naming of a space station cargo capsule set to launch during Black History Month.
The 13th Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft has been christened for Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., who in 1967 was chosen for the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 23)
PENTAGON WANTS TO BUILD ONE SATELLITE PER WEEK - One satellite per week. That’s what the Pentagon wants industry to provide under its plans to orbit seven new constellations — each with a different function — by the end of 2020.
The satellites would be smaller (“a few hundred kilograms”), cheaper (about $10 million each), and shorter-lived (about five years) than today’s typical military satellites, which can weigh tons and consume billions of dollars but which are expected to operate for decades. More
(Source: Defense One - Jan 22)
LAUNCHERS GET READY FOR THE SMALL SATELLITE GOLD RUSH - Just five years ago, small satellite operators would say “yes” to any possibility to get into orbit at a reasonable price, says Stephen Eisele, vice president of Business Development at Virgin Orbit. But times are changing, and with the small satellite market growing exponentially, the operators are increasingly aware of their significance for the launch providers and expect more.
Where cost used to be the single decisive factor, the requirements to get into orbit on time and into a specific orbit are becoming more important. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 22)
NRO, THE U.S. SPY SATELLITE AGENCY, PREPS FOR FIRST DEDICATED LAUNCH FROM FOREIGN SOIL - Rocket Lab’s first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the U.S. government’s fleet of intelligence-gathering satellites, is scheduled to launch from New Zealand as soon as Jan. 30 (U.S. time), officials announced Monday. With rare exceptions, information about the NRO’s payloads is typically classified. The spy satellite agency and Rocket Lab released no details about the payload set to fly into orbit on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket later this month. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 22)
SPACEX GEARS UP FOR NEXT STARLINK SATELLITE MEGACONSTELLATION LAUNCH WITH ROCKET TEST - SpaceX has fired up the rocket booster that will ferry the company's fourth batch of Starlink satellites into space. Just over 24 hours after SpaceX aced an in-flight abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, the company conducted a static-fire test of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the company said on Twitter. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 22)
SPACE STATION PROTOTYPES SHIPPED TO LAUNCH CENTER - Two major prototypes in China's manned space station program have been transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province for prelaunch preparations, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The agency said in a statement on Monday that the arrival of the prototypes of the Chinese space station's core module and the country's new-generation manned spacecraft at the launch center meant that the construction project of the space station will soon begin. More
(Source: ecns - Jan 22)
IRAN SAYS IT IS PREPARING FOR SATELLITE LAUNCH - Iran said Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation's space center for eventual launch, without elaborating.
Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted about the development, calling it an “important research step.” More
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 20)
SPACEX ACES FINAL MAJOR TEST BEFORE FIRST CREW MISSION - SpaceX performed a dramatic high-altitude test flight Sunday of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule over Florida’s Space Coast, testing the human-rated ship’s ability to escape a rocket failure and save its crew before two NASA astronauts strap in for a flight to the International Space Station as soon as this spring.
The unusual test flight included an intentional failure of the Crew Dragon’s Falcon 9 rocket about a minute-and-a-half after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 20)
EUTELSAT CONFIRMS SOLAR RAY LOST ON EUTELSAT 5 WEST B - After an investigation into a malfunction on one of EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite’s solar rays, Eutelsat confirmed Friday that the satellite’s South solar array has been lost. The attendant power loss means only 45% of the capacity of the satellite can be operated. With the exception of the South solar array, the satellite performance remains nominal. More
(Source: Via Satellite - Jan 19)
EUTELSAT KONNECT SATELLITE NOW IN ORBIT - Eutelsat Konnect telecommunications satellite has been successfully launched by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center. Eutelsat Konnect was built by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), acting as prime contractor for Eutelsat Communications.
From geostationary orbit, this satellite will provide large-scale coverage of highspeed internet markets across Africa and Europe. More
(Source: SatelliteProME.com - Jan 19)
SPACEX DELAYS CREW DRAGON ABORT TEST LAUNCH TO SUNDAY DUE TO BAD WEATHER - SpaceX postponed a critical launch escape test of its Crew Dragon astronaut taxi today (Jan. 18) due to bad weather at the mission’s launch site. The next attempt will be on Sunday, the company said.
The California-based spaceflight company was scheduled to launch its unpiloted Crew Dragon spacecraft on a used Falcon 9 rocket at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) today from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, bad weather at the launch site, coupled with rough seas at Crew Dragon's recovery zone in the Atlantic Ocean, prompted the delay. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 18)
FIRST SPACEBUS NEO SATELLITE LAUNCHED - Ariane 5's first launch of 2020 has delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned transfer orbits. Arianespace announced liftoff at 21:05 GMT (22:05 CET, 18:05 local time) this evening from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Konnect, with a launch mass of 3619 kg, was the first to be released after about 27 minutes. More
(Source: Space Daily - Jan 18)
HOW TO WATCH SPACEX'S CREW DRAGON ABORT TEST LIVE ONLINE THIS SATURDAY - SpaceX will launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft on a critical abort test Saturday morning (Jan. 18), and you can watch it live online.
The private spaceflight company will use an expendable Falcon 9 rocket to launch the uncrewed spacecraft from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT). If the test flight, known as an in-flight abort, is successful, it will prove that the Crew Dragon has what it takes to keep onboard astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during launch. More
(Source: Space.com - Jan 18)
VIDEO: PREVIEW OF DRAMATIC CREW DRAGON IN-FLIGHT ABORT TEST - SpaceX’s final planned Crew Dragon test flight before astronauts ride the commercial spaceship into orbit is scheduled for Saturday, when an unpiloted crew capsule will fire off the top of a Falcon 9 rocket shortly after launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to test the craft’s in-flight emergency escape capability.
This video illustrates the timeline of the in-flight abort test, which is scheduled to begin during a four-hour window opening at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) Saturday. More
(Source: SpaceFlight Now - Jan 18)
JAPAN TO LAUNCH ELECTRO-OPTICAL IGS RECONNAISSANCE SATELLITE IN JANUARY 2020 - Japanese satellite and space industry giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has announced that an MHI H-IIA satellite launch vehicle will send Japan’s eighth Intelligence Gathering System (IGS) reconnaissance satellite into orbit from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwest Japan, on 27 January 2020.
The IGS satellite will carry an electro-optical camera and will join seven other IGS satellites already in orbit. More
(Source: SpaceWatch.Global - Jan 17)
ARIANESPACE LAUNCHES EUTELSAT, ISRO SATELLITES ON FIRST 2020 MISSION - European launch provider Arianespace completed its first launch of the year Jan. 16, sending two communications satellites into geostationary transfer orbits.
The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the Guiana Space Center at 4:05 p.m. Eastern with the 3,600-kilogram Eutelsat Konnect satellite and the 3,400-kilogram GSAT-30 satellite.
Eutelsat Konnect separated from the rocket’s upper stage about 28 minutes later, followed by the Indian space agency ISRO’s GSAT-30 satellite after another 10 minutes. More
(Source: SpaceNews - Jan 17)